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4 Ways To Encourage Healthy Eating Habits For Your Kids And Family

When transitioning to a healthy, organic, high raw lifestyle many people end up pulling their hair out because their loved ones often don't share their passion and even totally reject the new regime.

I am frequently asked how to deal with this and here are 4 suggestions I have based on my personal experience:

1/ "Be the change you want to see" or in other words "lead by example"

When I first went on a high raw diet 11 years ago, my children were 11 and 14 years of age respectively. They had been brought up on a diet which included generous servings of processed food and were not about to jump on the raw food train. While I wanted my kids to be healthy I knew that forcing them to eat a raw diet was not the answer. Instead I just stuck with my program and offered them yummy raw meals and treats when they came to my place. Eight years later without preaching (too much :-) about the benefits of raw food they have both adopted a very healthy high raw diet of their own accord.

2/ Only keep healthy unprocessed foods in your home. 

This may not be possible if your spouse enjoys meat pies and ice cream, however, it is possible if you have young children and your spouse is on board. This way your kids choice is defined by what is in your fridge and pantry. If your kids pester you about having processed foods that are on TV or that their friends are eating, let them sometimes try them when you go out. If they have been eating well at home they will probably feel ill eating junk food and will self-regulate anyway. Again, prohibition clearly does not work.

3/ Create a healthy food imprint in toddlers. 

Research has shown that the types of food that we are fed at a very early age are often the very foods we are drawn to throughout out our entire lives especially when we are stressed and looking for comfort. This is known as the "Food Imprint".  Some researchers believe that even by offering a baby breastmilk when they are distressed but not actually hungry can set the child up for eating disorders later in life. Similarly offering toddlers treats and food when they are upset can also set up unhealthy eating habits if left unexamined can perpetuate throughout the child's adult life.

Imagine being drawn to having a green smoothie or some leafy greens when you are looking for comfort food instead of chocolate, cakes or chips!

4/ Green Smoothies

Green smoothies are the perfect way to introduce family, friends and colleagues to the power of living foods. Even if they are still eating lots of processed foods, many people are willing to have just one green smoothie a day. So far over 30 000 people have participated in our free online program the Green Smoothie Challenge www.greensmoothiechallenge.com and we have hundreds of testimonials from participants reporting that by adding just one green smoothie a day they have:

  • lost their cravings for sugar, junk food, coffee and alcohol
  • have developed a craving for fresh leafy greens
  • have more energy and feel happier
  • have improved health in all areas from diabetes to skin conditions to digestion conditions
  • lost weight (when needed)

Remember all of the above happen just by adding one green smoothie a day without making major dietary changes.

All you need is a good blender that can really make all the fibre in the smoothie go nice and creamy and smooth. This is important as thorough blending allows more nutrition is released from the cells and it is a much more pleasant experience not having chunks of fiberous greens floating around your smoothie!

By Anand Wells, Live Food Education


 


Actualising your highest potential with living foods

Would you like to live to a ripe old age free from the chronic and degenerative diseases and suffering that most of our population endure before dying of unnatural causes?

Would you like to achieve your goals and realise your full potential while enjoying full health?

While there are no guarantees in life, you can stack the odds in your favour to achieve your preferred health outcomes which in turn will help you realise any other goals and dreams which are close to your heart.  Put another way, everything we experience in life we first experience through our bodies. If our body is sick or under par our whole experience of life is affected.

The main challenge we face in achieving glowing health is discovering which approach works best for us. There are so many conflicting theories and so many health experts all pointing in different directions. It can be utterly confusing; do we go low fat, high carb or high carb, low fat, vegetarian, vegan, raw, cooked, Ayuvedic, Weston Price, Traditional Chinese or Macrobiotic?

I believe the key is to firstly educate yourself. Do your research and find an approach that resonates with you.  Secondly, once you have made an informed decision to try a particular diet/lifestyle, do it for a minimum of 3 months so you can discover the truth in your own experience.  Results speak much louder than theories.

Here is my personal account of following a predominantly plant-based raw food diet for eight years. I also share some of the theories that may explain why so many people are either recovering from or avoiding chronic and degenerative diseases on a predominantly raw food diet. I don’t ask you to believe a word of what I say. If it rings true, you may like to do your own research, try it out and see if it works for you too.

At the age of 41 I met a man who made the outrageous claim up to 97% of all disease is lifestyle related and therefore self-inflicted.  

He also said that our bodies are self-healing mechanisms: keep out harmful toxins and give them what they truly need and they will thrive. He now had my attention despite my scepticism. I believed that degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease were inevitable as a vast majority of our population (including myself) would eventually succumb to them. I thought that health and disease had more to do with genetics and luck than lifestyle choices.  The health paradigm I had held for a lifetime was being seriously challenged.

I wanted to know the truth for myself so with the help of my new friend and mentor I began to make some major changes in my diet. Overnight I stopped eating processed and industrially grown foods and began eating an organic plant-based diet, high in raw food.  No more products containing refined sugar or flour. No more grains or animal products. No more canned, pasteurised, antibioticised and chemically sprayed dead food. It was quite a leap and within just week I had become very ill. My friend said don’t worry, your body is intelligent. He said I was experiencing a severe cleansing reaction. The clean, alkalising nutritious food and juices I was consuming assisted my body to literally flush out years of stored toxins and restore homeostasis (balance).  Instead of suppressing the symptoms with antibiotics and painkillers I let the fever, aching and mucous rip through me.  This was an initiation by fire! Eventually the storm passed and I came out the other side feeling like a new person.

Over the next few months of eating a clean, plant-based, predominantly raw food diet I noticed my energy levels dramatically improved, the aches and pains that I assumed were part and parcel of turning 40 disappeared and I felt the happiest and lightest I had felt in years. Despite having had Hepatitis C for more than 20 years my liver function tests began to improve and returned to normal levels within two years. Last but not least, the colds and sinus infections I experienced at least once a year disappeared for good.  In many ways it appeared that I was reversing the aging process. At the age of 50 I now feel younger and more vibrant than any time in my life since childhood.

Since changing to a predominantly organic raw plant-based diet I have encountered hundreds of other people who have reversed a wide range of health conditions simply through diet and lifestyle. Obesity, diabetes, cancer, cardio vascular disease, chronic fatigue, PMT, skin conditions, depression, autoimmune diseases and allergies have all been reversed through this approach. Why is it then that billions of dollars are spent every year fighting cancer and other diseases when the solution is right under our noses, or should I say on our plates? The way I see it economics rules here on earth. There is not much money to be made growing and selling fresh organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sea vegetables. Secondly the highly profitable pharmaceutical and processed food industries stand to lose a fortune if we all discover how to become vibrantly healthy through diet and lifestyle.

So why raw food?

In my view that we haven’t been able to outsmart nature when it comes to creating food and good health. Nature is amazingly intelligent and has designed food to suit our bodies. Of the 1.6 million known species on earth we are the only ones who cook or heavily process food. In nature animals rarely suffer from the chronic degenerative diseases that we (and our domesticated animal) suffer from. Could our food have something to do with this?

Whole living plant foods are packed with phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are vital to our health. Many of these nutrients as well as proteins, fats and fibre are either damaged, denatured, removed or totally destroyed when we process food leaving a vastly inferior imitation or counterfeit food. When we become ill from eating such a highly processed diet rather than look at our food choices we have been taught to go to the doctor who has been taught to administer pharmaceutical drugs and surgical procedures. In fact to even suggest that most disease can be prevented and treated through diet and natural methods is often considered quackery by the mainstream medical establishment.

