An Integral Theory and History of Nutrition
by Paul Hess, Ph.D.
Diets and nutrition can be seen throughout 8 stages of human history and evolution.
This looks at 3 things:
- Different diets and foods in human evolution and civilizations.
- Ways of knowing what foods to eat at each stage of development from the instinct of animals, to fragmented science and holistic, integral science.
- The roles of health practitioners, patients, clients, customers.
Some knowledge is now being retrieved for a more integrated approach to nutrition, the best of each period.
The goal of integral theory is greater knowledge of mind, body, ecology and spiritual dimensions. What Is Integral Theory?
STAGE 1: PRIMATE, ANIMAL
Humans physiologically are omnivores as identified by what the teeth are designed to do and archeological and historical records. We have eaten from all the food groups leaving out the extreme of being able to chew big bones or subsist entirely on grass because we lack multiple stomachs like cows to break it down. Nor can we thrive as much on fruit as gorillas because the difference in our brain is a huge leap that requires more animal food. And even mostly plant eating primates eat meat.
Since an omnivore’s range is broad and many foods are available in modern societies, choice is important. Sensing what to eat instinctually and intuitively can be a useful skill.
This stage can also be considered the earliest humans or “cave man” diets, Paleolitic or paleo.
How they Know: Instinct
The first stage of cognitive development is basically animal instinct, or influenced by it.
Instinctual eating is when animals sense what they need to eat for survival with accurate cravings
or smelling a food before eating, for example.
I can hold a food or supplement in my hand to feel the energy.
This the animal brain speaking most directly to biological needs and not artificial cravings and eating based on taste. It can also tell you when to stop eating, when you are full or should stop.
Instinct or intuition can be limited by experience because you cannot crave something you never had before or know how to satisfy a healthy craving. That’s where the accumulated experience of human beings can be helpful, which requires language and conceptual thinking to categorize and translate across contexts.
The next stage of tribal societies did not appear to change diet that much, but there was more sharing of knowledge.
STAGE 2: TRIBAL
Tribal cultures is a huge category with much variation based on climate, terrain and level of social complexity including subsequent stages growing out of tribal societies and into agricultural civilizations.
Diet: Hunter Gatherer, Paleo
The earliest diets are approximated now as Paleolitic diets or hunter gatherer: hunting of meat and gathering of vegetables, fruit, honey, eggs, etc.
One of the unique contributions of tribal societies is the extent of eating raw meat and organ meats as documented in the case of Native American plains Indian tribe the Comanches who were based in the Texas Pan Handle country (Empire of the Summer Moon.) The Comanches were superior warriors and difficult for the U.S. Army to beat. They were defeated by slaughtering the buffalo upon which they depended and forced to surrender.
Modern cultures often some raw meat recipes like steak tar tar and sahimi and sushi in Japan. Fish in Japan are eaten with Wasabai spices that may be the traditional remedy for control parasites. This fear is overblown as most American who have parasites have never eaten raw meat and never would given their limited exposure to traditional recipes and emotionally conditioned reactions that make it almost impossible to have a rational discussion about it. People from other countries are not as reactive and more familiar with the concept.
How they Know: Experience, Experimental Learning
Under survival conditions with instinctual sense relatively intact tribal peoples experimented with what works. Their methods are profoundly empirical and results driven. Tribal cultures accumulated vast knowledge of plants and animals. Tribal societies lived close to nature, not in big cities. Their view of life was very integrated with nature, mind, body and spirit. Everyone had a place in their culture and in nature. While this is easy to romanticize, their practical knowledge is worthy of careful study.
The limitation in terms of ways of knowing in their society that is given in Integral theory is in “magical thinking” or superstition as ways of explaining things, would eventually be addressed by science. Nevertheless, tribal societies had shamans that were reputed to have healing abilities on the energetic and spiritual levels.
One limitation was that the social order was fixed with a lack of choices and adaptive responses to changing circumstances. Tribes are overall integrated and under-differentiated and specialized. As populations increased and there was more contact between civilizations there was more conflict and need for more high levels of social organization for defense or to go on the offensive. This need to support specialists who do not provide their own food would change diets making them more subject to other motives than health.
STAGES 3 & 4: HEROIC AND TRADITIONAL RELIGION & AUTHORITY
Stage 3 are societies based on the principle Power by Heroic Individuals conquerors, kings, dictators, slave owners, etc. Loyalty of clans and the powerful
Stage 4 swung back toward the collectivism of orthodox religions through morals codes of Moses, Confucius, Christianity, Islam, etc. From this also grew rule of laws applied universally and ostensibly fairly. This puts authority in conceptions of authority in general such authority of doctors and formal medicine.
DIET: AGRICULTURE & ANCESTRAL
Throughout both stages agriculture grew and will be treated as one stage of nutritional development.
Agriculture by domesticating animals and growing crops accompanies more specialized and complex societies by which people can be more productive by specializing to focus on their craft. Larger agricultural yields enable some people to develop other things like make better weapons, transportation, agricultural implements, construction, clothing, etc.
