October 5
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The public view of saturated fats and heart disease is rapidly changing, thanks to paleo bloggers and the media that have been riding the wave of attention of a few new studies on the link between cholesterol, saturated fats and heart disease.

From Chris Kresser's Website

From Chris Kresser’s Website

For example, if I type in “saturated fats and heart disease” in Google, I get a number of provocative titles by various authors, in addition to medical research:

  • New Scientific Analysis Confirms Saturated Fats Have No Link to Heart Disease (Mercola)
  • Confused About Fat and Heart Disease? This Study Explains Why (Time Magazine
  • New study puts final nail in the “saturated fat causes heart disease” coffin (Chris Kresser)

What all of these articles are referring are a few meta-analysis observational studies where no link was found between heart disease and saturated fats, going against the current wisdom.

For example, a 2009 study stated:

A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.1

So what should we think of it?

It seems the public has responded with enthusiasm to this confusion by eating bacon and butter with the same reckless abandon.

The video below by Dr. Michael Greger explains why there is confusion.

The video gets a little complicated but it is 100% worth the watch. In summary:

  • Hundreds of studies have been done to without a doubt prove that saturated fat intake is the leading cause of increase in LDL “bad” cholesterol. These studies were done in a laboratory setting where the scientists had 100% control over the diet prescribed to people. Randomized control trials have also confirmed this.
  • Observational (epidemiological studies) CANT find this link because of highly variable factors in individuals that are difficult to spot in these studies.
  • Control-feeding experiments are different and PROVE that saturated fats raise cholesterol levels.
  • Observational studies don’t have the POWER to prove such a correlation.

The paleo community has embraced these new observational studies (funded by the meat industry) because they prove their point. However, they completely ignore the overwhelming body of evidence that implicates the role of saturated fat in heart disease.

It proves again that “people love to hear good news about their bad habits.”

June 11

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music

Filed under Blog by Frederic Patenaude

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I listen to a lot of audio books. I get them on Audible. I really love audio books because you can listen to them everywhere.

I probably “read” more via audio books than regular reading. Why? Because audio books can be listened to while you’re washing dishes, cleaning your house, getting up in the morning, going out for a walk, sitting on a train, etc.

Audio books are great, but sometimes can be disappointing. Not every book lends itself to an audio format. Sometimes you’ll listen to an audio book and think to yourself, “I should be reading this because I can’t remember all of this or this is too abstract. I need to see the concept on paper.”

I sometimes listen to audio novels, but mostly I listen to nonfiction information. Because I started doing some book reviews, I thought it would be a great idea to also review some of my favourite audio books, and they’re not going to be all about natural health.

I want to start with one that’s related to a big passion of mine: music. We love different kinds of music but I think most people are somewhat curious and interested about “classical music.”

For a lot of people, classical music is kind of mysterious: dead composers playing music of dead composers. The music is timeless even though it may have been written 200 years ago. Can we say the same about the popular artists of today? I don’t think so.

Classical music can also be intimidating. It’s complicated and it can be boring if you always listen to the same stuff. It’s much more than background music. To really enjoy classical music, you really have to understand why this music was written, what was going on in the artist’s mind when he wrote the music, and what is the structure of the music. It’s a language, and if you understand the language a little better it will make more sense.

Where to Start

I cannot think of a better way to get into the wonderful world of music than through Professor Robert Greenberg’s courses. He’s an amazing teacher and entertainer who’s produced a series of courses by the Teaching Company. These courses normally sell for $100 or more. I’ve been coveting the courses for a long time, and when I saw that they were available on Audible I jumped on the opportunity.

If you can get an audio book for $10 or $20 when it’s worth $100 or more, it’s a great deal. These courses are totally worth it. I’ve been really dedicated to them and there’s one that I would recommend to start with: “How to listen to and understand great music.”

I think music can really touch your soul and improve your life if you let it. This program by Professor Greenberg is not a book converted into an audio book, but a series of lectures that were recorded. Therefore, they’re much more lively and entertaining.

