From Aging to Ageless: Spring Cleaning from the Inside Out
• Sondra Fields, Ph.D.
Last month nutritionist Donna Gates and Neurosurgeon Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride told us “Fix The Gut First” in order to stay well or begin to cure disease. This month I want to share with you what these leading edge women and others have to say about how to fix our guts.
In 1962 Rachel Carson’s now famous “Silent Spring” with its warning that we are “slowly destroying the balance of our planet’s ecosystem,” was published. In 1996 Donna Gates first published “The Body Ecology Diet” wherein she began Part 1 with the title “A Silent Spring Within.”
You’ve heard the expression “so without, so within.” This is exactly what Gates wants us to hear — what we have been doing (and many would say still are doing) to our planet we are also doing to ourselves.
In Gates’ own words, “We are destroying the delicate balance of the ecosystem that exists within our own bodies.” The positive here is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to restore balance to our gut flora and thus health to our inner ecosystem.
That easy way of restoration is, in my personal opinion, also quite delicious. If you haven’t guessed, we’re talking about fermented foods like sauerkraut and other fermented veggies, yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir, to name a few.
Since we are fresh into spring, it seems the perfect time to talk about an internal Spring Cleaning, another way of saying — it’s a good time to detox. Eating fermented foods just happens to be possibly the best and most enjoyable way to cleanse and get rid of unhealthy pathogens in our guts.
In the 1920s and 1930s a dentist by the name of Dr. Weston A. Price began to see an increase of tooth decay, gum and jaw problems among his patients. He questioned why this was happening.
Could there be a correlation between increased oral disease and the new “processed food” being introduced into the American diet, Price wondered? Thus began his travels around the world to study primitive cultures untouched by these “new” processed foods; a trip that spanned more than nine years and included 14 groups of native people.
You see, Dr. Price held a very advanced belief that a person’s overall health directly affected their dental health. The healthier the body, the healthier the teeth was his hypothesis which he sought to confirm by exploring the health and diet of people untouched by what he saw as a modern American diet compromised by the processing of natural foods.
Processed foods that we saw as potentially harmful were foods that have been boxed or packaged filled with chemicals to enhance flavor or preserve shelf life and thus severely altered from their original natural form; foods also high in sugar and white flour. His research published in his book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” is being recommended today, some 70 plus years later, as extremely interesting and containing excellent information about diet and health.
At the time of publication, 1939, his research was highly criticized. In general, he found that native peoples, around the world, before being introduced to western industrialized foods were much healthier than those who began consuming compromised processed foods and so were their teeth.
One finding, which cannot be refuted, is having a rebirth of attention and validation today — that of fermentation. Every single culture that Price observed consumed fermented foods daily.
Lacto-fermented foods, and that is the type of fermentation we’re discussing, are loaded with probiotic bacteria — microorganisms that when ingested provide a chelation action that removes toxic metals from the body.
In addition probiotics capture chemicals — those that cause cancer as well as other ailments. According to Dr. Champbell-McBride, “If they (probiotics) cannot neutralize them (chemicals), they hold them until they can be taken out of the body” through natural bodily elimination.
Donna Gates’ explains the work performed by these microbiotics this way, “…they get down inside you and they make B vitamins. They extract the minerals from the food you’re eating, and they make Vitamin K, as well, and they keep the gut clean. They’re very intelligent the way they work together and communicate with each other…They actually know that you need certain things, let’s say you’re low in calcium, they’ll take another mineral and make calcium for you.”
Speaking of calcium takes us back to bones and teeth. Osteopath Dr. Joseph Mercola had been plagued with a “very aggressive bacteria in his mouth” most of his life. This condition created excessive plaque and demanded that he see a dental hygienist once a month.
After consuming fermented vegetables for a little over a month his hygienist reported that for the first time ever the amount of plaque in his mouth had decreased by 50 percent. Fermenting your own foods, especially vegetables, is quite easy and inexpensive. I won’t go into the steps of fermentation. Numerous books and websites will walk you through the process.
You might want to check out Donna Gates’ book “The Body Ecology Diet” or Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBrides’ book “The Gut and Psychology Syndrome.” Another is “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon, the founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
One thing you should keep in mind is that probiotics in fermented food are very powerful and there will be what is called “die off.” That is where toxins are being flushed out of the body. Take it slow. Start with small amounts and you can avoid too many toxins being removed at one time and thus feeling worst before you feel better.
Next month’s topic will be focus on Autism and the gut, brain connection. Until next month—keep busy growing ageless.