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What Symptoms to Expect When You Change Your Diet


By Stanley S. Bass, N.D., D.C. Ph.D. / drbass.com

If I were asked which is the area of greatest misunderstanding and confusion in the field of nutrition, I would immediately be forced to reply, it is the failure to properly understand and interpret the symptoms and changes which follow the beginning of a better nutritional program.

What is meant by a better nutritional program? It is the introduction of foods of higher quality in place of lower quality ones. For example, if a person replaces a protein rich food such as pork with beef, the beef may be considered the superior of the two due to its easier digestibility, lower and less saturated fat content, etc. – chicken is superior to beef and fish is superior to chicken because of its more rapid digestibility and lower saturated fat content. Lima beans, lentils or chickpeas, which are eaten at the same meal with vegetables, are superior in all the nutrients needed to rebuild health. As we go higher in the scale of quality, we begin to include protein rich food which may be eaten in the unfired state, such as cheese which is made from raw milk and unsalted. Then we ascend to the nuts and seeds which are eaten in the natural state (raw and unsalted). To summarize, the closer the food comes to the natural state in which it occurs, or the closer we come to its raw, unfired form, the higher its quality. In this condition, all the enzymes are found intact. The amino acids are in their finest form. The minerals, vitamins, trace elements, carbohydrates and “life force” are present. The life force, in turn, is capable of reproducing healthy tissue.

The quality of a nutritional program is also improved by OMITTING toxic substances such as coffee, tea, chocolate, salt, pepper, etc.

What is the relation of quality foods to recovery from illness? It is this in a nutshell – the HIGHER the quality of food we eat, the QUICKER we recover from disease provided we are able to properly digest and assimilate properly.

Now, what happens when a person follows these rules and makes a decided improvement in the quality of the food consumed? Remarkable things begin to happen to the body as well as the mind. The amazing intelligence present in every cell of the body and the wisdom of the body in its operation immediately becomes manifest. The rule may be stated thusly – when the quality of the food coming into the body is of higher quality than the tissues which the body is made of, the body begins to discard the lower grade materials and tissues to make room for the superior materials which it uses to make new and healthier tissue. This is the plan of NATURE. The body is very selective and ALWAYS aims for improvement for better health. The body ALWAYS tries to produce health and ALWAYS will, unless our interference is too great. Only then do we fail to recover and degenerate further into disease. The self-curing nature of many conditions such as colds, fevers, cuts, swellings, injuries, etc., furnishes endless examples of how the body tends toward health – ALWAYS unless we do something to stop the process.

What are the symptoms or signs which become evident when we first begin to omit the lower grade foods and instead introduce superior foods – those which are more alive, more natural than we are accustomed to? When the use of toxic stimulant such as coffee, tea, chocolate, or cocoa is suddenly stopped, headaches are common and a letdown occurs. This is due to the discard of the body of the toxins called caffeine and the obromine which are removed from the tissues and transported through the bloodstream during its many bodily rounds. Before the noxious agents reach their final destination for elimination, these irritants register in our consciousness as pain – in other words, a headache. The letdown is due to the slower action of the heart – the resting phase which follows the stimulation of more rapid heart action forced upon the body by certain poisons called stimulants. The more rapid heart beat (or pulse) products a feeling of exhilaration, and the slower action produces a depressed state of mind. Usually within three days, the symptoms vanish and we feel stronger due to the recuperation which follows.

To a lesser extent, the same process occurs when we abandon lower quality foods and replace them with better foods. Lower quality foods have undergone more preparation. Consequently, the withdrawal of stimulation which follows the abandonment of lower quality foods produces a slower heart action, a resting phase, which register in the mind as relaxation or a decrease in energy. The initial letdown lasts about ten days or slightly longer and is followed by an increase of strength a feeling of diminishing stress and greater well being.

Now, let us return to the symptoms which occur in the process of regeneration.

