Total health is achieved when the mind, brain, and body are in a state of balance that allows the body to prevent or cure disease and disorder. Thousands of scientific studies have shown the importance of our state of mind in preventing both physical and emotional illness.
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
The World Health Organization (WHO)
The three main components of total health are thought, diet, and exercise. The diet and exercise factors are controlled by thought so we will start with the mind.
All of the challenges that we face around emotional well-being, physical health and financial security are a direct outgrowth of how we think about ourselves and the choices we make in response to the circumstances we encounter in our daily lives. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure are clearly related to our stress response and malnutrition.
Because of our modern culture, our mind has an addictive craving for sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt. Due to our culture and sophisticated marketing psychology, our mind operates under the influence of multiple hypnotic trances. We have been programmed to act against our best interest and the well-being of our brain and body.
The majority of psychologists define a trance as a state of limited awareness. In a trance, we experience a repetition of thoughts, and are less conscious of what is happening around us. All of us slip in and out of different kinds of trances hundreds of times a day. They can be deep trances, light trances, short-term trances and trances that can last our entire life. Some trances relieve pain, and some cause pain.
Most of the time, we are in a cultural trance that has persisted for millennia and is based on mass consensus. We have unconsciously agreed to our culture’s perception of reality, into which we were introduced shortly after we were born, and maybe even in the womb. In our cultural trance, the mind prefers the food consumed by our individual cultural group, although every culture craves the same food components: fat, salt, meat, and sugar.
Stephen Cunnane of the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec is a metabolic physiologist doing research into the nutritional requirements for the development of a huge, hungry brain like ours. According to Dr. Cunnane, the reason our brains evolved when other primates didn’t was due to our ancestral mothers eating large amounts of food from the beaches and banks of rivers and lakes. Their diet was high in the nutrients, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids needed to build a larger brain, stronger, healthier bodies, and ward off disease, allowing us to expand our species. Shoreline eating provided food security. We could always find food in and around the water.
Our brains began to grow and so did our ability to adapt to the environmental changes around us. These adaptations included better tools, social order, shelters, communication, and cooperation. In his 2005 book, Survival of the Fattest, Dr. Cunnane reveals his ideals and explains why modern humans evolved in East Africa along the Rift Valley because the region is predominately made up of rivers, lakes, and wetlands. These areas provided a constant supply of extremely nutrient-rich food, unlike the grasslands where earlier humans lived.
The modern brain’s higher functions have been disabled by malnutrition caused by deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids such as omega-3s. We react from our reptile brain more than we think using our higher brain. As a result we are making poor and irrational decisions many times each and every day.
Origins of the Total Health Movement
Some would say the wellness or health movement got its start with the Seventh Day Adventists before the American Civil War. Their beliefs in vegetarianism led to one of their followers, John Harvey Kellogg, studying medicine.
This movement and the rise of Kellogg’s philosophy came out of deep concerns about the American diet and the epidemic of gastrointestinal problems sweeping the nation. There were many illnesses running rampant in the country at the time and a great number of people believed that all of these medical problems were linked to food.
In 1912, the author of Starving America, Alfred Watterson McCann, observed the following: The food industry is afraid of going outside the box of standard business practices because it may adversely affect profitability. Corporate boards and Senior Executives are not responsible for educating the public, and they can’t make a profit telling people what to eat. In the food business, the truth is dangerous to the company’s health.
By this point, McCann understood that the real food reform will not come about from a change in advertising or government legislation. He knew the Congress, School Boards, and average citizens had no idea what was happening in the food supply. He predicted that it would be a very long time before people could be educated about the deadly effect of the modern food system.
The real facts, which are completely hidden from the public, must be revealed in order for people to take control of their health and make good choices about their diet. Our only freedom comes from knowing the truth. One of the most disturbing facts McCann discovered was that food producers, doctors, and the public aren’t aware of what food processing and additives are doing to the human body.
Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley
By 1906, Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, continuing on the research of Dr. Kellogg and others, had clearly linked the food supply with disease. Wiley was the driving force behind the first major food reform in America. He championed the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. For the first time, the United States Government required meat inspection and outlawed the production and distribution of tainted and poisonous food and medicines.
