The Nutritional Chain of Life & Basic Nutrition

chain-of-lifeWhen we say the word “nutrition”, many people think we mean merely consuming a healthy, wholesome diet.

It has been said that man does not die. He kills himself and we go right on killing ourselves at the dinner tables, lunch counters and banquet rooms of the world.

So what’s the answer? It all starts with the cells. Every form of living, growing thing on this planet is made up of cells. That’s includes algae scum on a lake, trees, whales and human beings.  Our cells are very small, we have about 73 trillion in our body.

We are only as healthy as one of these little cells and if our cells become tired, sick and die, WE become tired, sick and die.

What keeps our cells and us, fit, well, energetic and positive? FOOD! WATER! and AIR!


Science has shown that what cells need to be healthy comes from WHOLE FOODS and these ingredients are vitamins, minerals, enzymes, carbohydrates, protein, phytochemicals and lipids or sterols or (what was another word?) fats.

Because they are all interrelated and of little value singly, they are linked together in a chain, very much like a bike chain. This is called The Chain of Life.

Look carefully at the diagram. If only one link is faulty, then we have a weakness and our cells have a weak spot. Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Vitamins and minerals alone cannot do the job of keeping cells healthy; the other links are just as necessary and important.

  • Proteins alone will not keep us healthy,
  • Vitamins and minerals will not;
  • Carbohydrates and fats will not make us vital,
  • Phytochemicals and enzymes will not;
  • All members of the Nutritional Chain of Life we need

To keep us and our cells healthy and well indeed.


1.PROTEIN is our magic key to a long, healthy life. Protein is essential to life itself. Look in the mirror. What you see is Protein -hair, skin, nails. Even internally, our heart, lungs, muscles – all are composed largely of protein. We use protein for sustained energy, to build and repair tissues and to help fight infections.

Protein in Greek means “I come first” or holding first place and it is as essential to our bodies as air and water.

Protein is made up of 22 building blocks called amino acids, and 8 of these are essential – and that means? We must eat these 8 amino acids in the correct balance every day at ONE meal, not scatter them over the whole day. If we want to be continually bright-eyed and bushy tailed, then we need to supply our bodies with the very best building blocks.

2.CARBOHYDRATES are the fuel food – like the petrol that keeps our car running.

We use carbohydrates as our primary source of energy for all our bodily functions. There are 3 basic types of carbohydrates present in foods: sugars, starches and cellulose.

Sugars are simple carbohydrates and are quickly used by the body. Simple sugar carbohydrates come from fruits, vegetables and honey.

Starches are complex carbohydrates and require lengthy digestive action before they can be used. Complex starch carbohydrates are found in cereals, grains, seeds, potatoes and root vegetables.

Cellulose supplies bulk which helps intestinal action and stimulates the bowel movement.

Cellulose carbohydrates are in the fibres of fruit and vegetables and the outer layers of grain.

3.ENZYMES is another link and  these help to   ‘unlock’  the nutrients in our foods. They play a vital role in good nutrition. Enzymes help us digest our food into a smaller, absorbable size for our body to use. To put it simply, enzymes are the active materials in the digestive juices which cause the chemical breakdown of food.

Enzymes are made up of protein and cannot be manufactured synthetically.

They are intimately involved in the action and activity of every cell of our body, in every living form. We get enzymes from our food and without them we cannot function.

Enzymes are catalysts or they make things happen. They hasten the process of biochemical reaction but they are not changed themselves in the process.

The body manufactures many thousands of enzymes, but it must have the correct ingredients with which to work. All life LIVES only because of enzyme activity.

Each enzyme is capable of breaking down only one single specific substance, eg. an enzyme that breaks down fats, only breaks down fats -nothing else.

Enzymatic action originates in 4 areas of the body – the salivary glands, the stomach, the pancreas and the small intestine.

So enzymes are LIFE and come from raw, uncooked and unprocessed food. But they are very sensitive to heat and above 120°F they become less active. At 130°F enzymes are inactive and destroyed. Cooked food has no enzymes and it therefore lacks this life giving property.

