Dr Charles Forsyth

Ecological Physician

 
 

We are what we eat - quite literally!  If you wish to enjoy optimal health, you must make your diet healthy.  The following is a simple summary of some of what I consider the most important things we can do to make our diet as healthy & nutritious as possible.  Good nutritious food should be delicious & satisfying!  We don’t usually need to achieve dietary perfection - just a well balanced diet.  The trouble is that what each of us calls a “normal” diet is not necessarily healthy and is usually determined by what we grew up with - below I give a little historical perspective.


  1. Eat much more vegetables.  The recommendation that we eat five 80 gram portions of vegetables and fruit daily (“five a day”) is excellent.  In my view we will be even healthier still if we aim at six to eight portions of vegetables daily, plus two or three of fruit.  Eat a proportion of your vegetables raw.  Sprouted beans/seeds/grains are especially nutritious. 


  2. Eat lots of nuts (not peanuts) and seeds.  They are so nutritious, being particularly rich in minerals (especially zinc, magnesium, manganese, copper), essential fatty acids (EFAs) and vitamin E.  Linseed (flax) is richest source of omega 3 EFAs in plant foods, and is followed by hemp seed, walnuts, pecans & pumpkin seed.  Brazil nuts contain so much selenium (around 50 mcg per nut) that is unwise to eat more than 2 every day for long periods of time - unless you are selenium deficient.  Pumpkin, sunflower & sesame seed are about the richest plant food source of zinc.


  3. Most of us need to consume much less: fat, sugar, starch, artificial additives, milk products and wheat - because we allow these items to dominate our diet.


  4. Eat whole foods - and as little as possible refined or processed foods.  Refining or processing invariably reduces the nutritional value of food and have artificial chemical additives added.  Refining of flour and rice reduces the vitamin and mineral content dramatically.


  5. Eat fresh organic food whenever possible.  When eating non-organic food, peel or throw away the outer leaves of vegetables and fruits and wash to reduce pesticide levels.


  6. Make your diet as broad & varied as possible.  Try not to eat the same things every day and try to eat foods that are in season and less of those that are out of season.  One of the reasons that wheat and milk intolerance are so common is that they are so often consumed not only every day but several times a day over long periods of time.


  7. Eat protein rich foods at two meals a day: meat, poultry, fish, egg, cheese.  If you are vegan you need to combine either 1) grains & nuts/seeds, or 2) grains & pulses, or 3) nuts/seeds & pulses - at each meal to obtain all the essential amino acids for “complete protein”.


  8. Avoid food additives as far as possible - the majority have no nutritional value, are completely unnatural, are toxic and frequently cause hypersensitivity reactions - particularly in allergic type people.


  9. Limit coffee & tea to one or two cups a day of each.


  10. Limit alcohol to less than 14 units per week for women and less than 21 units per week for men.


  11. Do a detoxification diet every so often (eg. free of sugar, gluten grains, milk products, yeast, meats (non-organic, non-free range), additives, coffee, tea, chocolate, etc.) and witness the benefit - see my information sheet ‘Stone Age Elimination Diet’ &  book list at end.


  12. Remember that each of us is a unique individual, not only psychologically, but also with respect to our physiology, metabolism/biochemistry and genetics.  One diet doesn’t suit everyone - we have to find what is optimal for our own health and well being.  Become more observant - experiment and discover which foods make you feel better and which make you worse.  One can be sensitive to/ intolerant of any foods, even the most natural and healthy ones.  Food intolerance testing is still unreliable. See: Food Allergy