This program was meant to be listened to as an audio book. It’s a survey of the entire world of western concert music from its very start in ancient Greece to modern days. It goes into all the history of music, the different forms of music and how they’ve evolved.

It’s quite fascinating and it’s a topic that could be incredibly boring if taught by most other musicologists. Professor Greenberg is an amazing exception. He’s so entertaining that you’ll literally want to listen to it just for his jokes, his metaphors and his stories. He’s got quite a talent to entertain, but his knowledge is also deep. He’s quite a master at taking complex subjects and making them understandable.

If you’ve ever thought about getting into classical music but you have no idea where to start, or you already enjoy music but you’d like to learn more, there’s really no better place to start than this course. Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “What does this have to do with natural health and alternative therapies, which is usually the main topic of this website?” Well, again, I think music has tremendous power. This is my belief, to enhance our lives, lower our stress levels, and just make us happier people. That’s why I will not hide my passion for this and I want to share it with you guys through some reviews of music and books that I’ve found useful.

Get a trial subscription at Audible so you can download this book today for free.

May 29

The Healing Power of Music

Filed under Blog by Frederic Patenaude

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Can music influence our minds to the point of recovery healing?

I think it’s entirely possible, and this is because listening to music can be like meditation. You’ve gone to yoga and heard soft music in the background, or to a massage therapist and they put soothing music on; that’s because it helps the meditation aspects of yoga and massage therapy.

Music can have a positive influence on your blood pressure, can lower your heart rate, and reduce your stress hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol).

In one German study, music was found to help patients that were undergoing cerebral angiography. The doctors from Hanover Medical School’s Department of Neuroradiology were monitoring stress hormones, heartbeat and blood pressure. The patients that weren’t exposed to music showed rising levels of stress hormones in their blood, and those exposed to music remained stable. Blood pressure was lower in the group listening to music.

One dentist that I know plays classical music in his office to relax his patients as they undergo surgery.

Of course, whether this works depends on what kind of music you’re listening to. For music to have a soothing effect, it needs a more regular beat—a beat that matches your heartbeat—to induce relaxation and lower stress. This is why baroque music and some forms of classical music are used for this purpose.

Musician David Binanay now runs a nonprofit organization called “Music over Mind,” and they perform free music at hospitals for people suffering from mental illness.

Binanay himself used music to help his recovery from a psychotic episode, and his experience was so powerful that he was driven to start his nonprofit organization. He says, “It has been an 80% turnaround from complete loss to total rebirth. I feel like I’m a better person than before my illness.”

Music has also been used to reduce pain. At the Cleveland Clinic, the use of recorded music to patients after surgery saw a fourfold decrease in post-surgical pain.

Basically, it comes down to the fact that music can help lower stress levels and also trigger pleasure centers in the brain.

Listening to music that you love stimulates the same areas of the brain that trigger pleasure through humour, tasty food, and so on. For that reason, I don’t think you necessarily need to listen to classical music to enjoy the healing effects of music. You just need to listen to music that you love. If you listen to music with regular rhythm that closely matches your heartbeat, you’re going to enjoy additional benefits.

Can other types of music have the opposite effect—trigger aggression, feelings of depression and anger?

I did have that experience when I was a death metal fan. Death metal is a form of extreme heavy metal where the lyrics are growled and screamed. The music is faster and more aggressive with guitars that are tuned lower. It’s a very fringe kind of music that was popular in the 90s.

I never really noticed the effects of that music on my mind because I kind of grew out of it naturally. I remember a few years ago, around 2009, I got back into death metal for a little while because I watched a documentary on the history of heavy metal and it kind of reminded me of my days as a teenager. This is music that has a lot of power and I kind of got a little bit addicted to it; enthralled by it. After a few months, I noticed it was really contributing to making me feel low or even depressed.

The same thing happened in my early 20s when I went through a phase of listening to Pink Floyd’s The Wall. This is very melancholic music. I remember feeling so sad and low, but I didn’t make the connection until a friend pointed it out. “Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you’ve been listening to The Wall over and over again for the past few weeks.” And I thought, “Maybe.” I quit listening to that music and the feelings went away.

