ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO NUTRITION

There is a plethora of books on nutrition lining the shelves of every bookshop and healthfood shop. They all have their merits and failings and I would not presume to comment on the expertise of my colleagues and their interpretation of a healthy diet.

I do feel, however, that there is no set diet that is good for everyone. To suggest that Eskimos, who spend their lives life eating blubber, would fare well on a macrobiotic diet, or New Guinea tribesmen, whose diet differs markedly from that of Parisians, would do well to change their habits would be incorrect. Trial and error is principally the best way to isolate your preferred dietetic regime.

We cannot encompass a fraction of the knowledge we have about nutrition but attempts to point out some essentials and the basics of which an individual should have a grasp. Sadly, despite the brevity of this section, it magnifies a thousand-fold the instructions that the average doctor is given on nutrition through their medical training. Diet is not only about calorific input and output, nor about balance of nutrition. It is to do with these factors plus an understanding of the vital force imparted from foods, the spiritual and psychological connection with nutrition and the need to return to instinct when choosing and preparing food.

The Eastern philosophies consider all food to have a variety of energies, some more prominent than others. All foods have a balance of masculine and/or feminine energy or a mixture of both. Foods contain different categories and states of our universe, specifically space, air, fire or heat, earth, wood, metal and water. Food is sweet, bitter, sour, salty or spicy and may be hot, warm or cold.

The choice of food should be based on the requirements of an individual at any time in relation to the balance of all these energies. It is not hard to do and if left to instinct the body, when healthy, will automatically balance and absorb its requirements.

When choosing the diet, put aside the orthodox concept until later and focus on the energy requirements.

Keep in touch with your instincts. Eat what you feel like eating but ignore unhealthy cravings. If the desire is for a piece of chocolate then the body is suggesting a desire for sweetness and energy – have some fruit. If the craving is for pasta, make it wholegrain.

Balance temperatures. On a hot sunny day enjoy a salad; in the depths of winter prepare hot soups. The rule of thumb is that raw and steamed are cooling; stewed, baked and stir-fried are warming and deep-fried, roasted, grilled and barbecued are heating.

Balance raw and cooked foods, depending upon the amount of environmental heat. Even a hot summer’s day requires some heating foods, but a predominantly raw diet is best. Predominant is the operative word.

Try to balance all flavours throughout the day or even at each meal. The salt of a fish can be balanced by the sour of the lemon. The spice of an Indian meal is often counteracted by the bitter of aniseed from seeds at the end.

PSYCHOLOGICAL AND ENERGETIC CONSIDERATIONS TOWARDS FOOD

All holistic practitioners consider there to be a mind-body connection. The energy of one directly influences the energy of another. Science is beginning to pick up on energy wavelengths that may affect the nervous system and therefore influence both the mind and the body. Energy is provided through the sun, the air we breathe and, of course, the food we eat. Our psychological attitude toward our food is relevant to the benefit we derive from our nutrition.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The kitchen. The place of preparation must be comfortable, convenient and happy. It generally is, and it is not coincidental that people migrate into the kitchen at parties. Very often family gatherings are only found around food and ensuring a clean, hygienic, bright and airy kitchen is an essential prerequisite to deriving the most from nutrition.

Putting aside time to eat. All day we expend energy, and like a car we occasionally need to stop to refuel. Short, rushed meals are equivalent to putting small amounts of petrol in the tank – the car will only run for a short period. The longer we spend eating, the more benefit we derive. Unlike the car analogy, it is not about quantity but about the time spent in a mental and physical state of absorption rather than usage. Set aside time in the day to eat with no disturbance allowed.

The Chinese state that ‘the stomach has no teeth’. Chew food well and lessen the work of the digestive system.

The Chinese believe that we should work slightly cold and slightly hungry. Ingesting too much food overburdens the system and requires energy to process all the matter. Eastern philosophies describe it as creating stagnation and as we return to our daily function after a meal our energy is split between function and digestion.

Feed the body appropriately for its requirements. A big breakfast for a busy day, a lighter lunch because half the day is done and a light supper because we are about to rest.

