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Food as Preventative Medicine
By Daniel Ebaugh, M.Ac., L.Ac.

The foundation for the study of acupuncture is an understanding of nature, natural laws - i.e. water puts out fire - and the cycles of the seasons. Each season offers a particular gift which can inform the daily choices we make.

In the Chinese agrian culture, the time between summer coming to a close and fall approaching was know as late summer. It was the glorious time when all that had grown and matured throughout spring and summer was harvested. For agrian cultures it was a time to celebrate the fruits of their labor and rest in the peace and security of the abundance provided by Mother Earth. The Chinese said, simply by observing what happens in each season and living in harmony with the energy of the season, we can move toward being healthy. Therefore, honoring that the energy of late summer is so intensely associated with the harvesting of food from Mother Earth, it would be useful to explore nutritional steps we can take to create such a quality of health in our bodies that infection is thwarted and disease is impossible.

While the use of food to promote health has been largely ignored by Western medical culture, it was the cherished wisdom passed from generation to generation in the Chinese culture. Driven by the weaknesses of my own digestive system, I have been compelled to explore ways to comfort myself including this ancient nutritional wisdom. Based on our training, research and experience, we at Bubbling Spring believe a large part of self-care must focus on using food as preventative medicine.

I grew up with the this concept as my mother was a home economics teacher. Based on her learning in the late 30's she said it was important to eat from the four food groups each day and believe me, we did. While in Acupuncture school ('82 - '84) I shared a house with a fellow student who introduced me to the concept that food is energy. He said, by eating foods which resonate and nourish a particular energy in the body, one can influence one's energetic state or health. (For example, popcorn and tomatoes promote the body's warming energy. If you are always too hot, a steady diet of popcorn and tomatoes will only exacerbate this uncomfortable state.)

In the late 80's I discovered Auryvedic medicine. At the core of this energetic medicine lies a deep understanding of food as a potent substance which can be used to influence one's state of health. In fact, the system is so user friendly that just by answering two dozen questions about your preferences you can, with relative accuracy, categorize or "type" your self. Once your category is determined, then you can learn which foods are most likely to support your energetic system.

Two years ago, I was introduced to Richard Salome, M.Ed, a nutritionist who shares my understanding of food as energy and introduced me to the importance of eating both raw and cooked foods. With the information below, I pass on to you bits of my current learning about the use of food as preventative medicine. What I offer here has benefited both my wife and I, and many of our friends and patients. I hope you find something to nurture you as you read about Bubbling Spring's Conscious Eating/ Conscious Living seminars; illness prevention just by monitoring the body's pH level; digestive ease with enzymes; improved health with liquid minerals, bee pollen and flax seed oil; and handling chronic digestive issues with acupuncture treatment and/or biofeedback evaluation.

Richard Salome is a nationally know nutritional expert and author of two books who designs nutritional programs for both individuals and retreat centers around the country. He has presented his nutritional seminar entitled Conscious Eating/Conscious Living three times at Bubbling Spring. Each time I left the seminar with a wealth of information and a feeling of complete freedom to choose how I eat.

In this one day workshop Richard offers nutritional information taken from the wisdom of Chinese and Auyrvedic medicine, and the studies of Western Science. At the end of the day I had a full understanding of how to eat for the purpose of regen- erating, not degenerating my body. Additionally, I learned how to observe my body with such precision that I can make decisions about what to eat based on what my body's needs. There are no rigid rules as he gives the information and says, try this. Let your body's response to what you eat inform your food/health choices. At Bubbling Spring, we believe this represents true self-care. As an acupuncturist who is trained to look for the cause of symptoms, I was particularly impressed with Richard's suggestion to monitor the acid/alkaline state of the body. He said, one of the easiest ways to prevent illness is to create a balanced pH environment within the body. A pH between 6.3 and 6.9 will not support the growth of bacteria and viruses. A diet high in acid ash forming foods such as meat, fish poultry, eggs, grains, milk and milk products, roasted nuts and refined sugar produces excessive mucus. Mucus is the "fertile ground" in which bacteria and viruses grow best. By eating a diet high in alkaline ash forming foods such as raw almonds soaked in water overnight, and fresh fruits and vegetables, the excess mucus will not form and the environment conducive to the growth of bacteria and viruses is eliminated.