I think any kind of music that makes you feel relaxed, makes you experience joy, can have healing effects. Maybe you don’t take the time to listen to the music, or you don’t know what to listen to, or you’re looking for something new.

Let me share one piece of music that has an interesting history.

It’s the Second Movement of Beethoven’s Quartet in A minor Opus 132 — his 15th Quartet and this is the 3rd movement. It’s a piece that Beethoven wrote after recovering from a serious illness. He feared he almost died from an intestinal disorder that happened during the winter of 1824. He wrote this movement as a Holy Song of Thanksgiving of a Convalescent to the Divinity in the Lydian Mode, also known as the Heiliger Dankgesang. This is a very personal piece of music that he wrote as a personal “thank you” to his God.

He viewed the music with a tremendous positive quality that is truly remarkable. He wrote it in the Lydian Mode. For those musicians out there, you might be familiar with it as it is a medieval mode of music. Sit down at the piano and play scales on white notes only starting from F. From F to F, on white notes, you’re playing the Lydian Mode. Beethoven knew that the Lydian Mode had a particular significance because it’s the brightest mode. He felt it was the most positive scale to use for his composition.

I’m posting below this particular piece, and I think that this piece has healing powers. If you listen to it understanding the history of why it was composed, hopefully it can bring you peace and joy.

For an amazing musical journey, get this CD: 71CRMs4927L._SX522_

January 17

No More Heart Attacks

Filed under Blog by Frederic Patenaude

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Every year, more than 600,000 people in the United States die from heart disease. That’s 1 out of every 4 deaths in the US every year.

Some people may be surprised to learn that more people die from sick hearts each year than drug and alcohol abuse or even accidents. But when you take a look at how sick many people actually are, it’s not that shocking.

However, it may be equally surprising for some people to learn that these terrible bouts of bad health can easily be avoided, and in many cases reversed, all by attention to your lifestyle and what you eat.

Check out this video today where Dr. Michael Greger explains about diet and heart disease. You’ll learn:

  • The differences between the antioxidant content of plant foods and animal foods and how this impacts your health.
  • Why so many people are resistant to using diet and lifestyle as a means of effectively treating disease.
  • How people’s minds about a certain food or idea can change dramatically, as in the case of the humble, yet previously forsaken Tomato.
  • Why a plant-based diet for overall health as well as the treatment of disease is so effective vs. drugs or other diet therapies.

Check it out here:

Dr. Greger brings up some great points, including how shocking it is that so many people have died and still continue to, all because of ideas that either were accepted or unaccepted by the general population or medical community.

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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December 30
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A couple of weeks ago I was out of town on business and needed to grab a bite to eat. I spotted a health food restaurant that offered a giant buffet, including a salad bar where you could pay by plate size instead of by weight. Perfect!

They had two different salad prices: small and large. Of course I went for the “large” plate, but even that could have been bigger!

Whenever the deal is “fit as much as you can on your plate for this price,” my caveman instincts kick in, just like everybody else. So I started to pile crazy amounts of salad on that plate, filled with all kinds of veggies, some slices of avocado and other good things.

When I made it to the counter to pay, I thought I had a pretty big salad, but I still felt I could have piled even more on top of it all.

When the cashier saw my salad, he started laughing like a mad man.

The guy actually started to laugh uncontrollably! He just could not contain himself and started laughing and laughing while making comments about my salad between gasps for breath.

“Wow, that’s a really big umm….wow that’s a salad…..”

You get the idea.

I wasn’t quite sure whether to take it as a compliment or if I should feel slightly insulted.

But as he kept laughing more and more, I ended his party by looking at him straight in the eye, and with the most serious Poker face I could muster I asked him, “How much do I owe you?” trying to sound like I was a high-paid CEO talking to a low-class subordinate.

At first, I was wondering if he was laughing so hard simply because I was taking advantage of their $7.99 plate of salad by piling more than most people would fit onto such a plate.

