Normally you hear me talk about raw foods. And indeed, a diet high in raw foods can be tremendous for health. A 100% raw food diet (or close to it) is also quite appropriate for healing purposes, for cutting down body fat, and many people also do very well with it as a long term program.
But for the vast majority of people (myself included), eating 100% raw for life is not realistic or even advisable.
We already know which raw foods are best for health. Let’s talk about some cooked foods that are true nutritional superstars.
By the way, if you eat 100% raw and are happy with it, there’s no point in complaining that I’m telling you that you “should” be eating cooked foods. Obviously, this article is meant for people who want to incorporate both raw and cooked foods to create the ultimate diet… which by the way, is the topic of my next book!
In no particular order…
1) Sweet potatoes
I’ve had a thing for sweet potatoes lately. During WW2, the Japanese living on the islands of Okinawa lived on a diet composed almost exclusively of sweet potatoes. The Asian variety of sweet potatoes is actually blue inside, not orange. But the vegetable is very simple. Is it a coincidence that these people ended up being the longest-lived people in the world?
No doubt, a diet composed mostly of sweet potatoes, with a few other things, can be spartan. But it can also give the body everything it needs. Compared to other complex carbs, sweet potatoes contain more vitamins, especially beta-carotene.
Most people who are sensitive to carbs handle sweet potatoes very well. Baking them is common, but I prefer to peel them, slice them about an inch thick, and steam them in a pot with just enough water to last through the cooking process. I don’t cook them until they are mushy. I leave a little crunch to them.
Cooked that way, they’ll keep a few days in the fridge. That way, you can enjoy sweet potatoes often without having to worry about baking them for an hour.
2) Winter Squash
This is a type of food most people didn’t grow up eating in North America, but they’re true superfoods. Again, they’re alkaline forming and super-rich in minerals, and they fill you up like potatoes or bread, but they’re much easier to digest.
Butternut squash is a classic, but my favorite is the “red kuri squash” called “potimarron” in French. The texture of this one is truly creamy and delicious, and you can cook it with the skin on.
According to the book “The Blue Zones,” one thing that all long-lived people in the world have in common is that they eat beans.
Black beans, soya beans, chickpeas, lentils…. beans are a slow-digesting carb that will give you sustained energy. It’s generally the food that “Junk vegans” don’t eat enough of.
My favorite bean is the black bean, popular in latin America. I cook them for about 2 hours without soaking (but with a quick rinse), with bay leaves, garlic, and one small peeled potato (which you will throw away after).
4) Steamed Greens
Greens are healthy in all their forms, but the advantage of slightly steaming them is that they become much easier to chew, digest and assimilate. Blending or juicing them also achieves similar purposes.
Certain greens are just not that enjoyable to eat raw, like chard and kale. I know, I know, there are little tricks to make them more “chewable” but it’s often not worth it because cooking them for a few minutes does not really alter their nutritional value.
I like to steam kale and add them to salads that are otherwise raw, along with a creamy dressing.
Only Americans add raw mushrooms to salad. This practice is deemed very strange by Europeans, who always cook mushrooms.
There’s a reason to cook mushrooms. The composition of their cell walls are extremely difficult to digest. So if you eat raw mushrooms, you just don’t benefit from them. Cooking them releases significantly more nutritional value. It also destroys some compounds that could make them irritating or toxic in the raw state.
But why eat mushrooms then?
New research shows that they contain powerful compounds that can prevent and fight cancer. That’s why Dr. Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live, so enthusiastically recommend them.
They also fill you up without containing many calories. Plus, they can be delicious too!
The fear campaign against carbs and especially rice is largely undeserved. Rice is a staple for billions of people who for hundreds of years have remained lean, active and healthy eating it.
Rice is generally well-tolerated by most people who are sensitive to other grains, or can’t handle gluten.
Brown rice is considered the healthiest, but its phytate contain may make the minerals in them less accessible. Nonetheless, it’s rich in fiber and easy to digest, and won’t make anybody fat anytime soon. It’s almost impossible to gain weight on a brown rice-based diet because it”s just so filling with so few calories.
White rice, although often put in the rank of “junk food,” is actually a very neutral food that is very easy to digest that it can often be used by people who need extra energy and are otherwise sensitive to other types of complex carbs.
But don’t rule out other types of rice. There’s about 9 types of rice that I personally use and rotate.
Red rice, Black Rice — I love these unusual rice rich in antioxidants. Available in Asian markets or health food stores.
Jasmine rice, basmati — Best to serve with curry and very aromatic!
Parboiled rice. This rice has been partially boiled with the husk and bran to incorporate some of the bran’s nutrients into the interior of the rice. So it’s white rice that has a nutritional profile similar to brown rice. It’s often used in Caribbean rice and beans and is quick to cook.
Sweet rice (or “sticky” rice) – Often used in making Asian dessert recipes, such as sticky rice with mangoes and coconut milk!
Let’s not even get into the other varieties of rice used to making sushi rice, risotto, etc.!
7) Cooked Tomato Products
Both raw and cooked tomatoes are healthy. I don’t subscribe to always trying to isolate specific nutrients in food, such as lycopene in tomatoes. But the fact is that certain nutrients are easier to assimilate in cooked foods, while others are too fragile and heat sensitive that they should be obtained from raw foods.
Raw tomatoes are excellent, but cooked tomatoes can make life worth living sometimes. I’m talking about the incredible aromas of home-made tomato sauce. And it’s true that cooking tomatoes boosts their antioxidant content.
I’ve not covered other important topics of balancing raw and cooked foods, such as quantities, the proper percentage of each, how to avoid “falling off the wagon,” animal foods, wine, and many other exciting topics.
But I will in future articles and of course in my upcoming book… tentatively titled:
Raw Freedom — Combining the Best of Raw With the Healthiest Cooked Foods to Create the Ultimate Diet.
What about you? What cooked foods have you found beneficial to add to a high-raw diet?
In my last article I gave you my first six reasons why I don’t eat a 100% raw food diet, even after 15 years of being involved in the raw food movement.
If you missed part 1, you can read it here.
Here are the six other reasons:
#7 — I enjoy cooked foods (also known as: “I’m a cooked food addict”)
One simple reason I don’t eat everything 100% raw is that there are far too many foods that I enjoy eating, that I think are very healthy, and that are not raw. I know plenty of folks who really enjoy eating 100% raw. In fact, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Everything comes with practice. The longer you eat a certain diet, the more normal it becomes to you, and the less you start missing your old diet.
But let’s face it: eliminating all cooked foods 100% from your diet for the rest of your life is a big change. Many prominent raw foods who write books on the subjects and are the most well-known people in the field told me recently that they still have dreams sometimes about eating cooked foods, even after years of eating 100% raw.
I enjoy raw foods, but I also enjoy some cooked foods. It’s not whether food is raw or cooked that is the main factor in determining whether it is healthy or not. Many raw foods are healthy, but some are not in excess. Same for cooked foods (and of course, a lot depends on how they are cooked).
Call me an addict who never managed to break the addiction, if you will. I just consider myself human.
#8- My energy is different
In terms of health, it’s a little more difficult to qualify things because I ate a raw food diet for a big part of my 20s, a time in life where health problems are usually not a concern.
I have made some important observations based on how I feel on my current diet versus the times I was eating 100% raw or close to it.
One thing that became apparent concerns my energy levels. On 100% raw, I often felt I had “more energy” but the energy was more a sort of excitement coming from a feeling of lightness. It felt great at times, but I also noticed that my energy was not as stable as it is now. For example, if I missed a few hours of sleep one night, I would be completely thrown off balance the next day, and wouldn’t have the energy to exercise.
Now that I don’t eat 100% raw and eat a balance of raw and cooked foods, my normal energy feels less “hyper” but at the same time, it also feels more stable. If I sleep poorly one night, I can still go through a tough workout at the gym and muster all the necessary energy. So on 100% raw I felt a more nervous, euphoric kind of energy — while with cooked foods I feel a more grounded type of energy, and also bigger reserves of energy.
