Healthy Living
Functional Foods for Vitality: An Interview with Dr. Vargas of Colombia (In Spanish)      
Today’s Healthy Living will be presented in Spanish, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

We humans are the result of what we eat. The quality of blood depends on the quality of the food. If there is good food, there is good blood. If there is good blood, there is health. If there is health, there is wellbeing.

Welcome, loyal viewers, to this week’s edition of Healthy Living. Today, we will meet Dr. Tulio Enrique Vargas Mercado, who is a vegan sports doctor in Bogotá, Colombia. In the first in a two-part program, Dr. Vargas will acquaint us with the wonders of functional foods and how a plant-based diet filled with natural fruits, vegetables and grains keeps us fit and healthy and provides all the nutrition we need.

What is a functional food? It must have two qualities, among others. The first is to be a food in its natural state, that has not been distorted, that has been organic. And second, upon ingesting it, not only does it feed us, but it also prevents and helps us to recover from many of the chronic degenerative diseases. In conclusion, it should guarantee health and quality of life.

We asked Dr. Vargas about his patients’ experiences when shifting their diets to one based on functional foods.

I have found that as soon as they change their diet and begin to develop their vegan diet, free of all foods of animal origin, industrialized foods, processed foods, they begin to recover. Even many people who are addicted to medicines, which for extreme situations they have to take, we have noticed that when they change their diet, the absorption of these medicines and the elimination of these medicines, is more beneficial to the patient, because we have found that molecular nutrition is a support for the cellular matrix.

What does this mean? There are many people who for their bad diet, have had to live for many years taking a lot of medication, almost a lifetime. We have found that when their diet is changed immediately, these medications are not as aggressive at a cellular level.

For example: at the level of the cellular matrix, there is an enzyme complex called cytochrome P450. And then when the medication enters, it does not attack so much the cell, but instead it enters very smoothly and does its job, thanks to the diet which has cleared the walls and these cellular structures. Food has that characteristic, the ability, to enter and in a very soft, very subtle, but very strong way to clean all these processes.

Many medical professionals warn that a diet high in refined grains can damage one’s health. Refined grains are not functional foods and many precious nutrients are lost during the processing of the grains.

Whole grains are high in nutrition as they still have the germ and bran, which are absent if grains are refined or processed.

if one chooses white rice over brown rice, one loses 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids.

For example, when a person consumes whole grains, and naming some of them, whole oats, whole barley, rye, millet, sorghum, quinoa, millet, wheat, sago, corn, and other large number of varieties, immediately, at the level of the cell; in the cell there are some mitochondria that are the energy centers of human beings.

When these foods come with all their nutritional potential, the mitochondria are very happy and carry out a very special handling of sugars, making all the phenomenon of glycogenolysis, which is the metabolism of sugars, to be very beneficial and the opposite happens when people feed themselves refined white rice, white bread, buns, cheese bread, cookies, crackers, cakes, etcetera. What happens when the foods enter the cell matrix lacking these nine nutrients?

An example, rice in its industrialization process loses the cuticle, starch, carbohydrate, moisture, ash, chromium, zinc, B complex (vitamins), and fiber. Simply what remains is just a starch devoid of those other nine elements. The mitochondria suffer in the energy centers because they do not have all the nutritional potential for them to do their job.

Besides suffering at the cell level, Dr. Vargas says our organs also are disadvantaged when we follow an unbalanced diet of primarily processed foods. What happens when we take in refined grains at the organ-level?

Another example, if we take grains and we industrialize and process them, then many organs will suffer. Let's take an organ like the pancreas. So the pancreas at the level of its ducts, there it needs a raw material to make insulin, in order to form glucagon. This insulin has to do with the metabolism of sugars.

But when there is no food, when there is no raw material, this pancreas cannot work well and it will go on to become hyperactive and there will come a time when it will no longer secrete the sufficient levels of insulin and three very important enzymes that play a role in the metabolism of food. For example, amylase in the management of sugars, lipase in the management of fats, and trypsin in the handling of proteins.

