Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gina's No Jet Lag Exilir

I spent the last 11 weeks living in Nha Trang, Vietnam. Hence very little raw to write about that I haven't already. Basically, exotic fresh fruit for breakfast and snacks throughout the day. A salad and granola for lunch. And a non-raw restaurant meal for dinner. Over all I felt great and lost 9 pounds! I return in 4 weeks to continue teaching English to college students.

Here's the best thing to report: I made a small fruit smoothie for breakfast and my daughter Gina made me a chocolate exilir smoothie for lunch and I had absolutely no jet lag today despite traveling yesterday for more than 24 hours! I know that the key ingredient was Vita Mineral Green.

I am more determined than ever to be reasonably raw. I realize now that the most important concept in nutrition and great health is getting enough nutrients and not over eating. Nutrients keep us from being hungry. And eating certain foods make us hungry. It's kind of like when we eat we open the flood gates. So, don't open those gates! Get nutrients and then leave the table. If necessary give yourself a treat later on. For me, in Vietnam, I knew that when I had the urge to have food pleasure I could go to the store and get a handful of Oreos. That did the trick for me. Whatever you do, just be reasonable!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Matt Monarch and Raw Success?

This blog is not going to win me any friends in the raw food movement. But I got to tell the truth as I see it. This is all about Matt Monarch and his teachings about raw food. He and wife Angela Stokes were in the area this weekend and this is what I learned at his talk and while he stayed at my house.

I prepared for Matt's visit to Mystic and Westerly by reading his book Raw Success, which is available on line for free. Matt basically repeated essential concepts of the book in his talk. So, if you missed Matt or haven't read the book this is the message:

1. It's not what we eat that is important to our health, it's what we don't eat (refined foods being the worst).

2. You cannot be healthy unless you get colonics regularly, at least once a month.

3. The healthier we get, the more sensitive we get. Bad foods like a hamburger will put you into the hospital right away if you are a raw vegan for a long time like Matt.

4. Eating a healthy diet will make you spiritual like him. Your third eye will start working again.

5. The goal is to eat less and less food, eventually becoming a breathtarian, someone who lives only on air.

6. All foods are detrimental to your health, even good foods. That is why you want to eventually get to not eating foods at all.

7. We are born with cells that have the accumulation of all the bad food choices of our ancestors.

Those are all the main points of Matt's teachings, both live and in the book. So here is where I get into trouble. What a bunch of crap. The kid ought to go to school and read some serious stuff, not this new age garbage based on stories.

Here are my thoughts on Matt's teachings:

1. It's what we do eat that's important to health. We make bad food choices because we are not nourished. Fill yourself up first of good foods and you will slowly and gradually find that you will want less of the bad stuff. Think positive, not negative.

2. All the research that I have done points to colonics being a waste (pun intended) of time.

3. The healthier we get, the stronger our immune systems get. When we do make bad food choices once in a while our stronger bodies can handle it and other attacks to our systems.

4. I don't think eating better makes you more spiritual, but being more spiritual does make you eat better. (More on Matt's spirituality later.)

5. I agree that we all should for the most part eat less food, but really, if I had to give up food entirely...kill me.

6. Good foods are bad for me? How are we supposed to build strong bodies? The idea that good foods make us live shorter lives than if we ate nothing is so...lacking in substance.

7. The idea that we are born with "the sins of our fathers" nutritionally speaking is another new age idiotic idea. Not only do we not come into this world with bad cells, we can, by eating good foods make our cells more vibrant and alive.

Anyway, I'm writing this because Matt spends a lot of time promoting himself and spreads these ideas everywhere. I just want some people to be forewarned about what he is saying because besides wasting our time and money I think some of this can be dangerous.

I said that I wanted to say a little more about the spirituality thing. I was not impressed with it. My daughter Gina asked me if Matt and Angela could stay at my house because I have the room. I said fine. They were supposed to arrive by 10 pm Saturday night. I waited till midnight, no show, no call. Turns out their car was towed. I would have thought at some point when they knew they were not coming they could have called. While at my house they wanted no interaction and pretty much stayed in the office I set up for them to do work. They asked to use my washing machine to do their laundry, which I said fine, but when the left, they left all their dirty sheets and towels on the floor for me to pick up and wash. Matt and Angela, I'm sorry, but I'm not impressed with your sense of spirituality.

