A great part of what I have learned revolves around nutrition; something that I have always told my patients to get, but never really told them how to get it. For the greater part of my practice, I thought of a diet as a certain balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats as seen diagrammed in ‘the food pyramid’. This is the ‘Macro-Diet’ concept. I now know that diets and nutritional concepts revolve around cellular chemistry and cellular nutrients. I’ll get back to this later.

For some reason, not yet well understood, exercise is basic to good health. The interesting thing is that you don’t have to be a ‘jock’ to get enough exercise. Walking is good. It should be done for at least 20 minutes at least 3 times a week for starters. Getting up to 30 minutes 5 times a week will satisfy the body’s exercise requirement. Those who have concern about exercise or have physical problems can arrange to get professional consults and exercise prescriptions. If you would like to take this approach, you could contact strama@memhc.com is you are in the Medford area. I fill my need for exercise by walking, hiking, or cross-country skiing in season.

Attitude plays a huge role in health. This includes self-image, stress levels, emotions such as fear, anger, frustration, resentment, the capacity to love and to give, and our belief system. This is obviously not something to be handled in a paragraph! I have learned that there is a mind-body or body-mind system that is chemically mediated by substances called neuropeptides. Like it or not, this is a fact of life and cannot be changed. To ignore our emotions is done at great peril to our health. My belief and relationship with God has given me freedom from these harmful emotions. Each person has to address this issue individually to truly have good health.

Getting back to nutrition: We need to learn a new concept about nutrition. We need to think of nutrition as a cellular process on a molecular level to properly understand it. Our metabolism is as individualized as our fingerprints. We are not only controlled by our genetic inheritance but also by how our genes function. The function of our genes is greatly influenced by what nutrients are present in our cells. Our genes are like computer programs that ‘tell’ our cells what kind of protein to make. If the ‘building blocks’ (nutrients) for these proteins are not there, a defective copy will be made.

The low fat, low cholesterol diets, which we have been teaching about, are not keeping people healthy because various sugars have been substituted for the fats. Our sugar intake has been increasing for many years. High insulin levels are the result. There is then conversion of these sugars to fat and our liver is signaled to make more ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Our immune system cannot function properly unless the essential glyconutrients are available for cellular communication. The glycoproteins enable our immune cells to identify invading organisms and abnormal cells within our bodies and destroy them.

About 75% of our immune function is in the white blood cells lining our intestinal tract. This is where our body comes in closest contact with our external environment and there is able to destroy invading organisms and neutralize toxins.

Although it is theoretically possible to get all the needed nutrients by eating plant ripened fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts, essential oils and proteins, it is a practical improbability to supply these substances without supplementation. It is especially difficult with all of the processed foods on the grocery shelves and easy availability of fast foods with their ’empty’ calories and high sugars.

The profound health effects of natural products are being recognized more and more. I have been puzzled by the slow acceptance of this information in traditional medicine. I think it is because of the lack of large-scale experimental studies of nutritional approaches. Large-scale scientific studies are very expensive. Obviously it is not in the corporate interest of drug companies to do them. I have seen where they have withdrawn funding from laboratories attempting to do them. The very powerful ‘medical-pharmaceutical complex’ has replaced the old military-industrial complex which we talked about in the forties and fifties. These studies need to be done and our taxes should fund these studies. The tax dollars spent would be repaid many times over with better national health, decreased drug expenses, and getting the information for people to get better personal control of their health.