THIS IS THE PATHWAY TO HEALTH AND VITALITY
        What is the Healthy Cell Concept and how can it help you to experience better health?  

       We start with cells because it is at the cellular level that health begins.  All body tissue is made up of cells.  The body can be defined as trillions of cells, all having specific duties and responsibilities, that produce life for the body.  Therefore, life begins, is maintained and ends at the cellular level.

       Healthy cells produce healthy tissue.  Unhealthy cells produce diseased tissue. Diseased tissues ultimately produce death of the body.  Our goal is to maintain cells at as optimal a level of health as possible, so that we can avoid disease and live an abundant life. This is what the Healthy Cell Concept is all about.

       Maintaining a healthy and strong body is not something that just happens.  It takes awareness of cause and effect as it relates to how we take care of our bodies and minds.  It relates to the quality of food that we feed our bodies on a daily basis and how well we eliminate the wastes from that food’s metabolism.   Maintaining health involves how willing we are to maintain physical fitness through exercise and what kind of effort we put forth to regulate our thoughts and general mental/spiritual attitude.  There is a price to be paid to maintain healthy cells, and a failure to pay that price will often lead to degenerate disease.

       The number one degenerative problem that we continue to deal with in this country is heart disease.  Hundreds of thousands of people die every year from heart disease and yet the first heart attack ever recorded in a medical journal was in 1912. This doesn't mean  people didn't die of heart disease before 1912 but it does indicate that heart disease was not the killer it is today.  It is only in the past eighty years or so that heart disease has become a significant killer.  American soldiers killed in World War I and autopsied, were seldom found to have cardiovascular disease.   Soldiers killed in the Vietnam War and autopsied, were rarely found not to have the beginning or even the advanced stages of cardiovascular disease.

       Death from cancer continues to push heart disease for the number one spot. Hundreds of thousands of people die every year in our nation from this dreaded disease.  If you were living at the turn of the 19th century, you would have had a one in twelve chance of developing cancer sometime during your life time.  Today your chances are one in three   America continues to have the highest rate of infant cancer in the world.  Despite the so-called "war on cancer" that began during the Nixon administration in the 1960's, cancer continues to be a major health concern. 

     Diabetes claims additional hundreds of thousands of lives every year in our nation and it continues to reduce the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of others, who must contend with its wide range of negative effects upon the body.

       Arthritis and various other inflammatory problems, along with such bothersome problems as fibromyalgia, inflict pain on millions of Americans day in and day out making life miserable and reducing quality of life.   High blood pressure, digestive disorders, liver and kidney disease, chronic fatigue, mental depression and hundreds of other health problems are a constant companion to much of the American population. 

      How did we get ourselves into such a health mess and what can we do to work our way back to having the kind of health that our bodies were designed to experience? 

       I mentioned above that cause and effect are involved in the status of our health.  We hear a lot of talk about the cause of this or that disease. In this essay we want to talk about the cause of health.  Addressing the cause of health is where the Healthy Cell Concept comes in.   If we can cause health, we automatically do a great deal to avoid disease.  Let’s begin by focusing our attention on diet:


       How we feed our cells will be our first and most important consideration in the Healthy Cell Concept.

       The number one concern in The Healthy Cell Concept involves cell food.  Our diet plays a major role in how well our trillions of cells are able to function at optimal levels. Food contains the elements that our bodies need to function as they were intended to function.  An automobile engine requires gas and oil and an electrical spark from its “heart” the battery, in order to run.   The quality of the gas will directly affect the manner in which the engine will perform.  For example, water in the gas will result in a choking, sputtering engine.  When the water is removed, the engine returns to normal function. Our physical and mental health responds in much the same way.  We have to get the “water out of the gas,” nutritionally speaking.  We have to remove from our diet what doesn’t belong and insure that our diet is rich in high quality, nutritionally dense food.  We need to eat food fitting to our physiological and psychological needs.