While a diet of 80% alkaline ash foods and 20% acid ash foods is often recommended, it is best to allow the body to inform you what the optimum mix is. This is very easily done in your home by dipping pH paper, (Bubbling Spring stocks this hard to find item) in a urine sample. It is useful to test the urine periodically so as to be aware of the pH level since over-acidity is not only caused by diet but also by exercise and stressful emotions.

During the past two years I have eaten a mostly alkaline ash producing diet with the result that I have lost weight effortlessly, improved my digestion and felt quite healthy. This summer, I found myself wanting a fruit smoothy (raw soaked almonds, fresh fruit, and bee pollen mixed in the blender) for breakfast, a fresh salad for lunch and cooked vegetables and a grain for dinner. (As cooler weather approaches, I look forward to eating more grains and lightly heated soups.) On special family occasions I have eaten seafood or turkey along with cooked vegetables.

After eating these acid ash producing foods, I have found it useful to drink fresh vegetable juice to quickly restore the pH balance. Sometimes, I just haven't had time to make fresh vegetable juice so I supplement my diet with The Alkalizer, (a powder mixed with water or juice) a unique blend of organic minerals from concentrated vegetable juice. This quickly restores my pH balance.

The body gets enzymes from two sources -- those it makes internally and those it gets from outside the body. Raw foods have only enough enzymes to digest "themselves." Any cooked or processed food eaten with the raw food requires additional enzymes to help with digestion. When the "additional" enzymes are taken from the body's store house, it requires a large expenditure of energy for the body to generate an increased level of digestive enzymes to compensate for food enzymes destroyed by cooking or processing.

Additionally, the body has a genetically determined, finite enzyme pool which is gradually depleted throughout the aging process. The rate of enzyme depletion in the body is a determining factor of longevity. Adding enzymes to your diet brings this constant drain on your valuable enzyme supply under control. This, then, is the case for taking digestive enzymes. I have found taking digestive enzymes has greatly improved my digestion. I have less cramping, bloating and gas especially after my evening meal which is generally made up of cooked vegetables and grains.

Over the course of the past two years, I have discovered that my body will muscle test well for different enzyme products at different times. So I'll use one product for several weeks and then my body may be attracted to something different. All this is to say, not all digestive enzymes on the market are the same, and it is useful, when using any supplements for a period of time, to ask your body periodically if it still wants the substance you are taking. A regenerative diet also includes organically grown fruits and vegetables which contain higher amounts of nutrients, minerals and trace minerals than commercially grown crops. However, due to the depleted quality of our planet's soil, nutritionists generally agree , whether you eat organic foods or not, the best and most reliable source of minerals and trace minerals is obtained from liquid mineral supplements. The human body can not directly absorb minerals found in the soil. It can only assimilate minerals which have first been absorbed through the roots of plants and transformed by the plants into "Pollycolloidal Organic Minerals" the size of an ion. Without these minerals, the enzymes manufactured by the body, mentioned above, can not be produced and consequently, vitamins can not be absorbed. If one is very depleted in minerals, he cannot use the vitamins which he takes in through food or pills. Additionally, the body is only capable of absorbing 5 to 10 % of the elemental minerals taken in tablets or capsules. The rest of these elemental minerals are elim- inated from the body, held as trapped heavy metals or stored in deposit for later use.

Thus, it is useful to take liquid mineral supplements absorbed at almost 100% by the body. I have found a product called Optimim which is based on a liquid extract of minerals from plant life found in clay that lived two or three thousand years ago. Optimin contains 70 major and trace minerals as they are configured in nature so it is like getting minerals from fruits and vegetables. In my practice, I recommend a supplement to a patient only if, through muscle testing, the patient's body is strengthened by the energy in the product.

