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Returning to the Roots of Natural Healing

Articles by Emily Isaacson

How Are Essential Nutrients Discovered?

September 17, 2015

First: What is An Essential Nutrient?

A nutrient is termed "essential" in nutrition when it must be consumed daily for structure and function. It is not produced internally by the body. As such, we must know where it is found in the food chain, and how to incorporate in into our daily diet.

For example Vitamin C is made internally by all animals except bats, guinea pigs, and primates. As such, we as humans must consume it every day, to equal the quantity made internally by other animals. Vitamin C is considered an essential nutrient, as are all the other fat and water soluble vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals. They must be present in our daily diet.

Second:  How is an essential nutrient discovered? 

An essential nutrient is named  "essential" when a scientist discovers through their provings that it cannot be adequately made in the human body. It also cannot be made on the level to support human nutrition and wellness. Every vitamin and mineral needed in the human body is "essential." They are present in food that we consume. The more nutrient-rich a food is the more essential nutrients it has.

Essential polysaccharides or Essential Glyco-Nutrients (EGN's) are a newly discovered "essential" nutrient. These saccharides and polysaccharides are found in fibers of certain primal foods and are necessary for immune function and recognition.

Particularly when the body is compromised, if the person has a disease, or auto-immune disease, the body is already showing signs that it is unable to metabolize these essential sugars through conversion from glucose. Even if the eight essential sugars are provided in food form, the person who is ill still may not be able to use them in the metabolic system. If this is the case, rather than be caught in a vicious cycle of not getting the nutrients you need, it would be wise to supplement these sugars with a product like Mannatech's ambrotose. This comes in both bulk powder and capsules and provides essential sugars. 

What are Primal Foods?

September 17, 2015

Primal foods that contain most or all eight essential saccharides include rice bran, barley bran, oat bran, mushrooms, yeast cell walls, aloe vera and gum sugars. Most of these sugars are not sweet but bitter and thus have a low glycemic index. Other glyconutrient rich primal foods include garlic, onions, leeks, carrots, fenugreek, psyllium seeds, radishes, pears, coconut meat, tomatoes, beans, kelp and figs.

To learn more let's read the research by Patrick Lecky on the eight essential sugars and their role in maintaining health.

Eight Essential Sugars

Mannose. Researchers consider mannose to be the dominant glyconutrient. Its major function is fostering cell communication and aiding tissue remodeling. Mannose lowers blood sugar and triglyceride levels in diabetics. It can also speed healing, inhibit tumor growth and spread, prevent bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections and ease the inflammation of rhematoid arthritis.   

As noted before, one of the main sources of mannose is aloe vera. Aloe contains the polysaccharide acemannan, which is simply different sized chains of mannose molecules. Kelp, shiitake mushrooms and ground fenugreek are also sources of mannose. 

Glucose. This sugar is everywhere. You don’t need to supplement it. Table sugar (sucrose) is composed of two simple sugars: glucose and fructose. Glucose is also in aloe and many, many fruits and vegetables. In the correct amounts, glucose enhances memory and cellular communication and stimulated calcium absorption.

Galactose. Lactose (milk sugar) is comprised of two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. As you know, lactose is abundant in dairy products such as milk and yogurt. In animal studies it protected the mice from cataracts. It also inhibits tumor growth and spread, particularly to the liver, aids in wound healing, decreases inflammation, enhances cellular communication and increases calcium absorption. Galactose also fosters long-term memory formation.

Fucose (not fructose) Certain mushrooms and breast milk are rich in this sugar. Studies with animals indicate that it influences brain development and helps the brain to create long-term memories. it also inhibits tumor growth and spread. High concentrations are found at the junctions between nerves, in the kidneys and in the outer skin layer. It protects against allergic reactions and inhibits respiratory tract infection. The functioning of fucose is especially abnormal in those suffering from diabetes, cancer, cystic fibrosis and shingles. Kelp seaweed has an abundance of fucoidan, a polysaccharide containing lots of fucose. Fucoidan also has xylose, mannose, galactose and glucose.