The person who starts a better diet, stays on it for three days to a week and quits will say, “Oh! I felt better on the old diet – the new one made me feel weak”. He failed because he didn’t give his body a chance to adjust and complete its first phase of action – recuperation. If he had waited a while longer, he would have begun to feel better than before he started.

During this initial phase (lasting about ten days on the average to several weeks in others), the vital energies which are usually in the periphery or external part of the body such as the muscles and skin, begin to move to the vital internal organs and start reconstruction. This shunting of much of the power to the internal region produces a feeling of less energy in the muscles, which the mind interprets as some weakness. Actually, the power is increased, but most of it is being used for rebuilding the more important organs and less of it is available for muscular work. Any weakness which is felt here is not true weakness, but merely a redeploying of forces to the more important internal parts. Here it is important for the person to stop wasting energy, and to rest and sleep more. THIS IS A CRUCIAL PHASE, and if the person resorts to stimulants of any kind, he will abort and defeat the regenerative intent of the body. It is important that he have patience and faith and just wait it out. After a while he will get increasing strength which will exceed by far what he felt before he began the new program. Success in recovery or improvement of health hinges upon the correct understanding of this point, REALIZING that the body is using its main energies in more important internal work and NOT wasting it in external work involving muscle movements. Be wise – take it easy here and relax. Just coast in your work and social obligations until you are out of the woods.

As one continues on the improved diet and gradually raises the food quality, interesting symptoms begin to appear. The body begins a process called “retracing”. The cellular intelligence reasons something like this: “Oh! Look at all those fine materials coming in. How wonderful – now we have a chance to get rid of this old garbage and build a beautiful new house. Let’s get started immediately. Let’s get this excess bile out of the liver and gallbladder and send it to the intestines for elimination. Let’s get this sludge moving out of the arteries, veins and capillaries. These smelly, gassy brain-stupefying masses have been here too long – out with them! These arthritic deposits in the joints need cleaning up. Let’s get these irritating food preservatives, aspirins, sleeping pills and drugs out of the way along with these other masses of fat which have made life so burdensome for us for so long. Let’s get going and keep going until the job is done – till we have a beautiful house – and from then on we’ll keep it a beautiful ideal model house.

During the first phase (called catabolism), the accent is on elimination or breaking down of tissue. The body begins to clean house – in short, to remove the garbage deposited in all the tissues – everywhere. During this period, the body “removes the ashes from the furnace preparatory to getting a better fire”. Here the accentuation is on removal of the gross and immediate body obstructions. Wastes are discarded more rapidly that new tissue is made from the new food. This becomes evident as weight loss. This persists for a while and then is followed by the second phase – stabilization.

Here, the weight remains more or less stable. During this phase, the amount of waste materials being discarded daily is equal to the amount of tissue which is being formed and replaced by the newer, more vital food. This occurs after the excess of obstructing material in the tissues has been removed. This stage persists for awhile and then is followed by a third phase – a build up period (called anabolism), wherein weight goes up, even though the diet is lower in calories than before. At this point, much or more of the interfering wastes have already been discarded – the tissues which have been formed since the diet was raised in quality are more durable and do not break down easily. Also, new tissues are now being formed faster. This is due to the improved assimilation made possible by the higher quality foods. As the body’s need for the usual amounts of food decreases, we are able to maintain our weight and increase energies with less food. Many are able to function very efficiently on two meals a day and eventually on one meal a day. As the body progressively increases in efficiency and decreases in tissue breakdown under exercise, so do we gradually need less and less food to maintain life. The higher the percentage of raw food one lives on, the slower the rate of tissue deterioration which one evolves into. A sick body requires a gradual, carefully workout entry into this stage.

Returning the symptoms which occur on a superior nutritional program – people who have had tendencies in the past to recurring skin rashes or eruptions will frequently tend to eliminate poisons and harmful drugs though the skin with new rashes or eruptions. If they go to a doctor now who is not familiar with this aspect of nutrition, he will diagnose it as an allergy. They ask, “How come: I’m eating better now than I ever did before, and instead I’m getting worse?” They don’t understand that the body is “retracing”. The skin is getting more alive and active. It’s throwing out more poisons rapidly now that the body is building more power. These toxins being discarded are saving you from more serious disease which will result if you keep them in your body much longer – possibly hepatitis, kidney disorders, blood disease, heart disease, arthritis, nerve degeneration or even cancer – depending upon your hereditary or structural weaknesses. Be happy you are paying your bills now in an easy-payment plan.