With patients who test positively for a mineral supplement such as Optimim, I have found that during the test their body is strengthened beyond belief. Moreover, these patients typically report marked increases in strength and energy after taking the supplement for just a few days. For example, I have been treating one patient for over a year with homeopathic remedies. Upon taking Optimim, he said, "This has done more than any remedy or set of remedies I have taken to date." In my opinion, this just points to the severe mineral depletion which exists in people because our food source is grown in an exhausted, depleted, empty soil. This points to the need for a reliable natural food source-one that can be counted on to regenerate the body and keep one healthy.

Such a food source is available in raw bee pollen. Pollen is the male seed of flowers formed at the end of the flower's stamen. The bees collect the pollen dust and stuff it into their pollen basket attached to their leg. On the way back to the hive the bee mixes the pollen dust with a drop of honey forming the mixture into golden granule we call raw bee pollen. It is interesting to note that bee pollen cannot be duplicated in a lab- oratory and even modern science cannot identify all of its component parts. Nevertheless, it is known that bee pollen is rich in proteins, free amino acids, vitamins, and folic acid. "It is often referred to as nature's perfect food because it is the richest source of vitamins found in nature in a single food. It is richer in proteins than any animal source and it contains more amino acids than beef, eggs, or cheese of equal weight. Bee pollen is particularly concentrated in all elements necessary for life." (How to Live the Millennium, p.145)

I put two tablespoons of bee pollen in my fruit smoothy each morning and I use it as a gentle "pick-me-up" snack during the day. I began using bee pollen when I made all the other changes in my diet several years ago, so it is hard for me to attribute any specific changes to its use. I nevertheless rest in the knowledge that bee pollen contains all the nutrients mankind needs for complete life support and I eat it for the purpose of building a strong foundation.

Another food which you can include in your diet to support the foundation is flax seed oil. Flax seed oil, nature's richest source of essential fatty acids, taken daily, has the capacity to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Additionally, flax seed oil, high in ligians, is said to aid the body in thwarting the onset of cancer. Before moving to a diet high in living foods two years ago, both my cholesterol and triglyceride levels were elevated. This summer, I had a physical and both indicators were reported to be in the normal range. Like the bee pollen, I have included flax seed oil in my morning smoothy when my body muscle tested for it. I have no proof that there is a direct cor- relation between taking flax seed oil and the decrease in my cholesterol level, but all the changes I have made to my diet obviously have moved my health in the right direction.

Not only changing my diet has contributed to my health, but also finding the exact herbal formula or homeopathic remedy has greatly helped me deal with several chronic digestive issues. By using a biofeedback machine to communicate with my body's energy, I have been able to identify precisely which remedies are needed to support my digestive process. While acupuncture treatment alone can be very effective in dealing with digestive issues, it is my experience that the very material or substantive nature of digestion resonates more deeply with the material nature of herbs, enzymes, homeopathics, and the like. Additionally, placing the herbs or remedies in the body along with food two or three times per day often times is exactly what is needed to aid the digestive process. So I recommend people with digestive issues use herbs along with acupuncture treatment.

While it is possible to test for food allergies using biofeedback, I find it is more useful to look for the cause and ask the question, How can I support the affected organ(s) to make it stronger so that it does not protest when certain energy in the form of food is introduced. Typically, we look for toxins which block the system, support the body's ability to eliminate the toxins and then, using homeopathic remedies, pull the toxins out of the system. Simultaneously, we nurture and build up the depleted organ(s). When it is indicated, we use flower essences to assist the bodymindspirit in dealing with the emotional component associated with the digestive issue. I have found this to be a very powerful and effective system for dealing with chronic issues.

The biofeedback machine coupled to a very sophisticated computer program allows us to communicate directly with the energy in the body. The body can tell us exactly which remedies it needs to move it in the direction of balance. Alone, this is a very powerful and effective process. When it is used in conjunction with acupuncture, I find patients move very, very quickly toward health. I have shared with you things I have done to implement a program of nutritional self-care.

If you wish to explore a nutritional self-care path for yourself, please feel free to call me @ 301-613-4449 to talk about what would be best for you or browse our list of nutritional books to find one that will increase your understanding of food as preventative medicine.


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