Why is it so hard for some of us to give up foods like ice-cream, juicy steaks, and potato chips, especially if we know that eating those foods regularly is actually making us ill and shortening our lives?
When I ask my patients why they continue to eat these foods, they say, “Because they taste good, and they make me feel good.” For many of us, life’s stresses and chronic illnesses are so difficult to handle that the quick, easy reward of food is the first thing we reach out for. Food that is sweet or creamy, or crispy or fatty. Fried, rich, instantly gratifying food. Food that has good ‘mouth feel,’ as cooks are expected to say. Another reason is the unavailability of good food. Unfortunately, junk-food is much more readily available than good foods, particularly in the winter months. But, science has been at work rectifying this situation, so that many of the important nutrients found in food are also available in supplement form.
Most of the time, however, when I ask people to think about how they really feel within an hour or two of eating junk-food, they reply, “Well, actually, I felt tired. I had a headache. I had indigestion and gas.”
The truth is that healthy foods can taste delicious, too. And, in the long run, health itself is the ultimate ‘feel good’ reward. So, the only answer is to replace our feel-good treats with healthy food.
Here’s how I did it.
First, I changed what I drank. I used to drink processed iced tea with sugar. Now, I put a whole pint of organic strawberries into a pitcher of green tea, while it’s still hot and then pour it over ice. Green tea and strawberries are loaded with plant chemicals that fight chronic illness. Ellagic acid in strawberries may help prevent cancer, and proanthocyanidins in green tea help prevent colon cancer and improve digestion. I recommend this tea to anyone who suffers from intestinal problems, or is at risk of colon cancer.
In winter, I make a soup base out of pure vegetable stock made from onions [cancer fighter], parsley [blood purifier], carrots [loaded with carotene], and root vegetables like turnips and potatoes. I add cayenne [helps asthma and circulation] and ginger [good for digestion] and an assortment of vegetables, puree that stock, and freeze it. When I want my own ‘home-made’ soup, it’s ready to microwave. And, it’s truly healing. The same can be done with healthy juicing.
No more orange juice in a carton or apple juice from a jar. Instead, I make my own fresh juices. I’ve found that a combination of ginger and carrot juice in the morning is really energising. And, it’s actually a lot more delicious.
From time to time, I test my own boundaries. For example, till recently I was ordering organic pizza from a nearby gourmet shop for lunch every day. The pizza had a thin, crispy, whole wheat crust and organic vegetables like yellow and red peppers, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Perfectly healthy, right? And, delicious. Except after a few weeks I noticed I was feeling fatigued after lunch. It turns out that although these days I can tolerate wheat, I can’t eat it every day. I will start to develop my food sensitivities again.
So, I stopped ordering my healthy pizza for a while and returned to the lunch that makes me feel the best: fish and whole grains, along with a fresh salad.
WHY FOOD IS NOT ENOUGH...
I learned that as powerfully healing as food can be, most of us need more than food in order to return to optimal health. The damage caused to tissue by illness and inflammation is tremendous, especially if the illness is chronic, and it needs to be corrected by flooding the body with nutrients targeted to that specific illness. Even for healthy people, supplements can be invaluable, because almost all of us have inherited genetic weaknesses that cause us to be more vulnerable to specific illnesses. We can correct many of those weaknesses by giving our body extra nutrients when needed.
My healing programme focuses on supplements that I call nutraceuticals, nutrients that are pharmacologically active, almost like medicines. Yet, they have ‘very few’ harmful side-effects.
To heal myself, I took high doses of vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, antioxidants, and magnesium every day. I took fish oil capsules, which are known to fight asthma by reducing inflammation. They made a tremendous difference. Years later, I find that if I slack off in taking my daily nutrients, I begin to lose energy and become more susceptible to asthma.
Here's a good example of how powerful nutrients are. I recently stained the doors in my office, and the toxic odour of the chemicals in the stain filled every room. That led to an asthma attack. The first night of the attack I had trouble sleeping, and I was weak. “Oh, no,” I thought. “It’s come back, after all this time. Am I going to get sick again? I can’t afford to!” The next day I took extra healing nutrients, especially magnesium and vitamin C, ate only fresh fish and vegetables, and drank lots of green tea. It was a detoxifying and healing diet. My asthma symptoms completely vanished in a few days. Now, I understand the anti-inflammatory benefits of magnesium and the antioxidant benefits of vitamin C.
This is the enormous and marvellous difference between my life then and now. Where once I was forced to take drugs, and was chronically ill, now an occasional setback lasts just a day or two — it can be healed with an extra boost from diet and nutrients.