Non traditional or alternative medicine is becoming a booming business in today’s society with the advent of health care issues and people just trying to find a different look at their health. Too many people are afraid of the consequences of traditional medicine and want a different way. In their quest for better health choices a person should look at many factors.
It’s important to realize that not all herbs are created equal. Non traditional therapies and supplements abound in every part of society. But to choose an alternative lifestyle we need to look at the basics first. Food is the quickest and best way to better health with the greatest rewards in the long run. But foods with additives such as Vitamin C and D in our juice and milk to Vitamin laced power drinks can cause untold issues of health problems ranging from obesity, heart disease and even cancer.
And herbs are not regulated as foods and medicines are so the claims that all of those products say may well not be true. Traditional medicines are fraught with dangers; side effects and long term health issues for many of them. These supplements are not only not regulated, but are sometimes less help than we realize. Take for instance the beverages we consume. The drinks can have counter acting ingredients in the form of high fructose corn syrup and chemical additives of color and flavor that are detrimental to our health and welfare.
To the average consumer, if a container of milk says it is fortified with vitamin D they believe they are helping their kids build strong bones. As the body utilizes calcium; it needs vitamin D to assimilate it. But is this the best source of D? Most people realize that vitamin D is free in the form of the sun. And thirty minutes outside; sans sunscreen can do a world of good in absorbing D; plus the added benefit of having of the fresh air and exercise! The other issue is calcium. This has been a controversy for years between the traditionalists who insist that children need “calcium for growing bones” to non traditionalists who do not believe in the chemical processed form of calcium supplement in milk.
The fact is; we are a nation that believes we need to supplement all our food. And to what end? How do we know this supplement is even in the food we purchase and consume? How do we know that it’s the right form of that supplement? AND how do we know we even need it?
To answer some of these questions we need to look at what our body needs. Experts in the field of traditional medicine have grafts and charts that have been altered numerous times to suit what they believe to be in the best interest of our society. But what is the best food and best nutrition for everyone? We do need some basic things like protein, veggies and fruits. We need grains and lots and lots of water. But how much and what kind is best?
As an herbalist I believe that organic is the best choice with at least three to four servings of protein a day. We should have at least five servings of vegetables and an occasional helping of fruit. The grain consumption should be minimal with unleavened whole grain being the best choice at one serving a day maximum. And one of the things we need to keep in mind is the choice of oils we use.
I personally love grapeseed and olive oils for cooking with an occasional pat of butter on my baked potato. I stay away from canola, corn and other oils. These “sweet” oils reek havoc on my blood sugar and digestive system.
As you notice; this “pyramid” if you will is much different than the USDA recommendation of what we should eat. You will note that I do not state any milk or milk by products for consumption. Most herbalists such as myself do not believe in consuming milk products as they are extremely mucus producing; and have so many chemicals and additives as to make them unsafe for humans. So where to get the calcium for our bones?
The fact is; calcium is in many things that are not dairy. Broccoli for example has 21 mg of calcium per serving. Kale has 94 mg ,spinach has 120 and salmon has 181 mg of calcium! So the choices are almost endless in our quest for calcium if we choose to eat correctly.
The other point in better eating is our seemingly inability to drink things other than water. We are a society that seems to believe we need a sugary drink at every turn; every meal. This idea that we cannot just have water with food or alone is one of the biggest downfalls of our world. When we get used to the sugar high of those drinks; laden with preservatives and food colorings; we are breaking down the good work of the food we just consumed! We make some of the biggest mistakes as parents in our country by allowing our kids to consume these horrific products with no nutritional food value whatsoever. And the power drinks and energy drinks are even worse! Look at the additives on the side of the bottle and decide for yourself. A good rule of thumb is if you cannot pronounce it you don’t need it!
So the next time you look at your family’s supper; see how many vegetables you are eating and make sure you are consuming enough great products to sustain your life!