This blog entry continues my review of the book Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel. In previous reviews I covered topics raised in Chapters 1 through 3. This entry will address topics from chapter 4. Due to the length of material, Chapter 4 will be broken down into two separate blog entries. As I write my review, I will be writing this on the premise you have read, or are reading the book along with me. I will continue to focus on pointing out both areas where I disagree with the author as well as areas I do agree with the author. To see previous reviews, click the tag at the bottom of this review “Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel” to filter all blog posts on this book.

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Chapter 4:  Remineralize your teeth with wise food choices.

The title of this chapter suggests a key concept. What we eat affects our teeth and will either make them stronger or weaker. This can, and should be extended further to include our overall health. Thus, this chapter is deals with topics that are very important for overall well being. Let’s explore this chapter further.

To start off this chapter, the author states that tooth decay arises from eating foods that are harmful to our bodies, and that cutting out these harmful foods start the healing process. I fully agree with this and believe this to be a well accepted concept. I would also like to add that tooth decay is an obvious symptom of a bad diet, but not all bad foods will cause tooth decay. Others problems from a bad diet will manifest themselves in more subtle ways or arise much later, like diabetes, hormonal issues, cancer, etc. so even if you do not have teeth, or don’t mind the occasional filling, it is important for your overall well being to eat better. Ever wonder about the famous saying, “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

This chapter talks about various types of foods and their impact on our system in relation to tooth decay. I will follow the order from book in discussing these aspects.

Dairy: the authors picks dairy as his first food item of discussion in this chapter.  Although I have reservations over raw milk in our mass production society that tends to focus more on the profit margins than quality food, I understand where he is coming from.  There are many benefits to dairy products and I firmly believe in their ability to help develop and maintain strong teeth and bones. My family has always been big on dairy, especially cheese and yogurt.  We are healthy and cavity free.  Yes, I did get some cavities growing up, but that happens when you eat junk food and refuse to clean your teeth.

I hear a lot of concerns over dairy from the stores as it is not raw milk….. But as I read this chapter again, I notice a key factor being referenced, what the cows were eating. I suspect what the cows eat, and how they are raised has a bigger role to play in the health of the milk than whether the milk was pasteurized. Further, one also needs recognize the dairy industry in Canada is very different than the U.S., thus, have to take into consideration the available dairy sources of the speaker when interpreting peoples comments on dairy.

The author also elaborates on this further when commenting on organic versus non-organic dairy. From a regulatory standpoint, organic more refers to chemical and pesticide treatments rather than the care and diet of the animals so was a little shocked to hear of the existence of organic milk products. A true marketing ploy that does not automatically imply improved quality.

Something else that shocked me a few years back was finding out that chickens were being ground up and added into the feed for cattle on some farms. And people wonder why things like mad cow disease come about. Cows are herbivores. They do not eat meat, nor should be feed it. To get quality, high nutrient dairy from cows, they should be free range with a high quality nutritional source. I think this is partly why people choose to avoid dairy, or seek out sources of raw milk.

Pasteurized milk vs. non-pasteurized. The author raises some good points here regarding processing of milk, but is missing some important factors as well (although he does touch on some of these when talking about the quality of proteins). The dairy industry involves many steps and processes that are heavily regulated to ensure a healthy product is being delivered. With a well run dairy farm, the cattle will be well fed, clean and healthy. The commercial milking process is designed to keep the milk from contamination by fecal matter, mud, infection, etc. On the flip side, I have seen people straining fecal matter and mud from their raw milk prior to drinking. Pasteurization is then used to help deal with aspects that are harder to control, like contamination with the TB virus (I have met several people who contracted TB from non pasteurized milk from their own dairy farms).

In general, it all comes down to how well the animal is cared for throughout the entire process.  If all things were equal and ideal from rearing to milking of the cow, I would agree that raw dairy is better and safer. However, with milk being commercialized, pasteurization is safer. Yes it may cause issues like lactose intolerance but that is likely related to a specific dairy supplier and how the cows are treated as much if not more so than the pasteurization (I know people who can’t drink milk, but have no problem with other forms of dairy). Just consider, is a farmer who believes in raw milk more or less likely to keep his cows penned up and feed them genetically modified grains with ground up chickens and inject the cows with all kinds of different drugs?

So for me, I will stick with commercial dairy knowing it is not as good as it could be, but recognize it is also healthier to have it in my diet than to avoid it. If I lived in the US, I would be a lot pickier as their standards and treatment of their cattle are very different than in Canada.

Dairy vs dairy free, and the Paleo diet. The author gives advise for sufficient calcium intake for one who wants to avoid dairy. As you will see, it is hard to do (cheese is an excellent source of calcium, plus has the bacterial benefits and is great for fighting cavities, and a lot of vegetables are needed to match the calcium intake, without the other benefits). Other factors to consider is sun exposure. Sun exposure helps the body produce vitamin D which is needed to absorb calcium.  Milk in Canada is often fortified with vitamin D to help maximize calcium absorption. Take milk out of the diet, we have potential deficiency in Vitamin D, and then calcium as a result. If you are in a climate where you get lots of sun exposure year round, not likely an issue. But for places like Manitoba where it can be winter for up to 6 months of the year, a dairy free diet will be very hard to follow and still meet the bodies nutritional requirements. Especially for older women who are at higher risk for osteoporosis related to hormonal changes.

Soups from broth: This is a small section of this chapter, but very worth while to take note of. Soups from broth provide lots of nutrients that would otherwise have gone in the garbage, as well as a source of hydration. This is something our society has drifted away from, I suspect in part for speed of food production.  I give you this challenge to try out. Have a regular meal and take note of the food left in your mouth after eating, especially if the meal involved white bread. Then, have a meal solely of soup made from broth. Compare how clean your mouth is as well as how your system feels afterwards.

Sugars and their effect on calcium/phosphate levels: This next section of the chapter stresses the impact of sugar on the system. White sugar is the worst, but even natural sugar sources like honey and fruit have a big impact on the system. I often hear people say they only use natural sugars. Although that is better than using heavily refined sugar, it still affects your system. If battling tooth decay, cut back or cut out all sugar sources as much as possible.  Stop with juices all together. Decrease fruit consumption and increase vegetable consumption.

The author does a great job in this section talking about sources of sugar so I will leave most of this section to what I mentioned above. I will comment though on his claims regarding heating of honey.  I am not sure where he gets his ideas from, but I can not find anything to substantiate them. Based on my research, bees keep their hives cool not for the quality if the honey, but to prevent overheating of the bee larvae. If the hive gets to hot, the larvae die. So it appears the author is drawing connections were non truly exist.

Artificial vs natural sweeteners: I always find this topic interesting. If you have the choice between natural and synthetic, why would you put something synthetic into your body? I have seen many people do this with things like diet pop, tea and coffee. In general, the reason is to keep calorie intake down, while still getting the sweet taste. To this I say, it is time for a change. If you cannot drink the drink without a sweetener, then don’t drink it. Gather up the strength inside you and make a positive change. Eat and drink for health, not for taste and what you will find is your tastes will change and you will begin to enjoy the taste and texture of healthy, natural foods and detest crap foods that are so heavily marketed.

End of Chapter 4 Review Part 1: There is a lot in this chapter and in the above tidbits of information. I encourage you to take the time to assess what you are eating and why. Don’t listen to the lies of high paid marketing companies pushing processed foods and eating for pure joy. Your body only functions as well as the quality of what it is given. Create imbalances and deficiencies and your body suffers. You may not feel it now, but it will catch up to you.

Stay tuned for the completion of the the Chapter 4 review coming soon.