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 First, you have mainstream “experts” who rely on outdated and inaccurate data to advise us on the subject.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.”





Mistakes Made On a Raw Food Diet.

1 07 2009

Here are some of the biggest mistakes people make on a raw-food diet:

1. Overeating Acid Fruits

Acid fruits are excellent for health, however, there’s a limit to the acidity that your body can handle. When acid fruits are consumed in excess, the acidity can eat away the enamel of your teeth, or cause other problems.

Many people go on “grapefruit cures” and in just 7 days softened the enamel of their teeth, to the point that they chipped a tooth!

So what is “excess”? It will depend on each person, but usually it’s fairly easy to consume too many acid fruits. So it would be best, on average, to have only a maximum of 2 big oranges per day, or 1 grapefruit, or half a pineapple, or the equivalent.

The fruits to beware are: oranges, pineapple, lemons, and most citrus.

A way to “by-pass” this would be to drink freshly-squeezed orange juice or an orange smoothie, and making sure the acid doesn’t touch your teeth too much (don’t swirl the juice in your mouth). Tip: Using a straw can help you avoid this.

You can also make great smoothies by mixing acid fruits with non-acidic fruits, which is good because the acidity is “tampered” by the other fruits.

2. Eating Dried Fruits

Dried fruits eaten on a regular basis tend to cause two main problems: digestive problems and dental problems.

People who eat dried fruits tend to get a lot of gas, but they also tend to have strong cravings for foods they try to avoid. That’s because dried fruits disturb digestion so much you end up wanting to eat *anything*.

As for dental health, dried fruits won’t do anything to your enamel, but they will stick to your teeth and provide perfect nourishment to the bacteria that cause cavities.

Unfortunately, raw-foodists often rely on dried fruits heavily. These include raisins, dried figs, apricots, and even fresh dates.

It is reccomended to avoid eating dried fruit on a regular basis. Replace these with fresh fruit. Dried fruit should only be eaten occasionally when nothing else is available instead, such as when going on a long trip.

3. Overeating Nuts

When a person goes on a raw-food diet, they tend to eat a lot more fat than what would be optimal. That means a lot of avocados, oils, and nuts.

Problems will show up fast if you decide to eat a lot of nuts. People don’t realize the fact that nuts are not only high in fat, but they are also difficult to digest for most people.

Overeating nuts will leave you tired and fatigued, but there’s also something else. Even though they are rich and filling, when you overeat on nuts you tend to crave all sorts of food and never find balance in your diet!

As a general rule that can be modified depending on the individual,  have a maximum of about 2 ounces of nuts per day, or 3-4 tablespoons of nut butter.

4. Listening to Misleading Advice

A lot of people label themselves “experts” and send out misleading advice to the masses. Usually, the general advice given by most authors is, “Eat anything you want, as long as it’s raw.”

Obviously, this is not a great plan for success.

Recently, the advice is modified to: “Try to figure out what works for you.”

In that case, the “experts” left it to their poor confused readers to go through the hurdles of learning and experimenting…

This is completely unnecessary!

Eating raw is great, and the truth is you don’t have to eat 100% raw or even 90% raw to get some great results! But what you do need is to get the right information.

Avoid the misleading advice of those who are just interested in selling you their new line of supplements. Instead, learn how to tap into the power of raw foods by getting the right information, and you’ll see, it’s much easier than you think, and the rewards will just keep on coming!





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





Fasting IV: Juice Fasting.

28 06 2009

During fasting, the body burns up and excretes huge amounts of accumulated wastes. This process can be assisted by drinking alkaline fruit and vegetable juices and potassium broth. The sugars in the fruit juice strengthen the heart and are extremely beneficial in normalizing all the body processes, assisting the body’s own healing and cellular regeneration. Juices require no digestion and are easily assimilated. Minerals are increased within the tissues. Therefore increased oxygenation occurs acting to reverse the aging process.

General Juicing Rules:

  • Drink freshly prepared juice and do not store the juice for over 24 hours. If you can’t drink it immediately, put it into a glass jar (filled to the top) and put a lid on it to prevent oxidation. Juice rapidly loses therapeutic and nutritional value during storage
  • Raw fruits and vegetables are not always compatible when eaten together. Apples are the exception. You can also mix pears with Jicama.
  • Melons should be juiced by themselves. Making the entire meal melon is an option.
  • Avoid using pre-bottled or sweetened juices. All the live enzymes are inactivated when they are pasteurized.
  • Juices don’t stimulate acids to be released from the stomach, but orange and tomato juice are high in acids and you may want to mix these juices with other less acidic ones.
  • I’ve read that cucumbers may not be good to mix with other vegetables as they are in the melon family, but it seems to work fine for us. We do limit cucumber to less than 25% of the total volume however.
  • Don’t add more than 25% green juice to your vegetable juices (unless you have a barf bucket handy!)
  • Juicing Greensyou might want to do this in between harder vegetables, the juice sludges at the bottom and doesn’t pour out easily if you juice them first. For example, I juice a couple of carrots, then a bunch of parsley, then cram a couple more carrots in after the parsley to get the juicer moving again.
  • Dilute all fruit juice with water (one part juice to 2-4 parts water) and drink throughout the day. We’ve found that 2 cups fruit juice blended with ½ tray of ice cubes comes up to 4 cups—the perfect dilution and it’s frothy cold.
  • Vegetable juices need not be diluted.