#9- I like not having to think about food all the time
Let’s face it, when you eat 100% raw, food becomes a major preoccupation in your life. First, you have to worry about securing enough food, usually by buying giant cases of fruit at a time (which I still do, by the way).
Then, you have to worry about ripening. For example, if you live on a fruit-based diet and require a lot of calories, there’s a good chance that bananas will become a staple in your diet. When buying bananas, managing ripening time can be an issue, so you don’t end up with only ripe bananas at your disposal all at once, not knowing what to do with them. On the other end, your bananas could be green for a while and you find yourself without enough food.
There are of course issues with social situations and traveling, which require extra worry and planning around food.
I’m not saying that all of those things can’t be managed. Many people who eat 100% raw eventually learn the tricks and manage to do quite well with all of this planning.
All I’m saying is that I personally enjoy not having to think about food all the time. For example, if I’m invited somewhere, I won’t request a 100% raw meal (which in my experience, was very hard to get anyway!) I’ll be a little flexible with my food choices at times, and more strict with myself at other times. If I’m on a vacation, I’ll be very flexible with what I’m eating, because I know a few “cheat meals” won’t make much of a difference in my overall health, but being able to relax on vacation and not have to worry about securing enough fruit will have a bigger impact on my well-being during that time!
Each person has to decide whether the sacrifices they are making are worth the results the are getting. To me, being a 100% raw foodist for life was not worth all the sacrifices I was making, and that is one of the biggest reasons I don’t eat 100% raw.
#10 I “overdosed” on raw foods
To be perfectly honest, when you do too much of one thing, it can often turn you off for a long time after. For me, my early enthusiasm with the raw food diet led me to fully explore the 100% path, to the point where I got sick of it!
There are few smells in the world that I find as displeasing as the smell of dehydrating goods that come out of a raw food restaurant. This particular smell of dehydrating flax, mixed with raw onion and garlic, beets, carrots, juicing greens… this particular combination of smells is now something that will instantly spoil my appetite. Maybe it’s because it’s bringing back old memories of my time eating 100% raw where in a way, I wasn’t at my best.
Another food I have a hard time stomaching now is a giant 12-banana smoothie. After eating this daily for lunch for many years, I woke up one day and couldn’t stand the thought of it.
So now I rarely make giant fruit smoothies. Instead, I eat all of my fruit whole, except for my morning green smoothies. Because I’m getting extra calories from certain cooked foods I eat (like sweet potatoes or beans), I don’t need to eat giant banana smoothies for lunch every day to get the energy I need. So I find this works better because I can enjoy eating WHOLE fruits again, instead of downing them in huge smoothies all day.
#11 —I like to have the best of both worlds
With everything I’ve said, I would not want to give the impression that I’m anti raw foods or even an high-raw diet. I also have nothing against the concept of 100% raw, as long as it works for you and you’re happy with it.
I just think that raw foodists have taken their philosophy to an extreme by demonizing all cooked foods, even those that clearly have great health benefits.
You can criticize certain foods, like bread, dairy products, and refined sugar. You can also criticize certain cooking methods, like frying in oil. But to put all cooked foods in the same basket and label all of them as unhealthy or “toxic,” regardless of what they are, is downright silly.
Many cooked foods are not only innocuous but are also perfectly healthy. Things like slightly cooked greens such as kale, may even have more health benefits than their raw counterparts, simply because they are more digestible.
Cooked root vegetables are particularly healthy (sweet potatoes, yams, etc.), alkaline-forming, and have been part of the human diet for possibly hundreds of thousands of years.
And can we silence the fact that every single long-lived culture in the world, as identified by the Blue Zones research (see the book by the same name) uses some kind of bean or legume as part of their diet?
It only makes sense from a purely nutritional standpoint to combine the best of both world — lots of raw foods with the healthiest cooked foods. The overall quality of the diet can only be increased when there is more variety rather than a pure diet only limited to raw foods.
#12 — The guilt is gone
In many raw food groups, there is a lot of elitism. As if 100% raw foodists are somehow superior and more enlightened than those who can’t stick to all raw foods. I’ve even heard some prominent raw foodists talk about their belief that people who can’t stick to 100% raw have “emotional issues and blockages” that prevent them from going all the way.
Ultimately, we’re doing this for health. I’ve never understood people claim that the main reason they eat a raw food diet is because they feel more spiritually enlightened that way.
Health is the motivator. So ultimately, if you feel that you must eat 100% raw to be perfectly healthy, then that’s what you should do.
However, it’s also important to understand the reasons why people “feel like shit” when they eat cooked foods after a period of eating 100% raw or close to it. It’s often not what they think. That will be a topic for a future article.
Ultimately, you should be happy with your diet, and you should get the results that you desire. Guilt should not be a part of the equation.
I see too many raw foodists overwhelmed with guilt. They count the days they’ve been 100% raw and see every “cooked food episode” as a huge failure or a sign of a lack of character.
You can be healthy, enjoy your food, and avoid the guilt! It requires a little more patience though, and a more elaborate and mature health philosophy than a simple black and white statement such as “raw is law and cooked food is poison.”
But what do you think?
I only ate a 100% raw food diet for about 3 and 1/2 years in my early days, and since then, after a lot of experimenting, I eat a combination of raw and cooked foods. Of course, during the last 15 years, I’ve had periods when I ate more or less raw foods. I also ate 100% raw for months at a time.
But It’s been very clear for many years that a 100% raw food diet as an ideal to maintain for life was not the right diet for me.
So in today’s article, I’m going to explain the reasons why. This is the first part of the article, with the last part coming next week.
But first, a little update. For the past year, I’ve been working on a new book.
This is a book that I’m actually VERY excited about.
If you read my book “Raw Food Controversies” you read towards the end of the book how I was planning to release a program called “The Mostly Raw Plan.”
This project kept evolving and I decided it was going to be a book. However, the name has been change and so far the name I’ve kept is “Beyond Raw.”
Not the most original, but I do think it describes better what the book is about.
Essentially, this is a book I’ve been wanting to write for about 8 years. I’ve worked on it on and off, but never found the right angle. Now, it’s all coming together and I’m really excited about it.
The purpose of “Beyond Raw” is to present an alternative to the rigid, inflexible raw food diet presented by most raw food “gurus.” Their diet may have appeal to some people, but it does not work and is not practical for 99% of people.
Guilt, lack of fresh ripe foods, confusion about contradicting health messages and social isolation make the 100% raw food diet very difficult to follow.
But you can feel great, strong and healthy by incorporating specific cooked foods into your diet? If you’re struggling to find balance, are plagued by the food guilt, then this new book will be for you.
This new book will be quite a breath of fresh air and hopefully will help a lot of people. I’m working on it relentlessly, and it should come out in February.
I would love to hear your comments on this topic below! And any other suggestions you might have about the book…
12 Reasons Why I Don’t Eat 100% Raw (Part 1)
#1 Cooked food is not toxic
One of the main reasons why I don’t eat a 100% raw food diet is that… there’s really nothing that has really convinced me that this is a requirement for health. A lot of the raw food “advice” spread everywhere in books and websites often implies that eating cooked foods will make you sick, because it is “toxic.”
Pseudo-scientific arguments have included:
- The food enzyme theory
- The Pottenger cat study
- The digestive leucocytosis study
- Kirlian photography
- The “diet by design” arguments
- The “no other animals cook their food” argument
In this article I will not debunk each of these myths. You can already find a lot of information on the subject on my website on many of these myths, and future articles, as well as my upcoming book, will thoroughly destroy these false beliefs.
My conclusion is that cooking food does not make it “toxic” by any stretch of the imagination. Some cooked foods are unhealthy, some cooking methods are relatively bad as well, but so are some raw foods or raw food combinations.
It’s not whether a food is “raw” or “cook” that matters. This is really an oversimplification. We have to look at many more factors to judge whether a food is healthy or what could be its part in a healthy diet.