Believe in the concept of energy within food. Eat foods with vital force. Organic food from the environment imparts energy from that part of the world in which you live. Preserved food is food contaminated with chemicals or radiation that kill bacteria. These kill life. These kill energy in food. Avoid anything with preservatives, additives or foods that have been ‘nuked’ by microwave. Remember that all foods that are on the shelves of our supermarkets may have been irradiated as part of the food industry’s attempt to prolong the ‘sell by’ date. As a general rule avoid anything that has a ‘sell by’ date longer than the time that you would keep that product in the fridge if you had prepared it yourself.

PREPARATION OF FOOD

Many so-called primitive races who have maintained contact with their spiritual past consider all foods to have an energy. A hunter will apologize and pray to the victim of the arrow or spear. The circle of life so popularized by wildlife programmes is taken to its spiritual conclusion by such predators. This attitude is not easily transferable into modern Western culture because the killing of our animals is now done at arm’s length by a third party. The availability of our fruit and vegetables is also limited by our busy schedules and lack of space. In an ideal world we would all eat the produce from the soil upon which we live because the balance of nature provides what we need, depending upon our environment. According to Eastern philosophies, honey produced in sunny countries such as Australia will contain more fire or pitta energy than the honey manufactured by the bees of the cooler climate of, say, England. And within England the pollens that the bees eat in Surrey are different from those in Lancashire and our immune system is geared towards those in our own atmosphere and will therefore deal with the honey from our region better than from elsewhere. Hot climates produce foods suitable for the digestion of humans adapted to heat, to such an extent that chillis are eaten in hot climates and cucumbers more so in cold climates. These balance the external and internal heat when extremes exist. As seasons change, so does our instinctive input. Soups and stews fill our table through the winter months, providing heat to balance the cold, and salads and fruits become more prominent to counteract our hot summers.

If allowed to eat by instinct and not by time constraints and availability, the human body would set its own pattern. The food eaten should be chosen and prepared by instinct and with respect. Eastern philosophies remind us of the interchange between different life forces and that the lion at the top of the food chain will eventually be the food for the grass.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Food should be selected by instinct, smell and on how it looks. Over- or under-ripe foods should be avoided.

Once obtained, food should be stored correctly and as soon as possible.

The area where food is prepared should be clean and comfortable. A kitchen where the cook is unhappy will create an energy that passes into the food and those who eat it.

The water supply to clean and prepare food should be as purified as possible by the use of filters .

All the senses should be brought into play whenever possible. The sight of well-prepared food is stimulatory to the gastric juices, as are the smells. Texture is dependent upon good cooking, which in turn is dependent upon experience and patience. Taste, whilst the sense that most associate with food, is actually the last to come into play.

If any one of the senses is not pleased by a particular food, then that food should be avoided.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Spend time with your food. Make it a time of worship because you are only what goes into you and your nutrition is a major part of that. Ensure cleanliness of food, preparation surfaces, utensils and especially hands.

A pleasant environment for the preparation and eating of meals. Home-makers may spend much of their lives in the kitchen and, therefore, a corresponding amount of energy should go into making it a homely and comfortable place.

HIGH-FIBRE INTAKE

The variety of food groups and types of nutrients are discussed in various parts of this website, but perhaps most important, because it is frequently overlooked, is the necessity for a high fibre intake.

High-fibre foods are principally those that are difficult to digest because of their cellulose content. The human gut is not adept at breaking down cellulose and so this compound, found in most plants, remains in the gut and acts as a cleanser and detoxifier. Cellulose acts as a sponge, absorbing many compounds but particularly excess fats and cholesterol. The ‘roughage’ acts much like a pipe-cleaner and scrapes adhesive debris off the bowel wall. This is extremely important in the colon, where waste products and toxins are stored.

Fibre gives bulk to the faeces, which allows the muscle wall of the colon to maintain its strength. This encourages the fast removal of waste products and oxygenation to the bowel itself, considerably reducing the risk of disease.

Fibre will swell in the presence of fluids and can be a very useful appetite suppressant with no side effects. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are an extremely useful aspect of any weight reduction programme, supplying fibre that swells in the stomach to give an impression of fullness. Fibre-containing foods are simply: vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.

DESIGNING AN IDEAL DIET

There are thousands of books declaring the ideal diet. Frankly there is no such thing because everybody is different and will have their own vision of ideal. Attitudes and body types vary to such an extent that what is good for one person may not necessarily be healthy for another. To persuade an Eskimo that a high-fibre, vegetarian diet is liable to be his best bet when an Eskimo might never actually see a vegetable is as pointless as advising the heavily meat-eating Argentines to exist on a vegan diet.

