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After oxygen, nothing else consumed by man approaches the crucial importance of water in providing the foundations for health and vitality. All physiological systems, without exception, have a primal dependence upon adequate hydration for their optimal assimilation of nutrients, purification of toxins and proper functioning.

Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, a Western-schooled physician born in Tehran, Iran, has written several books concerning the astonishing therapeutic powers of water. He made his discoveries after being sentenced to death by the government of Iran, which commuted his sentence to life imprisonment, forcing him to treat the illnesses of thousands of suffering inmates with nothing but plain water. Amazingly, the conditions that were ameliorated by adequate hydration ranged from the chronic to the life-threatening, from ulcers and hypertension to Alzheimer's Disease. To enumerate but a few of the myriad interactions which are crucially water-dependent:

The flow of water through the cell membrane can generate "hydroelectric" energy (voltage) that is converted and stored in the energy pools in the form of ATP and GTP - two vital cell battery systems. ATP and GTP are chemical sources of energy in the body. The energy generated by water is used in the manufacture of ATP and GTP. These particles are used as "cash flow" in elemental exchanges, particularly in neurotransmission.

Proteins and enzymes of the body function more efficiently in solutions of lower viscosity. . "Water, the solvent of the body, regulates all functions . . . (Author's italics, J.M.)

The adequate hydration of the human body in itself constitutes a profoundly health-enhancing act, through which literally thousands of complex biological systems are catalyzed and balanced.

Most human beings and disease conditions present a picture of minor or major systemic dehydration.

An abundance of water throughout the day will enable the channels of elimination in the human ecosystem to continually cleanse themselves of their accumulated wastes it will also provide optimal tone to all the immune-enhancing mucous membranes in the body. It is particularly important to take sufficient water before and after meals, where it will insure the most favorable interactions between foods taken and the forces of assimilation. By creating an easily flowing fluid interchange and access between all the organs and their paths of elimination, an equilibrium is established amongst them which prevents any single system from being overtaxed and subject to dysfunction or breakdown.

Stress of any kind immediately and dramatically draws upon and consumes the available level of water in the tissues, thereby reducing the fluidity and the optimal functioning of all the systems of circulation, including the circulatory, the respiratory and the lymphatic. Therefore, under moderate or severe stress, one should take care to immediately and substantially increase one's intake.

As a flexible rule of thumb, one should consume at least six to eight full glasses daily, or approximately two to two and a half quarts. While pure, unchemicalized water is always preferable, if this is not readily available, rather than reducing one's intake, one should avail oneself of the best that one can find. A good habit is to drink from one half to two glasses of mildly tepid water upon waking. Likewise, one should take a glass prior to retiring, to insure the optimal tissue repair and organic interchange while sleeping.

It is important to note that no beverages can successfully substitute for pure water in their hydration effect and catalyst potential; only unadulterated water will achieve the best results. The first rule of any distress or discomfort, whether physical or psychic: When in doubt, drink more water.

Further reading:

Ballard, Juliet Brooke, The Hidden Laws of Earth, A.R.E. Press, Virginia Beach, VA, 1979.

Batmanghelidj, F., M.D., Your Body's Many Cries for Water, Global

Health Solutions, Inc., Falls Church, VA, 1995. Bragg, Paul & Patricia, Water - The Shocking Truth, Health Science,

Santa Barbara, CA. Frejer, B. Ernest (compiled by), The Edgar Cayce Companion, A.R.E. Press, Virginia Beach, VA, 1995.

Dr. Edward Howell, biochemist, clinician at the Lindlahr Sanitarium and life-long researcher in the field of enzymes has written extensively and eloquently on the subject of living foods, with their rich store of enzymes intact, and their profound relationship to optimal human health. His Food Enzymes for Health & Longevity distills the research from over 435 medical and nutritional journals on the subject in a compelling manner.

Secreted by the pancreas, enzymes are considered biochemical catalysts which assist and are in fact indispensable to virtually every phase of life-function thus far explored by medical science - from the lubrication of the eyes to the breakdown of all nutriments within the body.