At the time the Act was passed into law and signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, everyday products contained dangerous drugs like cocaine. Most of the cocaine in Coca Cola was removed by 1904, but trace amounts still remained until 1929. The drink still contained caffeine, a drug which a 1912 amendment to the Pure Food and Drug Act identified as “habit-forming” and deleterious.” To this day, the company uses cocaine-free coca leaf extract to enhance its beverages.
Wiley left the government in 1912 because he felt the work he had done had been undermined by politics and by the influences of the food industry. He left behind his legacy as the father of the FDA and went on to work for Good Housekeeping.
Wiley started his career at Good Housekeeping as the Director of its Bureau of Foods. He published several books, including Not by Bread Alone in 1915. Dr. Wiley noted for more than thirty years, going back to 1885, the importance of diet in preventing disease and in eliminating both physical and mental disorders. He was amazed that there were hundreds of experts on how to feed livestock and very few concerned with how to feed people. He felt that the level of ignorance regarding nutrition was appalling even among people with a good education.
Out of his deep concern that the public was confused by the scientific publications on nutrition, which were too technical for the average person, he wrote several articles for Good Housekeeping magazine in an effort to educate the people in a way they could understand. He advocated the training of mothers, fathers, teachers, children, and doctors in the extreme dangers of the American diet and the threat it represents to the health and well-being of people, especially children.
At the time, Dr. Wiley notes, there were a great many writers spreading false concepts and misinformation about food which were dangerous in his judgment. Like today, individuals who claimed to be experts in food and nutrition would make claims that had little basis in science. These false conclusions were then repeated by those writers and the public accepted these ideas as truth. He made it very clear that health was the primary issue at hand and that the health and well-being of future generations depended on properly educating the public about the scientific truth around nutrition.
Finally, Dr. Wiley states clearly that the overwhelming evidence, after more than thirty years of research, was that food was the central cause of disease. In his own training as a medical doctor, he had seen the extreme levels of gastric disorders in the general population. This reflects the findings of Dr. Kellogg in 1875 when he attended medical school.
Too little food, bad food, and overeating are all linked to the cause of disease. Today, gout, obesity, diabetes, acid reflux, acid indigestion, heart disease, cancer, and emotional and mental illness are all the direct result of eating the wrong kinds of food.
Like other medical experts, Wiley pointed out the essential role that minerals play in the health and well-being of all living organisms, including plants, humans, and other animals. At the time, most researchers realized that the common practice of food processors stripping out or reducing mineral content in food was a serious and dangerous error. We all crave minerals, especially salt, and even then salt was used in excess in certain food products.
Dr. Wiley said that whole foods contained all the minerals necessary for a healthy diet. However, improper cooking, storage, and processing removed the vital substances, leaving the food depleted, resulting in chronic malnutrition.
Even the amateur researcher McCann had already noted in his book, Starving America, published in 1912, that the disease and death rates among children was an overlooked national tragedy, and that it was due to a lack of food or excessive amounts of food with little or no real nutritional value.
This demonstrates an epidemic of starving children, even if they have food. This is true throughout America and the United Kingdom. He cites white bread as a primary cause of death for a quarter of a million children in America in 1912 alone.
Dr. Oswald Schreiner
In 1913, Dr. Oswald Schreiner, one of the foremost soil research pioneers was working with Dr. H. G. Knight at the United States Department of Agriculture. He documented in his pamphlet, The Organic Constituents of Soils, how the problem of soil losing its fertility was growing due to increasing mineral deficiency. Schreiner cites an article written in 1855 by the Royal Agricultural Society of England, which stated that soil depletion was a growing problem, even then.
Dr. Elmer McCollum
Dr. Elmer McCollum was an American biochemist and the first chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Johns Hopkins University. He discovered vitamin A and that vitamin B was a complex, and he found that rickets could be prevented by vitamin D. He published over 150 articles about the role of vitamins and trace minerals on nutrition. He wrote the book, The Newer Knowledge of Nutrition 1918, which was a primary influence for dietitians at the time.