Agriculture also provides steadier supply to reduce starvation and disruption of other forms of production. Domesticated animals provide meat, dairy and eggs. Grains and beans in particular can be stored for long periods of time including over winter to feed animals and humans. With some people relying on farmers, there was a need for food that could be transported and stored in cities or with merchants and armies.
There was the possibility of increases in quantity of calories and steadiness of supply, if the weather cooperated. This had its down sides. Narrowing the food sources to grains and corn, for example, could deteriorate health, archeological evidence suggests in weak bones and tooth remains in North America. Depletion of soils was not unknown and possibly contributed to desertification in some areas. Agricultural decisions were not necessarily based on health needs or long term agricultural planning.
Nevertheless, many farmers provided for themselves the full range of animal and plant foods, fresh and organic, with a surplus to sell to pay for their other material needs. This happened on into the first parts of the 20th century at least in many cases with minimal processing of foods. Much of the knowledge of nutrition seems to have been passed down traditionally through farming lineages of hundreds and thousands of years.
With specialization and urbanization many people lost the close connection to nature that existed in tribal societies or that farmers still had. With more mental work mind and bodily health perhaps became less integrated. Economic organization became based on other concerns.
In stage 4 societies in which religious orthodoxy was the dominant trend, Religion seemed to pass on pieces of wisdom about nutrition rather complete systems. Some of it may have been based in health reasons that were not longer stated. The Hindu idea of the holy cow was perhaps a bit of both. As Indian yogi Sadhguru Jaggi Vesudev explain, Indians gained nourishment from milking cows. Their own cows that they knew were thought to give them a look of love.
From Indian traditions comes ghee, a clarified butter which is butter with the traces of milk sugar and protein boiled off to reduce the possibility of allergic reactions. Ghee is part of traditional diet in India, still popular today, and is also considered healing in traditional Indian medicine Ayurveda.
Many ancestral diets have in common raw milk and dairy as part of everyday diets and healing regimes from the ancient Greeks to the early 20th century sanitariums with raw milk diets used by medical doctors for many diseases.
A common ancestral tonic is a raw egg in glass of raw milk, reported to me personally by people from India, Italy and Oklahoma, USA. Eggs and milk are relatively complete foods since they are designed to grow a baby as the sole source of nourishment.
Weston A Price: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
The classic research on ancestrol diets was conducted by the dentise Weston a Price in his boodk Nutritional and Physical Degeneration in the 1920's when he captured the transition to modern diets. Price had set out to prove that vegetarians were healthier but concluded the opposite that all traditional healthy people's ate animal protein with extra fat. He found that people in the same families, controlling the variable of genetics, that ate traditional versus modern diets had different results. The modern eaters developed more health problems including crowded teeth, cavities, and narrow faces.
Dietary wisdom seems to have been empirical trial and erorr with some degree of survival feedback and selection. Amoung diverse cultures and periods of history there is much to learn that has not yet been studied through formal scienctific proceses. learning that is broadly scientific by examining other cultures and history from tribal paleo hunter-gathers to ancestral agriculture of herding and crop growing. There are many options within this from low carb paleo to high carb grain eating. The rich history of how people have survived has not been fully explained by science yet.
But just because a tradition exists does not mean it was selected for optimal survival. Other objectives like stable quantities many in some cases have lowered the quality of diets overall.
STAGE 5: INDUSTRY and SCIENCE
Chemical Agriculture, Food Processing, Medicine, Supplements
The scientific revolution brought deeper understanding of physics, chemistry and biology through the narrower focus of microscopes, isolating variables in experiments, and specialization of research. As knowledge become more specialized it also became fragmented and harder to keep track of the big picture of whole systems of the body and ecosystem, along with the unintended consequences of science applied as technology. Science was applied to technology to get specific results like greater agricultural yields or immediate treatment of symptoms in medicine.
The entire world view was more fragmented, atomistic and mechanical, in line with the renewed emphasis on the individual over the collective as a part of the capitalist and democratic revolutions.
Quantitative yields were boosted in agriculture yields at the expense of quality of the food and health.
Fertilizers added only a few ingredients like nitrogen to increase yields but other minerals in the soils have fallen as bigger plants drain the soil.
Pesticides increased yields but created the problem of toxicity that create health problems.
Pesticides also decrease absorption of nutrients from the soil by destroying bacteria and fungus necessary to turn rock minerals into minerals that function in plants. Specifically, fungus produce fulvic acid in the humic acid of soil that helps assimilate minerals and break down decomposing dead matter in soil. Fulvic acid is used by humans as a supplement for this two way action to assimilate nutrients and break down toxins.
Herbicides especially glyphosates in Round-Up increase yields but are the final food products and the air since Round Up is used to kill weeds in residential areas, too, around home, schools, and commercial buildings. Glyphosates are reported to damage guts and blood brain barriers that protect from toxicity. Used since around the year 2000 this interacts with the metals in vaccines, mercury and aluminum, to create statistically significant correlations between autism and vaccines, according to MIT researcher Stephannie Senoff. This is part of the recent epidemic of childhood diseases autism, asthma, allergies, and ADHD.
