I'll be up front and honest with you.
I've wrestled about another way to do this but there's no way around it.
I am going to come right out and say it.
The fact is that I used to do what many people still do about their health, vitality and wellbeing.
I used to ..
- make expensive urine every day, turning it bright yellow seconds after taking synthetic vitamin pills
- make my liver and kidneys work hard at removing inorganic minerals my body found foreign and useless
- treat my health 'problems' as a list of symptoms rather than the net result of my past habits
- constantly feel tired, low in energy and overwhelmed both mentally and physically
- think back about my youthful vitality and how I rarely got sick when I was a teenager and into my 20s and 30s (the effects of most of our bad health habits start to show up after we turn 40)
- believe the ads promising that pills and potions based on lab chemicals were the answer to my ideal health even though I had a so-called healthy diet back then
- have a fear of drifting towards becoming old, frail and dependent on others for even my basic needs
- think of my last days, lying in a hospice bed with an IV drip of chemicals to dull the pain and making the wait to die all that there was left in my life
It was all of the above that made me start out from just analyzing Australian wild foods for their basic nutritional components (their macronutrients) and onto examining, researching and testing their phytonutrients for what they would do to improve my health and slow my rate of ageing.
Luckily, I was also joined by numerous nutritional scientists here in Australia and internationally as well.
Here's a model of our possible health outcomes over time:
Avoiding the Drift
I was desperate to stop the drift and to get off that red line and my real preference was to find the answers to perpetual youth in the shortest possible time.
The medical yo-yo was not an option and natural ageing eventually ended badly too.
I knew that my genetics were wired so that the biochemical flaw of an inability to eliminate uric acid ran in the male line of my family and I have previously written about my experiences and my solution to this condition.
I may have been generally healthy (at least in my 40s) but knew that something had to be done to stay that way as time moved on. Hope is never a good strategy for any desirable outcome and we now know that genetics might set us up for an outcome but we can over-ride our genes by maintaining healthy food choices and improving our lifestyle over time.
For me, the bad news was that my mother and her mother died in their early 60s from cancer. My father had Alzheimer's for more than a decade before he died and like his father he made it to his early 90s. Both men needed a lot of care as their mental processes declined and both were extremely troublesome to their carers.
My familial diets were key factors that lead to these final outcomes.
It became obvious that I too, was eating foods that gave me way too much calcium and that my magnesium intake was the same as most people living in developed countries - seriously deficient.
Hidden Hunger Is a Thing
I got hungry every day and remember feeling a sort of stomach grumble or an awareness of needing to eat again. We now know that this was a sign of one of three types of hidden hunger. My gut bugs were telling my brain that they needed more phytonutrients that they were missing and they wanted me to get munching on anything to find what they wanted.
It reminds us that we are not alone in our body. Our own cells number around 37 trillion. Apart from some skin cells and red blood cells, all of our other cells contain organelles called mitochondria and these have a bacterial origin. We might have fully assimilated them but they are still foreign to our own cells.
Then there are the 100 trillion microbial cells in our gut and these are proving to have a lot more influence that our own conscious choices. They communicate with one another and direct us through the gut:brain axis and even make hormones that we recognize, absorb and utilize as our own. They also link to our immune system and regulate our nervous system, manipulating us because they are focused on world domination ..... Oops. Well maybe not that last part.
I knew that it wasn't a lack of food or protein. There was no way I was not getting enough to eat and my growing girth at the time suggested over-indulgence in food and alcohol. Nor was there much chance of not getting enough protein from my omnivorous diet.
However, like anyone in this country who is relying on modern foods, I was deficient in phytonutrients.
The rising incidences of metabolic syndrome conditions (obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and gout), cancers, osteoarthritis, mental diseases, auto-immune conditions, compromised immunity, varicose veins, faster ageing and many other diseases prove my point.
