The Fire InsideBy Carol Alt / Post / November 9, 2016
Hindsight is 20/20. The older I get, the more and more I realize just how unjust that is! I mean, if I would’ve known some of the things at 20 that I know now, I truly believe that I never would have run into health issues.
I starved myself as a model. In fact, in the first two years I was working, I went from 165lbs to 115, and grew 2 full inches from 5’8” to 5’10”. By the time I was on the cover of Sports Illustrated I was at 115lbs and 5’10”, and looking back, I was miserable. From what I know today, I would never, ever in my right mind have put myself through that. With what I know today, I would have never HAD to do that. Back then I’d starve myself, not knowing how to use food to achieve my goals of being “model thin.”
The equation I had in my head was:
eating = being fat.
That’s entirely wrong, and I know that now. The REAL equation is:
eating the wrong foods = being fat
How did I figure this out? Well once I was eating more raw foods, not only did I feel better and eat until I was satisfied, but I was able to sustain my modeling weight and look younger at the same time! In short, it was a miracle. Not starving was awesome, and a side effect of eating good food was that I noticed I was looking AND feeling better.
Why did this happen? A healthy human body is self-regulatory and self-repairing. But what makes a body healthy? Understand that vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty and amino acids (fats and proteins) are essential for not just rebuilding and repairing, but rejuvenating too! Please note that I didn’t say carbs, as NOTHING in the body is built or repaired with simple carbs. I also know that food can be medicinal, but in order for its effects to be felt, it has to be the right food for the right body, prepared the right way.
I know that everyone thinks that we can eat anything we want to; we can be vegan or vegetarian at our hearts’ desire. I wholeheartedly disagree. It’s just as bad to not eat at all (like I did) as it is to eat the wrong foods. Foods that aren’t healing for your particular body type can actually hurt you and hinder your progress towards health- known as “eating for your body type” but with my own raw twist!
Equally harmful is not giving a body the food it needs, like when a carnivore or a moderate vegetarian goes outright vegan. As Price Waterhouse found out, Inuit peoples should eat fish, not grains! Not giving your body what it needs can often lead to disease, to malaise.
So try to think with your head and not with your heart! I learned most of what I understand about food from my good friend Dr. Timothy Brantley. Dr. Brantley taught me how to eat raw, and for me specifically, taught me how to eat alkaline. Due to my malnutrition, I needed the raw to provide as much bioavailable nutrition and enzyme content as possible; I needed the alkaline to calm by inflamed body. Ultimately, everything we need to do in life strives towards balance. The best part of raw food is that it’s cleared up so many issues that I’d been suffering from. I found relief from acid reflux, from headaches, from cold and flu, from sinus infections and allergies. Raw food made all the difference in healing these inflammatory illnesses that plagued me. Besides the fact that my energy picked up, my skin improved, and my hair got thicker, I found that eating raw was the easiest, healthiest way to lose the excess weight I’d gained. I was in the best shape I’d ever been in. If that’s not the best advertisement for eating the proper foods, I don’t know what is.
So why is it so important to maintain a balance with raw foods? What we need to understand is that balance in any system is important. Too much of a good (or bad) thing upsets that balance. My mother has discovered the same thing. When she was 68, she started eating raw and adding supplements to her diet; at 84, she still does it! It’s never too late.
Why do I like raw food? Maybe I should tell you why I don’t like cooked food -that might be easier!
Many things happen to food when you cook it, but the four main points are listed below.
The pH balance of the food changes. Mildly alkaline foods can become extremely acidic when cooked, and if we’re trying to balance an acid system (that can cause heartburn and worse), we need as much alkaline as possible. Many people disagree with the pH principle, but the other three changes should be reason enough to eat raw.
The molecular structure of food changes, as well. A protein-heavy legume like lentils or chickpeas becomes carb-heavy. As I mentioned above, carbohydrates after aren’t as useful to the body, so a cooked chickpea is not nearly as useful as its raw protein heavy counterpart-useless.
Next thing that happens is that ENZYMES are destroyed. I’ll speak more on this in the next blog. The bond between vitamins and minerals that makes them so readily usable by the body is destroyed, making them much harder for the body to use.
I remember Dr. Brantley once telling me that if you eat 75-95% raw, you can practically heal yourself of any malady. That has been my mantra all these years! The more health issues you have, perhaps the more raw you should be eating? I got the results I was looking for, why can’t you?
All this really boils down to is a couple things:
People like myself and many, many others (most of us in fact) who aren’t necessarily getting the nutrition they need may notice they get hungrier faster. If our bodies can’t easily extract the building blocks it needs (remember with raw food it’s much easier), then our bodies keep calling for more and more food! We’ll always be hungry, because the body is demanding nutrition, and this just keeps spiraling downward.