But then I kept thinking of other buffets where you pay by the plate, and all over the world I’ve seen people do the same thing: pack as much as they can onto the tiniest, cheapest plate possible.

There’s a restaurant in my city called the “Mongolian Grill” where you can get a pretty good vegetarian stir-fry. You take a bowl and pile as many vegetables as you can onto it, and a guy will cook it in front of you on a giant hot plate.

At all of those restaurants, I’ve always witnessed people pack in as much meat as possible, and if they’re vegetarian, as much veggies as they can possibly fit onto that plate, so much that sometimes stuff starts falling off it as they bring it to the counter.

So after this health food store employee laughed uncontrollably at my salad, I came to the conclusion that he was actually laughing because I was going to EAT such a big salad, not because he though I was ripping off his store.

In his mind, eating such a giant salad would be the equivalent of someone else eating a three-foot sub sandwich! It’s all relative.

A local Montreal newspaper that was doing a feature on raw food diets once interviewed me. When I told the reporter that I was often eating 8 to 10 bananas for lunch, he also started to laugh uncontrollably, as did the filming crew. It seemed so odd to them that a single person would eat so many bananas in a sitting!

The Importance of Caloric Density

Caloric density is one of the most important concepts in health and weight loss.

It’s simply a value of how many calories are in a certain weight of food, either by pound or kilo.

If you eat foods with a low caloric density, you get full much faster because you have more volume to deal with, and more fiber to keep you full.

If you eat foods of high-caloric density, you tend to find it easier to consume more calories, and for some people this causes some issues for their waistline.

Study after study has shown that caloric density is the most important factor in making a diet work long-term.

Why?

Because if you eat foods of low caloric density, you get full much faster, and it’s incredibly difficult to overeat and gain unwanted weight.

For example, lettuce has a caloric density of only 100 calories per pound, while olive oil has 4000 calories per pound.

Now you’ll say… yeah, but nobody just eats olive oil!

Of course. But whenever you add olive oil to a food, you increase the overall caloric density significantly.

One famous study showed that when they fed a group of people the same food but without the added fat, people ate the same amount of food, but consumed fewer calories, and lost weight. But, the other group being fed the same food but with extra oil sneaked in gained weight. They were taking in extra calories without realizing it!

At the same time, if you add lettuce to any meal, you lower the caloric density.

That’s why they’ve found that when people had a large fat free salad or a big apple before their meal, they ate less at the meal and were able to lose weight. All because of applying the concepts of caloric density.

Let’s take a look at the average caloric density of different food, in terms of number of calories by pound.

Food Caloric Density Per Pound
Fresh raw or cooked veggies 100
Fresh raw fruit 250-300
Cooked Starchy Vegetables, Intact Whole Grains 450-500
Legumes and Beans 550-600
Meat Products 900-1000
Dried Fruit 1200
Processed grains and Flours (even if made from whole grains) 1200-1500
Cheese 1800
Nuts and Seeds 2800
Cheese 1800
Oil 4000

 

Keep in mind that this is an average across a category. For example, we know that bananas contain more calories per weight than apples, but overall fruits have a similar caloric density.

Looking at this table, you’d be tempted to only eat vegetables if you were interested in losing weight, as they contain only 100 calories per pound.

It’s important to note that nobody can live on just vegetables, and that you’d get so hungry on a diet of just vegetables that you’d eventually break down and eat something else!

However, you do want your diet to contain plenty of raw vegetables, by weight.
The concept of caloric density applied to your overall system of eating is to look at the overall caloric density of your meals.

What have been your experiences with eating since being aware of caloric density? Let us know in the comments below!

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December 11

The Case Of The Fat Vegan

Filed under Blog by Frederic Patenaude

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We’re all familiar with how a plant-=based diet is great for the planet. It cuts down significantly on your carbon footprint by using far less water and fossil fuels to produce the food, and this is great for the environment as a whole.

Eating a plant-based diet also tends to obviously be better for the animals that are not getting consumed, which is great overall, too.

