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 and the first half of Chapter 4. This entry will complete my review of the topics in chapter 4. 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.
Chapter 4: Remineralize your teeth with wise food choices.
Proteins: one thing I want to point out in this section is the part where the author starts asking about protein powder. He recommends against protein powder for a few reasons, and goes on to say, “if you want more protein, then eat the real food that has the protein in it” (paraphrased). I agree totally with this and his reasoning. In a previous post I commented on the authors recommendations for supplements like cod liver oil and how the amounts recommended did not appear consistent with normal dietary intakes and appropriate use of the animals (based on consumption of entire animal vs just one part). With what the author says here, by the same logic he would agree with me on the cod liver oil supplements. I just wish he would recognize how this contradicts other things he is recommending and the long term focus should be on a natural and complete diet that does not rely on supplements.
Other comments of note from the author that I would like to highlight in order to stress their importance:
“having healthy teeth is a result of more than just eating well; it is about absorbing food well. An essential aspect of nutrient absorption is having a diet rich in probiotic, live foods.”
“the more refined the sugar is, the more it is going to cause your blood sugar to fluctuate. The more extreme the fluctuation, the more disturbed your calcium and phosphorous metabolism will be.”
Grains: the cause of tooth decay?
To preface this part, I believe it is important to recognize differences in opinion as to how long people have been around. The author indicates our species has been around for 200,000 years and the cultivation of grains only about 9,000 years old. Based on my faith system and historical documents/timelines that arise from that, I believe we have only been around for about 10,000 years and farming was a part of what we were intended to do. So this creates a very different bias between the author and myself.
The author suggest grains should not be eaten fresh, rather they need special preparation prior to consumption. I disagree with this as scripture records Jesus and his followers picking heads of grain and eating them. If we were not intended to do so physically, it would not make sense for Him to do this and set this example. With that said, that does not mean we should not also employ other preparation techniques, or consume in this fashion in excess. Additionally we also need to consider that many products from the agricultural industry have been modified and selectively bread, so we need to be extra cautious.
Grains and scurvy:
This is another area where I feel the author takes liberty in drawing conclusions that support his bias rather than looking at the bigger picture. He references studies done on rodents fed excessive grain style diets with limited, or no other sources of nutrients. He draws from this that grains are bad and should not be consumed in their unfermented/sprouted forms, and best avoided in general. However, these studies really demonstrated two different conclusions. Firstly, limiting your diet to a single food source will cause disease and death. Secondly, although there are potentially harmful components to various foods, combining these with other foods will help neutralize the harmful components, and in many cases improve absorption of the beneficial nutrients.
Ultimately, it is the imbalance in the diet that caused disease, not the fact that there were grains present. For example, I eat a lot of grains. I now stick more to whole grains, but grains are still a big part of my diet. However, I eat a lot of other things as well and work hard to ensure I eat from multiple food groups at a time to keep the balance. Combine this with a good oral hygiene routine and I have been cavity free for over two decades, and so has my wife, and my kids are also cavity free.
This is a section where the author looses just about all credibility in my opinion. He talks about how he used to force himself to eat bran muffins as he was told they were good for him. Now he realizes they were actually bad for him and that is why he wanted to spit them out. He should have listened to his body and not eaten bran. He also states that the benefits of bran are unproven and it is too hard for our bodies to digest.
Well, shame on you Ramiel. I think many of the things you recommend taste bad, so following your logic they are unhealthy. Really, what kind of logic is that? If we let our kids only eat what they initially like, all they would eat is junk food. And I am not sure where he gets the idea that bran is unproven to be beneficial. Just ask a person prone to constipation what they think of bran. If my daughter does not get her regular dose of bran she runs into serious trouble. The roughage provided by the bran helps to flush her digestive track and keep things moving. And, she is healthy and cavity free.
Ramiel goes on to reference the great lengths people used to go through to ferment and prepare their grains. I am curious if he is taking their actions for one purpose and using it to state another. Did the people referenced really take great lengths to prepare their grains because they knew it was healthier? Seems odd that this would ever come about naturally. Rather, I suspect the preparations of grains, as with many other foods, was more centered around preservation for off seasons to prevent spoiling of the foods. In some cases this could improve the ability to unlock nutrients, and in other cases, make foods less healthy.
If the foods caused health issues without great preparation methods, why would they eat them or try to find methods that take such great effort to make them healthy (or preserve them for off season use)? I would bet they ate grains fresh as well as “prepared”.
Shortly after this Ramiel goes on to finally reference the consumption of grains with other food to neutralize the harmful effects of any grain toxins. I say “finally”, as this is the biggest help to modern society in my mind. Do not eat things in excess, and do not eat them in isolation. Foods work together and dairy with grains is a big example of this. Yes, you still should choose better quality sources, and still reduce grain intake (especially with modern grains and preparation techniques), but you do not gave to boycott them all together or be afraid of them. If your system is having issues with grains, good chance you would benefit from boycotting them for a time to allow your system to calibrate as you have likely overloaded your system. But then try to reintroduce quality grains over time to gain the benefits back.