Raw food means we’re eating less and getting more; cooked means the exact opposite. It tastes good but doesn’t satisfy the body’s need. Perhaps this is a major component of the massive obesity epidemic we’re seeing more and more of; as people are eating more and more to feel satiated. It’s an epidemic, and one that has a simple answer: unprocessed foods.
Without enough nutrition, the immune system suffers as well. The same system that is supposed to protect us from cancer and other diseases can become compromised, and unable to do its job. I found that raw food has filled me up faster, satisfied me more, and because I’m taking in so much extra goodness I’ve seen an anti-aging effect! Now THAT’S a side effect I’m happy to see! In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I’ve gone a step further and added supplements to my diet. I understand that even raw food can leave out certain key nutrients (We’ll talk about that in another blog) that we still need, and that can be due to our farming practices.
Remember a couple of blogs ago when I discussed bio-sludge? (http://carolalt.com/blog/the-epas-sleight-of-hand/)
If we’re growing our food in that kind of crap (pun intended!! LOL), then it can either become devoid of the vitamins and minerals we need or it can absorb chemicals we don’t need.
After all, where do you think the nutrition in plants comes from? Plants extract it from the ground, and we use the plants to deliver it to our bodies. When farmers don’t rest the land or plow crops back under the soil, we end up with food that’s lacking. Our practices definitely leave a lot to be desired.
I mean, if raw food supposedly has the highest amounts of bioavailable nutrition, then why would I take supplements, right? Well I still felt I could be doing more for myself. I eat raw and I take supplements. Could you imagine the supplements a person eating only cooked food might need? It’s probably a whole lot more, I’ll tell you that.
Raw food and juices are far more nutritious than cooked foods, and it’s just the nature of the beast. The nature of the body is such that you need these nutrients not only in order to lose weight, but to heal and reverse the effects of aging. The body works in a hierarchy. The most vital processes take priority, like staying alive, keeping the heart beating and lungs breathing. Anti-aging comes nearly dead last, so in order to feel the effects of that, you need to make sure you’re taking care of everything coming before that.
If you’re reading this blog to anti-age, should to eat enough raw food, vitamins, and minerals to keep your body running, help heal, rebuild, and THEN whatever is leftover will go to feeding your hair, skin, and nails. As far as I know, juicing is the fastest way to go about this. If you’re sick, start juicing. It’s also conveniently one of the quickest ways to alkalize the body, add power-packed nutrition and enzymes, and is of the least stressful ways to eat (less stressful on the digestive tract as there’s little to digest, just pulp.)
Sure, juicing can be boring. It’s MUCH more fun to eat a turkey hero. But like I said, I don’t make the rules; i’m just reporting what I’ve learned. So that’s pretty much it when it comes to just how raw food heals and powers the body, next time we’ll talk about the nature of enzymes and supplements!
Still reading? Good. Here’s a quick little bit on acids and bases, because I mentioned it earlier.
I always believed that the acid/base (alkaline) balance of the body affects health. Many people don’t subscribe to this, but since watching my pH, I’ve seen many issues disappear altogether. I’d be remiss if I left this theory out.
I was taught that our bodies create acid naturally, and lots of it. Lactic acid is produced when working out and hydrochloric in the stomach to digest food, so you can see we’re pretty diverse when it comes to the types of acids we produce. Our bodies create no “base” alkaline our ourselves. As I was talking about balances in nature, this seemed a bit unfair. If we need balance, why do we create all of this acid and nothing to balance it out? I believe in a pretty simple answer:
Nature’s amazing. We create all the acid we need, BUT our bodies expect us to eat alkaline foods. See? Balance.
When we eat or drink acidic foods (cooked food in general), we’re adding acid to an already acidic system. If we don’t add alkaline to this, how can it achieve the balance it needs to maintain optimal health.
In a very acidic system, blood has a hard time carrying enough oxygen. That, in turn, affects the metabolic processes of healthy cells. Cancer cells, for example, THRIVE in acidic environments, as they’re what’s called “anaerobic,” or happy in little oxygen. They grow when conditions like this occur. Most of the disease we see in the world can be called inflammatory, and inflammation is caused by slightly-acidic blood pouring through our veins.
So I have spent the last 20 years trying to alkaline out my system. And, man! I know I’ve seen and felt amazing changes firsthand.
(If you’re suffering from chronic low oxygen levels, perhaps you ought to look into Hydrogen Peroxide Therapy along with a more raw diet?)