Howell takes care to delineate the fact that, "Catalysts are only inert substances. They possess none of the life energy we find in enzymes. For instance, enzymes give off a kind of radiation when they work. This is not true of catalysts." (Healthview Newsletter, 1979)

Elsewhere, he states this in a slightly different manner: "The enzyme complex is a biological entity composed of corporeal (material) and incorporeal (energetic) fraction ..." It is clear from these extracts that the enzyme complex may be regarded as a minute quantum of energy-carrying matter.

Howell demonstrates the dramatic difference in an enzyme-sacrificing dysfunction and an enzyme-sparing one: "Loss of pancreatic enzymes by experimental or human pancreatic fistula (opening) is rapidly fatal, invalidating the supposition that extensive fecal excretion of enzymes is tolerable. On the contrary, death is not inevitable in experimental or human biliary fistula where no enzymes are sacrificed ..."

A direct relationship exists between tissue enzyme levels and vitality, being highest in the young and the healthy, and almost nonexistent in the sick and the aged, so much so that Howell has written: "When it gets to the point that you cannot make certain enzymes, then your life ends."

When foods deprived of their natural enzymes through cooking arrive in the digestive tract, the body immediately signals a release of the appropriate endogenous enzymes from its own organs and tissues for the breakdown and assimilation of those foods, engendering an expenditure of its own precious resources to replace the missing enzymes. Over the course of three meals a day, 1,195 meals a year, throughout the span of many years, this represents an immense expenditure on the part of one's own energy resources. Eventually, this loss of capital registers as lowered vitality, compromised health and impaired ability to facilitate tissue repair.

Through the extensions of enzymatic processes, all life-maintaining bodily fluids and activities are catalyzed: from hormones to every manner of internal and external secretion upon which life depends. Thus, when these heat-labile entities are exposed to temperatures beyond their capacity to endure - such as intensively high fevers - life effectively ceases.

Immense medical anthropological evidence exists confirming the supremacy and power of those diets in which the native enzyme complements have been preserved, the extensive studies of Drs. Robert McCarri-son, Frances Pottenger, and Weston Price being pre-eminent in the annals of this field of science.

As one example among many, the Pottenger experiments, conducted at the Pottenger Sanitarium, demonstrated both the epidemic proportions of diseases generated by the cooked-food regimen, and the virtual immunity from degenerative disease afforded by the adoption of a raw-food diet: "The experiment was conducted over a period of ten years on approximately nine hundred cats. All cats were fed alike, except that one group was fed cooked meat while the other was kept exclusively on raw meat. Both groups were fed two-thirds meat, one-third raw milk, plus cod-liver oil." According to Dr. Pottenger, the results were dramatic:

The cats receiving raw meat and raw milk reproduced in homogeneity from one generation to the next. Abortion was uncommon . . . and the mother cats nursed their young in a normal manner. The cats in these pens had good resistance to vermin, infections, and parasites.

They possessed excellent equilibrium; they behaved in a predictable manner. Their organic development was complete and functioned normally.

Cats receiving the cooked meat scraps presented an entirely different picture: (They) reproduced a heterogeneous strain of kittens, each kitten of the litter being different in skeletal pattern. Abortion in these cats was common, running about 25 per cent in the first generation to about 70 per cent in the second generation. Deliveries were in general difficult, many cats dying in labor. Mortality rates of the kittens were high, frequently due to the failure of the mother to lactate. The kittens were often too frail to nurse. At times the mother would steadily decline in health following the birth of the kittens, dying from some obscure tissue exhaustion about three months after deliv ery. Others experienced increasing difficulty with subsequent pregnancies. Some failed to become pregnant.

Cooked-meat-fed cats were irritable. The females were dangerous to handle, occasionally viciously biting the keeper. The males were more docile, often to the point of being inag-gressive. Sex interest was slack or perverted. Vermin and intestinal parasites abounded. Skin lesions and allergies were frequent, being progressively worse from one generation to the next.

Pneumonia, emphysema, diarrhea, osteomyletis, cardiac lesions, hyperopia and myopia (eye diseases), thyroid diseases, nephritis, orchitis, oophoritis, hepatitis (liver inflammation), paralysis, meningitis, cystitis (bladder inflammation), arthritis, and many other degenerative diseases "familiar in human medicine", took a heavy toll among these cats.