In addition to an excellent diet, I generally recommend taking a few basic nutritional supplements on a regular basis: a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement, extra vitamins D & C, essential fatty acids (especially omega 3), and extra magnesium, 200-300 mg daily, if this amount is not in the multivitamin/mineral chosen.  I have been measuring mineral, vitamin & essential fatty acid levels in my patients for nearly 30 years and have found nutritional deficiencies extremely common.  These deficiencies arise for a variety of reasons, including: inadequate diet, problems with digestion and absorption, periods of increased requirements (eg. during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood & adolescence, old age, ill health, emotional stress), alcohol, tobacco, drugs and other toxic stresses.  We are all unknowingly exposed to a remarkable cocktail of toxins (pesticides, toxic metals, volatile organic compounds, etc.), especially if we live in urban environments - I regularly do tests for these on many patients and the results are very worrying.  Toxins are “anti-nutrients” - they interfere with our biochemistry and increase our nutritional requirements.  See: Nutritional Supplements


On a purely physical level our body is a biochemical machine and the functioning of this machinery is totally dependent on receiving the right amount of raw materials.  It is helpful to draw a few analogies - they don’t hold water completely but they are highly appropriate. If you imagine any mechanical machine, you only have to be missing a few important bits and it either doesn’t work at all or it does so with much less efficiency.  Alternatively compare it to a factory making computers, every single component for the end product must be there - and in the right numbers in relation to the other components.  There are over 50 different nutrients that are essential to our health and without all of these in roughly the right amounts and proportions, our health suffers.


Man evolved over a million years meeting these requirements as a hunter gatherer.  It is only in the last 5,000 - 10,000 years (almost yesterday in evolutionary terms) that he started farming - and of course until recently there have still been a few cultures that are still effectively hunter gatherers.  The consumption of cereals and milk products in any serious quantity only began with farming.  Prior to the Industrial Revolution (early 1700’s) sugar extraction was absolutely minimal, while margarines only became popular in the early 1900’s.  Before these times there was very limited food storage, only enough to survive winter and almost no food processing/refining, minimal grains & milk products, very little vegetable oil extraction, no margarines, no refined sugars, no synthetic food additives - and now this lot comprise 70.9% of our energy intake!  This has resulted in a radical reduction in our micronutrient intake, especially when viewed relative to our calorie intake - the consequence of which can only be serious ill-health!


Here below is a list of our main nutritional requirements - an impressive list, isn’t it!  With time I will create separate pages concerning each or each group.


WATER

OXYGEN

LIGHT


PROTEINS

The essential amino acids:

  1. Isoleucine

  2. Leucine

  3. Lysine

  4. Methionine

  5. Phenylalanine

  6. Threonine

  7. Tryptophan

  8. Valine


Conditionally essential amino acids:

  1. Arginine

  2. Cysteine

  3. Glutamine

  4. Glycine

  5. Histidine

  6. Proline

  7. Serine

  8. Tyrosine


FATS - ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

  1. Omega 6 - Linoleic acid

  2. Omega 3 - Linolenic acid


CARBOHYDRATES - STARCHES & SUGARS


VITAMINS

  1. A - Retinoids

  2. C - Ascorbic acid

  3. E - Tocopherols, Tocotrienols

  4. B Group:

  5. B1 - Thiamin

  6. B2 - Riboflavin

  7. B3 - Niacin

  8. B5 - Pantothenic acid

  9. B6 - Pyridoxine

  10. B12 - Cobalamin

  11. Folic acid

  12. Biotin

  13. Choline

  14. Inositol

  15. PABA - Para aminobenzoic acid

  16. D - Cholecalciferol - see: Vitamin D

  17. K - Phytomenadione

  18. P - Flavonoids (& isoflavones)

  19. Carotenoids


MINERALS

  1. Calcium

  2. Magnesium

  3. Phosphorus

  4. Sodium

  5. Potassium

  6. Sulphur

  7. Iron

  8. Zinc

  9. Copper

  10. Manganese

  11. Chromium

  12. Selenium

  13. Cobalt

  14. Silicon

  15. Iodine

  16. Molybdenum

  17. Vanadium

  18. ?Boron

  19. ?Strontium


Not all ecological medicine pages yet complete - apologies, but coming soon!

 

Nutrition & Diet

  ECOLOGICAL MEDICINE:  Overview   Nutrition   Allergy   Bugs & Dysbiosis   Toxins  EMR

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