Raw foods have benefits — of course — and HUGE ones. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big proponent of raw foods. This is a lot of what this website and my products are about.
But cooking some foods also can be beneficial. It essentially increases the variety of foods you can consume and increases the overall quality of your diet. Many vegetables, for example, are difficult to eat raw, but extremely healthy after being just lightly cooked.
So my first reason not to eat a 100% raw is that I simply do not believe I would be healthier if I did a pure raw food diet.
#2 I enjoy traveling too much
One of my passions in life is traveling. And when I travel, I like to discover and enjoy other cultures. On a 100% raw food diet, traveling can be a big hassle. You’re essentially condemned to spend all your time looking for fruit markets and then eat your food in tupperware containers in your hotel rooms. Yikes!
I don’t travel all the time, but enough to want some flexibility when I travel to try some local cuisine, or be able to leave the hotel room for more than a couple of hours, without worrying about running out of food!
Maybe this reason wouldn’t apply to everybody, but for me enjoying some stress-free travel once in a while, without constantly obsessing about food, is one of the main reasons I don’t eat 100% raw.
#3 I like not freezing to death
I live in Canada. While I tend to spend a lot of time in the tropics every year, I do live in a cold climate most of the year. For example, this year, I’m not planning to leave the country this winter. And today, it’s already snowing outside.
I’ve done a 100% raw food diet in cold climates. And I’ve done a diet that includes warm, cooked soups and other cooked foods in the same climate. Which one is easier? I think asking the question is answering it!
Yes, 100% raw can be done in cold climates. But even the raw foodists that are doing it are often planning to move to a tropical country or state!
At this point in my life I have no interest in relocating to another country full-time. I like to visit other places, but not live there permanently.
In the heart of the winter, coming back home from a cold day only to turn on your blender and make a cold soup can be downright demoralizing. I’m only speaking for myself of course, but I see nothing wrong in enjoying a big pot of hot vegetable soup on cold days, instead of chewing a cold salad of raw lettuce and tomatoes.
#4 My digestion is strong enough
Many raw foodists tend to yo-yo back and forth between 100% raw and cooked food binges, only to return to more cleansing and detox and an even stricter raw food diet. They find that whenever they eat cooked food, it totally “destroys” them. A bowl of rice will make them pass out as if they ate a big Thanksgiving dinner, and eating out at the restaurant causes them to feel so sick that they’ll spend a week recovering from it.
I call it “the raw curse” and talked about this weird phenomenon in many of my books. This actually is going to be a big chapter in my upcoming book “Beyond Raw.”
Raw foodists incorrectly think that their bodies have become so pure (as in “super healthy”) that it now rejects the toxic cooked foods that most people are habituated to (like a drug).
In reality, what’s really going on is that the “raw food” body has simply stopped producing the right mix of digestive enzymes, that they simply can’t properly digest more complex foods now. By eating only foods that require almost no digestion (like fruit and greens), their digestion has “dumbed down” to the point it can’t handle anything much more complex.
Some people even take this to an extreme, making their diets even stricter with time, eliminating fatty foods like nuts and seeds entirely, for example. This leads them to become even more sensitive.
The same phenomenon happens in reverse. Someone eating a junk food diet devoid of fiber with lots of meat, white bread and few vegetables can experience some serious digestive discomfort when they start eating lots of fiber-rich foods, like beans or fruits and vegetables. In can take them weeks or months to adapt to this new healthy diet.
Some long-term raw foodists have even fantasized that if they ate a hamburger they would end up in the hospital, and possibly die. That’s a little extreme and probably not likely to happen, but there’s a good change that hamburger would make them seriously ill.
The trick to avoid the “raw curse” is to retrain your body to digest certain foods. You can do it for almost anything. And eventually, eating a bowl of brown rice won’t put you in a coma, and having a little bit of garlic in your stir-fry won’t cause you to have nightmares all night!
#5 – My teeth are better now
Don’t get me wrong: I eat a lot of fruit. But because my diet is more varied now, and my nutrient intake higher, my teeth are much stronger than before. When I was 100% raw or close to it, my teeth would be weak, prone to cavities, and often sensitive. Now my teeth are not sensitive even when I eat a lot of acidic foods, and I never get cavities.
One change I’ve also made in the last few years is that I now rarely eat a lot of citrus or very acidic foods. I focus on fruits that are milder, like bananas, apples, mangoes, papayas, and melons.
However, whenever I eat acidic foods, my teeth are fine because they’ve re-enamelized and built some resistance. Also, because my diet is more varied than someone eating 100% raw, I can get my carbs from a variety of sources, and therefore rarely have to resort to eating large quantities of acidic fruits.
#6 – I enjoy having a life
You can have a life if you’re 100% raw. But it will be a life that revolves around food. You will think about food, plan your food intake, and worry about food a lot of the time. And very likely, you’ll have to avoid many social situations around food, choose your friends carefully, always justify your diet, and surround yourself as much as possible with other food-obsessed raw foodists.
After having obsessed about food for all of my 20s, I enjoy having enough flexibility with my diet that I don’t have to constantly worry about social situations and how I will handle them with my “weird” diet.
I don’t go out of my way to eat junk food, and for the most part, I enjoy staying at home better than going out. However, the human being is a social creature. And I enjoy being part of the “world” without having to create a world of my own all the time.
So when family or friends invite me over, they’ll try to make something healthy for me. But I’m not going to analyze every single ingredient that goes in the food that I’m eating all the time. And if everybody is having wine, I’m going to have a glass too and enjoy it.
Your diet has to fit your personality, and make you happy. For some people, eating 100% raw fits their personality and maybe helps them control other aspects of their lives better.
My personality does not fit a 100% raw diet. I’m someone who’s passionate, always interested in new things, open-minded, and not an attention-seeker. I’m also very curious about the world, food in general, other cultures, and new ideas. To stick to a strict — no exceptions permitted diet — simply doesn’t work with who I am and never did.
I’m not saying that I’m 100% right — but I definitely know what’s right for me, and I also know that most people, no matter how hard they try, will not be able to stick to a 100% raw food diet, and that’s okay.
In my next article, I’ll explore six more reasons I don’t eat 100% raw.
Please leave your comments below, and let me know what you think of my new book project, Beyond Raw!
A couple weeks ago, I was at the Woodstock Fruit Festival where I gave a few workshops on the raw food diet and met many of the 400 participants.
Many people asked me where I was going to spend the winter.
Maybe because I used to talk about my life a lot on my ezine, many people were aware that I routinely spent a few months of the winter in Costa Rica or other tropical countries. So quite a few of the great people I talked to asked me if I was planning to go to Costa Rica again this winter, or perhaps some place else.
So I told them, “No, I’m actually not going anywhere this winter.”
They were quite shocked to hear that. Why would I endure an entire Canadian winter when I used to spend at least a couple months in the tropics?
I told them I had other priorities this winter and that I was not planning to leave. I also wanted to see what it would be like to spend another cold winter here in North America.
But secretly, I have a plan to make it work. And I didn’t tell them about that plan, but I’m going to tell you.
First of all, I think the cold seems to be a big issue for raw foodists. Raw foods do make you seem less resistant to the cold, at least at first. And when the days are short and cold, eating a cold breakfast of cold fruit doesn’t seem very appetizing.
I’m doing two things to prepare for the winter:
1) First of all, I’m conditioning my body to withstand colder temperatures using cold showers
2) I’m about to do a 7 to 10 day green cleanse
Let’s talk about the first part… cold showers.
Now that sounds horrible!
I admit that I’m a total wuss when it comes to cold water. I’ve always enjoyed really hot showers and baths. If you read my book Raw Controversies, you know that at some point in my youth my mom got divorced, and for a few winters our heating system in the house didn’t work very well. So I learned back then to warm up using hot baths every morning.
But in reality, hot baths and showers only provided a short-lived relief. I was still cold the rest of the time.
