In this book, a program of nutrition with an associated body of knowledge is presented that actually achieves the goal of good nutrition: a healthier body. Much of the information presented here was originally assembled from the groundbreaking work of Drs. Weston Price and Melvin Page, which I have described elsewhere in this book. Briefly, these two researchers found that certain foods clearly support good health and normal blood chemistries, while other foods do not. Overweight people lost weight and sick people felt better when they followed these nutritional recommendations.
As time went by, more and more of these recommendations were found to have solid support in scientific literature, as research cited throughout this book demonstrates. As more and more people follow the advice presented here, I hope to gain information that will enable me to refine that advice even further. However, no political agenda has motivated any recommendation made. Your feedback is welcome.
One of the more difficult recommendations I stress in this book is the necessity of meat in the diet. I respect all forms of life, and I certainly do not claim to understand all of the interrelationships among them. However, I know that most sick people will never realize their optimal physical health on a vegetarian diet. Perhaps remaining vegetarian while aware of that knowledge would make that individual an even more enlightened being. I cannot say at what point some principles become more important than life and health. That is an individual decision. However, as a physician who has worked in this area for a very long time, I feel that my primary obligation is to be true to the physiological facts of nutrition and minimize any of my personal thoughts as to any perceived moral rightness or wrongness of a way of eating and living. Although I personally eat meat regularly, since I promptly feel poorly completely off of it, I would not contest anybody's decision to abstain from meat. Everyone makes choices and has reasons for making those choices. Perhaps it is nothing more than a rationalization to believe that you can eat an animal and still respect it. I don't know. I just know that eating meat is the best way to keep your physical health intact and your body chemistries balanced.
As a physician and a scientist, there is little that bothers me more than having unsubstantiated opinions pass as facts. For this reason, I have tried wherever possible to demonstrate that most of the less conventional assertions in this book have support in the mainstream medical and scientific literature. The articles cited often focused on other points, while inadvertently supporting one or more of the assertions that I make in this book.
However, it is also important that all valid observations are not just thrown out as being "anecdotal" simply because they did not make their way to the promised land of published, peer-reviewed studies in the refereed scientific literature. Many established and respected journals routinely publish what are called "case reports." These case reports fatten up a university-based researcher's curriculum vitae just as effectively as more extensive studies requiring far more work and effort. However, a case report is little more than an anecdote. The only real difference between the two is the integrity and academic qualifications of the reporting observer. When the observer reports an observation of cause-and-effect in a single patient that supports the ongoing and accepted science of the moment, it is lauded and published as a case report. However, when it results in a conclusion that is contrary with any scientific lore of long standing, the information is attacked as anecdotal and the observer is vilified regardless of the quality of academic credentials possessed by that observer. Not surprisingly, such "anecdotes" are never given the opportunity to be formally published as case reports. The scientific lore of the moment possesses a very strong sense of self-preservation.
Why go into all of this detail on how scientific information is accepted, and, more commonly, rejected? Quite simply, because the more aware and educated you are as a consumer of scientific information and recommendations, the better off you will be. Scientists and physicians absolutely scorn anyone without formal training who would presume to question their conclusions or their methods of research. However, as we enter the next millennium, the Internet and the World Wide Web have changed all the rules. There is more information readily available on every subject imaginable than there ever has been before. While all of the information on the Internet is not correct, scientific controversies and differences of opinion can no longer be hidden so easily. MEDLINE research is readily accessible to anyone who wants to look. Phrases such as "Numerous studies show . . ." or "There is no credible scientific evidence to show that. . ." can easily be checked out. Exaggeration and misrepresentation of facts, data, and studies become readily apparent to those who want to look for themselves. The Internet has permanently pried open Pandora's box, and everybody in every field is accountable in a way that never existed before.
It is in this context that I have addressed the somewhat elusive and nebulous concept of optimal nutrition. For every statement made in this book, you can surely find plenty of "experts" who will tell you that the author is misguided at best, and at worst must have one or more hidden agendas to justify promulgating such amazing and obviously harmful statements about nutrition. However, you are now armed, aware, and—I hope—motivated. After all, it is your health and your life that are being affected. If I am wrong about anything of substance in this book, I welcome being told so, and I welcome being educated as to why I am wrong. Being wrong does not scare me, and it should not scare anyone else. It's high time that the quest for the truth and the pure desire to help others be the only reasons why people become doctors and scientists.
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Many women who have recently given birth are always interested in attempting to lose some of that extra weight that traditionally accompanies having a baby. What many of these women do not entirely realize is the fact that breast-feeding can not only help provide the baby with essential vitamins and nutrients, but can also help in the weight-loss process.