Dr Natasha

Blog

27/03/2012

Feeding Versus Cleansing

A 21 year old Helen was brought to my clinic by her worried aunt. Helen was dangerously underweight and getting thinner by the day. She was a tall girl - 185 cm in height (over 6 feet) with a weight of 51 kg (8 stone). She obviously used to be quite beautiful, but now she looked emaciated, pale, her eyes were dull and her voice feeble. Her menstruations have stopped 7 months ago.

Helen grew up abroad and came to England to study at a university. Back at home there were shortages of food and processed foods were not available. So, Helen was brought up on home-cooked wholesome meals made from fresh locally produced ingredients; fresh meat, fresh eggs and fresh milk constituted a large percent of her diet. She was always very healthy. When she came to England she soon developed a dislike for the processed junk diets her fellow students lived on and decided to eat a healthy diet. Short research in popular literature leads her to the idea that the 'healthiest diet' is a vegetarian one and a low-fat one. So, Helen started cooking her own meals out of whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, lots of vegetables and fruit. She drank only water and fruit juices. The only fat she had was some olive oil and peanut butter. She consumed no animal foods at all and tried to eat everything organic. She became very involved with yoga and enjoyed it.

After a few months on this diet Helen's menstruations have stopped and she started loosing weight. But none of it seemed to worry her and she 'felt well'. When she went home for a visit her family were horrified by the way she looked and contacted her aunt in England asking for help. By the time of the consultation Helen has been on her 'healthy diet' for more than a year.

So, what happened to Helen? Didn't she follow the healthiest diet in the world and the one we should all strive for? That is what the authorities and all the mainstream media are telling us.1 And what about all the research showing that following a vegan diet reduces high blood pressure, helps to recover from diabetes and many other chronic diseases?2,3,4 What about Gerson treatment protocol for cancer and other chronic disease, which is purely vegan?5 What about other cancer-treatment protocols most of which are vegan?6 These protocols and approaches show a good record of success.

Let us try and understand the whole issue.

Helen is an intelligent girl and the first good thing she did was she stopped eating all processed foods. These man-made concoctions wrapped in colourful packaging have no right to be called with the noble name 'food'. They are at the root of all modern epidemics of degenerative disease. We will not devote any time to processed foods here; I would just sum them up with a great quote: "Man is the only species clever enough to make his own food and the only one stupid enough to eat it."7,17 To have good health we need to eat foods created by Mother Nature. Mother Nature took billions of years to design our bodies while at the same time designing all the foods suitable for our bodies to use. How arrogant it is for humans to think that they can know better than Mother Nature, having tinkered in their laboratories just for a few decades, generally motivated by greed!

Mother Nature has provided us with two groups of food: plant foods and animal foods. These two groups work differently in the body and both are important to be consumed. Human beings are omnivores: we have evolved on this planet eating everything we could find in our immediate environment from both plants and animals. That is what researchers like Weston A Price have confirmed in their extensive study of traditional cultures around the world. Let us have a look at these two groups of natural foods in more detail.

Energy comes to our beautiful planet from the sun. We, humans, cannot live off that energy directly as far as we know at the moment. In order to capture the energy of the sun and convert it into solid matter Mother Nature has designed plants - they have photosynthesis. The next group of creatures on the planet to consume the energy of the sun in the form of plants are herbivorous animals - animals designed to eat plant matter. In order for herbivorous animals to digest plants and extract nutrients from them Mother Nature equipped them with very special digestive systems, called rumen: it is very long with several stomachs full of special plant-breaking bacteria (the word stomach here is used as an anatomical term for the organ between oesophagus and duodenum, it does not describe the whole abdomen). So, it is not the cow (or any other herbivorous animal) that digests the grass but the bacteria in her rumen. In order to consume the energy of the sun in the form of herbivorous animals Mother Nature has designed the next group of life - predators. Wolves, lions, tigers, foxes, etc. cannot digest plant matter because they are equipped with a very different digestive system. Human digestive system is similar to the gut of predatory animals: our digestive system is fairly short and we have only one stomach with virtually no bacteria in it. In fact our human stomach is designed to produce acid and pepsin, which are only able to break down meat, fish, milk and eggs. In short our digestive systems have been designed to best cope with animal foods.12 People knew this fact for millennia. They knew that the best foods for them come from animals; they would only eat plants as a supplement to meat or when animal foods were in short supply.

