DIETARY SYSTEMS AND CONCEPTS
By Lawrence Wilson, MD
© May 2011, The Center For Development
Theories about what and how to eat abound. Each theory helps some people, so books have been written extolling many of them. As a physician who specializes in this area, I have worked with over 45,000 clients. Some have followed different systems before I worked with them, and I always ask for their feedback. I have also experimented personally with a number of the concepts and systems discussed below. This is a report on my observations of which work best today, and why.
The article is divided into dietetic and medical diet concepts, general popular concepts and metabolic typing concepts. These are not all the popular diet systems, but they represent a good sampling of those that are most current today.
DIETETIC AND MEDICAL CLASSIFICATIONS OF FOODS AND NUTRIENTS, AND DIETARY CONCEPTS
THE FOUR FOOD GROUPS
This is an older dietetic concept suggesting that one needs to eat from the meats, grains, vegetables and diary groups of foods. I do not find this concept useful, as it says nothing about quality. Nor does it take into account individual differences, food allergies, yin and yang and many other distinctions in the foods we eat.
Even the federal government and the dietitians who came up with this concept have largely abandoned it. Having said this, it is not a false concept. It simply needs updating because of the huge variation in quality in our foods today.
THE FOOD PYRAMID
The food pyramid is a newer dietetic concept that has replaced the four food groups in government food programs. The base of the diet pyramid is the grains, with a smaller amount of vegetables, with an even smaller amount of proteins and at the top, the smallest amount of fats.
This dietetic concept is incorrect, in my view. Vegetables should be at the top of the pyramid, with proteins next, and either fats and oils next or perhaps complex carbohydrates only. Also quality of the food is not emphasized enough. Recently, some changes were made to the food pyramid to exclude trans fatty acids and refined sugars, but many shortcomings remain.
RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCES (RDA) OR MINIMUM DAILY REQUIREMENTS (MDR)
These two similar dietetic concepts assert that certain groups need a set amount of each nutrient in order to be healthy. This idea is very inaccurate and not worth much, in my view, because individual needs vary too much. They depend on one’s age, weight, height, lifestyle, illnesses, metabolic type and much more. The idea is helpful in one regard. This is to bring to people’s attention that they are not even getting the minimum required daily amount of many nutrients such as calcium and vitamin A. This is sad to have to say, but many, many people, especially teens, for example, do not even meet the RDA levels of these and other nutrients.
Dr. Weston Price, DDS, studied healthy tribes around the world. He wrote Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. He found that all the healthiest tribes obtained 4-10 times the recommended daily allowance of the major vitamins and minerals than American obtain. I do not agree with all of Dr. Price’s recommendations, as they are 100 years old and the state of the world has changed a lot. For example, it is simply not safe to eat raw food today very much due to concerns with parasite, in particular. However, overall, Dr. Price was a very wise physician and researcher. Thus one must question the adequacy of the recommended daily allowances.
The RDAs and MDRs are far too low, in my view, as they are based on averages of “healthy” people, many of whom are getting ready to be diagnosed with cancer or diabetes. So I do not make use this concept.
OTHER DIET CONCEPTS AND SYSTEMS
This term was coined by Nobel prize winner, Dr. Linus Pauling. It asserts that one must obtain the correct amount of a nutrient that each individual needs, and not just some average or set amount. Drs. Pauling, Hoffer, Williams and others found that some people needed 1000 times the amount of vitamin B or C, for example, than other people.
Reasons for the wide variation could include difficulty absorbing nutrients, metabolic imbalances, genetic or metabolic types, the presence of illness, toxic chemicals, stressful lifestyles or other situations that use up more nutrients.
The orthomolecular concept is a great improvement over the one-size-fits-all idea of recommended daily allowances or minimum daily requirements. It recognizes biochemical individuality and the importance of one's lifestyle, digestion, stress level and other factors that influence biochemistry and nutrition.
Although the concept is excellent, it does not in itself help one determine nutritional needs. This leads us to a number of nutritional systems that can help determine individual needs based on various concepts, tests or other assessment methodologies.
THE ATKINS, ZONE AND PRITIKIN APPROACHES
The Atkins Diet. Dr. Robert Atkins was a cardiologist who popularized a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet. While heavily criticized by the medical and dietetic community, recent studies have confirmed some of his ideas. He was, in fact, an excellent doctor, based on the testimony of many people I trust. Extraordinary book sales also bear testimony to the value of the diet, which turns the food pyramid on its head.
The Atkins diet, as it was called, emphasized high fats and oils, very low carbohydrates and some vegetables as the basis of the diet. Fruit was also excluded for the most part, as are all sugars. The strict version of his diet was ketogenic, which means it caused the body to begin to burn some of its proteins for energy, which is helpful for a few people and definitely causes weight loss and other benefits, especially for those who are hypoglycemic and some diabetics.
I find the Atkins type of diet very useful for fast oxidizers who require more fats and fewer carbohydrates. I do not find it useful for everyone, and I do not agree with all the recommendations, which include some lower quality foods. However, I will recommend an Atkins cookbook to some fast oxidizers who need to reduce the carbohydrates in their diets.