This resistance to new ideas my mainstream science is not something new. In 1747 a British Doctor James Lind discovered that fresh fruit would prevent and cure scurvy, a disease that killed many thousands of sailors every year. However, it wasn’t until the early 1800s that Lind’s discovery gained acceptance with the mainstream medical establishment and the government of the day. Meanwhile, for nearly another 100 years, thousands more sailors died every year from scurvy. Eventually Lind’s discovery was adopted and citrus fruit was included onboard ships and the incidence of scurvy was dramatically reduced. I sincerely hope that modern-day medicine does not take 100 years to discover the power of living food nutrition.

It is my firm belief that as medicine evolves the physician of the future will treat patients naturally with nutrition using drugs and surgery only as a last resort.

Nutrient Loss

In 400 B.C.  Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine", said to his students, "Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food“ It seems that Hippocrates intuitively new something that modern medicine is only just beginning to grasp.

Nutritional science is still very much in its infancy and we are only just beginning to see how much we don’t know. Until the early 20th Century it was commonly believed that food was only needed to provide us with calories or fuel. We now know that there are seven major classes of nutrients:  carbohydrates, fats, protein, fibre, minerals, vitamins and water and since the 1990s another class of nutrients called phytochemicals (which include antioxidants) have been identified.

These nutrient classes can be categorized as either macronutrients (needed in relatively large amounts) or micronutrients (needed in smaller quantities). The macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, fibre, proteins, and water. The micronutrients are minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals .

Scientists are only just beginning to understand how these food nutrients, particularly vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals work together synergistically to keep us healthy and free from disease.

Amazingly researchers now estimate there are 30,000 to 50,000 phytochemicals of which we have only isolated around 1,000 and studied less than 100. We now know that many of these phytochemicals help plants to protect themselves from disease, pests, bacteria, viruses, radiation, and oxidation and by eating plants we also benefit from these miraculous compounds.

Phytochemicals it seems play a major role in protecting our cells, membranes, skin, organs and immune system from the hazards of modern living including manmade chemicals and air pollution, as well as bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, microbes, mutagens, free radicals and carcinogens.

So what happens to our foods’ macro and micronutrients when we cook it?

Proteins coagulate at high temperatures denaturing their molecular structure. A good example of this can be seen every time you cook an egg, the whites which are transparent and runny before heating become white and firm once cooked.  The Max Planck Institute for Nutritional research in Germany concluded that when protein is cooked only 50% remains bioavailable because digestive enzymes cannot readily break down coagulated protein molecules once they fuse together. The unusable portion of protein is more or less a toxin that the body must then eliminate.

When heated complex carbohydrate sugar molecules are caramelised or fused together. Carbohydrate-rich products that have been subjected to heating and the “browning reaction” - when flavours colours and textures are formed they generally contain acrylamide. At high doses, acrylamide has been found to cause cancer in some laboratory animals.  Acrylamide is formed in thousands of different products.  Among the foods that develop acrylamide during cooking are coffee, chocolate, almonds, french fries, potato chips, cereal, crackers, bread, and even some fruits and vegetables.

Overly heated fats and oils generate numerous carcinogens including acrolein, nitrosamines, hydrocarbons, and benzopyrene (one of the most potent cancer-causing agents known)

Natural fibres break down and cellulose is completely changed from its natural condition: it loses its ability to sweep the alimentary canal clean. Just look at a carrot before and after cooking. Uncooked it is hard and crunchy cooked the fibre is damaged and it becomes soft and bendable. 

Lastly on average 78% of vitamins and minerals are destroyed through cooking.  For example up to 75% of vitamin C is lost, 50% of B vitamins, 35% of Alpha and beta-carotene and vitamin A. While minerals are less susceptible to heat than vitamins still 20% to 70% of minerals are lost though cooking.  While we don’t know the exact effect cooking has on the many delicate phytochemicals, it is suspected that close to 100% are damaged or destroyed by heat.

Leukocytosis is a term used to describe an increase in the number of white blood cells. It is an indication that the body is under attack and the white blood cells or leukocytes are sent in to defend the body from foreign invaders.

Leukocytosis  is commonly caused by infections, inflammation, allergy’s and malignancy. Rudolph Virchow, the father of cellular pathology discovered that leukocytes became elevated in all his subjects after eating. This elevation of leukocytes after eating became known as digestive leukocytosis and was considered a normal response.

In 1930 at the Swiss Institute of clinical chemistry Paul Kouchakoff furthered Virchow’s research and discovered that digestive leukocytosis only occurred when the food had been cooked, canned, cured or salted. Kouchakoff tested a great variety of foodstuffs including water, salt, vegetables, cereals, nuts, honey, raw eggs, raw milk, raw fish, raw meat, butter, sour milk, etc. None of these, if fresh, unrefined, and not overheated, caused any reaction, and were seen as by the body friendly foods not to be fought. These same natural foods, altered only by heating, caused a rise in the white blood count (leukocytosis), an expected reaction when dangerous foreign invaders invade the body. But the worst offenders heated or not, were the processed foods -- those foods that had been extracted, purified, stabilized, enriched, homogenized, sterilized, or otherwise changed from their natural state. The level of leukocytosis which occurred from eating these foods was at a similar level to the leukocytosis which occurs from food poisoning.

Imagine how much stronger your immune system could be for fighting off a serious pathogen or even a virus like the flu if it didn’t have to deal with cooked food three to four times a day. If you still like to eat cooked food the good news is that Kouchakoff also discovered that when cooked food was eaten with around 50% raw food digestive leukocytosis did not occur.

Many researchers and raw food pioneers claim that one of the major benefits of living foods is due to the fact that the foods enzymes are left intact.

Much of the research done on enzymes comes from research pioneer Dr Edward Howell. Howell says that “Enzymes are substances which make life possible.  They are needed for every chemical reaction in that occurs in our body. Without enzymes, no activity at all would take place. Neither vitamins nor minerals nor hormones can do any work -- without enzymes. Think of it this way: Enzymes are the "labour force" that builds your body just like construction workers are the labour force that builds your house. You may have all the necessary building materials and lumber, but to build a house you need workers, which represent the vital life element.

Similarly, you may have all the nutrients -- vitamins, proteins, minerals, etc., for your body, but you still need the enzymes -- the life element -- to keep the body alive and well. “

Enzymes are both complex protein molecules and bioenergy reservoirs. They go beyond being just simple chemical catalysts and have vital life force that initiates biochemical interactions.  Although this has not been proven or fully understood by science there seems to be an inextricable link between enzyme activity and the life force of an organism. The major difference between a living organism and a dead organism is only the living organism has the ability to produce active enzymes. Somehow our very life force is linked to these amazing molecules.

There are three main types of enzymes:

  1. Metabolic enzymes, are catalysts which are involved in all chemical reactions in our bodies. In fact there is virtually no task our body performs in which these enzymes are not involved in some way.
  2. Digestive enzymes breakdown the foods that we eat.
  3. Food enzymes are abundant in raw foods and are usually involved in activating the digestion of the particular food being consumed.

Howell says “All uncooked foods contain an abundance of food enzymes which correspond to the nutritional highlights of food. For example, dairy foods, oils, seeds and nuts, which are relatively high in fat content, also contain relatively higher concentrations of the enzyme lipase which aids in the digestion of their fats. Carbohydrates, such as grains, contain a higher concentration of amylase [digests carbohydrates] and lesser amounts of lipase and protease [digests protein]”.

Metabolic and digestive enzymes are manufactured by our bodies while the enzymes present in raw foods come from plants as well as raw animal products including milk, eggs and meat.