4.VITAMINS are organic substances necessary for life and are found in raw and fresh vegetables, fruits and grains. All natural vitamins are organic food substances found only in living things. With few exceptions, the body cannot snythesize vitamins, they must be supplied in the diet on a regular and continual basis.

Vitamins have their proper names but for simplicity they have been given letters of the alphabet, eg. Vitamin A, Vitamin B group, Vitamin C, Vitamin D etc. 75 years ago scientists discovered that each family of vitamins worked in specific areas of the body.

5.MINERALS activate the body, they get it to work. Trace minerals are as important as major minerals. Some trace minerals are things like molybdenum, chromium, selenium, iodine, cobalt and copper. Some major minerals are calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus.

Minerals are essential for the body functions. They must be supplied daily either in the diet or through supplements. Without vitamins and minerals we could eat everything in sight and still be malnourished.

Minerals cannot be used by the body unless they have been broken down into a digestible form. Vitamins will not work without minerals to act as a spark plug, similar to the function of a spark plug in a car.

6.LIPIDS and STEROLS are essential fatty acids important for healthy cell membrane function. Without proper lipid/sterol levels, it has been shown that cells can suffer from malnutrition that can lead to cellular fatigue.

Certain lipids and sterols come from the husk of whole grains and seeds of wheat, rice and soy.

7. The family grouping of PHYTOCHEMICALS have only been discovered in the last 10 years. This enormous groping have at least 3 known families, 2 or whom are called Carotenoids and Flavenoids.

Carotenoids have over 600 members in its family and occur as pigments found in red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables.

Flavenoid cousins number over 4000. They too, are highly colourful nutrients found again in the pigments of purple, deep red, brilliant green (kale) fruits and vegetables.

These families are powerful antioxidants and are used in the protection of the cell from damage and attack.

Carotenoids are oil based and protect the cell membrane. Flavenoids are water based. They are stationed in the centre of the cell and in the fluid surrounding the cell.

Who has eaten a Carotenoid or a Flavenoid today? Tick if you have eaten any of these in the past 2 days –

  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Capsicum
  • Strawberries
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Chilli
  • Citrus
  • Mango
  • Capsicum
  • Pawpaw
  • Parsely
  • Pineapple
  • Mandarines
  • Cherries
  • Beetroot
  • Grapes (red & black)
  • Kale
  • Grapefruit
  • Red onions
  • Raspberries


Drinking water is a matter of life. We die more quickly without water than without food. Water makes up about 60-70% of our body and it must be clean and pure. We need a minimum of 8 large glasses daily. Without water we can suffer from many disorders including a clogged up bowel. Like the water in a car radiator, water is necessary to help maintain our body temperature.

What liquid do we put in the car radiator? Would we ever contemplate putting any other type of liquids into it? No, it would be crazy to do.

Unfortunately, people everywhere are doing just that to their bodies. We must have liquid so they have fruit juices, coke, tea, coffee and soft drink. Children are given poppas for school instead of being taught to drink water. WATER is essential and not other liquids. And that water must be pure. The Water Dome is as necessary in a home as the kitchen sink.

Fibre is necessary for bulk and for colon health. It carries wastes along with it and so out of the body. Without fibre we’d have diarrhoea. Fibre is not a single substance. It is a complex of carbohydrates and other substances present mainly in the cell walls of plants and foods.

Fibre comes in 5 different types with many sources, each one serving different nutritional needs.

Dietary fibre is divided into 2: Soluble and Insoluble fibres.

Soluble fibre dissolves in hot water, is completely digested and absorbed in the large intestine. It holds water but does not increase bulk.

Insoluble fibre absorbs water. It increases faecal bulk and aids regularity. Insoluble fibres speed the movement of food through the digestive tract.


Habits are formed by doing things repetitively. Eating is a habit. It is no more difficult to form good eating habits than it is to form bad ones. What do you think you have?

Good eating habits are –

  • 3 balanced meals a day
  • Eating a proper balance from the 5 basic food groups
  • Chewing food properly and eating slowly.