The Zone diet, based on a book by Barry Sears, is similar to Atkins in that it is a medium to higher-fat diet. It is a more balanced approach than Atkins and is useful , therefore, for a larger number of people. It is, however, not very specific and so I do not use the book or the concept very much at all.
Pritikin Diet. This is a very low-fat approach to diet. It is quite dangerous, in my view, and not worth discussing any more than this. The author of it, Nathan Pritikin, had a large clinic, but dropped dead of a heart attack while jogging, most likely because his diet was fairly unbalanced.
Since Pritikin, there have been other low-fat approaches, which all suffer from the same shortcomings as the Pritikin approach. Fats are very important for our health and should not be cut out of the diet.
Many other diet regimens could be discussed. I pick these as representative of the many diet books available. Some of these are definitely better than others. They all suffer from the shortcoming of being a one-size-fits-all concept, however.
Megavitamin therapy is the use of doses of isolated nutrients far above daily needs to produce specific symptomatic effects. For example, many physicians use high-dose intravenous vitamin C to kill viruses or bacteria, or as a chelating agent. Another example is the use of several thousand milligrams daily of niacin for schizophrenic symptoms or dilation of peripheral vessels.
High-dose vitamin A may be used to stimulate the immune system and to help fight infections and cancer. High-dose garlic, taurine or vitamin B6 can help lower blood pressure. Calcium and magnesium in high doses may relax a person and assist sleep.
This concept uses isolated nutrients in a drug or pharmacological way. As long as one understands this, it is fine and can be helpful as symptomatic remedies. However, that is all it is. This is not about balance or correction of underlying imbalances.
For this reason, megavitamin therapy is never my first choice, but may be lifesaving in an emergency or as a temporary measure.
A VARIETY OF FRESH, NATURAL, ORGANICALLY GROWN, LOCALLY GROWN FOOD IN SEASON
A concept many holistic authorities agree on is the nutritional superiority of food that has not been overly processed, sprayed, refined, overcooked or otherwise damaged. This I find to be true as a general principle. However, this idea can be exaggerated by people who, for instance, will only eat uncooked food. Here are exceptions to the idea of all raw, all natural, unprocessed foods:
Š Freezing vegetables near the farm can preserve some nutrients that may be lost in long-distance transport. Freezing some fish and meats may also preserve them if this is needed and fresh is not practical.
Š A few canned items such as sardines are a good food as they are an excellent source of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.
Š Some foods, such as grains, must be cooked or they are hard or impossible to digest. Most other canned and boxed items are not as good today.
Š Fermenting certain foods such as soy and others gets rid of certain enzyme inhibitors and the phytates they contain.
Š Cooking many foods has advantages that are discussed below.
Locally grown is a fine idea, provided it is done well. The soil or farming method may be superior somewhere else, in which case locally grown may not be best.
Eating food in season makes good sense, as it is usually fresher. However, one's needs may vary and food from elsewhere or out of season may be helpful at times. Thus, these ideas are great general principles, but that is all. In other words, if they are made “dogma” one can run into trouble. This is true of most of the concepts we will review.
Organic or sustainable agriculture is a concept whose time is coming. It is only the logical and sensible thing to do to preserve the earth and the food by not exposing either to highly toxic pesticides, insecticides, fungicides and more. Many people not realize that even organic farmers may use a certain amount of toxic chemicals and even toxic metals in their fertilizers and sprays. So it is not a foolproof scheme, but a step in the right direction.
RAW FOODS AND JUICES
Raw Diets. A popular theory is that one's food should be eaten raw, or at least a large percentage of it. This includes raw salads, fruit, nuts, seeds and soaked grains.. Some people also eat raw meat, milk, fish and eggs.
I am not impressed with the results of this type of diet. Here are a few reasons why I do not subscribe to this theory:
1. Cooking kills a myriad of bacteria and other organisms found in foods, particularly in meats, eggs, fish and other foods that spoil easily. Today our food comes from all over the world, and especially from poor nations where food is not clean and those who grow and process the food are often from an unclean culture. This accentuates the idea that one must be careful about eating uncooked food.
2. Cooking also breaks down fiber in foods, making a lot of nutrients, especially minerals, more available. Minerals are not damaged by cooking, contrary to what some say. This is particularly the case with grains and root vegetables. These are almost impossible to digest raw if they are very fibrous or very starchy.
3. Cooking changes the quality of food. Heat and salt add yang energy in Chinese medical terminology.
4. Cooking also concentrates the minerals in many vegetables, allowing one to eat a lot more of the food. Obtaining more minerals is often much more important than the loss of a few vitamins and enzymes due to cooking. No one advocates overcooking food, by the way, which is definitely damaging.
5. Humans cannot digest cellulose as well as cows, horses and other grain and root eaters. This is just a fact and not to be debated. These animals also eat huge quantities of raw food, which is necessary because it is less concentrated. Few people want to spend their day eating all day.
For all these reasons, I do not recommend all raw diets and I feel they are quite dangerous, in fact. The clients I work with who have followed raw food regimens are, without exception, mineral deficient, even if they drink vegetable juices, because they are not absorbing their nutrients well enough.
6. Eating raw foods is much less grounding than eating cooked, warm food.
Juices And Blended Foods. Somewhat related to the raw food concept is the idea of consuming juices and blended “smoothies” and other blended drinks..