The Eskimos are an extreme example of the adaptability of the human race. Most races should gear their dietetics around individual instincts and the produce of their environment. Our instincts are suppressed by unnatural, ‘man-made’ produce such as refined sugars. A carrot is sweet but how many of us remember that? Spend five days away from any refined sweetness and that quality of the carrot will return. Put a piece of chocolate into an infant’s mouth and watch its rejection. By the age of two years, however, the hidden sugars in many processed foods will have changed this natural instinct.

ESTABLISHING YOUR IDEAL

BALANCE

The preceding tips now have to be balanced with more orthodox advice.

Principally, a diet has to be balanced between carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Nutrients are absorbed from all of these groups and an understanding of which type of food falls into which group is essential. Ideally we should have our diet made up as follows.

Vegetables and fruits should make up 50 per cent of the diet.

Grains should make up 35 per cent of the diet.

Proteins should make up 15 per cent of the diet.

More simply, half of our diet should be fruit and vegetables and we should eat twice as much grain as protein. There, that saves you reading any more books on nutrition! The following are just details!

Vegetables and fruits

Balance is the order of the day but it is best to eat one type of fruit at any sitting. Vegetables may be mixed. Vary vegetables by their colour, having deep green, light green, yellow, white and red vegetables in a 5:4:3:2:1 ratio over a seven-day period.

Fruits should generally be raw, although an occasional apple pie or stewed prune is enjoyable and nutritious. Vegetables should be a 50:50 mix of cooked or raw. Lightly steamed and/or stir-fried vegetables can be considered a mix of both.

Grains

Wholegrains include wheat, oats, barley, rye, corn, brown or wild rice and the myriad of lesser known but equally available complex carbohydrates such as millet, buckwheat and spelt. Potatoes and other starchy vegetables partially fall into this group.

Proteins

Many people are under the impression that meat, fowl and fish are the best sources of protein. Whilst they certainly are a good source, animal protein is harder to break down, digest and absorb than vegetable proteins. Beans, lentils, soya products and nuts are all high-protein foods. Animal products such as yoghurt and cheeses fall halfway between the two as far as ease of absorption is concerned.

Water

Most diet and nutrition books frequently make mention of water but none, I feel, emphasize that without good hydration all other advice becomes pointless. No biochemical process works without water and therefore the balancing of nutrition is futile unless good hydration is obtained and maintained.

The minimum requirement is half a pint per foot of height and additional water must be taken in for any excess sweating, caffeine or alcohol intake and the ingestion of anything artificially sweet.

The ideal balance

The type of food may vary but the balance should remain within narrow guidelines. Any dietetic regime should be based around: 60-70 per cent complex carbohydrates; 20-25 per cent protein; 10-15 per cent fat.

All the food groups should be as free from additives and preservatives as possible and eaten as fresh as is feasible. Each food group contains specific nutrients and all the vitamins, minerals and trace elements must be taken in regularly. They contain good – and bad – quality nutrients and the lists below clarify the contents. It is very important to note that many foods combine different groups. For example, cheese contains both fat and protein, lentils contain protein and

Food Groups

Predominantly protein

Poultry White fish Shellfish

Eggs

Low-fat yoghurt Low-fat dairy produce

Protein and fat

Red meat Pig meat Cheese Yoghurt Milk Cream Ice cream Oily fish Fish with skin

Protein with carbohydrate

Soya

Lentils Beans Seeds

Predominantly carbohydrate

All refined grains

Potatoes

Fruits

Most vegetables

Sugars, including honey and maple syrup

Herbs

Carbohydrates and fat

Avocado

French fries

Crisps/chips

Cakes

Biscuits

Sauces

Predominantly fat

Oils

Butter

Margarines

Vegetable-oil spreads

Lard

Dripping

Protein, carbohydrate and fats

Nuts

All wholegrains carbohydrate, avocados contain carbohydrate and fats. All of these have a variety of different nutrients and none are particularly good or bad provided that they are taken in moderation and in balance.

This term ‘imbalance’ keeps coming up in both holistic medicine and health maintenance. If nature provided us with simple foods neatly categorized we would probably not have any problems but nature is not black and white; there is a lot of grey. Foods are rarely only protein or only carbohydrate and it is important to understand what we are eating. The shortlist below gives a rough guide to the balance existing within major foods and I hope it will be a simple list from which to create an individually suitable diet plan.