About six months ago, I was at the McDougall Conference in Santa Rosa, California, where I met many famous authors including Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
At the conference, I met a former Nasa scientist, Ray Cronise, who’s featured in Tim Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Body.
Ray is also the co-founder of the company Zero G, that take people up into special airplanes to have them experience a state of weightlessness, like astronauts experience in space. I won’t tell you exactly how that happens because it will freak you out!
Anyway, Ray is also an expert on the benefits of cold water therapy. If you want to read his take on it, check out the Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss and you’ll read a chapter where Ray is mentioned. That’s the chapter, by the way, where Tim Ferriss is immersing himself in a tub of cold water with ice!
Ray is mostly interested in how cold water therapy can magically help you shed body fat, but it also goes way beyond that.
Here’s Ray Giving a Ted Talk:
So he got me interested in cold water therapy.
However, like I told you before, I was a total wuss when it came to cold water, and even though Ray gave me a very specific method for getting used to it, I just couldn’t do it.
But as I was thinking about the approaching winter, I started doing more research on cold water therapy.
It turns out that this is a very powerful technique that’s been used mainly in Europe for centuries, and one of the reasons why the Russians and Finns are such hearty people.
I won’t go into the details of how cold water therapy may improve other areas of your health. What specifically interests me is how cold showers help you withstand cold weather much better.
How cold you feel depends on metabolism, circulation and a few other factors.
When you train your body to “endure” cold showers, you will increase its cold resistance and circulation. And supposedly it takes about two weeks to adapt.
So I thought: why not do it while it’s still warm outside.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been taking cold showers exclusively. And so far, I can say that Ray was right! It’s working.
It took a little getting used to it, but I’ve been jumping in all sorts of relatively cold lakes lately. And I feel my body is already starting to react differently to cold temperature.
However, you should ask me again how I feel about this in February! I’ll definitely keep you posted on my progress.
2) The second way to adapt to cold weather is going on a Green Cleanse.
This is a bit counter intuitive, but one way to feel warmer is to shed some body fat. This brings the surface of your skin closer to your muscles and organs, which generates heat. So your skin will feel warmer to the touch.
Going on a green cleanse will help you shed some body fat, but it also works wonders for your circulation and skin.
I generally recommend going on some sort of cleanse (green or other) about four times a year, with every change of season. You don’t need to fast completely, but just restrict your diet to one or two categories of food, and do that for about 7 days.
On September 10, we are organizing the last Green Cleanse of the year.
The Green Cleanse includes daily motivation, green smoothie recipes, a discussion forum to connect with other participants, and more.
This is the best way to do it.
NOTE: As a special for this year’s last cleanse, get a $60 discount by using the coupon code SEPTEMBERCLEANSE upon checkout.
PS: I promise I won’t have you take cold showers during the cleanse!
PPS: The Green Cleanse starts September 10th, but the deadline is before that, so make sure you sign up this week. Use coupon code SEPTEMBERCLEANSE to get $60 off. Go to: http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/greencleanse.html
My friend Shelli Stein is a fitness and wellness trainer in Hawaii. Last time I visited her, she gave me an awesome tip that I absolutely loved and wanted to share with you.
Many of her clients have trouble sticking to an healthy diet. What tends to happen is that they find themselves in some situations where they don’t have any food to eat, they get hungry, and then they make bad food choices in that moment.
“When you get hungry… you get angry!”
That’s why she has her clients take a so called “HANGRY BAG” with them wherever they go. The purpose of the Hangry Bag is to avoid getting hungry and angry and running to the nearest fast food place or corner store.
The Hangry Bag is extremely important if you’re going to drive for a while. Who knows, you could be stuck in traffic and then get hungry and subsequently angry!
Anytime you leave the house for more than an hour, you should have with you a Hangry Bag.
What can go in your Hangry Bag?
– raw unsalted nuts and seeds
– Dried figs
– Other dried fruits
– Healthy “bars”
– Ginger Chews (to avoid motion sickness and nausea)
– Apples and other fruits that will keep well (crisp apples are the best)
You can take the Hangry Bag to the next level by keeping a mini-cooler filled with cut-up fruit, or put a fresh fruit salad inside of a thermos container to keep it cool to take with you.
The trick to sticking to any healthy diet is to make sure you have food with you at all times just in case! Remember, when you get really hungry, you get ANGRY, and that’s when you can make bad decisions, like going for the chocolate chip cookies at the office, or the chips from the vending machine, or the large Mochachino from Starbucks.
Shelli wants to encourage you to make your own Hangry bag. In fact, she’ll send you a Hangry bag from Hawaii if you can guess what’s in her very own Hangry bag!
I’ll give you a hint: there are only three items in Shelli’s Hangry Bag. One of them is water.
The first person to guess the other two items, will win a Hangry Bag!
Post your comments below.
Filed under More Than Raw Foods by Frederic Patenaude
Everything popular is wrong. Or so said Oscar Wilde.
You’ve been told by your friends and the media that certain things are bad for us, and the bashing is so common that many people are afraid to do the very things that would bring them one step closer to health. Yet, overwhelming evidence goes against this “common sense” knowledge.
Here is a list of 7 common things people think are bad for you, but are actually good for you, in no particular order.
1- Skipping Breakfast
We are told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. “Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and have dinner like a pauper” is an old saying.
The truth is, for most of human history, people of all cultures have typically only eaten two meals a day: lunch and dinner, or sometimes breakfast and lunch, with a light dinner. The ancient Romans ate an early breakfast, a very light lunch, and a large dinner.
In all examples you can find in history, people only had two large meals a day, and sometimes skipped the third one entirely.
The word “breakfast” in French (déjeuner) also means “breaking the fast,” but actually means the lunch meal, because that’s when people had their first meal of the day (breaking the fast). Eventually, as French people got wealthier, they started having something in the morning, and came up with the term “little breakfast” (petit déjeuner) to describe that morning meal.
Having regular meals is important, but skipping breakfast or any other meal occasionally does not have the terrible consequences that are expected.
A healthy person, with a healthy blood sugar, can easily skip breakfast without the terrible “blood sugar crash” that people expect when they don’t eat anything in the morning. In fact, if you can’t skip breakfast without feeling bad, it typically reflects the poor state of your health and your reliance on stimulants like coffee and sugar.
A recent study published in the Journal of Physiology showed that working out on an empty stomach has tremendous health benefits
Having a big breakfast before a workout, or in general, is especially bad for you. If you have a big breakfast, you should only do so after working out. Researchers found:
”The men who ate breakfast before exercising gained weight, too, although only about half as much as the control group. Like those sedentary big eaters, however, they had become more insulin-resistant and were storing a greater amount of fat in their muscles.
Only the group that exercised before breakfast gained almost no weight and showed no signs of insulin resistance. They also burned the fat they were taking in more efficiently. “Our current data,” the study’s authors wrote, “indicate that exercise training in the fasted state is more effective than exercise in the carbohydrate-fed state to stimulate glucose tolerance despite a hypercaloric high-fat diet.”
Another reason people may not eat breakfast, or have only a coffee in the morning, is because they eat late at night or snack after dinner. Skip this. It’s much better to eat during the day and burn off the energy, than to eat at night when you’re sedentary and then go to bed.
2- White Potatoes
White potatoes have been accused of being one of the worst “junk foods” you can eat. Some people swear by the “don’t eat anything white philosophy,” and avoid white flour, white rice, white sugar, and of course… white potatoes. It’s common knowledge that white potatoes turn into sugar, create a spike in blood sugar, and sugar makes you fat. Or is it?
Potatoes are one of the staples of civilization. Eating white potatoes is actually one of the healthiest choices you can make for your health. They cannot be classified along with white flour and white flour because white potatoes are a whole foods. They contain:
- Fiber (lots of it!)
- Vitamins and minerals
Did you know that white potatoes contain as much potassium as bananas?
