An easily burnable form of energy comes to us in the form of sugar or starch.
Carbohydrates have a very bad public image in that they are generally thought of as fattening. This is because most of the carbohydrate consumed in this country has been processed or refined, leaving an empty calorie.
In their whole, natural, unadulterated state, all carbohydrates come packaged with vitamins and minerals, which make the energy in the carbohydrate digestible by the body.
When an empty calorie, refined food product is eaten it does two things to rob the body of nutrients. First of all, certain vitamins must be present for the body to metabolize the energy that is present. If the energy food is eaten without the vitamins and minerals present, which help the body make use of the energy, then vitamins and minerals must be drained from the body.
In this way, eating empty calories literally robs nutrients from the body.
Indirectly the body is robbed of nutrients also, because refined carbohydrates make the body feel full, so a person may fill up on them and leave out foods that would actually offer good nutrition.
Then, because refined carbohydrates get burned rapidly, the body gets hungry shortly and usually ends up snacking on another refined carbohydrate.
Since refined white sugar and white flour products, as well as alcohol, are carbohydrate foods eaten in America in large quantities, it’s no wonder that carbohydrates have the reputation that they do.
Yet, when you stop to think about it, in countries on this planet where people’s diets are made up mostly of carbohydrates and where they are too poor to afford refined products, you can see that the people aren’t fat at all.
Of course, a lot of this has to do with the great amount of physical labor they engage in, but some of it has to do with the fact that carbohydrates eaten in their whole, natural state are a nutritional benefit.
For me and mine, our diet is centered around complex carbohydrates like whole grains and legumes. They offer B vitamins in proper proportion to enable the body to burn the energy in the starches present.
Also, the protein, fat, and fiber, which are, naturally part of the neat little grain and/or legume package slows the digestive process down and stretches out the assimilation of the carbohydrate into the bloodstream over a long period of time.
So, the carbohydrate in its whole, natural state does not rob the body of nutrients, in order to burn the energy present, and it also gives a fuller feeling for a longer period of time, keeping the blood sugar levels steady. This means less eating yet more nutrition every time you do eat.
Bear in mind, that you don’t have to necessarily mix-and-match grains and legumes to get a complete protein because if you eat different protein sources during the day the body will absorb this and accomplish the “complete-protein” scenario itself.
Carbohydrates, along with loads of vitamins and minerals, in fruits and starchy vegetables, are also easily accessible. If, by chance, I want to take a walk on the wild side and use a “sweetener”, it is usually pure maple syrup, organic raw honey, or Stevia.
Since over half of the human body, excluding the water, is protein, we definitely need a steady supply in our diet to be able to maintain the body protein.
Proteins are needed for cell and tissue maintenance, as every cell wall contains protein. Protein acts as a framework for keratin in hair, skin, nails, muscle, and other connective tissues, blood cells, etc.
Besides maintenance, it is also needed for cell growth and repair. Protein is also an intrinsic part of the DNA and RNA makeup, as well as the functions of enzymes, hormones, and anti-bodies.
For all these reasons protein is one nutrient that most everyone is familiar with and concerned about getting enough of. In fact, in America it could almost be said that we have been overly obsessed with concern about getting enough protein, but not in balance with that concern over getting other essential nutrients at the same time.
Usually when someone considers leaving flesh foods out of the diet, the number one worry that pops up is, “Will I get enough protein?” This question raises many points to be considered.
The amount of proteins thought to be required by the human body has changed from time to time and even varies presently depending on the source of information.
Up to the time around World War II, it was actually thought among nutritionists that the human body required 100 or more grams of protein a day. Since then it has been concluded that not only does the body not need that much protein, but also that too much protein can be bad for health.
Today there are differences in opinion as to what the recommend allowance should be. Some sources say about 65 g per day (USFDA), some say about 45 g (FAO/WHO), and some say even as low as 20 g are needed, by the body, for proper maintenance.
As with all the other major nutrient foods, which have the primary function of supplying energy for the body, the amount required by the body varies a great deal according to how much energy is actually burned by the person, whether or not the body is in a rapid state of growth, the individual rate of metabolism, etc. Therefore, the recommended daily requirements made by the different sources are a safe, general average.