Try to balance all meals according to the 65:2272:1272 ratio mentioned above. Failing to do so at each meal can be corrected on a daily basis. For example: a heavily protein-biased breakfast of eggs and bacon can be counterbalanced by a vegetable or fruit lunch and a baked potato supper. A toast and honey breakfast with a fruit lunch would entitle the diner to a slightly more protein-orientated supper such as fish and vegetables.

Maintaining a balance is extremely important. It is incorrect to assume that removing fats is the best way to lose weight because many essential vitamins and fatty acids will soon become deficient and craving will set in, leading to an eventual overwhelming desire to eat what is missing. Similarly, the concept that red meat is ‘bad’ for you can lead to deficiencies in amino acids if a correct balance of other protein-containing foods is not allowed to redress the situation.

TOXINS AND FOODS LACKING QI

Foods that inevitably contain toxins or foods lacking in vital force or Qi are:

Fried foods.

Foods containing refined sugars, such as chocolates and sweets.

Jams, marmalades and preserves with added white sugar.

Foods made from refined flour, including white bread.

Non-organic meat and pig products in general .

Caffeine-containing compounds , squashes and most preprepared juices .

Any smoked food where the fumes come from a chemically treated charcoal.

Any alcohol product.

Any products with added salt.

High-fat foods such as pizzas, burgers, French fries.

Mass-produced eggs or poultry.

Any food with additives or preservatives.

Any tinned foods and any coloured or flavoured foods.

This advice is not about being overzealous, it is about avoiding foods that are known to cause illness and disease. I am now amazed at the lack of nutritional knowledge I had, despite a medical training and a wise father with an interest in the subject. It is the same for most of the people I meet. This is by no means our fault. Responsibility must lie in the poor level of education and high level of promotion by the food industry.

Eating healthily is not encouraged and not made easy. There are few organic butchers and vegetable suppliers and those that exist have to have expensive products to make ends meet.

Water is an extremely important part of diet. I discuss water further in its own section so it suffices here to say:

Ensure a purified water source for drinking and the preparing of food.

Drink at least half a pint per foot of height in divided doses throughout the day.

Remember that fluids other than water, such as juices and infusions, are not water. These can be taken in addition but not instead of plain and simple water.

COOKING UTENSILS

The type and cleanliness of cooking utensils is of paramount importance in protecting one’s nutrition. Not only will food remnants on cooking utensils encourage the growth of bacteria, but also the ingestion of chemicals from washing-up liquids may be harmful.

All detergents have been known for a long time to be potentially carcinogenic but little is said or done to encourage adequate rinsing. A happy balance needs to be struck between the right amount of cleansing solution to rid the utensils of food debris and a thorough rinsing. Most machine washes are adequate but the addition of a rinse’ compound to make utensils more shiny should be discouraged.

Avoid using pans that contribute chemicals to the water or fats in cooking. Aluminium is the most notorious and may be cited in neurological conditions. Avoid cooking in tin cans, as is often seen on camp sites. Stainless steel is a safe material. Non-stick surfaces are safe provided they stay in the pan. Change such utensils regularly and immediately if any chip or wear and tear is noticed.

YIN AND YANG FOODS

Put simply, the Yin is the fluid of the body, which acts as our fuel reserve and lubricant within the system. The Yang is the heat or fire within the system. Whilst Yin is the fuel, the Yang is the spark that ignites it.

Most conditions of ill-health are created by an excess or deficiency in one or the other. A commonsense assessment of the disease process can give clues as to the dietary requirements based on Yin and Yang. While all foods contain Yin or Yang, many have a balance and are not considered either one or the other predominantly. Below are a list of foods that can be used to aid a speedier recovery.

Yin foods

Yin foods,tend to be sweet and cooling. They create dampness, such as milk products that produce mucus, and are principally foods with a variety of nutrition within their substance. Yin foods include:

Most fruits, especially apple, pineapple, other citrus fruits, pears and watermelon.

Eggs, oysters, rabbit, duck and pork.

Tofu, yam, tomatoes, asparagus, kidney beans and peas.

Milk and cheese.

Honey .

