These are two very different modus operandi in approaching the goal of physical wellness and it is worth taking a look at the differences between the two.
I would argue that each has a valid role and we only get into trouble with them when one or the other tries to perform a role to which it is not suited.
For example, if you are in an automobile accident and your leg is partially severed and your artery is pumping blood, taking vitamins or drinking green tea are quite frankly not going to help very much. If that ever happens to me my first stop I can tell you is going to be neither a nutritionist nor a chiropractor but the nearest casualty department where (I hope) I will be pumped full of anesthetics and stitched back together again pronto. Having survived the immediate life-threatening situation thanks to the good offices of conventional medicine, which excels at that sort of thing, I will then set about a nutritional handling so as to optimize the efficiency with which the body achieves its long-term repair and recovery - and alternative medicine excels at THAT sort of thing.
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So let's have a quick layman's look at the two modus operandi so one can decide which is the most appropriate for whatever it is one seeks to handle.
Conventional medicine excels in emergency/casualty type care and in dealing with life-threatening situations. To those scenarios it brings a fantastic amount of expertise and wisdom: just watching, for example, some paramedic team bring back to life a drowned child whose heart had stopped beating borders on the witnessing of miracles.
There are times when a quick fix is necessary. If your arteries are so clogged with cholesterol, for example, that if you move too suddenly you could drop dead, then it's time to take the statins and get the cholesterol out of one's tubing a.s.a.p. Eating a bowl of salad or a tin of sardines just ain't gonna cut it. It is a life-threatening situation, so you do whatever you can to fix the guy up and keep him breathing.
Then, when the immediate emergency is over, you can look to your long term handling: a Mediterranean diet and so forth to sort out both the cholesterol problem and the damage done elsewhere in the body by the statins.
Where a necessary quick-fix is concerned there is often a trade-off in which death is averted but at the cost of some damage done to the body by the intervention. Most of us would consider this a fair trade.
The Conventional approach to the treatment of most illnesses, mild or serious, is routinely to hit the condition with drugs or surgery. Here again is a quick-fix even though immanent death is not being averted and drugs in particular that are designed to attack one set of symptoms invariably cause problems and malfunctions in other areas of the body.
Conventional medicine's approach is to treat symptoms, not the underlying causes. For example, if one's cholesterol is too high, your doctor will routinely prescribe statin drugs to remove it from the arteries. Very little is done to investigate and discover and understand the reason WHY, for that individual, cholesterol is rising. For example, the reason might be excessive homocysteine levels prompting the body to coat the arteries with a protective layer of cholesterol and homoscysteine - the actual CAUSE of the high cholesterol in this example - could be controlled with B vitamins with no price to pay in terms of side effects. In fact, an overall improvement in health is often achieved because adequate levels of B vitamins will have a whole spectrum of benefits.
Drugs are chemicals that are not part of the body's evolution and operate on the body essentially as foreign matter. Using again the example of statins to treat cholesterol, these drugs work by blocking the production of cholesterol in the liver. This handles the symptom of excessive cholesterol production but at the price of also blocking the production of a vital enzyme - CoQ10 - that is key to energy production in the muscles.
Their financial value to the manufacturers lies in the very fact that drugs are not naturally occurring substances but invented: being invented they can be patented. The owner of the patent can then market the drug at a high price. Substances such as vitamins on the other hand, occurring in nature, cannot be patented and thus anyone can produce and market them, and that means their pricing must be competitive.
Conventional medicine treats the human body in parts, not as a whole: the departments in medical schools and hospitals tend to be organ-specific and produce doctors highly specialized in one organ or bodily function. This compartmentalization does not reflect how the body and its components function because the body is a highly integrated system of complex interrelations.
The training of conventional medical doctors is based upon "rescue medicine," thinking. It is perhaps an understandable over-emphasis considering how well conventional medicine has won at that particular game. However, we run into trouble when the quick-fix/rescue type of intervention is extended into long-term treatments. For example, a tranquillizer taken to calm down a person so violently and dangerously agitated they are likely to kill someone in their vicinity, if not themselves, can alleviate the immediate crisis without the side-effects doing too much damage if treatment is of short duration.
But the agitation is a SYMPTOM of some underlying problem. If the tranquilizer is used as a long-term suppressor of symptoms in place of finding and treating the underlying causes, then the damage it does to the body's delicately interrelated systems will start to become evident. That damage can be serious and can become life threatening in itself.
Meanwhile, the cause of the problem remains in place and unaddressed and prevention of disease receives far less than the emphasis it by rights should receive. Alternative medicine on the other hand approaches medical treatment by placing its focus primarily on finding the CAUSE of a condition or symptom and treating that on the one hand and overall wellness that PREVENTS disease on the other.