But what about all those tables, which show that plants are full of nourishment, published in popular nutrition books, you would ask? All those B vitamins, proteins and oils? Yes, when we analyse different plant foods in a laboratory, they show good amounts of various nutrients. This information is then published in common nutritional literature. Unfortunately, these tables of nutrient content of plants are no use for the human body. Why? Because, in a laboratory we can use all sorts of methods and chemicals for extracting nutrients from plants: methods, which our human digestive system does not possess. Human gut has a very limited ability to digest plants and to extract anything useful from them.12 People knew that plant foods are hard for humans to digest, that is why all traditional cultures have developed methods of food preparation to extract more nutrition from plants and to make them more digestible, such as fermentation, malting, sprouting and special ways of cooking. Unfortunately, in our modern world many of these methods have been forgotten and replaced with recipes which suite the food industry's commercial agenda.13

If we cook and prepare the plant foods properly, can't we live on them? That is exactly what Helen tried to do: she prepared all her food at home from natural plant ingredients. She cooked rice, oats, quinoa and buckwheat, she made her own bread, she cooked beans and lentils, she snacked on nuts and fruit and consumed lots of vegetables. Why did she get into trouble? Let us see.

Human body (without water) is largely made out of protein and fat, these are the 'bricks and mortar' from which your bones, muscles, brain, heart, lungs, liver and all other organs made.9 Laboratory analysis of plants and animal foods show that the best protein and fat for human physiology comes from animal foods.8 The amino acid profile of animal protein is correct for the human body, while amino acid profile of plant-derived proteins is incomplete and unsuitable for human physiology.9 The same with fat: animal fat has the right fatty acid composition for human body to thrive on, while plant oils are unsuitable.10 So, when it comes to FEEDING your body and BUILDING your bodily tissues and structures animal foods are the best and the only suitable ones. Human body has a wonderful process which goes on from the moment of conception till death, called Cell Regeneration.11 Cells in your body (in all of your organs and tissues) constantly get old, die and get replaced by newly-born cells. This way the body maintains itself, rejuvenates itself and heals any damage. In order for your body to give birth to those baby cells to replace the old ones building materials are needed - proteins and fats. The best building materials to feed your cell regeneration process come from animal foods: meats, fish, eggs and dairy. Apart from feeding, animal products provide the body with energy, in fact the best source of energy for most cells in your body is fat.9

One of the hungriest organs in the human body is the brain: it 'sponges up' around 25 - 45 % of all nutrition floating in your blood. Your body spends a lot of effort on feeding the brain 24 hours a day, every day.9 Contrary to popular beliefs there is much more your brain needs than just energy in the form of glucose; it is a physical organ and it requires feeding its own cell regeneration processes with good quality protein and fat. The brain is a very fatty organ, so it requires a lot of good quality fat to be fed properly.15 On top of that your brain manufactures neurotransmitters, hormones and hundreds of other active molecules, which are largely proteins; the brain needs building materials to make them from. Again the best building materials to feed your brain come from animal foods. In the clinical practice we see the degeneration of the brain function in people on purely vegan diets and other poor diets: first the sense of humour goes, the person becomes 'black-and-white' in their thinking and behaviour, the sharpness of the mind goes, memory suffers, depression sets in and other mental problems follow. These are all the signs of a starving brain.

