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Nutrition

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 5:08 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

Nutrition, Part One

by Susun Weed





The biochemical and energetic nutrients which we digest, absorb, and metabolize from foodstuffs are the foundation of all cellular activity in the body, including growth, repair, reproduction, resistance to disease, and maintenance. Good nutrition is critically important to every form of life we know. Finding, growing, preparing, and storing food has been women's work and women's genius since time out of mind.

 

The Spirit of the Food
Nutrition begins with milk from mother's breast, from the breast of the Great Goddess. In earth-centered cultures, the harvesting and gathering of food is interwound with sacred threads, and the consumption of the food is a sacrament. This aspect of nutrition is invisible, unmeasurable, undiscussed, but of utmost importance to the health of the individual and the ecology.

 

Healthy Diets
When food choices are limited, women eat whatever is available. As long as adequate carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals are consumed and clean water is available, health is easily maintained.(1) Restricted diets (vegan, vegetarian, impoverished) generally fail to provide adequately for women, and the addition of milk products, eggs, or meat to these diets optimizes health. When the food supply is abundant and foods are highly refined, as is the case in most Western countries, food choices may adversely affect health. This is due in part to an innate (healthy) craving for sweet, salt, and fat (which are scarce in nature but commercially abundant, leading to overconsumption) and in part to the degradation of the foodstuffs themselves.

 

Protein
After water, protein is the most plentiful substance in our bodies. Without protein we cannot create enzymes, antibodies, milk, menses, skin, hair, nails, muscle, brain, heart, or organs. We require twenty-two different amino acids (building blocks of protein), of which eight are considered essential nutrients. Animal foods contain all essential amino acids. No one food of vegetable origin contains them all, but combinations (such as corn and beans) do. Each and every amino acid must be present at once in the body, and in the correct proportions, for protein synthesis. If even one essential amino acid is low or missing, even temporarily, protein production slows or stops altogether.(2) Adult women can be healthy on low protein diets; however children, pregnant, lactating, and menopausal women require high levels of protein.

 

Fats
Fat is the most concentrated source of energy in the diet. Found in vegetable seeds, beans, and nuts, fruits such as olives and avocados, and in all animal products, fat is vital to women's health. Unfortunately, many American women avoid fat. A recent study (1999) found 26 percent of women deficient in vitamin E due to low-fat diets.

 

Linoleic, linolenic, and arachidonic fats are the essential fatty acids, but all fats, especially cholesterol, are vital for the formation of sex hormones (especially postmenopausally), adrenal hormones, vitamin D (for strong bones), and bile. Low cholesterol diets make women's skin and vaginal tissues dry and impede the functioning of the brain and nervous system.


The belief that saturated fats elevate blood cholesterol, causing blocked blood vessels, s-trokes and heart attacks has prevailed since the mid-1960s. Yet most researchers consider this idea simplistic and without scientific justification. In the Framingham Heart Study (USA), the greater a person's intake of total fat, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat, the lower their risk of stroke. And, while high blood cholesterol levels were a risk factor for heart disease, fat and cholesterol intake in the diet were inversely correlated with blood cholesterol. Swedish studies confirm that saturated fats promote breast health, while vegetable oils (such as canola, safflower, corn, cottonseed, and sunflower oils) promote breast cancer.

 

Animal fats are more stable than vegetable oils, which become rancid within days after press-ing. (Rancid fats promote cancer and heart disease.) Hydrogenation and partial-hydrogenation slow rancidity but create trans-fatty acids that create deposits on the blood vessels. Even unhydrogenated vegetable oils are unhealthy: They flood the body with omega-6 fatty acids (the primary fat component of arterial plaque), and contribute large amounts of free radicals that damage the arteries and initiate plaque deposits. (3)

 

~ Part Two ~
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