Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to be Physically Heroic - Part 3

How you feel every day, your body's ability to fight its ailments and your emotional state are all directly connected to what is and is not going into your body.

On what is not going into your body:

Your body requires a certain amount of nutrients each day to perform every function it needs to do. Some examples include: repairing damage to your skin, growing hair and nails, breathing, pumping blood and fighting off the viruses that are attacking you every minute of every hour of every day. If you don't eat enough nutrients you will develop a deficiency.

A deficiency of vitamin A can cause dry skin and hair, slowed healing of wounds, impaired immune function, night blindness and growth retardation. A deficiency of the B vitamins has been linked to hair loss, headaches, fatigue, depression, indigestion, insomnia, PMS, cataracts, carpal tunnel, atherosclerosis, heart disease and cancer. 

Those are just the first two vitamins. 

Almost all Americans, 90% according to the USDA, suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A malady caused by the deficiencies is usually so slow to take hold that it goes unnoticed until the malady is severe. At that point the malady is treated but the underlying cause is not. For example: see a dermatologist about pimples and you will go home with creams and a prescription for antibiotics. The malady is being treated but the underlying cause—the nutritional deficiencies you aren’t even aware you are suffering from—is not.

Most deficiencies won’t kill you immediately. They will simply cause problems that, over the course of months and years, get worse. You will become accustomed to them and you will blame the way you feel on your genes, bad luck, your age, an old injury... but you will be wrong. If you give your body the tools it needs, it will fix its ailments.

Not to be too dramatic but… your body is life or death. Are you giving your body the tools it needs to accomplish its goals as quickly and efficiently as possible? Are you eating large quantities of organic, tree or vine-ripened, mostly raw fruits and vegetables with every meal? Are you eating foods as similar to what your body evolved to eat as possible--as in, as unrefined as possible?

On vitamin supplementation, from The Hundred Year Lie: "Synthetic vitamin C is really just ascorbic acid, comparable to the outer skin of an orange; 90 percent of the ascorbic acid in the United States is manufactured at a facility in Nutley, New Jersey, owned by Hoffman-LaRoche. In this plant the ascorbic acid is derived from cornstarch, corn sugar, and volatile acids mixed in a fermentation process. Most US vitamin companies purchase this ascorbic acid, bottle it, and attach their own labels before selling it as vitamin C. Even less well known, most synthetic vitamin E comes from an Eastman Kodak plant, where it is a by-product of an emulsification process used to manufacture film. After purification it is sold to the supplements industry. At the level of moelecules seen under a microscope, syntheitc and natural vitamins may look similar to some chemists, but they don't assimilate the same way in the humanbody. Studies of both vitamin C and vitamin E show that the naturally occurring forms [in food] are more absorbable by the body and more biologically active than synthetics... The truth is that vitamins are not individual compounds. Vitamins are biological complexes. In addition to ascorbic acid, real vitamin C must include bioflavinoids [the natural pigments in fruits and vegetables] like hesperidin, rutin, quercetin, tannins, along with other naturally occurring compounds. Mineral cofactors must be available in proper amounts. If any of these parts are missing, there is no vitamin activity." 

On what you is going into your body:

If you are an average American, you don't eat very much food i.e. Doritos, Oreos, McDonalds. You eat an array of chemicals that impersonate food. 99% of these chemicals have never been studied so we have no idea how the human body will tolerate them. The other 1% have been studied and have been shown to be toxic to the human body but only in "large doses" so we continue to eat them. If you are an average American, you wholeheartedly trust the government to define "large doses."

If you are an average American, those foods that you eat that are actually food (wheat flour or sugar cane) have been processed to the point that... they are no longer food i.e. white flour and white sugar.

If you are an average American, those whole, unprocessed foods you eat (like spinach and potatoes) are contaminated with a half-dozen deadly pesticides that vigorous scrubbing cannot remove. You cook the vegetables in pots coated with Teflon (more deadly chemicals) and then then you boil those vegetables in tap water containing chlorine, fluoride, perchlorate, trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids (which have been linked to cancer, reproductive problems and birth defects). All those chemicals combine together in the pot to form who-knows-what.

If you are an average American, you are a guini pig.

Here are some numbers for you to consider (From The Hundred Year Lie):

1. Cancer. In the year 1900 Cancer was responsible for 3% of all deaths in the US. Today it is responsible for 20%. From 1950 to 2001 the incidence for all types of cancer in the United States increased by 85%, and that was the age-adjusted rate, which means the increase has nothing to do with people living longer. The fastest-growing rate of cancer for any age group over the past two decades has been among children.

2. Diabetes. In the year 1900 Diabetes affected less than .1% of the US population. Today it affects 20%. A diagnosis of diabetes subtracts twelve years from your life.

3. In the year 1900 the following health problems were virtually nonexistent: asthma, breast cancer, heart attacks as a result of coronary artery disease and autism.

4. In the year 1900, the average American consumed 10 pounds of sugar, most in the form of molasses. This year the average American will consume 147 pounds of sugar, almost all of which is highly refined. 

5. In 1940 the US produced one billion pounds of new synthetic chemicals. In 1950 the US produced fifty billion pounds. By the 1980's the US produced 500 billion pounds.

6. Average male sperm counts have dropped 50% since 1940.

7. Learning disabilities have increased 200% in the last 40 years.

8. 106,000 people die each year in American hospitals from side effects of their prescription medications. Adverse drug reactions are the 4th leading cause of death in the US.

9. Half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug every day. Many of them consume three or more every day. "Traditional systems of medicine from India and China have both developed over four thousand years of knowledge based on trial-and-error testing of untold millions of people in the longest and most widespread clinical trial tests of plant-based healing in human history. Both systems place more emphasis on illness and disease prevention--especially using food and diet--than does Western-based medicine.... Neither of these traditional systems believe it's appropriate or effective to isolate specific compounds or to synthesize moelecules from a traditional plant." Much like vitamins.

10. Obesity. Within a year of arriving in the United States, 16% of new immigrants become obese for the first time in their lives.

11. Common diseases rarely found in native populations (such as Peruvian Indians, Australian Aborigines and Swiss mountaineers): heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, hypertensions, stroke, appendicitis, diverticulitis, malformed dental arches, tooth decay, varicose veins, ulcers, hemorrhoids.

12. In 1900 gold was money and the federal reserve didn't exist.

Other big things that affect your health include whether or not you are getting enough sleep, the quality of your sleep (light pollution has been linked to cancer), where you work, body parts you overuse or misuse, and medications.

When you give your body the tools it needs to repair its ailments, you will be able to sit back and watch in awe as it does. When you stop doing things that prevent your body from functioning well, it will go back to normal. Health is normal.

To find why it is even more essential for you to make your health a priority if you plan to have kids, continue to part 4!

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