But what about all the plant-based diets shown to help with chronic disease? Why are cold-pressed good quality omega-3 and omega-6 plant oils shown to be beneficial for so many degenerative conditions? Supplementing these oils is promoted by both the mainstream and alternative medical community. What about all the antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, bio-flavoniods and other substances in plants that are shown to be so beneficial for our bodies? Here we come to the real purpose of eating plants: they are CLEANSERS. While they are unable to feed us to any serious degree they are wonderful at keeping us clean on the inside.5 They can also provide some energy for the body to use and some co-factors in the form of vitamins and minerals. But their main purpose is to keep your body clean and free of toxins. Indeed plants are equipped with powerful detoxifying substances, which can remove various man-made chemicals, pollution and other toxins you have accumulated in your body. Plants are particularly powerful cleansers when consumed raw. Their juices absorb in the upper parts of the digestive system contributing a plethora of detoxifying substances and co-factors; indeed juicing of raw vegetables and fruit is a major part of cancer-healing protocols, such as Gerson programme. When the plant matter moves further down in the gut it feeds the gut flora in the bowel. Human bowel is an equivalent of the rumen of the herbivorous animals; it has a rich population of microbes which can convert plant fibre into some useful nutrients for the human body, such as short-chain fatty acids. Of course that depends on the composition of your bowel flora: if it is healthy the plant fibre will do you good, if it is unhealthy the plant fibre can do a lot of damage. When we cook plants we reduce their cleansing ability, but make them more digestible, so they provide some building materials for the body to use. Unfortunately, these materials cannot build the body to any degree: they are largely carbohydrates, which the body can only use for producing energy and store surplice of them as fat. When plants are severely processed (grains in particular) they provide the wrong building materials for the body causing weight gain and obesity.7

Let us summarise: there are two groups of natural foods on the planet and each of them has its own role to play in human physiology.

ANIMAL FOODS
BUILDING / FEEDING
PLANT FOODS
CLEANSING / DETOXIFYING
Meat, fish, eggs, dairy
Grains, beans, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds

Of course, this division is not black-and-white, there is a small overlap: animal products, particularly raw, have some cleansing ability while plants have some feeding ability, particularly when cooked.

A cleaner body always feels better than a toxic one. That is why so many people feel well on the plant-based diet in the first few weeks. But when the body finished cleansing you need to start feeding it with animal foods. If that point is missed the body starts starving and deteriorating. What happened to Helen? With her vegan diet she was cleansing herself, and cleansing herself, and cleansing herself until she literally got 'washed out'. She has missed the point when her body has finished cleansing and needed to start feeding. That is why she lost so much weight and her menstruations stopped: her body was starving and conserving whatever precious resources it had left; it could not afford to waste them on monthly menstruations.

We need to feed our bodies with animal foods. But it is also important to keep your body clean on the inside. What methods of cleansing do we know?

We live in a polluted world and a lot of this pollution gets stored in our bodies. On top of that we add toxic substances to our bodies in the form of processed foods, personal care products, various chemicals, radiation and other man-made things. This man-made toxicity leads to development of many chronic diseases and ultimately cancer. So it is a good idea for us to have periods of cleansing, which can take several forms.

1. Fasting is one of the oldest and very effective ways to cleanse and rejuvenate your body. Our bodies spend huge amounts of energy on digesting and metabolising food on a daily basis. When we stop eating, the body re-directs its energy to other jobs, such as removing toxins and parasites, and healing itself. Fasting has an excellent record of curing all sorts of 'incurable' conditions - from rheumatoid arthritis to cancer. One can fast at home one day a week or a few days at a time every month (or even just miss an evening meal a few times per week). But if you want to attempt a longer fast (some people fast as long as 45 days) it is essential to do it under professional supervision. There are many nuances to a long fast and it is easy to get into trouble if you are not experienced. Coming out of a long fast is also quite a special procedure and needs professional supervision. There are many well-established fasting clinics around the word. I have fasted at Dr Buchinger clinic in Germany for 10 days and would highly recommend it.14 Obviously one cannot fast forever and you do have to start eating at some point. If your fast has achieved what you aimed for, when you came out of it you can start feeding your body with animal foods and plants straight away. But if you feel that you have to continue cleansing for a while, you can move to the next step - the vegan diet.

2. Vegan diets (plant only diets) can be seen as a form of fasting. They do not feed the body properly but provide it with a lot of cleansing. While your digestive system is busy processing plant matter (so you don't feel hungry), the diet will provide your body with large amounts of cleansing substances. The ultimately toxic people are cancer victims; they require a lot of cleansing. That is why most nutritional cancer protocols are vegan. Remember that vegan diets are only suitable for a period of cleansing. They must never be chosen as a permanent life-style. When your body has finished cleansing it will need feeding, and that is when you have to introduce animal foods. If that is not done the body starves, starts cannibalising itself and problems start developing.15 What happened to Helen is a good example of that.

