The Healing Power of Food
Nutrition changed my life. I could even say that nutrition probably saved my life. But it would be more accurate to say that nutrition gave me life… a life that I want to spend enthusiastically educating others about the power of food.
Did you know that food has the power to do the following?
1. Diet changes can reverse tooth decay and cavities
Oral health begins in your kitchen, not at the dentist! Dr. Weston Price, a dentist in the 1930’s who traveled the world to discover the secrets of healthy people, found that nutrient-rich diets dictated oral health. Cultures adhering to the traditional, local diets of their ancestors had almost no tooth decay, even though they didn’t practice oral hygiene.
Building off the work of Weston Price, Ramiel Nigel wrote Cure Tooth Decay. It outlines a protocol for remineralizing the body, which is the foundation for healthy teeth. With adequate minerals consumption and absorption, the body can remineralize teeth and reverse tooth decay. You can see examples of before and after pictures of this protocol here.
2. Nutrition effectively addresses autoimmune diseases
I remember my sitting in the doctor’s office when I was 14, receiving a life-changing diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, a severe autoimmune disease. “We have different medication options,” I was told, “and it it gets extremely severe we will resort to surgery.” My doctors told me there was no alternative options, and that dietary changes would entail too much effort without results.
8 years later, I’m here to tell you that nutrition DOES work! Changing my lifestyle and diet allowed me to avoid surgery, stop my pharmacy-worth of medications, and regain my health.
When it comes to autoimmunity, diet works for two reasons: 1. it removes foods that trigger inflammation and antibody activity and 2. it floods the body with nutrients required for healing. Read more about my experience and how to get started in my GAPS Diet discussion and my Autoimmune Paleo discussion.
3. Eczema responds to dietary changes
Although the exact cause of eczema is unknown, holistic practitioners agree that the underlying cause relates to leaky gut and food intolerances. Many people try eliminating processed sugar, dairy or even gluten to tame their eczema, but then they don’t experience relief and conclude that food doesn’t help. That’s because it requires a more comprehensive dietary approach.
Like autoimmunity, eczema can be traced to poor gut health and fatty acid imbalance. A grain free (not just gluten free) approach, such as a paleo-based diet, can address the foundational issues of leaky gut and inflammation.
4. You can clear your skin with nutrition
For example, fatty acid imbalance is one of the factors in breakouts and hormonal acne. The correct dietary fats will calm breakouts, while other fats promote acne-producing inflammation.
Check out my book Quit Acne: The Nutritional approach for clear skin. It’s a quick and accessible read that immediately equips you with seven effective dietary principles to address the roots of acne.
5. The power of food fixes PMS
Like acne, severe PMS was an issue with which I struggled for years. I was determined to find a natural solution, and I learned how to use food as medicine for PMS.
PMS is not normal – indicates hormonal imbalances that can be addressed through some simple nutrition changes. When given the necessary building blocks, our hormones fall into equilibrium and PMS disappears.
I cover this topic in my book Quit PMS: End your menstrual misery naturally, which is available here on Amazon. Quit PMS discusses key aspects including hormone interplay, dietary changes, detox support, supplementation, and hormone-balancing recipes.
6. Nutrition can improve seasonal allergies
Some people are more prone to seasonal allergies than others, but severe pollen allergies are not necessarily a life sentence. Your body’s response to allergies is determined by numerous factors including gut flora balance and histamine response.
Genetics, stress, food, and environment all impact the balance of beneficial and pathogenic bacteria in our digestive tract. When we have an overgrowth of problematic bacteria, these bacteria produce by-products and toxins. As Sarah The Healthy Home Economist clearly summarizes in her post on allergies,
When these microbes grow unchecked in the gut due to a lack of beneficial flora, they overproduce histamine causing many functions in the body that react to histamine to go haywire as excessive amounts pour into the blood.
Balancing your gut flora allows your body to properly regulate histamine response without relying on anti-histamine medications. So don’t forget your probiotics and fermented foods during allergy season! For a more heavy-duty approach, I recommend the paleo diet or The GAPS Diet to drastically reduce the pathogenic bugs.
7. Nutrition can reduce sunburn and help you tan
This point is definitely anecdotal, but I believes it deserves a mention. One of the most startling “side effects” of my dietary changes was noticing that I was less prone to sunburn! My Sandanavian-fair skin has never tanned, and never will, but I was shocked that I could enjoy longer periods of sunshine without burning.
I’m certainly not the only one to experience this. I’ve heard from readers and bloggers with similar experiences. Katie at Wellness Mama has an interesting post on her experience, too. She found that her dietary changes helped her skin tan instead of burn.
What is the mechanism behind this phenomenon? I believe it is reducing inflammation by supporting fatty acid balance. When I increased the healthy fats in my diet and eliminated processed fats like vegetable oils, I reduced my omega-6 intake and increased my omega-3 intake. A lower omega-6 and higher omega-3 ratio spells anti-inflammation.
8. Arthritis can be addressed with nutrition
Arthritis results from leaky gut and inflammation, which stem from gut flora imbalance (do you see a pattern yet?). With a leaky gut, toxins from the digestive tract escape into the bloodstream and attach themselves to collagen molecules in the joints. As a result, the immune system recognizes the collagen as toxic, so it mounts an immune response and attacks it.
Arthritis has been managed effectively by people who choose to use nutrition instead of (or with) medication. One dietary protocol that has been successful is the GAPS Diet. With this gut-healing protocol, the body will be able to properly manage inflammation – the inflammatory process with help cleanse the collagen of toxins, but the body will know when to turn off the inflammation to protect the collagen. Further, the arthritic process will not be perpetuated when the leaky gut is sealed.
9. Nutrition can address a wide range of mental disorders
Did you know that many people have successfully used food – both alone and in conjunction with medication – to treat everything from ADHD to depression to schizophrenia to bi-polar disorder?
Mental disorders trace their roots to brain inflammation, which stems from systemic toxins, which all begins in the gut. This is a helpful overview on how the gut affects the brain, and vice versa. That guy Hippocrates hit the nail on the head when he said, “All disease begins in the gut.”
10. The power of food can transform the health of the human race
Do you think that is a sensationalist statement? It’s not. It’s a truth that needs to be shouted from the rooftops. This generation of children is expected to have a shorter lifespan than their parents, and I think that is a horrifying prediction we can change through the healing power of food.
As Dr. Price recorded with incredible photographs, the best gift children can receive is well-nourished parents and grandparents. When their ancestors consumed a nutrient-rich diet, and the children themselves consumed nutrient-dense foods from birth, children were physically strong, mentally healthy, and had strikingly beautiful bone structure:
When parents strayed from the traditional diets of their tribes and when children grew up consuming refined foods, it led to poor bone structure and tooth decay:
I believe Dr. Price’s book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, is the most important book on nutrition ever written and should be on everyone’s bookshelf.
Now that the human race faces an onslaught of environmental toxins and chronic stress, it is more important than ever that we nourish our bodies. We can give the gift of health to our children and children’s children.
It sounds like an overwhelming task, but it boils down to simplicity. Buy ingredients, not products. Eat real food. Prepare meals at home.
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