Recently the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission got mad because of all the bad rap that potatoes get. So he decided to live for 60 days on potatoes only! His diet consistent of almost 20 potatoes a day, and about 2 Tbs. of oil. (http://20potatoesaday.com/)
In this diet that almost everybody would think is bad for you, he:
- Lost 22 pounds
- Lowered his blood sugar
- Dropped his cholesterol from 214 to 147
- Dropped his triglycerides from 135 to 75
Potatoes are far from being bad for health. Entire cultures have lived on potatoes — white potatoes — and stayed in perfect health. It’s not potatoes that are bad, it’s all the stuff people add on them, like butter, cheese, bacon, and sour cream.
3- Carbs in General
Not only are white potatoes getting bad rap, but also all carbs in general, including fruit. Don’t eat carbs, we are told, they make you fat because sugar is converted into fat!
It should be noted that the healthiest and fittest cultures in the world live on very high-carb diets. I noticed it myself when traveling around the world, that the people eating the most fruit and the most rice (like the Thai and Filipinos), where the also the healthiest. Even in those cultures, the people that got fat were the people that ate OTHER foods like animal products and refined sugars typical of a Western Diet.
Physiologically, it is much easier for the body to store fat than to take sugar, convert it into fat, and then store that. Fat is useable immediately and can be stored by the body, without any effort.
People think that eating carbs and fruit raises blood sugar too much and this in turns lead to health problems. In reality, high carb, low-fat diets are a proven way to LOWER blood sugar to stable levels. See the work of Dr. Fuhrman, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. McDougall, Dr. Barnard, Dr. Ornish, and many others.
Excess fat in the blood stream lowers insulin sensitivity and this in turns contribute to high blood sugar levels, and eventually diabetes. Carbohydrates that contain fiber (like fruit) have a positive effect on blood sugar.
I have yet to see someone eating at least 75% carbohydrates and less than 10% of calories coming from fat not lose weight, improve their blood sugar and get healthier. Think about your friends and family that are telling you that carbs are bad for you. Are they healthy and fit? I didn’t think so.
Follow the diet that works and notice that healthy cultures, athletes and people living today all follow a high-carb lifestyle. I’m talking about the people that STAY fit and healthy for life, not those that follow a diet temporarily to lose weight, but then gain it back in a few months or years.
ALL the longest lived cultures with the most centenarians living today follow a high-carb, plant based diet (http://www.bluezones.com/) These include:
- The Okinawan
- The Island of Sardinia
- The 7th Day Adventists in the USA
- The Costa Ricans living in the Nicoya Peninsula
Overeating is bad, but only if you eat high-caloric density foods. In other words, if you eat foods that have a lot of calories per WEIGHT, then yes, overeating is bad for you. Those foods include:
- ALL oils
- Bread and pastries
- Nuts and Seeds
- Animal Products
However, if you eat foods with a low-caloric density and high water content, you can eat as much as you want, and NOT gained weight. The lowest calorie density foods are in order:
- Green vegetables (100 calories/lb)
- Fruit (250 calories/lb)
- Whole Grains and Root Vegetables (450 calories/lb)
- Beans (550 calories/lb)
On the other hand, the caloric density of white bread is 1500 calories/lb, and oil is 4000 calories/lb!
Overeating on low calorie foods is just not possible, because they take so much bulk and volume, with their high water and fiber content. Therefore, if you eat those foods alone, you will not gain weight, no matter what! And you will probably lose weight.
5- Pacing and Fidgeting
I’ve been told all my life that I pace and fidget too much. When I talk on the phone, I have trouble siting down and tend to pace frantically in the house! I also tend to move my feet and fingers constantly. I move a lot during my sleep. I’ve also never been overweight.
It may sound silly, but some studies have shown that fidgeting individuals have a higher metabolism and burn more calories per hours than “non-fidgeters” because of this “spontaneous activity.”
The point is not to develop new ticks you didn’t have, but instead to get your body moving as much as possible. Standing will burn more calories than sitting down. Just don’t sit still… you can do that when you’re dead.
Too much sunshine can cause DNA damage and age your skin. People are so frightened of skin cancer that they avoid sunshine entirely. That’s not a good idea.
Getting sunshine not only improves your mood and helps you make essential vitamin D, and has a surprisingly beneficial effect on overall health. A new study even came to the conclusion that exposure to sunshine has so many benefits that it outweighs the risks for skin cancer (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3320822/Sunshine-vitamin-D-and-heart-disease-protection-included.html)
Of course, many health seekers and raw foodists take this to the extreme and spend too much time in the sun, aging their skin and damaging it considerably.
I personally try to protect my face and am extremely careful in tropical environments, where sunshine can be brutal and unforgiving. No one enjoys having the lobster look!
A lot of people seem to think that running is bad for you. When I tell people I like to run, they tell me, “Oh but you know it’s bad for your knees!” And then they remind me that all those marathon runners are not truly healthy.
Running, of course, is not a magical exercise. Running will not improve your strength training, and in itself, it’s not a truly complete fitness program. Running will also not cancel the benefits of a bad diet.
Yet, the remarkable thing about human beings is that we are truly designed for running. Human beings are natural-born runners. It’s the physical activity that takes us apart from other apes. (see: http://www.physorg.com/news95954919.html)
Some animals, like cheetahs, are built for speed, not endurance. Even your dog can easily outrun you with much less efforts. But don’t ask your dog or your cheetah pet to come join you on your next marathon!
Humans are built for endurance. Our waist is thinner and more flexible than other primates, and we cool off much faster (lack of fur). We can run in the heat, in the rain, and over very long distances. The experience of ultra-marathon runners has certainly proved that!
Most animals develop heat stroke after running just 10 kilometers, but not humans. This probably enabled early humans to chase down some animals, like some tribes in Africa do, in order to survive. The practice is even called “persistence hunting.”
As for running being bad for joints, newer research proves that it’s not the case at all (http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1948208,00.html)
A study tracked over 1000 runners (quoted in the Time article) for 21 years.
When the Stanford team tabulated the data, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2008, it found that the runners’ knees were no more or less healthy than the nonrunners’ knees. And It didn’t seem to matter how much the runners ran. “We have runners who average 200 miles a year and others who average 2,000 miles a year. Their joints are the same,” says James Fries, a professor emeritus of medicine at Stanford and the leader of the research group. The study also found that runners experienced less physical disability and had a 39% lower mortality rate than the nonrunners.
Of course, there are some risks to running. Running with bad form, or while eating a Standard American Diet (which may increase your risk of developing arthritis) will take its toll on the body.
If you enjoy running, there’s no reason to avoid it because some lazy, inactive people tell you that it will “ruin your joints.” Research clearly debunks that myth, and the fact that the human being is a natural runner explains why running is so popular. I highly recommend getting some coaching from a trainer who can advise you on how to have proper running posture for better agility and to prevent injury. (Check out www.joyinmovement.com) Almost every person I see running on the trails have terrible posture and are actually straining themselves by running incorrectly.
Do you find that when dinner arrives, you crave something more savory than a simple fruit meal or a smoothie?
Do you find that literally all of your cravings for cooked and/or unhealthy junk food occur after 5 p.m.?
Our “Savory Raw Dinner Recipes” DVD set is available for pre-orders:
I was in a suburb of San Diego, riding my bicycle late at night after going to a yoga class. At the time, I was a strict raw foodist and I was trying to get in better shape by doing Ashtanga Yoga.
I was in the city of Del Mar, going downhill on my bike to get back home. I was going pretty fast downhill, and suddenly I hit a very dark car that was parked slightly off the side of the road.
In one instant, I found myself on the other side of the car completely, with blood everywhere. At that moment I thought I was going to die, and my first thought was “I never thought it was going to happen this way.”
Then I realized that the “blood” I saw was actually a bottle of fresh grapefruit juice from Trader Joe’s that exploded upon impact.
My legs were hurting, but I could walk. Fortunately I was only slightly bruised, but the bike was completely wrecked — bent in half.
My first thought was: I need to get back home!
My first thought was not: I need to go to a hospital.