By the way, I'm sorry to say, I missed Angela's talk, which I heard was very good, but the break between talks was so long I went home. Of course, the time between breaks was used to sell the huge amount of product they brought with them. (Another pet peeve of mine...selling products that you are encouraging people to use in your talks. That's not very ethical in my mind.)

Sometimes I just wish raw food people would shut up and just help us all eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Make it more interesting and enjoyable. Keep it simple. Gotta go now, time to make my banana cacao green smoothie.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Superfood Debate: Part Five (Gina Responds)

The following blog was written by my daughter Gina Law, her third and final installment in the superfood debate. I had previously written about my concern over all this interest in superfoods. Gina offers another perspective.

Many cultures thriving in longevity are often surviving in undeveloped countries that have access to wild, mineral filled superfoods as part of their regular diet. These superfoods are the foods that they can access, many times in their own backyard. Most of the superfoods in question come from warmer climates, where many of the Earth’s less monetarily wealthy people live. True superfood companies are fair-trade, organic or wild-crafted. They offer to sustain an ecosystem and culture, rather than rape them of their land, ravage their forests and leave them with a barren land in exchange for a small sum of money. I once heard an argument in support of eating tropical fruits and vegetables shipped from third world cultures. The author argued that to purchase goods from a third world country fed the families of the farmer, where buying local produce would merely send the farmer’s children to college. I am not agreeing with this statement, but however you take it, a high percentage of that tropical fruit is conventionally farmed. This leaves the land unable to produce for itself and the workers in regular contact with chemicals, smothering them in dis-ease. The simple foods that many of the cultures of longevity are consuming are growing without these immoral chemicals, and they are the superfoods that we desire. 

In order to support fairly traded, organic products, the cost will be there. You vote with your dollar. My vote goes to paying real prices for real products verses buying produce from a store like Wal-Mart, conventional produce from Stop and Shop or even Whole Foods, just because it is less expensive. These products are not putting those people who are farming them in a good situation. The superfoods that I stand by are quality products. I support the superfoods that are grown in the highest quality, packaged responsibly, are fairly traded and have a positive effect on other cultures.

Some folks are concerned with superfoods being sold as part of a multi-level marketing company, namely Elements for Life. As someone who has bought her fair share of quality superfoods, I know first hand that they are an expensive product. The company in question has top quality products, sold at competitive prices. The intention of selling them as part of an MLM company is for those many times that I’ve turned people onto superfoods. I can now actually get a commission from referring them to the company. I am not pushing people to use these supplements. This winter, when my mother finally didn’t mention how tired I looked, I attributed it to one major change in my diet. I added in high quality minerals and nutrients, through products such as Vitamineral Green, Revitaphi, blue green algae, and my personal favorite, marine phytoplankton. People ask what I am doing different, or we will have them over and offer them a superfood tonic. They come back and tell us they feel great, that the next morning their vision was stronger, how their aching hands aren’t so stiff or how connected they feel. Instead of referring them to a company that will charge the same as Elements for Life, I will refer them to my personal website. I will receive a commission, and if they are excited and promote the products as well, I can make a bit of a profit from everyone they turn onto it. We have always been very generous, sharing our food and spreading knowledge, as many people on this path are. This is a chance for us to reap a portion of the monetary benefits of products we have long been promoting. Many of us have been using superfoods for quite some time. We have been paying the same amount through regular companies as it is being sold through companies like Elements for Life. For us to earn commissions seems like a good way to help the products pay for themselves. You don’t have to be a pushy businessperson in this company, all you need is to love and believe in these products. Most importantly you share them. These products speak for themselves. If you are feeling called, there is the potential to make money while you are learning so much that can help boost the health of your family and friends. At that point your job is literally to learn about health. As far as Elements for Life goes, they have an amazing resource for distributors that is not only information about their products but an extensive network of support on health and wellness in general. I know other MLM companies that have superior products that I love to support and have no affiliation with. I believe a network marketing company, just like any other company, should be judged on the integrity of the company and not on the label that it functions under.