The more specialized the economy the further food has to be shipped so that it has to be preserved in some ways that often involved denaturing: heating, canning, preserving with chemicals, all which can reduce nutrient value.
The heating of milk to preserve it, pasteurization, was deemed necessary to make milk free from pathogens. This was decided after one major case of milk from sick cows was contaminated and now is law in many nations. The USA, states have their own laws some allowing raw milk in various degrees.
From limited cases of food poisoning from milk, there was an over reaction that was solidified into a dogma as part of what raw milk advocates have called “germophobia,” common to the overuse of antibiotics. Raw milk advocates site that there is scant evidence of a widespread danger of raw milk, and a longer history of it’s usefulness in health and healing.
Pasteurization denatures milk making it harder to digest by destroying all the enzymes that help digestion, and some of the nutrients. As a result many people are allergic to pasteurized dairy, but many of these people are not allergic to raw.
The self life argument for pasteurization is not convincing since raw milk keep refrigerated lasts more than a week easily and may not be any different at all.
Stage 5 science positions itself as over and against nature, at war with nature or dominating it, as in the case of war with bugs and weeds, when there are more natural ways to control both or just chose another priority with more important benefits. The dichotomy between humanity and nature leads to the mind body dichotomy in which people’s ideas are increasingly disconnected from their body’s feedback in terms of health. These dichotomies are even bad for business explained Ikajura Nonaka in his book, The Knowledge Creating Company, that challenges the world view of fragmented science thinking from the point of view of a higher stage of learning and social organization.
The nutritional supplement industry is influenced by the model of fragmented science and the medical model of health
Supplements are less effective when minerals and vitamins are isolated, denatured and have slightly toxic substances added or leaving traces in the manufacturing process. The more holistic learning will blend formulas with cofactors or use whole plants or substances.
Even a natural approach may treat symptoms in a “take this for that” manner, in isolation, without a framework for understanding underlying causes.
Pill forms of nutrients are to be a “supplement,” not substitute, to changing diet where most nutrients must come from.
The huge supplement industry illustrates how under capitalism life is a shopping experience with too many hyped choices and not enough standards and quality control.
Medical View of Nutrition
The medical view of nutrition is informed by objective lab tests. This is a great step forward in producing information. But the right questions have to be asked and this usually fails.
Fragmentation of focus can be seen in routine medical testing where each thing is considered in isolation and incompletely. Blood tests emphasize calcium and iron but do not even look at most minerals.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which there is not enough minerals in the bone, especially calcium. The solution is often considered to increase calcium intake. This is a simple input-output version of a system. A truly systematic view asks how is calcium being utilized? As it turns out there may be calcium deposits all over the body, meaning there excess in the wrong places and deficiency in the right places. This is improper processing due to a lack of cofactors especially magnesium, also silica, boron, vitamin A, and more. All of these parts are part of the system of bone mineralization.
Anemia is a lack of iron the blood. The usual solution is to take iron pills. But there may be iron deposits all over the body cause inflammation from oxidative damage, rusting, while iron also can feed chronic infections like candida. They measure too narrowly. Why is iron not be utilized leading to its toxic accumulation? Lack of copper to utilize iron. Why lack of copper, which also may be unutlized and accumulating? Lack of magnesium and vitamin A. Thus the medical system does not make just one connection to copper.
Cholesterol has also been vilified. Cholesterol can be oxidized to leave deposits, but they do not ask what is doing oxidizing, iron or some toxin? Dietary cholesterol does not determine this as their simple input output model predicted and does not correlated with heart disease.
By taking things out of context the fragmented model of science can actually lead to the opposite of the correct conclusion of what should be done and make things worse.
Broader lab tests can capture a more complex and accurate picture of nutritional status, and this is taking shape from the point of view of higher stages of development.
Consumers at that stage are interested in scientific studies that back product and food claims, without too much "woo woo." The biohacking community is mostly rooted in stage five scientific thinking but not strictly limited to it as it has aspects of higher stages like systems thinking and some individuals are open to "energy" as a dimension of healing. The metaphor of "biohacking" comes from computer technology in Silicon Valley. In discussion groups people ask for advice as "biohacks" for X. Much of the approach is a "take this for that" according to the fragmentation weakness of this stage of development.
The fragmented world view leads to health and nutrition as a shopping experience without a systems perspective of how it all fits together. Economic markets are characterized by a lack of standards and 3rd party information to make informed decisions.
Health practitioners that are predominantly stage 5 most utilize objective data like lab tests.
Relationships are shaped by service delivery model of separate transactions in a combinaton of doctor authoriy and shopping experiences.
Scientific knowledge is unique in that it can break down chemistry to explain observable results.
Double blind studies are the gold standard in this realm to isolate variables.
Lab tests of correctly chosen and comprehensive enough can tell us much more that general experiences.
A strength of science is to seek generalizable objective principles.
