The word “natural,” it’s a nice word, isn’t it? Those who are making improvements in their lives regarding their health gravitate toward this word. We’d like to live as naturally as possible. No argument there. But how do we define “natural living?”
Can we simply pattern our daily lives after how we lived hundreds of thousands of years ago? Let’s go back to a time before the Internet, before technology, before the written word, before we had much of a language to speak of (no pun intended). And most important, before we started putting fire to what we ate. Back then we didn’t hunt or gather … we foraged. For most of us, back then, stress was far less than it is today. In the “good old days” we didn’t need as much B12 as we do today. So it’s not enough to talk about the “supply side” of the equation when it comes to nutrients, we also need to consider the “need” side of the equation, too.
Since we’re talking about B12, what if our bodies evolved to make and utilize enough B12 to meet our needs when we lived in “paradise,” which is where we, as a species, lived for a long time relative to post-historic times. What if, because of the higher amounts of stress we are subject to in today’s environment, we need more B12 than our bodies can manufacture? Hmmm. Could many people be walking around with a less-than-optimal B12 status (not to be confused with a B12 level, which is a measurement of B12 in the blood). So the “need” side of the equation is certainly something to think about, yes?
Now let’s see how this discussion fits in with the subject of this article. Do we “go natural” and hope that our body can make enough B12 to supply our needs? Or if we test our B12 status (with a uMMA test) and find we are B12 insufficient, and it’s not due to our consumption of things that interfere with B12 production — like ginger, garlic, spicy foods — and it’s not because of a lack of sufficient “intrinsic factor” (the substance that allows us to utilize the B12 that we make), and we need to, dare I say it, take a B12 supplement, is this obviously unnatural practice to be frowned upon because it is, by definition, unnatural? Or can we see it as one unnatural practice being used to counter the effects of another unnatural practice, namely: living in a way we were never designed to live (unnatural amounts of stress, non-yearly strong-enough sunshine, drier-than-normal air and nutritionally subpar fruits).
Let’s look at the nutritionally subpar fruits issue. Yes, it’s unnatural for me to juice something green and add the juice to my banana smoothies, but the bananas that I buy from the store are also grown in an unnatural way that prevent them from being the mineral-rich bananas they could have been if they grew more naturally. Here again, one unnatural practice to counter another unnatural practice.
And hanging up a phototherapy device on my ceiling so I can sunbathe myself during my “vitamin D winter” (that time of year when the sun is shining through way too much atmosphere to make any meaningful amounts of D in my skin) is certainly unnatural, but it’s also unnatural for our bodies to be living as far away from the equator as many people do.
Even the air we breathe is subject to this subject. We’re designed for a tropical environment, where the humidity is much higher than it is in winter in parts of the world that are far away from our original home. So if I use an unnatural device like a steam humidifier to raise my bedroom’s humidity level so I don’t dehydrate myself over that long stretch of time that I’m sleeping, isn’t this an example of using one unnatural thing to counter the effects of breathing air with an unnaturally dry humidity level? Sure it is.
And this brings me to the point of this article: There are unnatural things that are harmful to the body (cigarettes, liquor, the eating of animals, soda, junk food), but there are also unnatural practices that allow us to compensate for the fact that we are no longer living in our biological “eco-niche,” and we should be happy for these, and not automatically lump them together with the unnatural things that are health-damaging.
I thank my lucky stars that I can get an unnatural product like Daily Green Boost (powdered barley grass juice) to compensate for the unnaturally grown fruits that I buy from the unnatural agri-based food industry, which is growing that food for yield, sugar content, shelf life, pest resistance, appearance and just about anything except nutritional content. I’m thrilled that this product is grown for its nutritional content because that’s what it’s being used for, to augment the best diet (fruits) so that it can also be the healthiest diet. Please re-read the last part of that last sentence … this is a very important point.
My “health plan” is based on Natural Hygiene, which is the scientific application of the principles of nature in the preservation and restoration of health. And Natural Hygiene says that we must give our body what it requires. Natural Hygiene doesn’t stipulate that this must be done in a natural way or not at all; it says it must be done … period. So since the agri-based industry farmers are adding back only the nutrients potassium and phosphorous to their soils, but not sodium, and since tomatoes grown in those soils bear this out (they do not taste savory), if we’re eating foods from those soils, we’re eating a potassium-sufficient diet, and a sodium-insufficient diet. How do you think this affects the trillions of sodium-potassium pumps in our body (each cell has one). So if the powdered barley grass juice that I add to my banana smoothies helps supply me with getting enough sodium so that my sodium-potassium pumps are happy, is this admittedly unnatural practice a bad thing or a good thing from the body’s perspective?
And that’s the point of this article: When passing judgment on a practice that’s technically unnatural, do we look at it from a purely philosophical point of view or from the body’s point of view? And should we wait for symptoms of a deficiency to appear before doing something about it? And that’s assuming we’d be able to attribute the condition that’s causing those symptoms to a particular nutrient, which can be tough to do. I’m with Natural Hygiene on this one; since Natural Hygiene is the science and art of restoring and preserving health by those substances and influences that have a normal relation to life, and since adequate nutrition is one of those substances and influences, and since I’m already eating foods grown in an unnatural way, I have no problem using the good unnatural practices to compensate for the not-so-good ones. Doesn’t this make sense?
Don Bennett is an insightful, reality-based author and health creation counselor who uses the tools in his toolbox — like logic, common sense, critical thinking and independent thought — to figure out how to live so you can be optimally healthy. More about Don’s latest book on Health101.org/books.