We call ourselves Superheroes because we ARE Superheroes. We are Superheroes not because we sell superfoods. We are Superheroes because we are happy, healthy, loving, friendly people who are working together to better our world. We are all part of a paradigm where we need to radiate love, health and positivity to all beings.


In conclusion, I am not NEARLY as stubborn as my thickheaded father ;-)
(His words, not mine!)

♥Love is everywhere. Spread it unconditionally♥

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Superfood Debate: Part Four (Gina Responds)

The following blog was written by my daughter Gina Law, her second installment in the superfood debate. I had previously written about my concern over all this interest in superfoods. Gina offers another perspective.

The buzz these days in the raw food world is superfoods. What are they? Are they the same thing as a supplement? Why would I want them in my diet?

While the word “superfood” does not actually have an official definition, the implication of a superfood is that it is a food containing many unique healthful properties. These properties may include, but are not limited to: antioxidants, EFAs, DHA, a wide range of minerals, complete proteins, blood sugar stabilizers, immune system modulators, hormone balancers. Superfoods contain an assortment of vitamins, they may be anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and the list goes on and on. Many plant and animal based products contain a couple of these traits. What puts a superfood up and above the rest? David Wolfe states in his new book Superfoods : the Food and Medicine of the Future, “ These include foods that have a dozen or so unique properties, not just one or two. For example, the goji berry is a source of complete protein, immune stimulating polysaccharides, liver cleansing betaine, anti-aging sesquiterpenes, antioxidants, over twenty trace minerals, and much, much more.”

The list of foods that I consider to be super foods are endless, and while yes, most should be used only as supplements, this does not make them any less important than the staple foods that provide to us the bulk of our diet. A supplement is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as being “ something that completes or makes an addition”. If you were to take a glass and fill it with stones you would fill the glass, but there would be many empty holes. You would need other objects to fill those holes; pebbles, sand, water. So is our body system. You can fill the bulk of your body with your staple foods. You need foods to complement your staple foods, foods that supplement the missing puzzle pieces. A different beast entirely is the “vitamin supplement” which is separated from the whole food and extracted into a pill or powder form for our consumption. Most people in the superfood world are not promoting this at all. The processing of most of the superfoods is simple. Most superfoods are not processed more than how raisins are dried, nut mylks are blended, wheat grass is extracted, or seeds are ground. Something like Marine phytoplankton is simply phytoplankton grown in water and spun to separate the ocean water from the phytoplankton, in order to concentrate the phytoplankton. How is this anymore processed than wheat grass juice being extracted from the blade, since that fiber is indigestible for our human stomachs? Maca is a root, not unlike a turnip, that is dried and powdered in order to retain its nutrients. Nothing is isolated and refined. To call these foods processed and concentrated is to also call a vegetable juice, honey, seed crackers and nutmylks, anything but whole food in its whole state processed or concentrated. Does this make these foods unhealthy?

Taking a superfood is much different than taking a product that is isolated and concentrated. They are different than a drug that is derived to push the body beyond its natural limits. Superfoods are whole foods, and YES our bodies ARE dependent on minerals, vitamins, amino acids. These are nutrients that we cannot deny. Our body will not run optimally with out them. To provide them at the levels that we need will help our bodies to function at a superior level. There is an artificial energy that comes with stimulants such as caffeine and refined sugar. It is sustainable energy when your body has sufficient minerals, vitamins and amino acids.

