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.