Vegetarian diets, which include animal foods, can be adopted as a long-term strategy. It is possible to be a healthy vegetarian as long as you continue eating some animal foods to provide feeding/building substances for your body, such as eggs and dairy. Obviously all processed foods should be removed and the diet needs to be natural. Such vegetarian cultures exist in India. People there understand just how valuable animal foods are for them. That is why the cow is considered a sacred animal in India (you can be prosecuted for harming a cow), because she provides milk, butter, cheese and ghee. These people also keep chickens and consume plenty of fresh eggs on a daily basis. There are many forms of vegetarianism: some eat fish, some eat eggs and dairy, some allow occasional consumption of meat. People who get into trouble are those who decide to stop eating meat and live largely on processed foods. They put weight on very quickly and get ill. This group of people is particularly prone to mental illness and immune system abnormalities.

What about those of us who are not particularly toxic and are fairly healthy? Do we need to have periods of cleansing?

Human body is equipped with a wonderful system, called Detoxification System.12 This system is the cleaner in the body with its headquarters in the liver and departments in every cell. It is staggeringly complex and extremely efficient: anything toxic that comes into your body or produced as a by-product of your own metabolism gets neutralised and removed in minutes. But there are two conditions: this system needs to be fed properly and not overloaded with work. What food does it require? Animal foods - fresh good quality meats, fish, eggs and dairy on a daily basis. Combine these foods with some vegetables, fruit and nuts (which are cleansers and will give your detoxification system a hand) and you will have a powerful combination to keep your body clean. If you do not feed your detoxification system properly (and that is what the majority of the Western population is doing), it cannot function well and you start accumulating toxins. The second condition is not to overload your detoxification system with work. What are the most commons sources of this overload? Unhealthy gut is the most important: if your gut flora is abnormal, your gut will provide a river of toxicity, which can overwhelm and break down your detoxification system. Other sources of toxicity can be large exposure to man-made chemicals, radiation, vaccinations and other toxic influences; this is what happens to Gulf War veterans and other military personnel, to people who work with toxic substances and people involved in industrial accidents. When your detoxification system is overwhelmed and breaks down, you start accumulating various toxins in your body very quickly, which manifests with disease: your energy production drops and you develop various health problems. One of the most common causes of break-down of detoxification system in our modern world is eating a lot of processed foods. If you live on breakfast cereals, soft drinks, standard bread, sugar, vegetable oils and processed meals you are not feeding your detoxification system well and you are overloading it with work.

But even the healthiest of us, with well-functioning detoxification systems, need to have periods of cleansing occasionally. How often and when? Your body will tell you, all you have to do is listen. These are the days when your body does not feel like feeding, so you don't have a big appetite; you may just feel like grazing on some fruit, berries or vegetables, or may not feel like eating anything at all. Respect your body in the times like that and give it a rest from food. When your body has finished cleansing it will give you a signal: you will become hungry for a piece of meat or some other feeding/building food. Children go through these periods as well, and it is important for the parents to respect that and not force the child to eat. Just be on the alert for addictions to sugar and processed carbohydrates: if your child wants those at the expense of eating real food there is a problem, and you must deal with it as quickly as possible (you may need to look into GAPS). Some adults have that problem too. It is essential to feed our bodies well and to keep them clean and toxin-free on the inside. That is why we need to eat foods from both the animal and the plant kingdoms.

In what proportions should we eat plants and animal foods? Here is the answer: One man's meat is another man's poison!

We are all different; every one of us is a unique individual. So, 'one size fits all' never works. That is why we have such a bewildering number of various diets being proposed: high carbohydrate / low carbohydrate, high fat / low fat, high protein / low protein, all raw / all cooked, etc. etc.; and the interesting thing is that every diet suits some people and does not suit others. Why is that? Because 'it takes two to tango', which means that there is no such thing as a bad food per se or good food per se without taking into account a very important factor, who is eating it! Not only who is eating it, but what state that person is in.

Let's try and understand this in more detail.