In his book, McCollum reveals that poor diet is linked to reduced immune function, and therefore, a higher incidence of diseases such as tuberculosis. He stated that large groups of people are making serious errors in their food selection, and that there are many degrees of malnutrition that are unrecognizable except for their effects on the body over long periods of time.
Dr. Lafayette Mendel
Dr. Lafayette Mendel was an American biochemist at Yale who studied vitamin A and B, tryptophan, and lysine, starting from 1903. He and his associate, Thomas B. Osborne, wrote over one hundred articles on the importance of vitamins and amino acids, particularly plant proteins, on overall health, and how nutrient deficiencies lead to specific diseases.
Dr. Jacob Lipman
Dr. Jacob Lipman was a professor and researcher who studied soil chemistry and bacteriology. In 1911, he became the director of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, one of the most renowned agricultural organizations in the world. Dr. Lipman laid the groundwork for Dr. Charles Northen, demonstrating that our soils are deficient in essential minerals.
Dr. Charles Northen
Dr. Charles Northen was a physician specializing in digestive diseases and nutritional disorders. He was the first to demonstrate that most of our food supply is poor in minerals and that the proportions in food lack the necessary balance for good health.
“This quiet, unballyhooed pioneer and genius in the field of nutrition demonstrates that countless human ills stem from the fact that impoverished soil of America no longer provides plant foods with the mineral elements essential to human nourishment and health! To overcome this alarming condition, he doctors sick soils and, by seeming miracles, raises truly healthy and health-giving fruits and vegetables.”
Rex Beach, novelist and playwright
(speaking of Dr. Northen)
It was Dr. Northen who first voiced the surprising assertion that we must make soil building the basis of food building in order to accomplish human building. Northen said we should “bear in mind that minerals are vital to human metabolism and health – and that no plant or animal can appropriate to itself any mineral which is not present in the soil upon which it feeds.”
Not only was Northen the first to identify this dangerous problem, he was the first to solve it. He found a way to restore minerals to the foods. In his experiments, he doubled and redoubled the natural mineral content of fruits and vegetables.
He dramatically increased the levels of iodine and iron in milk, and he assisted hens in laying nutrient-rich eggs. He improved the food value, quality, and quantity of seed potatoes in Maine, grapes in California, oranges in Florida, and field crops in other states. By re-establishing a proper mineral balance in soil, he grew crops that contained an ample amount of desired nutrition.
Northen also proved that crops grown in properly mineralized soil were larger and healthier. Seeds germinated quicker, grew more rapidly, and made larger plants. Trees were healthier and bore more fruit. The texture, appearance, and flavor were also greatly improved.
In an interview, Northen said, “I gave up medicine because this is a wider and a more important work. Sick soils mean sick plants, sick animals, and sick people. Physical, mental, and moral fitness depends largely upon an ample supply and a proper proportion of the minerals in our foods. Nerve function, nerve stability, nerve cell-building likewise depend thereon. I’m really a doctor of sick soils.”
Drs. Schreiner, Mendel, McCollum, Lipman, and Northen were cited in an article by Rex Beach in 1936 entitled Modern Miracle Men which was originally published by Cosmopolitan and later as United States Senate document No. 264 (74th Congress, 2nd Session) as part of a Congressional investigation into U.S. farming practices. These leading authorities of their day were sounding the alarm that depleted soils were causing a significant decline in the nation’s health, evidenced by a steady increase in degenerative diseases.
Excerpt from Senate document No. 264:
“You’d think, wouldn’t you, that a carrot is a carrot – that one is about as good as another as far as nourishment is concerned? But it isn’t; one carrot may look and taste like another and yet be lacking in the particular mineral element which our system requires and which carrots are supposed to contain. Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs and even the milk and the meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago. (Which doubtless explains why our forefathers thrived on a selection of foods that would starve us!)
No man of today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the mineral salts he requires for perfect health, because his stomach isn’t big enough to hold them! And we are running to big stomachs.
No longer does a balanced and fully nourishing diet consist merely of so many calories or certain vitamins or a fixed proportion of starches, proteins, and carbohydrates. We now know that it must contain, in addition, something like a score of mineral salts.
