What is Natural Health?
The definition of Natural Health is somewhat ambiguous, but it is generally understood as taking care of Health challenges without resorting to pharmaceuticals, but using natural means instead. That includes Food, Herbs and Alternative Medicine, such as Acupuncture, Homeopathy, and the likes. A Doctor that practices Natural Medicine are called ND or NMD in the US, or simply Naturopath. But the price for this ambiguity is lack of respect: Naturopathic Doctors are still fighting for National acceptance, while their title is only accepted in a few States in the US, and, not surprising, people are pretty much in the dark on how a NMD can restore Health. Unlike conventional medical schools that train MD’s, accredited Naturopathic Colleges teach Nutrition and its function on the Human Body.
What Sustains Health?
Since the vast majority of Illness come as a result of poor Nutrition, apart from other Lifestyle issues (smoking, drinking, lack of sleep, eating late, etc.), our innate behavior is first searching for healthy Food, as soon as there is evidence of an unwanted symptom. We know that there is Food to sustain overall Health and then there is Food to heal specific conditions. But what about access to such Foods when we need it?
Herein lies the problem: Natural Health requires Natural Food, but what is Natural Food? Produce in industrialized countries is inundated with Pesticides and may have lost most of the Nutrients to food miles. Unlike processed Foods, Produce carries no Nutrition Labels, so how is the consumer to know how long ago it was harvested and how much Nutrition is still left? The answer is, we don’t know to begin with, and we are deliberately deceived by visual appearance of produce, that is supported by chemical treatments to last at least beyond the cash register.
Produce in America is – often genetically engineered – grown entirely for Profit and not at all with the Consumers Health in mind. That trend has led to produce hugely oversized fruits and vegetables devoid of flavor and nutrients. For example, a peach in the US has been reduced in Vitamins that one would have to eat 54 of them, in order to get the same Health benefit that one peach delivered 50 years ago (Dr. Bob Marshall, Premier Research Labs). Clearly, today’s produce is grown for transportation and not for consumption, it is engineered and chemicalized to withstand the harshest conditions during weeks of transportation. To begin with, fruits are harvested long before they reach maturity and before they have developed their nutritional value. Once they reach their point of sales, they are treated with specially developed gases and chemicals to instantly induce ripeness appearance. One familiar and pathetic example is the Banana that after purchase, perishes before it ripens, or looks ripe yellow but can’t be peeled and is inedible.
So it follows that we have to buy Organic! But what does that mean, no Pesticides, harvested when ripe? Unfortunately, the USDA Organics standard is weak to begin with and then rarely enforced. But even if a Produce has been grown “Certified Organic”, doesn’t mean it is pesticides free and there is no guarantee of higher nutrition, because it may have been sourced in China, delivered to a Distribution Warehouse in the Midwest, and then Trucked 1,000 miles to the destination. And how does the Produce withstand such abuse/ By being sprayed and fumigated several times.
Then, of course, there is the problem of ridding the Produce of its numerous unlabeled chemicals before consumption. The USDA lists 42 pesticides for Apples and 54 for Strawberries. Obviously, it should be crystal clear that rinsing the Produce under tap water is a futile attempt to flush away the harmful bacteria, let alone the toxic chemicals that are sealed under a coat of water resistant wax. Failing to remove these chemicals means they are being consumed, with potentially dire Health consequences.
How to navigate the toxic Food mess
You can find out what chemicals lurk on your Produce by searching the Pesticides Action Network database, then you can decide how to rid the Produce from the specific toxins. If you have a water Ionizer – Alkalizer machine, you can first soak the Produce in high pH water, followed by rinsing under the resulting Acid water. Otherwise you can buy bottled “Fruit & Vegetable Wash” formulas at large supermarkets. You can also make your own using a mixture of vinegar and water, lemon juice and baking soda; there are “how to do’s” on the web. But under no circumstances shortcut the procedures, even though you can’t see the contamination until you look at the solvents after soaking.
Finally, let’s not forget the Meat! We know that US Beef from Feedlots comes to you loaded with Antibiotics, synthetic Hormones and Transfat, because the American Consumer is unwilling to pay a little more for Grass Fed Beef that is healthier. The atrocious treatment of Chickens and Pigs in CAFO’s has received infamous publicity. It really doesn’t need a lot of brain work to realize that an Egg from a factory where Hens are kept under extreme and chronic distress, yields little nutritional value, compared to an Egg from a free roaming Hen.
Staying Naturally Healthy has become a challenging feat like never before in history. It will take a lot more time to shop and get informed and it may cost more money to buy from the Farmers Market. But we need to remember that there is no cheap Food, if it costs little at the store, we’ll pay later a much higher price for restoring our Health.