Juices are definitely helpful to concentrate the minerals, vitamins, enzymes and other ingredients in foods. About 10-12 ounces of carrot and vegetable juice or green juice daily is excellent.
However, drinking more juices than this, and drinking fruit juices and smoothies, in particular, have the following problems:
1) Extremely yin. This is horribly ungrounding, unhealthy and anti-development, a prime goal of nutritional balancing science. See below for more on yin and yang in foods.
2) They can easily upset the stomach and upset the blood sugar, which is far worse,
3) They are often contaminated with bacteria and mold if they are not absolutely fresh and the vegetables very clean, and
4) They are very watery, which is not helpful for digestion of certain nutrients like protein. Combining protein powder in water, therefore, will force the body to move it along without as good digestion because it dilutes the stomach acid, and
5) Juices may concentrate anti-nutrients. The fiber in whole foods serves to buffer the effect of certain toxins contained in all foods. Juicing eliminates the fiber and in some cases the toxins are much more easily absorbed.
6) Smoothies are usually horrible concoctions of protein powders, isolated nutrients, fruits, juice and other things that do not mix well in the stomach. One is often better off with fewer items and real food such as a whole egg rather than powders and pills.
Blended Salads and other blended foods and drinks. These are not good today, although the idea is okay in theory. Problems are 1) cleanliness, and 2) far too yin. Please avoid blended salads today.
Vegetarianism is the avoidance of animal-based foods. There are several kinds of vegetarians:
1. Those who only avoid red meat. This is not healthful in my experience. Lamb is a wonderful food, eaten at least once or twice a week by most people. A little naturally-raised or even supermarket beef is okay too, though not as good as lamb by any stretch of the imagination.
Red meats are the best sources for zinc, sulfur-containing amino acids and other vital nutrients. Some say falsely that meats are not “high nutrient density” foods. This is ridiculous. They are one of the best high-density nutrient foods. Red meats are also more yang, which is helpful for almost everyone today. All vegetarian diets are more yin in Chinese medical terminology and this is harmful in almost all cases. In terms of yin and yang, the worst diets are the raw food vegan diet and the fruitarian diet, described below.
2. Those who avoid red meat, chicken and turkey, but will eat fish and perhaps shellfish, for example. This is a even worse than the above, in terms of nutrient deficiencies. Sadly. most fish, except for about 3-4 cans of sardines or herring weekly, are much too high in mercury. Shellfish are even worse, with high levels of mercury, arsenic and cadmium in many cases. As a result, these people often become quite poisoned with mercury. Unfortunately, it is not wise to have fish as your primary animal protein today for this single reason. Some companies claim to sell low-mercury baby tuna, for example, or other fish. In my own research, this is better, but still a problem. Wild-caught fish are no better, though they may be cleaner in other ways in some cases.
3. Lacto-ovo vegetarians. These people choose to avoid all flesh foods, including fish. They eat eggs, cheese, milk and yogurt. This diet is far more deficient than a diet that includes fish, poultry or red meats. The only good from this diet and the ones below is that mercury toxicity does not occur as much, in most cases.
4. Vegan vegetarians. These people avoid all flesh, as well as all dairy, eggs and often even all bee products such as honey and bee pollen. This diet is even worse than those above, and always leads to ruinous consequences eventually in my experience. It is just a matter of time. I did it myself and work with many who have followed a vegan diet. Unfortunately, it is becoming more popular as a way to lose weight and feel good for a time. Some tolerate it better than others, and it does require getting off junk food, so people will feel better for a while.
5. Raw food vegetarian or raw food vegan. This is far worse than the diets above. Our digestive system does not break down raw vegetable fiber enough to absorb most of the minerals in the vegetables. Also, salads and fruits take up the stomach capacity, so one eats much less of them than if they were cooked, which concentrates the food and allows one to eat more of it. Also, some raw food is contaminated, especially in restaurants, and spreads parasites and other diseases. Never eat raw food in restaurants, I would suggest. Raw food is even more yin than vegetarian food, and this is another serious problem with it.
6. Fruitarians. This is another suicide diet, in my view. It is completely deficient in nutrients, extremely yin, too high in sugars, damages the teeth and bones in all cases, and very unbalanced in many ways.
ARGUMENTS FOR VEGETARIAN DIETS AND RESPONSES
Health. Books such as The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Terence Campbell II, offers a variety of health studies to support vegetarian diets. While there is a grain of truth here, there is also a vast literature such as the work of Weston Price, DDS, showing that animal products are very needed in our diets, though not the amounts that many Americans eat, for example. Read a review of The China Study by clicking here.
Most, if not all vegetarians are very ill, in my experience. It does not matter if they look good for a while. They usually die young and are not healthy at all. Their diets are usually deficient in zinc, vitamins A and D, B-complex vitamins, sulfur-amino acids such as taurine, cysteine and methionine, alpha-lipoic acid, L-carnitine, and other nutrients that are still being discovered. They are also low in many types of fats that are still being discovered as helpful for human health. Please listen to this advice.
Obligatory Vegtetarians. Some people just feel better on vegetarian diets. Most have food allergies, leaky gut syndrome, low digestive enzyme levels, and other digestive problems. They feel heavy and ill after eating a steak, for example, and it just doesn’t taste good to them.