When my six year old daughter was presented with the idea that you don’t need to eat superfoods, her response was quite simple “You do, to keep you healthy.” There is a lot of wisdom in her response. Many of us “health conscious” New Englanders are eating so called “fresh”, “organic” produce that is trucked in from across the country. Let us consider this. Okay, yes, the west coast is much more fertile than the east coast. Geologically, the east coast has been much more stable for a much longer time, giving it ample time to loose many minerals into our ocean. However, many of the companies that we are buying our “organic” produce from are large scale. How truly “organic” are these large companies, and how much have they been depleting their originally fertile soils? They are over-cultivating the soils, even though they are “organic”. Next, I must consider, when was my head of lettuce picked? Or my leaves of kale separated from the plant? Most likely at the very least it has been a week. How many nutrients have been lost in that week? Your produce starts loosing nutritional value from the moment it is picked. And for my fruit, how green was it when it was picked? How long has it been ripening off of the tree out of the sun’s energy? I am a huge advocate of fresh produce. My family survives on green smoothies, nut mylks, salads, and more fruit than you can imagine. I believe that this food is the best path to my family’s health. I also believe that this food is not as optimal as it can be and that we are missing a lot of nutrition. There are many ways for us to improve our nutritional intake from our produce. Support local farmers who are stewards of the land. These are farmers who build mineral-rich soils, farming the soil… not the crops. There are farmers who practice permaculture, letting the land remain truer to itself. There are “weeds” that can be wildcrafted; dandelion greens, wild grasses, docks, sorrels, wild berries and roots. These have all proven to be strong by recultivating a barren land. Wild foods are those that survive when people have stripped the land. These plants are remineralizing our soils just as these plants will remineralize our bodies. These plants will keep our bodies strong and healthy. Many people, including myself, consider them superfoods in their own right. Scores of these wild foods are potent herbs that we literally walk all over when we step out our door. That is, of course, unless we have doused them with chemicals to rid them from our lawns.
It is beyond the scope of this article to begin to delve into the world of herbal medicine. I do, however feel that the powerful benefits of herbs must be acknowledged. Herbal medicine has been practiced for centuries and is embraced by most cultures. There are herbs to support, stimulate or calm every system of the body. You can order Amazonian herbs such as cat’s claw or pau d’arco. If you are knowledgeable in the medicinal mushroom realm you can harvest your own immune modulating mushrooms. You can walk out into your backyard and harvest powerful medicine such as dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, red clover, thistle and SO much more. I have a friend who is harvesting his own herbs while living in New York City. These medicines are free, or very inexpensive when bought. There are many classes and local herbalists, incredible books that you can work with to educate yourself. It wasn’t until modern times that we began to shun herbs and turn towards man-made drugs, to take the place of what nature has provided to us from the beginning of time. Herbs can be taken in many forms, tinctures, capsules or tea. Whether it be an infusion (pouring hot water over leaves or flowers) or a decoction (simmering roots and barks) a tea can be amazing medicine. Used either as a preventative tonic or relief for an acute or chronic problem.
Elixirs are herbal teas turned into nut milks, and blended with superfoods. They are a wonderful modality to take herbal tonics, add to them the sustained energy from nuts or seeds and to combine it with your choice of nutrient dense superfoods, in order to maintain health and longevity. If you are unfamiliar with elixirs, I highly recommend checking out Daniel Vitalis’s Elixir Craft videos on youtube.
Holistic health is not one straight path. It is a windy road with many options. There are many choices for you to consider in determining which is right for you. A combination of many modalities is what will keep you healthy. There is no one prescribed formula that will work for everyone. The healing path can include spring water, ferments, meditation, herbs, exercise, raw foods, superfoods, reiki and other energy healing arts, acupuncture, acupressure, massage, rolfing yoga, tai chi and other internal arts, among many other things. The balance that you establish will increase your energy and sustain your personal vitality.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Superfood Debate: Part Three (Gina Responds)

In May I posted two blogs describing my concern about all this interest in superfoods. (See The Superfood Debate: Parts One and Two). In all fairness I offered my daughter Gina an opportunity to respond to my blogs and give an alternate perspective. The following is the first of three guest blogs that she has written.

A brief introduction of the defense…

At the young age of fourteen, my father decided it would be a good idea to expose me to John Robbin’s Video of “Diet for a New America”. For any of you who have ever read the book, or worse, seen the movie, you can imagine the horror I felt. I’ll never forget the nausea as I tore into a piece of steak later that weekend. That was that, for the last eighteen years the thought of eating an animal has completely revolted me.

For many years I ate a pastatarian diet, which also consisted of bagels, pizza and coffee. As I progressed through my college years I began to learn about “health food”. I ate tofu, whole wheat, stir-fry, soy substitutes, and veggie burgers. My now husband and I experimented quite a bit with a vegan diet, but really, we were far from healthy.

When my oldest daughter was born we knew that we couldn’t raise her on these foods. Through Ruth Yaron’s “Super Baby Food” and Cynthia Lair’s “Feeding the Whole Family” we began to learn the value of a whole foods diet. We switched to brown rice, steamed vegetables, beans, lentils and homemade bread. We felt much healthier than we had for the years we survived on a processed vegetarian diet. We were learning the flavors of real food and the art of food preparation.