(raw food also contains some metabolic enzymes)

When food is heated above 48 degrees Celsius or 118 degrees Fahrenheit many of its naturally occurring enzymes are destroyed within 30 minutes. This is only a warm temperature, so clearly when we cook, bake, fry boil our food we are destroying nearly all of the enzymes in a very short period of time. In fact according to Dr Howell’s research, boiling food for just 3 minutes will results in 100% loss of enzymes. 

Dr Howell says that each individual is born with an “enzyme potential” or “enzyme bank account”

“This limited supply of activity factors or life force must last us a lifetime. It's just as if you inherited a certain amount of money. If the movement is all one way -- all spending and no income -- you will run out of money.

Likewise, the faster you use up your supply of enzyme activity, the quicker you will run out. Experiments at various universities have shown that, regardless of the species, the faster the metabolic rate the shorter the lifespan.

Other things being equal, you live as long as your body has enzyme activity factors to make enzymes from. When it gets to the point that you can't make certain enzymes, then your life ends.”

I have outlined just some of the theories which may explain why so many people get well and stay well on a predominantly plant-based raw food diet. The problem with scientific theories is you will often find that someone will eventually disprove or discredit them. I recently heard of a well-known primatologist who is convinced that cooked food is far superior to raw food when it comes to humans. He has even written a book about it. The traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayuvedic systems of health also prescribe diets high in cooked food.

At the end of the day the proof will be in the pudding (or the salad). Nothing beats direct personal experience, which is why I shared my story at the beginning of this article.

If what I have said in seems to make sense you may like to begin your own experiment with living foods. For most people I would recommend that you start gradually. Begin by replacing harmful factory farmed, processed foods with organic whole foods, cooked and/or raw. If you still consume animal protein make it a condiment instead of the centrepiece of your meal. By doing this alone most people will experience a significant improvement in their health.

To take your health still further, begin to increase your intake of living foods, especially leafy greens that are the food group which meet human nutritional needs most completely. Wild Chimpanzees who share 99.4% of our DNA are resistant to aids, cancer and heart disease. They don’t eat processed or cooked foods and do eat a huge 40% of their diet as leafy greens and blossoms. In comparison the average Australian eats only 3% of their diet as leafy greens.

If you would like to get started with living foods but don’t know how to begin we have created a free online program called the Green Smoothie Challenge (www.greensmoothiechallenge.com). It is a easy and fast way to include more living foods in your diet. All you need is a blender and fresh ingredients. Over 30,000 people from more than 44 countries people have participated in this educational 14 day program which shows you how to make delicious smoothies using fresh fruit, water and nutrient-dense leafy green vegetables. Many participants have reported that during the program they had significant improvements in health and many also lost their attraction to unhealthy foods and became more attracted to whole living foods.

Once you have experienced the power of green smoothies you may like to learn about how to prepare more advanced gourmet raw food recipes. There are endless possibilities: pizza, cakes, breads, pasta, soups and many more all made with delicious whole living foods. By learning a few new techniques, a whole new world of culinary delights and radiant health is made available to you.

by Anand Wells, Live Food Education

 


Cacao: The Cream of the Superfoods Crop

While you’re tucking in to your favourite chocolate treat, think about this - chocolate is, in essence, a nut. Just like an almond in fact, and contains a stack of super-dooper properties that keep your body ticking over nicely just as it should. But before you get too excited, the mass-produced chocolate tempting you at the supermarket checkout is by no means the same thing as the fabulous foodstuff that is the cacao bean… sorry!

Whereas most people are aware of the health benefits of good quality dark chocolate, with its antioxidants, polyphenols, protein and host of vitamins and minerals like zinc, calcium, chromium, iron, potassium and magnesium; the true hero is cacao. 

All chocolate products originally derive from the cacao bean, which comes from the Amazonian cacao tree. This unusual variation of standard fruit or nut trees forms football-sized pods in various colours on its trunk, inside which grows the precious cacao seed. This raw, unprocessed seed is the most basic form of chocolate, and contains a host of naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals and chemicals that make it a veritable superfood that’s a far cry from the majority of chocolate products we are bombarded with in stores today.

Cacao is derived from theobroma cacao beans, which literally translates as ‘food of the Gods,’ and that’s not an exaggeration - these little beauties contain over 300 cracking compounds, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, fibre, iron, zinc, copper, calcium, beta-carotene, amino acids, omega 3, essential fatty acids, potassium and magnesium, one of the best sources of stress relief.… phew!

Another cheery chemical found in cacao is the lipid anandamide, also known as  ‘chocolate amphetamine’. This causes changes in blood pressure and blood-sugar levels, leading to feelings of excitement and alertness, and is naturally present in our bodies when we’re feeling great. Legend has it that the Mexican Mayan kings drank up to 30 pure chocolate drinks each day to maintain their sprightliness, and thought so highly of the bean that it was even used as currency!

Yet with the 1800s came the advent of machinery to crush cacao beans and, finally, the highly-processed product loved across the world, milk chocolate. Making chocolate as we know it is a complicated business, beginning with the roasting of the cacao beans to kill bacteria, remove bitterness and develop flavour. But this heat actually changes the bean's chemistry and dramatic reduces the product’s antioxidant qualities. If alkaline chemicals or milk products are used, as is the case in much mass-produced chocolate, the chemistry is altered even further. Many of dark chocolate’s health benefits remain, in fact, because there is no milk added during its creation, allowing more natural antioxidants to remain.

The grinding process is then undertaken by a machine called a melangeur, which has large rollers to mash the cacao into a paste. This then goes into a press which splits it into powder and butter, before sugar, an emulsifier like lecithin and other flavourings are added.

The next process is the mysterious process of conching, which turns the mixture into a smooth liquid that can be easily poured into moulds. This involves constantly grinding the mixture to evenly distribute the cocoa butter within the chocolate mass, making it smoother. The friction created polishes the cocoa particles and makes them smoother, whereas the rotation introduces air into the mass, removing bitter acids and compounds. Tempering is the next step, which makes chocolate shiny and breakable, and involves getting the crystals of cocoa butter to the perfect size.

Compare this lengthy process to the simplicity of the raw product itself and it’s pretty clear why it’s best to stick to the natural stuff. Although cacao is one of the most powerful superfoods around, the processing steps between picking the beans and the chocolate they create transforms the ingredient into something with very few health benefits.

Just some of the nasties found in milk chocolate include Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate, an artificial emulsifier which helps manufacturers use a smaller amount of cocoa butter whilst creating the same texture, artificial flavours, corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil, which contains trans fats. Chocolate’s biggest villain, however, is sugar, which is often the main ingredient in cheap chocolate bars. In fact, such products can have a cacao content as shockingly low as 4 to 10 per cent, and can barely be classed as chocolate at all!

Our conclusion? Raw chocolate has many, many times more unique and powerful nutrients than highly processed chocolate, and if you’re a sucker for a sneaky square of choccy, consider small amounts of raw cacao as a better option or a raw chocolate bar such as Loving Earth. But don’t overdo it - cacao is a powerful substance with ingredients that can affect the entire nervous system, and whereas the correct amount can do much to boost the body, too much can do the opposite. The equivalent of 40g of pure raw cacao at the most is both beneficial to your bod and a tasty treat.

Other ways to incorporate this wonderstuff into your regular diet include adding it to smoothies and shakes for a quick boost, using it to to create delicious dessert and raw cacao treats. Simply arm yourself with some cacao and prepare to reap the benefits!