Dr. Eck noted this and called them ‘obligatory vegetarians’, meaning they have trouble digesting meat. I was one of these individuals, so I understand it well. It is a huge appeal of vegetarian diets among health-conscious people. Unfortunately, it led to a health disaster in my case, and it often does the same for others after a few months or a few years, perhaps. It can take years to recover, if recovery is even possible.
I say this not only as a warning, but to help you know that I have nothing against vegetarian principles, which are quite wonderful. The problem is that to get all your nutrients from only non-animal sources is very difficult, if not impossible today. I felt good for a few years, as will many people because stopping certain foods often gets rid of food reactions that can cause bloating, gas, and many other symptoms. However, eventually, deficiencies develop, especially in those with blood type O, but with most everyone, in fact. I cannot agree with the blood type diets and others that suggest vegetarianism for some people.
When I began a nutritional balancing program, Dr. Paul Eck told me that he understood the problem, and that as I healed I would develop a taste for meat. He was correct about this. He also told me that I needed to take a digestive enzyme when I ate it, and to eat it alone, in small quantity, or with just a very simple meal to ease its digestion.
The comparative anatomy argument. This is the concept that our human bodies appear to be designed more like vegetarian animal bodies than like the bodies of carnivorous animals. For example, vegetarian animals tend to have longer intestinal tracts, they tend to have grinding teeth like molars, and tend to have weaker stomach acid, as do human beings. Carnivorous animals tend to have fewer molars for grinding grain and vegetables, a shorter intestinal tract to move the meat through faster, and very strong stomach acid to prevent infection from tainted meat.
While there is some truth to this, it is not true that meat is “poisonous” for human beings, in my experience. We cook the meat to kill the germs, and eat it judiciously to derive the benefit without overeating on it. In fact, the human being has both grinding and canine or tearing teeth, unlike some vegetarian animals such as horses and cows. In fact, the human intestine is in between the length of the vegetarian animals and the carnivorous animals. So the comparative anatomy argument is weak, at best. It also does not matter if conditions are such that some animal protein is needed today.
Mental and Emotional Arguments
The animal rights and cruelty argument. Some people object to the treatment of livestock and other animals used for food. They also object to the slaughter of animals for any reason, and their use in medical research, for example. It just does not feel right to them and they consider it murder and violence.
However, this is a rather limited and materialistic view. Perhaps giving one’s life to be food for other beings is a form of service that some species have agreed to. How does one know that this is not the case?
The bible teaches that mankind has dominion over the animals and plants. Perhaps this means that we are to treat them humanely, but we are to take from them what we need. Jesus, Moses and even Buddha originally taught that you should eat what is best for your body, and that by appreciating the sacrifice of the animal you reduce any problems incurred by having to kill the animal.
An interesting rebuttal to the cruelty, murder and karma argument is given in the book, Love Beyond End - Jesus Speaks. It was also echoed by Buddha in the book, The Compassionate Buddha. Compassion is the answer, not restrictive diets that harm the body.
No one advocates the wanton slaughter of animals, and few, if any, ranchers and growers of food have any desire to slaughter animals for fun or profit. They are in a service business, and processing the animals is part of that business. This argument is important to refute, as it is a logical one.
Guilt and vegetarianism. Many people practice vegetarianism out of guilt, I have noticed. Unfortunately, this is encouraged by some Oriental spiritual teachers and gurus. They constantly remind their followers that killing animals causes “bad karma”. This issue is discussed above, so I won’t repeat the answer to this assertion. Suffice it to say that feeling guilty is never healthful, especially when you are not really sure if it is even justified, which it is not in the case of eating meat to improve and maintain your health.
The “hate the rich, fat-cat Western males” argument. This is an interesting one. Some vegetarians are really very angry people. They are specifically angry at what they see as the disparity in wealth between the rich countries of the West and the poor countries of Africa and Asia.
Confused, but well-meaning authors and doctors. These abound, and I was once a member of this group many years ago. I am always trying to make sure things have not changed, but they have not. People need to eat animal foods, including red meats.
This group of authors and programs include those who advocate the Hallelujah Diet System, Joel Fuhrman, MD and others, who are widely endorsed in some Christian groups. These people mean well, no doubt, but their advice I find dangerous, nevertheless, and I urge people to proceed with caution and not to eliminate all animal protein or even all red meat from their diets.
Mistaken and lower integrity authors and doctors. I have been intimately involved with the natural health movement for 35 years. I have found that some vegetarian authors simply lie about their own habits. These authors sadly included Normal Walker, a famous author of the twentieth century who wrote a few excellent books.
Today, a number of prominent physicians and authors I am aware of advocate a vegetarian diet and seem to do well with themselves. What some do not tell the public is that they must take about $1000.00 per month of supplements to do this. I consider this totally dishonest and deceptive, and they are killing people, as far as I am concerned.
Vegetarian diets are also ungrounding. This has to do with the first chakra and its opening, which is needed for mental and spiritual development. To read more about this concept, read Keeping Your Feet On The Ground. Please stay away from vegetarian regimens.
Spiritual Buddhists, Hindus and some other religions teach vegetarianism for spiritual reasons. This argument has been dealt with earlier in this article.