Why? Because at the time I had read so much natural hygiene information, and being young and impressionable, I was convinced that as a raw foodist, ending up in the hospital was the worst thing that could ever happen to me.
They would probably shoot me up with drugs and because I was so “sensitive” to drugs on my pure diet, I could end up in a coma and die. At least, that’s what I thought from what my raw food friends had told me.
I didn’t think my injuries were too bad, because I could still walk, although with difficulty. I didn’t realize that my body had produced so much adrenaline that I actually didn’t feel my legs.
Now your question might be… how did I manage to ride my bike into a car?
That’s another story that relates to my disdain of modern medicine and science. Being a raw foodist, I didn’t think my wearing glasses fit with the lifestyle.
I had been shortsighted ever since the age of 12, and had worn glasses ever since (I was in my early twenties at the time of the story).
Raw foods or fasting did nothing to cure my myopia. So I read books on how to use natural methods and they all came to the same conclusion. Don’t use glasses and let your eyes heal themselves! According to these books, glasses made vision worse. Dr. Shelton even recommended to “get rid of your glasses” or “break them.” I am not kidding!
For over a while, I only used my glasses when absolutely necessary. Then one day I broke them (accidentally), and saw that as a sign to get rid of them completely.
For the most part, things went smoothly and I adjusted well, without actually improving my vision significantly.
During the daytime, I had no problem riding my bike, but as you may know, vision drops at night and in that micro-second, I did not see the car in front of me because it was black and it was late at night, the street was poorly lit, and I was freakin’ short-sighted wearing no glasses!
I needed to get back home, but this was in the “pre-iPhone” days, when you actually needed to talk to human beings to get things done.
I started knocking on people’s doors, trying to explain that I just had an accident. I wanted to find the owner of the car to explain the situation, but also get back home.
To my surprise, everybody who answered the door seemed afraid of me. They perhaps suspected some kind of scam, after all, who would pretend to have been in an accident when they smelled like grapefruit juice and still could walk?
People would say: “just hold on, I’ll call you a taxi.” Then they closed the door on me. I waited and waited, but when I rang their bell again, they did not answer.
Finally I was fed up and because I couldn’t find the owner of the car, I left a note on the windshield explaining the situation and leaving my home number.
I decided to walk to the nearest phone booth and call myself a taxi. The problem is… I don’t know if you’ve been in some American cities, but they are not exactly designed to be pedestrian-friendly.
I walked for blocks and blocks on my injured leg, but could not find a phone booth or even a gas station. Finally I arrived at a community center that seemed opened, and found someone inside, a man who listened to my story.
After a long discussion, he decided to take me back home in his own car.
The next day, I woke up and found that my left knee now looked like a big balloon, filled with water!
Although I was tempted to get it checked, my irrational fear of doctors kept me from doing anything.
Now you might think… that’s stupid! And you’re right. But keep in mind the context. I was literally convinced that going to the doctor was the absolute last resort! If I could avoid it, I would.
Over the next weeks, I decided to fast on my own, but the water in my knee still did not go away. Some natural health people I saw told me I “needed” to get that water out, but I thought that was a bad idea. If my body had produced that fluid, that was probably to protect my knee, I guessed.
In the end, it took about two months for my knee to look normal again. But that’s not the end of the story.
For years after that, I could not run for more than 10 or 15 minutes without feeling pain in my knee. Over the years, my knee got better and better on its own, and now I can run without any pain.
But, I often feel discomfort in my left leg, especially at night or when there’s a change of pressure in the weather, for example during damp, cold weather.
The bottom line is that I was so afraid of doctors that this irrational fear prevented me from taking action, even if it was just a simple evaluation.
Let me tell you that my attitude has changed a lot over the years.
Although you may think my story is funny, don’t laugh too quickly because it could have been a lot worse. I actually know people who died because they were careless and thought they knew more than doctors.
Can We Combine Western Medicine With Raw Foods?
The reason why so many raw foodists are afraid of doctors is this concept of “sensitivity.”
Even Fred Bisci, who’s been a raw foodist for many years, warned people against drugs that are commonly given to “normal people,” claiming that if raw foodists were to receive such doses, they could die.
Although part of that is true, it’s not a concept that can be blindly applied.
When a person has weakened their body through fasting, for example, then yes, this is absolutely true… a visit to the hospital can be fatal because 99% of doctors don’t have experience with people on long water fasts or understand why people choose to do this for health reasons.
They will treat you as a regular patient, and whatever drugs they give you can actually kill you if your body is in a weakened state.
According to Dr. X, the amazing doctor I’m interviewing this month for a new program to be released shortly, probably under the name of the “Beyond Raw Health Program,” a very small percentage of people who undergo surgery… never wake up from the anesthesia that is given to induce sleep. And nobody knows why. Fortunately, if you’ve ever been put under before, then you are not in that category of unlucky people and should not be concerned.
There are also a few more things to be aware of, for example that eating a lot of greens can bring an excess of Vitamin K that are perfectly healthy, but that can interfere with certain drugs and become dangerous to your health. For more information, read my book Raw Food Controversies (http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/rawfoodcontroversies)
Beyond this concept of “sensitivity,” which I actually addressed in my new book, coming to the conclusion that one should not attempt to become “too pure,” I think a big reason raw foodists are afraid of doctors and avoid them completely is because they think that doctors don’t know a thing about health.
This brings me to an important point.
“People attribute certain powers to doctors that they don’t have.”
A lot of people complain that doctors are only trained to act when something goes wrong and are not trained about things like nutrition and prevention.
That’s absolutely true for the most part!
But the reality is that you don’t go to your doctor for nutrition advice. Most of them don’t know a thing about it and couldn’t care less. That’s not what they went to school for!
You go to your doctor:
1) To evaluate your state of health using unbiased data such as blood tests, physical exams, etc.
2) To save your life when your situation is beyond the possibility of “preventable”
3) To “fix you up” either through surgery, setting, bandaging, stitches or other interventions.
This is what you should use doctors for. But many people don’t realize that doctors are experts in what they need to be experts in, and knowing about alternative therapies and raw food nutrition is alien to them for good reason.
How secure would you feel if you got in an accident and were rushed to the hospital and needed surgery, but your surgeon was more concerned with natural therapies and wanted to see if your open wounds would heal with some herb compacts instead of assessing your problems and seeing if you needed bone resetting or stitches?
This is kind of ridiculous, but of course you wouldn’t want this. When you need to see a specialist, you want them to BE an EXPERT in their field. That’s their job. So don’t get angry at them for things that are not their expertise that they do not know about. They are trained to treat people based on fact and science without bias for their gender, sexual orientation or lifestyle choices. They will not treat you based on pseudo-science, opinion, or wishy washy beliefs and ideology, and this is a GOOD THING.
So back to drugs.
Are all drugs absolutely bad?
The basic concept of raw foodism and natural hygiene is absolutely correct.
“Health through healthful living.”
You can’t lead an unhealthy life and expect health.
However, sometimes things are beyond our control.
- You could get into an accident
- You could have a genetic weakness
- You may not be able to live a healthful life 100% of the time due to outside factors
Although I agree that modern medicine is very flawed with prescribing lots of drugs to treat symptoms only and that most drugs are absolutely unnecessary most of the time, it would be foolish to deny some of the progress that have been done by modern medicine and go back to pre-industrial days!
In some cases, certain drugs can save your life, like antibiotics if you got a serious infection, although most of the time they are not necessary.
In many cases, surgery can save your life, and nobody can actually deny that, not even the most extreme natural health nut.
In order to achieve the best health possible, it’s important to find out where natural health, raw foods and other therapies can also complement some use of modern medicine.
Now most doctors have actually no clue about natural health or nutrition, and unfortunately most raw foodist have no clue how they should be using modern medicine, and what they should and shouldn’t expect from doctors.
I know you have important questions about your health, and I know that you’re not satisfied with the answer you are getting from both doctors and raw foodists.