They will also rely on generalizations from scientific studies that may not apply to the individual. Individual cases are complex and sensitivities and reactions to foods and supplements can be unpredictable and baffling. A staunch stage 5 person may be tempted to overlook the patients response.
A strict sense of scientific standards like double blind studies comparing placebos with the real treatment and neither scientists nor test subjects know which is which, is too narrow a standard of proof. Always requiring need proof before acting rules out innovation and creative clinical solutions. Not enough is known or proven. Nevertheless, skepticism and requirements for proof are a leap ahead in human evolution.
The microscopic view usually loses sight of the big picture without integration into an overall framework that can sort out the few toot causes from the many symptoms. Some health consumers are impressed by technological knowledge of experts, but there is often a misleading pretense.
The model of knowledge as an accumulation of facts lacks useful theory for interpretation and guidance on what to focus on clinically.
Applications of this fragmented science tend toward technologies to manipulate an immediate result, all in the name of “getting to the point” and giving people something “concrete” that “they can, like, relate to,” but this is tampering with a system to destabilize it and create other symptoms, that are then treated again through this narrow medical model of disease. This way of thinking is still influential in the alternative health world as treatment of symptoms, which is sometimes helpful, but not enough.
In the narrow view of science cannot be simply in terms of the profit motive, since the cognitive problems here also influence alternative medicine and doctors that really want to solve the problems.
The scientific revolution has created the methods to explaining nutrition and nature at a level that tribal societies never could, but has still not caught up with what tribal societies did understand with their practical knowledge.
Stage 5 remains the dominant model within American society and world wide, while other stages exist along with it.
The methods of science were developed through narrowing of focus and specialization, but the steps forward to progress are for integration as a whole around looking at relationships and processes within systems of the body, ecosystems, and social system. The next stage of human evolution conforts some of these challenges.
STAGE 6: NATURALISM, ENVIRONMENTALISM, HOLISM
Stage 6 looks more at systems, social and ecological, and the consequences of stage 5 capitalism and fragmented science.
It asks in whose interests does the economic and science serve with a critique elite control and profit motive.
There is more value in returning to and integrating natural and traditional and even tribal ways.
Organic agriculture and food is favored.
Control of toxic pollution of land, air and humans is favored.
The outlook of the person is more integration of mind, body and spirit.
These views were presented above in the critique of stage 5 agriculture.
The critique of green politics is that it sometimes operates out of over generalized moral categories, not scientific and health categories. This is sometimes the case with vegetarian and vegan diets
Vegetarian & Vegan Diets
While vegetarianism is not new, it is more likely to be chosen at this stage, with its form of moral reasoning. Nutrition becomes ideology when it is taken beyond seeing as an individual choice and thinking of it as the superior way for everyone.
Vegetarians and vegans make arguments about sustainability agricultural systems because they care about the larger implications of what they do and the good of society. But sustainable agriculture is not limited completely to plant based agriculture.
The China Study is perhaps the most popular study of this genre and recommends a more plant based diet. Without going into a long review, it does not approach the historical and cross cultural scope of the Weston A. Price research. nor does it correspond to my personal experience and reasearch about what works for most people with chronic illnesses or sports performance. F
The concern for kindness to animals is sometimes matched with anger toward people, even when it does not involve killing animals but only drinking milk on the part of vegan’s who eat no animal products. This opposition to milk drinking is stated with a stridency if not contempt that “milk is designed to grow a cow into a thousand pound animal in 2 years” as if the logic of this is self evident. It is not. This anger in Integral theory is called “the mean green meme.” Certainly not all vegetarians and vegans are moralistic like this but these types are recognizable.
Behind this way of thinking is longing for a great harmony of all beings where no killing or controlling animals in any way for survival has to take place. Implied are assumptions that are not fully stated, like a romantic idea of nature as pure harmony, and people leaving in harmony with nature, only distorted by civilization. This continues the dichotomy of nature versus humanity but merely reverses its valuation by romanticizing nature and demonizing humanity. This was suggested in the critique of environmentalism in the book Breakthrough.
An ideological interpretation of nutrition has been put forward like the evil of society and meat eating coming from patriarchy, as opposed to ancient agriculture under a fabled matriarchy that never existed.
For some people the overriding concern is spiritual as expressed in vegetarianism. There can be a greater awareness by not eating meat. Improvement in spiritually can feed back into better health, but for many people this benefit does not occur. This trade-off is not generally resolved yet at this level of integration or earlier stages. Some can do well on vegetarianism and some to not.
Primal diets are defined here as a synthesis of Paleo and Ancestoral. They most often exclude grains and starches, but may include raw dairy, which is missing in Paleo but typical of Ancestoral diets. One verson of a primal diet based on consulting with Native American medicine men from numerous nations recommended raw meat when ill, something that is unthinkable to Americans, but remains on the menu in most other cultures.
As a synthesis this is a step into integral, but some examples are subject to 6th stage romantic and naturalistic moralism. Statements like, "I learnd nothing from humans about nutrition, only by observing anmials." or having angry purest attitudes about the unnaturalness of all supplements and other ways of eating.