       The standard American diet (sometimes referred to as the SAD diet), is comprised of around 25% refined sugar, 33% fat,  high in sodium, low in fiber and heavy on processed refined foods.  It is this diet that former Surgeon General Dr. C Everett Koop declared was responsible for 75% of the deaths in this country.  What’s the evidence for such a statement?  The evidence lies in the knowledge that our bodies require a wide range of nutrients on a daily basis in order to function as designed.  The standard American diet simply does not provide that wide range of nutrients.

       Let’s begin by taking a look at sugar.  Is all sugar bad for you?  The answer lies in understanding the difference between simple sugars, complex sugars and refined sugars.   Sugar of any kind is a carbohydrate.  Carbohydrates, like fats and proteins, are required by our bodies for a variety of metabolic functions.  Simple sugars are short chain molecular structures that are found in fruits, natural sweeteners such as honey, pure maple syrup and a variety of other foods.  Complex sugars are long chain molecular structures as found in whole grains, beans and vegetables.  Both the simple and the complex sugars, as found naturally in unrefined, unprocessed foods, are there in attachment to vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, fibers and a host of other plant substances.  It is this complexing of sugars with a wide range of other nutrients that allows the body to properly process these sugars into the appropriate metabolic pathways that lead to usage by the cells.

       Refined sugars, on the other hand, are not attached to other nutrients.  Vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutrients are removed in the refining process, leaving behind what is referred to as an empty calorie.  The commonly used white sugar called sucrose is a classic example of this.  The sugar cane or sugar beet plant is refined to the point where the accompanying nutrients that are normally present are stripped away, leaving behind the white crystalline substance that is so commonly used by people all over the world but especially here in America.

       White flour is another example of a highly refined carbohydrate where the original grain has the nutrient dense germ removed.  The fiber is also removed and then the remaining starchy endosperm is chemically bleached to make it lily white.  Like white sugar, white flour is largely devoid of vitamins and minerals and will only provide the body with calories which are units of heat that the body can use to fuel the energy making process.

       The problem is that in order for the body to process calories into energy, a very complex process must first take place.  This process requires a variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, co-enzymes, hormones, various amino acids and fatty acids.  Now if these nutrients have been removed in the refining process, where is the body going to get them?  It can’t get them from the 25% of the diet which is derived from refined sugar.  It won’t get them from the 33% of the diet that is derived from fat. Fat is a poor source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other co-factors.

       The body ends up doing the best it can with whatever level of nutrition is coming in from the rest of the diet.  If that level of nutrition is marginal, the body will struggle to maintain balance or what is referred to as homeostasis.  If lack of proper nutritional support continues for any length of time, once healthy cells begin to break down. As these cells break down, they are replaced by less healthy cells which can then lead to tissue break down. As tissues begin to break down, the body will begin to manifest symptoms of malfunction, a situation which we refer to as disease.  Unfortunately we often bring disease upon ourselves by our failure to provide the proper fuel to operate this high tech mechanism called the human body.

       Eating nutritious food is the first step in following the Healthy Cell Concept.   Eating nutritious food means avoiding processed refined foods that have been stripped of their nutrients and in their place have had refined sugar, salt and any number of chemical compounds added.   Let's look at salt as an example.   We all need the mineral sodium to be in our diet.  Sodium is necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach which in turn facilitates the breakdown of proteins and minerals.  Sodium is important to nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction and nutrient transport to cell membranes. Most importantly, sodium works with potassium to maintain proper cellular fluid balance.  The RDA for sodium is around 2000 milligrams per day.  It's been demonstrated that the human body can function quite well on as little as 200 milligrams per day.  The average American consumes from six to eighteen thousand milligrams of salt per day in the form of sodium chloride where about 40% of the salt is sodium and the remaining 60% is chloride. 

       This means that the average American is taking in between 2,400 milligrams and 7,200 milligrams of pure sodium on a daily basis. Sodium is found mainly outside the cell and potassium is found primarily inside the cell.  Potassium should be found in a ratio of approximately 2:1 over sodium in order to maintain proper fluid balance between the inside and outside of the cell.  The recommended daily intake for potassium is between 3000 and 5000 milligrams per day.