Now it’s time to combine the best of each approach in a true “holistic” way.
This is why I’m putting together a new course called “The Beyond Raw Health Program — Natural Solutions for Your Unique Body” which is an interview series with an amazing expert that currently goes by the name of Dr. X (to protect her privacy and because of her medical studies, she can’t be associated with alternative health methods).
As part of this course, I’ll be organizing a completely free webinar where you’ll be able to ask Dr. X your own questions about health.
If you’re not satisfied with the “One Size Fits All” solution, then you’ll want to listen to this webinar! To sign up for free, just go to:
By the way, what do you think of the name “The Beyond Raw Health Program”…? Still working on it, and would welcome your suggestions! Please post comments below.
It’s a rather shocking observation that health gurus, who write diet books and give advice on how to live long, tend to live shorter lives than the average person.
They seem to be beaten only by rock stars (who have an average life expectancy of 42 years old for American rock stars, and 35 for Europeans!)
Some examples of health experts who died young:
Michel Montignac, a very famous Frenchman who promoted a healthy diet based on the concept of the glycemic index, died at 66 of cancer. He was the inspiration behind the “South Beach Diet.”
Dr. Atkins, probably the most famous diet guru in the world (who weighed 258 lbs at 6 feet tall), died after spending 9 days in a coma at the age of 72 from a slip on the ice. The medical examiner noted that in his health files that he had previously had suffered a heart attack, congestive heart failure and hypertension. As no autopsy was performed, it cannot be confirmed if any of these previous ailments affected his inability to recover from his injuries.
Paavo Airola, author of “How to Get Well” and led the Juice Fasting and natural health movement in the 70s and 80s, died of a stroke at the age of 64.
Roy Waldorf who was a longevity expert and wrote the book “The 120-Year Diet” died in 2004 at age 79. Not that bad, but nowhere close to the target age he projected.
Nathan Pritikin, one of the most prolific authors on the low fat diet, committed suicide as his body was overtaken by leukemia at age 69.
Ross Horne, his student, claimed that Mr. Pritikin would have lived longer if he had embraced the fruitarian diet that Ross promoted, but he himself died of cancer, although well into his 80s.
T.C. Fry, leader of the Natural Hygiene and fruitarian movement, died of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 70.
Recently Robert E. Kwalski, who wrote the famous book “The 8-Week Cholesterol Cure,” died at the age of 65 of a pulmonary aneurysm.
George Oshawa, who literally invented the macrobiotic diet (which actually means “the way of long life”) passed of lung cancer at the age of 73.
Adele Davis, who pioneered the concept of healthy eating, which unfortunately involved drinking a lot of milk, died at the age of 70 of cancer.
Reminder: Our Free Webinar Interview With Dr. X is Coming Up!
Have an important question you need answered?
Ask this most amazing women your personal question about health and we may feature it! Go to:
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Of course, it would be wrong to say that ALL diet gurus die young. That’s not true, but a lot of them did.
Paul Bragg died at 81. Although it was widely claimed by his family that he died from a surfing accident, apparently cause of death was a heart attack, a fact which has since been removed from his Wikipedia page.
Norman Walker, juicing and raw food guru, died at 99 (and not at 118 years old as was previously claimed).
Jack Lalanne, who was more a fitness than a diet guru, diet recently at the age of 96 from pneumonia.
What Does It All Mean?
The fact that a good majority of health gurus don’t live significantly longer than the average life expectancy, and in most cases live shorter lives, doesn’t in itself mean anything revolutionary.
People are fallible. Health gurus can be mistaken. More importantly… health gurus are human just like you and me!
Some health gurus promoted a low fat diet. Others promoted a high fat diet.
Some health gurus practiced what they preached most of the time, some did part of the time, and others didn’t practice their teachings at all.
In some cases these inconsistencies didn’t prevent them from living a long life, like Paul Bragg who used to enjoy an occasional burger in his favorite Honolulu restaurant.
Others, like T.C. Fry, struggled to apply their strict teachings in their own lives, but yet lived longer than what their doctors had predicted (T.C. Fry was desperately sick and ready to die in his forties based on his doctor’s opinion).
Some gurus tried to give immortality a shot, like Roy Waldorf, and practiced calorie restriction, only to live slightly longer than the average male life expectancy.
Some diet gurus pretended to have the solution to weight loss, but were themselves overweight when they died (let’s not name names here).
Who knows, maybe it’s too much pressure to be a high-profile health guru, that people expect you to be perfect all the time. Maybe some health gurus would have changed their minds about a few things they got wrong, but to maintain their image they refused to admit to others and themselves that their program did not work and that they needed to try something else.
Maybe the type of person who writes diet books — mostly men — tend to be a certain overachiever type, bringing to their lives a certain stress that would not have occurred otherwise.
Or it could be that many diet gurus start with poor health in the first place, and then get motivated to find a solution and write a book about it.
The fact that some diet gurus die young should not lead us to the conclusion that all diet advice is bad.
But it should lead one to question the quality of the advice they are getting from these people.
I find that 99% of diet books rehash the same BS that is disease-promoting and meant for the masses who are happy to hear good news about their bad habits.
Bad Health Advice Like:
- Eating a ton of cholesterol is actually good for you, so start the day with organic bacon and eggs
- Eating a lot of meat is man’s natural design (the last guy who tried to live on an all-meat diet is Vihjalmur Stephanson, and he died of a serious cardiovascular disease at 81).
- Eating a lot of fat is good as long as it’s “good” fat, so douse your salad and everything else with olive oil
- Carbohydrates are “bad” but lots of meat protein is okay
- Fruit is “bad,” but factory-made protein drinks are great for carbohydrates
It’s actually so hard to see through all the confusion in natural health, but I believe it’s possible.
Essentially, I think every diet claim falls in one of three categories:
1) Some things are good for everybody, and there’s science to support it
2) Some things are downright bad for everybody, and there’s science to support it
3) Some things are more complicated, and depend on individual situations.
Good Health Advice Examples:
- Fruits and vegetables are GOOD for everybody, yet most diet books don’t promote a diet based on fruits and vegetables.
All science out there supports a diet based on fruits and vegetables, yet very few people actually do it.
- A plant-based is GOOD for everybody, and so is taking proven steps to improve your health such as exercising, keeping your fat intake low and eating fresh instead of packaged food.
- Refined fats and oils are BAD for everybody, because they are concentrated calories with no nutrients. The four tablespoons of olive oil some diet gurus recommend that you eat every day contain more saturate fat than a McDonald’s Big Mac.
- The Standard American Diet (SAD) without exception, is BAD for everybody. Any diet book is a step above that, except Atkins, which is SAD on steroids and not recommended!
- Other things are not black and white. For example, there’s a debate as to whether a completely vegan diet is better than one that contains a small percentage of animal products. I prefer to avoid animal products completely (except on very rare occasions), but others think they can get certain nutrients by eating some animal products.
- Some people feel best on an all-raw diet, although there’s not definite science to say that it’s absolutely the best diet for everybody. Most people seem to do great on a mostly-raw diet because they get enough variety and calories to thrive.
- Some people can’t eat certain foods due to allergies or sensitivities
Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to become your own diet guru.
But it’s important not to fall into cynicism and start to believe that nobody is right and that all diet advice is bad. Of course, no one is absolutely right but it’s logical to believe that certain people should be closer to the truth than others.
Ultimately, if you have a deep knowledge of the human body and how it ACTUALLY works, it will help you sort through a lot of the diet information available today.
Discover the Truth About:
- Is the liver flush good and does it flush out gallstones?
- Why taking ANY kind of oil in liquid form as a supplement is dangerous for your health
- Which supplements are beneficial to take?
- What to think of eating a 100% fruitarian diet?
- Which superfoods actually work?
- Which natural health procedures and cleanses are a useless and dangerous?
If you’d like to speak to a real medical professional and doctor who knows more about the human body than ANYBODY I have ever met in my 14 years involved in this movement, then I invite you to join us for our upcoming free teleseminar with Dr. X.