We all have different heredity and constitution. If your predecessors were Vikings or Eskimos, then chances are that you will generally need to eat lots of fish, meat and fat. But if your predecessors came from a Mediterranean culture or some tropical area of the world, then you will probably need more carbohydrates in your diet. Ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines try to classify different constitutional types of people, and would not dream of applying diet or herbs without this knowledge, as different constitutional types need very different approaches.

Constitution is just one factor. There are many more.

Throughout our lives our bodies go through anabolic / catabolic cycles, in other words cycles of building itself up and cleansing itself 11,12. There is a daily building / cleansing cycle, a seasonal one and 'as-it-is-necessary' ones which can happen any time. For building itself your body needs very different nutrients from those it uses for cleansing itself (animal foods are generally building, while plant foods are generally cleansing). Only your body knows what it needs at every moment of your life.

Depending on what your body is doing at the time, depending on the season of the year, on the weather and the level of stress you are under, your body can switch between different ways of energy production: using glucose for example or using fats11,12. Only your body knows what is appropriate at any particular moment of your existence, and it requires very different nutrients for different patterns of energy production.

We all have an autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for all the 'autopilot' functions of the body: for your heart beating, for your blood circulating, for your digestive system feeding you, etc. The autonomic nervous system is made out of two branches: a sympathetic nervous system and a parasympathetic nervous system. These two systems generally work in opposition to each other providing a very complex balance in every function of the body12. Again, depending on an infinite number of factors (daily cycle of activity and sleep, season, weather, stress, infection, feeding / cleansing, your occupation at the time, etc.) you will shift from being 'sympathetic dominant' to 'parasympathetic dominant'. This shift can happen several times every day, every few days, every season and it is different in different age-groups. The important thing is that these two branches of our nervous system require very different sets of nutrients to be fed: one likes meat and fat, while the other needs more plant foods. Only your body knows what proportions of protein/fat/carbohydrate it needs at any given moment of your life; no laboratory or scientist will be able to calculate this for you.

Then there is the acid / alkaline balance in the body, which again changes all the time every day depending on many factors. There is a myth in nutritional circles that 'being acid is bad' and that all of us have to strive to be alkaline all the time. Different foods have been classified to be 'alkalising' (such as fruit and vegetables) or 'acidifying' (such as grains and meats). This simply is not true. Your body shifts from alkaline to acid states all the time depending on many factors: activity of your autonomic nervous system, the type of energy production at the time, your hormonal profile at the time, respiration, kidney function, many of which in turn change according to daily cycle, season, weather and your activity11. Depending on all those factors an apple, for example, which is considered to be an 'alkalising' food, can make your body acid, and vice versa, a piece of meat, which is considered to be 'acidifying' can make your body alkaline. Only your body knows how to use foods at any given moment of your life; only your body has the inner intelligence to make these impossibly complex calculations.

As if that is not enough, then there is the water and electrolyte balance in the body, which also shifts all the time depending on many factors11,12. Our mainstream medicine pronounced salt to be 'evil' and recommends reducing its consumption. Processed salt should not be consumed just as all processed foods should not be consumed (as these things are unnatural for human physiology and should not be called 'food'). However, natural unprocessed salt (such as Himalayan crystal salt or Celtic salt) contains more than 90 minerals and not only is good for us, it is essential for our bodies to maintain the right water/electrolyte balance. Then there is the myth that we need to drink lots of water every day, even different amounts in litres-per-day are prescribed in nutritional literature. Following that advice blindly can get you into a lot of trouble, if your body is low on electrolytes and needs salt instead of water. No matter how clever we think we are, we cannot calculate how much salt or water we should consume at any given time: only your body knows that, and it has excellent ways of telling you what it needs - thirst for water, desire for salt or any particular food, which may have the right mineral composition. Make no mistake: your body knows the nutrient composition of foods on this planet!

These are just a few factors to demonstrate to you that no laboratory, no clever doctor or scientist and no clever book can calculate for you what you should be eating at 8am, or 1pm, or 6pm or in between. Only your body has the unsurpassed intelligence to figure out what it needs at any given moment of your life, as your nutritional needs change all the time: every minute, every hour and every day.