       Many Americans have a reverse ratio of 2:1 sodium over potassium. This situation leads to an increase in blood volume leading to increased pressure in the circulatory system which creates hypertension. Excess sodium in the diet is also rough on the kidneys as these organs must work harder to excrete the excess sodium.  Excess excretion of sodium tends toward excess excretion of potassium.  Potassium is a very important mineral in the energy making process.  Therefore, excess sodium can rob the body of potassium thus leading to fatigue.

       Why do we Americans consume so much sodium?  The reason becomes obvious by simply looking at the standard American diet which is heavy on processed and refined foods. Such foods often lose their taste due to the removal of many nutritional factors in the refining process.  In order to make such bland foods attractive to the buying public, the food industry likes to add salt (sodium chloride) to processed foods to enhance their taste and to act as a preservative.  This results in our consuming much more sodium than the body requires.

       For example, one-half cup of cooked fresh green beans will contain about 5 mg. of sodium.  The same serving of Green Giant canned beans will contain around 190 mg. of salt.   A three fourth’s cup of unprocessed rolled oats has about 1 mg. of sodium.  An equal portion of Quaker instant oat meal contains 252 mg. of salt.   A 1.5 oz. piece of natural cheddar cheese will contain around 300 mg. of salt. The same amount of Kraft pasteurized processed cheese has 698 mg. of salt.  Helping yourself to a serving of unprocessed cooked rice will net you about 1 mg. of sodium.  The same serving of minute rice will yield 570 mg. of salt.

       The fast food restaurant is “sodium heaven.”   One Big Mac will donate 1,010 mg. of salt to your diet.  One quarter pounder with cheese comes in at 1,380 mg. of salt.  One Arbee’s big roast beef sandwich tips the scales at 1,770 mg. and Wendy’s triple cheeseburger wins the prize at 1,848 mg. of salt.  Remember, 40% of this salt (sodium chloride) is pure sodium.

       From these few examples, it can easily be seen why we Americans consume as much sodium as we do and why hypertension is a major health problem with its related risks of stroke and cardiovascular disease.  Besides the addition of sodium, we find sugar and a multiple number of chemical preservatives, conditioners, and emulsifiers added to many refined and processed foods.  The crowning blow comes when such foods have their nutrients reduced or totally stripped away during the refining process.  Just a couple of examples will suffice to demonstrate the problem.  Let’s compare one medium size raw carrot weighing approximately 72 grams with an equal portion of canned carrots.
            One raw carrot will have 2,025 international units (IU’s) of vitamin A.  The canned carrot will have 1,005 IU’s of A.  The raw carrot has 6.7 mg. of vitamin C. The canned carrot has 2 mg. of C.  Potassium is 233 mg in the raw carrot and 131 mg. in the canned carrot. The raw carrot has 11 mg. of magnesium while the canned carrot has 6 mg.                              
      A comparison of 2/3 cup of cooked brown rice and 2/3 cup of cooked white rice revealed the following:  The brown rice had 92 mg. of potassium and 48 mg. of magnesium while the white rice had 39 mg. of potassium and 15 mg. of magnesium.                 

       A comparison of raw broccoli and cooked broccoli showed a 50% drop in potassium, a 60% drop in magnesium and a 40% drop in vitamin C when the broccoli was cooked.  Plus, all the enzymes would be destroyed in the cooking process which would be true of any food processed in excess of 120 degrees.
       With these few brief examples, we see the problem that exists when foods are refined and processed. Significant nutritional value is lost.  The exclusive consumption of such foods compromises our nutritional status and we suffer health problems as a result.  This is a glaring example of cause and effect in action.

       To drive home the point of how processed and refined foods can affect the status of our health, I want to cite the research of Dr. Otto Schaefer, M.D. and Dr. Weston Price, who was a dentist.  We will start with Dr. Schaefer.

       Dr. Schaefer, an internal medicine specialist, looked at the diets of Eskimos living along the northern borders of Canada back in the 1950's.  He found that these Eskimos lived in large groups, migrated with the food supply and ate a diet consisting primarily of fats and protein from fish, fowl and wild animals, along with carbohydrates obtained from grains, vegetables and wild berries.   The general health of these Eskimos was very good with degenerative disease virtually unknown.

