This weekend I would like to share a talk I did at Harmony Health Centre; some very important information everyone should know:
THE MODERN DIET AND ITS CONNECTION TO:
Do you know anyone with these symptoms?
Brain fog, lack of concentration, moodiness
Gas, bloating, chronic constipation
Irritability, agitation, aggression
Difficulty coping with stress
Weight gain, lethargy, lack of energy
Addictions to alcohol, sugar and coffee
Insomnia, racing thoughts
Acne, eczema, psoriasis
Low thyroid function
Inflammation, joint pain
Did you know that the modern diet is the main creator of all of these maladies?
Let me explain:
Modern day food has been completely hijacked and altered into a state where our bodies are literally struggling for survival. Chronic disease and mental disorders are on the rise exponentially and starting at a younger and younger age. Autism, which was once almost unheard 50 years ago is a common topic of conversation. Diabetes type 2 –a completely preventable disease is rampant, along with others such as heart disease, obesity, anxiety and dementia.
I will talk to you today for a few short minutes touching the surface of some very real and serious issues to do with our modern food source, and how to avoid chronic health problems.
FIRST OF ALL----DO NOT HARM!
#1. GMO’s, genetically modified organisms---does everyone know what these are?
These are foods that have been altered at the level of their DNA.
There are 3 different types of genetically altered foods.
One is where the plant has been injected with a pesticide inside its cells. When an insect climbs aboard and takes a bite, its stomach explodes. Need I say more?
Another aspect of this GMO variation that most people are unaware of is that they turn on gene expression. This means if you have a genetic predisposition to let’s say diabetes or cancer or heart disease, it can be turned on years earlier.
Another is a plant that is created to withstand huge amounts of pesticides (mainly glyphosate) being dumped on it without dying. This one is a double wammy, as we don’t know what the chemical in the plant itself is actually doing to our bodies, and we get layers and layers of pesticides on our food. Pesticides are proven hormone disruptors and interfere with every system and function in our body causing hormone imbalances and thyroid issues. Thyroid issues create a myriad of the symptoms mentioned before. Also, studies on glyphosate in particular have shown to cause holes in the gut lining of rats leading to nervous system dysfunction.
There was a study on pigs where they were fed non-GMO corn and were calm and relaxed, and then when switched to GMO corn, they became agitated and aggressive. Things were switched around again and the pigs relaxed again.
Even organic corn cannot always be guaranteed to be non-GMO depending on where it grown, because of cross contamination from GMO corn.
Soy and corn are the biggest culprits when it comes to GMO foods.
#2. The next heavy hitter is gluten;
So many people think this gluten craze is a fad and that it has no validity, but the truth is there are very real reasons behind the so called gluten free craze and we learn more every day as newer and newer research is being revealed.
Wheat, where most of our intake of gluten comes from, is not the same as it was 50 years ago when most people didn’t have reactions to it. In the pursuit of the perfect moist bread, gluten levels in wheat are much higher than they were years ago. The body has trouble breaking down this protein in large amounts which can cause a chronic inflammation of the gut lining. This in turn causes something called leaky gut which effects our microbiome (the balance of intestinal flora), our immune system and overall physical and mental health, even causing such things as auto-immune disorders and irreversible cognitive decline.
Gluten has been found in studies to cross the blood brain barrier, interfering with neurotransmitter function—the communication within our brain and nervous system. It has been shown to cause brain inflammation and agitation. Gluten sensitivity has been linked to ataxia, anxiety, depression, brain fog, irritability and aggression, amongst many other neurological and nervous system disorders.
There was a study done in an institution for schizophrenic patients. They removed gluten and dairy from the patients diets for 30 days. And, interestingly enough, 90% of the patients were able to go home.
Another problem, and one of biggest problems I’m sure, is the way wheat is grown. At the end of the year after the wheat has been harvested, there is something called a burn down that happens. This is where all of the leftover foliage is burned down with a massive dousing of glyphosate. When the next season of wheat is planted, it soaks up the glyphosate in the ground, and we in turn –or the animals we eat, eat it.
#3. Sugar, high fructose corn syrup(also GMO) and foods that turn to sugar.
Even gluten free foods such as gf bread, pasta, pastries, crackers etc. All grains, and fruits, and especially their concentrated juices.
Did you know that the first mental institutions opened 5 years after sugar was introduced mainstream. It used to be a treat for the wealthy before this. And this is way before businesses realized the addictive qualities helping them market their processed foods and started dumping huge doses of it into our food.
Almost all processed foods will contain some type of sugar, along with other neurotoxic chemicals. Even sugar free versions are neurotoxic because of the chemicals used in replacement of sugar (but I can’t cover everything so back to sugar!)
Foods that turn to sugar cause blood sugar imbalance, and insulin resistance. Blood sugar imbalance is now being linked to severe cognitive decline. It is actually being called diabetes type 1. These blood sugar imbalances also set the stage for diabetes type 2. It wears down the pancreas as well, weakening an important player in digestion.
