RAW FOOD EATING TIPS AND CONCERNS
A Beautiful Monday to You!
Wow! I gave myself three days off and it’s amazing how great I feel today.
I fasted during the day Friday and Saturday, and broke my fast with dinner. I’m always amazed at how beneficial a mini-fast is to the body and mind.
When I fast, my mind gets very clear. This has shown me the effects of food on the mind.
Even though my diet is about as good as a diet gets, I can still feel how the work of processing food stuffs influences the entire state of one’s physiology, and therefore, the mind.
I spent my entire time off doing art, tai-chi and stacking rocks. Penny and I watched a couple movies together Saturday night.
We are so busy, it seems weeks can go by before we get a moment where we are both able to relax together. I’m a morning person and generally go to bed around 8:30 AM so I can get up rested around 4:30 AM to start my day.
Penny usually comes home just as I’m going to bed and I get up and leave her sleeping. It was really fun to relax a little on my sleep-wake cycle so I could enjoy her company.
Vidya is in North Carolina visiting her daughter and her grandchildren. I’m sure she’s making them some amazing food and teaching them all about life and nature.
That’s her natural way. We’ve been staying in touch by phone and email. Just before flying to North Carolina, Vidya went to visit her mother in Los Angeles. Her mom’s getting pretty aged now so Vidya loves to visit her when she can.
RAW FOOD EATING
A while back, I was interviewed on film for the recently released documentary “The Raw Natural” (learn more or purchase at the RawNatural.com):
Dr. Gabriel Cousens
Ron Gilmore’s – Raw Man & Green Girl
Evan Strong – Professional Snowboarder
Jake Mapes – Professional MMA fighter
Jonathan Huizinga – Professional Pitcher
Dean Randazo – Profesional Surfer
Ernesto Ponce – Professional Tennis Player
The DVD is now available to you and I do recommend it for anyone interested in the benefits of a raw food diet.
The DVD is inspirational and has commentary from a variety of athletes and people who share the benefits of a raw food diet as they’ve experienced them.
There are other experts sharing their views on raw food eating as well. I have two short appearances in the program.
Though the film is certainly good and worth watching, I feel it lacks some of the essential information (which I shared during the filming process) people need when embarking on a raw food diet.
The film does do a good job of explaining how to begin a raw food diet, but doesn’t shed any light on the potential complexities of raw food eating.
My main concern that I tried to share was that an all-raw diet could create complications for people that aren’t physiologically equipped for the process.
Here are a few of my suggestions for those interested in my views on raw food eating:
A: DIGESTIVE ABILITY: Most raw foodists live a vegetarian, or vegan diet.
In my clinical practice, I’ve observed that most people show signs and symptoms of enzyme depletion by about age 30.
This occurs largely because people exhaust their stomach’s ability to produce hydrochloric acid; the pancreas also shows diminished capacity to produce essential digestive enzymes.
Because of the inherently high fiber content of a typical raw food diet, those that don’t have adequate digestive power continue to have poor digestion even on raw food diets.
I’ve seen this over and over. If the foods you are eating don’t deliver the needed enzymatic power to digest them and your body can’t compensate the difference with its own enzymes, digestive unrest results.
If this goes on for any length of time (days or more), fatigue, low-level illnesses leading eventually to sickness and disease can occur.
Low enzymes can be due to lack of enzyme production by the stomach and pancreas, but most people are not getting enough enzymes from the foods they eat to break them down effectively.
The more cooked and/or poor quality food we eat, the more we must tap into our bodies enzyme stores. Producing enzymes is an active process.
If a person keeps eating enzyme deficient foods, they can and often do exhaust the cells in the stomach and pancreas that produce them; using professionally manufactured digestive enzymes can aid the body in restoring its natural digestive capacity.
Eating food that isn’t denatured is the most important first step though!
Among the reasons for such low enzyme activity in the general public today are:
1. Cooking food kills enzymes. Any temperature above ~118º Fahrenheit will kill enzymes.
2. Pasteurization is a form of “cooking” that kills enzymes. In fact, from a scientific perspective, no food is technically considered “pasteurized” until all enzyme activity has ceased!