The other thing to be considered is whether or not all the protein consumed is digestible or usable by the body. It’s actually possible for someone to consume large amounts of protein and literally have the body “starve” even with so much available protein in its midst due to a deficiency in certain vitamins and/or certain essential amino acids.
Proteins are made up of complex combinations of amino acids. Of all the many amino acids, there are eight, which cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained through the diet.
These are called the eight essential amino acids, as they are essential for the body’s ability to use protein that is consumed.
If one or more of the eight essential amino acids is short or lacking, the amount of protein, which can be utilized by the body, is cut back to the degree that the amino acid is lacking.
For this reason, certain foods have come to be considered good protein sources.
Actually all foods contain protein because, as mentioned earlier, protein is present in all cell walls.
Since this is so, a food must contain a large percentage of protein, and that protein must be digestible by the body to be considered a good protein source.
Whether or not a food is considered a good protein source is measured by what percentage of the total weight of the food is protein and what the NPU (Net Protein Utilization) is. In other words, what amount of the protein consumed is actually usable by the body?
There are certain foods in which a good percentage of the total weight is protein, and because all eight essential amino acids are present, the protein can be readily utilized by the body.
These foods are those that had a face and a mother, dairy products, and the chicken’s period, also known as eggs.
All of these foods are generally thought of when the word “protein” is mentioned. Unfortunately, these foods also come back with cholesterol and/or saturated fats, which are undesirable in a healthy diet. We’ll get to that shortly.
There are other sources of available protein, which have been largely ignored on this part of the planet, but are used by a large percentage of the world’s population presently and in the past.
These sources are: legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. In Western nutrition, these foods haven’t really been counted as good protein sources because they all lack one or more of the eight essential amino acids.
In nature’s balance, however, it can be found that where a legume is short or lacking a particular amino acid, a grain will have that amino acid in abundance. Simply by combining the two with a meal, a whole protein is obtained, which is not different in quality to the protein provided by the high-protein foods mentioned previously.
In truth, it could be said to be a superior protein since none of the legumes, seeds, nuts or grains, contain cholesterol or saturated fat, and all come naturally packed with vitamins, which help with protein metabolism in the body, as well as the essential fiber, polyunsaturated fat and carbohydrates.
As I said earlier, I think it’s enough to consciously mix “complementary proteins” in day-to-day meals so the balance gets taken care of.
I think it is very interesting that a study of eating habits of past and some present cultures on this planet shows that the balancing of amino acid was naturally done without having any of the laboratory information now available.
In the Far East, primarily soybeans, adzuki and mung beans were used with rice or millet. In the Middle East, primarily garbanzo and fava beans with rice and wheat were used. In South America, corn and beans, etc. In Peru, quinoa is used, which is a complete protein unto itself.
Through the years I have found that the more I learn about protein and other nutrients, along with than the traditional content of whole foods, the less anxiety, effort, and paranoia is involved in the foods that my family and I eat.
Fats are another of the calorie or food-energy sources, which have received a bad reputation in the public’s eyes for many years.
Actually, the human body needs fat in the diet, as there are certain functions in the body that no other substance besides that can carry out.
As an energy food, fat gives at least twice as much energy as an equal weight of the other energy foods – protein and carbohydrates. And because fat is not water soluble, it also acts as an energy-storing facility.
Because of the quality of fat has of not mixing with water, the fatty tissues also store and transport the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which cannot be carried in the blood stream since it is water-based.
Fatty layers surround, protect and hold vital organs in place, like the heart, kidneys, liver, etc., as well as insulate the body from environmental temperature changes and preserve bodily heat.
For these important functions, fat in the diet is essential. The problem with fat is really caused by how much, and what kind, is consumed
Our bodies need one nutrient in fats, which cannot be provided by any other food substance or be synthesized by the body from other foodstuffs. This is the fatty acid called linoleic acid.
The body can synthesize all other fatty acids except linoleic acid and, to prevent deficiency of linoleic acid, only between 1% and 2% of our total caloric intake needs to be linoleic acid, which could be considered the bare minimum of fat required by the body.
Today in America, fat makes up around 50% of the total caloric intake, which obviously is way out of proportion with the amount of fat actually needed as a nutrient.
