The Teaching of Rabbi Dr. Gabriel Cousens
The following is adapted from Dr. Gabriel Cousens, Spiritual Nutrition: Six Foundations for Spiritual Life and the Awakening of Kundalini (2005), Part II, Chapter 13.
A major cause of this confusion about the purpose and function of nutrition is the present exclusive materialistic-mechanistic viewpoint that developed during the late 1780s, when the chemist Lavoisier established the doctrine that life is a chemical function and foods are the combustibles.
Food is the vehicle for the intake of calories. The materialistic-mechanistic view, which is still predominant today, was very simple then. The complete process of nutrition was considered a combustion process in which foods were seen as carriers of caloric energy, which, in conjunction with oxygen, is released in the digestive process. One needed simply to count the calories needed and select nutrients with the matching number of calories.
Since the 1780s, we have discovered that nutrition is more complex than simply calories. Food has additional factors — proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, micronutrients, enzymes, subtle hormone factors, alkaloids, auxones, pacifarins (natural antibiotic substances), thousands of phytonutrients, and whatever new microfactors have been or will be discovered. These new discoveries have only reinforced our materialistic-mechanistic conceptions of food and the human system.
Many people are still holding tightly to the caloric approach of Lavoisier. Calorie counting is still in vogue today.
Lavoisier, who is considered by many to be the progenitor of modern chemistry, also contributed another of the major principles of the presently accepted nutritional paradigm. It is called the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy. This law states that nothing is lost; nothing is created; everything is transformed.
The atom was considered the smallest particle of matter and a constant in Nature. From this law it was assumed that no element could be created and no atom could disappear in Nature. Except for the later observation that this does not hold true for radioactive materials, we are still trying today to comprehend nutrition from the exclusively materialistic-mechanistic point of view. The result of this conceptual approach is an excessive and unbalanced focus on individual nutrients and their interactions.
This nutrient-supernutrient focus has served to lock us into materialistic conceptions about food, the human system, and the interrelationship between the two.
The next major step in the development of nutritional materialism took place in 1847, when four great scientists — Helmholz, Dubois-Reymond, Brucke, and Ludwig — met in Berlin to put physiology into a physiochemical foundation. They proposed that the laws of chemistry could completely describe the process of human physiological function. Since this historical turning point, the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy has been the foundation of physiology, metabolism, and nutrition. It has led to the establishment of quantitative research methods and to the implicit acceptance of the Laws of Thermodynamics as a description of the functioning of the living organism. From this sort of thinking came the popularly accepted statement, made by Ludwig Feuerbach, that ‘man is what he eats.’ It is also the basis for the consumerism in nutrition we see today. People tend to consume excessive vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in the hope of making their bodies live longer, perform better, endure more, and be healthier. The implied motto is ‘more is better.’ It is the underlying assumption behind calorie counting, nutritional computer printouts, and fad dieting.
The focus on gathering nutritional capital is based on the inaccurate belief that nutrition is additive — that is, to be safe, extras of everything should be taken. This is not to say that, at the beginning of a health program, a person may not need extra nutrients to replenish deficiencies and to rebalance metabolism, but after a few months, as the person’s health improves, he or she needs fewer nutrients to sustain good health.
According to their particular life stress and biochemical individuality, people differ significantly on how much and what sort of supplementation they need. The author, in the last thirty-five years, has not examined one person who did not need some sort of supplementation.
It is important to note that not everyone has followed this limited materialistic-mechanistic approach. The late Paavo Airola, Ph.D., a significant nutritional mentor of the author’s and a man whom many considered a nutritional genius, stressed a personal and historical approach in his consulting rather than a materialistic, computerized focus. Nutritional groups such as the live-food (raw food) movement, sproutarians, and now the holistic health movement, have all, at least indirectly, refuted the narrow materialistic conceptualization of nutrition. In these health movements there is an implicit assumption that we need to look at the subtle energy qualities of food and the human body.
This awareness is shared by many healing systems around the world. In the ancient Indian sciences of Yoga and Ayurvedic medicine, for example, subtle body and subtle food energy is termed prana. In Chinese medicine it is called chi. It is known as ki in Japan, mana in Hawaii, tumo in Tibet, Odic force by Reichenbach, and orgone energy by Reich. The term prana, or Shekhinah energy, is associated with the vital life force in general and will be the main terms we will use.
The new paradigm is what this book is about. It states that food can no longer be seen only as calories, proteins, fat, or carbohydrates, or any material form. Food is a dynamic force that interacts with humans on the physical body level, the mind-emotional level, and the energetic and spiritual levels. The study of nutrition is the study of the interaction with and assimilation of the dynamic forces of food by the dynamic forces of our total Being. Before we develop this new paradigm of Spiritual Nutrition, it is important to clearly understand the fundamentals of the old materialistic-mechanistic paradigm.
Excerpt From: Gabriel Cousens. “Spiritual Nutrition and the Rainbow Diet.” iBooks.