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I just learned the terrible news that my dad passed away at the age of 63 in his apartment in Montreal.
It was from a heart attack. He’d never had one before.
I was just in Montreal a few days ago but I came back to Vancouver where I now live. I had just seen my dad on Sunday, and we had a great time as usual. It was a sort of tradition to get together on Sunday to go out for a breakfast/brunch at the restaurant.
We went to the same restaurant we usually go to, because the restaurant features a lot of healthy options, fruit and smoothies. That made me happy, although my dad generally chose either the Eggs Benedict or the French Crêpe with ham.
About 5 years ago, my dad collapsed in his apartment as he experienced a sudden blood pressure change.
He was okay then, and agreed to follow a diet of fruits and vegetables for a month, which seemed to completely put him back on his feet. He also gave up smoking and coffee.
However, just a few months after, my dad stopped the diet, and started smoking again. He’s always smoked since the age of 18, and although I tried many times to discourage him, he was never able to give up the habit.
He seemed to think that drinking red wine every day in generous quantities would keep his heart healthy. He distrusted doctors and I suspect it had been a while since he had a checkup.
When I saw my dad for the last time on Sunday, he seemed as happy and jovial as ever. Although it often crossed my mind that I should speak to him more about his health and how to take care of it, I had given up on it many years ago, when I realized that he was not the kind of person that could take that sort of advice.
He’s always been very happy to see what I do for a living, but never read any of my books or fully understood what I teach about health. I was happy that he accepted it and never tried to encourage me to eat meat, or asked me where I got my protein, and that sort of thing.
I’m kind of shocked that my dad passed away so quickly and suddenly. I expected him to get sick first and maybe be in a hospital before he died.
I know I could have done so much more to convey to him the importance of quitting smoking, or taking care of his health. But you know sometimes you feel that certain people won’t change no matter what you try to say to them. That’s how I felt with my dad.
He always wanted to pass on in his sleep and without pain, and I thank God that his wish was granted.
I am reminded that we can never take anything for granted, and that health on the *inside* is so much more important than health on the *outside.* Someone may appear really healthy, but could be falling apart on the inside.
Although I regret not trying harder to keep my dad healthier longer, I know that it’s possible that nothing that I could have said or done would have changed his mind.
It’s fair to say that I feel stronger than ever that we must live our lives to the fullest and to live our dreams before it’s too late. I’m glad that my dad’s wish of leaving this world without too much pain and without seeing the slow decline of old age has been granted, but I also know that not everyone has the same fate.
I will take a bit of time off to visit my family but try nonetheless to keep writing and continuing my work.
I will probably not send ezines for a short while and will be a bit late in delivering the monthly Raw Vegan Mentor Club newsletter.
If you’d like to support me, do the right thing and introduce the message of health to someone you know. Maybe they would like some our our books on a healthy lifestyle at http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/blog/?page_id=1067.
We all know how hard it is to convince those closest to us that we know a lot about health and nutrition and can help them. But quite often it takes someone else’s advice, someone they don’t know, a perceived expert to get them to open up their mind and listen to the message.
If someone close to you is seeing his or her health decline, maybe just one thing you say one day can help them turn their lives around. Changing minds doesn’t always work, but it’s always worth a try. That’s what I would have done differently if I could have seen my dad one more time.
I know I could not have forced him to do anything, but maybe if we were a little more open about speaking of touchy subjects he may have seen it from my perspective and understood that I just wanted to keep him around for longer.
Sometimes the best way to help someone you care about is to lead by example and only offer advice when they ask, other times they need a little help and guidance from a notable source and want to learn on their own.
So please spread the message of healthful living to those around you by living a long and healthy life and those you hold most dear to you will appreciate your efforts and value your presence for years to come.
Filed under More Than Raw Foods by Frederic Patenaude
Have you heard of the 80-20 rule? You probably have. If you haven’t, it’s pretty simple and powerful:
An Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto came up with what is known as the “Pareto principle” in the 19th century.
What he found was that:
80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population
He discovered that this disparity was widespread. For example, he observed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas!
I’m currently giving away $1200 worth of products as part of my Raw Vegan Mentor Club introductory offer.
This includes my book “Healthy Salad Dressings” and five other recipe books, hundreds of dollars worth of videos, over 12 hours of interviews with raw food gurus with transcripts, and more.
This offer will be changed or removed within the next few days. Make sure you get your own package at:
Later the Pareto Principle has been expanded to business, and it’s commonly understood in business that:
- 80% of your sales will come from 20% of customers
Or computer programmers know that if they fix 20% of the most commonly reported bugs, they in turn fix 80% of the crashes.
In health and in life, I’ve also found the Pareto principle in action. But instead of being 80-20, the proportion seemed to be even more extreme, more like 95-5.
Here are some observations:
- Only 5% of the things you can do could bring you 95% of your long-term health and happiness.
- We generally spend 95% of our time on things that bring us no real long-term results!
Generally, we spend too much time on little things that don’t matter that much, and not enough time on things that REALLY matter.
And what’s crazy is that almost every single health author out there wants you to believe that this 95% that only brings you 5% of your results is SO important. And they make you forget about the 5% that really matters.
What’s this 5% that really matters? Here are some of my finding:
- Your diet. Mostly or all raw. Low fat, fruits and vegetables — avoiding grains, meat, dairy, refined foods, oils and salt.
- Your exercise program — getting in at least 30-45 minutes a day on average and paying attention to all elements of fitness (cardio, strength, flexibility, etc.)
- Your sleep — Getting enough (usually 7+hours for most people).
- Access to clean water, pure air, getting enough sunshine, etc.
- Avoiding drugs and stimulants —- prescribed, or illegal. Including coffee, cacao, alcohol, etc.
Emotional poise, healthy relationships, love, etc.
- Eliminating stress from your life
- Expressing your creativity, your talents, doing something you love
There are a few more — these are called the “essential aspects of life”. And these are the things that really count! This is the 5% that gives you 95% of your results.
But what do other authors want you to spend your time on? Largely on unproven practices and techniques, and little things that can bring you tiny benefits, but nothing in comparison to the “big guns”.
Here’s a few of these possibly time-wasting health practices:
- Seeking a particular kind of “special” water
- Many superfoods and supplements
- Insisting on consuming all-organic foods, while taking other drugs and stimulants
- Walking barefoot on the grass at dawn
- Eating clay
- Seeking organic beef, organic fish, organic dairy (instead of not consuming these products in the first place)
- Drinking wheatgrass juice, without changing the rest of your diet
- Drinking your own urine
- Using colloidal silver
- Getting your mercury fillings removed (for the most part, it can be more dangerous to remove them)
- Ear candling
- Powdered vegetable mixtures
- Supplemental enzymes
- Colonics and enemas
The list is endless actually. Most of these practices are either unproven, and some can be downright dangerous. Some of them can be beneficial, but the benefits are so small compared to the essential elements of life I mentioned previously.
But the main thing is that they distract you from what’s *really important*, which is the 5% that makes all the difference!
Are you getting distracted?
Are you spending your time and energy researching things that don’t really make a difference?
Instead of spending your afternoon researching on the Internet about the latest supplement that could *possibly* improve your health, why not go for a hike?
Instead of spending $300 a month on “superfoods”, why not hire a personal trainer to get you in shape? Or spend that money on fruits and vegetables?
Why not actually make some changes that will *really* make a difference?
And by the way, the reason why these things are not popular is that most people already know about them, but are not doing them!
Focus on the 5% that matters, and health will follow.
Yours for health and success,
PS: Did you get your hands on our “Raw Food Package?” I’m currently giving away $1200 worth of products as part of my Raw Vegan Mentor Club introductory offer.
This includes my book “Healthy Salad Dressings” and five other recipe books, hundreds of dollars worth of videos, over 12 hours of interviews with raw food gurus with transcripts, and more.
This offer will be changed or removed within the next few days. Make sure you get your own package at: