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Physician Speaks Out for Whole Foods Nutrition

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Thomas Cowan, MD, keynote speaker at the "Organic Goes Mainstream 22nd Annual Organic Agriculture Conference, held Jan. 23 to 26, 2003, at Guelph (Ontario) University Centre, drew a standing ovation for his talk stressing the importance of whole foods in human nutrition. Dr.

Thomas Cowan, MD, keynote speaker at the "Organic Goes Mainstream" 22nd Annual Organic Agriculture Conference, held Jan. 23 to 26, 2003, at Guelph (Ontario) University Centre, drew a standing ovation for his talk stressing the importance of whole foods in human nutrition.

Dr. Cowan, past-president of the Physicians' Association for Anthroposophical Medicine and current board member of The Weston A. Price Foundation, based his talk on the research of the late dentist and nutrition pioneer Weston A. Price, who travelled the world in search of people and ethnic groups who were perfectly healthy. Dr. Price found that a diet of whole, unprocessed foods was directly correlated with a healthy jawbone structure and perfectly aligned teeth completely free of cavities and, by extension, physical, mental, and emotional health. In contrast, when processed, refined foods the foods of modern commerce," as Price called them were introduced into the diet of subsequent generations, tooth health and general health deteriorated rapidly.

Dr. Price documented his findings in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, which is now in its sixth edition (McGraw Hill, 2002). Specifically, he established that ethnic cultures who were highly particular about organic farming practices and whose dairy farmers, for instance, made it a priority to increase the fat content of cow's milk, enjoyed better health than ethnic groups who were not as meticulous in their farming techniques. This led Dr. Price to conclude that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats.

These fat-soluble activators are essential for assimilation of vitamins A, D and E, as well as vital minerals, including calcium. Whole milk, for instance, includes the proper balance of fats to ensure optimal utilization of these nutrients. Fermented whole milk products, such as yogurt and kefir, are the most bioavailable. The body is unable to fully utilize calcium and other nutrients from low fat and skim milks. Cod liver oil and butter from pasture-fed cows were highly regarded by Dr. Price for their value in delivering easily assimilated vitamins A and D to the body, optimizing immune function.

One of Dr. Price's associates, Francis Pottenger, observed in research involving cats that when one generation began eating "the foods of modern commerce," especially refined carbohydrates (white sugar, white flour, white rice), their offspring (generation one) began to have crowded, crooked, bad teeth. The subsequent generation suffered from allergies, followed by autoimmune diseases in the third generation. The fourth generation displayed sociological problems, mental illness, endocrine problems and infertility.

Dr. Cowan explained that inadequate calcium intake and assimilation as a result of processed foods and reduced intake of whole fats have caused an average 30 percent reduction in bone density in modern humans. This, in turn, has led to inadequately formed jawbone and tooth formation, as well as tooth decay. Perfectly healthy teeth are rarely seen in the industrialized world. The teeth of many of today's children grow in unevenly, appearing crooked or protruding horizontally on either side of the gums instead of straight and vertically. This is the same phenomenon observed in generation one of Pottenger's cat experiment.

Allergies and autoimmune diseases are ubiquitous today and are increasing at alarming rates. Incidence of infertility is also rising with symptoms equivalent to those observed in generation four of Pottenger's cats. Infertility, according to Dr. Cowan, is nature's way of saying, "We've gone too far and can't allow the situation to continue."

In his wholistic family practice, Dr. Cowan has successfully used natural whole foods, properly prepared by traditional methods, to "treat" and reverse degenerative conditions, including liver disease, thyroid disease and diabetes.

In Dr. Cowan's view, the Hippocratic oath, in which physicians vow to "first do no harm," is truly respected when treatment harms neither the patient nor the environment, nor even harmful bacteria, which cannot thrive in healthy people eating orgnic whole foods.

Francis Pottenger observed the effects of a processed-food diet on four generations of cats.

Inadequate calcium intake and assimilation as a result of processed foods and reduced intake of whole fats have caused an average 30 per cent reduction in bone density in modern humans.

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