If it’s pasteurized, “it’s dead!”. As a general rule of thumb, the more dead any food you eat is, the more life-force you must invest into that foodstuff to create living human flesh out of it.
3. The use of pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides and fungicides can all reduce or abolish enzyme activity in the foods you eat if tainted by these chemicals. Considering that there were over 2 BILLION pounds of these chemicals sprayed on US crops alone in the year 2002 and more are being used every year, this is a very good reason to seek certified o
rganic food sources. At the time of my last investigation, the total organic food consumption world wide was only 4-6% of the gross.
This means that the grand majority of human beings are trying to live off of cheap, poorly farmed, chemically laden, nutritionally deficient crops grown on top soils that are largely dead!
4. Oxidization. The longer you store any food, or the more oxygen exposure it has, the more likely enzyme activity is to decrease. This is part of the aging process.
First it’s ripe, then it rots, and then its dead. The key here is to shop more often so you don’t have to try and store fresh foods so long.
5. Canning is a high-heat process that also kills enzymes. Just look at how much of what you eat and drink comes from cans and you may find reason for your challenged digestion.
Aside from that, there are many dangerous chemicals in can liners and materials that leach into our foods and cause lots of problems, including cancer.
This said and considered, my concern for those embarking on a raw food diet is that they don’t get too overzealous right out of the gate so-to-speak.
B: COOKING: Cooking is an age-old process used to break down fiber in plant foods to make them more digestible.
Since humans first learned to use fire he has been cooking meats and fibrous plant foods. We learned to do this through experimentation.
Experimenting with how much and what types of foods need to be cooked to aid your digestion is a wise idea when embarking on a raw food diet.
I prefer the term “whole food eating” as opposed to raw food eating because whole food eating is inclusive of raw foods, but doesn’t contain the dogma and misinformation that often comes with cultish approaches to eating.
Raw foodists have often earned the label of being a cult largely because of being dogmatic about what “must be eaten and how it must be (or not be) prepared.
In my career, I’ve had to switch many raw foodists back to cooking some foods and expanding variety in order to regain their health; I taught them how to be healthy “whole-foodists” and they were better off.
1. Nutrient Availability: Some nutrients are made more available in the cooking process. This is simple fact that some choose to ignore.
A simple example of this can be seen in the well known concept of eating chicken soup when sick.
If one were to eat the contents of chicken soup without cooking it, many of the benefits would be lost. For example, a tremendous amount of nutrition is brought out of bones with cooking.
Fats can be rendered more readily available by cooking some foods. Connective tissues and cartilage (which are also very helpful to repairing the body) are made much more digestible and nutritious by slow cooking.
2. Flesh Foods: Many of the raw foodists I’ve known and consulted with for health challenges eat fish and meats raw.
There are some meats that are more likely to cause problems than they are to benefit your health if eaten raw. Chicken and fish are two such examples.
I’ve seen many raw foodists have problems from the bacteria strains that often come in chicken; there is less of a problem in bigger birds such as turkey and ostrich from my observations, but caution is still advised.
All forms of raw meat, as well as fish are likely to carry parasites. Those that don’t have adequate hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzyme production are at great risk of parasite infection eating any raw flesh foods.
I advise my patients and clients to sear their foods at minimum. This kills surface bacteria, yet leaves the insides of the meat intact; if the cooking is brief, the enzymatic activity in the meat remains high enough to aid digestion.
Anyone eating any form of flesh foods without knowledge of the farming methods or processing procedures is far better off to cook the food before eating it to avoid parasite infection.
Most sources in the literature on parasite infection encourage cooking meat thoroughly to avoid infection.
Personally, I feel it is more important to live according to our needs for optimal nutrition, hydration, sleep, breathing, thinking and movement so that our digestive functions are optimal than it is to kill our meat to avoid bugs.
If you live a balanced lifestyle and eat a mix of cooked and raw whole foods, you can probably lightly cook your meats with minimum risk of parasite infection.