Yang foods

Principally these foods are warming. They are foods that benefit from cooking and are pungent, strongly flavoured foods. Herbs and spices are generally Yang. Yang foods include:

Most herbs and spices but particularly ginger and garlic.

Lamb, lobster and shrimp.

Nuts, especially the chestnut and walnut.

Offal such as kidney.

Clove and nutmeg . due to poor diet and the injudicious use of antibiotics and the unintentional ingestion of antibiotics through meat products that have been processed and include antibiotics within their fibres.

Recommendations against Candida include long periods of abstinence from sugars and yeast-containing foods, which principally rules out bread and beer, fruits, milk, cheese, alcohol and many condiments, such as caffeine, ice cream, lentils, pumpkin, potato and peas.

It is ridiculous.

For those of us who may have the time to prepare steamed vegetables and limit our diet to one that avoids most convenience foods the concept is okay, even if it may deny any ‘naughty’ treats, but I sense that most people cannot function like this.

It is better to reduce substantially the foods that particularly stimulate yeast growth, such as refined sugars, caffeine and high-fat foods, and perhaps cut down on yeast products such as leavened bread and mushrooms and at the same time use an anti-Candida therapy.

Trying to kill Candida with potent drugs can lead to the growth of resistant strains but inhibiting their multiplication will result in their dying off from old age and not being replaced. There is less risk of resistance developing and the outcome within three months is similar to a vigorous and restrictive dietary existence. Details are discussed in the section on Candida .

Yeast-supporting foods to avoid, but not necessarily to exclude, are as follows:

SPECIFIC DIETS

ANTI-CANDIDA DIET I am not a great supporter of the anti-Candida diet. Generally yeast overgrowth in the bowel occurs because of a diminution in the bowel’s normal flora

Bread Dry fruits

Cow’s milk products Grapes

Mushrooms Vinegar

Tomatoes Salt

Wine/champagne Caffeine

Apples White sugar

Pears Artificial sweeteners

THE BUDWIG DIET

This is a specific anti-cancer diet designed by Dr Budwig to contain several anticancer nutrients.

The basic mixture consists of one tablespoon-ful of pure virgin cold-pressed unprocessed linseed oil and half to one cup of low-fat cottage cheese. This combination of fatty acids and sulphur-rich protein can be taken alone or as a mixture. Add natural flavouring or other food ingredients to suit you own taste. Eat this mixture three times a day.

The recommended diet

Fresh fruits – three or four medium-sized portions daily.

Fresh vegetables – four to six cups. Several tablespoonsful of linseeds and/or two table-spoonsful of the oil can be used in the salad dressing or on the vegetables; be sure to include cabbage, broccoli and maitake mushrooms.

Unprocessed wholegrain breads and cereals -3-4 cups or portions.

Fresh fish – 4-8oz. An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids is rainbow trout .

Fresh meat and poultry – organic , low-fat and animals that have been fed food without pesticides or antibiotics.

Liquids – bottled water or water purified by reverse osmosis. Two litres a day are recommended but do not worry if this is not manageable. Place one glass of your favourite juice in a litre bottle and fill the remainder with water. It is a cheat but makes drinking easier.

Fresh fruit juices – citrus fruit should not be taken within several hours of the linseed oil/cottage cheese mixture.

Eating any processed oils will counteract everything you are trying to do. They should be treated as poison, as should all fried foods. Eliminate as much sugar as possible from the diet. Remember that honey is primarily sugar and prepared foods must be devoid of all artificial preservatives or chemical additives. Artificial sweeteners are absolutely forbidden.

THE DETOX DIET

All water should be bottled or filtered, preferably by reverse osmosis . If you are hungry during the day, please have some of the pumpkin and sunflower seeds usually reserved for the end of the afternoon.

Choose your favourite herbal teas and try to drink between one and two pints per day but not within half an hour of any meal.

