(Health Secrets Newsletter) Changing your diet can both heal and hurt you. Understanding this is vital to navigating from the common diseased state to a state of perpetual health. In this article, we shall discuss evidences for and against major dietary change and its impact on metabolism and digestive health. We will begin with a discussion of the most extreme dietary change: fasting. At the end, we will draw unexpected conclusions about the impact of changing diet on health, and clarify how to manage the changes you want to make wisely so that your health is improved.
Recently the science of nutrition has demonstrated (as can be read in any college level nutrition textbook) that fasting very rapidly decreases the activity of the digestive tract. Fasting thus results in reduced assimilation of nutrients. In fact, the bowel wall’s actually thin, micro-villi are reduced in number and atrophy is measurable with current technology. Yet, fasting has long endured a place of prominence among those who wish to naturally heal just about anything that ails them. This is largely because fasting reduces the load on the body. This allows the innate energy of the body and its blood supply, hormone production and chi to be directed solely to detoxification, elimination and repair. The presumption is that such a state enables the body to heal anything that can be healed.
While fasting omits any discussion of emotions, thoughts and beliefs, it does lend itself to clearing of thought. David Wolfe states in his book The Sunfood Diet Success System that every food is an emotional stimulant of some kind. Dr. John R. Christopher stated that fasting and cleansing is a time of revelation. Almost every author who has devoted any energy to encourage fasting has at least mentioned the enlightenment that is believed to come from it. Thus we assume that fasting, while not specific to emotional healing, does include elements that might help with it.
Another similar and connected divergence exists between the Essene Gospel, book 1 (allegedly containing the exact words of Christ) which encourages sparse, deficient eating once or twice daily, (supposedly for promoting enlightenment and health) and the modern scientific assertion that eating many times per day in smaller quantities is better. This latter statement is apparently because it keeps the digestive tract working better, increases metabolism, improves endocrine function, prevents depression (due to blood sugar fluctuations) and so forth.
Like most disagreements among experts, the real value is in seeing the stuff in the middle that no one seems to notice because they are too busy fighting over the side they have chosen. In this case, the disagreements lead to a conclusion that seems to be hidden behind dogma. The obvious conclusion ought to be that the human digestive tract, and entire system for that matter, modifies and modulates to meet dietary and lifestyle choices.
When a person is young, his or her body will modulate very quickly to all sorts of things without consequence. When one is older, s/he will find that her or his body is getting less willing to handle such changes. This unlike other factors of aging, does not appear to be a dysfunction, but rather a stage of life by design of nature. The young are determining the next turn in the road for the world, while the mature are anchoring that world.
The malleability of body systems (especially metabolism and elimination) is no exception to the maturation trend. This means that a 20-year-old might change diets five times per year with no problem while searching for what s/he believes is best. On the other hand a 40-year-old may find that s/he can make a change, but it has to be better thought out and the commitment firmer. This is because the 40-year-old will modulate slower and stay there longer when a new diet is introduced.
In applying this to modern life, one will probably find that s/he will, as life progresses, need to settle in. This may mean no more fleeting attempts at dieting, but instead a need to settle on a program to follow for life. Such a person will probably feel far better if s/he also settles into a groove. There comes a time for appreciation of surroundings, instead of changes to them. This is not to say that such changes cannot be made, but most people will probably discover that they need to make them slower and more deliberately, and live by them more consistently.
Programs for eating found in mature societies all contain similar elements. These probably include: simple food combinations, a vegetarian base with small amounts of animal flesh, mostly whole raw food, and eating consistent with activity levels. Investigating these habits and opinions will certainly lead to a program one can understand, relate to and follow for life.
Of course, if the reader is 19, s/he may have a few short years to goof around and hop from diet to diet before that starts to create unreasonable wear and tear on his or her body and digestive tract. Sometime, each person must settle down, accept a groove and modify attitude to become at peace with that groove. That person should make wise decisions in diet. That person will do well to engage in spiritual/religious ritual that will maintain energy movement through difficult times.
It is the conclusion of this article that rampant changing of diet style and philosophy is destructive. Most people probably need to make a clear, solid change for life. Fewer, wiser changes may lead to more lifelong health, beginning earlier. Religious leader Hugh B. Brown said, “I believe [you] ought to decide, rather early in life, what [you] want out of life and what [you] are willing to do to get it.” This wisdom seems to apply to diet, wealth, spirituality, happiness and every desirable element of life. Of course changes must be made from time to time as one grows, but these should be directional, wise and stable.
Thanks for reading,
Kal Sellers, MH