But what about when the plant-based diet turns into a “vegan” diet (or the other way around) and you end up eating a diet strictly of plant foods, but not necessarily the healthiest plant foods.

I’ve found that there’s a big difference between a “plant-based” dieter and a “vegan”, much of the time.

When you say plant-based, you would likely be brought to mind that of a diet based on plants, where mostly plants are eaten in the diet. Rice, beans, veggies, nuts, seeds, and other plant foods.

However, a “vegan” diet can be all over the map. Everything from cigarettes t o cashews butter chocolate cookies to deep fried vegetable tempura is all clear in the vegan realm of eating. Obviously, this makes for some different looking vegans.

Check out this video today where Dr. John McDougall discusses how somebody can become overweight following a vegan diet, and ow they can void doing so.

You’ll learn:

  • How you can differentiate between what a healthy vegan diet is and what a junkfood vegan diet is.
  • Why it’s so important for people to actually care for themselves first and foremost, and how doing so can help them spread their message in the most effective way.
  • Which foods that are so commonly eaten in large amounts by many vegans ultimately aren’t healthy for them or their causes.
  • Which foods do support a healthy vegan diet that allows for the best health and wellbeing of the planet as an entire whole.

I think that Dr. McDougall brings up some great points. We should all remember that YOUR health, first and foremost, is what’s most important in your life. If you aren’t the healthiest you can possibly be, there’s no way you’ll ever be able to be healthy enough to fully support and give your all to whatever your cause is.

What have been your experiences? Let us know in the comments below!

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October 21

Raw Food Combining

Filed under Blog, Raw Food & Health by Frederic Patenaude

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The other day I was thinking about summer. For most of us in North America, the change of seasons is definitely in the air, and it had me yearning for the tastes of summer. This brought me right to one of my favorite salads, ingredients as follows:

– Crisp romaine lettuce
– Sweet and ripe raw corn
– Garden-ripen tomatoes
– Diced mango
– Creamy avocado
– Fresh herbs picked from the garden
– Lemon juice

If you haven’t had a chance to try a good salad with quality ingredients like this, I highly recommend you try it out! Par of what makes it so good is the quality and freshness of the ingredients. I always opt for the freshest I can find.

But another reason it tastes so great is the combination of the sweetness in the mango and corn, the savory taste of the tomatoes and vegetables and herbs, and the creaminess of the avocado.

Many people who adhere to food combining rules would have a fit over this concoction. Sure, it will taste like heaven in the mouth, they say, but hell in the stomach!

Well, maybe not quite. Let’s take a look.

Indeed, what about food combining rules?

Most people who are following a raw food diet or health-conscious diet have heard something about food combining, or consciously combining (or not combining!) certain foods for the sake of ideal digestion.

For example, the original book where many food combining advocates base many of their ideals, “Food Combining Made Easy” by Dr. Herbert Shelton, presented many “rules”, but no real reasons behind them.

Also, a lot of people have misinterpreted that book. Because Shelton said “eat melons on their own”, some people think they should never eat melons with other fruits (such as peaches), when in fact Shelton clearly stated you could do so.

Essentially, his rule was meant to avoid the common combination/abomination in those days of a big slice of watermelon after of rich meal of meat and pasta.

In my book the “Raw Secrets”, I simplified food combining rules in the raw diet to three essential rules:

  • Don’t combine fat with sugar
  • Don’t combine acids with starch
  • Don’t combine different types of fatty foods within one meal

Today, I’m going to simplify these rules even more, and completely deconstruct the food combining theory.

How I Reconsidered These Rules

For many years, I followed food combining rules blindly without questioning them. Then I started simplifying them over the years, and realized that some of them weren’t really necessary.

At this point, I have eliminated most of the “rules” I once thought were absolutely essential. Over the years, I’ve watched how other raw foodist and raw food enthusiast actually ate.

Many of them didn’t pay attention to any of these food combining rules and just ate the combinations of foods they felt like eating or that tasted good to them.