How They Know: Feelers & More Context
Stage 6 value individuality on a deeper level thought and feelings, especially what is individually authentic.
One tendency is to over rely on feelings as a way of knowing. Many people have the experience of having made a decision when part of them felt that it was not right. Then they confirmed that it was not the right decision. That is called a false positive. To see this way of knowing and an experiment, however, you would need to have feedback about false negatives: when you rejected an option based on feeling but it would have turned out to be good for you. But you do not get feedback about options rejected and the possibility of false negatives.
In my experience the people who make their decision to work with me based on feeling, that is, they say a the end of our conversation that they will give themselves time to feel if it is right, are the ones who are least able to discuss the ideas. When you understand the logic of something, it feels right. My impression is that teelers typically think they are unto the deepest level of consciousness, when often they are just lost.
The healthier parts of Stage 6 is a step forward into combining individual choice with collective responsibility. They are more aware of cultural bias and open to the way of other cultures. However, stage 6 still is too certain that their views are right and does not deeply understand how other stages think, and does not see the full complexity of things. They confront some of the problems of fragmented science and knowledge and make more systemic connections to social problems. This leads naturally to integral stage systems thinking and many people are at least partly there.
This stage often suffers from mechanical over generalization and dichotomies leading to a logic of separation not integration.
A practical science problem here is not listening to empirical feedback of the body due to commitment to nutrition ideology.
STAGE 7: INTEGRAL: Systems Thinking and Bias Awareness
Stage 7 is called “Tier 2” because this is where other points of view can be evaluated and each stage of development can be better integrated for its contribution while sorting out its limitations in a logically consistent manner. The attitude here is to lighten up about taking one’s own ideas too seriously since reality is more complex that anyone thought. detail.
This allows each other more individual freedom to think, as well as more detailed focus on systems of biology, society, etc. One attempts to find the middle ground between dogmatism and relativism: although individuals do best on different diets, there are still scientific laws.
More deeply, internal confrontations are forced by opening to external perspectives; you become more aware of your own paradigm blinders that limit the options you see, and how you filter-out or dismiss things you should take the time to understand.
At this stage all the previous stages are, in effect, reviewed to integrate their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.
- Instinctual Sensing: Listening to Your Body
- Collective Experience Historical and cultural, not yet studied by science but perhaps tested practically in some way.
- Scientific Knowledge
Energetic testing methods perhpas have very traditional roots that viewed very skeptically by stage 5 under the scientific perspective. Energetic testing emergs again unders stage 6. Energetic testing includes the forms of muscle kinesiology, sway tests, dowsing with a pendulum, and electronic machines that scan frequencies. Energetic testing can be used to get answers to any yes or no questions and to determine what foods weaken or strengthen a person and in what amounts. The more specific the question the better the result.
Strength Energetic testing can get a far broader range of answers than lab tests, especially about future results of what will work, testing the solutions. With muscle testing the person can feel how much something strengthens or weakens them. Other forms of energetic testing can be done long distance even with the person is not present, and then the result messaged to the person, enabling frequent brief monitoring and client access to a wider range of practitioners on short notice as well.
Weakness Subjectivity and bias of the tester can affect the result. With muscle testing the person has to be balanced energetically to get accurate results, and they will tire if their arm is pushed down dozens of times. The testing is only as good as the question asked and the solutions proposed. People don’t have to believe it to work, but they have to believe it to pay for it and implement the conclusions, and many people are not open to it
Health Providers: Transformation versus Transactions
The process of seeking health under stage five capitalism and markets is a shopping experience of self directed transactions, one at a time. This is the economist’s paradigm in which people are considered to be rational actors with complete information to make their own choices.
In the integral paradigm, solving health problems is seen to be more complex: information that consumers hold is incomplete and people are not always rational due to emotional factors, so more guidance is necessary to facilitate self mastery.
Integrals systemic paradigm that captures greater complexity helps explain why people left to their own devices try one thing after another in a rather random shopping way and have less than satisfactory results but exhausted and have the perception that they have “tried everything” when they do not know what they are missing. They are missing not just concrete solutions but a new way of thinking to help them decide and manage the crucial details of implementations.
An integral level health seeking process is more transformational process: There is more reflection on limiting information and psychological self sabotage. These higher cognitive and emotional learning requirements can be facilitated by health practitioners in a more intensive coaching role with steady follow-up beyond a one-time purchase decision.
A coaching process both offers more guidance and challenges the client to take more responsibility for doing more for themselves at the same time. Coaching addresses self sabotage. It also helps with details of implementation, which can make or break any health protocol.
So if you are ready to embrace the integral stage of systems thinking for truly holistic health, you can see that “everything is related to everything”. Now you need a place to start within this overwhelming complexity, how to focus.
The next stage of integral consciousness is my proposal of how to do that with nutrition. This is just my opinion in this context, there is nothing in integral theory that defines the difference between stages 7 and 8 presented here. Ken Wilbur’s recent statement of the difference between these stages is simply a greater degree of systemic awareness.