Unfortunately, I would have had early symptoms on many of the above diagnosable conditions and which begin to appear around our 40s and before there are enough different symptoms for a clinician to group them and give our situation a name. After years of living with Hidden Hunger, enough symptoms appear and a disease can be recognized as evident or imminent. This would then be followed by pharmaceuticals as marketed to the prescribing health professional (ie someone who earns a living treating symptoms, not from delivering on-going good health).
Am I being too cynical here? I know that many doctors, naturopaths and other health professionals do stay up to date with developments and knowledge in nutritional science but it is a booming science and absorbs 2 to 3 hours of my time every day. More on weekends.
And this is finding the most recent articles in peer reviewed journals and not only reading and assimilating the information I find but to delve deeper into related research and fit it all into the framework of discoveries and work by other scientists. Nutritional science is very fluid with old information embellished and supported or more often, modified if not entirely replaced with new facts and evidence of significant discoveries. It takes this commitment to stay on top of any dynamic science.
The disadvantage that pharmaceutical companies have over my whole food/wild food approach is that a researcher might uncover a new cause of a condition eg calcium in our soft tissues and its role in most diseases of nutrition but it could take 5 years and many millions of dollars to develop a product:
They need to design a patentable drug, test it in the lab, with animals (or directly in humans as with COVID19 vaccines recently), research the secondary (undesirable) effects and compound other drugs to reduce these negative effects before globally marketing the cocktail widely and aggressively to recover their massive costs and then have the product available for long enough to make a profit.
Does it make sense that this process means that even the most current drugs are out of step with the newest knowledge in nutritional science by up to 10 years?
Even the first step - designing a patentable drug - can be a challenge. Just look at the magnesium products available today. There are a bunch of them, all getting shelf space in supermarkets or promotional dollars spent to make clinicians aware of the latest and greatest. None of them work as they are meant to and most seem to adhere tot he 80?20 rule - 80% of the formula goes straight through us (like B-vitamins) and only 20% might be lucky to be absorbed. Then 20% might actually do what it was meant to do if it were coming from a whole food and had been activated from the start.
The process of drug development can also go fully off the rails. In a trial to prevent intestinal cancer in a target population (smokers), Vitamin A, C, E, beta carotene and selenium supplementation resulted in the trial being cancelled as mortality (the number of people who died during the trial) skyrocketed.
Another example are the half-baked vitamin D formulations now promoted as the best thing since sliced bread. Not only are they pushing synthetic D3 but calcium salts are included in the mix. I have written about this dangerous combination before and why I say that no one should be taking vitamin D3 tablets or capsules.
Healthspan and Lifespan - We Need Both
Anyway. My unhealthy years forced me to change my ways and past issues of Health Talk have made mention of these steps to a better healthspan and a longer lifespan.
I have also amassed a huge library of scientific research papers on aspects of the functional benefits delivered by phytonutrients. You can see the range of health issues that phytonutrients address here: Phytonutrients for Us, Defense Compounds for Plants
My contribution to improving health with wild, near wild and a few conventional whole foods was LIFE (Lyophilized Indigenous Food Essentials)®. This is still key to the road to our ideal health (Read more here). I usually take the 5g serve twice a day in my aim for perpetual youth as I mentioned above. The 5g daily recommendation is a maintenance serve but as I have so many really busy days and need to stay mentally sharp I often top up my nutrition with LIFE twice a day.
The next focus of mine was Karuah Active Magnesium™ as a whole food alternative to those store-bought magnesium salts that you buy in tablet form from supermarkets, chemists and online. I have tried a whole range of them but none of them worked for me and I would have been happy even if I felt a placebo effect. No improved sleep. No more energy. No boosted concentration or focus. No enhancement of strength or help with my fitness. Nada. Zip.
And now I am finding scientific reports that the Mg supplements may be formulated to contain 200mg of the elemental magnesium but that it is only 20% absorbed, if we're lucky. This means that we are paying for 40mg of magnesium so it's money for next to nothing.