Vegetable Juices:

·       Asparagus—Kidneys, diuretic, blood purifier, bowel health, soothes nervous system

(Note: urine will turn dark and have a different odor to it when you eat or drink a lot of asparagus. This is normal and harmless and will pass.)

·       Beet greens—Gallbladder, liver, osteoporosis.

·       Beets—Blood cleanser, liver cleanser, menstrual problems, arthritis, lymph glands, flushes the kidney and bladder, and is good for low blood pressure.

(Note: never drink it straight as it can temporarily paralyze your vocal cords, cause hives, increase the heart rate and give you alternating chills and fever. Hmm—sounds like a good reason to stay away from beets altogether! They sure do taste “earthy.”)

·       Brussels sprouts—Good for diabetics and hypoglycemia, makes for healthy skin, increased male potency and stomach ulcers.

·       Cabbage—Colitis, ulcers, and it curbs alcohol cravings.

(Note: Do not store cabbage juice because its Vitamin U content can be quickly lost.)

·       Carrots—Eyes, liver problems, high cholesterol, protects skin fro UV rays, nervous problems (like Multiple Sclerosis), arthritis, osteoporosis, and low blood pressure.

·       Cauliflower—Breast cancer

·       Celery—Kidneys, diabetes, osteoporosis, good for people who sweat in excess, muscle cramps, fatigue, anxiety, stress, insomnia, headaches, air pollution, sweet cravings, low blood pressure, and obesity.

·       Comfrey—Intestines, hypertension, osteoporosis.

·       Cucumber—Edema, diabetes, tendonitis, skin tone, muscle tone, complexion problems, poor nail growth.

·       Dandelion greens—Spring tonic, strengthens blood and bones, increases stamina and energy.

(Note: eat them early in the summer as they get bitter as they age.)

·       Fennel—Night blindness, eye disorders, flatulence, blood strengthener, migraines, nausea.

·       Garlic—Allergies, colds, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, high fats, diabetes, immune booster, anticarcinogen, antibacterial, antifungal, rids body of toxins through the skin, low blood pressure.

·       Ginger root—Circulation, motion sickness, nausea, laryngitis, clears mucous in the throat, sinuses and lungs.

·       Greens (Collard, Mustard, Turnip, Kale, Parsley, Spinach, Turnip, Chard)—Cardiovascular disease, skin, eczema, digestive problems, obesity, breath.

(Note: Greens contain more than 100% of the RDA for Vitamin C and Vitamin A)

·       Jerusalem artichokes—Diabetes.

·     Jicama—Sooths upset stomachs, osteoporosis/osteopenia, and hemorrhoids.

·       Kale—Constipation, bladder problems, arthritis, also see Greens.

·       Lettuce—Lung cancer prevention, hair and nail strength, skin problems.

·       Onion—Normalizes nervous system for sympathetic dominance, stimulates beneficial bacteria, breaks up mucous, low blood pressure

(Note: If you juice onions, put them in the juicer first THEN the other vegetables so the odor does not stay on the juicer parts.)

·       Parsley—Kidneys, edema, arthritis, tendon and ligament problems, osteoporosis (has lots of natural calcium), one of the most nutritious foods in the world, boils and cysts, increases oxygenation of the blood, bad breath, stimulates normal peristalsis of the gut, vision problems, adrenal exhaustion, thyroid disease, obesity.

·       Potatoes—Intestines, ulcer.

·       Radish—Liver, high cholesterol, obesity, sinus problems, clears excess mucous, soothes sore throats.

·       Spinach—Anemia, eczema, regenerates damaged intestinal tracts, constipation, circulation problems, cleans liver and glands.

·       Sprouts—Baldness, morning sickness.

·       String beans—Bruising.

·       Sweet potatoes—Any kind of skin problems.

·       Tomatoes—Use them alone or leave them alone, but adding celery and cucumber to it works fine.

·       Watercress—Anemia, colds.

·       Wheat grass—Anemia, liver, intestines, breath, excellent antioxidant, Parkinson’s disease.

·       Zucchini—internal cleanser, fantastic as a mineral supplement.

Fruit Juices:

·       Apple—Liver, intestines, blood cleanser.

·       Apricots—High in iron for anemia, silica and vitamin A for hair and skin.

·       Bananas—Heart and muscles.

·       Cherry, black—Colon, menstrual problems, gout, prevents tooth decay.