STAGE 8 Systems Thinking 2: Focus and Implementation Process
The three components of integral level nutrition are to be systematic, simple enough to implement, and sensitive to individual needs.
Stage 8 seeks to reintegrate focus with systemic understanding. Focus also advances systems understanding since what is focused on are key leverage points in a system. Knowing leverage points reflects a better understanding of system.
The first way to simplify is to separate the few root causes from the many symptoms.
I have not found any definition of the criteria for a root cause of health and disease. This is an astonishing level of collective sloppiness for how often terms like “root cause” and scientific thinking are used.
My method of determining root causes is, starting with any symptoms, asking “Why is that?” repeatedly until you cannot reduce it further or the cause leaves the sphere of the body and is no longer relative to the practical question. Three criteria representing 5 root causes were discovered:
1. Something Missing
- Developmental Processes physical or emotional.
2, Something Invading:
3, The brains response to stress, emotional or physical. Although the brain’s response can be traced to other kinds of causes, it is important practically to focus on choice and work with human agency.
Six Root Causes
- Misalignment of bones from teeth to toes
- Brain's response to stress
Nutrition as Root Cause
Nutrients are the basic building blocks of physical bodily function so can be considered as root causes of health, and root cause of disease when deficient or in excess.
Focusing on basic nutrients can be a way to simplify nutrition, instead of focusing on body parts where symptoms show up. There has been too much emphasis on hormones: adrenals and thyroid problems are symptoms. Body parts are where symptoms show up, but problems cannot be characterized in terms of body parts as if body parts cause their own symptoms. If any body part should be focused on it would be the cell where energy is produced to perform all body functions.
Nutrition of the most basic level consists of
-Macro nutrients: fat, carbs, protein
-Micro nutrients: minerals, vitamins
-Physics: light, magnetic fields, etc.
-Probiotics bacteria, yeast and other symbiotic organisms.
It can be said that the body can heal itself when it has all the nutrients to function properly.
Simplification by Priority
Simplification within nutrition can be established by priority of what to focus on.
The minerals sodium, potassium and magnesium are often a first priority because they help determine what gets in and out the cell. Sodium and potassium form a pump across the cell membrane, and magnesium plays an important supporting role. These are prerequisite cofactors for other nutrients.
Magnesium is widely considered the most common nutrient deficiency and its supplementation has had a high degree of success. Magnesium has by far more functions in the body than any other nutrient.
Getting the right levels of just these three minerals can boost energy and improve many symptoms.
Simplification by Focus on Common Patterns
From magnesium deficiency stems several other mineral imbalances.
Magnesium is needed in balance with calcium to utilize calcium. When calcium is not utilized properly it is itself imbalanced: not being utilized where it should be in the bones, being in deficiency there with the symptom of osteoporosis. Calcium is then probably simultaneously in excess in other places as deposits in between vertebrae, for example, create spinal stenosis and pain.
Magnesium also is necessary to utilize copper, which, in turn, is necessary to utilize iron. When iron is not utilized it can be deficient in the right places, blood cells, creating anemia. At the same time it can be in excess being deposited all over the body to create inflammation via oxidation or rusting. Iron can also feed chronic infections and is part of the biofilm shields constructed by pathogens to defend against the immune system and antibiotics.
These relationships are usually overlooked as explained in the critique of stage five fragmented science.
For people guessing what to do these common patterns are a good place to start. Further focus is attained through assessment of individual needs.
SENSITIVE TO INDIVIDUAL NEEDS
Another way to focus is to using some kind of testing to identify nutritional deficiencies (and excesses.)
Nutritional Deficiencies & Excesses:
- Macro Nutrients: Protein, fat, carbs
- Micro Nutrients: minerals, vitamins
- Physics: light, magnetic fields, earth electrons, cold
A priority can be something that is needed as a cofactor to assimilate other nutrients, like sodium and potassium above, which can be tested to see if one needs both or just one and how much.
Priority order is also determined by what is lowest relative to other nutrients, the weak link in the chain. This is the principle of “the law of the minimum” established in agriculture almost 200 years ago, that productivity of the land for crop yields is determined by the lowest level of nutrient in the soil as a system.
A client can then get a report listing in order of priority to address deficiencies, and the foods and supplement to do that.
Comprehensive nutritional testing can customize diets for individuals by covering:
- What food groups should they eat.
- What kind of macro nutrients levels: low carb, low meat, etc.
- Which foods should be raw, cooked, fermented, juiced, etc.
- Meal timing and fasting intervals
he two main objectives of implementation are to assist clients in accurate implementation (compliance) of the initial program, and to make necessary changes as you go.
Compliance issues are getting clients to understand the instructions in the beginning and ongoingly. 100% implementation is mandatory. Changes can be made if necessary after attempting something. Flexibility is part of experimentation, but not as part of consumer preferences up-front.
Questions At first after given a plan, clients will have on short notice ideally to be available to answer questions. At first they will have questions.