I learned from a close friend who spent time in Tibet that the Dalai Lama eats meat. However, he preaches a vegetarian diet for others. The Dalai Lama is a fine man, and probably just figured out that if he is to work in the world, he needs to eat some animal protein. He is a wise man, and I wish he would allow all his followers to see the folly of following old dietary concepts that worked well years ago, but today just do not work well. This has to do with changes in the earth’s electromagnetic field, changes in the food supply, and even changes in how people think.
Ethical and Scarcity-belief Vegetarians. Another reason for vegetarian diets is the writings of authors such as John Robbins. He claims that raising animals takes far more land and far more food and water, than raising vegetables and fruits. If we wish to feed everyone on earth, he suggests, we must all become vegetarians to save the earth from destruction and allow enough food to be grown for all her people.
While this argument has some merit in some locations, it is totally incorrect. Anyone who studies agricultural science knows that there are many places on earth where vegetable and grain cultivation is difficult, but animal husbandry and livestock raising are eminently practical and often the wisest use of the land. This is true of large areas of the United States, for example, where cattle have been raised for 100 years with no problems, while the land is difficult to grow vegetables upon because it is too dry or the soil is not of the right quality.
Also, other authors point out rightly that the starvation of nearly half of the inhabitants of the earth, while totally tragic, is not due to meat-eating in the Western world. It is due to systematic bad farming practices, lack of resources such as tractors, seeds, etc, and sadly it is often due to political oppression of people by their own leaders, who prefer the people to be starving and weak so they will not rise up against the leaders. Frances Moore Lappe is one of the authors who discussed the issue better in World Hunger: Twelve Myths. Sadly, she still advocates a vegetarian diet in some of her later books. So, on balance, John Robbins and many others are:
1) Not correct in their analysis of the starvation problem on earth, and
2) Their solution is dangerous for your health and silly, and wouldn’t solve the problem of starvation, either.
Hating yang and perhaps running away from men. Some vegetarian hate or move away from all things yang. This may sound strange, but it is true. Meat is a yang food, with lots of yang, male energy in it, compared to eating vegetables and fruits, in particular.
These vegetarians are mainly women. Their bodies are more yin to begin with, and for some reason they are far more attracted to yin energy, rather than more male and yang energy of meat and eggs. This is actually a common phenomenon. These women must fight against this somewhat natural tendency to make themselves more yin, as it is not healthful, no matter how good it may feel.
I hate myself. Some vegetarians do not like themselves. This is obvious because they choose to eat foods that do not work well for them. This is an interesting attitude, often motivated by guilt and fear about the world, often promoted by left-wing liberal activists.
My people loathe meat – past life reasons for not eating meat. It is possible that some vegetarians are this way because in the past they did not do well on meat. Thus they have decided they will not eat it, although now they need it. This does not affect too many people, but it affects some and makes them very stubborn on this issue.
Scriptural arguments. Before the flood of Noah in the book of Genesis, we are commanded to only eat the vegetables and grains, but not the flesh of animals. After the flood of Noah, God commanded the Hebrews to eat meat as well, provided it is raised, inspected and prepared in accordance with the Kosher or Kashrut laws. These laws are found in the book of Leviticus and Dueteronomy, and are quite strict. For the most part, they are good rules designed to prevent illness from eating tainted or unhealthy meat. Kosher products even today tend to be a little better quality than non-kosher meats.
For the most part, I agree with this perspective. I believe that anyone who says the bible recommends a vegetarian diet is incorrect. It clearly does not. Jesus ate lamb, and quite often had meals with meat in them.
The vampire argument. It is true that eating meat one is indeed living off the blood and flesh of dead animals. This is upsetting to some people. Once again, while true, this is not a good reason to stay away from eating meat if the body needs it, which it does at this time in history.
The vampire argument is an interesting one because in ancient Oriental lore, eating meat is a kind of vampirish activity that was frowned upon for this reason. It was thought that one actually takes on some part of the animal’s soul or essence. However, this is more superstition than fact, in my view.
Social and Cultural.
The purist or cleanliness arguments. Some people do not want to eat meat because they think it is toxic , smelly, greasy or otherwise contaminated. They say it makes their bodies smell like dead flesh, and it tastes dead. This aesthetic argument is an interesting one, but not a good way to design a diet.
Laziness. Others are just lazy and don’t want to clean up the pots and pans needed to cook the meat. While this argument is understandable, and is common among some young people, it is wholly stupid as a reason not to eat meat. One must eat what the body needs, whether or not it is greasy and dirties up a pot.
Ways around this problem are to use a crock pot or steamer, which are somewhat easier to clean, or even a barbeque that is easier to clean, perhaps. One could eat canned meat like canned salmon and sardines. Sardines are fine up to three cans per week or so, and perhaps one can of salmon, but that is all, as salmon is too high in mercury.
Another solution is to buy fresh sliced chicken or turkey at the deli counter at many supermarkets if one does not wish to cook meat. It is best to cook it fresh, but this will work.
The global warming argument for vegetarianism. John Robbins and others also believe that methane gas from cow poop and other livestock manures is a serious pollutant, contributing to global warming and climate change. They forget that climate change has always occurred on planet earth, long before there were cows. The climate is always changing. It helps some species and decimates others, like the dinosaurs. We must be flexible, and we are not powerful enough to stop it by simply changing our diets and driving electric cars. It is far beyond these silly measures that do very little to alter the climate.