       By the mid 1960's their way of life had changed drastically.  Beginning in the mid 1960's, military and civilian airports were built along radar stations across the entire Canadian Arctic border.  Many of the native Eskimos became government employees.  The typical Eskimo family now lived in a house on an air strip or defense installation. They  bought their food from a store on the base and ate three meals a day at the local cafeteria.

       The entire composition of their diet changed as they switched from eating their native diet to eating a processed and refined food diet.  The protein content of their diet was reduced considerably and replaced with foods high in refined, simple carbohydrates as opposed to the complex carbohydrates they were accustomed to. The results of these changes were illuminating.   In ten years, the incidence of diabetes tripled.  Diseases of the arteries among men over forty increased fivefold. Gall bladder surgery became routine.  Acne among teenagers became common place. These are just some examples of the downturn in health that occurred among these Eskimos.

       Dr. Price did his research back in the 1930's when it was still possible to study a variety of areas around the world where people were living on a natural food diet, drinking clean water and generally avoiding the inroads of modern civilization.  In studying a community of people living in the isolated valley of Lotschental, Switzerland, Dr. Price found these people to be living on a diet primarily composed of homemade bread, fresh raw milk, and food grown on their own land.  In examining their children ranging in age from seven through sixteen, Dr. Price determined that these children had one cavity per three children. 

         In a neighboring village separated by a mountain pass, Dr. Price conducted the same examinations, but here he found an average of six to seven cavities per child.  Upon investigation, it was determined that those living in this second community were consuming a diet very similar to the first community studied, with one major exception.   In the second community, several years earlier, a road had been cut through to a major city in Switzerland which resulted in the importation of a variety of processed and refined fast food type items which this community of people was consuming with their traditional diet.  This was the only difference in the life styles of these two communities.  This difference, however, made a significant difference in dental health.  Dr. Price repeated these investigations all over the world and always with the same result.   When he found that processed refined food had been introduced into the diet, dental caries increased as well as a variety of other health problems that he observed.

       One additional area that needs to be considered in our discussion of the impact of refined foods on the status of our health is the area of blood sugar.  All carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which is the basic fuel used by the body to produce energy in the cell.  When we consume carbohydrates, those carbohydrates are broken down in the digestive process at different rates depending on the composition of the carbohydrate.  As a general rule, complex carbohydrates break down slower than simple carbohydrates and therefore require less release of the hormone insulin to process the glucose that is generated    This is why complex carbohydrates, made up of long molecular chains of sugars, will provide longer term energy for the body because they provide a longer, more steady feed of sugars to the energy making process.
       In recent years, the glycemic index has been developed to show the rate at which different kinds of carbohydrate containing foods will break down into glucose. As a general rule, carbohydrate foods that break down quickly during digestion will have the highest glycemic index values and those that break down slowly will have a lower value.

       As you can see from this discussion, the quality of our diet is the first consideration in maintaining healthy cells. Our goal should be to shift from the consumption of processed and refined foods to the eating of whole foods.  Refined foods are your boxed, canned and packaged foods, along with most of your fast food restaurant offerings.  Whole foods are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as rice, wheat, barley and rye berries, beans and nuts and seeds.  Meats and dairy products should be as unprocessed as possible.  We should strive to purchase organically grown food which will provide us with greater nutrition and freedom from chemical contamination.

       A pioneer in the field of health and nutrition, V.E. Irons, once made this classic statement: “Eat only those things that will spoil or rot, but eat them before they do.”   His point was that the majority of our diet should be “live” foods, foods that have their nutritional content in tack, foods that are enzymatically active, foods that have the ability to spoil in a short time.  Most Americans consume “dead” foods as a major part of their diet.  Such foods have been devitalized and made stable through processing to the point where they will not spoil or rot for a long, long time.  Unfortunately such foods do not produce health but lead to disease.  I recommend that you eat fresh “live” foods that are nutritionally dense. You will notice a difference in the status of your health in a short time. 

The Health Cell Concept: Part Two