The Hippocratic Oath that our doctors take includes the promise “to abstain from doing harm”. It should be something we all take on board for our own personal health.
To first do no harm has multiple levels for me:
- Avoid harm through our food: understanding toxins you’re most likely to encounter will help reduce your exposure alone thus making it easier to get good nutrients to achieve and maintain optimal health
- Chances are we’re nutrient not calorie deficient: we need to start fuelling up instead of filling up
- Similarly get wholefoods before the superfoods: excuse the pun but you run on having all of your little ‘holes’ filled with regularity; the wrong micronutrients at meals can have endless repercussions that read as other symptoms to disease states but are simply an imbalance
- Which leads me to the notion that nothing is good or bad just in or out of balance: cutting out entire food groups without understanding how your body works, is dangerous.
- And finally, that we need to start teaching people to be conscious about how food works for them. One man’s food is another man’s poison.
You’d be blind not to notice how much organic food is now available in even the most regular of supermarkets, And the reason it’s there? Because we buy it! The food we eat, that we choose to buy, is the food that gets farmed to be bought because we will buy it to eat! And organic food, closely followed by GMO free, hormone free, and all the other chemicals and preservatives we’ve had to learn about, are all being removed from our food as we learn about their existence, effect on our health and consequent avoidance in purchase. Choosing nutritious labels whose contents are too is a big first step in first doing no harm.
Toxins accumulate and disrupt our normal metabolic activity. A lot of us, and our children for immature reasons, suffer from a reduced ability to eliminate toxins entering our body due to insufficient enzymes to do the job. These toxins accumulate, crippling organs and systems, and sure, while high levels are lethal, low doses are accepted as normal (not common!) functioning and development! As our level of toxic exposure is higher than ever these days, it’s so much more important to conscientiously reduce and remove them – understanding those likely to encounter will help reduce and thus easier to get in good nutrients to achieve and maintain optimal health. These are most notably:
- sugars and refined grains – conservatively make up 50% our total calories – wreak havoc on our health
- antibiotics and other drugs – overuse can disturb endocrine and immune systems and gut bacteria negatively affecting whole body
- processed foods – are devitalized and fake, containing multiple man made harmful and damaging materials, which deplete nutrients giving nothing but calories and toxins, which in turn are difficult to digest leading to gut problems food allergies and autoimmune issues.
Hopefully reading this, you realize you cannot run off a big night or salad off 17 desserts –– you’re going to have to change your habits long term. Physiology doesn’t work like that. You cannot exercise off adaptations to an unsuitable for your physiology or biology lifestyle. The whole idea of calories in vs calories (http://fitbynature.org/2015/03/why-eating-fat-doesnt-make-you-fat/) is fraught with so misconceptions. Instead we need to start rethinking, in terms of nutrient worth. Nutrient worth in food:
- is nutrient dense, containing rich amount nutrients per calorie
- do not contain anti-nutrients to block mineral absorption
- do not contain sugars or refined salt
Our reliance on calories has meant a reliance on carbs without adequate healthy fats and proteins. The standard American diet (SAD) is said to be 2/3 carb based and even new FDA MyPlate guidelines recommended ¾ fruits and carbs. We have harbored a false sense that sufficient calories alone enable proper growth and development, and this has excused quantity over quality, and consistently poor food quality at that.
The Hippocratic Oath that our doctors take also includes the promise to ‘let food be thy medicine’ and you’ve probably heard that a doctor spends some ridiculously small amount of time studying nutrition. But I’m personally thankful that they’re specialists in infection and trauma over nutrition because when these things arise I really want their help. On the other hand, I feel I know my body better than anybody and simply listening to how I feel when I eat and choosing to eat well I can be in charge of using food as my medicine – to maintain my health, knowing processed foods cause disease, that vitamins cannot make up for a poor diet, that all the loud foods (http://fitbynature.org/2015/01/when-it-seems-diet-alone-is-not-working-its-probably-not/) out there might seemingly have nutritious labels but the contents most definitely are not.
Perhaps then our own oath, to our selves, our personal responsibility, is also to ‘first do no harm’ and to ‘let food be thy medicine’ through an adage I find myself often repeating, that ‘nothing is good or bad just in or out of balance’.