Traditional vegetarians. Vegetarian diets are practiced in India and China, but those people usually do it out of necessity as meat is costly and often not very fresh. Also, the genetics of the Asian people is different, and they do best with less animal protein of any kind. This is not true of the Caucasian race, basically.
However, I work with many Asians and those who follow a strict vegetarian diet are less healthy, in general, than those who eat some animal products. Most Asians, by the way, especially the Japanese, love seafood, eggs and some meat. Anyone who tells you differently is lying.
The politically correct argument. For many young people today, eating meat is just not as politically correct. It is not always clear what they mean, but eating meat seems less spiritual, more toxic and more “violent”. Poor people don’t eat much meat, and these young and idealistic people often sympathize with poor people.
All of the above may be true, but we find that some animal protein is still essential for health and ignoring this fact will cause ill health in almost everyone, eventually. So politically correct arguments are dangerous ones to base one’s diet upon.
Pure economics. Some people do not eat much meat because they say it costs more than living on foods like bread, peanut butter, rice, and beans. These are usually students or perhaps old people living on a fixed income. While this may be true, in fact meat such as chicken can usually be purchased at a very reasonable price. If one buys on sale, the prices can be close to the price of rice and beans.
Although I sympathize with those living on a very low budget, skimping on food is not a wise way to live, if at all possible. Eggs, chicken, turkey, sardines and a few other animal products such as butter are important for good health.
METABOLIC TYPING - A CRITICAL CONCEPT
This is a very important concept in nutritional balancing science because it works well, in my experience. It is the concept that people need different diets based on their body type or metabolic type, as it is also called.
There are many systems of metabolic typing. These range from ancient Chinese acupuncture classification of people based on the 5-element theory, yin and yang, and the macrobiotic classification of yin and yang, which is different, and the ayurvedic metabolic classification based on three basic types – pitta, vatta, and kapha.
There are also many Western scientific systems such as classifying people by their blood type, or morphogenic types such as adrenal types, thyroid types, pituitary types, and others. All seem to have some value.
Nutritional balancing uses a very simple typing system based on the work of Dr. George Watson and others in which there are two basic types, fast and slow oxidizers. This works extremely well, though no system is perfect. Two types correspond to the Taoist yin and yang system in many ways, and it is a simple system to learn and apply. Fast oxidizers basically need much more fat in their diets, and much less carbohydrates. Slow oxidizers do not do well on much fat and feel better on more protein and some complex carbohydrates. Sweets are generally bad for both metabolic types, especially fast oxidizers. Slow oxidizers seem more able to handle some sweets, but they are very damaging for them as well.
MACROBIOTICS APPLIED TO NUTRITIONAL BALANCING SCIENCE
According to this diet theory, which is an aspect of ancient Taoist philosophy, all food can be classified as more yang or more yin. In order to be as healthy as possible, one should balance the forces of yin and yang in the body by eating foods that are appropriate for oneself. If one is more yin, for example, one needs to eat more yang foods. Here are examples of foods, moving from yang to yin:
Yang foods Yin foods
salt, meats, eggs, poultry, grains, vegetables, fruits, sweets, drugs
This classification of foods goes along with the theory of yin and yang. For example, yang is more contracted. Salt, found more in meats, if placed in a wound, for example, will cause it to contract or close. Yang foods are also more warming and eaten in the winter months and more in cold climates. Eskimos, for example, live on more meat and no fruit, as it does not grow much in the arctic. Those in tropical climates generally need more watery, sugary food to help counteract the hot climate.
The US army found out this theory works during World War II when they tried to feed troops in the tropics and in the arctic the same rations. It did not work and the men became ill. In cold climates, one needs more warming or yang foods, while in the tropics one needs cooling or more yin foods.
Grounding and yin and yang. Yang is generally a movement toward the earth, whereas yin is often, though not always, a movement away from the earth and toward the sky. Grounding is a very important concept in nutritional balancing for the development of the first chakra, and indirectly for all of them. This is another reason to eat a very yang diet, in fact.
Yin Qualities. Yin is cool, expanded, more sugary, uncooked, and often broken up or shredded, as occur with blending and juicing of foods.
Yin foods include foods that grow on trees, generally, above the earth, whereas yang foods often grow closer to the earth or under the earth such as roots and tubers. Yin foods include alcohol and most all drugs and chemical additives to foods.
Fruits are very yin, as they are expanded parts of plants and often are sugary and grow on trees. Nuts and many seeds are also quite yin. Roasting almonds makes them much less yin. Some vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers and squashes, among others, are really fruits and are therefore far more yin than other vegetables and even more yin than some fruits.
Salads are more yin than cooked vegetables, while juices, smoothies and blended salads are even more yin because they are uncooked, broken up or blended. For the same reason, grains that are ground up into flour are more yin than those that are cooked whole.
Potatoes are an exception, as they grow underground but are very yin. This has to do with their mineral content, which is another factor. Minerals such as iron are yang, while minerals such as potassium are very yin. The slightly more acid-forming minerals such as iron, phosphorus, sulfur, zinc and others are more yang. the alkaline-forming minerals such as copper, manganese, sodium and potassium are more yin.