 


Superfoods - What They Are And What They Contain

We're frequently asked what many of the nutrient-dense superfoods are and what they contain. Here is a quick cheat sheet of some of the more popular superfoods.

  • Spirulina – 60% protein, contains most of the essential minerals and vitamins, particularly iron and the B vitamins
  • Ezy Protein – 98.2% digestion efficiency with 80% protein. Easy to absorb, easy to digest.
  • Bee Pollen – rich source of high-quality protein since it contains all the essential amino acids plus quite a few more. Bee pollen contains vitamins A, B, C, and E, and is extraordinarily rich in most of the B vitamins, including folic acid (folate).
  • Chia Seeds – High in omega 3, 22% protein, a powerful source of the antioxidants that protect delicate essential fatty acids from oxidation
  • Cacao – high in antioxidants and magnesium and mood enhancing chemicals such as Anandamine
  • Maca – balances hormones, increases energy, full of minerals, vitamins, and protein, containing many of the essential amino acids, and particularly rich in calcium and magnesium.
  • Camu Camu Berry powder – nature's highest source of vitamin C
  • Lucuma Powder – High in betacarotene, niacin (B3) and iron
  • Mesquite Meal – High in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and is rich in the amino acid lysine
  • Coconut Oil - Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal; great for skin; assists weight-loss; assists body to burn fat; lowers bad cholesterol; lauric acid; important in building and maintaining immune system; doesn’t go rancid at room temp.
  • Acai Berry – extremely high in antioxidants and essential fatty acids
  • Maqui Berry - the highest known antioxidant on the planet.
  • Goji Berries - They contain 18 kinds of amino acids (six times higher than bee pollen) and contain all 8 essential amino acids (such as isoleucine and tryptophan).
  • MSM - naturally-occurring form of dietary sulphur
  • Sea Vegetables – most sea vegetables including sea weeds such as kelp, Nori, dulse, arame and wakame to name a few contain highest levels of trace minerals and iodine that you will find in any foods. These important minerals are often found lacking even in organically grown produce.

There are many many more superfoods available with more arriving on the market all the time.

 


Common nutritional deficiencies and how to remedy them (part 3)


Food (digestive) Enzymes

We have spoken at length in an earlier module about the importance of enzymes. Many people find that by supplementing with high quality plant-based food enzymes their digestion and absorption improve dramatically. Digestive enzymes have only three main jobs: digesting protein, carbohydrate and fat. Proteases are enzymes that digest protein, amylases digest carbohydrate, and lipases digest fat. Digestive enzymes are particularly beneficial if you still eat cooked food or have digestion issues.

Betain Hydrochloride (Hydrochloric Acid)

"Hypochlorydia" means the inadequate production of stomach acid by the parietal cells in the stomach. "Achlorydia" means a complete lack of stomach acid production.  Experts believe that about half of all people over 65 suffer hypochlorydia.   (It's known that the amount of stomach acid we produce decreases as we age, although we have often found insufficient acid among much younger people.)

It's vital that we have enough stomach acid to break down food and release nutrients, and to kill any opportunistic invaders entering our bodies via the mouth.

Hypochlorydia symptoms can include heartburn, indigestion, gas, burping, bloating, flatulence, stomach pain or ache, feeling too full after eating (unless you genuinely have eaten too much!), constipation, diarrhoea and breaking down nutrients in food insufficiently.

So, why might your stomach acid production be low? Stress can impair production. Trauma such as emotional shock or a burn can stop it suddenly. Alcohol and food allergy substances can damage the parietal cells in the stomach, and this affects production. Bacteria such as helicobacter pylori can also affect acid levels. And, of course, as we age, our bodies typically produce less and less hydrochloric acid.

For these reasons, most of us who are over the age of 40 will benefit from supplemental Betaine Hydrochloride. 

Probiotics

Probiotic' actually means ‘for life’. The World Health Organisation define a probiotic as ‘live micro-organism which, when administered in adequate amounts confer health benefits on the host’. Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that live in your digestive system. Probiotics are microorganisms that are similar to the microorganisms that exist naturally in the human stomach. Most are bacteria but some can also be viruses or yeasts. They help to keep the natural proportions of good bacteria in our digestive tracts. They can be found in dietary supplements such as capsules, tablets, liquids and powders but can also be found in foods. Examples of foods containing probiotics include yoghurt, fermented or unfermented milk, miso, tempeh and some juices and soy beverages.

Good bacteria are vital to the proper development of the bodies immune system, and for the proper digestion and absorption of food and nutrients into the body. The balance of good bacteria in the stomach can be thrown off predominantly by consuming antibiotics and also by growing numbers of bad bacteria such as disease-causing bacteria, yeasts, fungi and parasites. Though Antibiotics kill bad bacteria, they can also kill good bacteria in the digestive tract. Probiotics counteract antibiotics (hence the name) and can be used to prevent the side effects of consuming antibiotics such as gas, cramping or diarrhoea and increase the count of good bacteria in the gut in order to keep a healthy digestive system. They can also be used to ease the symptoms of lactose intolerance. A diet high in processed carbohydrates (particularly sugars and starches) as well as chlorine, fluoride, alcohol and the contraceptive pill can also upset this balance.

“Unfriendly” bacteria could be the cause of contagious diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers and many types of chronic stomach inflammation, tooth decay and periodontal disease, vaginal infections, stomach and respiratory infections that children acquire in day care and skin infections.

There are several reasons people are increasingly seeking out probiotics supplements for health reasons. While antibiotics destroys intestinal bacteria, probiotics feed the gut with beneficial bacteria such as the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. By supplementing with a probiotic capsule, millions of live bacteria are introduced into the intestinal wall and can significantly inhibit bad bacteria growth, improve absorption and assimilation of vitamins and minerals, stimulate of the body’s immune system and production of certain vitamins including the important B group vitamins. Many of the readily available probiotics on the market today promote "general well-being," but scientists are increasingly discovering many more specific benefits from consuming foods with sufficient levels of probiotic bacteria. Probiotics can also be used to:

  • Treat diarrhoea
  • To prevent and treat infections of the urinary tract or female genital tract
  • To treat irritable bowel syndrome or IBS
  • To reduce recurrence of bladder cancer
  • To shorten the length of intestinal infection
  • To prevent and treat colitis
  • To prevent and manage eczema
  • To improve lactose intolerance

The bacterial strain commonly used in yogurt can produce lactase enzymes. Therefore, people with lactose intolerance and children suffering from intestinal infection can usually tolerate yogurt with an active culture.

Additionally, new generations of probiotic bacteria are targeted at specific problems or areas of the body. A number of probiotic products are believed to be able to lower cholesterol for example. The ability of probiotic bacteria to support the immune system is very important, especially to the elderly and people suffering from weak.

So Probiotics are good bacteria that exist normally in the digestive system and play an important part in general health and wellbeing. Probiotics can be taken as dietary supplements and these can help with prevention and treatment of a wide range of diseases. 

As you can see reversing a nutrient deficiency is not always as simple as ingesting more of the lacking nutrient. There are a great many other variable factors which can influence nutrient levels in our body; ie iron is absorbed much more easily in conjunction with vitamin c.

This is a vast and complex area of study and I recommend that you also do your own research and experimentation to find out what works best for your body.