Unhealthy conditions of mouth and teeth, degenerative skeletal changes, and malalignment of teeth were found in most of them.

In autopsy, cooked-meat-fed females frequently presented the picture of ovarian atrophy and uterine congestion, whereas the males often showed failure in the development of active spermatogenesis. The bones of these cats showed "evidence of less calcium" and they generally showed signs of shriveling or wasting or became overly fat with distended abdomens. Dr. Pottenger reported:

In the third generation of cooked-meat-fed animals, some of the bones became as soft as rubber and a true condition of osteogenesis imperfecta (imperfect bone structure from birth) was present ... Of the cats maintained entirely on the cooked meat diet, with raw milk, the kittens of the third generation were so degenerated that none of them survived the sixth month of life, thereby terminating the strain.

An interesting sidelight is that it is virtually impossible to gain weight on a raw food diet, whereas the same quantity of food, when cooked, will result in a weight gain. Due to the premature breakdown of tissues and fiber, an over-absorption of nutriment is encouraged where there is no remaining roughage to sweep the substances through the gastrointestinal tract as rapidly as nature intended, resulting in weight gain.

Beyond the preservation of the all-important enzymes, an uncooked or lightly heated diet encourages the retention of various vitamins and minerals often destroyed and leeched out through various cooking techniques.

While far from a complete treatment on this complex subject, a general guide might include the increasing of the ratio of raw to cooked food in one's diet until raw food approaches 30% - 50% of one's diet in colder seasons, and at least 70% of the diet in more temperate seasons The inclusion of such healthful, high enzyme foods as miso, tofu, tempeh, fermented foods, sprouted grains, seeds and nuts (whose vitamin and enzyme potential and digestibility increase markedly after several days of sprouting) is very beneficial.

Additionally, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and other live-food factors may be largely preserved by preparing foods through marination, brief blanching, light sauteeing, and steaming just to the point of tender firmness and crispness. Sun or air-dehydrated foods also retain a considerable measure of their nutrients, and may be rehydrated for later use. Fresh pressed fruit and vegetable juices provide rich amounts of enzymes.

Finally, a whole new food science has evolved which offers encapsulated enzymes of many varying kinds, singly and in combination, for consumption just prior to meals as an infusion of exogenous support for the work of digestion and assimilation previously borne by the body. This has led to an entirely unique mode of holistic medical treatment: enzyme therapy, which specifically targets various disease conditions through the use of specific enzyme formulas. Its results are highly effective while having the virtues of being supremely non-toxic and non-invasive.

As dicussed earlier, the macrobiotic diet, almost entirely heat-treated, can provide a highly valuable transition program which has demonstrated its ability to reverse many degenerative diseases and even terminal con-ditons; but over a period of some years on a strict macrobiotic regimen, deficiencies of various kinds - usually explained away as 'cravings' - tend to manifest, resulting in lowered energy levels, poor growth in children, compromised immunity and psychophysical stress disorders. Despite heroic and stoical adherence to the regimen, these symptoms will not disappear until such deficiencies are adequately addressed.

To be sure, these diets represent a generally healthful way of eating, resulting in low incidence of heart disease, cancer and other illnesses, and certainly provide a far superior choice to the common American diet, but this does not engrave them in stone as the optimal nutritional profile for all mankind at all times and places.

Further reading:

Cousens, Gabriel M.D., Conscious Eating, Vision Books International,

Santa Rosa, CA, 1992. Howell, Edward, M.D., Food Enzymes for Health & Longevity,

Omangod Press, Woodstock Valley, CT, 1980. Howell, Edward, M.D., Enzyme Nutrition, Avery Publishing Group, Wayne, NJ, 1985.

Jensen, Bernard, Ph.D., A Hunza Trip, (also The Wheel of Health by G.T. Wrench, M.D.), Bernard Jensen International, 24360 Old Wagon Road, Escondido, CA, 92027. Santillo, Humbart, Food Enzymes, The Missing Link to Radiant Health,

Hohm Press, Prescott Valley, AZ, 1987. Santillo, Humbart, Intuitive Eating, Hohm Press, Prescott Valley, AZ, 1998.

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