Whole Foods, Plant-based Nutrition
Whole foods, plant-based nutrition is about providing your body with what it needs for optimal health. It is about eating food that is minimally processed to retain nutrients and the healing benefits of phyto-chemicals contained in plants. The main food groups are vegetables, pulses and legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, fruits, herbs and spices. Many of my clients want to learn how to reduce their intake of meat and overly refined, processed foods in a way that still makes food enjoyable as a preventative measure. Others may have been diagnosed with a chronic diet-related health condition. Recent clinical trials have shown that replacing animal protein with plant protein can help to prevent cardiovascular disease and lower cholesterol.¹
Foods for healing
Plant-based nutrition with an emphasis on raw foods to preserve the enzymes needed for their digestion, is often referred to as enzyme therapy. For example, the enzyme lipase in olive oil is required for the digestion of fats, grains contain amylase to break down starches, and nuts contain protease for the digestion of proteins. Cooking at high temperatures destroys the enzyme content. Eating more raw foods conserves the energy your pancreas uses to produce more digestive enzymes that could be conserved for your body’s repair and healing. If you are in recovery mode, learning how to increase and conserve your energy is vital.
Numerous clinical trials have shown that a vegan diet can reduce weight, balance blood sugar levels and improve other parameters for type 2 diabetes such as cardiovascular disease.²
Restore and maintain balance
Many chronic health conditions are aggravated by excess acid in the body, which can also reduce the amount of oxygen in the blood and increase inflammation. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices, especially leafy greens, are an ideal way to restore and maintain pH balance and increase energy. Most fruits and vegetables in their raw state are higher in nutrients, more cleansing and retain more of their healing properties than their cooked versions. When your body is given what it truly needs—that is, proper diet, clean water, fresh air, sunlight, moderate exercise and adequate rest, it can maintain physical health.
The physical body is a constant work in progress, cells die and are replaced, nutrients are assimilated and waste is eliminated. The food you eat provides the raw materials for all this activity. The 19th-century biologist Antoine Béchamp argued that sickness was not caused by germs, but by the state of the internal environment of the body. He proposed that germs and unwanted bacteria cannot survive in a healthy body with a healthy immune system. In contrast, germs can thrive in a body laden with toxic waste to feed off. Therefore, to restore health the body needs to be both cleansed and nourished.
Your body is your most intimate space on Earth. What you choose to put into it directly impacts your health, your thoughts and your emotions.
Cleanse, nourish and heal
The first step is to clean up the diet, this means restricting the intake of processed meats, hydrogenated fats and refined foods that require a lot of energy to digest and add to the body’s chemical burden. Your body will be better nourished by eating nutrient dense, whole foods that are easier to digest. When your body has what it needs to maintain a healthy inner terrain healing can occur naturally.
The skin is the largest organ of the human body and a tangible boundary between our outer and inner self. It not only excretes toxins via sweat but also absorbs them. Attention to cosmetic, household and hygienic products is an important consideration when working to heal the body.
Address the cause and not just the symptoms
All physical symptoms have emotional and mental counterparts. Negative stress, emotions, thoughts, behaviours and lifestyle also need to be addressed. We need to process (digest) our life experiences and let go of emotional baggage to be open to vibrant health on physical, emotional and mental levels. That which is suppressed will seek expression, often as symptoms of dis-ease within. Just as we have nutritional needs we also need to express ourselves, to be creative and to have a sense of purpose in our life. Health, like life, thrives better with purpose.
(1) Effect of Plant Protein on Blood Lipids: A Systematic Review and Meta‐Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Online article. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5779002/ (accessed 15/02/2018)
(2). Norris J. Type 2 Diabetes and the Vegan Diet. Available at: http://veganhealth.org/articles/diabetestwo (accessed 10/05/16)