Yet when I saw what they were eating, they were breaking all the rules! What I’ve learned over time is that many of these rules didn’t really have much validity for most people, and you don’t really need to follow them so strictly.

The idea behind many food combining rules is to simplify the process of digestion. So naturally, the “sandwich” is one of the worst combinations ever, because it combines many classes of foods which are optimally digested in a completely different acidic or non-acidic environment in the stomach.

In the raw food diet, people naturally avoid most of these combinations, leaving mainly one: the combination of fat and sugar.

The idea behind this rule is that combining fat and sugar, such as dates and almonds together, will let the sugar ferment in the stomach.

The reason is simple: almonds and other fats take a lot more time to digest than simple sugars. If you eat them together, the sugar you eat will spend much more time in the stomach and intestines and start to ferment.

But even with that rule, the traditional rules of food combining allow for certain exceptions. For example, you can combine acid fruits with nuts together.
The idea is that because nuts digest well in an acidic environment, acid fruits don’t compromise that picture, and also contain less sugar than other sweeter fruits.

This line of reasoning always appeared a little suspicious to me, and I noticed that this combination didn’t really bother me at all.

But one thing that struck me as particularly bizarre is that many foods in nature naturally contained the dreaded fat and sugar combination.

For example, the durian, a beloved fruit of many raw-foodists, is very rich in sugar and quite rich in fat (20-30% on average).

Even avocados contain some sugar and carbohydrates, and so do nuts (especially cashews).

There are also other fruits in nature that contain this forbidden mixture of fat and sugar, such as the Ackee fruit, popular in Jamaica.

So it always seemed a little bizarre to me that the argument was that it was “natural” to follow these food combining rules, yet nature broke it’s own rules, as it were.

I find that many people who are suffering from indigestion or other ailments blamed on a lack of proper food combining tend to have something in common: they’re eating a LOT of fat with a LOT of sugar, for example.

Eating a pound of raisins and almonds together might not leave you feeling the best. But try eating a few dates and few almonds together. You’ll probably find that this combination goes down just fine.

The same goes for other fatty foods too.

Eat a giant bowl of guacamole and chase it with a bunch of bananas and figs, you might experience a bit of digestive upset.

But dice up a third of an avocado in a salad that contains lettuce and mango, and you’ll probably be fine.

I’ve found that this rule of avoiding fat and sugar mostly has to do with the quantities that are eaten together.

So to simplify it all, my new single rule (if you can call it that!) is that it’s fine to eat some fatty foods with some sweet foods, just don’t go crazy on the amounts of each thing you combine.

I would just recommend trying to avoid fruits that are very concentrated in sugar such as dates, dried fruits or bananas, and instead use juicy fruits. It also helps to avoid large amounts of fats like oil.

I sill appreciate the essence and spirit of food combining, as I do feel that it’s great to get more in tune with eating simpler and in combinations that make you and your body happy. However, I don’t think you need to deal with any of the stress or restriction that strict food combining devotees can fall prey to.

I’ve found that much of it is really mind over matter in this case. Just eat your healthy food and enjoy it!

October 16

How Dense Are Your Nutrients?

Filed under Blog, Raw Food & Health by Frederic Patenaude

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Nutrient density is something that really is sort of the key to health and nutrition.

I mean think about it for a second: let’s say person A. eats around three pounds of food per day, and they get so many nutrients from that. Then let’s say person B. also eats just three pounds of food per day, only the food they are eating contains ten times the amount of nutrients in person A.’s food.

Each person can go through their entire lives eating the same amount of food, but the nutrient density and the types of foods they eat really make the difference.

I mean, eating 1,000 calories of white flour and sugar is going to effect your body much differently than 1,000 calories of sweet potatoes and beans.

Check out this video today with Dr. Joel Fuhrman and you’ll learn:

    • Why almost all of the traditional dieting tricks just don’t really result in lasting weight loss.
    • How nutritious foods feel to your body vs. foods void of real nutrition. This actually determines how full you feel after eating!
    • Learn which foods are the most nutrient dense (no, cupcakes didn’t make the list).
    • How many vegans and vegetarians can actually end up getting most of their calories from foods that really aren’t that healthy.