 


Common nutritional deficiencies and how to remedy them (part 2)

Common Vitamin Deficiencies

B12 is a vitamin many people are deficient in and this is something that vegans need to pay particular attention to. B12 is produced by bacteria and since we have become germ phobic and wash all our food, this vitamin is in short supply in plant foods. Some of the plant foods that are relatively high in B12 such as spirulina also contain a B12 analogues which are substances that inhibit B12 metabolism. According to Dr Gabriel Cousens, if you are on a long term vegan diet you should closely monitor your B12 levels and probably supplement as well. This is especially important for vegan pregnant and breast feeding mothers and young children. Also many people including meat eaters have lost the ability to properly process and absorb B12 in their guts so it is a good idea to get your levels checked at least once a year

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include very pale skin, shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, headache cold hands and feet, heart palpitations, and chest pain. These symptoms are due to a decreased production of red blood cells that are necessary to carry vital oxygen to the body's cells and tissues. A serious complication that can occur due to decreased red blood cell production is pernicious anemia, also called vitamin B12 deficiency anemia.

Symptoms can also occur in the nervous system. If left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can result in permanent nerve damage. Symptoms can include numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, unsteadiness, difficulty walking, confusion, depression, memory loss, and dementia

Vitamin D is found in many animal dietary sources such as fish, eggs, and cod liver oil. The sun also contributes significantly to the daily production of vitamin D, and as little as 10 minutes of exposure is thought to be enough to prevent deficiencies. The term "vitamin D" refers to several different forms of this vitamin. Two forms are important in humans: ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants. Vitamin D3 is synthesized by humans in the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays from sunlight.

The major biologic function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. As I mentioned earlier Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. Recently, research also suggests vitamin D may provide protection from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, and several autoimmune diseases.

Risk factors for Vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Exclusively breast-fed infants: Infants who are exclusively breast-fed and do not receive vitamin D supplementation are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency, particularly if they have dark skin and/or receive little sun
  • Dark skin: People with dark-colored skin synthesize less vitamin D on exposure to sunlight than those with light-colored skin. The risk of vitamin D deficiency is particularly high in dark-skinned people who live far from the equator. One U.S. study reported that 42% of African American women between 15 and 49 years of age were vitamin D deficient compared to 4% of White women (25).
  • Aging: The elderly have reduced capacity to synthesize vitamin D in skin when exposed to UVB radiation, and the elderly are more likely to stay indoors or use sunscreen, which blocks vitamin D synthesis
  • Covering all exposed skin or using sunscreen whenever outside: The application of sunscreen with an SPF factor of 8 reduces production of vitamin D by 95% - Ironically overprotecting ourselves from sunlight can increase our chances of getting certain forms or cancer including breast and bowel cancer.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease: People with inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease appear to be at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, especially those who have had small bowel resections
  • Obesity: Obesity increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency. Once vitamin D is synthesized in the skin or ingested, it is deposited in body fat stores, making it less bioavailable to people with large stores of body fat.

It is possible to become deficient in other Vitamins including vitamin E and C however, this is very rare if you are eating a balanced high raw whole food diet. 

Essential fatty acids are those fats that the body cannot produce on its own. your body gets these fatty acids directly from food. There are only two EFAs: alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, and linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid.

Almost all the polyunsaturated fat in the human diet is from EFA. Some of the food sources of ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids are fish and shellfish, flaxseed (linseed), hemp oilhemp nuts, soya oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, and walnuts.

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are important for enzymatic pathways required to metabolize long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Low plasma concentrations of DHA is associated with depression and suicide.

To Optimise your omega 3 essential fatty acid levels on a vegetarian diet -

  • Have a daily intake of nuts, seeds and their omega 3 6 9 oils.
  • Include an algae / alga (AFAspirulina or chlorella) drink 4 times a week.
  • Include good sources of the nutrients which aid essential fat conversion – zinc, magnesium, calcium, biotin and vitamins B6, B3 and C.
  • Avoid things that inhibit conversion; alcohol, saturated and trans fats (from animal foods and processed foods), smoking, caffeine, viral infections, stress and excess intake of vitamin A and copper.
  • Balance your intake of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Due to the widespread use of sunflower oil in food manufacturing and grain fed livestock we tend to have a much greater intake of omega 6 to 3 fats in our diets. This imbalance can lead to the conversion enzymes getting used up for omega 6, restricting omega 3 conversion. The ideal balance is around 3 to 4 parts omega 6 to one of omega 3.
  • Buy your seed oils cold-pressed and from the fridge in your health shop. Also buy in small quantities so it remains fresh. At home store them in the fridge and use them cold. If heating oils use butter, ghee or even better coconut oil.
  • Some people may have less of the conversion enzymes and may need to be strict with the above nutrient supporters and inhibitors. These people include those with atopic allergies (asthma, eczema and hay fever which run in the family) and those with diabetics.
  • Increase your algae intake when planning a pregnancy, pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Have an essential fatty acid test to determine your specific needs and if your diet is meeting these.

There are many protocols you can do to improve your absorption of nutrients including fasting and colon hydrotherapy. In addition to these the following supplements can also be very beneficial for improved digestion and assimilation. 

 


Common nutritional deficiencies and how to remedy them (part 1)

 There can be times no matter how well you are eating you may find yourself coming up short in important nutrients. I recommend getting regular comprehensive blood tests (once or twice a year) so you can make informed choices with your food, superfoods and supplements. While I always try to balance nutritional deficiencies with whole foods and super foods there are times I will use supplements if need be.

Mineral deficiencies

The body needs various minerals for health. Inadequate diet and poor soils can lead to mineral deficiency, or at least to insufficient minerals in both humans and plants.

Iron - Iron is another mineral needed by our bodies. It is a part of all cells and does many things in our bodies. For example, iron (as part of the protein hemoglobin) carries oxygen from our lungs throughout our bodies. Having too little hemoglobin is called anaemia. Iron also helps our muscles store and use oxygen.

Iron is a part of many enzymes and is used in many cell functions. Enzymes help our bodies digest foods and also help with many other important reactions that occur within our bodies. When our bodies don’t have enough iron, many parts of our bodies are affected.

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency and the leading cause of anaemia in the United States. This dispels the myth that anaemia is caused by a lack of animal protein as the USA is one of the top 6 meat eating (per capita) nations in the world.

While the iron in red meat in particular is more readily absorbed by the human body than the iron in plants you can still get a good dose of iron by supplementing with spirulinaAFA algae, leafy greens, and prunes to name a few high iron non-animal sources.

Zinc - The mineral zinc is present in every part of the body and has a wide range of functions. It helps with the healing of wounds and is a vital component of many enzyme reactions. Zinc is vital for the healthy working of many of the body's systems. It is particularly important for healthy skin and is essential for a healthy immune system and resistance to infection. At least 1/3 of the worlds population is at risk of Zinc deficiency. This varies from country to country.

Signs of zinc deficiency include hair loss, skin lesions, diarrhoea, and wasting of body tissues. It is rarely recognised that lack of zinc can contribute to acne. Eyesight, taste, smell and memory are also connected with zinc. A deficiency in zinc can cause malfunctions of these organs and functions.

One easily recognized sign which may be caused by zinc deficiency is white spots, bands, or lines on fingernails (leukonychia). One of the highest non-animal sources of zinc are pepita’s (pumpkin seeds).

Iodine is needed by the thyroid gland for healthy functioning. Lack of iodine can lead to goitre, a swollen neck due to a swollen thyroid gland. However, iodine deficiency is much less common in industrialized nations due to the addition of iodine to table salt which is something we do not recommend ingesting due to toxic aluminium anti-caking agents which are also routinely added to table salt. Instead we recommend eating plenty of sea vegetables which are high in very iodine and a whole host of other important mineral and trace minerals.

Magnesium is a trace mineral needed by the body for such things as enzyme activity. Magnesium deficiency can cause nervous system irritability, widening of blood vessels (vasodilation), convulsions, tremor, depression and psychotic behaviour. Green vegetables, nuts, grains and cacao are good sources of magnesium.

Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body, calcium accounts for approximately 1.5% of total body weight. Bones and teeth house 99% of the calcium in the body, while the remaining 1% is distributed in other areas. In recent years, consumers have been bombarded with public health messages encouraging the consumption of foods rich in calcium. These messages are supposedly aimed at preventing osteoporosis, a disease characterized by brittle and porous bones that now affects more than 20 million individuals in the United States, however, they too often are promoted by powerful dairy industry lobby groups who have their own agendas.  

While osteoporosis can be caused by too little dietary calcium there are possibly other causes which include: an acidic processed diet with will leach calcium from the bones to balance blood ph.

Hypochlorhydria, a condition characterized by insufficient secretion of stomach acid, affects many people and is especially common in the elderly. Lack of stomach acid impairs the absorption of calcium and may lead to poor calcium status.

Adequate intake of vitamin D is necessary for the absorption and utilization of calcium. As a result, vitamin D deficiency may also be implicated in a calcium deficiency.

High intakes of sodium, caffeine, or protein cause an increase in the urinary excretion of calcium. Chromium deficiency is generally caused by an impaired glucose tolerance, elevated serum cholesterol, or triglyceride levels.

Deficiency of this nutrient have been estimated as high as 35 to 40 percent in the American population, more than any other country, because of the low levels of chromium in the soil and the loss of this nutrient from refined foods; specifically sugar and flour.

Chromium is only needed by the human body in small amounts, but it is very difficult to obtain. Impaired glucose tolerance appears to be an immediate stage in both the history and the development of diabetes.

However, a deficiency of this nutrient can go undetected for years, primarily because there have not been any widespread records kept.

The amount chromium fond in foods will vary, and has been measured accurately in relatively few foods. Presently, there is no large database for chromium content of foods.

Foods high in simple sugars, however, such as sucrose and fructose, are not only low in chromium but have been found to actually cause a loss of this nutrient. Foods that have shown signs of adding chromium include:
Broccoli, green beans, potatoes, grape juice, orange juice, beef, turkey breast, ham (processed), waffle, bagel, English muffins, apple w/peel, and bananas. (I personally don’t subscribe to eating muffins, waffles and bagels!)

 


Good diet is not enough without this

Eating a clean predominantly plant based raw food diet is one of the best things you can do for your health. However, eating well is not enough if you want to realise your body, mind and spirit's full potential.

If you haven't done so already, finding an exercise regime which really works for you is almost as important as a balanced diet and like diet the choices for exercise can be overwhelming.

Simply put exercise prevents disease just as diet does. As an active person, you're less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, have a stroke or get certain types of cancers such as colon and breast cancer. Like poor diet, physical inactivity is at epidemic levels in developed nations with more and more people doing sedentary jobs and then going home to sit in front of the computer or TV for hours on end. If you are doing the Live Food Challenge it is unlikely that you are one of these people, however, there may still be more you could do to improve your health and vitality so you are enjoying life to the maximum.

Even in the short term by exercising you will:

  • Have healthier muscles, joints and bones
  • Increase your metabolism
  • Have more energy
  • Experience a sense of well-being and be better able to cope with stress
  • Be better able to get to sleep and stay asleep
  • Be less likely to suffer from depression
  • Increase your endurance

As there are so many types of exercise available we are first going to simplify exercise into 3 distinct forms, each of which has a different benefits for you body. Ideally your exercise regime will include all 3.

Aerobic exercise such as swimming, running, cycling or dancing increases your cardiorespiratory fitness and endurance. This is the capacity of your heart and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to your muscles so they can produce energy for movement over a sustained period. Many aerobic exercises are also great for getting your lymphatic fluid moving.

Flexibility exercises such as yoga, Pilates, qigong and tai chi improve the full range of motion of your muscles and joints.

Resistance exercise such as weight-lifting increases your muscle strength by requiring your muscles to lift, push or pull against something. This type of exercise can also increase bone density and help prevent osteoporosis, which is important as you get older.

The great news is there are so many effective forms of exercise available that you can hand pick a regime that suits your particular body type and temperament. As with diet we are all unique and discovering new forms of exercise can be a great exploration as well as lots of fun.

Many health specialists say we need at least 20 minutes of high intensity or 45 minutes of medium intensity cardiovascular exercise at least 5 times a week. I personally perform and feel best with an hour or more of medium to high intensity exercise daily. If I don't do this I notice my energy isn't at its peak.

Another thing most experts agree on is that your exercise, at the very least, has to be moderately intense and has to be regular. The National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians recommends at a minimum 30 minutes of moderate physical activity – like walking – on most days of the week. How do you know if you're being moderately active? A good test is to see if you can talk easily while you're exercising. If you can, you are exercising at a light to moderate level. Once your breathing makes it too hard to talk, you know you've increased the intensity of your workout!

One thing to remember is that the longer and more intensely you exercise, the greater the benefit. Researchers have found a positive correlation between the length and intensity of physical activity and the reduction in risk of coronary events such as heart attack.

But even short periods of light exercise and daily activities are beneficial if you want to prevent obesity and diabetes. New research shows that sitting around for long periods of time can increase your blood glucose levels – even if you fit a 30 minute session of exercise in – so stay active and complement your 30 minutes of exercise with regular light activity.

If you haven't exercised for a while or you want to significantly increase your exercise level, it is advisable to speak with a health professional about designing an exercise plan. Many injuries are caused by exercising too much, too quickly, or by overuse.

Here are just a few different ways you can get the exercise you need.

1/ If you have the discipline you can get all of the exercise you need home pretty much for free.

Firstly you can do strength training with body weight exercises such as pushups, sit ups, squats, chin ups and many more. There are some great DVD's demonstrating what is possible just using your own body weight and  household props such. Steve Cotters Encyclopaedia of Body Weight Conditioning DVD is one of the best. Some of these exercises will also get your heart pounding and are therefore aerobic as well. Another great home exercise program I have used is P90X which includes yoga, weights and cardio training.

Secondly, if you have a yoga, tai chi or chi gung routine you can get all of your stretching needs met without leaving the house.

Thirdly, for cardio you can jog, rebound, cycle or crank the stereo and dance, so as you can see it is all possible to cover all exercise bases from home.

The main benefit of exercising from home is that is free and you can do it when it suits you. The main drawback is that it requires a high level of discipline to follow through on a consistent basis.

2/ Another great option that most people have access to is the local gym. When you buy a 1 year membership the price per workout can be very reasonable. The benefits of the gym are that there are usually a wide range of activities and classes available which will more than cover all of your exercise bases. From free weights to weight machines, treadmills to cross-trainers and more. Most gyms also have a variety of classes including Body Pump which is great for muscle building, weight reduction and involves some good cardio, RPM bike classes which really get your heart rate up and burning calories, Body Balance which is a gentle stretching class based on yoga, pilates and tai chi. The other benefit of the gym is that you will usually receive some professional personal training instruction as part of your membership.

The gym has many benefits in that it offers great variety, it is not expensive if you go regularly, it is easier to be motivated when you are being pushed in a class or by a trainer and you can also meet plenty like minded people.

Other classes you may like to consider trying include yoga, qigong, tai chi or any other type of martial art. The major benefits of these ancient traditions is that they go beyond traditional exercise and are amazing tools for self exploration, deep relaxation and self healing. As they often incorporate awareness, visualisation and the breath you can use them clear energy blockages and stagnation within the body as well as for building flexibility strength and peace of mind.