Dayl

Between waking and breakfast

One pint of water

Breakfast

Up to one to two pounds of washed grapes

Between breakfast and lunch

One pint of water

Lunch

Any steamed vegetable, but only one type

Between lunch and late afternoon

One pint of water

Late afternoon

A handful of mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Between late afternoon and supper

One pint of water

Supper

Four ounces of bran or rolled oats with two teaspoonfuls of lemon juice and apple juice/ water mix for moisture, preferably soaked all day

Day

Between waking and breakfast

One pint of filtered or bottled water

Breakfast

Two mangos, papaws or other ‘exotic’ fruit

Lunch

Any steamed vegetable but only one type

Supper

Up to one to two pounds of potatoes

Day

Water to be taken as on day

Breakfast

Up to two grapefruits

Lunch

Any steamed vegetables, but only one type

Supper

Eight ounces of live yoghurt with one type of fruit and two teaspoonfuls of honey

GERSON DIET

The Gerson diet is part of a regime that includes coffee enemas, iodine and potassium supplements and the preparation of vegetable and fruit juices. This diet is low in fat, low in animal protein, high in complex carbohydrates and contains large amounts of organic fruits, vegetables and wholegrains. Salt is excluded and foods higher in potassium are increased.

Thyroid supplements may also be administered and initially raw liver juice was prescribed but this has been withdrawn because of bacterial growth within the substance.

Max Gerson, a physician born in Germany but who emigrated to the USA, discovered this treatment because he was using sililca techniques for dealing with tuberculosis. It is difficult to come up to the rigorous scientific standards when using a dietetic technique because other therapies may be in use at the same time. However, both the National Cancer Institute in America and a study published in the Lancet accepted that this required further study and may be ‘a way forward’ in cancer care. There is currently a retrospective study of more than 5,400 patients under way, which we hope will bring forward some answers.

The Gerson therapy is undoubtedly of benefit to confidence and mood, general well-being, faster healing after operative procedures and reduction of pain.

This is probably the most researched and proven anti-cancer diet and can be used safely and, hopefully, effectively.

THE HAY DIET

Dr Hay devised this concept in the 1920s. He hypothesized that because the human race developed as both hunters and gatherers, it was unlikely that we would eat both animal protein and carbohydrates at the same time. He further suggested that the stomach and digestive tract were therefore geared towards digesting one type of food at a time.

Food combining, better termed as food non-combining, regimes have developed from his hypothesis.

Quite simply, protein foods, including soya and lentils, should be eaten separately from carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes and wheat. Vegetables may be mixed with either group but fruit needs to be separated from other foods by at least one hour.

The reasoning is simple. Protein requires longer to digest and is, therefore, held in the stomach in the presence of acid for a longer period than other food groups. Keeping starch in the stomach for too long causes much higher liquefaction of the carbohydrate into glucose which will then be absorbed at a much more rapid rate once it enters the small intestine. This in turn causes a much greater insulin production which leads to a reflex hypoglycaemic state causing tiredness amongst many other biochemical changes. The increased availability of glucose can also encourage yeast growth within the intestine along with its inherent problems.

Vegetables are carbohydrates. Fruit, with its high content of fructose , will actually ferment in an acid environment and the alcohols produced can affect the body directly and also enhance the growth of yeasts through the rest of the bowel. It should therefore be eaten separately to ensure quick passage through the acid of the stomach.

Many books have been written on the subject but in principle the preceding rules should be followed and an attempt should be made to have one protein meal, one starch meal and one purely vegetarian or fruit meal a day. The fruit/vegetable meal encourages alkalinity and this diet can therefore be used very effectively as a Detox regime. For the best benefit, have two days per week purely on fruit and vegetables.

Allowables

Vegetables – any

Fruits – any, but with exceptions below

Juices – any unsweetened cranberry or vegetable juice is allowable

Beverages – herb teas, decaffeinated coffee and coffee substitutes

Hypoglycaemia Diet

Upon arising

A small bowl of yogurt or half a grapefruit

Breakfast

One egg and half a slice of bread only with herb tea

Two hours after breakfast

A snack of two handfuls of either raw nuts or a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds

Lunch

Salad

Vegetables if desired

Slice of bread or toast with butter

Dessert – see below list of allowable foods

Beverage

Two hours after lunch

As after breakfast or two pieces of fruit

Two hours before dinner

A light snack of raw nuts, cheese, celery or other vegetables stuffed with cheese

Dinner

Soup, if desired

Vegetables

Liberal portion of meat, fish or poultry

Beverage

Two hours after dinner

Dessert – see allowables listed below

Every 2 hours until bed-time

A small handful of nuts or fruit

Desserts – fruit, unsweetened yogurt or carob- sweetened snacks

Food and drinks to avoid

Alcoholic and soft drinks, such as club soda, dry ginger ale, whiskey and liquors

