Holistic Nutrition in an Incomplete World
The twenty-first century allows advancements in technology, medicine and agriculture that provide us with a quality of life that has never been paralleled in the known records of human history. However, there is a double-edged sword to such rapid expansion of our species. Yes, our modern methods of agriculture allow us to grow food at an astounding rate and yes, we are able to place a greater number of calories in the mouths of many more people, for a far cheaper price. However, the majority of foods we are accustomed to eating are nutritionally hollow. This is not a knock on any one, or anything. But this honest observation of the lack of nutritional integrity in our modern diets, is the root cause of the majority of the illness that we see today. In a society of such comprehensive abundance, our lack of principled holistic nutrition is astounding.
The Center for Diseases and Prevention (CDC), in the October 31, 2008 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, reports the findings that the incidence of newly onset diagnosed diabetes in U.S. adults increased by an astounding 90% in the decade from 1997-2007.. This drastic increase is not seen in just diabetes. According to the CDC in 2016, close to 66% of adults were overweight, with 30% being certifiably obese, and the numbers are continuing to rise. The rising rates of these conditions are not only robbing our quality of life, but are literally robbing lives.
According to the CDC, there were roughly 215,000 deaths due to cancer in the year 1950. That number skyrocketed to roughly 600,000 in the year 2014, despite the rapid rise in quality of medical care. About 610,000 people die in the U.S. every year from heart disease, that is one out of every four deaths. The key factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. About half of all Americans have at least one of these symptoms, and all three of these symptoms are diet related. Several other key indicators of heart disease are diabetes, obesity, poor diet, and excessive alcohol use – again, all diet.
Nutrition: more than meets the eye
One of the most important reasons to have a proper diet, aside from health and fitness, is maintaining the health of our digestive tract. Studies are being released weekly that link the gut microbiome (bacteria, both good and bad, in the digestive tract) and the human mind together, known as the gut-brain axis. Here is just one example. The human gut is often referred to as the “second brain”, and science is confirming that the bacteria in our digestive tract are a leading cause in what we experience as cravings. These bacteria essentially trick our bodies into craving the foods that keep them alive.
The health of the gut flora in mammals is directly linked to their physical well-being (it’s no wonder why dogs are such big fans of the smell test). The rise in popularity of probiotics and anti-inflammatory diets marks the fact that a tide is turning when it comes to how we approach our gut health. But the first steps to taking control of our gut biome, is to take control of our diet. Eating a diet rich in probiotics with fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut, drinks such as kombucha and kefir, or whole food probiotic supplements, is a great way to make sure we ingest the bacteria our body needs. Doing so not only impacts the state of our gut and our health, but has a vast impact on our emotions and mental health as well.
Finally, what we can do about it.
Proper nutrition is about maintaining a proper balance of macro and micro nutrients, and achieving it in the most effective time structure for our own body. But the most important part of any proper nutritional program is the presence of a diverse selection of micro nutrients consumed daily. This is accomplished through sourcing a diverse assortment of fresh food (organic is best, but any is better than none) and properly raised meat (antibiotic and hormone free if possible) for consumption. If one is unable to eat the ideal diet in terms of types of food they consume, then supplementing with whole food supplements (and yes, the whole food part is the key) is a viable option as well. Supplements are a modern marvel, and if sourced correctly, can nearly make up for the lack of diversity in one’s diet.
The point of this article isn’t to point fingers about food choices, or to grand stand about nutritional knowledge. Our objective is to highlight the importance in understanding your own body, and doing your best to supply it with the proper food, vitamins and minerals that it needs to operate at a peak capacity. Whether this is done with a proper diet, or proper supplementation, having a diverse diet that is rich in micronutrients will have more effect on our quality of life than nearly all other decisions.
Dr. Summers understands the role of diet in overall health better than most. With a degree in nutrition and a passion formed in watching those closest to him fall ill, due in large part to diet, it has become a mission of his to establish protocols to help his patients find their easiest path to optimal holistic health. Listed below are some of the revolutionary practices Dr. Summers utilizes, and links to the pages that detail them more.
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