Your Diet Is Killing You

Diet

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

Millions of people worldwide are subject to some form of disease. Besides, millions today have developed a ‘weakness’ to gulping down tranquillisers and sleeping pills, anti-arthritic drugs, antacids, and beta-blockers for high blood pressure, a common malady. In the same breath, one could also relate to the growing incidence of diabetes — or, the ‘fat man’s folly’ — and, cancer.

What’s gone wrong, you may well ask.

According to Dr Christopher Pick, ND, a noted UK-based healer-naturopath and clinical and sports nutritionist, this downward health spiral is primarily due to a plethora of wrong diets, environmental degradation, stress, and toxins in the body. He also blames lifestyle choices, which most of us follow, or take for granted.

Says Dr Pick, “I resonate with much of the Indian traditions, values and esoteric leanings.” Hence, it was not without reason that Dr Pick reckons and urges that we should not to give up our traditional Indian diets.

He also outlines that a lack of exercise, over-consumption of valueless, or nutrition-less food, junk-food, and high-stress levels are the pitfalls ahead for the average Indian. “As this happens, over 2-3 generations,” he explains, “the gene pool gets weaker.” “This,” he warns, “can decimate a gene pool [with bad nutrition],” unless it was stopped in its tracks with proper nutrients and nourishment, including supplements.

Optimal Health

Dr Pick also emphasises that what was optimal health in the past is today disease and death — the expected path of the average citizen. He explains: “Nutrient-rich diet maximises your potential for optimal health and a long life.” In so doing, he fires his major salvo: “The standard Western lifestyle, now blatantly ‘aped’ in every part of the world, is responsible for the majority of health problems we encounter in our healing practice.” He also adds: “Individual and collective human consciousness appears to have forgotten that we eat to live; we do not live to eat.” His watchword: “Your diet is killing you.”

For a staunch proponent of nature therapy, and alternative medicine, Dr Pick does not, in any manner, debunk modern medicine and/or its high-tech advances. Rather, he compliments it for being a wonderful option in certain impossible situations. What he is opposed to, he contends, is the gross misuse of medications, which do not propagate good health and living.

Says Dr Pick: “Every twenty-four to thirty-six hours, 50 to 80 per cent of adults in the United States and the United Kingdom, for instance, swallow a medically prescribed agent.” In other words, this was his ‘dig’ at medical addiction as a major, modern ‘abnormality’ — a glitch that has outgrown all self-chosen or more natural forms of creating well-being.

Is there a way out of such a ‘jam’ we have gotten into? Dr Pick says, “Yes.” He explains, “We are not made-up of dozens of non-connected bits and pieces. On the contrary, a malfunction in any organ or system will affect all of the body, in some way. This includes our spiritual, mental, and emotional states. All we need to do is — organise and manage our health and well-being with understanding and a good bit of common sense.”

What is his prescription for optimal or holistic wellness, in the light of imbalances we are subject to, today? It’s simple and practical:

  • Keep your body clean — internally and externally
  • Supply it with the correct foods in the right quantities and ratios
  • Provide it with necessary nutrients and supplements [not medications]
  • Breathe fresh clean air [if this is possible]
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Maintain a positive attitude.

If you practice healthy living, in this manner, observes Dr Pick, “You cannot help but be healthy.”

Dr Pick’s holistic plan is based on certain parameters laid down in ancient Ayurveda texts — treating the individual as one whole, or unit, and not as a person composed of different body parts, organs, tissues etc., This, Dr Pick suggests, is fundamental. It helps us, he says, to avoid compartmentalising individuals. An individual, according to Dr Pick, is not only the sum of their parts, but also part of their whole.

Says Dr Pick, “Within each one of us resides an innate and incredibly powerful healing, life-sustaining force. This ‘system’ must be fuelled by essential nutrients on a daily basis to enable it to perform at its maximum potential.” You may sure think of the Sanskrit parallel for Dr Pick’s ‘resident’ healing power — prana — or, what Chinese medical practitioners refer to as chi.

Quality Is Everything

According to Dr Pick, we need around 60-70 minerals, 16 vitamins, 12 essential amino acids, and three essential fatty acids, together with sufficient oxygen and fresh, clean water for good health and a long life. “We should obtain the former from high quality proteins, quality carbohydrates and unsaturated and certain saturated fats — natural organic foods that we evolved from. Providing all of these, in our diet — if it were still possible — would allow the body to assemble, or manufacture [daily] thousands of other substances that are needed to keep it healthy.”

You still think that we get all we needed from our ‘balanced diet?’ You need to think, again. Because, there is more to this than what meets our nutritional needs. Over to Dr Pick, “Intensive modern farming methods on barren soil deliver grossly polluted food, water, and air. Mix this lot in a bowl, together with the abysmally poor regulation of food producers and retailers by complacent governments. Add in too much stress, too little sleep, poor preventative healthcare, lack of exercise, the gross misuse of antibiotics, pollution, and the suppression of positive nutritional information by certain quarters, and what comes out is a problem that is staring us in the face: disease and interventional healthcare costs.”

In so doing, Dr Pick highlights a modern parable. “It is not a coincidence that we seek out the mountains, oceans and beaches to relax and recuperate. ‘Sick building syndrome,’ such as modern office blocks, creates sick people; this is now a recognised fact.” “Many people,” Dr Pick also notes, “spend the majority of their lives in such places, shielded from the natural cosmic forces that are so important to a healthy body.”

Dr Pick blames lack of fibre in diet as a modern ‘illness.’ He contends, “If I told you that I know of a substance that helped protect against breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, blood clots, diverticulitis, high cholesterol, constipation, gallstones, colon cancer, varicose veins, piles, obesity, oestrogen overload and toxic bowel, would you go out and buy it? Of course, you would.” Answer: “Fibre is found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts etc. We need to consume more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains etc., because many of us — including those who believe that they eat a ‘balanced’ diet — are desperately short of even the minimum fibre intake.” Dr Pick also emphasises that a correctly nourished and well-exercised body has a far greater potential for health and longevity than a ‘couch potato’ body.

Dr Pick admonishes the evils of smoking, alcohol, and certain recreational drugs. These, along with lack of physical exercise, he said, were the bugbears that undermined our health and wellness.

Natural Health. Natural Wealth

What is Dr Pick’s overall recipe for promoting natural health, and emotional wellness? “Every type of energy that moves through our genes moulds and maintains our unique individuality with all its strengths and weaknesses. The final expression of it on a purely physical level is health or life force [prana], or the lack of it. Energy is behind everything manifest, and that which is not. Food, water, air, thought, emotion, love, prayer and our will, to mention a few, flood our bodies with vibrational energy. These energy frequencies influence the way we build and maintain ourselves as a totality.”

His conclusion? The importance of healthy, or harmonious living, not to speak of good nutrition, was never before as critical as it is today.

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360. A version of this article was first published in The Hindustan Times.

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