In that its treatment of a malady targets restoring optimum function to the interrelated system as a whole, alternative medicine can rarely achieve the quick fix but it also rarely causes the complications engendered by the quick-fix approach.
On the contrary, the overall wellness approach tends to produce a spectrum of benefits broader than the resolution of the particular malfunction that first red-flagged the need for a handling. Again, the use of the Mediterranean diet is an example: its benefits extend beyond the reduction of cholesterol in the arteries to overall liver, kidney and heart health, weight loss, restored energy levels and so on.
Conventional medicine, particularly its drugs with their tendency to set in train further complications requiring treatment, tend to be costly both to the individual pocket and government. The health services of many nations are creaking under the financial burden occasioned by declining health and escalating drugs costs. Alternative medicine on the other hand, by reason of its whole approach, tends to be a far less costly option.
Our societies are at this moment undergoing something of a seismic shift at grass roots levels in their approach to healing as the number of people turning to alternative therapies grows year by year. Nutrition as a science has advanced by leaps and bounds, practices such as chiropractics and kinesiology are increasingly recognized as bona fide therapies and confidence in conventional medicine is in decline, while the drugs manufacturers must work ever harder and more ruthlessly to maintain their market share. Even giant food manufacturing corporations, not hitherto particularly noted for their concern for our physical well being, have jumped on the bandwagon with sometimes hilariously overblown claims for the nutritional content of their products.
This grass roots change has not been reflected yet in the orientation of most general practitioners. So many of them are still slow to direct their patients to alternative therapies and optimum nutrition. They still reach for the prescription pad and send the patient quickly on his way with some drug to nullify a symptom.
Alternative medicine is also notably more accessible to the layman, who can relatively easily learn many of its tenets and therapies for himself or become quite adept on the subject of nutrition. Thus in large measure the layman can gain control over his own destiny so far as his health is concerned. Many a layman, becoming interested in the subject of nutrition, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and so on, is soon dismayed by the realization that he apparently knows more about the subject than his GP!
Why is this culture-lag on the part of doctors happening?
The answer may lie at least in part in the fact that the driving force behind conventional medicine has for a long time been the pharmaceutical industry.
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Most medical schools receive considerable funding from an industry that has a vested interest in marketing its medicines. Through this financial influence over the medical schools, plus relentless marketing of their products to doctors in general practice, the pharmaceutical industry has achieved overwhelming influence over conventional medicine ( what is called in the trade, "full spectrum dominance"), creating an ethos that is embraced by both modern doctors and pharmacists, many of whom think of their worth in terms knowing which drug to prescribe for a particular set of symptoms.
There are other factors at play too:
Funding of medical research favours conventional medicine over alternative medicine by a huge margin. For example just 0.08 percent (!) of the British National Health Service research budget is allocated to alternative research and out of $12 billion allocated every year by Congress to the National Institute of Health, a mere $5.4 million (an even smaller 0.054% percent by my reckoning) goes to the Office of Alternative Medicine to investigate the claims of approximately 50 therapies.
This neglect by government of alternative medicine research in favor of conventional drug-based medicine naturally constricts the speed at which the safe and cost effective alternatives can advance in research and the accumulation of expertise. How might nutrition and its allied sciences have flourished had it had the psycho-pharmacy's funding? As such it is a grave disservice to the citizenry who have every right to expect that government will protect and serve so far as their health is concerned.
Despite this, the field of nutrition for one has still managed to make considerable advances and evolve a level of understanding in many respects in advance of that of conventional medicine.
Green Tea, Wild Blue-Green Algae - Weight Loss and Aging
Introduce four or five cups of green tea a day into your dietary routine and you can win from its weight-loss properties.
A growing number of studies are throwing light upon an impressive and growing number of health benefits inherent in green tea and some have even shown that people can shed a few pounds by the mere fact of swapping coffee for green tea!
Dropping coffee out of your diet and replacing it with green tea as your beverage of choice has been shown to have numerous benefits, not least because coffee is just plain bad for you.
However, this health step becomes a little pointless if one at the same time perseveres with a suicidal diet of burgers, french fries and take-out pizzas chased down with a few beers and followed by a pack of cigarettes, whilst glued firmly to the couch and the TV remote.
Some people of course seem dedicated to seeking out an early grave and becoming Jabba the Hut look-alikes whilst awaiting the early arrival of the Grim Reaper and who are we to deny them this right: in a democracy it is the God-given right of every citizen to make himself ill.