Nutrient density is something that I have personally been aware of for a while now, and is something that I feel is critical when it comes to eating well.

Much of the draw of a raw food diet is that many of the foods are by default more nutrient dense, but I think that you can combine the best of both worlds by eating both nutrient dense raw foods and nutrient dense cooked foods.

September 15

When “Health Food” Isn’t Really Healthy

Filed under Blog by Frederic Patenaude

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Reading food labels can be a tricky thing. From the bright packaging to the bold claims right on the box that try to reel you in, we’re bombarded with information and [false] claims right from the beginning.

For many people, learning how to find out what’s really in their food is a major step towards reclaiming their health. So many people on a daily basis eat ingredients in their foods that even the most astute English major would have difficulty deciphering.

So today I present to you a clip from a presentation given by Jeff Novick on how to properly read food labels to find out what’s really in your food. Considering how many claims don’t hold up when you read the fine print, it’s always good to look a little closer and see for yourself.

You’ll learn:

• How food manufacturers can mislead you in their marketing claims and how you can find the truth for yourself.
• Understand why food marketers make it difficult for you to decipher what you’re really eating.
• How manufacturers actually make “low fat” and “fat free” foods. And no, it’s not just putting in less fat!
• Why it’s a good idea to read food labels carefully and not just taking the packaging claims at face value.

Food manufacturers have been dubious in their practices over the years as they try to sell more product at a cheaper cost. Unfortunately, this usually results in a serious compromise in the health of the food for you.

I certainly don’t recommend you stand in the grocery isles with a calculator to test the authenticity of the label claims of the food you buy, but I do recommend you learn to be aware of what is in the foods that you eat.

April 1

The Strangest Emails I’ve Received

Filed under Blog by Frederic Patenaude

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I thought of sending you an April’s Fools day joke… But I can’t beat Swayze with her “I’m no longer vegan” email, so here’s a light topic for you…

Over the years, I’ve received a lot of positive comments on my work. I’ve also received some “hate mail” and plain strange emails.

Here are some from my “best of” collections of emails that left me a little puzzled, with my comments. Names have been changed.


hi Fred… I have to say that you are missing the boat… raw nuts seeds and greens were introduced in Eden.. surely God is smarter than you…. end this crap, you are accountable for every word out of your mouth.. ask God what to do.. warmly Julietta.

This person refers to my stance on limiting nuts and seeds in the diet. Obviously, I can’t argue with God. I will mention, however, that nuts and seeds, in Nature, come with a shell, and are difficult to open. That may be a sign from God that you shouldn’t eat more than a small handful a day. Just a thought…


i just wanted to let you know i once made a smoothie with raw cacao, i almost had a heart attack.. not serious but my hart was pounding wild. 

Felt really horrible, 

i found a lot of info about theobromine, it being a neurotoxine. 

Everybody is promoting cacao just for their own benefits. 

But you are for real. Thank you for that. 
I would like to dive more in to it. why theobromine why this suits them to feed us chocolate, (the commercials are all over the place) 

Morna 

I don’t recommend raw cacao. If you’re going to eat chocolate, just get the regular, old, cooked chocolate. Raw cacao is likely laden with mold.

Raw cacao is a stimulant, like coffee, but I’m sure that it won’t lead to heart attacks. Theobromine is not a neurotoxin, but rather a stimulant equivalent to caffeine. That is probably what she felt when she tried her raw cacao smoothie. Also, I think cacao is one of those items that should be roasted, and not sold raw, due to the mold that can develop on the beans when they are left in the open. The whole “raw cacao” trend is one that always left me puzzled.

Fred, you sent out an email tonight stating that you hate the Winter season. Wow, that one struct me hard because the use of the word “hate” is very serious, and I couldn’t belive it would come from someone who is supposed to very much deep into nature. What’s going on with this picture? I think you need to apologise to nature and all of your members. I did not appreciate that email and hopefully, in the future you don’t send out an email like that to me anymore. I do not like the use of the word, there is too much animosity there on nature.