For some people, colds or fevers which haven’t appeared for a long time may occur. THS IS NATURE’S WAY OF HOUSECLEANING. Understand that these actions are constructive, even though unpleasant at the moment. DON”T –but DON”T try to stop these symptoms by the use of certain drugs, or even massive doses of vitamins which will act as drugs in huge concentrations. These symptoms are part of a healing process, and don’t try to stop the healing. These are NOT deficiency conditions or allergic manifestations – NOT if you’re eating properly in quality and quantity. Here is where experienced advice is a great value. In this most confusing of all subjects – nutrition in relation to health and disease. Unfortunately, there are few books present today which give full guidance to the average reader.

You may be perfect in regard to quantity, quality, and observing all the correct rules, and still symptoms will occur. Those who have lived better lives in the past – who have eaten better foods and who have abused their bodies less with over-eating, will have reactions ranging from almost none at all or very mild to symptoms which may be uncomfortable or acute. Those who have lived worse lives and poisoned themselves more will experience more severe symptoms if their liver, kidneys, or other important eliminating organs have been damaged. When they have renovated to the point of full working order, they will no longer produce symptoms.


Headaches may occur at the beginning: fever and/or colds also may appear, the skin may break out; there may be a short interval of bowel sluggishness, occasional diarrhea, feelings of tiredness and weakness, disinclination to exercise, nervousness, irritability, negativity or mental depression, frequent, urination,etc. However, the great majority of people find their reactions tolerable and are encouraged to bear with them because of the many improvements which already occurred and are becoming more evident with each day. This acts as an inspirational force to them.

The symptoms will vary according to the materials being discarded, the condition of the organs involved in the elimination, and the amount of energy you have available. The more you rest and sleep when symptoms are present the milder they are and more quickly they are terminated. Be happy you are having symptoms. REALIZE DEEPLY that your body is becoming younger and healthier every day because you are throwing off more and more wastes which would eventually have brought pain, disease and much suffering. Those who have the worst symptom-reactions and follow through to their successful termination are thus avoiding some of the worst diseases which would have eventually developed had they continued their careless eating habits.

Don’t expect to go on an ascending scale of quality that improving your diet will make you feel better and better each day until you reach perfection. The body is cyclical in nature, and health returns in a series of gradually diminishing cycles. For example, you start a better diet and for awhile you feel much better. After some time, a symptom occurs – you may feel nauseous for a day and have diarrhea with a foul smelling stool. After a day, you feel even better than before and all goes fine for awhile. Then, you suddenly develop a cold, feel chills and lose your appetite. After about two or three days (assuming you don’t take drugs or do anything else about it), you suddenly recover and feel better than you did for years.

Let us say this well-being continues for months, when you suddenly develop an itch or a rash. You still don’t take anything special for it. This rash flares up, gets worse and continues to ten days and suddenly subsided. Immediately after this, you find that your hepatitis is gone and your energy has increased more than ever before. The rash became an outlet for the poisons in the liver which produced the hepatitis. This is how recovery occurs – like the cycles in the Dow-Jones Average at the beginning of a bull market recovery. You feel better, a reaction occurs and you don’t feel as well for a short while. You recover and go higher for awhile. Then another reaction occurs milder than the last. You recover and go even higher. And, so it goes – each reaction milder than the last as the body becomes purer, each becoming shorter in duration and being followed by a longer and longer period of feeling better than ever before, until you reach a level plateau of vibrant health. Here you become relatively disease-free and are filled with ever-increasing joy, life and the happiness that comes from sheer well being.

Disclaimer: This document was written by Stanley S. Bass, Ph.D. and this article has not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by Life Force International

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