3/ If you are lucky enough to live near water, kayaking is an awesome way to both exercise and connect with the earth. Runi and I leave our 2 man ocean kayak on our car and frequently go paddling in rivers, creeks dams and in the ocean after work – it is one of the most enjoyable forms of exercise I know.

4/ One last form of exercise I would like to mention here is dancing. Dancing can be great for flexibility, aerobic fitness and strength and not only that its lots of fun. The dance form that gives the most complete workout that I know of is ecstatic dance.

Ecstatic dance is often practised in a group or class setting and unlike many other forms of dance there are no steps, routines or performing on a stage. There is no special music and there is no right or wrong way to do it or experience it. There is absolutely no experience, fitness levels or age limit required. It is about expressing yourself truly in the moment through your dance and allowing whatever is there to be there. If you are angry you can dance that, if you are tired you can dance that, if you are afraid you can dance that, if you are joyful you can dance that.

It is based on the premise that our body has it's own wisdom and knowledge of how to move and express itself. While this ability is still evident in small children most adults lose touch with it as they are burdened with rules and responsibilities.

Perhaps the only rules of ecstatic dance are that it is drug and alcohol free and chatting is discouraged.

It is widely believed that humans have been dancing ecstatically since the beginning of time and there are many cultures today who still practice ancient and traditional styles of Ecstatic or Trance Dancing. Contemporary dance pioneers such as Gabrielle Roth have rediscovered this ancient practice and put it into a modern non- denominational context and made it available to all.

A 2 hour ecstatic dance session is usually a complete workout and many people discover that by the end of the session they are dripping with sweat and feeling, well, ecstatic and that is without taking any intoxicants at all.

Ecstatic dance is now being widely practised in the USA and the UK and is quickly catching on in Australia. To find a class near you visit www.gabrielleroth.com or just try googling ecstatic dance and your city.

Did you know that both aerobic exercise and strength training has been successfully used in treating clinical anxiety and depression? One controlled trial found exercise training was as effective as antidepressant medication in older adults. I have noticed that it is almost impossible to remain in a negative state of mind while doing intense exercise.  Many negative feelings rely on an unbroken train of negative thinking to stay alive. Often when we take our attention away from the thoughts for long enough they simply fade away. Intense physical exercise draws our attention out of our head and into our body and deep breathing tends to break up stuck thinking patterns. While ancient traditions such as yoga and quigong have been aware of the connection between breath and thought for thousands of years we are only just beginning to catch on in the West.

I have mentioned just a few of the different ways you can keep your body and mind in top shape. It is just a matter of getting out there and trying out some new forms of exercise and seeing what works for you.

If you haven't done so already I highly recommend that you create a weekly exercise plan and then stick to it. Do it whether you feel like it or not. Many people are stopped from achieving their goals in life by allowing momentary feelings to dictate whether they take action or not.  The key to success is to let your goal or preferred outcome drive you  – this way momentary feelings of inertia will rarely be able to stop you from getting out of bed, moving your body and achieving your dreams in life.

One last word about exercise: while most people do not do enough some people overdo it. The key is finding balance so if you are doing intense workouts make sure you allow enough rest and recovery times between sessions. If you are not sure about this, consult a trainer and in the words of a famous sports shoe brand, “just do it!” you won’t regret it.

by Anand WellsLive Food Education

 


Experiments on a raw food diet – which is the best approach for you?

I embarked on a high raw food diet in 2004. In that time I have experimented with a wide variety of approaches including low fat, high sugar (from fruit), low sugar and higher fat, vegan and non-vegan, 75% raw to 100% raw.

So which is the best approach? I would have to say all of them and none of them. I have experienced the healthiest, happiest years of my life since eating a high raw, whole food diet and it appears to me that avoiding processed foods is more important than getting obsessed with what percentage raw I am eating. In retrospect, perhaps it would be more accurate to say the best approach is to remain aware and flexible and act accordingly. My body’s requirements change over time and what works for me today may not work tomorrow. If I am stuck in an ideology of how I “should” be eating, I may ignore or miss by body’s signals and innate wisdom.

I am currently on an 80% – 90% raw food, low glycemic diet that includes animal protein (eggs, goats kefir, fish) and lots of cultured veggies and this is working very well for me. If anything I am feeling better than when I was experimenting with a 100% raw vegan approach.

What has been a constant through out my eight years of experimenting are the following seven things:

  1. I have completely avoided refined/processed foods
  2. I have maintained a high percentage of raw food 75% or more
  3. Leafy greens have remained central to my diet (including juices, salads and smoothies)
  4. I haven’t drunk coffee or alcohol or taken pharmaceutical or recreational drugs
  5. I have exercised on a regular basis
  6. Animal protein has remained under 10% of my diet
  7. I have eaten organic wherever possible

By sticking to the above guidelines I have had more energy and been healthier than I was during my 20s and 30s with cold symptoms only showing up 3 times in the eight years as opposed to 1-3 times a year!

A typical day might look like this:

  • First thing in the morning - 500ml of green juice made in my Kuvings Silent Juicer with 1ml of Oceans Alive Marine Phytoplankton, 1 ml of Fulvic Acid. 10 drops of Crystal Energy.
  • Breakfast – A smoothie made in my Vitacrush 1500w blender with 400ml of raw goats milk kefir with 3 organic raw egg yolks, 1/8 tsp of non-gmo soy lecithin, 1 tbs carob or cacao powder
  • 2 TBS chia seeds, 2 TBS bee pollen, 1 TBS of stevia, 2 vanilla pods and 2 TBS of coconut oil.
  • Lunch – A big green salad with avocado, dulse or wakame seaweed and sometimes some with some lightly baked local fish – I often drizzle my salads with apple cider vinegar and hemp oil and when out of Australia I will sprinkle hemp nuts on top as well.
  • Afternoon tea – I have been making a pudding in my Vitacrush blender using 2 Thai coconut (flesh and water), vanilla pods, a pinch of salt, 4 TBS coconut oil, 4 TBS chia seeds, (sometimes 1 avocado), 2 TBS of stevia powder and 4 TBS of carob powder
  • Dinner – usually involves more green salad, green juice, sometimes some steamed sweet potato or kelp noodles or 100% buckwheat soba noodles.

by Anand Wells, Live Food Education

 


Are you deficient? How to get the most from your diet

Many leaders in the natural health movement agree that disease is caused by two things: toxicity and deficiency. Nutritional deficiencies are far more common than we may realise. Why?

  1. Because our soils have become depleted in key nutrients from unsustainable farming practices and therefore the food grown in this soil is also deficient.
  2. Our fruit and vegetables are often picked unripe and are gassed to artificially induce ripening. In most cases this practice drastically reduces the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients available. 
  3. Malabsorption result from our body's inability to absorb and utilise vitamins, minerals and other nutrients contained in our food.

 This can be caused by the following:

  • Helicobacter infection in the stomach, (the bacterial infection that causes stomach ulcers).
  • Candida (Yeast infection), as a result of a bacterial imbalance in the gut due to a lack of probiotic bacteria.
  • Parasites acquired through the consumption of contaminated food and drink.
  • The inadequate production of stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) due to age degeneration, zinc deficiency, or the consumption of certain drugs.
  • Allergies to gluten, and lactose can result in a leaky gut wall, where food particles pass into the blood stream without being properly digested and utilised.
  • The consumption of certain food additives causes the body to excrete vitamins and minerals.
  • Stress
  • Exposure to heavy metals and other toxins

So what can we do to make sure our bodies are getting all the nutrients they need to thrive?