Review to catch Omissions The coach or practitioner also has to check-up and review implementation and try to catch things the clients think they are doing right but are not. Typically clients will rationalize not doing a few things they think are not important. They still have a shopping mindset were preferences and convenience rules. They must understand more deeply the reasons why that yucky food or expensive supplement needs to be consumed and recipes given to make it easier if necessary.
Feedback of the clients results and reactions is important. Many health practitioners are not responsive enough to the sensitive patient who will react to most supplements and treatments. Most supplements are ineffective and even toxic and should not be used. It seems that often only people who were sensitive themselves understand this. Many people are following stage 5 scientific authority with its general studies of nutrition and isolated chemistry while not getting that things are a lot more complicated than that. Clinical experience has a way of destroying general theories quickly. The patient must be respected. Listened to, and an approach adopted for the sensitive individual that actually benefits everyone by focusing only on the highest quality and purest products and methods, and then being flexible.
People often feel worse along the way. There are various reasons. A complete program will change the body dramatically upset every equilibrium. Implementation occurs one thing at a time before some parts are ready to catch up. Detoxification is inevitable, but you do not want to dismiss all negative reactions as detoxification without checking to see if there is something out of balance.
Priority: Order of Implementation for Utilization, not Reaction
Order of implementation priority is important, starting with sodium, potassium and magnesium, as enabling cofactors of other nutrients, without which someone may react to other foods and supplements and not get the energy they need to even think clearly. Taking the ones for which there is a need, not necessarily both sodium and potassium, and in the right amounts and forms. Clients will often lose track of priority because they will find and order things at different times; sometimes it matters and sometimes it doesn’t.
Detoxification is inevitable because everyone is exposed to toxins, and if I you are having health problems your ability to excrete toxins has been compromised. Nutritional deficiencies mean that you do not have the extra nutrients the body needs to detoxify, but also toxic atoms and molecules have occupied molecule and cellular receptor sites where nutrients should be. With low magnesium excess iron may bind in any of the hundreds places on proteins where magnesium should be, for example. When you take magnesium it can remove the toxic elements and that can feel bad Iron is one of the least toxic elements since it is also a nutrient, but its volume is high. Mercury in low amounts from dental fillings, tuna, air pollution, vaccines, etc. is very toxic and disruptive on the way out. Remedial measures like binders can be taken to absorb toxins. The right fat in the diet from raw dairy, for example, can also help absorb toxins, although this is not well known.
Reviews of Implementation
Formal meetings in person, or over video or phone to review implementation is important get the clients full experience, elicit their questions and doubts, and see everything
In addition energetic testing can be done more frequently and more quickly remotely long distance. The first question is does a particular client needs something today. The first question is generally about their deficiencies. Deficiencies can remain due to lack of implementation, or short comings in the design of the program, or because needs have changed. As the some deficiencies are eliminated metabolic activity speeds up and other nutrient intakes are not longer enough. The new nutrient deficiency can set the limit of the whole system. Nutrient deficiencies are a moving target. Systems are dynamic. The program will disrupt everything and it is often a rough ride in the beginning, hopefully up and down so there is some encouragement.
Transformation of Self Care
Clients need reassurance and support to keep going, maybe more reading of the logic behind what you are doing. All experienced health seekers are ready to accept failure as they have done so many times before, although they can also see that thing take time to show results. How much time is an unknown quantity.
This is where self-sabotage may repeat itself to create their self fulfilling prophesy.
Understanding of what you are doing in important, and even though they have read some of the information nobody gets it fully until they do it both the broad view of the system and how much every detail can matter. Sensing subjectively or self-testing for what is going on is a skill set that would benefit them greatly to monitor themselves, adjust dosages, select foods, and manage other details every day that are beyond the scope of any practitioner.
Getting results is important to show that effort matters to encourage more action toward self responsibility and giving up negative beliefs and feelings in exchange for the science and art of self care. This is attainable by using the highest quality supplements in a market where most are junk that makes people worse. This is attainable by relying more on food than supplements, knowing what foods for each individual.
A new level of the scientific revolution is implied in this practice of nutrition.
Integral science addresses the problem of fragmented science in stage 5 by integrating the parts with systems theory to look at the body as a whole and the ecosystem as a whole in agriculture and beyond.
There is also more integration of theory and practice beyond strictly academic methods that are also narrow.
Integration and practice reinforce each other because practice requires broader focus because reality is not specialized and consequences ripple out to give feedback about the intended results under complex not laboratory conditions. Unintended consequences come back with the focus is broader with stage 6 awareness under holistic health, ecology and organic agriculture.
This most highly developed system of integral level science is Six Sigma and Total Quality that have been used in organizations of all kinds, most famously the Toyota Production System, but also in hospitals. Six Sigma is the current term and uses systems thinking and root cause analysis to plan and solve problems. It is known as quality control and improvement
Quality Control and Improvement
These methods are known as quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement. Quality is at two levels/
First, Quality is what the customer, patient or client needs: the final result of health, and the resolution of all symptoms. This not specialty driven: hammers looking for nails, or surgeons looking for surgeries.