Years ago, the U.S. Senate report “Dietary Goals” made a recommendation that Americans try to reduce their consumption of fat to make up only 30% of the total caloric intake. And by my standards even that is too high.
That particular Senate report was a landmark and that it was the first time that a branch of the government ever came out and connected America’s dietary habits with America’s health problems.
Unfortunately, that report that all the foods which contain cholesterol also contain saturated fat must be read with a grain of salt, keeping in mind the fact that the members of the Senate committee were under heavy pressure from the lobbyists that represented the large food manufacturers, etc., who profited by people eating the kinds of foods that the Senate committee was recommending be reduced in consumption. There’s nothing like a government that was created to be one of, for, and by the people, being transformed into one of, for, and by the Corporation.
There are three kinds of fat: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. They are differentiated by their molecular structure.
A saturated fat is one that is totally saturated with hydrogen atoms connected to each carbon atom. A monounsaturated fat is two hydrogen atoms short of being a saturated fat. A polyunsaturated fat is one that is four or more hydrogen atoms short of saturation.
To be able to tell one kind of fat from another by these descriptions can only be done under laboratory conditions. But there are simpler ways to tell. Saturated fats are solid at cool room temperature, whereas polyunsaturated fats always remain as a clear liquid.
The other general rule is that saturated fats exists only in anything that had a face and a mother and their byproducts, like lard, butter, milk, etc., with the exception of coconut oil, which is a saturated fat as well. Mono saturated and polyunsaturated fats are found in the plant food kingdom.
The kind of fat used in the diet is especially important to serum-cholesterol levels (the level of cholesterol in the bloodstream) in connection with cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases have reached epidemic proportions in the United States and are the number one cause of death. They cause more deaths than any other causes of death in the United States combined. And although there is still a controversy over what the risk factors are that cause cardiovascular diseases, it is agreed that cholesterol is a constant factor, among other factors, which results in heart attack or stroke.
So cholesterol, that fat like substance, which is present in every cell of the body and is therefore present and essential in the bloodstream, becomes a danger to health when it reaches a certain level.
In countries with very low cardiovascular disease rates, the average serum-cholesterol count is 150 mg of cholesterol per 100 mL of blood serum. In America, with its high rate of cardiovascular disease-cause deaths, the average serum-cholesterol count is 250 mg of cholesterol per 100 mL of blood serum.
When the cholesterol count gets this high in the bloodstream, fat deposits form in the lining of the arteries, which leads to arteriosclerosis, a.k.a. hardening of the arteries, and cuts off vital blood circulation, which leads to strokes and heart attacks.
There are many factors, which contribute to raising the serum-cholesterol level, that are not totally understood fully. Eating foods high in cholesterol will raise the serum-cholesterol level.
Bear in mind that cholesterol is naturally present in the body, and although it is essential for keeping the body running, there is no need to eat any cholesterol because the body synthesizes all the cholesterol it needs on its own.
And in case you’re wondering how all this talk about cholesterol fits in with fats, consumption of saturated fats raises serum cholesterol levels; monosaturated fats have no effect on serum-cholesterol counts; and polyunsaturated fats will actually lower the serum-cholesterol level over a period of time. Despite all fats having the same calorie value they differ in the effect they have on the serum-cholesterol levels in the body.
Interestingly enough, all the foods containing cholesterol also contain saturated fat, and the foods, which are cholesterol-free, contain polyunsaturated fats. Only foods involved in anything that had a face and a mother contain cholesterol. So, by refraining from eating foods in the animal kingdom, especially all flesh foods dairy and eggs, consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat is automatically eliminated.
In my own personal cooking, I use unrefined virgin coconut or avocado oil. I won’t use soy or corn oil unless it’s certified organic because of the GMO infiltration, and I wouldn’t touch Canola oil with a 10-foot pole. I will not cook with olive oil because it has the lowest heat tolerance and turns rancid very quickly when heated. But most of the time, instead of using oil, I use water because whole foods, which are staple energy sources, contain a balance of fats, carbohydrates and protein and all whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds provide a natural, healthy supply of polyunsaturated fats. Plus, with water there’s way less fat.