It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that 99 percent of the American people are deficient in these minerals, and that a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease. Any upset of the balance, any considerable lack of one or another element, however microscopic the body requirement may be, and we sicken, suffer, shorten our lives.”
Just decades later, the medical establishment began covering up and publicly discrediting this vital information in favor of tranquilizers and other standard “cures.” Dr. Abram Hoffer was one of the numerous health professionals who were victims of this “information cleansing.”
Dr. Abram Hoffer
Dr. Abram Hoffer was a biochemist, psychiatrist, and physician known for discovering that vitamins and minerals can be used to treat schizophrenia. In his experiments, he found that very large doses of ascorbic acid and vitamin B3 had a therapeutic effect on people with schizophrenia, one of the root discoveries of modern orthomolecular medicine.
He discovered in 1955 that niacin reduces cholesterol levels and extends life, creating a new paradigm that the use of nutrients is effective in not only prevention, but treatment of deficiency diseases. This B vitamin is now a standard treatment for those with high cholesterol, and it does not cause violence and aggression as some treatments for high cholesterol are known to do.
Hoffer gave up his two professional positions, Director of Psychiatric Research and Associate Professor of Psychiatry because his ability to publish and discuss his trials was being severely restricted by his employers. The psychiatric establishment was extremely opposed to the work of Hoffer and his colleagues. They weren’t supported by the drug companies, which were promoting tranquilizers, not nutrition.
Due to a conspiracy to block his scientific research from publication, Dr. Hoffer created the Journal of Schizophrenia in 1967. The name was later changed to the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine in 1986. This journal published scientific articles that were rejected by mainstream medical journals.
Dr. Linus Pauling
Dr. Linus Pauling was an author, political activist, and chemist who changed the world’s understanding of health and nutrition forever. He was one of only four people to ever be awarded multiple Nobel Prizes, and one of only two to win two Nobel Prizes in different categories. He also received the Lenin Peace Prize. After he graduated from the California Institute of Technology and Oregon Agricultural College, Dr. Pauling joined the committee of Atomic Scientists along with Albert Einstein. He coined the term “orthomolecular” in his seminal article Orthomolecular Psychiatry, written in 1968. Orthomolecular literally translates to “the right molecule.”
Orthomolecular medicine is the practice of balancing the body and preventing or treating disease by providing our bodies with ideal quantities of substances it produces naturally. It involves the use of using minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and other nutrients to correct deficiency and create a biochemical balance in our bodies. It has been used to help tens of thousands of people suffering from cancer, depression, HIV/AIDS, autism, schizophrenia, arthritis, high cholesterol, and a host of other modern health conditions.
Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health, 1988 (excerpt)
“Until as recently as the 1940s, diseases such as rickets, pellagra, scurvy, beriberi, xerophthalmia, and goiter (caused by lack of adequate dietary vitamin D, niacin, vitamin C, thiamin, vitamin A, and iodine, respectively,) were prevalent in this country and throughout the world. Today, thanks to an abundant food supply, fortification of some foods with critical trace nutrients, and better methods for determining and improving the nutrient content of foods, such “deficiency” diseases have been virtually eliminated in developed countries.
As the diseases of nutritional deficiency have diminished; they have been replaced by diseases of dietary excess and imbalance-problems that now rank among the leading causes of illness and death in the United States, touch the lives of most Americans, and generate substantial health care costs.”
The report, authored by C. Everett Koop, identifies these diseases as “coronary heart disease, some types of cancer, stroke, diabetes mellitus, and atherosclerosis,” and recommends reducing the consumption of unhealthy fats and cholesterol, choosing a dietary pattern in which caloric intake is consistent with energy expenditure, eating more complex carbohydrates and fiber, reducing sodium intake, only drinking alcohol in moderation, eating foods that are good sources of iron, and limiting sugar consumption.
Even though Dr. Koop comes close to telling the truth about disease and nutritional deficiencies, he misses the mark. He is limited by his own ignorance and the restrictions of the food/medical-industrial complex. Big Farm and Big Pharma control nutrition and health policy.
