Symptoms to Expect When You Improve Your Diet
by Dr. Stanley S. Bass
If I were asked which is the area of greatest misunderstanding and confusion in the field of nutrition, I would immediately be forced to reply that it is the failure to properly understand and interpret the symptoms and changes which follow the beginning of a better nutritional program.
What is meant by a better nutritional program?
It is the introduction of foods of higher quality in place of lower quality ones. For example, if a person replaces a protein rich food such as pork with beef, the beef may be considered the superior of the two due to its easier digestibility, lower and less saturated fat content, etc.; chicken is superior to beef and fish is superior to chicken because of its more rapid digestibility and lower saturated fat content. Lima beans, lentils, or chick peas, which are eaten at the same meal with vegetables are superior in all the nutrients needed to rebuild health.
As we go higher on the scale of quality, we begin to include protein rich food which may be eaten in the unfired state, such as cheese which is made from raw milk and unsalted. Then we ascend to the nuts and seeds which are eaten in the natural state (raw and unsalted).
To summarize: the closer the food comes to the natural state in which it occurs, or the closer to its raw, unfired form, the higher its quality. In this condition, all the enzymes are found intact. The amino acids are in their finest form. The minerals, vitamins, trace elements, carbohydrates, and "life force" are present. The life force, in turn, is capable of reproducing healthy tissue.
This same classification of quality which we analyzed in relation to protein rich foods applies to the carbohydrates (the starch and sugar-rich foods), the fats, and the mineral-rich foods.
The quality of a nutritional program is also improved by omitting toxic substances such as coffee, tea, chocolate, tobacco, salt, pepper, etc. from your diet.
What is the relation of quality of foods to recovery from illness? It is this in a nutshell: The higher the quality of food we eat, the quicker we recover from disease, provided we are able to digest and assimilate properly.
To this must be added the knowledge of (a)proper food combining; (b) proper order of eating the different kinds of food at a meal, e.g., the most easily digested food should be eaten first, the more complex one second, and the most concentrated item last; (c) the correct quantity of food to be consumed (of each type) in the meal; and (d) the correct time for eating (when hungry and not by the clock).
Now, what happens when a person follows these rules and makes a decided improvement in the quality of food consumed? Remarkable things begin to happen to the body as well as the mind. The amazing intelligence present in every cell of the body and the wisdom of the body in its operation immediately becomes manifest. The rule may be stated thusly: When the quality of the food coming into the body is of higher quality than the tissues which the body is made of, the body begins to discard the lower
grade materials and tissues to make room for the superior materials which it uses to make new and healthier tissue.
This is the plan of Nature — the body is very selective and always tries to produce health and always will, unless our interference is too great. Only then do we fail to recover and degenerate further into disease. The self-curing nature of many conditions such as colds, fevers, cuts, swellings, injuries, etc., furnishes endless examples of how the body tends towards health–always–unless we do something to stop the process.
What are the symptoms or signs which become evident when we first begin to omit the lower grade foods and instead introduce superior foods–those which are most alive, more natural than we are accustomed to? When the use of toxic stimulants such as coffee, tea, chocolate, or cocoa is suddenly stopped, headaches are common and a letdown occurs. This is due to the discard by the body of the toxins called caffeine and theobromine which are removed from the tissues and transported through the bloodstream
during its many bodily rounds.
Before the noxious agents reach their final destination for elimination, these irritants register in our consciousness as pain–in other words, headache. The letdown is due to the slower action of the heart–the resting phase which follows the stimulation of more rapid heart beat forced upon the body by certain poisons called stimulants. The more rapid heart beat (or pulse) produces a feeling of exhilaration, and the slower action produces a depressed state of mind. Usually, within three days, the symptoms vanish and we feel stronger due to the recuperation which follows.
To a lesser extent, the same process occurs when we abandon lower quality foods and replace them with better foods. Lower quality foods have undergone more preparation. Spices, salt, and other ingredients have been added, as they tend to be more stimulating than less prepared and more natural foods. Animal foods such as meat, fowl, fish, etc. are more stimulating than cheese, nuts, and vegetable proteins.
Consequently, the withdrawal of stimulation which follows the abandonment of animal food produces a slower heart action–a resting phase–which registers in the mind as relaxation or a decrease of energy. This initial letdown lasts about ten days or slightly longer and is followed by an increase of strength, a feeling of diminishing stress
and greater well-being.
Now let us return to the symptoms which occur in the process of regeneration. The person who starts a better diet, stays on it for three days to a week, and then quits will say, "Oh, I felt better on the old diet–the new one makes me feel weak." He failed because he didn’t give his body a chance to adjust and complete its first phase of action–recuperation. If he had waited a while longer, he would have begun to feel better than before he started.
During the initial stage (lasting about ten days on the average to several weeks in others), the vital energies which are usually in the periphery or external part of the body such as the muscles and skin, begin to move to the vital internal organs and start reconstruction. This shunting of much of the power to the internal region produces a feeling of less energy in the muscles, which the mind interprets as some weakness.
Actually, the power is increased, but most of it is being used for rebuilding the more important organs and less of it is available for muscular work. Any weakness which is felt here is not true weakness, but merely a redeploying of forces to the more important internal parts. Here it is important for the person to stop wasting energy, and to rest and sleep more. This is a crucial phase, and if the person resorts to stimulants of any kind, he will abort and defeat the regenerative intent of the body.
It is important that he have patience and faith and just wait it out, and after a while he will get increasing strength which will exceed by far what he felt before he began the new program. It also helps to drink plenty of pure water while detoxing.
Success in recovery or improvement of health hinges upon the correct understanding of this point — realizing that the body is using its main energies in more important internal work and not wasting it in external work involving muscle movements. Be wise, take it easy here, and relax. Just coast in your work and social obligations until you’re out of the woods.