Most of us recognise that foods have a great influence on our health. For decades, through this clinic we have been assisting people with many types of diets. We have determined these through the use of electro-dermal testing combined with our ‘With and Without’ food trials—that require graphs, diaries and controls to ensure accuracy for the individual. Different people have different requirements. Some people need ways to address acute symptoms, some to address chronic symptoms, while some want diets to reduce the possibility of illness as they age 1.
Immune resources are used up in the process of addressing chemicals and microbes in some foods. When a person’s immune system is chronically damaged, we assist them to create a Signature Diet to specifically unload their immune system from using up valuable resources. When the immune system is unloaded it is able to re-allocate its valuable resources to address more important issues in the body such as monitoring against cancer cells.
When people have autoimmune diseases, cancers, or permanent organ damage, we assist them to create an individual Signature Diet with the aim of maintaining the maximum possible quality of eating where nutrition is maximised and the load on the immune system is minimised. In our long experience, we have found that it is the natural defence toxins in our vegetables, salads and fruits that cause our individual immune systems to waste valuable resources. Why should this be so?
There are more than 400,000 species of plants on this planet and we can eat only a select few. Why is it that a goat can eat tens of thousands of plant species and we cannot? The simple answer is that they have evolved chemical processes in their livers, kidneys, intestines and immune systems to denature the natural plant toxins and poisons, and they have evolved fermenting chambers (caecum) in their intestines, to unravel the glyco-proteins from plant cellulose for digestion. Humans do not have this range of chemical processes and we do not have a functional caecum, so we are restricted to eating an incredibly small number of select plants that give up their nutrients without fermentation and only have those types of toxins and poisons that our organs, supported by our immune system, can denature.
Still, we have to cook most of these plants to digest them and not suffer poisoning. On the other hand we can eat almost all the different types of animals on this planet and not waste immune resources (as long as we cook them), because the vast majority of animals do not have poisons within the tissue of their muscles and organs to deter predators eating them. Animals survive predominantly through movement, size, fangs, claws and cooperative defence to stop being eaten.
Having said that, there has been a developing concern over the last 50 years with the concentration of heavy metals and industrial chemicals in the fat/protein tissue of animals—and this is now impacting on immune function. Eating younger animals and mostly those that are herbivores (cattle, sheep, goats) rather than omnivore/carnivores (pigs, chickens, most fish), will reduce this concern. In addition, if animal tissue is cooked with sugars at excessively high temperatures to produce the lovely tasting browning effect (maillard compounds) that we can create with modern cooking appliances, then our immune systems will expend resources to limit these inflammatory chemicals 2.
Our immune system is consistently using resources to address natural plant toxins. While most of the several dozen fruits we eat are very low in toxins, the vast majority of the 400,000 plant species in this world are too toxic for us to eat, even if we cooked them. No plant itself ‘wants’ to be eaten. Plants wage warfare against the animals, insects and moulds that attempt to eat them. Plants wage warfare against other plants for limited resources such as soil nutrients and sunlight. Sometimes they use spikes and woody tissue, but mostly they use chemical warfare instead of mobility. If you happen to find a strange looking mushroom or fruit in the bush, would you take it home to cook—no, because it might be poisonous and your liver or kidneys may not be able to denature the poison or it could be toxic and our immune system may fail to cope with it.
Our immune system keeps our organs healthy by acting as a public service to the different cellular communities—our organs. The immune system has two primary roles: one is to ‘govern’ the behaviour of the communities of cells, and the other is to maintain perfect organ environments so that individual cells can live to their potential, and efficiently behave as a community. When this is achieved, our organs function perfectly without symptoms. It is through these primary roles that our immune system is able to denature a small range of the less poisonous and toxic plants, so that we can eat them for their nutrition.
When people are really ill and their immune systems are failing to cope with a life-threatening illness, they stop eating everything. This unloads their immune system from having to deal with the plant poisons, toxins, fungi, bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms associated with foods. This allows immune resources to be redirected towards the immediate threat. We know these people are getting better when they start eating again.
So on the one hand there are hundreds of thousands of plants we cannot eat because of their natural poisons, and on the other, is the phenomenon that we stop eating all foods when our bodies are failing. But what about the foods between these two extremes?
When we are young and possess effective immune system health, all our organs are assisted to function normally and thus we can eat any of the acceptable human foods, including most of the commercial, synthetic foods. We can eat any amount, any combination, at any time of day and night, and incredibly, remain perfectly healthy for years. The advice of nutritionists, dietitians, doctors and naturopaths we can ignore, and most of us do when we are young.
One of the most important things to be aware of is this: There are many healthy young people who can eat all the junk food they like and remain perfectly healthy, have normal weight, normal energy, and never get sick. After the age of 35 most people suffer slight to moderate changes to their immune function and they begin to develop low-grade chronic symptoms. If we seriously damage our immune system, then, if we want to have symptom-free health, we really need to be more selective in the human foods we eat, including both animal products and plants.
It must be remembered that the immune system in each of us develops its own unique signature of efficiency as we grow from an infant to an adult and it looses its efficiency in its own unique way as we age, depending on its genetic makeup and our life circumstances. While some people find they react to one type of food as they age, others do not. This has allowed the creation of literally hundreds of different types of ‘join the club’ diets in the last 100 years. This keeps professionals in business advising their patients on the diet they should have in order to eliminate symptoms and regain their health.
Most of us understand that, if we are not well, we will improve in health if we simply remove fast foods from our diets. Most ‘join the club’ diets initially appear to work for many, because they advise removing fast foods. While they may greatly assist the majority of people, there will always be some that they cannot help—because of the uniqueness of the individual’s immune system or organ damage. This is where a Signature Diet, specific to the individual, is more valuable in the long term than supplementation, medicine and therapies. A Signature Diet more than any other generalist diet, efficiently unloads their immune system from having to commit resources to deal with specific food toxins/poisons/pathogens and allows it to refocus its resources in its efforts to maintain healthy organs—and this increases the potential for longevity with better health.