Another yin quality of food is its age. Very fresh food is much more yang. Older food is much more yin. Unfortunately, most food today is grown far away and transported for several days before it is eaten. This makes it all more yin. Dried food is more yang, as is frozen food to a degree.
Heating and cooking food makes it more yang, as heat is a basic yang quality. Fermenting food, however, such as making milk into yogurt or soybeans into miso or soy sauce, is not as yang as cooking. This is important, at times, for those who suggest eating a lot of fermented foods.
Vitamins and minerals are also yin in general. However, water-soluble ones are more yin while glandulars and fat-soluble nutrients are more yang. Those that are naturally derived are generally more yang.
Toxic metals are all yin in nature, as are most toxins. Radiation from nuclear plants and medical x-rays are very yin. Cell phone radiation, and that from computers, televisions and other appliances are also very yin. Most people born today are extremely yin due to the influence of toxins in the environment, especially radiation which is not seen or felt, but is very important for why we use the healing methods we suggest today for most people.
A modified macrobiotic eating system. One can see that this is a very complex system, but the basics are as stated above. Nutritional balancing uses this system, which one can read about in a book about macrobiotics only. However, I do not use all the macrobiotic principles because they were designed for Japanese people thousands of years ago and things have changed to some degree today. Therefore the system has been changed, though not much. For example, fish used to be an excellent food and is highly recommended. Today it is mainly toxic.
Also, macrobiotics does not take into account the horrible yin conditions on planet earth today, in my view. In addition, the diet is restrictive and does not take into account various scientific observations about iodine, vitamin D, the value of kelp, but not other sea vegetables and the toxicity of most herbs today. These are the major differences.
Also, macrobiotics does not recommend much dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and others. I think this is mainly because it is somewhat yin and they were not available or not used much in Japan. However, the Caucasian race handles them better and they are helpful for many people, so we include them.
Macrobiotics is also quite rigid the way some people apply it, and allows too many toxic sea vegetables, too much rice and not enough blue and yellow corn, and includes too many beans, which have other problems for Americans, in particular.
Also, some people believe that women, in particular, should be vegetarians according to macrobiotics. I feel this is a terrible mistake and does not take into account the needs of Caucasians and the needs of our toxic times.
Also, macrobiotics may recommend herbs that I have found to be toxic today, although perhaps that was not the case thousands of years ago. Be very wary of all herbs today.
Also, today all foods are hybrids and this is another reason certain macrobiotic ideas such as the virtues of brown rice, must be altered somewhat. Rice is not the same as it was thousands of years ago when it was not hybridized and it was grown in a totally different traditional manner.
I use this modified macrobiotic approach to diet because it works well and need not be complex. It is the reason to eat more cooked food, more meat, grains and vegetables, and to basically skip all fruit, fruit juices, dried fruits, sugars and chemicals.
Why everyone is more yin today than even 20 years ago when Michio Kushi taught basic macrobiotics. Yin forces on planet earth are increasing rapidly such as pollution, radiation poisoning, chemicals in the food, more spoiled and genetically modified food, more mercury, an extremely yin toxic metal, more medical drugs everywhere, even in the water supplies and food supplies, more fluoride and chlorine added to drinking water and much more yin lifestyles.
Yin lifestyles. These include staying up too late, not getting enough rest and sleep, using computers and televisions that give off extremely yin electromagnetic fields, and other yin habits such as too much sex in some cases, and victim thinking, which is also very yin in nature. All of this is increasing rapidly, especially among young people who are born yin due to nutritional imbalances. This is the reason for certain modifications in the macrobiotic system of diet.
Assessing Yin And Yang. Yin and yang conditions may be determined by traditional methods such as acupuncture pulse and tongue diagnosis, facial features, body shape, skin color and other traditional measures. However, the nature of the toxins in modern environments such as cell phone radiation and nuclear fallout make these ancient methods less applicable today in our experience. They are still extremely valuable, but harder to measure accurately.
We find, however, that hair tissue mineral analysis is helpful for this assessment, providing the hair is not washed at the laboratory and the ratios below are followed exactly. Here are the ratios we use:
1. Fast oxidation is more yang, while slow oxidation is much more yin. This must be modified by the other ratios below.
2. A low sodium/potassium ratio is much more yin, while a high ratio is more yang.
3. A high calcium/magnesium ratio is more yang, generally, but not always. This is more variable.
4. Higher levels of toxic metals are more yin. However, this is variable since most people have their metals well hidden and they will not show up on any type of tests, often until they begin to eliminate them during a nutritional balancing program.
5. Greater age is yin, in general. Babies are yang, for example, and that is why milk, which is fairly yin, works for them. As they become older, they become more yin. Old people are also much more yin and ill.
6. All illness, particularly cancer, diabetes and other degenerative conditions, are more yin. However, each illness can be or a more yin or yang type, depending upon its causes.
7. Overweight is much more yin in most cases, but not all.
ve this may be due to excessive rigidity and the exclusion of many excellent foods such as eggs, butter, oils and others.
This is an ancient Indian system of healing that classifies people into metabolic types called doshas. There are three main ones and many variants, depending on how sophisticated one wants to get. Ancient methods of assessment are used, with all the problems of the ancient methods, in my experience.