C. Protein Availability: Because there is a high percentage of raw foodists that are vegetarian or vegan, who are also enzyme depleted with deficient digestion, the risk of protein deficiency is real.
I’ve had to coach many such people back to health, which included the need to better prepare fibrous vegetables with cooking and/or eating meats.
Those that aren’t meeting their genetic needs for animal foods often become protein deficient.
The result can be significant complications with hormone production and imbalances in amino acids in the brain.
Mood disorders are not uncommon among such people.
There is a common tendency to have cravings for protein rich foods, yet, if one’s programming is such that eating meat for the available proteins is sac-religious so-to-speak, the body-mind doesn’t hear the cry for animal flesh.
Instead, the urge for animal flesh is often interpreted as the need for more sweets, coffee, alcohol, and drugs of a wide variety of types.
We must remember that human beings have quite short digestive tracts in general, which suggests that there is some need for animal flesh.
Flesh rots quickly in the gut, which is a natural part of the digestive process. Therefor it doesn’t take nearly the time to get proteins and amino acids from the flesh foods as plant foods, which are generally high in fiber.
Cows eat grass, but they also have five stomachs and a very long digestive system. This is required so that the cow can ferment plant foods, increasing protein availability.
Cooking plant foods can both soften the fiber and make proteins previously tied up in fiber more readily available to you.
Personally, I love the way I feel when I eat a diet with ample raw foods. I feel that any diet offers some benefits to someone, yet being dogmatic with any diet approach is simply a great way to miss out on two important opportunities:
1. To be dogmatic is to be “closed-minded”. Any form of living that encourages or results in closed-mindedness exemplifies a form of disease.
This particular form of disease of the mind quickly produces diseases of the body to go with it.
Personally, I feel eating is a spiritual practice.
For eating to be a spiritual practice, it should be first and foremost a practice of being a healthy, responsible, contributor to the creation of your own dreams, and to society.
If you are a healthy raw foodist, congratulations! You are living wisely.
If you are a raw foodist with hormone imbalances and health problems that aren’t clearing up naturally and reasonably under the influence of your diet, then I suggest becoming an open-minded “whole foodist”.
Any diet that reduces well-being diminishes our capacity to contribute to the world in a way that animals and plants can’t.
We are the only beings that can help fix the problems we’ve created in the world and we can’t do it if we are sick and closed-minded, regardless of what such and such a guru may say!
2. To be on any “fixed diet plan” is to avoid the essential relationship with your body that we all should have.
If you read diet books and “eat what you are told”, you may or may not get results. If you do, as many well-know, they may be short lived.
An excellent example of what I’m referring to here is the Atkins diet. Many felt and looked better for three to six months on the Atkins diet.
Then many began reporting a wide variety of health conditions and often had unwanted weight gains.
All this can be avoided by simply cultivating a health, loving relationship with your body.
Your body is the product of genetic evolution, which has been going on since the beginning of life on earth.
We can easily access that wisdom of our cells with practice. I teach how to do this in my webinar “Eating The Chek Way” and/or “Primal Pattern Eating”.
Once you learn how to listen to your bodies needs, you will find that you may be eating like a protein type in the morning, as though you were on a heart-healthy diet at lunch, and any variation of the diet theme for dinner.
The only requirement is that your body gets real food that isn’t poisonous or grown on depleted soils.
I encourage everyone to cultivate a healthy inner-relationship with your body so you don’t need to read diet books or listen to so-called diet experts any longer.
There’s never been any agreement on what is or isn’t “the best diet” for anyone for as long as I’ve been in the health business, which is now just under 30 years!
I’ve managed to keep myself healthy and free of any need to take days off of work my entire career by eating a whole food diet and maintaining a healthy relationship with my body.
That’s better than being on “the diet of the month”!
It’s my dream that my perspective about eating a sensible organic whole food diet inspire you to do the same. Mix it up, don’t be dogmatic and enjoy the flavors of a range of food!
Love and chi,