N-Acetylgalactosamine. This sugar inhibits tumor spread and enhances cellular communication. Heart disease patients are woefully lacking in this saccharide. Bovine and shark cartilage have an abundance of this sugar and also have N-acetylglucosamine. It is predominantly in the chondroitin 4-sulfate form of chondroitin derived from bovine cartilage, which is considered better than shark cartilage. Shark cartilage may have heavy metal contamination. Chondroitin is used to treat the joints of osteoarthritis patients. 

N-Acetylglucosamine. This sugar is an immune modulator that has antitumor characteristics. Besides cartilage, shiitake mushrooms are abundant in this sugar. Glucosamine, derived from N-acetylglucosamine, helps repair cartilage and decreases pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis. In animal studies, researchers have found that this sugar is vital to learning. 

N-Acetylneuraminic Acid. Abundant in breast milk, this sugar is critical for learning, brain development, memory and performance. It helps to repel bacteria, viruses and other invaders. Animal studies have shown that it inhibits strains of influenza A and B viruses more effectively than prescription antivirals. It also influences blood coagulation and cholesterol levels and lowers LDL cholesterol. The processing of this sugar is disturbed in alcoholics. It is also known as sialic acid, and good sources are whey protein isolate and organic raw eggs. Be sure to buy whey protein isolate or whey protein concentrate and not just whey protein or whey powder.  

Xylose. This antibacterial and antifungal may also help prevent cancer of the digestive tract. People suffering from colitis and other intestinal disorders have decreased absorption of xylose. Since it doesn’t promote tooth decay or spike blood sugar some manufacturers substitute xylose for corn sweeteners or sucrose in toothpaste and chewing gum marketed to diabetics. Kelp seaweed and ground psyllium seeds also contain xylose.

Source: Patrick Lecky, The Diabetic Warrior

Small Changes Mean Eating More Often

September 14, 2015

Try making small dietary changes, introducing more fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Cutting up crunchy bright colored fruits and vegetables for snacks helps you get the fiber, water and antioxidants to need to stay radiant and energetic.

Eat more regularly throughout the day to assist in improving one's nutrition. Grazing, or eating six small meals as opposed to three large ones is an improvement in raising your metabolism so you can eat more and not gain weight. I always recommend this to my clients. It is important to leave 2 1/2-3 hour between meals however. With children, the Golden Rule is three meals and three snacks for them to obtain all the nutrients they need in a day, according to the RDI's.

Are frozen vegetables healthy, I am often asked.  Not only are frozen vegetables healthy and packed with table-ready nutrients, they are frozen the day after picking, sealing in flavor and vitamins. Try to offer both raw and cooked vegetables as the basis for each meal; eat them fresh or steam them frozen to obtain the most nutrients. 

Season dishes with herbs and spices instead of salt for delicious flavor. Get to know your culinary herbs by experimenting in the bulk food spice section. Ginger and garlic are pungent spices, warming to the body on cold winter days. Add these to soup or make into tea to keep colds at bay. 

Exchanging ground turkey or chicken for hamburger meat helps lower the content of saturated fat in the diet, and is a heart-healthy option too. Try making your burritos, tacos and spaghetti with ground turkey as an alternative. This is a great invisible substitution.

Try to use healthy fats and sugars instead of refined clear polyunsaturated oils and refined white sugar, particularly in baking where it may well be invisible.

This is what I call an "invisible substitution."

How to use an invisible substitute in a recipe:

Substitute the following in a recipe, depending on whether it calls for a granulated or liquid form of sweetener, and a liquid or a solid fat. Determine whether you can substitute one for one. You can always call the nutritionist if you want to modify a recipe. Also, these days there are entire cookbooks developed for the use of these new wholesome sweeteners and fats.

Shop around. Look for ways to use Stevia, one of my favorite natural sweeteners that has 0 calories 0 carbs and 0 on the glycemic index and is an herbal product.

Good fats: olives, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, almond oil, sesame oil, coconut, virgin coconut oil; Udo’s oil, flax oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil, hemp oil, salmon oil. 

Good sweeteners: raw cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, palm sugar, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, natural maple syrup, dark molasses, raw honey, baking stevia, stevia, pure unsweetened fruit juice, sugar free jam.

Questions to ask yourself?

Will anyone notice this invisible substitution? (Do I need to say you are now eating a healthy food?)

Can it be exchanged one for one, or must the recipe be modified?

Can my kids taste buds grow to accept a sugar or fat alternative?

What Is a Therapeutic Diet?

September 14, 2015

It is necessary in our society, in identifying destructive patterns in dieters, to be able to identify what is a therapeutic diet and what is a fad diet.

A therapeutic diet is a special diet that has been prescribed by a health professional such as a doctor, naturopath, dietician, or nutritionist. This diet may be designed to treat or prevent allergies or the symptoms of a disease. In any case, a therapeutic diet is as important to the person as medication is coming from a physician. It can, and should be adhered to.

Therapeutic diets can avoid scary consequences, such as a child ending up in the emergency room from eating something they are allergic to. They help us realize what nutritional behaviors should be integrated into the social setting. People who have to eat gluten-free, for example, may choose not to eat certain foods, but if you desire, you may also have a gluten free alternative for them. It helps to note that many people these days have sensitivities to foods that cause unpleasant symptoms or are associated with diseases, and they must follow their therapeutic diet to live a normal life. This enables them to go to work and school with other people. They should not just be viewed as finicky or fussy eaters.

A fad diet is a diet that is found in a book, magazine, or on the internet that sounds like the next “big thing” that is good for weight loss, etc. It is not created for an individual with their health history, condition, and nutrient needs in mind. It is usually self-prescribed and may be the result of wanting fast weight loss that could be harmful. A fad diet should be observed with caution, as it may promote vitamin or mineral deficiencies. The far end of a fad diet is the person may be severely restricting caloric intake, all carbs or all protein. In response the body may feel severely restricted, and eating disordered behaviors and thinking may emerge. You may wonder if a person can start to think like an anorexic if they loose too much weight. It is true that if a person falls too far below their ideal weight, they may start to fear gaining weight, eating, or have anorexic thoughts.

A fad diet can be disregarded for more traditional ideas such as following a balanced diet if deficiency occurs. A therapeutic diet will balance and promote well being over the long-term if adhered to with supervision.

What is a balanced diet?

Following the Canada Food Guide doesn’t mean eating all five food groups at one meal, as it used to. Quite the opposite. You can obtain all the nutrients you need by eating three meals and three snacks in a day. Having healthy food available to kids helps them realize when and what they are hungry for. Kids actually love brightly colored, crunchy and chewy foods with interesting textures and tastes. What an opportunity to help them get the required amount of fruits and vegetables in a day instead of eating sugary foods colored with food coloring.

Healing Obesity With Whole Foods

September 14, 2015

The analogy of mental health is like a puzzle which needs to be put together, whereupon sometimes pieces are missing and we cannot always see the big picture. 

I was working at the food bank in 2006, Union Gospel Mission, and was teaching a course for the clients on eating by the rainbow. It was called ‘The Rainbow Program’. They included homeless people, people on limited income, and First Nations clients. I was applying what I knew about nutrition to people who couldn’t afford to eat, let alone see a nutritionist. I wondered how they would respond to my recommendation of eating by the rainbow, when all they were really being offered in the next room was a free meal and free white bread to take home.

I had worked previously as an eating disorder counselor and knew that preventing hunger went beyond just eating disorders, but also addressing malnutrition wherever it occurred in society.  Here it was occurring right in front of me, and I had to come up with how to shop on a limited budget and how to prevent diabetes in people that had little or no income.

When people don’t have enough to eat, various illnesses can occur. When people don’t have adequate knowledge of nutrition and how to eat, they can eat poorly, which over a lifetime leads to cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In fact, when people are malnourished they overeat in an attempt to get the nutrients they need.

There are so many psychological and social aspects once obesity begins that the ingrained patterns of fear around eating, fear of gaining weight, fear of losing weight, fear that food equals fat, mean that the malnutrition goes deeper, and the eating of wrong foods becomes more desperate in an attempt to correct the problem.

Young women and even men today are developing eating disorders at an alarming rate: anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating.

But beyond the actual symptomatology, in our society even young children are influenced by the diet culture and develop anorexic thinking, with deeply ingrained fears around food.

Besides developing nutritional deficiencies, children who are malnourished will lack the desire to engage in sports and exercise, have poor concentration, lack incentive, and make poor moral decisions.  

Our society promotes certain stereotypes that can get us on the diet treadmill for the rest of their lives.

Some examples of stereotypes:

People gain weight because they eat too much.

Overweight people need to just get off the couch and exercise more.

If you want to loose weight you should go on a diet.

Try to think like an anorexic, but don’t go too far.

Try the latest diet in this magazine, it worked for my friend.

Low carb is the way to go.

Low carb diets make people meaner than a junk yard dog.

Follow the Canada food guide religiously.

Have a shake for 2 meals, then eat a normal dinner.

Thus we see the diet roller-coaster. We go back and forth all day with these logistics in our heads. We may change our minds on what is true from one day to the next. We may see a dozen professionals with different advice, different supplements, and different rules about food. We diet and then eat. We graze and then rigidly eat three meals a day. We apply our minds over the wild horse of hunger. We feel starved and overeat out of the ice cream bucket. We stop for fast food, and settle for junk food. We buy vitamins to make up the difference.

There is food everywhere, but hunger is our enemy. It is something to be controlled and subdued. Anorexic people are to be envied.

But reality sets in eventually.

The truth is, as soon as someone starts to fear gaining weight, or thinks they are overweight these cultural stereotypes start to take hold. The typical result is that an overweight person may try to eat as little as possible all day, then eventually hunger overcomes them and they break down and eat most of their calories in one meal. This is the kind of unhealthy eating pattern that can lead to an eating disorder, or create within the person a constant fight with food and with their weight.

Instead of eating at scheduled times when we would normally become hungry throughout the day, some people develop the unhealthy pattern of fighting their hunger signals because all food equals fat.

Without nutrition education, and appropriate social cues as to when and how much to eat, how do we really know what foods contribute to weight gain and which ones don’t. Do we have to count every calorie we eat, and burn them off every day at the gym.

At some point to heal our anorexic minds, and our diet and body-conscious society we have to build a bond of trust.

We have to learn to trust our bodies, even when it seems they are giving us symptoms and messages that contribute to our problems.

How do we learn to build a bond of trust with our bodies so we can restore their balance?

The same way a counselor works to build a bond of trust with an anorexic person, for them to begin to heal.

The same way we have to work to build a bond of trust with children in order to educate them, and teach them to have healthy boundaries.

Healing Eating Disorders

September 14, 2015

The care of a fragile patient such as a young man or woman with an eating disorder is a tenuous journey back to health that needs to be addressed finally with a nutrition program that is non-numerical. This daunting task until now has baffled many caretakers, counselors and doctors as to how to proceed and in what capacity. The anorexic and bulimic patient has suppressed the acknowledgement of their condition and abided for either months or years in secrecy.  Now that the issue is at hand, and they have perhaps agreed to recovery or stabilization, the question is where and how? Even if they have not in essence agreed due to fear of overweight, the process of healing has begun  and in due time they will concur that this method was a successful one in returning them to normalicy.

When your loved one is no bigger than a baby bird, how do you feed them? When your child or friend suffers from an eating disorder do you say anything? When your client or patient refuses to eat, or binges or overeats… what then do you do as a professional? How do we find hope in such a bleak and devastating situation?  Food is the very fabric of our makeup, and its potential to heal our body means that we need it every day in quantity. How to convince someone to eat again, and nurse them back to health when they have forgotten how to consume food appropriately is a complex question. In order to answer this question, we must go deeply into the heart of what creates an eating disorder and relearn what it means to choose life, and the nature of being alive on planet earth. We must debunk some of the myths surrounding eating that cause people to think unhealthy thoughts about their bodies and about food.

Many young girls are flocking to eating disorder treatment centers, with alarmingly low weights and skeletal frames. In order to be successful, the patient and professional must first build a bond of trust. To return a depleted body to health, one that has suffered malnourishment over many months or years, is a strenuous task.  The client must trust the nutritionist’s advice and method. They must trust that it will bring about the desired results without the person becoming overweight, which may be their greatest fear. Especially where a human body has suffered serious hunger and fasting, the body may be resistant to digesting and absorbing food normally and overcompensate.  This is why refeeding must occur with caution, and gently over a longer period of time rather than too quickly, by using undue medication. 

When choosing a psychologist and nutritionist to assist with the journey to health, the question remains: How will the nutritionist know what to do for me? Should I really see a nutritionist or dietician or would this only further my condition? How much should I as an eating disorder victim eat, and in what order, and combination for best results? How should a counselor proceed if I am suffering from an eating disorder so as to bring me back to health at a gradual pace without a nutritionist available who understands this method?  Let this website be your trusted friend and guide as to how to proceed and you will find among its research and resources a nutritionist who has walked to the brink of this dangerous condition and worked in several successful eating disorder centers to bring others back from the edge.

The contest between being thin and being healthy is a long one that has spanned many decades. These two goals seem to oppose each other, yet you will find through this method, used in highly successful eating disorder clinics in both Canada and the United States, that both can be achieved. An anorexic, bulimic, or compulsively obese person, will be able to carry through this journey to health and be at a normal weight in the end. They will shed their eating disorder like an old skin for a new program that will work for a lifetime. I share with you the means to that journey, the foods to eat are those brightly colored of this antioxidant-rich program.

A nutritionist is both biologist, biochemist, and botanist: a lifetime student of foods and their properties in maintaining health. They have learned many different ways of using diet and exercise for the benefit of the client, to achieve their individual goals. Each client is different and so for the holistic nutritionist it is important to have a distinct plan for every separate individual, that they can follow without too much care, and which can be amended to suit the patient.  The patient must be accountable to their health professional and try to tell them the truth about their ability or inability to follow nutritional advice or program. They must be willing to do something altogether new, try new foods, and experiment with cooking as they are able.

The client will find with time, they are immensely grateful that this approach was taken. They will resume their normal activities once again, feel joy and happiness and their depression and obsession with food and diet will lift. They will again lead a normal life if they follow this program and protocol.  Many people have experienced this or I would not assuring you that it can be done. I have explained many times to clients and patients why a person must have a high metabolism to ingest the amount of food necessary to maintain health.  This prevents overweight and reassures the client that they will be able to eat all the necessary nutrients. 

With any disease or condition there are many emotions attached to both sickness and wellness. We feel guilt when those we love suffer unnecessarily, and to have that guilt continue for many years erodes the fabric of relationship and health in those around eating disorder sufferers. Some of these children have tragically died from the condition, etching the guilt into lines of grief. When there was nothing that could be done to save a skeletal dying child, the pain is very deep in a parent’s soul. Even if you have waited a long time to hear these words, I would exhort you not to give up right now.

No longer must the eating disorder patient dwell for years on end with no cure in sight and no means for recovery. Food that is energetically sound is the healer, and will nourish every cell as appropriately deserved, now, with your permission.

I ask you to affirm now, as on the day of your birth, when you were born into this world: that food is essential for life, and that you affirm its goodness and nourishment to you each time you eat.  You are assured again and again of its power both to hurt or to heal you. You are now the bearer of a gift of knowledge that will take you beyond this place of fear and disease to wholeness and healing. 

Buy Emily Isaacson's book: Little Bird's Song

Healing Depression With Whole Foods

September 14, 2015

Holistic nutrition teaches you what to do to prevent depression and disease from happening to you. It incorporates information about whole foods and makes it easy to understand. It teaches you how to cook so you save money, eat healthy and lose weight while accomplishing your goals.

When we shop in the grocery store we have many choices. When we make intelligent choices we save money, feel better, and have smart kids. Buying foods that are high in sugar and food colorings is not in our best interest; we can use The Rainbow Program and switch them for brightly colored fruits and vegetables instead.

Brightly colored foods appeal to the mind, and we need the color wavelengths from colored food to be balanced. We actually need to eat red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple foods every day, not forgetting brown, black white, clear and pink. These different colors stimulate different organs and hormones and provide different biochemicals that our bodies need to run properly and protect us from metabolic depression.

Whole Foods

When we eat natural food: food grown in mineralized soil, and eat it in its natural state, we grow big and strong. Whole foods are foods that are eaten the way we find them in nature, without added processing. They contain the fewest chemicals and are all different shapes and all different colors.

Whole foods supply the vitamins and minerals we need each day. When we eat them it is more work for our body, so our metabolism goes up. This helps us to digest other foods, such as animal products. This also helps us burn fat and lose weight, so we don’t become overweight. It is very difficult to become overweight on a diet of whole foods, first, because they are high in water, and second, because they take up more room, leaving less room for unhealthy foods such as pop and chips.

Cooking Whole Foods

Whole foods have to soaked, peeled, or cut before eating, so they take some preparation. Soup is an ideal way to consume vegetables, beans and lentils and rice, and it will last if you freeze it.

Using a pressure cooker or a slow cooker is also a good way to prepare whole foods. Vegetables may be put in a frying pan with some olive oil and saute-sealed, as well as chicken breast or ground turkey and herbs and spices. Herbs may be selected raw or dried. Dried herbs are available in the bulk foods section. Spices may be ground in a coffee grinder.

When we use herbs for cooking or in tea we increase the mineral content of our foods. They taste better and are more nutritious. Ginger and garlic are both pungent, particularly warming in winter months, and can be added to saute-sealed vegetables and soup.

The Rainbow Program to Mediate Against Depression

Well designed for the school system, to prevent eating disorders and behavioral/cognitive problems, this program encourages children to select one food each day from every color group. The Rainbow Program was created to help with the maintenance of weight throughout the life cycle without dieting. It also assists in the prevention of eating disorders and depression, hormone imbalance, and behavioral disorders using color wavelengths.

Naturally Colored Food

July 22, 2015

Use the natural colors of food to receive every color spectrum. This antioxidant rich program of whole foods will help you raise your metabolism, eat without dieting, teach your kids about nutrition and how to love healthy food, and help you overcome obstacles such as depression and disease. 

This holistic approach makes nutrition practical, defines what to buy at the grocery store and how to minimize allergic reactions to foods by consuming them in their whole natural state in all colors, successful in graduating the patient to a healthful lifestyle. Discover how to substitute food colorings for the benefit of naturally colored foods, providing a balanced spectrum to the body.

You can use The Rainbow Program in support groups, health food stores, hospital programs or counseling. It works well with both children and adults, and is designed to cross language and cultural barriers.

Foods in the Rainbow Program are categorized by color. Selecting colored foods is one of the first steps in good nutrition. Brightly colored foods are higher in nutrients, and nourish the body without added sugar or food colorings. They also help protect the body from conditions such as free-radical damage and oxidation of cells.

The Rainbow Program suggests eating one selection from each color group each day (red through pink) on our whole foods list to stimulate the different organs and organ systems. This is called a rotation. If this is repeated twice, then the person has consumed two rotations.

Fruits and vegetables contain various antioxidants in the form of carotenes, anthocyanidins, and phytochemicals which help fight the free radicals that lead to cancer.

To obtain the full spectrum of red lycopene, orange carotenes, through purple anthocyanidins: phytochemicals present in whole foods, it is necessary that we consume a variety of seasonal fresh produce. The Rainbow Program encourages people to get a broad spectrum of nutrients and colors.

Emily Isaacson writes on transitioning to colored foods, rich in antioxidants, from the white flour and white sugar so common in today's marketplace. Stay tuned...