RULES FOR HEALTH, PART 2
Thy Food is thy medicine, thy medicine is poison
Humans are omnivores with the physiology of herbivores. Our alimentary canals are deigned like those of grass eaters, with long lengths to digest the roughage. Meat-eating animals on the other hand, have short digestive passages, since meat putrefies faster and needs to be pushed quickly out of the system.
However, as we evolved from being monkeys collecting food from the trees to hunting on the plains, man developed the ability to digest meat. Pastoral peoples developed the ability to digest milk; not all races have milk as part of the diet. Eskimoes subsisted mainly on a diet of raw meat. Hot regions gravitated towards more spices in their food, and colder places towards bland food.
People fail to appreciate the importance of food in our overall well-being. The modern tendency of counting "calories" and "nutrients" has completely obliterated the wisdom of knowing what is healthy.
Food is a mechanism to transfer "vital energy" from one organism to another. The Indians gave this vital energy the name "prana" and the Chinese called it "Chi". Like electricity that powers a machine, the prana powers the body of all living beings, courses through it, and gives it life. The sages of ancient cultures like India and China recognized the need to cultivate prana. The entire science of Wellness, from time immemorial, is geared towards nurturing and enhancing prana or chi. This includes the rules of daily regimen (called 'dinacharya' in Ayurveda), sleep, diet, medicine, exercise, and even the arts like martial arts, dance, music, etc.
Western medicine views food in terms of reductionist paradigms like calories, vitamins, etc. The entire science of nutrition taught in colleges today, and the "medicine" that doctors study is devoid of any understanding of prana, which is what sustains us. Which is why it is unlikely that any good advice on health will emerge from the allopathic medical body of knowledge. Once in a while, they do get something right, but that is more out of luck than any real understanding.
Humans and "food" have evolved together for thousands of years. The body has learnt to recognize "whole foods" and "natural foods" and is in a position to digest and assimilate the nutrients contained in them.
Fruits and Vegetables are the primary food sources for humans which are most healthy. Among vegetables, some are recognized to be especially beneficial like green leafy vegetables, and carrots. Grains came much later on the evolutionary timeline; in fact grains were initially used only to feed animals. They entered the human diet only about 6000 years ago. They are not very good for health in terms of nutrients, but they have a lot of slow burning calories which helps in sustenance. With increasing population pressures and with man moving to agriculture grains became a staple. From a health perspective, the use of grains in the diet needs to be minimized.
Salt is absolutely essential to the human diet. Land-locked people without access to the sea used to specially import salt, since they recognized it as necessary for the human body. Salt has about 80 trace elements which are necessary for the human body, in proportions that are ideally suited for digestion and assimilation. The story of salt is a very good example of how processed foods have helped to destroy our health.
What we are told is salt, is today nothing but processed NaCl, with all the minerals and trace elements removed. To add insult to injury they say they are adding iodine! And of course they add other chemicals to make it free-flowing, look white, etc. So what is the table salt you buy, is it salt at all? It is effectively something that looks like salt, tastes like salt, has some great properties that don't belong to salt (it is not hygroscopic for example, and is thus free flowing; is very very white), but what exactly is it? It is salt with all the beneficial trace minerals stripped out, and some artificial chemicals pumped in. We still think it is salt because we are all products of a reductionist educational system which teaches us that salt means NaCl – Sodium Chloride, something that can be manufactured in a test tube if you combine sodium and chlorine together! And we are then schooled to believe that "pure" NaCl is good; the natural kind has too many "contaminants"; that the added artificial iodine (which is anyway useless) is "needed" for us; that manufactured salt is "standardized", and so on, and we are indoctrinated into believing that what we need is salt manufactured in a factory, and not the natural variety.
So when we say we are eating salt, what we mean is we are eating a chemical that is called salt, not salt at all. But through some magic of the thought process, we think that the chemical slop that we are eating is better than the original! Hail modern science!
Salt is just one example, at the most basic level, of processed food.
Similar are the stories with
food with "added nutrients",
"vitamins" in a tablet form,
children's "health" drinks,
ready to eat foods,
any food that lasts for months,
two-minutes-for-cooking wonder foods,
foods that last for a long time without spoiling,
foods with added preservatives,
foods with added chemicals in order to imbue them with various good "qualities",
any food that is advertised as good for you (remember advertising needs money, and money can never be made selling you a commodity, it needs to be made by selling you something "special" which by definition is bad for health),
And a host of other abominations. We can write a separate article on each one of them, but it will only be an increasing tirade of litanies against the modern food industry.
All the above foods have lost their prana. They do not enhance health, they destroy it.
Rather than go the negative route, proving why each of the above is not good, it is better to go the positive route and see what is good for health. That is a shorter and more direct route, and is better for clarity and understanding.
We shall do that in the next part of this series.
Meanwhile, you can empty your pantry of all the "foods" listed above. You did that, and there is nothing left in the pantry? Ha Ha, we are off to a good start then.
Have a great weekend.
25 July, 2020
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. But perhaps that is why you may do well to listen to me. When it comes to health, never listen to doctors is the right principle to follow.
(Posted to my blog http://www.dineshgopalan.com )
Link to earlier articles in this series:
Rules for Health Part 1: https://www.dineshgopalan.com/2020/07/rules-for-health-part-1.html