Here, the reader is referring to a comment I made about “hating winter.” I always said that you can’t be boring in print, so that’s why I use vivid language to make my point.

Our reader seems to think that “nature” is a person who would get upset at my use of this word. For the record: I maintain that I still hate the really cold months of winter here in Canada. I’m a tropical boy at heart. I simply won’t budge on that!

i didn’t want to post on a forum. I don’t know who to talk to. Every day for the past few weeks I’ve been blacking out.. not just when standing up, but when sitting up. I feel like I have no body.. just a floating head.. if that makes any sense. I’m doing things that make no sense.. like i went into my bedroom to get my robe to take a shower and instead of getting my robe I picked up my full length mirror and left the room with it and then couldn’t figure out what I was doing.

I started taking David Wolfe’s course on raw food.. only it’s been focused on “superfood” so I started increasing cacao in my smoothies.. adding mucuna as well and maca. I don’t know if that’s the cause.
I saw what you wrote on cacao.. could that be it? I saw David Wolfe speak yesterday at CoSM… he said the moon didn’t rotate.. after that my brain spun and I felt the need to leave. On the way there I got lost and called my husband screaming at him like a lunatic. I told him I hated him.
I’m really freaking out… I have to go rock climbing after.. but I feel like I can’t move. can’t function. is there something i can do to counteract this feeling??? I need help.

Okay, I know this one sounds kind of serious. This person eventually sorted out her problem. Obviously, I don’t advise people on medical issues and certainly recommend taking blackouts seriously, especially if you’re heading rock climbing later. I will make a comment, though: It’s never a good idea to self-medicate with natural herbs and products sold by a supplement company, advertising specific health results.

“I think very few people who subscribe to your emails will be put off by your latest rant – I, for one, am used to them and I don’t mind a good rant. It’s a sign of a passionate character.
But I have a few points of disagreement with this latest one that I am finally going to express to you. Hopefully they will not make YOU so mad you won’t pay attention to them! 
I am in general agreement with everything you say about food and health, and I think you are doing a wonderful thing to bring your ideas forward like you do. I’m sure you are helping many people. However… just a few points…..
First – I hadn’t heard of “breatherians” before… but the esoteric Eastern spiritual paths all know, from practical examples, that humans can live entirely without food. For years. Not from breathing air, but from living directly off of light. If the Breathairians are living without food, they may be mistaken about the source of their subsistence, but it IS possible they can live without eating. Therese Neumann, in Germany in the last century, is a Westerner who lived without food for many years… and this was ‘scientifically proven’ to be true…”

I have little to say here, except that it’s fairly strange that all the starving children of the world seem to live in sunny climates. I’m puzzled by the “scientifically proven,” which is freely given with no reference whatsoever.

We lived in San Isidro for three years, now we live in Alajuela and are trying to find the full spectrum light bulbs in Costa Rica rather than having them mailed from the U.S. or Canada. Can you sell us one in San Isidro (we come up often) or tell us if anyone does sell them in Costa Rica. If not, do they go through Customs and do you get charged for them. Thanks.

This email was regarding an article that I wrote about full-spectrum lights. As much as I love to help, it’s a little bit outside of my comfort zone to hand deliver full-spectrum lights to my readers in Costa Rica!

I, and a number of my friends have made an effort to use much more raw food in our vegetarian diet. But there is a serious problem that I have not see mentioned or dealt with before. When eating more raw foods, I and most of the people I know have had a BIG PROBLEM with VERY LOOSE STOOLS – which has stopped after eating less raw food. None of these people have a medical problem. This problem has persisted over time.
Dave

This isn’t an uncommon question from my readers, but I find the selective use of CAPS funny… To answer it, on a high-fiber diet, it’s normal to experience larger stools that are easier to pass and as many as one per meal eaten. That is the normal way humans are supposed to poop.

All right, now it’s your turn to share what the weirdest thing someone told you about your raw/vegan lifestyle!