by David Christopher M.H.

Those of us reading this newsletter know that we should make healthy changes to our diet.  The hard part is knowing how to make these changes.  Perhaps it would help to know why we eat the way we do, not as an excuse for staying the same but as a guide to improve our well-being.

All herbivores and omnivores have an attraction to sweetness because it indicates high caloric and vitamin content of the food.  To be physically active we need energy and calories provide this energy.  This is not a “lose-lose” scenario.  Eating sweet foods is natural and necessary. But in this scenario the sweets we eat should be natural, in their whole fresh state, nothing added and nothing taken away.  Fresh fruit satisfies this necessity. 

Herbivores are supplied these sweet calories with grass (just notice the extreme sweetness of wheat grass juice).  If we have indulged in highly processed sweet “foods”, and have developed an “addiction” to this highly advertised merchandise then a remedy of barberry root extract, or any other extremely bitter herb is recommended.  The extreme bitter taste seems to counter the desire for sweetness.

The taste of bitter is normally disliked by people.  This may have roots in our hunter/gatherer days, when the taste of bitter was a warning.  Poisonous plants are acrid and the closest taste to acrid is bitter.  Medicinal plants tend to be bitter so when we are sick we have a better tolerance for this taste, perhaps even a craving.  Cravings for bitter coffee and beer may be an attempt, by the body, to obtain a remedy for healing.

Unlike fruits, vegetables are not as sweet and do not provide many calories, which makes them the best foods to help lose weight.  Vegetables are the best source for vitamins, minerals and other healing compounds which have bitter tastes. It is generally the slight bitterness of vegetables that cause their rejection at meals.  Flavorful herbs and spices, salt sparingly, and the richness of oils help counter the disagreeable taste that most Americans have for vegetables.

Correct food choices start at conception.  When soon to be moms eat nutritious foods during pregnancy, the child will be more prone to eat those nutritious foods as well.  The flavor and odors of what mothers eat are present in the amniotic fluid, which is swallowed by the fetus (they are also found in breast milk).  Fetal taste buds are mature at 13 weeks and taste receptor cells are functioning at 16 weeks.  This phenomenon is evident with American couples who adopt Asian babies. Even though these babies have no exposure to Asian foods they are attracted to the flavors of the food their biological mothers consumed while carrying them.

Adults and older children can change their food preferences by consistently eating these nutritious foods.  One of the ways of introducing these more bitter vegetables is to slightly sweeten them and then gradually reduce the sweeteners.

The next step to healthy eating is making sure that at least 50% of all food consumed is raw.  There are several “Non-Cook” books available to guide us in preparing these healthy raw additions. Melissa Chappells book, “Faves” is full of delicious raw recipes and is the newest addition to the excellent books published by Dr. Christopher Publications.