He clearly didn’t consult Dr. Pauling or Dr. Hoffer who were alive when his report was published. Unfortunately, for most people, following these dietary recommendations is easier said than done. We have an overabundance of industrially processed foods in our supermarkets, and new scientific research shows that processed food, high in sugar, unhealthy fat, and salt, is chemically addictive.
A study conducted by Professor Bart Hoebel and colleagues of the Department of Psychology at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute showed that high intake of sugar resulted in addictive behaviors in rats. The rodents demonstrated the three elements of addiction: increased intake, withdrawal, and craving and relapse. Paul J. Kenny, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular therapeutics at the Scripps Research Institute, came up with the same result when he fed rats processed foods high in calories and unhealthy fats.
Brain scans of compulsive overeaters show similar brain structure and function to people addicted to cocaine and other drugs. A recent study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found similar patterns of neural activation in addictive eating behavior and substance dependence. Researchers observed elevated activity in the reward centers of the brain in response to food cues, and reduced activation of inhibitory brain regions in response to food intake.
According to a recent study by the Environmental Working Group, one cup of the popular children’s cereal Kellogg’s Sugar Smacks contains more than fifty percent sugar, more than a Hostess Twinkie. The study found that the ten most sugary cereals had more than 40 percent sugar by weight. Two of the ten most sugary cereals are among the top ten bestselling cereals, including Cap’n Crunch, which contains 44.4 percent sugar, and Froot Loops, which contains 41.4 percent sugar by volume.
To understand exactly how sugar affects the brain, let’s start with a brain chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which causes the brain to form new tissue. If this chemical wasn’t present in our brain, it wouldn’t develop properly and we would die soon after birth. BDNF helps to create new neurons and new memories. We want as much BDNF in our brain as possible in order for us to learn, grow, and have normal brain functioning.
Diets high in unhealthy trans fats and lacking in essential fatty acids, along with high sugar diets reduce levels of BDNF, according to a 2002 study from the University of California. Low amounts of BDNF leads to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and even diabetes, according to a 2007 study from the University of Copenhagen. This means high sugar in the blood leads to low BDNF, which leads to a decline in blood sugar regulation. This leads to high blood sugar, and the onset of insulin resistance.
Glucose is created by your body from food. It is delivered into the bloodstream and used by muscles and organs as energy. A common misconception is that because carbohydrates can be converted into glucose, they are the primary source of fuel for the brain.
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has set the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for carbohydrates to 130 grams. According to the ADA, this amount is based “on providing adequate glucose as the required fuel for the central nervous system without relying on glucose production from ingested protein or fat.”
On Dr. Michael Eades’ blog, he advises that healthy saturated fat, not sugar, is the perfect fuel. Part of the fat, he writes, provides the liver with energy so it can convert protein into glucose. The unusable remainder of the fat is then converted into compounds known as ketones, which reduce the body’s need for glucose and spare our muscle tissue in the process.
Refined sugars are abundant and hidden in most food products found in the modern supermarket, making them one of the three major pillars of the Standard American Diet. Simple sugars flood the bloodstream with too much glucose, which triggers a massive serotonin release, creating a temporary feeling of euphoria. They also trigger the pancreas to produce high levels of insulin, which moves into the bloodstream to absorb the sugar and store it for later use.
This process robs the brain, muscles, and organs of the energy they require, promoting fatigue and a foggy brain. After the crash, we are weak, irritable, slightly depressed, and have trouble focusing. All of this is followed by cravings for more sugar, resulting in binging, and for many of us, food addiction.
Over long periods of time, eating too many simple sugars often results in diabetes. People with diabetes are more susceptible to depression, memory problems, difficulty processing information and recognizing spatial patterns, and dementia.
Studies show people with high blood sugar levels have an increased chance of suffering from mental decline. People suffering from diabetes have a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s than the general population.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 27 percent of us die from heart disease, 23 percent of us die from cancer, and 6 percent of us die from strokes. These are diseases of nutritional deficiency and of our hyper-stressed modern lifestyle, and they are entirely preventable. Read our 10 Keys To Total Health to learn how to defeat these diseases and achieve total health.