So, what do we do? How do we feed ourselves properly? The answer is: get back in touch with your body's inner intelligence. Just think: if your body needs so much protein right now + so much fat + so much carbohydrate + so much of vitamin B12 and so much of vitamin C, how would it let you know that it needs this particular composition of nutrients? And even if your body had a way of letting you know all this information, how would you go about providing this mix of nutrients? How are you to calculate all those factors and provide the right amounts? Well, Mother Nature is kind and it is not asking us to do anything so complicated. Instead it gave us senses of SMELL, TASTE, DESIRE for a particular food and a sense of SATISFACTION after eating it. So, when your body needs a particular mix of nutrients, it will give you a desire for a particular food, which contains just that right mix; this particular food will smell divine to you and taste wonderful, and you will feel satisfied after eating it. But in an hour or two the needs of your body will change, and that particular food will not be appealing anymore for you; instead you will have a desire for another food, which nutritionally will serve you correctly for that particular moment of your life.

So, the only way for us to serve our bodies properly with the right food is to be in touch with our senses!

Let us think about it a little more.

The DESIRE for a particular food

The word 'desire' has somewhat a negative feel for many people thanks to centuries of religious and political conditioning, desire is considered to be something we 'have to resist' and must not 'succumb to'. Yet, desire for a particular food is the main way your body tells you what it needs at any particular moment nutritionally. So, when you get hungry stop and think: "What would I desire to eat right now? What is the most appealing food for me right now?" Forget about all the books you have read, forget about all the nutritional mantras of what you have to eat at a particular time of day, and just ask the question. The answer will come immediately, and just the thought of that particular food will fill your mouth with saliva. Respect your desire! Desire is your inner body intelligence talking to you, letting you know what it needs to keep you healthy, energetic and happy. If you listen to your desire every time you eat, you will be able to digest that food well and it will do you only good, because you have eaten it at the right time, just when your body asked for it.

Trouble is that in our modern commercial world people's desires for food have been manipulated through the use of addictive and taste-altering chemicals in processed foods. Yes, many processed so-called 'foods' contain chemicals specifically designed to make them addictive. Listening to your desire only applies to natural foods - foods that Mother Nature has designed. Stop eating processed foods and your normal sense of desire for food will return.

The sense of SMELL

Have you ever observed animals? They will never put anything in their mouths without smelling it first. Why? Because wild animals are fully in touch with their instincts - their inner body intelligence. Sense of smell gives your body a lot of information about the food: is it safe to eat, has it been contaminated by chemicals or microbes, is it fresh, and most importantly, is it appropriate for your bodily needs at the moment? So, before putting anything into your mouth smell it: if it is the right food for you at the moment, it will smell very appealing. If it is not the right food, it will smell repulsive. Respect your sense of smell and listen to it.

Trouble is, that many people in our modern world have a damaged sense of smell due to use of synthetic perfumes17. All smelly man-made chemicals, such as laundry detergents, domestic cleaning chemicals, so-called air fresheners and perfumes block the olfactory receptors (the smell receptors) in your nose. Your nose has a limited number of olfactory receptors, and once they are blocked by a chemical, new molecules of that chemical coming in have nothing to attach to, so you cannot smell it anymore. We all have met people who smell like a perfume factory, but they do not realise just how excessively they apply their perfume onto themselves, because they cannot smell it anymore, their smell receptors in the nose are blocked with that chemical. The same happens with common laundry detergents, which use very powerful perfumes in order to disguise the unpleasant smell of the detergent itself. People who use them regularly are unable to smell them anymore, because these people are exposed to this smell all the time from their clothes, towels and bedding. These people cannot smell their food properly either, as their smell receptors in the nose are permanently occupied by their laundry detergent. To restore you sense of smell, remove all smelly/perfumed chemicals from your environment: replace your laundry detergent with a non-scented natural one and do not use any perfumes, scented personal care products or air fresheners. In a few weeks time your olfactory receptors will clean themselves up and your sense of smell will return.

The sense of TASTE

Food is one of the greatest pleasures of life, and so it must be! If the food is not pleasurable, then it is the wrong food for you at the moment (no matter how 'healthy' it is supposed to be)! So, listen to your sense of taste and respect it! It is your friend as it is one of the channels of communication between your body's inner intelligence and your conscious mind. How else would your body tell you that it needs a particular mix of nutrients, but by giving you great pleasure from consuming them in the form of food?

