Articles From the September 1995 Unification News
Digestion and Staying Healthy
In the last few articles I explained the concept of internal cleansing and how it is best accomplished. But, cleansing the digestive and eliminative systems, together with the circulatory and lymph systems is not enough! We need to avoid reintroducing poisonous substances into our body. There are two ways by which poisons can enter our body: one is through eating so called junk foods, the other through eating healthy foods, but having that food turn into poison in the body.
There is one aspect to eating for maximum health that is hardly understood, even by those who try to eat correctly. Many of you have reduced your fat and sugar intake, you cut out red meat from your diet, in short, you try to eat responsibly. Still, you don't feel as well as you would like to. Why is this?
Now is the time to explore the area of proper "food combining." This term refers to those combinations of foods which are compatible with each other in digestive chemistry. In other words, the goal of food combining is to aid the digestive process. It is not correct to think that as long as we eat enough of the basic food groups within a day that we well be properly nourished. Only foods that are properly digested will nourish us. Undigested foods, on the other hand, lead to putrefaction in our intestines which is the decomposition of proteins and carbohydrates and their conversion to poisonous substances. Furthermore, we all know why new wine must be put into new wineskins; likewise, we will not be well if we put fresh foods into unclean, putrefied digestive and eliminative tracts.
Where do these poisonous substances go? Into our blood stream, lymph system, the liver, kidneys and other vital organs. In the short run we experience a loss of energy, in the long run, we set ourselves up for a great many health problems. The liver and kidneys have to work extra hard to process and eliminate the poisons from the body. Even the skin, which is one of the major eliminative organs, will show the effects of improper eating habits through rashes and other skin problems.
Heartburn and indigestion are looked at as minor problems by many, they ought to be taken seriously however, since they are an indication that something is wrong with the way the body accepts and digests foods. Over the counter medications for heartburn, indigestion and constipation are by far the most taken medicines in this country! A recent advertisement emphasized the fact that 23 million Americans are taking acid blocking medications! This fact testifies to the need for information on proper eating. Even insomnia is related to the body's chemical imbalance caused by the putrefaction of foods. What is even worse is the fact that medications taken for these conditions only mask or deal with the symptoms without ever solving the underlying problems.
There is one additional area that greatly concerns me when thinking about the Unificationist community. We need to consider the effects of feeding children the haphazard combinations of foods commonly offered. The fermentation produced in their digestive tract as a result of such eating represents a major factor in causing childhood diseases. One of the pioneers in the field of food combining, Dr. Herbert Shelton writes this in his book Food Combining Made Easy:
"Until parents learn how to feed their children with proper respect for enzymatic limitations and cease feeding them the so-called `balanced meals' now in vogue, their children are going to continue to suffer not only with colds and tonsillar troubles, but with gastritis (indigestion), diarrhea, constipation, feverishness, the various children's diseases, poliomyelitis, etc."
Dr. Shelton mentioned the magical words-enzymatic limitations. What do they mean?
Digestion is the process by which the complex materials of food are broken down into simpler substances in preparation for their entrance into the bloodstream. For example, proteins are broken down into various amino acids, carbohydrates are converted to sugar, and fats are broken down into fatty acids. The body is then able to use these simpler materials to build new tissue.
This natural breakdown begins in the mouth, continues in the stomach, and is completed in the small intestine. Regarding the practical application of food combining principles, the conditions present in the mouth and stomach will be our primary concern since the efficiency of digestion in the small intestine is greatly dependent upon the work done in the mouth and stomach.
When we chew food, the saliva initiates the digestive process. Appropriate digestive juices are secreted, depending on the type of food ingested. If the food contains starch, the enzyme amylase is secreted at that time.
In the stomach, gastric juices are secreted, containing primarily hydrochloric acid and other digestive enzymes. The concentration and overall makeup of these gastric juices depends on the type of food eaten. Proteins require a highly acidic medium for the digestive enzyme, pepsin, to be effective. Starches and fats, however, require a nearly neutral medium for their digestion. Amylase, the above mentioned starch enzyme, is actually destroyed in the presence of a highly acidic gastric juice. And lipase, the fat digestive enzyme, is inhibited in its work in the highly acidic medium.
In addition, the enzymes present in the third area, the small intestine, cannot do their digestive work properly, if digestion in the stomach has not proceeded correctly. Furthermore, the time required for the stomach to empty its contents into the small intestine, depends on the type of food eaten. Fruits remain in the stomach an hour or less. Starches require two to three hours to complete gastric digestion, and proteins require four hours or more. These numbers apply only if the foods are eaten by themselves! If eaten in combinations, food remains in the stomach longer than is normally required, due to digestive incompatibility. This means, the food will likely decompose, offering no nutritional benefits, providing a breeding ground for unhealthy microorganisms, and effecting the whole body, not only the digestive and eliminative tract, through slow self-poisoning. In other words, the shorter waste stays in the colon, the less chance there is for a contamination of the circulatory and lymph systems.
I believe, you can already see the pattern that is developing here. Anytime, two or more incompatible types of food are eaten at the same time, each requiring opposite conditions for their digestion, the digestive process is less than efficient. The responsibility for proper digestion rests with us. Failure to observe the limits of our body's digestive abilities, causes not only the plethora of American digestive ills, but in the long run more serious health problems as well.
Next month I will go into detail, outlining the different food groups and how to combine them properly for best digestion. I will also provide you with a sample meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that will help adults and children alike to eat for maximum nutrition, greater energy and abundant health.
Until then, I wish you the best of health.
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