Our bodies are fueled by our environment.
The quality of our environment will determine the quality of our health. We are designed to function on specific Nutrients. These nutrients come from the foods we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Nutrients are vital resources that we cannot produce on our own - we MUST get them from outside sources. These are broken down into two main categories:
Macronutrients - consisting of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which are used as fuel for the bulk of our energy production. This category can also include water and oxygen.
Micronutrients - such as vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that fuel most of our body's physiological functions.
The USDA has produced a nutritional guideline called the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for a wide variety of nutrients. The single most important thing you must know about this list is that it is not a recommendation at all. The amounts listed in the RDA are the absolute minimum amount you need to function properly. Anything below these amounts and you are considered DEFICIENT! With deficiency comes Deficiency Symptoms. These symptoms are not to be ignored, masked, or drugged into submission. Whatever is causing the symptom needs to be addressed and nutrient deficiency should always be the first round of inquiry. You must listen to your body. If it's not getting the proper amount of nutrients, it will not function properly. If you do not eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables everyday, you are not getting the proper amount of nutrients.
The Dangers of Excess Sugar and Salt: Simplified Explanations:
Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Living
- You must eat a healthy breakfast upon waking. When you wake up, your protein levels are depleted, your blood sugar will be low, and your body will be nearing dehydration. Your body is in a fasting state, where it hasn't received nutrients since your last meal the night before. To break this state, you must eat. That is where the word breakfast comes from - "break the fast." During the last few hours of sleep, your body will begin to enter a catabolic (tissue teardown) state, as it runs out of fuel. To get your body out of the catabolic state and into an anabolic (tissue repair) state, you must eat high quality complete proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
- Eat more often! By eating 5 smaller meals throughout the day instead of 3 bigger meals, you will raise your metabolism. If you go too long between meals, your body will be more likely to store fat when it gets the chance. Eating small amounts of food throughout the day (think of "grazing"), your body will adjust to the constant caloric intake, and lower its need to store fat. This will also help you avoid feeling like you are "starving," which can lead to cravings and over-eating.
- READ INGREDIENT LABELS!!! This is your best source of information about the levels of nutrients in the foods you are eating. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS turn the product around when you are buying packaged foods. Avoid ALL foods containing artificial ingredients including flavors, colors, preservatives and sweeteners. They have no business being in your body. And avoid trans fats like the plague. Trans Fats are partially or fully hydrogenated oils. They are made in an industrial process where they add hydrogen to vegetable oils to make them solid at room temperature. This allows products to last a longer time on shelves - this is great for producers of processed foods, but terrible for your health! According to the American Heart Association, "Trans fats raise your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, and lower your good cholesterol (HDL) levels and increase your risk of developing heart disease and stroke," and New York City has banned them from all restaurants.
- When shopping for groceries, choose organic, whole foods whenever possible. Organic produce, eggs, grass-fed lean meats and raw dairy contain powerful nutrients for proper metabolic function. Non-organic products are likely to contain dangerous chemical pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, growth hormones, antibiotics and genetically modified organisms (GMO's). Nature provides foods we are designed to work with. Business owners provide foods that are profitable. Of the two, nature has your best health in mind.
Excess Dietary Sugar:
Carbohydrates (bread, pasta, fruits and vegetables) are broken down into simple sugars in your small intestine. These simple sugars are sent to the liver to be converted to glucose - the body's only usable form of simple sugar. Your body stores glucose in muscle cells, the liver, and a small percentage will circulate in the bloodstream. When these three storage facilities are full, sugar will be converted to, and stored as fat. The bloodstream's maximum capacity for glucose is about 80 calories. When blood-glucose levels rise above this level, the pancreas releases insulin to remove the excess glucose from the blood (Insulin is a hormone that acts as a transport for glucose, among other nutrients, and opens receptor sites along cells allowing the glucose to be transferred inside where it will be used as fuel). The key problem here, is that the pancreas over-reacts when blood sugar levels rise above the 80 calorie level, and more insulin is released than is actually needed, which now rids the blood of too much sugar, causing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This can lead to dizziness and light-headedness, irritability, and hunger! Yes, too much sugar will cause you to feel hungry! Consuming more sugar will lead to an endless cycle of cravings, and eventually you will either build up a resistance to insulin, or your pancreas will be unable to produce enough insulin to keep up, and diabetes can set in. If you absolutely MUST indulge in a sugary treat, do so in moderation, and save it for times when your blood and muscle sugar are low, like directly after a workout. This will help re-stabilize the appropriate levels of sugar, without being converted to, and stored as, fat.
Excess Dietary Salt:
Your blood maintains a very specific percentage of sodium. If you ingest large quantities of salt, you raise the amount of sodium in your blood. Your body has to maintain the correct ratio of sodium, so it responds to the sodium ingestion by retaining water and increasing the fluid volume of your blood. This is why you get thirsty when you eat salty foods. Your body must increase the fluid volume of water in your body to maintain its precise percentage of sodium. Increased blood volume translates to increased blood pressure (larger amount of blood trying to fit through the same veins and arteries). Increased blood pressure can lead to vision loss, kidney failure, and heart attack. Do not add salt to everything you eat, most of it has plenty already.
"The modern Western diet, high in fructose, grains, and grain-fed, pesticide-laden and hormone-laced meat, is the primary driving factor behind the skyrocketing incidences of type 2 diabetes and heart disease." - Dr. Joseph Mercola