The Plant Doctor
Our next stop is one of my favorite places – a lush Amazon Jungle with huge leaf canopies that are teeming with life! It is a rich world of antioxidants and phytonutrients, and it is where we put out the fires of inflammation and restore the natural balance of our bodies.
Picture yourself on an observation deck high in the treetops, surrounded by lush tropical forest. There are colorful birds eating berries, monkeys lounging on branches eating nuts and leaves, and herons scooping fish out of the river below you. There is a local tribal village on the riverbank where robust people hunt and fish and gather the fruits of the forest.
As you look at this, you cannot help but notice how vibrant and healthy the people and animals are. You begin to wonder why so many Americans suffer from so many chronic diseases — diabetes, cancer, heart disease, tooth decay and premature aging. Why are these native tribal people all healthy, and why aren’t they or the forest animals getting chronic diseases?
You have just discovered the answer to one of the most important questions of our time!
We are what we eat. Shifting away from the vintage whole foods our grandparents ate has greatly contributed to the introduction of modern chronic diseases.
Let’s take a deeper dive into these natural whole foods or plant foods. Recall the monkeys and birds you observed eating leaves and berries and nuts. What makes these foods so much better than factory processed ingredient foods? It turns out that plants have existed for hundreds of thousands of years, and have ‘engineered’ these foods over countless generations to be the best possible foods for nourishing animals! We owe our very existence to these foods, just as many of the plants owe their existence to animals. Animals eat the plants and spread their seeds, and in exchange plants keep us well-nourished so we can continue the cycle. And so humans and animals are actually adapted to eating these natural foods, in their natural form.
In short, our bodies are designed to eat the foods that plants designed for us to eat!
This includes the roots (carrots), shoots (celery and broccoli), seeds (lentils, chia), nuts (walnuts), berries (cherries), leaves (spinach), bark (cinnamon), fruit (pear), tubers (yam) and even flowers.
But it goes much deeper than just providing us with fuel to burn for energy. The plant foods include a huge variety of Phytonutrients with miraculous properties such as anti-cancer and anti-aging effects. You may have heard of some of the 25,000 known phytonutrients, such as:
Just What the [Plant] Doctor Ordered
These are the medicines that our ‘plant doctors’ have been giving us for millennia to keep us optimally healthy.
They are not in the form of pills or treatments. Instead they are carefully organized into a crunchy fiber matrix, and they are our actual food! Plants have had millions of years to engineer the perfect nutrient delivery system such as a fruit or a nut. We get the fuel, the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients together in the correct proportions, in each and every bite!
In the amazon jungle the birds and the monkeys get all the nutrients they need for optimal health from the plants of the forest. The native people eat the fruits and nuts and vegetables. They hunt the wild pigs and catch the fish that have also been eating these natural plant foods. And if they do accidentally ingest toxins, or the oxygen rich atmosphere tries to damage their DNA, or their skin and eyes need protection from the strong Ultraviolet sunlight, these abundant plant phytonutrients and antioxidants are already in place to protect them. This symbiotic relationship between plants and animals has been perfected over millions of years.
How I Became Dr. Nils