When a person is accustomed to eating only processed cereals, just refined food, it happens that they do not carry either chromium, or the B complex (vitamins), two key elements in these ducts so that they can thoroughly maintain stable levels of insulin and glucagon, (which are) vital in the metabolism of sugars. That is when a person eats refined foods, that person will have a tendency of always having high sugar levels or leading to spikes of hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia.

The same thing happens at the level of the colon when you eat food in its natural state, whole as nature provides it, it has been found that the body produces a protective enzyme such as sirtuins and other elements such as butyrate, an enzyme that protects us from colon cancer, inflammation of the colon or colitis, irritable bowel syndrome.

And this butyrate, what it does is lubricate the walls, protect the walls, eliminate free radicals that are being generated there, which are creating inflammation. So therefore, we see that diet is important in prevention and is fundamental in restoration.

Similar to when foods are processed and vitamins and minerals are stripped away, many unknowingly discard invaluable nutrients our bodies need while cooking.

Even those in the kitchen preparing their food end up removing and throwing away many of the things the body needs. For example, I have found many mothers when they go to use squash or pumpkin, peel and throw away the skin. In the skin there are alphacarotenes and betacarotenes to prevent skin cancer and which will ensure that optical nerves and our sight work well. I have found that squash seeds are thrown away. These squash seeds contain zinc and zinc will prevent the prostate from swelling. Zinc will prevent damage to the skin, stretch marks, and cellulite.

Some believe nutritional supplements are a necessary part of a healthy diet, but are they really necessary? Dr. Vargas now provides his perspective.

When you have a vegan diet, holistic, balanced, harmonious, and your lifestyle is very healthy, and in harmony with nature, with oneself, with God and with your neighbor, believe me that we will not need any dietary supplements or complements. An example, we like ice cream flavored with fruit. We like juices flavored with fruit. But we do not eat the fruit.

When a person eats fruit in its natural state, in the fruit are the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and a number of compounds that the body needs in order to work well. So if a person is consuming large amounts of citrus fruits they will not need to consume megadoses of vitamin C. If you're eating fruit as a child in its natural state, you will not have a deficiency as such. Then you do not need to supplement your diet.

How does a vegan diet with functional foods aid those with certain severe medical conditions? Can what we eat actually help to heal us?

For example let’s talk about multiple sclerosis. In multiple sclerosis there is an erosion of myelin. Myelin is like a rubber that protects the neurons in order for the nerve cells to do their job. And when the myelin is worn out, then it begins to lose a lot of functionality and many organs begin to atrophy and that is where functional foods begin to do their job. For example, the oilseeds provide essential fatty acids and not only essential fatty acids but specifically items that the myelin need for it not to wear out, for it not to run out.

So for example, what do almonds do? Almonds in its so-called natural state or in a vegetable milk, almonds have certain essential fatty acids that help rebuild the myelin. In other words, it is the raw material for it to begin rebuilding again. There omega-3, omega-6, omega-9 and eicosapentaenoic acid interact. They begin to make a collective effort to restore this matrix.

That is to say, all chronic degenerative diseases begin at the table, and it is at the table where they should be restored, not in the consulting room, not in the operating room and it’s not at the pharmacy. The father of medicine was Hippocrates and his Hippocratic philosophy says: “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”

Doctor Vargas, we sincerely thank you for sharing with us your invaluable research and knowledge on functional foods as well as for actively promoting the vegan lifestyle. Friendly viewers, please join us next Monday on Healthy Living for the conclusion of our interview with Dr. Vargas.

Thank you for your company today on our program. Up next is Science and Spirituality, after Noteworthy News. May we all strive to uplift our mind, spirit, body and soul.