Organic food is better:
The author puts a small note in this chapter referencing organic foods as being better. Conceptually I would agree, but have to raise caution here. Organic branding has become a real marketing strategy and poorly regulated one at that. I have heard of organic farms that get over-spray from the neighboring non-organic farm and yet are still classified as organic even though the food is not pesticide free.
I have also heard of things like organic milk, yet the cattle are not grass fed.
So the organic industry just means “partly more natural”. It does not mean it is healthier or safer, and not all organic producers are made equal.
The author and I are on similar grounds here. Artificial drinks and drinks with added artificial ingredients really have no place in a healthy diet. So many manufactured drinks have ingredients that can both damage teeth and negatively impact overall health.
Pop is the obvious one. Between sugar and acid content you have a great mix for causing cavities. Add in artificial sweeteners and other chemicals you are just asking for other health issues. And all this for a beverage with no nutritional benefits. Hmm, kind of like having a cigarette in liquid form.
Next on my hit list would be fruit juices (and vegetable juices). Commercially made versions are often very much void of any useable nutrients. Nutrients like vitamin C are often added into these products because manufacturing processes destroy the natural nutrients that would be found in the fresh product. Juicing yourself from fresh products preserves nutrients and is better than commercial products, but you still do not get all the nutrients you could. So I say, if you want orange juice, eat an orange. You want carrot juice, eat a carrot. Want a little variety from time to time and want to juice, go ahead, but keep it more of an occasional treat rather than part of the daily routine.
In addition to nutritional issues, these juices are often very acidic. For example, apple juice is as acidic as coca cola and our saliva has a harder time buffering it. I have witnessed a person switch from a glass of milk in the morning to a glass of Apple juice and was stunned by the amount and severity of cavities this person had in as little as 6 months.
Sport drinks are also up there for being hard on teeth. I see people use these in place of water just because it is flavored and marketing suggests it is good for you. Well, consider who the adds are recommending the drink to. Athletes during training. During training the body looses more than just water and these sport drinks can help replenish some lost nutrients (although a good diet plan should suffice). But these are not intended for a drink while watching tv or bowling or going for a walk.
Sweetened beverages like coffee or tea. This can be a huge area for excess sugar intake, or even intake of harmful chemicals from artificial sweeteners. If you are going to drink coffee or tea, I recommend drinking them straight. If you want to add some milk, OK, but stay away from the sweeteners. Learn to appreciate the natural taste of the drink.
For myself I have never liked coffee or tea. However, recently I started drinking various teas for health reasons. I had to train myself to like the tea and vary brewing times and such to find the right balance. But I did it without any additional products like sweeteners or milk. After all, if you want milk, drink milk. If it is the sugar you are craving, then you have a habit to retrain.
All in all, I always tell people, milk and water should be the staple drinks with water being the primary. It can take a while to retrain, but fresh water really is quite tasty. I now have a hard time with juices and pop. They can upset my stomach and they are so potent, not to mention it feels like my teeth are dissolving whenever I touch one of those drinks.
Drugs and Health:
I very much agree with Ramiel in this area. Medications and recreational drugs can have very serious negative impacts on ones health. In my practice I see it time and again a patient on various meds running into problems with dental decay with a large part due to loss of salivary flow caused by side effects of medications. With loss of saliva, the teeth are not as easily cleaned, bacterial growth flourishes, and the teeth loose a vital source of nutrients.
An aspect of medicine referenced by Ramaiel is what I would call bandaid medicine. For the regular medical field this generally comprises the use of medications to address symptoms rather than getting to the cause. Unfortunately too many doctors are quick to prescribe medications to address the symptoms of a problem and there can be many reasons for this. In Canada physicians get paid to write prescriptions and do not get paid for extra time spent trying to diagnose a problem. This can make it hard for some physicians to focus on proper care rather than bandaid medicine and I think this is a big part of the problem. This also relates to dentistry as dentists are paid well for fixing the problems, but not well compensated for addressing the source of the problem. Even insurance companies pay better for treatment than they do for prevention. This method of health care has become the way of our society, and to a large degree, what patients often want and expect.
To help avoid bandaid medicine, find a practitioner who is willing to look to alternatives over medications and take the time to get to the source of the problem. You may have to pay more for their services, but it can be well worth it in the long run. Ultimately, you may pay now with your pocketbook, or pay later with your health. The choice is yours. There are good doctors out there, just a matter of taking the time to find them.
This brings an end to chapter 4. This was a big one, full of lots of information which can take time to implement into ones routine. But even small changes over time can have a huge impact. So don’t delay, pick a few things to change and start on the road to the healthier you you where meant to be.
This also wraps up my review of this book. Future chapters are more examples of different diets, and if you read those chapters in light of my reviews, you can glean some valuable information and ideas. I hope you enjoyed the review. For further guidance, do more research into Dr. Weston Price’s work and take more time to read labels and ask questions about where your food comes from.