Four years ago I started learning the amazing benefits of a raw food diet. I became serious about it when I learned I had a health issue that required medical attention. One month later that issue was almost completely resolved and I was feeling better than I ever had in my entire life. I feasted on many varieties of greens, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. What an amazing summer! I was so full of energy and was at the top of my game.

Then came the fall. Living in New England, winter is when the weather gets colder and signals the time for heavier foods. Our bodies need warmth, grounding and the raw food was making my body cold, and a bit spacey. I transitioned to a cooked foods diet. I inevitably began again with wheat, cooked oils and dairy. These were substances that my body had already proven to me to be sub-optimal. I pushed through the winter, and in the spring we started the transition to a new level of health.

Each year the cycle was the same. Spring brought a new level of health, leading into an amazing living food summer. This was followed by a fall and winter that would leave much to be desired.

A raw foods diet is a detoxifying diet. It is an amazing tool that can do WONDERS for our health. The lightness, freedom and strength that accompanies living food is beyond anything that can be described. The speed in which this live food can heal dis-ease is astonishing.

Our bodies need to follow the seasons in their own right. They need a cycle of detoxifying, building and maintaining. Spring has an abundance of wild and cultivated greens and liver cleansing herbs. Summer brings its bounty of fruit, carrying vibrancy to every cell in our being. Fall is a time of rebuilding, grounding the lightness of summer for the hibernation of winter. In New England, we see this with our winter squash, roots, and autumn olives. They are crops that root us in the earth and supply us with our stores for the winter. Winter is a time for maintaining our connection to the earth and of feasting on stored grains and legumes.

The challenge that I face is that consuming starchy vegetables, legumes and grains on a daily basis keeps my body, mind and spirit feeling sluggish and puts my body in hibernation mode. Winter for me needs to be home-centered, nesting with my family. However, like many folks in this current paradigm, I cannot spend my winters following the rhythms of the sun. I am awake well after the last glimpse of sunlight and in the morning I wake while the stars are still bright in the sky. I am a mother of three wonderful and energetic children and need to be a bit on my toes during those winter months.

This winter I made new discoveries. I explored new passions. These connections made for winter months in which I felt a strength I had yet to experience. I stayed grounded and focused and accomplished more than I ever imagined.

And this leads into…


Monday, June 15, 2009

My Relationship With Food

I have not written much lately because food and I have not been getting along very well. Since returning from Vietnam I've gained nearly 10 pounds. While I have maintained an 80% raw diet I have also eaten much more than my body requires. Like St. Paul I know what I should do but I don't do it. And that has kept me occupied for the last two months, trying for figure out why I allow myself to eat crap after eating so well for most of the day.

This is what I have discovered: Food is like a person whom we have a relationship with. We love food, we hate food, we avoid food, we crave food, we abuse food. And that is where I found myself this week. I am not in a good relationship with food. I'm a selfish partner. I take the good, but when it comes to being considerate and giving, I'm a taker all the way.

I don't treat food with respect. Yes, I have a nice healthy green smoothie for breakfast and a super superfood chocolate banana smoothie for lunch, but comes 4 or 5 o'clock and I'm an unfaithful husband who cheats with every sweet little (and big) tart that comes knocking at my door. I swear to God I lose all sense of rationality and nearly binge on whatever tasty is in the house. And if that isn't enough I'll drive down to the nearest Cumberland farms and buy a Butterfinger, the extra large size.

Yes, my personal relationship with food needs some couples counseling. I need to love food, not as a consuming lover, but as a kind and considerate guy. I need to treat food with respect and eat it thoughtfully and slowly. I need to keep enough awareness so that I can be grateful in the process. If I treated a woman the way I treat food she would be gone before I swallowed my next mouthful of M & M's.

I am beginning to realize that food is not my servant. If anything, I should be serving food. I should honor food for giving me life and health. I know that by abusing food we only bring disease and suffering to ourselves. I need to become a gentleman with food and not act like some wild lover.