However, it is not surprising when you think about our nutritional needs. We evolved eating whole foods, mainly from plants which we ate at 4 to 10 times the number of fruits and vegetables we rely upon these days. There's also the glaring difference in number and the nutritional qualities between the daily recommended 2 fruits and 5 veges pitched today and the 10 fruits and 3 to 5 vegetables accessed by the world's longest living culture.
Having learned about magnesium deficiency during the development of KAM and now understanding that magnesium uptake and retention is negatively affected by too much calcium, coffee and alcohol in the diet, I had more work to do.
As you probably are now aware, high calcium loads result in calculi or tiny nodules of calcium which get deposited in our soft tissues eg ducts, glands, brain and other organs and our blood vessels and lymphatic channels. These appear to be the start of many, if not most of the diseases of nutrition that we see develop after we hit 40 years of age.
As a complex, whole food solution to our calcification problems, I developed Karuah ChancaPlus™. You can read more about it here but suffice to say, KCP is based on Australian wild foods to which we add a wild herb that is widely reported to gelatinize these calculi enhancing the excretion of unwanted calcium.
I cannot stress enough, how important I see the calcium calculi are as a prelude to the diseases of nutrition. Kidney stones, gall stones, uric acid crystals as in gout
As a side project, I developed Karuah Activated Turmeric™ as a way to embellish the benefits of LIFE for a wide range of inflammatory conditions. This is based on whole, dried and milled turmeric (not extracted fragments of the root actives) and which conformed to our specification on more than 8% curcumin. This organic spice was combined with pineapple core (as a rich source of the enzyme, bromelain), freeze-dried Kakadu plum and Illawarra plum purées, an organic sulphur compound (from liquidized lignin in American pine fibre), mountain pepper, acacia resin (a cellular restorative), anise myrtle, black pepper (for its piperine) all blended and packed in slow release vegetable gelatin capsules.
This turmeric blend is so much more than a joint pain relief product. Read more about it here. It is designed to tackle inflammation throughout the body and while it is not a full member of my Holy Trinity to Health, maybe it's like the fourth Musketeer. I know I take 2 caps a day with an extra 2 every second or third day. We need to drive our nutrition in the same way as we drive ourselves when we exercise with high intensity training; or we drive our car when we need to get somewhere fast; or drive our goals and dreams when we commit to our best life and which make life worth living.
State of the Nation's Health
Truth is that we are getting less healthy every year. It's not our fault. It's our food. Ultra-processed, part-processed, fresh produce, domestic animal meats, farmed seafood - whatever. It all gets less worth eating each passing year.
All we can say for sure, is that we need to add wild foods back into our daily diet just to avoid Hidden Hunger and phytonutrient deficiency.
Wild foods are infinitely better than modern ones simply because we evolved with them as sustenance over eons compared to the narrowing of our food species range since agriculture began some 10,000 years ago. More recently, agriculture, factory farming and global distribution of our foods pushed the selection of the foods on offer to suit mass production, post-harvest handling and export. Just as with the environment, resource use and living within the planet's carrying capacity, nutrition also disappeared as a survival necessity and myopic political and economic imperatives won short term advantages.
So if you want to live life as though tomorrow matters:
I hope that I have made your options easy with my Holy Trinity to Health. Like the 3 Musketeers, there is a fourth member of the team so I included this above. If you are one of our regular Karuah Activated Turmeric™ customers, you already know it works as we claim and I would like to assure you that it reflects the quality of all of our health products.
By using the health-giving qualities of Australian wild foods from the World's longest living culture, my 4 products deliver benefits that I invite you to experience.
I can categorically say that The Holy Trinity To Health™ simplifies the best strategy that most of us can use to get and stay healthy. My aim for myself is to live longer and avoid the diseases of nutrition along the way.
Phytonutrients are key to these goals and I invite you to try my offering, risk free for 90 days.
and let me know how you go.