I have been thinking recently about why real food, including grassfed meat, has made such a huge difference in my health and wellbeing. After all, I had been brought up to believe that healing could only come from doctors and medicine, and that I should do everything the doctor says. The very phrase “just what the doctor ordered” shows the power our culture gives this profession. Yet, the medical profession failed me completely. When there was nothing else they could do, I had to go somewhere else. Eventually, strengthening the natural functions of my body by avoiding toxins and bad foods, and eating real food and grassfed meat, restored me to good health. No doctor, drug, or medical procedure was involved.
This used to be puzzling to me, after all, everybody knows that bacteria are bad, and cause almost all disease. We are also taught that the only way to restore health is to kill the bad germs through medical procedures. But the chronic respiratory infections I used to get many times a year just stopped happening, a few months after my diet changed. Why?
The answer lies in a conflict of scientific theories, between Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard. Almost everyone has heard of Pasteur, whose theories are the basis of modern medicine. But almost nobody has heard of Bernard. Yet, based on my own experience, Bernard was right.
Pasteur and Bernard
Louis Pasteur was a French scientist whose theories are the basis of much of modern medicine. Pasteur became famous when he developed a way to help the French wine industry deal with mold, a problem that had become so bad that the very existence of French wines was in jeopardy. Pasteur also developed the process that bears his name, Pasteurization, which is used to supposedly make milk safe to drink.
Pasteur believed that most disease was caused by bacteria and germs, and that killing these small microorganisms was the key to fighting disease and healing most illnesses. This theory is accepted by the modern medical profession, and governments, who try to control disease by killing germs and bacteria. Pasteur incorrectly taught that humans should have no bacteria at all, and all bacteria should be killed. We have learned that humans have a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria, which are absolutely necessary for digestion and the proper functioning of the immune system, and other purposes. These are now called “good” bacteria.
Bernard, who lived and taught at the time of Pasteur, had a very different view. He saw bacteria as necessary to the proper functioning of the human body. He also taught that bacteria could change inside the body, going from beneficial to harmful, or from harmful to beneficial. Bernard believed that the form taken by the bacteria was completely dependent upon what he called the “terrain,” which was the actual condition of the body. As long as the body was well-nourished, well-exercised, and healthy, the bacteria inside the body would be beneficial and protective. But if the “terrain” was damaged, through injury, or malnutrition, or trauma, some of the bacteria would change to a pathenogenic form that would harm the body, cause disease, and even death. Conversely, if you improved the “terrain” through nutrition and other means, the bacteria would change back to a beneficial form and stop harming the body. To Bernard, the condition of the “terrain” was everything.
In other words, there were two very different theories. One tried to cure by killing bacteria and viruses. The other tried to cure by strengthening the body, which would cause the bad bacteria to be gone, by changing form.
On his deathbed, Pasteur is reported to have said, “The germ is nothing, the terrain is everything.”
Improving the Terrain
The two theories are not completely opposed to each other. It is generally recognized that a strong, well-functioning immune system enables people to fight off disease. And someone who is afflicted by an infection may well need help to fight the infection and give their body a chance to recover. And it is true that the body will fight and kill harmful bacteria and viruses.
But nobody that I know is opposed to a body that functions well, or, in other words, a body with great “terrain.” So how do we improve the “terrain”?
The route I have taken is to avoid toxins, emissions, and poisons, and to eat the nutritious foods of our ancestors. I have also come to realize the importance of avoiding stress, avoiding anger and fear, and getting enough sleep. All these things improve my “terrain,” and should help most people.
This is very difficult to do in a world polluted with chemical poisons. But you can do many things to reduce the amount of chemicals and toxins that enter your body. To me, this means avoiding all food and items that contain added chemicals, to the extent possible. Since chemicals are everywhere, this requires learning about the toxins and how to reduce your exposure to them. Two of the most basic ways you can do this is to eat only foods that are organic or the equivalent and drink filtered water. The best source I know for the right way to eat is contained on the website of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which has a huge number of online articles on many important subjects. This was how I learned the truths that enabled me to rebuild my “terrain” and restore my natural functions, which has resulted in the best health of my life. I have had no reason to see a doctor for over ten years now.
It is important to filter water, as water contains many toxins such as fluoride, aluminum, chlorine, drug-residue, and many others.
Eating Real Food and Grassfed Meat
This was, without doubt, the key part of my journey to health. Real food is the food of our ancestors, raised, cooked and eaten without the use of chemicals. It does not include GMOs or flavor enhancers. It merely includes food, and nothing else. I found that eating grassfed meat was the key to rebuilding my body to strength and vitality. Many traditional peoples used meat for this purpose. Only grassfed meat has had this effect on me, as the factory meats raised with chemicals and unnatural feeds just did not help me. Using cooking methods similar to those of our ancestors is also important, as modern cookware is often full of toxins that can leach into the food.
Avoiding Stress, Fear, and Anger
There is a good deal of stress in life. But most stress is created not so much by what actually happens, as by how we think of it. Stress causes the body to produce free radicals that actually damage the body, harming the “terrain” and hampering the natural functions. Fear and anger have a similar effect, causing the release of chemicals that pump the body up to take drastic fight-or-flight action, which is useful only if you are fighting or running. These chemicals also harm the “terrain,” and interfere with the natural functions. I try to cultivate a happy, peaceful attitude, and to avoid stressful situations to the extent that I reasonably can. I also choose to avoid responding with fear or anger, to the extent reasonably possible, by thinking positively when I can. I have also found that focusing on happy thoughts, by paying attention to and enjoying the many good things that happen seems to help the “terrain.” After all, feeling good feels much better than being scared or angry. There are times when it is very hard to avoid fear or anger or stress, but to the extent there is a choice, I choose to avoid them.
I am not a medical professional, and I can only use my own experience as my guide. I am sharing that experience, and my thoughts on what happened to me. But, for me, I am confident that improving my “terrain” through real food and grassfed meat enabled the natural functions of my body to function well, and improved my “terrain,” as did taking a more positive view of life.
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