It is not going to be easy to change my behavior, but at least I know now that I have not been a good partner and that is a start. The next step, and it's a big one, is to be with my food and take the time to eat it consciously, slowly, and with awareness. I know this sounds dumb, but I'm going to try to treat food with the respect she deserves. No more wolfing down dinner. There's going to be a lot more romance at the table. Maybe even a candle or two.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Simple Plan

Every day I have a totally delicious green smoothie for breakfast. I make it with fresh squeezed orange juice, goji berries, pineapple, frozen blueberries, and frozen strawberries. Also blended in is a couple of handfuls of kale, spinach, collard greens, or Swiss chard. I drink it around 9 or 10 and I'm not hungry till 12 or 1.

Most days I have a banana chocolate super food smoothie for lunch. Because it is so different tasting from the fruity breakfast smoothie I don't get bored with it. The rich chocolaty flavor is a treat, not a chore. I start with a cup of cold water, then add two bananas, cocao, coconut butter, maca, spirulina, dulse, some nutmeg, and a frozen banana. I also blend in some leafy greens.

With my two smoothies I have gotten my fruits and greens for the day, raw and vegan. Before dinner I always have a large salad with homemade dressing. That is the basis for my healthy diet. It does not leave a lot of room for junk food, but I will admit that I still have cravings for something cooked and something sweet as dinner time approaches. I am sure it is more of a habit than need because I do not feel hungry. Eventually I will figure out how to make this part of my diet better. Until then, I still feel excellent.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Superfood Debate: Part Two

Somewhere along the line, some brilliant marketing person (David Wolfe maybe), began calling supplements superfoods. And now the line is blurred. I would like to clarify the distinction and explain why I have no problem "eating" superfoods but do have a concern about "taking" supplements.

The honest way to label these products would be to call superfoods only those that are actually foods. Supplements would be something that has been altered, made into a more concentrated form, no longer in its natural state, and more potent. If you want to call goji berries a superfood I don't have a problem with that. It's a food and a very good one.

Products like Gold Rush Colloidal Gold, Marine Phytoplankton, Island Fire, are not foods at all, but more accurately labeled supplements. To call them superfoods is a marketing ploy. (And why do people who are involved in selling these superfoods called superhereos?)

So what? Who cares, supplements or superfoods, what's the big deal?

Manny Ramirez just got busted for taking a "performance enhancing drug." If he were a raw fooder people might have said he was just taking a superfood. Actually it was a supplement, human chorionic gonadotropin, used to jumpstart the body's ability to produce testosterone. Apparently Manny had been taking a steroid which produced more testosterone than the body would make by itself. When Manny stops taking the steroid no more testosterone because the body forgot how to make it on its own.

That is why I am opposed to taking supplements: they do something for you that your body should be doing on its own. When we eat or drink things that are not foods our body changes. We become dependent on them. Eating our natural foods, our body functions as it is designed to do. We build strong immune systems and live with ease. When we take into our bodies unnnaturally occuring substances, even good things that have been concentrated or significantly altered, we risk screwing up our perfectly created body. Why risk it?

Your body works very hard to get rid of foreign substances, even when they are good. That is just how we are made. If it can't get rid of it, the body will adjust, and that is how addictions are formed. I do not want to be dependent on any man manipulated product, even if it is called a superfood, even if it does give me more energy (so does cafine, cocaine, and nicotine).

If these supplements that are being sold as superfoods are so good, why do they have to be sold through a multi-level marketing system? Historically, multi-level marketing (or fractal marketing as they are calling it with these superfoods) has been used to sell products of questionable value. Selling products with this method is more about earning an income and less about the true value of the item being sold. I am not saying that people who sell these products are intentionally ripping people off. I just think that their thinking is clouded by the potential to make some money on what would be a wonderful thing if it worked.

There is no short cut, no magic bullet, to good health. Ultimately, we have to eat good food, and stop eating the bad. It seems to me that the most ethical and loving way to eat would be a diet that is simple, inexpensive (one that everyone in the world could afford), leaves a small footprint, and is tasty too. I don't think the universe would support a diet that only the well off could consume.

If we eat whole fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, we will be getting nutrients in the form that our body was made to utilize and keep us healty. Why screw around with it? Why take the chance that we may be messing with the system? And why waste your money doing it? Rather than getting all worked up about supplements I would rather have help eliminating the junk food in my diet. Now that would make me a lot healthier!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Superfood Debate: Part One

The raw food movement isn't only about raw food any more. Yes, we do talk about raw foods and recipes and cooked foods, but the passion has moved somewhere else. It seems like there is more talk these days about superfoods, supplements, elixirs, and teas than smoothies, salads, nuts, and flaxseed crackers. What happened?