Please use the following methods to contact Dr. Vargas: Email Telephone. +57 16963143 mobile +57 3108819219 Mail Carrera 45A No 106A-36 Barrio Pasadena, Bogota, Colombia
Today’s Healthy Living will be presented in Spanish, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

Welcome, health-conscious viewers to Healthy Living for the conclusion of our two-part interview with Dr. Tulio Enrique Vargas Mercado, a vegan sports doctor in Bogotá, Colombia. He is a strong proponent of a plant-based diet featuring functional foods.

What is a functional food? It must have two qualities, among others. The first is to be a food in its natural state, that has not been distorted, that has been organic. And second, upon ingesting it, not only does it feed us, but it also prevents and helps us to recover from many of the chronic degenerative diseases. In conclusion, it should guarantee health and quality of life.

This week Dr. Vargas will touch on a variety of topics including the importance of omega fatty acids in our diet, how to replace commonly eaten processed foods with whole foods, and his recommendations for what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Dr. Vargas, you talked about the omegas, omega-3 (fatty acids), omega-6 (fatty acids), tell us, how do you get the omegas from purely vegetable foods and what role do the omegas play in human health?

Well commercially we have been taught that omega-3 only comes from trout, but it is found that flaxseed has large amounts of omega-3, but without supplying us the saturated fats that are in trout, that is when you eat animal omega-3 from fish. When we use flaxseed in its natural state in any of the preparations that you can do at home, we have not only the omega-3, but we have something called the omega equation and what is the omega equation?

Our body needs omega-3, our body needs omega-6, our body needs omega-6, 9, our body needs eicosapentaenoic acid, that is EPA 4; flax has those components. What do these omegas do in our body? First they make a protective mechanism at the level of the arterial walls. The one thing we perhaps should take care of most in our artery walls is called the endothelium 1.

And the endothelium 1 is severely affected when you are constantly giving it animal fat. Then it becomes weaker, swelling increases, becomes saturated and begins to lose the permeability of the membrane and then the atheromas develop, then atherosclerosis can then lead to an aneurysm and can generate a lot of clots that lead to cerebrovascular disease (stroke).

Flaxseed not only gives us the source of these essential fatty acids, but it also has some very special lignins. It also acts as a brush and it acts as a protective mechanism activating at the cell wall level, something that is very important and for which there is a Nobel Prize, regarding nitric oxide.

What does nitric oxide do? It prevents cell fragility at the level of arterial walls, so it strengthens them, and that nitric oxide is activated by these omegas. When you consume omegas from animal-sources, the nitric oxide is not activated. When you consume omegas from plant sources, the nitric oxide is then activated.

Now if you add the habitual consumption, since we are talking about the source of omegas, consumption of grapes, then you will have two other very important components for these arterial walls, which grapes have, for example: resveratrol and sirtuins, and there is a Nobel Prize for resveratrol and a Nobel Prize for sirtuins.

They demonstrated in laboratory studies how resveratrol and sirtuins found in grapes in their natural state also help arterial walls, making them stronger, more flexible, more elastic, and not hard like animal fats do. And remember that the omegas removed from fish are saturated fat and our body was not created, not designed for the consumption of saturated fats.

As we heard from Dr. Vargas last week, natural foods are best for our bodies and refined or processed foods not only lack the same nutritional content as whole foods, but in large quantities may cause illnesses. Dr. Vargas has some tips on how to make a shift away from processed foods.

I'm going to give you some advice that I learned from the Apostle Paul, in Romans 14:5: "Every man be fully convinced of what he does." The first step is that you must be convinced that you need to make a change. At that point, you started with the right foot, and what you should do is begin to replace, not remove but replace.

For example, remove white rice, put brown rice, remove white bread and place whole grain bread. When you start to replace the dairy for almond milk, soy milk, amaranth milk, macadamia milk, rice milk, when you replace traditional consumption of animal milk with vegetable milks, you begin to realize the difference.

When you enter and begin to change the white rice for brown rice, white bread with whole grain bread, you begin to realize how your body begins to work better. So, the first step, there must be conviction. I must be convinced that I should make a change.