Bad eating habits are –

  • Eating excesses of certain ‘food’ items
  • Eating snacks and junk food
  • Skipping meals
  • Eating “on the run” or heavy meals late at night
  • Breakfast consists of coffee and toast
  • Eating mainly cooked food. Little fresh or raw food.


ACTIVITY:  Complete the following questionnaire.

How often do you eat cruciferous vegetables, cabbage brussel sprouts, caulifower, broccoli, turnip, radish?

  • Occasionally or never
  • Once or twice per week
  • 3-5 times per week

How often do you shop for fruit and vegetables?

  • Once a fortnight
  • Weekly
  • More than twice a week

How often do you add butter, oil, cream, margarine or rich sauces to cooked vegetables, or oil dressings to salads?

  • Daily
  • Several times a week
  • Less than once or week or never

How often do you peel the edible skin from fruit and vegetables like apples, pears, potatoes and pumpkin?

  • Never
  • Sometimes
  • Usually
  • Always

Do you eat only when hungry?

  • Overeat
  • Eat when in pain or emotionally upset
  • Eat when tired or immediately after hard work
  • Eat foods at room temperature
  • Eat a meal to fit the type of work you do
  • Eat juicy foods prior to concentrated foods
  • Eat raw foods before cooked foods



We should get our food from the 4 basic food groups. And all those links in our Chain of Life should be filled from these basic food groups. Let’s look at them.

Meats, fish and poultry beans and lentils supplies proteins
Fruits and vegetables supplies vitamins, minerals, fibre enzymes, phytochemicals
Whole grains, breads, cereals supplies carbohydrates, lipids, fibre and some protein
Dairy products supplies minerals, protein, fats

That doesn’t seem too difficult, do you think?

But we are told to achieve a proper balance, our diet should DAILY consist of –

  • 5-9 different red/orange/yellow fruits and vegetables, plus of course the green ones
  • 4 or more servings WHOLE grains
  • 2 or more dairy products
  • 2 or more fish, poultry or meats

These are all good habits.

WHAT DO WE EAT           

Fruits and vegetables?
Meats? Red meat of some kind.  Maybe poultry once per week and frozen fish once a week
Whole grains? They are non existent. Rolled oats is the only

grain left with the kernel still intact. Do you eat oats daily?

Cereals? Cornflakes, nutrigrain, sultana bran etc. etc.
Dairy products? Homogenised or pasteurised milk
Other “food”? Icecream, packet biscuits, sweets, chips etc.
Water? Soft drinks, cordials, so-called fruit juice, tea, coffee, coke

The items listed below are classified as foods. Think about them. Tick any that you may have regularly.

  • Alcohol and apple pie
  • Biscuits (packet) and bacon
  • Doughnuts and dumplings
  • Sweets and cake
  • Gravy and goulash
  • Fats and frostings
  • Icecream and icings
  • Lard and lasagne
  • Noodles and nibbles
  • Pastries and puddings
  • Marshmallow and macaroni
  • “Quick” cereals and cake mixes
  • Waffles and white sauce
  • Sugar and spaghetti
  • Jellies, refined flour products

Are we getting a good balance of nutrients from this collection of foodstuffs?


Put simply, our cells are malnourished.  Food should be our medicine as well as our sustenance. The best possible food and supplements should be the first item on our budget, not new curtains, or the car or even the house. This is the opposite to how people are taught to budget.

Good nutrition is not a matter of income. It’s a matter of intelligent selection. Proper foods actually cost less than many of those that are woefully lacking in nutrients and food for our precious cells


Our food chain has been deliberately weakened. Society and our modern lifestyles demands that food preparation be quick, easy and instant.

Sugar and salt have been added to everything to enhance the flavour of the minerals and nutrient depleted food. As we all know, both are very addictive.

Many people realise that something is wrong and they are buying synthetic vitamins and minerals. They too, are not the answer.


When the cells are properly nourished, the body is healthy and happy. When our body is happy, we are filled with energy, enthusiasm and positivity.