The trouble is that many people have an altered or dulled sense of taste due to regular consumption of processed foods. Many processed foods contain taste-altering chemicals, which are deliberately added to the 'food'17. These chemicals are not only toxic, but can alter your perception of taste for a long time, so it is essential to stop consuming processed foods in order to restore your normal sense of taste. Many nutritional deficiencies can alter the perception of taste (zinc deficiency is particularly known for this). As you start consuming a natural wholesome diet your nutritional deficiencies will diminish and your sense of taste will return. Toxins in your mouth can also alter your perception of taste. Try to brush your teeth with cold-pressed olive oil (or any other cold-pressed oil) instead of toothpaste: this Ayurvedic procedure has a good record in detoxifying the mouth. Working with a holistic dentist is very important, as many dental materials in the mouth can make it toxic and alter your sense of taste.

The sense of SATISFACTION after eating

If you have eaten a meal appropriate for your body's nutritional needs at the time, you will feel fully satisfied. There will be no cravings for something else, only a nice comfortable feeling of satisfaction, which will allow you to focus on other things in your life and forget about food for a while.

It is important not to overeat, so you don't feel 'stuffed'. However, if you listen to your sense of pleasure from food, then you will not overeat because you would stop eating as soon as the food stops being pleasurable. Pleasure on / pleasure off are the signals your body gives you to let you know about its needs. Your sense of pleasure will keep you eating as long as your body still needs the nutrients from that particular food; as soon as your body had enough of those nutrients, the food will stop giving you pleasure.

In conclusion: Human beings are omnivores; we have evolved on this planet to eat everything we can find in our environment from both plant and animal kingdoms. Animal foods are largely feeding / building while plant foods are largely cleansing. Purely plant-based diets (vegan diets) are inappropriate for human physiology long-term; they can only be used as a temporary cleansing procedure. Mother Nature took billions of years to design the human body; it is an incredibly intelligent creation! As the natural foods on this planet have been designed during the same time, your inner body intelligence knows their composition, and knows what foods to choose for particular needs. All we have to do is treat this intelligence with respect. Use your senses of smell, taste, desire for food and satisfaction from eating it to guide you in your decisions: when to eat, what foods to eat and in what combinations. And remember: you are unique, so what suits your neighbour may not suite you at all.

References

1. American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association and dieticians of Canada: vegetarian diets. J Am Dietetic Assoc, 103 (2003): 748-65.

2. N Barnard. The reverse diabetes diet. 2007, Rodale.

3. ND Barnard et al. The effects of low-fat, plant-based dietary intervention on body, weight, metabolism and insulin sensitivity, Am J Med, 118 (2005):991-7.

4. S Berkow and ND Barnard. Blood pressure regulation and vegetarian diets. Nutrition Reviews, 63 (2005): 1-8.

5. C Gerson and B Bishop. Healing the Gerson way. Defeating cancer and other chronic diseases. 2007, Totality Books.

6. S Kelly and E Kelly. Cancer action plan. Useful, innovative, alternative cancer therapies. 2003, The London Press.

7. Z Harcombe. The obesity epidemic. What caused it? How can we stop it? Columbus Publishing Ltd, 2010, p. 285.

8. F Kummerow. Protein: building blocks of the body. Wise Traditions, fall-2011:12, 3, pp. 33-45.

9. Garrow JS, James WPT, Ralph A. Human nutrition and dietetics. 2000. 10th edition. Churchill Livingstone.

10. MG Enig. Know your fats. 2000. Bethesda Press.

11. BM Carlson. Principles of regenerative biology. 2007, Elsevier.

12. FH Martini, JL Nath, EF Bartholomew. Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology. 2011, Pearson Education.

13. WA Price. Nutrition and physical degeneration. 2010, Benediction Classics.

14. OHF Buchinger. About fasting. A royal road to healing. 1961, Steinhage, Bad Pyrmont, translated from German.

15. L Keith. The vegetarian myth. 2009, Flashpoint Press.

16. Puri B, Boyd H. 2004. The natural way to beat depression. Hodder & Stoughton.

17. B Groves. Trick and treat. How 'healthy eating' is making us ill. 2008, Hammersmith Press ltd, London, UK.