I don’t use Ayurvedic methods and I do not recommend them, either. Of course, there is much wisdom of the ancients, but problems as well. One of the worst is that the herbs that are recommended often contain toxic metals. This is in part due to the herbs themselves, and also due to lax regulation of the herbal industry in India and other nations where they are grown and processed. This can be very dangerous, especially if one continues to take these herbs over more than a year or so. A good friend was irreparably poisoned this way and is now living in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s disease at a young age. We traced the problem to his Ayurvedic herbs that are high in toxic metals.
BLOOD TYPE DIETS
This fairly recent idea states that one should eat according to one's genetic A,B,O or other blood type. There are several books such as Eat right For Your Type, by Dr. D’Adamo, the man who set up this system.
It is important to realize that this approach is a genetic approach. This means it has to do mainly with one’s physical DNA, and not much else. It has a certain amount of usefulness for this reason.
In contrast, nutritional balancing is a soul approach. This means that it is less about one’s DNA and much more about one’s environment, upbringing, gestational conditions, toxins in the environment, nutritional depletion, and more. We find it to be far more useful than the blood type approaches of all kinds. This is not a critique, but just an observation.
What we find is that we must give people the food they need, and sometimes it does not match what is recommended for their blood type. In these cases, we always give a digestive aid to help one absorb and utilize what one needs properly. The bodies are so toxic and depleted, and the food so poor today, even organic food, that we find that blood type diets are too restrictive and simply not accurate enough.
When I heard about this idea some 15 years ago, I began asking my patients to tell me their blood type and I observed results with this diet system. It has merit, but not enough to warrant all the publicity is has received. However, it points out, for example, that those with blood type 0 must eat some meat. I do find that vegetarians with this blood type often are the most ill, for example. It is useful for this purpose. However, it is an incomplete diet system and not accurate enough due to all the toxins in the environment today that cause all manner of food allergies and other problems that the system does not account for.
This popular concept contends that one must keep one's body is the correct pH range by varying the diet and often by drinking alkalinizing water. The idea behind this dietary concept has much merit. However, it does not work well at all, in my opinion, for the following reasons:
1) Assessing tissue pH is nearly impossible. Hair analysis, a tissue test, is somewhat helpful, but not very good. Urine, blood, saliva and other tests are also not measuring the cells themselves and are grossly inaccurate in too many cases.
2) Alkaline water is extremely dangerous, in my experience. It is fine for a few months and will cause positive changes because everyone is acidic today. However, it is a shortcut method and platinum plates are used in the machines that eventually poison the person very badly. Please stay far away from alkaline water machines, at least all the ones I have seen such as Kagen and others.
3) To truly alkalinize the body, one must eat a lot of cooked vegetables to replenish the alkaline reserve minerals, remove yin toxic metals and chemicals that are yin, balance the oxidation rate and so on. This is done in nutritional balancing science very well, but not in most other healing systems.
Dr. George Watson first coined the term the oxidation types in his 1972 book, Nutrition and Your Mind. He noticed that most people could be classified into one of two groups based on their responses to odor tests. He found that one group had slightly more acid blood and felt better on some foods than others.
He theorized that fast oxidizers burned fat better, and benefited from a diet low in carbohydrates and higher in fat and high-purine proteins. Slow oxidizers burn carbohydrates better, and benefit from a diet higher in carbohydrates and low-purine proteins. Physicians use questionnaires, blood tests, hair tests or other methods to assess the oxidation rate.
I find this concept useful, and closely related to the sympathetic/parasympathetic idea put forth by Dr. Melvin Page and others who have worked on this concept. However, I use the hair tissue mineral analysis to assess the oxidation type, by the measurements figured out by Dr. Paul C. Eck of Phoenix, Arizona. I was his pupil for about 14 years and have written extensively about his research, which I consider primarily as intuitive and empirical research.
This means he did not sit with rats or mice, or even with that many human subjects. Instead, he was a clinician who reviewed many texts on minerals, in particular, and observed the effects of various foods, supplements, herbs and other products on hair tissue mineral tests of over half a million patients, to derive his normal values and key ratios that he used to assess sympathetic and parasympathetic states as well as oxidation types. This is the work I do to this day and I have been most pleased with the results. I also teach this work to anyone who wants to learn it.
The oxidation types are discussed in other articles on this website, such as by clicking on Fast, Slow And Mixed Oxidation.
This is a concept few have heard of. It states that certain foods, herbs and other substances help develop the etheric body, a subtle body that surrounds the physical body and is associated with health and long life.
Foods that are most helpful for this include meat, eggs, poultry, fish, root vegetables, corn, rice and certain herbs. Foods that are least helpful include fruits, beans, seeds, nuts, sugar and refined foods of many kinds. Toxic foods are also discouraged such as aspartame or Nutrasweet, MSG, pesticides and the thousands of other toxic chemicals in the food supply today. Other foods that are not helpful are those that are too yin, such as the nightshade vegetables (potato, tomato, eggplant, peppers and others), too much fruit and excessive juice, salads in general, alcohol, drugs of all kinds and many others as well.
For more information about this important dietary system that is very close to the macrobiotic concept above, click on the article entitled Etheric Development And Your Diet.