I know I shouldn’t be surprised after being involved in the natural health business for so many years, but so many people who I come across – clients, readers, friends and family – are of the opinion that they eat “quite healthily”, whatever that means?
Of course, you can’t blame people for being confused because there’s so much conflicting information out there: Is chocolate good or bad for us? Should we drink red wine or is all alcohol to be avoided? Are organically grown foods just a waste of money? Do you get enough protein on a vegetarian diet? The list seems endless.
So, with this in mind, if someone asks me what they should eat to be healthy, I try to keep my answer as simple as possible.
Rule Number One: Choose Nutrient Dense Foods
Nutrient dense foods supply us with the maximum amount of nutrients, but are lowest in fats, sugars, starch and protein. Don’t get me wrong; we all need enough protein and carbs to keep us healthy, but getting enough is rarely a problem in countries where the Western style of diet predominates. In fact, the over-consumption of those foods is the main cause of chronic disease. The bottom line is that we’re eating too many so-called bulk nutrients like protein, refined carbs and fats, and yet, because these foods are seriously lacking in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants, we are literally STARVING IN A LAND OF PLENTY! What’s more, because our bodies are nutrient starved we crave more of the same foods in order to try and correct the problem. So what’s the end result? More calories, more cravings and more weight gain!
Examples of Nutrient Dense Foods
It’s interesting to note that the vegetables highest in nutrients and the most healing are the dark green leafy ones, such as those shown here: Kale, spinach, chard, broccoli, watercress, cabbages , sea-greens, parsley, pak choi, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, blue/green algae such as spirulina (one of the richest sources of chlorophyll), and sprouted seeds such as sunflower and snow peas, which form nutrient packed, enzyme-rich green shoots.
There are numerous books on the merits of drinking freshly prepared juices. These books often include a wide variety of delicious juice recipes, and that’s fine. But it’s no surprise that the green juices are the most powerful healing juices on the planet. Now when I say green juices, I’m not talking about the cucumber, celery, spinach (or other green leafy veg), apple and carrot combo. That’s great if you want to gradually transition towards a 100% green juice. That sweetness that the apple and carrot provide makes green juices more palatable to beginners. However, over time you may find that you can phase out the sugars. The end result is the type of green juice that they use at the world famous Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida. This is where people go who are suffering from catastrophic diseases such as cancer, MS and crippling chronic arthritis. Once there they experience the three week life-change programme which involves …….yes, you’ve guessed it; lots of 100% green juices, including wheatgrass, which is probably the most nutrient dense green juice available. In addition to the juices, the programme includes a wonderful of array of chlorophyll rich vegetables, especially so-called living sprouts such as alfalfa, broccoli, sunflower green sprouts and snow peas. These also make up 50% of the green juices. This is for a good reason: they’re packed with enzymes and powerful disease fighting compounds.
So why do they omit the sweetness of carrots and fruits?
Well, according to the Director of the Hippocrates, Dr Brian Clement, when natural sugars from the likes of carrots and apples were increased, the cancerous tumours in some sufferers also increased in size; conversely, when they were excluded from the juices, the same tumours decreased in size. It would appear that in such severely health challenged people; sugar was feeding the cancerous cells. Now I’m not about to get involved in a heated debate on this subject, since it has been argued that if such a high sugar content is so counter-productive, then why is the Gerson Therapy so effective for many cancer sufferers.; considering that this therapy involves copious amounts of carrot and beetroot juice. Having said that, one thing is not in dispute, namely, that both the Gerson and Hippocrates approach involves high amounts of nutrient dense foods.
If you do become serious about making your own green juices, then you might want to invest in a good juicer that can deal with green leafy veg, including wheatgrass. The best options are so-called masticating juicers that use an auger to crush the vegetables, or twin gear juicers that do the same, but are even more efficient. The main thing is to do your research and go for a juicer gives you the maximum amount of juice per pound of produce.
Eat Your Greens Raw
The best way to eat your greens is in their raw state. This doesn’t mean that eating lightly cooked broccoli and Brussels sprouts is a bad thing because you still get some goodness in your diet by including them. However, raw is always best because heat destroys enzymes which are vital for good health. What’s more, raw living foods contain an electrical potential that some refer to as ‘Lifeforce’ (see Dr Brian Clement’s book, ‘Lifeforce’). This is aptly demonstrated by Kirlian photography which shows that when vegetables are cooked the energy field that is emitted is greatly diminished; whereas the raw equivalent is vibrant with ‘living’ energy. It’s when these raw vibrant foods are eaten that their electrical potential resonates with the cells in our body. It’s thought that this is one of the reasons why a raw food diet is conducive towards creating good health, slowing the ageing process and helping the body to heal.
So, let me conclude with a phrase, only too familiar to parents around the world : “Eat your greens, they’re good for you!”