I got into raw food after seeing what it did for my daughter and son-in-law. The change in diet immediately made a profound impact on my health. I lost weight and my blood pressure became normal without medication. I started sleeping much better. I felt and looked better, much better. However, as it turns out, raw food isn't enough. And this is where the raging debate lies between my daughter and I.

"But Dad, after a while on raw foods you hit a plateau. That is why we need something more," my daughter told me. She's my guru and worse, she's as stubborn as her thickheaded father. "We need superfoods," she instructed me.

Hum. Ordinarily I would go along with her. I certainly don't want to cause any friction. I really like having good relationships with my three children. So I am going to tread lightly here. And this is the thing: I've been down this path before.

In my twenties I did yogurt because the Hunzas did and they lived to be 120. In my thirties I did juicing because the juiceman cured his cancer that way. In my forties I did tons of vitamins and mineral supplements because I met a man who was in his nineties and super healthy. Along the way I've invested in water purifiers, grown mushrooms, taken up yoga, learned to meditate, jogged the distance around the world at least once, and I'm sure a bunch of other things I've tried and forgotten.

And you know what, sooner or later they all end in a plateau and we come back to one thing: we all still get sick, we all get older, and eventually we all die. So when I consider superfoods and such I have to look back on all the other things I've tried over the years and say: "I'll pass on this one."

Ultimately I'm passing because I don't see anyone in the raw food movement living to be older than my parents and my parents eat more unhealthy food than a manager of Burger King. I just have not met any raw fooders who are exempliars of health. At least not here in America.

The people who are living long lives, well past one-hundred, now they are the ones I want to model my diet and life on. They don't take supplements, they don't eat processed superfoods. The eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. The get a lot of exercise. And they live useful lives. That is what I am trying to do. There is the only proof that I have seen that raw food and a mostly vegan diet make a difference.

There is a lot of talk about superfoods, I want to see results. And not just that they give you a lot of energy. Coffee does that for half the country. If anything, getting a lot of energy may be an indication of an amphetimine type substance. I want balance and strength and flexibility and endurance. The only diet that has proven to work there is the simple diet of the Hunza, the Abkhasia, and the Vilcabamba.

More about this in future posts.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Animal, Vegetable, Mistake...I Mean Miracle.

Will someone tell bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver that the fats in dairy products are not healthy fats?! My God, okay, so yes, it's a good thing to buy local food. Yes, it's a great thing to grow your own food. But, because chickens and lambs live close by does that mean you have to eat them? And since cows are neighbors you have to make cheese and eat dairy products even when you are lactose intolerant like half the country? But, please! Do not eat any bananas from Guatemala or avocados from Mexico because of their carbon footprint. Lady, you have your priorities wrong.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (a year unless you are one of the chickens and turkeys that are going to get eaten) is Kingsolver's latest book. She is a wonderful writer and at times is inspiring. I can't wait to turn over the soil in my garden. I want to grow more of my own food after listening to her and will support my local farmers market more deliberately. But I will not stop eating pineapple and goji berries in the winter.

Barabara, if you really want to make the world a better place, and I think you do, forget about extolling the necessity of being "locavores" (one who eats mostly locally grown food) and write about the ethics of eating animals, about considering people in other countries ( buy local and help your local farmer send his kids to college, buy from Latin America and help farmers feed their kids).

Kingsolver writes about living on food that her family grows or is grown locally. When you live on a hundred acres, as she does, it is a little easier than for us urban dwellers. In order to be a locavor the family eats little fruit and leafy green vegetables in the winter. But, but they can freeze plenty of meat from their turkeys and chickens. In order to live more environmentally friendly they eat more animals and less fruit. They eat more cheese, probably the worse food product on the planet, and less lettuce.

While I'm on the topic let me say this to everyone who feels no guilt in eating animals as long as those animals have lived good lives on free ranging farms and such. First of all, only a small percentage of the earth's people can eat like that, most people couldn't afford what you can. Secondly, what does it matter if you have a good life and someone comes along when you are 20 and says, "okay, now, time to die so we can eat you. I hope you appreciate that you've had a good life up to now."