·       Citrus—Obesity, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, raises body temperature to fry out viruses/bacteria, bruising, heart disease, stroke.

(Note: Don’t juice the skin of any citrus except lemon and lime. They are difficult to digest and can cause colo-rectal problems.)

·       Cranberries—Urinary tract infections, antiviral.

·       Grape—Colon, anemia, good for kidneys and heart, high in iron, soothing to nervous system, builds hemoglobin, promotes healthy bowel action, liver cleaners, helps to eliminate uric acid, helps with low blood pressure, obesity.

·       Grapefruit—High blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity.

·      Lemon—Liver, gallbladder, allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease, colds, obesity.

·       Melons—Eat them alone or leave them alone, good for kidneys (diuretic), juicing watermelon rind gives you 95% of the melons nutritional benefits compared to only 5% of juice without the rind.

·       Papaya—Stomach, indigestion, hemorrhoids, colitis.

·       Pear—Gallbladder, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, digestion, a safe fruit for diabetics.

·      Pineapple—Digestion, allergies, arthritis, inflammation, edema, hemorrhoids.

·      Strawberries—Strengthens the blood, nerve tonic, keeps glands healthy, protects against cigarette smoke toxins.

·       Watermelon—Kidneys, edema, used as a diuretic.





Fat: Part II- Addicted to Fat?

27 06 2009

When switching to a raw foodist diet, some people have problems because they add too many nuts and seeds to their diet. These foods take the place of the important fruits needed to meet the energy requirements.

It is necessary to take a careful look at the fat content consumed in any diet, including a raw food regimen, to ensure that fat does not sneak its way into the diet in large amount.

For example, if someone eats a lot of avocados in a single day, let’s say five avocados of about 300 grams of fruit each, at 18% fat you are consuming 270 grams of fat which is the same as just over one cup of oil. Who would sit down and consume a cup of oil?

So, How Much Fat Is Best?

Most progressive health experts with years of experience promote the same fat requirements year and year, recommending a fat intake of about 15% OR LESS. The primates all eat diets that consist of very low-fat diets.

Practical Guidelines

Unless you are allergic to them, do not completely avoid avocados and nuts, just limit yourself to small amount. This will depend on everybody, but if you’re not very active, it shouldn’t be more than one-half an avocado per day or two ounces (60 grams) of nuts and seeds but not both on the same day.

Eat enough fruit to meet your calorie needs – which means eating a LOT of fruit by most people’s standards. Avoid oils including olive, flax seed, coconut butter, canola, peanut and others.

If you do not choose to obtain fat through avocados, nuts and seeds, you can consume two tablespoons of raw nut butter per day.

Eat fat only once each day and do not eat fatty foods every day of the week. During hot weather, avoid fatty foods entirely and eat water-rich foods to keep you hydrated. These include tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, peaches and other juicy fruits.

Avoid eating sweet fruit with fat. Fruit normally digests rapidly but when combined with fat it takes time to digest. This can result in acidity. Mixing nuts and dried fruit can have the same result.





Weight Loss Tip #2: Don’t Try To Lose Weight!

27 06 2009

Paradox!

Don’t try to lose weight. The number one indicator of excessive weight gain in the future is attempting to lose weight in the past. Don’t diet, it won’t last. Instead get up and go get more exercise. Try to change your life style.





Powers of Herbs and Spices: Cinnamon.

26 06 2009

Cinnamon is, for many raw foodists, a very reliable friend. You want something sweet and comforting? Apple sauce, cinnamon and honey equals happy days.

Fortunately, cinnamon has many health benefits. In fact, the more you eat, the better.

Cinnamon is the inner bark of  a small tree, the Cinnamon Tree. There are two types of cinnamon, Chinese and Ceylon, of which Ceylon is generally more difficult to come by.

Studies have been made, which concluded in the suggestion that cinnamon oil and cinnamon extract have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasitic properties. The dreaded and common yeast infection, caused by Candida Albicans, has been shown to be severely inhibited by cinnamon. Cinnamon also helps ease the discomfort of excess gas.

Cinnamon has a warming effect on the body and so can be used to solve cold related discomforts. This includes colds and flu, and circulatory problems.

For those ladies that are prone to urinary tract infections, cinnamon has been shown to suppress completely the bacteria which causes this discomfort.

Buying

When buying cinnamon, be sure to smell it. Cinnamon should have a sweet smell, an indication that it is fresh.

Storing

Cinnamon should be kept in a sealed container in a cool, dark place. Ground cinnamon, like other powdered spices loses its flavor quickly. Ground cinnamon should keep for 6 months. Cinnamon sticks are able to retain their flavor for longer periods of time and should last for a year or more.

Preparing

If you are going to grind your own cinnamon, be sure to use Ceylon. Grinding the cinnamon quills in a coffee or spice grinder will result in a ground cinnamon with a pungent taste.