While most of us eating a balanced organic whole food diet can get a majority of our nutrients from the food itself, there are also circumstances when it is beneficial to use supplements and superfoods. But before we look at supplementing lets first see how we can obtain maximum nutrition from our food.

1. Eat fruits and vegetables that have been freshly picked as much as possible.

This means locally grown and in season. If I had the choice between eating a freshly picked conventionally grown orange or an organically grown orange that was picked 6 months ago 10,000 km away, I would choose the conventional orange. After 6 months in cold storage nearly all of the vitamin C disappears from fruit along with a whole host of other beneficial nutrients.

So how can you ensure that you are eating freshly harvested fruits and vegetables? Well nothing is fresher than harvesting from your own trees and veggie patch. We have recently become members of a wonderful project called Organic Farm Share which is a community owned organic farm in Northern NSW Australia. The farm is being designed to feed several hundred local families. If these are not options for you, sprouts can easily be grown in any home in either jars or special sprouting machines. Sprouts are the most alive of all living foods as they are still growing even in your fridge until the moment you eat them.

The next best option is to buy your produce from farmers or growers markets. If you are unable to buy organic, there are things you can do to clean the produce and minimise pesticide exposure like spraying with a solution on apple cider vinegar water and hydrogen peroxide.

2. Store your produce properly.

While harvesting and then eating organically grown produce straight from the plant is by far the best option for maximum nutrition it is not practical for many of us so knowing how to store your food is a very important factor in maximising its nutritional value.

Vegetables are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Unfortunately, after you pick vegetables, their nutrients start to break down. They continue to lose their nutrient value as time goes on. Light, heat and exposure to air can speed up that process, so it's important to eat vegetables as soon as you can after they're picked, or store them in a way that helps slow their nutrient loss.

Any type of storage results in some deterioration. Produce on store shelves has already begun to lose vitamins, and nutrient losses multiply each day. Wilting is a sure sign of nutrient loss, especially of climate-sensitive vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Lettuce, kale, silverbeet/chard and other leafy greens that are prone to wilting register a higher ascorbic acid reduction after several days of optimal cold storage than does cabbage, which is more resistant to wilting. Green beans lose 58 per cent of their original ascorbic acid during the first three days of refrigeration after harvesting.

While a certain amount of nutrient loss is inevitable, we can minimize it by purchasing the freshest possible produce and storing it under optimal conditions.

Refrigerate all leafy greens such as lettuce, dandelion, collards, mustard greens, chard, watercress and broccoli. They keep best when they are dry and wrapped in plastic or put in airtight plastic containers to prevent loss of moisture and vitamins. Cucumbers and eggplant, however, are best stored in paper bags in the crisper to protect against excess cold temperatures that cause the development of pitted, mushy spots.

Refrigerate carrots or store in a cool place in perforated bags or containers to allow air circulation. Protected from heat and light, carrots retain their nutrients for up to seven months. Their beta-carotene actually increases during the first five months of storage then remains stable for two months before decreasing.

Tomatoes tend to lose flavour if refrigerated. They are best stored loosely in a basket that permits air to circulate. Unripe tomatoes should be stored on a counter or on top of the fridge, which allows the ripening process to continue. Any type of produce that continues to ripen after picking, including unripe pears, peaches, and plums, must not be refrigerated. These should be stored in a brown paper bag at room temperature until ripe.

Citrus fruits may be stored at room temperature for several days and will last for up to two months if refrigerated. Apples must always be refrigerated. They will keep for several months, but gradual loss of nutrients, especially vitamin C, still occurs with lengthy storage. Store apples away from vegetables, or keep them in a plastic bag, as they give off ethylene gas as they ripen, promoting spoilage of other produce.

Here are a couple more tips on storing fresh produce

Store your vegetables whole. Don't slice them, as slicing vegetables exposed the flesh to air and light, which helps quickly break down the nutrients. Intact vegetable skins offer protection from light and air.

Store root vegetables in a dark, cool place like a cellar or low cabinet. Keep them in the crisper drawers, which are generally farthest away from the refrigerator lights and adjusted to be cooler than the rest of the refrigerator.

So as you can see when you bring your produce home, how you store it will make a huge difference to how long it will last and retain nutrients. 

3. Nutrient dense superfoods

Another way to maximise you nutrient intake is to eat the most nutrient dense foods you can get your hands on.   As you are probably already aware we consider fresh wild leafy greens to be the #1 superfood as they match human nutritional needs most completely. The second best would be more traditional leafy greens such as kale, spinach etc.

You may also like to take advantage of a wide range of dried and powdered superfoods which can be very high in certain nutrients and micronutrients. While fresh is always best it is still possible to benefit from some of these dried nutrient dense foods which are not commonly available fresh.

Here is a list of some of the more popular super foods.

AFA Blue Green Algae - 60% protein, long chain fatty acids, PEA. To detoxify body, increase mental focus and concentration, stabilize mood swings, balance blood sugar, decrease insulin requirement, decrease side effects of chemotherapy;

Spirulina - 60% protein, contains most of the essential minerals and vitamins, particularly iron and the B vitamins

Organic Raw Sprouted Brown Rice Protein – 98.2% bioavailability

Bee Pollen – rich source of high-quality protein since it contains all the essential amino acids plus quite a few more. Bee pollen contains vitamins A, B, C, and E, and is extraordinarily rich in most of the B vitamins, including folic acid (folate).

Chia Seeds - High in omega 3, 22% protein, a powerful source of the antioxidants that protect delicate essential fatty acids from oxidation

Cacao – high in antioxidants and magnesium and mood enhancing chemicals such as Anandamine

Maca - balances hormones, increases energy, full of minerals, vitamins, and protein, containing many of the essential amino acids, and particularly rich in calcium and magnesium,

Camu Camu Berry Powder – nature's highest source of vitamin C

Lucuma Powder – High in betacarotene, niacin (B3) and iron

Mesquite Meal – High in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and is rich in the amino acid lysine

Purple Corn Extract – Powerful antioxidant with anti-mutagenic, antimicrobial and anti-carcinogenic properties.

Coconut Oil - Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal; great for skin; assists weight-loss; assists body to burn fat; lowers bad cholesterol; lauric acid; important in building and maintaining immune system; doesn’t go rancid at room temp; Good for thyroid

Maqui Berry - Highest ORAC value of all berries and one of the most successful weight loss supplements.

Goji Berries - They contain 18 kinds of amino acids (six times higher than bee pollen) and contain all 8 essential amino acids (such as isoleucine and tryptophan). They also contain up to 21 trace minerals Goji berries are the richest source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene (more beta carotene than carrots), of all known foods or plants on earth! They contain 500 times the amount of vitamin C, by weight, than oranges making them second only to camu camu berries as the richest vitamin C source on earth. Goji berries also contain vitamins B1, B2, B6, and vitamin E.

2012 Probiotic Superfood - Re-colonise the GI tract with the full spectrum of Lactobacillus (friendly) bacteria. Contains significant enzymes, vital amino acids and a broad spectrum of essential nutrients. Helps break down nutrients. Keeps the colon clean and healthy. Health effects of compromised probiotics: toxins in the GI tract - lupus & psoriasis, partially digested proteins - eczema, arthritis, & immune system disorders. Contains the complete Lactobacillus bacteria family.

Sea Vegetables – most sea vegetables including sea weeds such as kelp, Nori, dulse, arame and wakame to name a few contain highest levels of trace minerals and iodine that you will find in any foods. These important minerals are often found lacking even in organically grown produce.

There are many many more superfoods available with more arriving on the market all the time.

by Anand Wells, Live Food Education

 


 
 
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