Sugar, chocolate, candy and other sweets, such as cakes, pies, pastries, sweet custards, puddings and ice cream

Caffeine: ordinary coffee, strongly brewed tea and beverages containing caffeine

Decaffeinated drinks

Grapes, raisins, plums, figs, dates and bananas

Doughnuts, jams, jellies and marmalades

Wines, cordials, cocktails and beers

MACROBIOTIC DIET

The Macrobiotic Diet was created by a Japanese teacher who wrote under the name of Georges Ohsawa. He integrated Eastern and Western cultures and created a ten-stage diet, designated from -3 to +7. The -3 Diet consists of 10 per cent each of cereal or grains and soups, 30 per cent each of vegetables and animal products, 15 per cent salads and fruits, 5 per cent ‘desserts’ and very little to drink. As the number climbs, the diet changes and at the +3 stage the individual is on 10 per cent soups, 30 per cent vegetables and 60 per cent cereals. I believe that it is necessary to sit with a macrobiotic nutritionist or have a patient attitude towards a good book to appreciate fully the holistic sense of macrobiotic dieting.

Studies have been made on macrobiotic diets with regard to blood pressure, cholesterol levels and oestrogen metabolism. Most studies have been made in either treatment or prevention of chronic disease, although the success of the macrobiotic diet on blood pressure and cholesterol supports its use in conditions associated with these components.

This is undoubtedly a safe and healthy diet.

Special attention to this regime should be considered by those with high blood pressure or raised cholesterol levels, those with family histories of strokes or heart disease and smokers.

ORNISH DIET

The Ornish diet was developed by Dean Ornish, a doctor from San Francisco. This diet is strictly vegetarian, allowing no meat or animal protein except for the whites of eggs. The aim is to provide less than 2,000 calories a day, mostly from carbohydrates with less than 10 per cent coming from fat.

This diet is encouraged for those with cardiovascular disease, particularly angina , raised cholesterol and arterial occlusion. Studies for such conditions have proven successful under rigorous scientific standards.

PRITIKIN DIET

Named after Nathan Pritikin, this is a vegetarian, high-complex carbohydrate and fibre diet that is specifically low in cholesterol and fat. It is prescribed in association with 45 minutes of daily walking.

It is possible to obtain books on this diet, although the Pritikin Centre in California recommends that a patient attends a 26-day programme to adjust to their new type of living.

Good scientifically based studies showed that this diet was of great benefit in patients with cardiovascular problems and can be considered of use in non-insulin-dependent diabetes provided that it is initiated early on in the diagnosis.

VEGAN DIET

A vegan is a vegetarian who excludes all protein and other products of an animal origin. There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not a human being should eat meat. We have digestive

NUTRITION enzymes capable of dealing with animal protein and incisor teeth may be relevant to the kill. One may argue that these teeth are only for defence and that the protein-digesting enzymes are designed for vegetable proteins, so it is hard to pin down exactly what nature intended. The fact of the matter is that the human being has developed into an omnivore . Anthropologists point out that the human being is extremely adaptable and, for example, the Eskimo who may never see a vegetable is capable of surviving on meat alone whereas many populations are principally vegetarian.

Being vegan is an extremely intricate art and requires a good knowledge of how to obtain adequate amounts of protein from vegetable sources. Many vitamins, such as vitamin B,2, are found predominantly in animal products and deficiencies are common in uneducated vegans. It may take several years but eventually most vegans will fall into deficiencies if they don’t take supplements.

As a cleansing process, vegan diets are extremely useful. Provided that specific allergy is not noted to gluten or other proteins found in grains, vegan diets are inevitably healthy if taken for a short period of time. Six weeks, I believe, is a maximum without at least a 10-day break of animal product intake.

The choice of becoming an educated vegan is up to an individual but I think that it is more suited to those who have a smaller bone and muscle structure such as the Asian race.

Avoid the long-term regime of a vegan diet as a general rule.

Ensure that adequate vegetarian protein is ingested. Beans, pulses, lentils and tofu must be taken in sufficient quantities on a daily basis.

Smaller bone and muscle mass may predispose to a better tolerance of a low-protein diet.

Discussion with a nutritionist or strict adherence to a vegan guideline book is necessary and beyond the scope of this website.

Every six months have a blood and hair analysis to establish vitamin and mineral status.

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