5 False Assumptions About Natural Living

23 04 2010

It seems like every time you turn your head, you hear confusing and misleading information from every corner of the natural health movement. First, you have mainstream “experts” who rely on outdated and inaccurate data to advise us on the subject. And then there’s the raw food or natural health movement itself, within which most people seem to disagree on what constitutes the healthiest diet.

From the mainstream, we hear the following…

“You have to make sure you eat enough protein”

Without a doubt, the issue of “getting enough protein” is the number one concern of anyone switching to any kind of diet for any reason. Even though decades of vegetarian and vegan traditions and extensive research have proven that our actual protein requirements are fairly low and easy to meet – as long as we eat enough food – most people who will advise you about diet will likely make a much bigger deal about protein than it actually is.

Bodybuilders go beyond all extremes known to humankind by consuming upwards to 350 grams of protein per day, an amount that is completely off the charts and only possible through the consumption of refined protein powders.

At the same time, most people on the planet get by on less than 60 grams of protein a day, and many people in these cultures possess wiry and explosive strength that would put most gym goers to shame.

In the end, the evidence is still conclusive: as long as you eat enough calories to meet your needs, you will at the same time consume enough protein, even if all you eat are fruits and vegetables.

There is no reason to make protein more important than it actually is.

“You need to eat a balanced diet”

According to our nutritionists, a “balanced” meal is composed of carbohydrates, protein and fat in the right proportions.

A meal of bread (carbohydrate), with cheese (protein), and a salad containing a dressing of olive oil (fat) and a desert (carbohydrate) would be, in their opinion, a balanced meal.

That meal might be a digestive disaster for most people, but that aside, we don’t find any evidence that our bodies need to receive nutrition in such a manner.

If we look all around the world, we see different cultures that have enjoyed excellent health eating far from “balanced” meals. In China, rice with vegetables is a meal. In the Great North, the Eskimos have lived on almost nothing but meat. The Hunzas regularly ate meals composed of vegetables and some chapati bread.

If we look at wild animals, we also see that they do not eat “balanced” meals. A meal for an orangutan might consist of nothing more than rambutan (a tropical fruit) or durian (another tropical fruit).

There is absolutely no need to worry about eating a very simple diet where most of our meals are composed of a few foods only. As long as we eat a large variety of food from week to week, it doesn’t matter if our meals are not composed of “carbohydrates, protein and fat”.

“You can’t sustain yourself on just raw foods”

Most nutritionists look at the raw food diet and claim that it’s “impossible” to sustain ourselves from only fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Letting alone the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are doing just that and are still alive to tell about it, there is no scientific reason to believe that we can’t live on raw foods.

Nutritionists will claim that it would be “very difficult” to eat enough fruits and vegetables to consume enough calories.

The problem is that they are still stuck with the view of cooked nutrition and its “balanced view” and can’t think outside the box and realize that it is actually possible to consume enough fruits and vegetables and get the calories you need. It just is a lot of food!

The truth is, eating a raw food diet will mean that you’ll be consuming more fruits and vegetables in a day than some people may consume in a week or even in a month. But as you learn to eat this way, you’ll find that this “huge” amount of fruits and vegetables is actually the “right” amount.

“You should never expose your skin to the sun”

Although we know that too much sun isn’t good for us, the advice we get from dermatologists these days defy all reason. Apparently, we should never expose our skin to the sun unless we are fully protected by chemical lotions.

Did you forget the important fact that sunlight is essential to our well-being, and that regular sun exposure at safe periods of the day are actually beneficial to your health, even in 2006?

You need the sun. The question is just how much!

“If it’s natural it’s good for you”

The word “natural” has been abused more than any other term in the food industry. We now have “natural potato chips”, “natural coffee” and “natural beer.”

The fact that these foods come from a factory should make it obvious that they are definitely not natural, nor healthy.

The truth is, even if a food were natural, it wouldn’t automatically make it healthy. There are plenty of plants and mushrooms that grow in the wild that are not only “perfectly natural,” but also deadly!

