Health Care in Harmony with Nature
Dr. Arlan Cage, ND, LAc


Clinical Nutrition

"Let your food be your Medicine,
and your Medicine be your food."

Hippocrates, "Father of Western Medicine", circa 400 B.C.


Back to Therapeutic Modalities

460-377 B.C.

The Decline of the Modern Food Supply
Every chronic illness, from cancer to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and more, has one or more nutritional deficiencies as its root cause. The most important question to understand in modern health, is how this situation came to be. How is it, that the human race, which has existed for at least a half million years on this planet, in less than the last 100 years or so is suddenly killing itself with the food we eat!?

As the United States was a young, growing country in the 1800s, the population gradually moved westward across the continent. As they did and settled the Western areas of the country they used the same farming practices they were familiar with from the east. Unfortunately, due to differences in the soil, these abusive practices set the stage for a major disaster.

In the late 1920's and early 1930's the North American continent was hit with a severe drought, the magnitude of which we now know had only been seen about every 150-200 years or so. Virually no rain at all fell in the western areas of the US for over 5 years. As the soil dried, it literally blew away in the wind taking with it all the minerals and organic material known as humous that help plants grow and be healthy. This phenomenon became known as the Dust Bowl. Farms throughout American failed, displacing 10s of thousands of people.

Dust Bowl,
When the rains finally returned, the farming soils throughout the country were horribly deficient in the minerals needed for plant growth. Chemical fertilizers were developed containing the bare minimum minerals needed for plants to grow large. Keep in mind that farm crops, then and now, were sold by weight, not nutritional content. Dozens of other nutrients needed for our health were left out of fertilizers. Unfortunately, those other nutrients are also needed for plant health. Because the plants were weak and sickly, they were more prone to attack by insects and other pests, so chemical pesticides were also developed to kill the bugs.

After WWII, more and more people moved to cities, and in order to feed them, food began to be mass produced more like a factory product than a custom-crafted source of nutrition, grown by the same people who would eat it. In order to survive shipping the food long distances to cities, food began to be "processed", a fancy term to describe the process of removing from food all the parts which made it more susceptible to spoiling. Alas, these plant parts were prone to spoiling because they are high in nutrients and the bacteria wanted to eat it, too.

Drought-Stricken Farm,
The net result is that modern food is grown in nutrient deficient soils, which results in low levels of vitamins and minerals in the food. Many of these are then further removed during "processing". What makes it to your table can hardly be called 'food' and certainly isn't nutritious. Dr. Cage has coined the term "Industrial Grade Food" to describe this phenomenon.

Food Quality
While most modern fad diets argue about the relative merits of high fat vs. low fat, high protein vs. low protein, or high carb vs. low carb diets, knowing the details of processed foods grown on conventional, mass-produced farms, it quickly becomes clear that the key to health is an issue of food quality. There can be good carbs and bad carbs, good or bad fats, good or bad proteins. As part of your treatment at South Bay Total Health, you will receive instuction in what types of foods constitute high quality forms of the basic nutrients.

Food Purity
Another major issue to be aware of is that of purity; i.e., avoiding foods grown with modern chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. The only way to do this is to eat organically grown foods as much as possible. While the cost of many organically grown foods is higher than the conventional counterparts, when you consider the long term detrimental effects on your health of the conventional foods, Organically grown foods are the best health bargain on the market.

Live, Whole Food Nutrition:
The Foundation of Health

In addition to basic biochemical factors such as the content of vitamins and minerals, food, such as plants or the animals that eat them also have the same living energy that humans do. The content of Qi, or Vital Force, is also a factor for what we eat. Plants that are grown in mineral deficient soils and are sprayed with poisonous fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides have low levels of beneficial Qi, as well as the presence of negative energy fields from the chemicals.

Dr. Cage is therefore a strong proponent of Live, Whole-Food Nutrition as a basis for health. Whole vegetables, fruits, grains, meat and fish, organically grown and fed in a natural manner. Eating locally-grown produce in harmony with the seasons and using cooking methods that preserve the nutritional content of the food are also important. Live Whole Food should build up the energy and nutritional content of the body. Conventionally mass-produced food products, deficient in energy and nutrients result in lowering the content of energy and nutrients in the body, which is exactly the cause of long term chronic disease. This philosophy of nutrition is best espoused throught the works of Weston Price and Francis Pottenger. To read more about their work, visit the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.

Interestingly, modern Naturopathic Medical philosophy has its roots in early European Vitalistic Philosophy, which in turn had its roots in a system of medicine known as Greek Medicine, a vitalistic philosophy heavily influenced by Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine from India. The chief spokesman and leading practitioner of Greek Medicine was Hippocrates, the acknowledged Father of Western Medicine. The medical oath taken by every modern Conventional Medical Doctor is known as the Hippocratic Oath as an acknowledgement of his greatness. Hippocrates used food and nutrition as his primary treatment method. His quote at the top of the page, "Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" is often cited by modern nutritionists, along with another Hippocratic quote: "Leave your drugs in the chemist's pot if you can cure your patient with food". How ironic, then, that with this as the legacy of Hippocrates, conventional doctors have chosen to overlook his examples, ignore nutrition almost completely, and instead rely on prescription drugs.

Nutritional Supplements & Essential Nutrients
The use of nutritional supplements is a crucial issue, and is often the most mis-understood part of health. Simply put, supplements are things you add to your diet, over and above the food you eat. To really understand them, it helps to think of supplements in two broad categories. (1) Essential Nutrients, and (2) other natural substances, which, while not considered essential, have certain therapeutic properties and can influence health.

Essential Nutrients are a category of nutrients which are essential for life and which our bodies are not able to make. If we don't get enough of an Essential Nutrient we will get sick and eventually die. An example is Scurvy -- a disease of Vitamin C deficiency.

In the past, we were able to get all the essential nutrients we needed for optimal health from the food we ate. Since the Dust Bowl, however, that is no longer true. The deficiency of minerals in the soil leads to deficiencies of minerals in any plants that grow in the soil. Since plants need adequate minerals to make vitamins, those plants will also be deficient in vitamins. Whether we eat the plants directly, or eat other animals that the plants, our food and subsequently our bodies are deficient in essential nutrients.

Adding extra essential nutrients to our daily intake of food is absolutely necessary for optimal health. The older you get, and the longer you have been without any supplement program, the more important it is for your health and healing to start. In general you will need to take essential nutrients for the rest of your life, or at least until we are able to re-mineralize all the farm soils in the country and completely remove all artifical chemicals from the food supply.

Other supplements, because of their therapeutic properties, are often used temporarily during your treatment. In most cases you will not need to use them long term, but only until you re-establish your normal state of health.

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