Whatever. There are so many arguments for not eating animals, from the ethics of it, to the huge consumption of fossil fuels, to the major health issues. Why would someone who seems to be writing to improve the planet end up promoting such...shit?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Elixir Smoothies

I've never been big on elixirs, but I attended Franky G's raw food class this weekend put on by the Rhode Island Raw Food Enthusiasts Meetup Group, and Franky taught us all how he makes his. (Check out for more on Franky G.) Since I recently had a great experience with my daughter's elixir giving me more energy I've decided to incorporate some of the elixir components into my afternoon superfood smoothies.

The changes I am making involve having the smoothie be lighter (not as heavy on the bananas) and more superfoods. I've written and videoed previously (youtube video) what I put into my smoothies so I won't do that here but just having more liquid, and less banana feels good. (I have a regular green smoothie with lots of fruit and berries in the morning for breakfast.) I'm thinking of this now as my elixir smoothie.

Okay, now here is the best thing of all! I added some nutmeg to my drink and it is out of this world! I am totally in love with this new afternoon beverage. I've got the best of both worlds. In the morning I get my shot of fruit for the day and in the afternoon I keep going with a little banana and superfoods. Both drinks are totally delicious!

If you want to see how Franky makes his elixirs I've posted a video of the class on youtube. Just click on the link: Franky G Elixir.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Cure for Jet Lag

I have made a number of trips to Asia in the past year and every time I go I have had terrible jet lag. Before going on this last trip I read everything I could on how to cope. I did all that was recommended and it did not work. However, when I came home, my raw food guru daughter Gina made me two elixirs.

I didn't think much of it until the day was almost over and I realized that despite having hardly any sleep the night before and my body being completely 12 hours ahead of my new time zone I had absolutely no jet lag! I had gotten up at 4 am and finally went to be at 10 pm, and fell asleep nicely. I had taken a short nap after dinner. That was it. No tiredness at all! I am not a big fan of superfoods but this is making me rethink things.

So, for anyone wanting to avoid jet lag here is what you do:

Take one shot of this tonic. Basically it's half an ounce of Island Fire, half an ounce of Colloidal Gold, a little ImmuneDetox, and some Marine Phytoplankton (all available from Elements For Life at

Second, drink a superfood elixir. Gina made me one with an herbal tea nut milk base, some maca, slippery elm, vitamineral earth, Irish moss, blue green algae, cacao powder, cacao nibs, figs, dates, lecithin, and cordycaps mushroom powder. This tasted delicious! For more info on this check out Daniel Vitalis and his Elixir Alchemy. Gotta love the energy these two superfood drinks gave me! Next time I travel I am definitely bringing this with me!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Raw In Vietnam

I have been here in Vietnam now for almost a month. And it has been really hard to eat raw. The biggest problem isn't Vietnam but that I've been in school here for four weeks, going 10 hours a day. I leave the hotel at 8 am and don't get back until 7 pm. I have just enough time to make a smoothie and that's it. I do take bananas and a carrot with me and it's down hill from there.

For lunch I end up having rice or rice noodles and a small amount of meat. Dinner is often the same. There are durian here but I just haven't been wanting them. I don't feel physically terrible but when I go to the market in the morning and see the lettuce I do have a craving for it.

My classes end today and tomorrow I leave Saigon and will spend 9 days on Phu Quoc Island. There I will get back to a mostly raw food diet. I'll have time to make salads for lunch and eat more fruit. Not being able to make my own meals has made me appreciate my lifestyle at home, the huge salads and great dressings, my green smoothies, my vitamixer, and maybe most of all the raw cacao desserts that I was just beginning to learn how to make.

It is possible to stay mostly raw when being away from home, but not when you are working 10 hours a day. The only good thing is that it's only been 4 weeks and I have not overeaten, probably because it is so hot here. Well, in two weeks I'll be home and I am determined to find more raw recipes to work on. More than ever I want to be raw!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Raw Food and High Blood Pressure

It is amazing how quickly food can make it's effects know on our bodies. Here I share how eating pizza and chips can raise blood pressure.