Second Quality is defect control in the process of producing health. Defects here are defined first as nutritional deficiencies and excesses, and we could add food allergies and detoxification problems, among other things. This level of quality control is focused on root causes.
The first step of six sigma is to turn goals into quantifiable actions steps. In nutrition this is created by testing what to eat, from what exact source, how much, when, in combination with what. This is operational knowledge, not vague platitudes like “I eat healthy.” Planning provides metics for things to monitor in addition to symptoms.
Monitoring occurs by the person noticing their reactions or energetic testing to identify what is causing that or to identify things the client cannot feel, like the specific nutrient deficiency, which is a cause of a symptom that might be felt, like being tired.
Progress is faster the sooner defects as deficiencies are identified and corrected. Quality control in factories is often achieve by measuring output at each work station immediately, but a person or a machine that measures output and signals problems with lights, noise or stopping production. Then the operator can fix it or supervisors can get involved with the problem is not resolvable locally but needs upstream analysis. The equivalent in health would be to have some kind of monitor attached to the body that signals the client when something is off. Then they can address the deficiency or whatever immediate or contact the coach, who could also be receiving the signals electronically long distance, hypothetically. Such technology does not exist or is not in use to answer all questions, but that is the equivalent. In health the check-ups can be as frequent as is possible, like every day or every few days or so.
A single cell is more complex and unknown than a factory. We know everything about a factory because we built it, but we still do not know everything about biological life, so the predictability of monitoring and quality control cannot be the same. Nevertheless, the necessity of measurement and feedback are the same. The methods of science are universal.
New Financial Accounting Paradigm
A systems perspective leads to total cost orientation, rather than unit costs like hourly rate of a health practitioner. In business organizations total cost this has been spelled out as “lean accounting,” with a critique of the utter dysfunctionality of management accounting and “remote control management” by business historians Kaplan and Johnson. The new economics shifts from the old economies of scale under specialization by technical requirements, to economies of simplicity that integrate systems around customers.
In health coaching total cost is the number of hours it will take, which can be broken down to how much to get started with evaluation and planning, with the expectation of follow-up support.
Total cost to the client is also the money that can be saved by replacing existing expenses with something more effective and sometimes short term.
Prices of single transactions may be low, like 15$ for a supplement, but and those can get through the “too expensive” trigger ten times to add up to 150$ for something or a few things that might work better. That’s been called the “Starbucks factor,” 5$ a day that seems like nothing each day but adds up to being able to pay for some of the things you say you can’t afford. That has been called, “nickel and diming to death.”
People can have rather random emotional reactions to prices. Perceptions of the integrity of the practitioner are crucial.
People always say they can’t afford it until they see value. No one can afford to waste money, but it’s often not about money. Everyone in sales knows this. The person does not always know how to articulate what it is they want or is missing. Understanding services from a different paradigm of health is not easy. Having much in writing that connects to some of their most pressing symptoms is helpful and provides value up front for free as is often necessary it today’s marketplace. New information and insight is what people are looking for.
Explaining the financial principles of total cost is a part of the value added transformation being offered. These come up directly in sales conversations or free consultations from people who ask for rates right away. That’s kind of like asking the price of a car without know what kind it is. It depends how much time it will take and how much money can be saved, which leads to a discussion of what is working and what isn’t. This is valuable information as part of intake to get to know that client, and they can experience how well the practitioner listens and what insight they have about the client’s experiences.
Transformational Nutrition Coaching
A coaching relationship begins with understanding the customer’s / clients needs, their perception of value for them, and commitment to implement and make it through the difficulties. The relationship develops as the coach learns what that client is capable of while challenging them to change some self limiting habits and ways of thinking. Success depends on getting results in terms of feeling better as soon as possible in small steps while getting through the down periods for whatever reason, including feeling worse that before sometimes if there is detox. It is common to feel better right away when missing nutrients are introduced. Interpretation of emerging results is empirical with an aspect of science and art of interpretation that aims to be psychologically aware of possible distorting or self sabotaging motives.
The challenge is to have a comprehensive enough program to address all major issues and keep them focused and engaged on implementation rather than too distracted by a shopping orientation whereby they keep looking for bigger faster solutions and then quitting before they implement to see if it is working. There is often a cycle of trying the new with poor implementation that feeds a new search to repeat the pattern of failure. Shopping mode is more like miracle seeking that science, even if it consists of a fascinated with the scientific talk of the next health technology big bang.
Integral level nutrition seeks to restore some of the sensitivity to empirical experiential feedback that must have helped tribal societies evolve over time. But Tribal experience grew out of animal instinctual sensing and involved people hunting and gathering they were closer to the source of their food and nature. This has been lost for most modern people so an new way of creating awareness is needed, scientific thinking applied to practical problems and personal experiences, even if some of the metrics are subjective, how it makes one feel. There is also a wider scope of learning from others across geography, cultures, and time that is empirical even if not as tightly controlled as double blind study.
For a one page table summarizing these points email me or write me on Facebook.