Foreword for "The Total Vegetarian Cookbook"
by Jane Kurtz, RN, RD, MPH

From a single cell the miracle begins. Dividing and multiplying again and again, it soon forms the 75 trillion cells making up the human body. Concealed in the nucleus of each one is a DNA blueprint which determines the unique function of that particular cell. Brain, muscle, bone, skin, lung, and liver cells—over 200 types working together to create you! What a miracle. What a gift!

As a newborn, you had brand new cells. When they became damaged and aged they were replaced by one of the billions of fresh replacement cells formed daily. The process still continues. Your body is a phenomenal building project. The work crews never quit! Red blood cells live and do their job for about four months when they are dismantled and new red blood cells take their place. White blood cells are replaced daily, while stomach lining cells are replaced every two days and colon cells, every four days. Every three to four weeks you get a whole new skin and even your bones are in a continual recycling process. Approximately every 25 years you have a new skeleton!

Just as a carpenter needs precision tools and quality building materials to produce a solid structure, your body needs a steady supply of proper nutrients to build healthy tissue. Making billions of new cells every day is an enormous task for your internal construction crew. If you provide quality building materials and the right tools to do the job, your newly formed cells will be strong and healthy just like your original cells. Supplies for this remarkable project are chosen and delivered to the construction site several times each day by the food that goes into your mouth.

Packed into natural foods are the very best building materials or “macronutrients” that God has created — nourishing carbohydrates, wholesome proteins and beneficial fats. Rich in fiber, essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, natural foods also contain the tools or “micronutrients” needed to produce strong, healthy cells. Although our builders are amazingly adaptable, they are dependent on the building supplies we choose. We have the option of providing top quality resources or inferior, damaged or depleted materials. For example, providing lots of hydrogenated and saturated fats to the construction site results in cell membranes that are stiff and rigid, contributing to disease. When we choose unsaturated fats, those same cell membranes become fluid and flexible —  a healthy, normal condition.

Refined and processed foods have been stripped of most of their valuable “micronutrients.” Consuming too much white flour, white rice, white sugar, make up the majority of pre-packaged convenience foods, causes us to be overfed and undernourished. Hampered by poor quality, it’s as if our internal construction crews have to use Styrofoam for bricks, masking tape instead of nails and plastic knives in place of power saws. Sooner or later the project falls apart. Immune systems that should be strong to ward off disease begin to let germs come in and take over. Arteries that are normally flexible become hardened and clogged. Bones crumble with osteoporosis. We age faster. We wear out sooner.
But who would construct a building with masking tape instead of nails? Who would use tissue paper instead of solid timbers? You might be surprised! It has a lot to do with what we have for dinner, along with the rest of our lifestyle habits. While our choices each day over a lifetime can CONTRIBUTE to disease, the good news is that our choices day by day over a lifetime can also help PREVENT illness.

Bursting with vital nutrients, The Total Vegetarian Cookbook contains recipes carefully designed using a wide variety of natural foods. These are the high quality tools and building materials your body’s construction crews crave! Have fun as you discover how delicious wholesome eating can be — and in the long run, enjoy the sparkle of “well constructed” vitality.

May you prosper and be in health,
Jane Kurtz, RN, RD, MPH
All contents Total Vegetarian © Copyright 2004