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But for those who would like to live a bit and have some fun, invest in a teapot and some organic green tea and make sure you also enjoy an overall healthy diet that includes a lot of filtered or spring water, fresh green vegetables and fresh fruit and meat and dairy products that are as organic and un-tainted by the unethical practices of rapacious food corporations as possible. Such a diet must also exclude your health and waist-line's most mortal foes: refined sugars, refined flour and fast- and processed foods.
The optimum way to lose weight is not food fads or only eating turnips but by becoming overall healthy and that is achieved by a healthy, balanced diet and plenty of exercise.
This is mostly common sense and one does not need to be an expert nutritionist or indeed become obsessively food-conscious to arrive at a basically wholesome diet that will lose you a few pounds, gain you more years of life and even save you a few dollars.
Green tea is, however, a great weapon to add to your health arsenal and should most definitely be part of your new diet. It requires after all not much more effort than remembering to put the kettle on.
Green tea improves metabolic rate and the body's ability to burn fat as well as providing antioxidants and helping decrease the villainous free radicals. Research has suggested that drinking tea has a beneficial effect on weight, fat accumulation and the activity in the body of insulin and you can of course do your own research by drinking it and seeing how you get on.
I especially recommend that alongside green tea you include daily consumption of wild blue-green algae at the foundation of your weight loss/better health diet.
Green tea and wild blue-green algae are both rich sources of antioxidants and antioxidants get rid of the pesky free radicals, which - to form a crude analogy - are to your cells as rust is to ironwork.
The body's defense against free radicals is to neutralize them with substances called anti-oxidants. The body therefore must have an adequate supply of anti-oxidants to neutralize the attack by free radicals.
It is the damage to various tissues caused by free radicals that causes premature aging and free radicals appear to be the waste product of an inefficiently working metabolic system. They cause damage because the body does not have enough anti-oxidants to neutralize them and this deficiency can result in damage that shows up as premature aging and other undesirable phenomena.
Therefore, in order to help slow down the aging process or at least eradicate premature aging, it is necessary to have an efficient supply of antioxidants.
Green teas and wild blue-green algae both provide that supply and so it is highly advantageous to have both of them working for you towards greater vitality and healthier weight.
Perhaps we should be more circumspect about data that "everybody" knows because it appears that saturated fats are not the villain they were widely assumed to be, even though they have the somewhat stigmatic word "fat" in their name.
It is quite simply a myth that saturated fat will increase your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. That it has been around for decades makes it no less a myth, albeit a very persistent one.
Humans actually need saturated fats, and here's why:
Such fats from animal and vegetable sources supply the body with a concentrated source of energy, as well as the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and similar substances needed by the body.
They play a key role in cardiovascular health and their inclusion in the diet reduces the levels of lipoprotein (a), a substance that correlates significantly with the risk levels for heart disease. Saturated fats are the preferred fuel for your heart, and are also used as a source of fuel during energy expenditure. Two saturated fats known as palmitic acid and stearic acid are useful in lowering cholesterol levels.
They are carriers for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and are also vital for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, and for the proper absorption of minerals.
When you eat saturated fats, they slow down absorption and this means you can go longer without feeling hungry. Research involving women who diet has revealed that those retaining the greatest percentage of the total fat in their diets as saturated fat lose the most weight.
Saturated fats known as myristic acid and lauric acid are found in butter and coconut oil. They perform an important key role in the function of the immune system. For example, the loss of sufficient saturated fatty acids in the white blood cells inhibits their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders like bacteria, fungi and viruses.
The liver can take quite a pounding from alcohol and medications (including acetaminophen and other drugs commonly used for pain and arthritis) and saturated fat has been shown to protect the liver from such toxins.
It has been found that the airspaces of the lungs need a coating of a thin layer of lung surfactant if they are to function properly and the fat content of this surfactant is pure saturated fatty acids.
Your brain actually comprises mainly fat and cholesterol and most of its fatty acids are actually saturated. Therefore, a diet that eliminates saturated fats deprives your brain of the raw materials it requires for optimum function.
Saturated fat is necessary for the incorporation of calcium into the bones. Dr. Mary Enig, Ph.D., one of the foremost research experts on human health and dietary fats, has concluded that probably as much as 50 percent of the fats in your diet should be saturated fats for that reason.
Some saturated fats play a key role in proper metabolic function, including the release of insulin. These fats include those found in found in butter, coconut oil, and palm oil.
A saturated fat known as lauric acid is effective as an anti-caries, anti-plaque and anti-fungal agent.
There is some evidence that butyric acid helps prevent cancer.
