As part of my work with each patient, I ask about what foods and drinks the person is consuming on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. I then advise the person in what way their diet may be helping them or harming them, and in what way their diet needs to be shifted, taking into account the nature of their health problem, their constitution and the factors listed below:
Clinical Nutrition is the identification of specific nutrients, that will make a favorable impact on alleviating a specific health problem. It has been shown that specific nutrients work best in the body when they are given in their natural context, as either whole foods or whole food concentrates.
Many times, I am sure that you have heard the saying ” You are what you eat “. Knowing that food supplies the raw materials upon which we build the structures and tissues of our body, and that food also provides the fuel to feed our cells, so that our body has energy to function – this statement is an accurate statement.
Also implied in this statement, is, that if we eat food that is overly processed, if we eat food that is grown in soil that is unhealthy or devoid of nutrients or loaded with pesticides – that too – will effect our health, the functioning of our bodies and our sense of well being.
We can also consider the atmosphere in which our food is prepared in, or partaken in. When someone is upset and yelling, while they are preparing our food or while we are eating it, does that have an effect?
We also have in nutrition, the concept of dietary balance. This means that we need to eat a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Carbohydrates are those foods that break down in the body into sugar or “glucose” to be used by the cells for energy. I often refer to glucose as the gasoline of the cells ! Our cells won’t be energized to function without it. However, when we have too much carbohydrate in our diet, bad things start to happen.
Proteins form the basic ingredients for hormone production and many body structures and organs. Fats contribute to structures for the nervous system and are a storage form of energy when there is an excess of energy that the body doesn’t immediately need. We need all three classes of food and we need to eat them in balance.
Vitamins and Minerals:
Vitamins and minerals occur naturally in food that is grown in abundant soil and they are present in animal foods that originate from pastures and waterways rich in unpolluted nutrients. Vitamins are co-factors or “assistants” that enable many important chemical processes in our bodies. Minerals comprise some structures and are also co-factors. Leafy green vegetables, seafish and organic meats are beneficial sources of vitamins and minerals.
Diet and Blood Type:
Studies in the natural history of human beings, illustrate how the four different blood types developed, throughout the ages (type O being the oldest, type AB being the youngest). From these studies and the research of Dr. D’adamo, we find that people of different blood types adapted to different environments and to different food sources. According to this theory, human beings of the different blood types, will also have a reaction or a resistance to different foods.
I was not receptive to this theory initially. However, after trying it upon myself, under the guidance of a clinical nutritionist, I changed my mind. I have found in my practice, that those who generally follow a “Blood Type Diet” are healthier, their body becomes more balanced, and they respond to treament more rapidly than those who do not follow this nutritional approach. There are however, always exceptions. Not every person fits nicely into a medical system.
Dietary supplementation – the taking of vitamins and minerals in pill form – becomes important when we eat food that does not carry the necessary, naturally occurring nutrients to maintain health. Certain activities may also consume more of a particular nutrient. Dietary supplementation can be used to fulfill deficiencies that could cause health problems.
“Whole Food” Nutrition:
Whole food nutrition has two parts. The first part is the use of nutritious, healthy food in the diet, including special therapeutic dishes, as described below under medicinal food recipes. The purpose is to include directly into the diet that which is needed, rather than just “popping pills”.
The second part refers to the use of whole food supplements that are composed from whole foodconcentrates. They contain primary nutrients and the naturally occuring intermediates the body needs, to make full use of them.
Medicinal Food Recipes:
Many foods can be utilized for their therapeutic properties. I enjoy using recipes that emphasize the medicinal benefits of certain foods. For example, freshly simmered organic onion and celery soup can benefit the kidney, urinary tract and the lungs. Figs and apricots benefit the Jing or fluid essence of the reproductive system. In the past, in the western world, as well as in China, organ meats were included in the diet to give to the body the nutrients that the cooresponding organ of the human body needed. This is known as “Organotherapy“.
Garlic preparations can assist the lungs and the immune system in fighting infection and cleanse the arterial system and lower blood pressure. However, garlic also thins the blood. If you are taking blood thinners due to a medical condition, you should ask your healthcare practitioner first, before taking therapeutic garlic in you diet.
Another example of a medicinal food recipe is the use of fresh dandelion and burdock roots, which can be boiled in soup with other vegetables, imparting their minerals, nutrients and blood purifying properties. They also can be steamed and served with dinner, helping address male potency problems. One of the original uses of herbs was as food recipes.