“The art of conscious eating lies in creating an individualized diet that reflects and supports one’s realization of the highest state of awareness, as well as one’s need to function in the world of everyday life.”
Gabriel Cousens has an M.D., an M.D. (H), and a D.D. He is a psychiatrist, acupuncturist, Reiki Master, medical researcher, Ayurvedic practitioner, and author. He is also the founder and director of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona. Dr. Cousens has been a raw food vegan since 1983.
When it comes to the science of living foods and health there isn’t anyone more qualified to make statements and recommendations. Besides his medical background Cousens has spent numerous years studying spirituality with Indian teachers (both American Indian and Indian Indian), and he is an ordained Essene teacher.
Taking a medical doctor’s approach, Cousens search for extraordinary health begins with a close look at blood. He begins by drawing on the research performed by Antoine Bechamp in the early 1900’s, and concludes that the human body’s blood is not so much a liquid as it is a flowing tissue. Looking closer at this system Bechamp theorized that microscopic and colloidal elements, smaller than cells, were living in our bodies and fermenting sugar in our blood.
This microscopic digestion produced toxins, mycotoxins. These toxins are the forerunners of degenerative disease—illness. When the natural fermentation process speeds up due to excess sugar in the system these microzymas turn into bacteria, yeast, fungus, and mold. And that is when health degenerates.
Acid foods, along with acid thoughts, environmental toxins, lack of oxygen, all play a part in distorting what Cousens calls the “subtle organizing energy field.” This energy exists in the space between cells, which we know is relatively large. The body is continually recycling itself. In a healthy state this goes on undisturbed. But when fermentation begins, the body is essentially composting itself and a cycle of degeneration initiates and chronic disease gets a foothold.
Cousens teaches that a low-sweet, live-food, non-acidic diet can turn off the self-composting process. This means eliminating junk food, refined foods, and canned foods. We need to remove the causes of yeast and fungus. That means steroids, antibiotics, birth control pills, alcohol, and animal products. These acid-promoting foods create the conditions for mold and fungus to turn healthy blood into oxygen deprived clumps. Not a good system for delivering oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
In the end we are left with a greatly weakened immune system, a pre-cancerous condition, as Cousens writes. The results: allergies, fatigue, depression, anxiety, colds, poor mental capabilities, diabetes, heartburn, vaginal yeast infections, joint pain, asthma, food cravings.
There are certain foods that contain large quantities of mycotoxins and fungus. Anything with a high sugar content contributes to self-composting. Other foods are animal fats, dairy products, mushrooms, table salt, soy sauce, microwaved foods, saturated vegetable oils.
According to Cousens’ theory foods high in sugar should be avoided more than any other type of food. This includes not only processed white sugar but also fruits with a high glycemic index. Sugar substitutes such as corn sugar, sorbital, maple sugar, and honey are to be avoided. Fruits include melons, bananas, mangoes, pineapple, papaya, kiwi, and apricots. Dried fruits are high in sugar content. White flour, white rice, and white potatoes raise blood glucose. Apple juice is the most dangerous of all because it contains a mycotoxin that research shows to cause mammary tumors in mice.
The central concern of Cousens’ diet is to eliminate foods that stimulate the production of yeast, fungi, and molds. High sugar foods and fruit are at the top of the list, grains come in second. This is because they are stored for long periods of time and begin to ferment. Non-stored grains, such as quinoa, buckwheat, millet, spelt, and wild rice, are not a health hazard.
Grains are acid-forming, not a good thing. Grains also contain coarse non-soluble fiber, which while being good for adding bulk to the diet, is an irritant to the colon. Grain causes food to move too rapidly through the intestines, reducing nutrient absorption.
The flour used to bake many products has been sitting around for more than a year, breeding mold and fungus. And we know about the governments allowing a certain percentage of insect parts and rodent fecal matter.