Your body does need some intake of saturated fat to stay healthy and a nutritionally sound diet must include saturated fat. The fats you definitely don't need however are the trans fats.
Trans fat, also known as "trans fatty acids," is formed when natural vegetable oils are processed into margarine or shortening and is found in many other foods, including fried foods like chips (french fries to my American readers), fried chicken, doughnuts, biscuits (cookies in America), pastries and crackers.
There are some people - about one third, the "carb nutritional types" - who thrive with a low-saturated-fat diet but even for them, however, some animal fats are necessary and healthy. Two thirds of people on the other hand actually require a moderate- to high intake of saturated-fat for optimum results.
For optimum results, it is best to consult a nutritionist to establish your nutritional type but as a general rule of thumb, make sure your diet includes some:
[Important note from the editor and publisher of this website, Science of Wholeness: The author of this article suggests red meat products such as lamb and beef which is against my principles. If one has to eat meat, I would suggest naturally raised fresh eggs and fish such as sardines and salmon. I would also include raw sauerkraut such as Kim Chi, tomato products, vegetable juices, black beans, kidney beans, turmeric, ginger, kelp, and organic raw dairy products from grass-fed animals such as butter, milk, and cream.]
-Coconut oil or olive oil
-Grass-fed organic beef and beef fat
-Naturally raised lamb
-Organic raw dairy products (butter, cheese, milk, cream).
And make sure these foods are ingested in the context of an overall healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Personally I recommend an essentially Mediterranean diet boosted by the inclusion of daily supplementation of wild blue-green algae, lots of filtered water or natural spring water and green tea as the favoured beverage.
At this time in our history we humans are bedevilled by unethical corporations whose allegiance to their fellow man extends no further than those who happen to be shareholders and who are quite content to feed us (and their shareholders) rubbish and destroy our health so long as they make a buck.
Yet it is entirely within our power to make them more honest.
All it requires is a modicum of care and common sense on our part - and rewarding with our hard-earned pounds and dollars the ethical producers of wholesome food that are out there.
Full Spectrum Wellness: the ongoing project at http://www.wellhealthy.org is growing. To get on the mailing list for my free articles, free books and so forth, please visit WellHealthy now!
Minerals are a crucial requirement of the human diet.
They are critical to our mental and physical health, to bones, teeth, heart, lungs, muscles, digestion, metabolism, water balance, blood, the creation of antibodies, nerves, tissues and fluids and the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.
All these components of our bodies contain and need varying amounts of minerals.
Magnesium for example is an essential part of the digestive system and the metabolic process. A deficiency in it can cause, among others, an impairment of the body's ability to turn glucose into energy and can lead to one degree or another of loss of vitality or chronic fatigue. Probably over 80 percent of the population is deficient in one degree or another in magnesium.
Zinc, by way of another example is critical to maintaining the health of many organs and bodily functions, including eyes, liver, kidney, muscles, skin, bone, testes and so forth. A deficiency in zinc can cause problems with infertility, hair, skin and nails, the immune system and so on.
The body requires a supply of these various minerals. It cannot make minerals but can only get this supply through food. Getting enough of each mineral in the right balance with all the other minerals is vital if you are to feel well and indeed a significant deficiency in just one of the many minerals the body needs can result in disease and even shorten your life.
It is a sad fact that our modern diets, indeed the very soils in which food grows, are seriously deficient in minerals, so much so I very much doubt whether anyone reading this article is not, in greater or lesser degree, deficient in minerals.
It is very good news then that the wild blue-green algae harvested from the Klamath Lake in Oregon contain all the essential trace minerals required by the body: iron, zinc, cobalt, magnesium, boron, calcium, chromium, copper, manganese, sodium, potassium and vanadium. It also contains chloride, fluoride, germanium, iodine, molybdenum, nickel, phosphorus, selenium, silicon, tin and titanium. Moreover, the Klamath Lake algae hold these minerals in proportions and balance perfect for the human biochemistry and this means they are very readily absorbed by the body.
One of the pitfalls with taking supplements, for example supplementing zinc to handle problems with zinc deficiency, can be that the body does not always absorb the supplement well: one can take the capsules, pills, lozenges or liquid religiously with little or no alleviation of the deficiency. There is nothing wrong with the supplement but the body, already working below optimum, does not always have a digestive system working well enough to process it.
The minerals contained in the Klamath algae however come to us in a form the body CAN readily assimilate (AND balanced correctly against other minerals): nature, it seems, has solved the problem of absorption for us.
In the algae of the Klamath Lake it has done a whole lot more besides.