Another very real problem with foods that turn to sugar is that they feed the wrong kind of bacteria in our guts. We have good bacteria in our intestinal tracts which supports physical and mental health, and we have what is known as bad bacteria also, which when out of balance will take over and wreak havoc on both our mental and physical health. The bad bacteria actually is made up of bacteria, sometimes parasites, along with molds and yeasts such as a major contender called candida. Candida in particular, causes inflammation of the gut lining, leaky gut and more imbalance of microbiome. Chronic inflammation in our gut leads to chronic inflammation throughout our body including our brain. All disease begins here, in the gut. Leaky gut, as I mentioned before predisposes us to auto-immune disorder.
Allow me to explain:
When we have holes in our gut lining, proteins that aren’t fully digested yet get absorbed into the bloodstream through these holes. Our immune system sends out the troops because it does not recognize these proteins and therefore sees them in as invaders.
But the problem is that these invaders keep coming and coming every time we eat a meal or snack and the immune system becomes hypersensitive; the troops start to get hyperactive. Let's say the troops were told to shoot all the men in the red shirts; what happens is they begin to shoot anyone in a red shirt -women, children. And this continues on until they're just shooting everybody! What this means is that the immune system attacks anything that looks like those proteins; your thyroid, your joints, your heart. And this is how auto- immune disease sets in.
Candida also secretes toxins which cross the blood brain barrier causing damage to the myelin sheath which is the protective coating around our nerves. Damage here causes brain fog, confusion and other cognitive disorders.
Chronic inflammation caused by imbalanced microbiome also causes another major cause for concern. Our adrenal glands, our fight or flight glands which help us stand strong during stress secrete a hormone called cortisol to reduce inflammation. They become overworked when there is chronic inflammation in our systems, not to mention the stress levels we are consistently under in modern society. When our adrenal glands are fatigued, our stress resistance is diminished and our thyroid function is slowed, our blood sugar is more out of balance and our body begins to deposit fat around our abdomen (visceral fat) a sure sign of cardiovascular trouble.
There was a study done by a neurologist on 240 Diabetic type 2 patients with fecal transplants. This is where healthy microbiome was planted into the microbiome of diabetics. In every single case the diabetes reversed! This is huge news but very new news and will take time for modern medicine to catch up and use this method.
Another study was done on rats;
The study began with two cages of rats. One of the cages was filled with timid and anxious rats. The other cage was filled with outgoing and active rats. They switched the microbiome from the active and outgoing rats to the timid and anxious rats and vice versa. What happened was quite incredible. The active and outgoing rats became anxious, and the anxious and timid rats became active and outgoing.
This shows the importance of the microbiome in mental health and even in personality!
A healthy microbiome is the key to our physical and mental health and it is here that we keep inflammation at bay by feeding ourselves the right foods and avoiding those that cause harm. 75 % of serotonin (our feel good neurotransmitter) is made in the gut as well, therefore we need our gut functioning well to feel good!
#4. I will say just a little about fats because they are sooo important for brain and body health. Trans-fats such as margarine and cooked vegetable oils are toxic to the brain and cardiovascular system. Our diets are also way out of balance with the right kinds of fats. We need a ratio of 3-1 Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids. The modern diet is more like 16-1 omega 6 to 3. Omega 6 is an inflammatory fatty acid and omega 3 is anti-inflammatory and they need to be in the proper balance to create inflammation acutely when necessary, and to keep chronic inflammation at bay.
Also we need cholesterol and saturated fats in our diets for proper brain function and for utilization of a very important hormone Vitamin D. But we need the right kinds and in the proper ratios.
#5. Most of the foods focused on in the modern diet are acidic, such as meats, grains, breads, cheese, pasta etc. and this creates yet a different stresser on the body. The body needs to stay at a level of PH of around 7, but we need a certain amount of minerals to do so. These minerals are found in alkaline foods such as certain vegetables. When we don’t eat enough alkaline foods, our body will pull minerals from our bones to keep a constant PH. This predisposes us to osteoarthritis and it also uses up minerals that our body needs for stress management such as magnesium and zinc, setting us up for trouble coping.
Lastly, because of all of these conditions and others I haven’t mentioned, most people’s bodies are working under a toxic overload, to the point that even our detoxification systems are overwhelmed and can’t help us to rid them from the body anymore. Therefore, the body stores toxins in fat cells, and will generate more fat cells the more toxins it needs to store—hence weight gain.
As we become more and more educated about what is really going in our state of “evolution” with our food, we can start to make choices that support our health, and protect us from such a diet called modern and evolved by going back to the basics of clean organic natural foods. As more of us change our buying habits, more of our food sources will become cleaner because companies are driven by the consumer, and that consumer is us!