Let’s be clear: for a food to be healthy, it has to be a lot more than “natural.”





Exposing Detox Myths.

2 07 2009

When you begin a raw food diet, you have to break those old habits of high-fat, cooked complex carbs and eating all that huge amount of meat and animal products.

Get Those Toxins OUT!

All the toxins from your old diet are stored in your body. Very few of these are eliminated in wastes and certainly those from the days before you begin the frugivore regimen are still in the body.

We know that habits are difficult to break. If you have ever had a bad habit such as being perpetually late or clicking your tongue and then decided to stop, you know it can be difficult. If you have ever had a really bad habit like smoking or drinking alcohol, then you know it is really, really difficult to stop. It seems the worse the habit, the more difficult to quit. But any habit can be broken.

The body loves habits and doesn’t often approve of change right away. Subsequently, we sometimes feel cravings or urges when we stop a bad habit. Or we may do the action or behavior unconsciously.

When you begin your diet, you might well find you have some cravings for those dense, high-fat, highly processed, cooked and seasons foods. You might find something you shouldn’t be eating in your hand before you even realize what you are doing!

Don’t beat yourself up about these cravings, urges or even a small set-back. You are, after all, human and only human. However, there are simple ways to help your body detox encouraging yourself consciously or unconsciously to slip.

Practical Guidelines

First of all, get enough sleep and some exercise but avoid really hard physical exercise and mental stress until your energy level recovers from the changes in diet. You’ll probably want to change your exercise practices, one you return to hard physical exercise, to muscle building rather than weight loss because the proper, natural raw food diet will maintain your ideal weight quite effectively given time.

Periods of detoxification, tissue repair, growth and healing will occur in the body. Some days you will have tons of energy and others you may have less as the body uses its energy to dispose of toxins.

The myth that this purification process goes on forever is totally false. It really only takes a short time to get all the toxins out of your body after you begin a natural, uncooked, unseasoned food diet that is low in fat.

Of course, if you fail to heed the program and eat all the wrong things, making your diet high fat, even though it may be raw, or if you mix the wrong foods, you may be problems and fail to reach that wonderful goal of great health, abundant energy and a good life.

Lack of Energy

A common complaint by people beginning the raw foods diet is that they lack energy. After only days, your body should have MORE energy; not less. Here are the most common causes of lack of energy when attempting to change to a frugivore diet:

  • Failure to get enough good, sound sleep
  • Using oil in your diet which slows digestion significantly – up to two hours per drop!
  • Eating too many fatty foods such as avocados, nuts or seeds
  • Failure to exercise at all, or to exercise very little. Everyone needs exercise. Of course, heed the warnings that the very first few days, you should avoid too much strenuous exercise. But that doesn’t mean sit in front of the TV 24/7! But over training in the first days is not good for you.
  • Depression, negative thinking or other negative emotional states including high stress situations. Chronic loneliness or anxiety can contribute to this problem.
  • Failure to get fresh air and some exercise. Here we go back to the negative affects to too much TV or sedentary lifestyle.
  • Failure to hydrate with water, fruit juices and healthy liquids.
  • Mixing the wrong raw foods causing indigestion and acid stomach. Anytime you feel bad, you don’t have energy. Eat fatty foods without combining sugary foods. For example, don’t sit down and eat ½ an avocado along with a banana.
  • Using spices, salt or other condiments that are not really raw, natural foods eaten by primates in the animal kingdom.
  • Eating when you are not hungry. This often results, even on a raw food diet, in eating the wrong things or eating too much.
  • Smoking or second-hand smoke.

Because these activities elevate the hormone that results in internal toxemia, you simply won’t feel your best. Listen to the messages your body sends to you!

Prevention

When you don’t feel your best on a raw-foodist diet, analyze recent choices and activities. Identify if any of the risk factors are present. Then, eliminate the cause and rest a little extra for a day or two. But don’t remain sedentary.

What REALLY Isn’t Normal

If you follow the raw-foodist diet for a year or longer and still experience any of the following, you probably should contact a doctor to ensure you aren’t developing a medical condition. Anyone can catch a virus or become ill; it has nothing to do with the raw-food diet. In fact, you’ll experience LESS illness if you follow the techniques outlined in these lessons accurately.

However, if you started your regimen with no serious health issues, yet you either experience the onset of symptoms which last longer than a few days OR you have these symptoms continually, seek medical consultations.

It’s just not normal to continually feel:

  • Tired in the afternoon even though you got enough sound sleep the night before
  • You have little or no energy and don’t feel you are capable of moderate to strenuous exercise on a regular basis (3-5 times per week).
  • You have many ups and downs in energy frequently.
  • You feel worse than before you changed your diet yet you have followed the diet carefully including not eating too much fat or mixing the wrong foods. This applies after the first month or few months of allowing your body to get the toxins from your years of bad diet out of your body.
  • You experience a lot of itching. This could possibly indicate an allergy, existing or new.
  • Your body odor is very strong or changes dramatically.
  • You have frequent headaches or your headaches are especially severe.
  • You have dental problems that didn’t exist previously. If you eat a raw food diet and practice good dental hygiene, your dental exams should be improved, not worse than before!

It’s not abnormal to have a minor headache once in a while or to have a body odor when you exercise and get seriously sweaty. However, when symptoms persist or are extremely severe, please consult a medical practitioner immediately.





A Raw Foodist’s Mistake- Dry Fruit.

1 07 2009

Did you know that most dried fruits in the natural food store are COOKED?

Yes!! They are.   Manufacturers and distributors of dried fruits and even “dried tomatoes” were asked the temperature at which their product is dried.   Usually it is well over 200 degrees. They say this proudly, because its not too feasible to dry products at an acceptable temperature to a raw foodist (around 118 degrees or less) because there would be an inconsistent and “ugly” looking product.

Usually only “sun dried” foods would be considered “raw” since they are dried by the sun. So why not dry your own?

How to Dry Fruits and Vegetables

Food dehydration is safe because water is removed from the food. Because water is removed from the food, mold and bacteria cannot grow on it;thus it will not spoil. There is, however, a loss of vitamin A and C in dried foods due to heat and air. It usually takes vegetables 6-16 hours to dry, and fruit 12-48 hours. One can dry fruit and vegetables, and make jerky and fruit leather.

Choose Which Drying Method is Right For You

  • Sun Drying. This is rather difficult because you need three to four sunny days of at least 100 degrees in a row.
  • Oven Drying. Oven drying is an acceptable method of drying food, but it isn’t very energy efficient, and foods aren’t very flavorful in the end. If your oven cannot obtain temperatures below 200 degrees farenheit, use another method for food dehydration. You will need to prop open the oven door to maintain air circulation during the drying process.
  • Electric Dehydrating. This is the best method of dehydrating food. An electric dehydrator is energy efficient and can be operated at low temperatures needed to maintain nutritive values in the food. Your electric food dehydrator should have some sort of heat control and a fan to maintain air circulation during the drying process.

The Drying Process

When drying food, don’t keep temperatures too low or too high. Temperatures too low may result in the groth of bacteria on the food. Temperatures too high will result in the food being cooked instead of dried. Food that is underdried will spoil, and food that is overdried will lose its flavor and nutritive value.

Food should be dehydrated between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You can begin drying your food at higher temperatures, but turn the temperature down after the first hour or so. The last hour or so of drying time should be turned down on a lower setting. You must turn the food and rotate the trays while the food is drying.

You will know your food is dried when when you touch it, and it is leathery with no pockets of moisture. If you are testing fruit, you can tear a piece in half. If you see moisture beads along the tear, it is not dry enough. Vegetables should also be tough but can also be crisp.

When storing your dried product, keep in mind that no moisture should be allowed to enter the container…ever. Dried food absorbs moisture from the air, so the storage container must be airtight. Some acceptable storage containers are jars and plastic freezer bags. If storing fruit leather, wrap in plastic wrap and store in a another airtight container. Store your containers of dried food in a cool, dark, dry place. 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below is best.

Vegetable Drying Guide

All vegetables except onions and peppers,and mushrooms should be washed, sliced, and blanched. Dry vegetables in single layers on trays. Depending of drying conditions, drying times make take longer. Dry vegetables at 130-degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Beans, green: Stem and break beans into 1-inch pieces.Blanch. Dry 6-12 hours until brittle.
  • Beets: Cook and peel beets. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Dry 3-10 hours until leathery.
  • Broccoli: Cut and dry 4-10 hours.
  • Carrots: Peel, slice or shred. Dry 6-12 hours until almost brittle.
  • Cauliflower: Cut and dry 6-14 hours.
  • Corn: Cut corn off cob after blanching and dry 6-12 hours until brittle.
  • Mushrooms: Brush off, don’t wash. Dry at 90 degrees for 3 hours, and then 125 degrees for the remaining drying time. Dry 4-10 hours until brittle.
  • Onions: Slice 1/4-inch thick. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
  • Peas: Dry 5-14 hours until brittle.
  • Peppers, sweet: Remove seeds and chop. Dry 5-12 hours until leathery.
  • Potatoes: Slice 1/8-inch thick. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
  • Tomatoes: Dip in boiling water to loosen skins, peel,slice or quarter. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
  • Zucchini: Slice 1/8-inch thick and dry 5-10 hours until brittle.

Fruit Drying Guide

All fruit should be washed,pitted and sliced. Arrange in single layers on trays. Dry fruit at 135 degrees Fahrenheit. You may wish to pretreat your fruit with lemon juice or ascorbic acid or it won’t darken while you are preparing it for drying. Just slice the fruit into the solution and soak for 5 minutes.

  • Apples: Peel, core and slice into 3/8-inch rings, or cut into 1/4-inch slices. Pretreat and dry 6-12 hours until pliable.
  • Apricots: Cut in half and turn inside out to dry. Pretreat and dry 8-20 hours until pliable.
  • Bananas: Peel, cut into 1/4-inch slices and pretreat. Dry 8-16 hours until plialbe or almost crisp.
  • Blueberries: Dry 10-20 hours until leathery.
  • Cherries: Cut in half and dry 18-26 hours until leathery and slightly sticky.

  • Peaches: Peel, halve or quarter. Pretreat and dry 6-20 hours until pliable.

  • Pears: Peel, cut into 1/4-inch slices, and pretreat. Dry 6-20 hours until leathery.
  • Pineapple: Core and slice 1/4-inch thick. Dry 6-16 hours until leathery and not sticky.
  • Strawberries: Halve or cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Dry 6-16 hours until pliable and almost crisp.

a_clockwork_orange_by_lisalyn





Sugar Substitutes III: Honey- Raw Organic vs. Refined Pasteurized

30 06 2009

Refined and Pasteurized Honey

The vast majority of brands of honey in most grocery stores are refined and pasteurized – these brands provide little more than liquid sugar.

Nectar commonly contains about 20 to 40 percent sugar. The bees in the hive concentrate the honey in the honeycomb to about 83% solids. Bees add the enzyme invertase to convert sucrose to the simple sugars glucose and fructose. After collection, most honey is heat treated. Honey is also filtered to remove air bubbles, solids and pollen grains.

Raw, Organic Honey

Honey that’s truly raw – not exposed to more than 118 degrees Fahrenheit – contains the following nutrients that can nourish your cells and keep you healthy:

  • A number of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that can help keep your cardiovascular system healthy and help prevent damage caused by excessive amounts of free radicals
  • Amino acids (building blocks of protein in your body)
  • Enzymes
  • Trace amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and a number of other minerals
  • Healthy, natural sugars (fructose and glucose) that can help create glycogen stores in your liver and muscles, and provide a source of energy to your cells

What follows are some health benefits that are associated with raw, organic honey:

  • Raw honey contains phytonutrients – caffeic acid methyl caffeate, phenylethyl caffeate, and phenylethyl dimethylcaffeate – that may have anti-tumor and cancer-preventing properties. When raw honey is heavily processed and heated, these phytonutrients lose most or all of their effectiveness.
  • Research carried out in several Israeli hospitals indicates that honey may improve the strength of your immune system by supporting your red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
  • Honey may help promote optimal build-up of glycogen stores in your liver, which can help your liver optimally supply your brain with glucose while you sleep and exercise for long periods of time.
  • When compared to other sweeteners, honey may improve your ability to regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels, though you still want to use raw, organic honey sparingly, as consumption of all sweeteners, even natural ones, can increase your blood sugar and insulin levels in the short and long term. Because raw, organic honey is rich in antioxidants, eating high quality honey may help support the health of your blood vessels.
  • From batch to batch, raw, organic honey may contain some friendly bacteria, which may help you experience optimal digestive tract health and a strong immune system.
  • When applied topically, raw, organic honey may accelerate healing of wounds, including burns and ulcers. The wound-healing properties of honey may be partly due to glucose oxidase, an enzyme that naturally occurs in honey. When glucose oxidase combines with water, the result is hydrogen peroxide, which is a mild antiseptic. Another possible reason why honey is an effective ointment for wounds is that the fructose and glucose in honey attracts water, and by keeping a wound dry, honey can help prevent growth of undesirable microorganisms.

Honey_on_a_spoon_by_jfschmit





Sprouting II

29 06 2009

Sprouting at home is an easy and cost-effective way to add enzymatically-active, highly alkalizing food to your daily routine.

What should you sprout?

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Beans (all kinds)
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Sunflower seeds (and more!)

How to sprout in 10 easy steps:

You can buy sprouting kits in most health food stores, but it’s just as easy to sprout at home using three readily-available household objects: a jar, cheesecloth and a rubber band. Here are the ten steps to sprouting:

  1. Rinse the seeds you intend to sprout well and pour into the jar (fill to 1/4 mark)
  2. Fill the jar at least 3/4 full of water
  3. Soak overnight at room temperature
  4. Pour out the water and seeds and rinse with fresh water
  5. Return the seeds to the jar
  6. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and secure the cloth with the rubber band
  7. Briefly turn the jar upside down to drain the remaining water
  8. Sprouts will begin to appear within 24 hours (give or take)
  9. Make sure the sprouts stay moist so they sprout fully by rinsing and draining them (as in step #7)
  10. Rinse your sprouts before eating.

Sprouts can be stored in the fridge uncovered for up to one week

Happy sprouting!

Sprouts_Mixed_iStock_000003414126XSmall





Eliminating The Cause.

29 06 2009

Do you want me to reveal to you the greatest health secret of all time?

“The only sustainable way to get healthier is to remove the causes of disease and apply the causes of health.”

Or, put in an another way:

“Health cannot be maintained or regained by using the causes of disease.”

Let’s try to look at it in another way. We know that coffee causes headaches. Someone who is not a habitual coffee drinker might experience headaches from drinking coffee. Someone who gives up coffee often experiences head-splitting headaches. Yet, do you know what is the best “natural” remedy for a bad headache? Coffee. Yep.

Dr. Andrew Weil, a well-known naturopath, says that for migraine headaches, coffee should be eliminated. However, he also says “Once you’re off caffeine, you can use coffee as a treatment for headaches. Drink one or two cups at the first sign of an attack, and lie down in a dark room.”

Wait a minute; he says that coffee CAUSES headaches, but yet, he recommends it as a TREATMENT for headaches? How can that be?

Does that mean that coffee is good for you? No! All it did was alleviate the symptoms. Yet, coffee was at the root of those symptoms.

Now, if someone tells me that they take cayenne pepper and that it helps their digestion, I’ll use the same reasoning. Cayenne pepper is an irritant. How can an irritant be good for digestion? If something alleviates your symptoms, it doesn’t mean that it’s natural or that it’s good for you.

If you want health, you have to eliminate the cause. Just alleviating the symptoms is what everybody else does and it is the reason why our “health system” is really a “disease system.”





78 Reasons to Ditch Sugar.

28 06 2009

In addition to throwing off the body’s homeostasis, excess sugar may result in a number of other significant consequences. The following is a listing of some of sugar’s metabolic consequences from a variety of medical journals and other scientific publications.

1. Sugar can suppress the immune system.

2. Sugar can upset the body’s mineral balance.

3. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, concentration difficulties, and crankiness in children.

4. Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.

5. Sugar can adversely affect children’s school grades.

6. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.

7. Sugar contributes to a weakened defense against bacterial infection.

8. Sugar can cause kidney damage.

9. Sugar can reduce helpful high-density cholesterol.

10. Sugar can promote an elevation of harmful cholesterol.

11. Sugar may lead to chromium deficiency.

12. Sugar can cause copper deficiency.

13. Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.

14. Sugar may lead to cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, and rectum.

15. Sugar can cause colon cancer, with an increased risk in women.

16. Sugar can be a risk factor in gall bladder cancer.

17. Sugar can increase fasting levels of blood glucose.

18. Sugar can weaken eyesight.

19. Sugar raises the level of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which can narrow blood vessels.

20. Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.

21. Sugar can produce an acidic stomach.

22. Sugar can raise adrenaline levels in children.

23. Sugar can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

24. Sugar can speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and gray hair.

25. Sugar can lead to alcoholism.

26. Sugar can promote tooth decay.

27. Sugar can contribute to weight gain and obesity.

28. High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

29. Sugar can cause a raw, inflamed intestinal tract in persons with gastric or duodenal ulcers.

30. Sugar can cause arthritis.

31. Sugar can cause asthma.

32. Sugar can cause candidiasis (yeast infection).

33. Sugar can lead to the formation of gallstones.

34. Sugar can lead to the formation of kidney stones.

35. Sugar can cause ischemic heart disease.

36. Sugar can cause appendicitis.

37. Sugar can exacerbate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

38. Sugar can indirectly cause hemorrhoids.

39. Sugar can cause varicose veins.

40. Sugar can elevate glucose and insulin responses in oral contraception users.

41. Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.

42. Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.

43. Sugar contributes to saliva acidity.

44. Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity.

45. Sugar leads to decreased glucose tolerance.

46. Sugar can decrease growth hormone.

47. Sugar can increase total cholesterol.

48. Sugar can increase systolic blood pressure.

49. Sugar can change the structure of protein causing interference with protein absorption.

50. Sugar causes food allergies.

51. Sugar can contribute to diabetes.

52. Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.

53. Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.

54. Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.

55. Sugar can impair the structure of DNA.

56. Sugar can cause cataracts.

57. Sugar can cause emphysema.

58. Sugar can cause arteriosclerosis.

59. Sugar can cause free radical formation in the bloodstream.

60. Sugar lowers the enzymes’ ability to function.

61. Sugar can cause loss of tissue elasticity and function.

62. Sugar can cause liver cells to divide, increasing the size of the liver.

63. Sugar can increase the amount of fat in the liver.

64. Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney.

65. Sugar can overstress the pancreas, causing damage.

66. Sugar can increase the body’s fluid retention.

67. Sugar can cause constipation.

68. Sugar can cause myopia (nearsightedness).

69. Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries.

70. Sugar can cause hypertension.

71. Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines.

72. Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha and theta brain waves, which can alter the minds ability to think clearly.

73. Sugar can cause depression.

74. Sugar can increase insulin responses in those consuming high-sugar diets compared to low sugar diets.

75. Sugar increases bacterial fermentation in the colon.

76. Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance.

77. Sugar can increase blood platelet adhesiveness which increases risk of blood clots.

78. Sugar can increase the risk of Alzheimer Disease.