Animal products are another breeding ground for mycotoxins. First, animals are fed fungally infected feed. Secondly, we know that meats and dairy acidify the blood. Third, meals consisting of animal products contain more than a million times the pathogenic microorganisms found in vegan meals.
Other foods high in mycotoxins and fungi are corn, peanuts, cashews, oats, yeast (baker’s yeast, brewers yeast, and nutritional yeast), caffeine, tobacco, and coffee. All cooked foods should be avoided.
Keep in mind that this composting process thrives on sugar, which drives our food cravings. While sugar is found in the obvious places like sweets and sweet fruits, processed flours and grains are easily converted into sugars. The fungus living in our bodies creates the food cravings that many of us suffer from. Eliminate the fungus and we eliminate the cravings.
The Optimal Diet
While no single diet is best for everyone there are key principles to healthy eating. First, eat organically grown food if at all possible. This will reduce consumption of genetically modified organisms and toxic chemicals. These foods contain more vitamins and minerals, taste better, and have more phytochemicals. They are also better for the environment. At Cousens’ Tree of Life Center they practice what is called Nature Farming, where they attempt to build the soil and compost exclusively with plant materials, modeling natural forests and prairies.
The second aspect of a healthy diet is that it restricts calories. There is a great deal of evidence showing that longevity is linked to living on significantly less calories than we are used to. This is bore out in the long living peoples such as the Hunzas, the Abkhasians, and the Vilcabamban Indians. They live on roughly half the calories of the typical American.
My first thought about this is that I’d have to starve myself and I’ll be hungry all the time. However, according to Cousens’ research, and others, the reason we consume the calories that we do is that cooking destroys more than 50 percent of the nutrients in our foods. So we crave more food, we have to eat more food to give our bodies what it needs. By switching to a live-food, raw diet, we will eat less because we will want less. This is one of the most significant reasons for converting as much of your diet to live-food as possible.
Finally, the optimal diet, according to the Cousens program, is primarily one that includes low-glycemic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables, and algae. Of course, these are all prepared without cooking. Low-glycemic fruits include blueberries, strawberries, goji berries, grapefruit, cherries, and lemons. Moderately glycemic fruits are allowed also, these include oranges, apples, peaches, pears, and plums. Fruits containing high quantities of sugar, such as melons, bananas, pineapple, grapes, mango, kiwi, and most dried fruits, should be avoided or eaten in moderation.
Vegetable fruits like avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini are good to eat along with all vegetables (especially green leafy ones), nuts and seeds, and sea vegetables (dulse, nori, kelp). Carrots are good, as well as fresh coconut (water and meat).
In Cousens’ tome Conscious Eating he offers his insights into a more spiritual approach to eating, health, and nutrition. He writes that conscious eating is being aware of how our food affects us holistically—body, mind, emotions, and spirit. We become aware of how our food choices affect other human beings, animals, and the entire planet. Conscious eating involves an awareness of the Divine.
Cousens’ approach to conscious eating expands nutritional awareness to include elements of the Hindu health care system known as Ayurveda, naturopathy, homeopathy, and acupuncture. Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and other spiritual practices have a place in acquiring a more healthy way of eating.
Conscious eating is the act of individualizing one’s diet. Each of us, being unique, must find a diet that works for ourselves. There is no one diet that applies to everyone. Creating a diet that works for us is helped by trial-and-error, experimenting, using our intelligence, to find the foods and their combinations most helpful to healthful living. In presenting a broad range of the most successful raw food leaders, I have attempted in this book to provide a sampling so that you could be exposed to a number of paths to healthy eating and find one or more, or a combination, that is best suited to your needs.
It is helpful when considering our diet to honor not only the needs of our body, but also one that promotes a clear mind and unfettered spirit. We want a diet that is in harmony with nature, considerate of animals, and contributes to peace on the planet. Does it make sense to add to the misery of sentient beings, both human and animal? Can we expect health when we do this? We will reap what we sow, especially when it comes to food, such a basic element of life.