The second step is to replace, remove refined grains, put in whole grains, remove the consumption of dairy products and add vegetable milks in its place. Try to gradually replace sweets. I have seen that what most vegans find hard to stop eating are sweets. Sweets are not very healthy, so when you start removing refined sugars and begin to introduce the essence of sugar cane, the fruits themselves, you will begin to see that your nervous system benefits.

Though sometimes forgotten, what we select to drink each day is also an important dietary choice and has consequences for our overall health.

Then necessarily we must start to stop using another food group that has been put in our diet, which is not food, for example, coffee. You know that coffee has caffeine and caffeine is a “thief” of minerals, so many people are suffering from osteopenia, are suffering from osteoporosis, because calcium levels are not at the levels they should be, because we are consuming a robber. Soft drinks have phosphoric acid and steal minerals.

So if I'm going to leave the traditional sweets, to start introducing a natural alternative, well you cannot pretend to sweeten coffee with bananas. But if you make a drink of oats or barley or rice and you add banana bits, it is already sweet. You cannot sweeten a chocolate drink with mango, but if you make a grain drink, of rye or of quinoa, amaranth, you can chop fresh mango and it will be sweet.

Is the amount we eat during each meal important? Which food groups should we include in each meal? Here is Dr. Vargas’s perspective.

One should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar. The best meal of the day is breakfast, then lunch, and a very light dinner, ideally three hours before bedtime. What is a good breakfast? A good breakfast is that the main food must be fruit. It should be a rich and varied plate of fruit and there should be a whole grain, call it two servings of whole grain bread, or a good portion of tortilla.

There must be a vegetable protein, tofu will replace the traditional cheese and will give us a good protein, and a grain cereal drink. Therefore, I now have a cereal, I have a fruit, I have a whole grain bread, and a tortilla. I have tofu and there, I can have a full breakfast, harmonious, according with the needs of my body, and that will keep me well-satisfied for six hours.

The same thing at lunchtime. The main food, the basis of this dish should be a raw salad, followed by a bowl of soup maybe of legumes, lentil soup or it can be a fresh pea soup. There should be a blanched or steamed vegetable like zucchini, and there must be a cereal and a plate of salad. And with this we can say we have a good lunch in harmony with my tissues, in harmony with my cells. And when we speak of a light dinner, it may be a fruit juice, may be a fruit, it can be a cereal coffee.

It can be one of the chocolate drinks that are currently on the market that are not cocoa and are a very healthy alternative to a balanced meal. So then it is conviction, to begin to replace, and begin to vary and change and go on introducing those food groups that generally were not in our daily diet.

What response do you get from people when you offer it to them and they begin to consume these foods and this alternative nutrition?

We have found that when we consume these foods, as simple as nature has given us such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, oil seeds, tubers, whole grains, we find in them all that we need. So we could draw a small conclusion up to this moment, and it is: If we are the fruit of what we eat and if what we are eating is not guaranteeing us health, what do you think must be done?

Of course, a change and that change, where do you think it has to start? At the table, because it is at the table where I started to get sick. It’s at the table where I began to generate a lot of marginal deficiencies. It’s at the table where I began to cause many of my systems to become ill.

Genesis 1:29 says, "God left us the fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes as life’s potent foods." When we speak of proper nutrition it is in harmony with nature, in harmony with what nature gives us.

Thank you once again Dr. Vargas for sharing with us your invaluable nutritional advice and knowledge. May many more people’s lives be transformed as you continue to help them make healthy lifestyle choices.

Thank you, elated viewers, for your company on this week’s edition of Healthy Living, here on Supreme Master Television. Up next is Science and Spirituality, following Noteworthy News. May we all soon fully develop our compassionate nature.

Please use the following methods to contact Dr. Vargas:
Email :
Telephone : +57 16963143
mobile : +57 3108819219
Mail : Carrera 45A No 106A-36 Barrio Pasadena, Bogota, Colombia

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