Healthy looking skin is something that almost everybody desires.
Your skin, along with being the largest organ of your body, is typically the first thing people notice when they see you. Considering it covers you from head to toe, healthy skin means more than just a healthy complexion.
Check out this video today where Dr. John McDougall discusses the correlation between diet and the health of your skin, specifically acne.
In it you’ll learn:
- Why the health of your skin affects much more than just how it looks.
- Why it is that many people today still don’t associate their diet with having anything to do with acne or their skin health.
- Which study has been falsely credited as proving that diet has no effect on acne.
- How the standard Western diet many people around the world eat changes the production of hormones in your body and why these imbalances cause issues in the skin.
Many people around the world experience skin problems, and it certainly can cause a greater impact on their health and wellbeing besides just how their skin looks.
Your skin is important and deserves the right diet and circumstances to look it’s best!
What have been your experiences with acne, skin conditions, and your diet? Let us know in the comments below!
I started experimenting with my diet back in 1996, and ever since I’ve been searching for the healthiest, yet most practical way to eat and live.
I first went on a very strict (and confused!) natural hygiene diet. From there I began making my way into raw foods and experimenting with various types of raw food diets.
After that I experimented with cooked foods again, then back to raw foods, and have since been fine-tuning my diet to find the ideal.
There was a time when I wouldn’t have touched a piece of bread with a 10-foot pole, but was perfectly fine with gorging myself with fancy raw recipes and avocados, just to make sure that I wouldn’t awaken my “cooked food cells” and stayed raw.
There was a time when I did everything in my power to eat the freshest, best organic raw foods there was, yet was not feeling the vitality or mental clarity I had before I was even a vegetarian.
There was a time when I binged on all sorts of cooked foods I had sworn never to eat again, out of the frustration that the raw diet was not working for me, and the shame I had for not having succeeded.
I now look back at these difficult days and realize that all of this turmoil was unnecessary. I worked things out using the empirical approach — that is to try everything out in order to come to my own conclusions. This is a time-wasting technique, but it did allow me to truly learn these things for myself. In that process, I learned that:
- The means is not the end. Being a raw-foodist for example, is not the point. We shouldn’t focus on that.
- We have to keep in mind what we’re doing this for. In that search for the perfect diet, we’re doing this to be healthy and enjoy life more — not to achieve an “ideal.”
- Willpower is not enough to maintain, we need knowledge too. You can have the willpower to climb 10,000 stairs, but why waste so much energy when there’s a lift that will take you to the top in no time? Using the lift is like utilizing proper knowledge.
My Introduction to Rawdom
In 1996, I was 20 years old and quite easily impressed by what appeared to be logical or scientific information.
The piece of advice that I came across when I first heard of the concept of raw eating seemed logical, but proved to be quite misleading to others and myself. It went something like this:
“Eating raw foods is the most natural way to eat. All that you have to do is follow your instincts and eat as much as you want, as long as you are eating fresh raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds.”
Impressed by the simplicity of this system-less-system, I embarked on a journey that led me through deep nutritional imbalances.
But first, the advice worked. I packed my fridge with fruits and vegetables and was eating all day long. I didn’t know about recipes or durian. I ate lots of food and went through a quite intense period of detoxification. I went through it and was feeling mostly good, even though I was still struggling with cravings. My will was as strong as could be and I was ready to be a raw-foodist for life and change the world along the way.
The next part of my journey took me to California, where I discovered raw food recipes, an exciting world where all my repressed cravings could express themselves again.
Pizza, chocolate cake, and pasta were back on the menu again. All raw of course.
I was eating lots of fat, lots of raw food recipes, and lots of fruit, and I was just not feeling right.
More Misleading Advice
Two new pieces of raw food lore would prove to be fatal for me. The first was, “Anything raw is better than anything cooked” and the second, “it’s probably detoxification.”
So I kept eating and eating and kept saying to myself: “well, it’s raw.” I kept feeling bad and kept saying to myself: “it’s probably detoxification.”
The Raw-Food Movement
Since then, the raw-food movement has been changing the way that it’s presented and many of the ideologies behind it.
Yet many raw food books are still filled with made-up facts, bogus science, anecdotal evidence that just isn’t relevant to everybody.
One person says that eating fruit will make you sick; the other one says that you should only eat fruit.
One says that eating oil is bad for you; the other one recommends that you should eat lots of oil.
Here are a few false statement made by raw-foodists I’d like to clear the air on once and for all.
“Cooked food is toxic.”
Statements like this are what tend to give the raw food movement a bad name.
Cooking food doesn’t immediately turn it into something toxic. If this were as true as some people say, no one would be alive!
It is true that certain methods of cooking, such as frying and barbecuing, create many carcinogenic substances in the process.
But claiming that all cooked food is toxic is just silly.
“Anything raw is better than anything cooked.”
Reality check: Many raw food meals prepared at most raw restaurants do not fall in the category of “healthy food.” Many of them contain unnecessarily high amounts of salt, oils, and spices.
The fact that a food is raw doesn’t make it necessarily healthy. There is more to a healthy diet plan than just eating raw, just as there is more to health than just eating.
“Fruit is bad for you.”
Most raw-foodists are living on such a high-fat diet (often more than 60-70% fat) that they can no longer handle fruit anymore. It has been proven that high-fat diets decrease insulin sensitivity (the effectiveness of insulin in carrying sugar to the cells), and thus raise blood sugar levels.
So those living on high fat a diet, that is most raw-foodists, will inevitably experience more blood sugar swings when they eat fruit.
Thus, the myth has spread now that fruit is not very healthy and that we should all aim at eliminating or reducing the quantity of fruit in our diet.
Fruit is definitely one of the healthiest (and most palatable!) raw foods you can eat.
So whenever you hear a bold statement that is the contrary of all common sense, such as “fruit is not a healthy food” — don’t take it for cash. Study the facts first and decide for yourself.
Raw Food Hype
The raw food diet has become more and more popular over the years. Celebrities are now jumping on board; raw food restaurants are popping up in most major cities, the media is talking about it, and articles have been published in many magazines and newspapers.
Raw-foodists usually rejoice when they see another article in the mainstream about the raw food diet, yet many of the time the message being conveyed to the masses really isn’t the healthiest one.
Many of these articles start by quoting raw-foodists (mostly out of the context) expressing statements such as “cooked food is poison” or “cooking kills your food,” then they go on to talk about all the movie and pop music stars who are supposedly into it, they mention raw gourmet cuisine and raw-restaurants, and then conclude the article with a few nutritionist bashing and scoffing at the whole theory.
There is more validity and merit to the raw food diet than just a passing phase for the media to take advantage of or for celebrities to temporarily hop on board with!
“Raw Food” Means Really Raw
Raw foods are fruits and vegetables in their natural state, not dehydrated for hours and turned into crackers, raw cookies, and cakes.
Prepared raw foods can still have a place in a healthy diet, but it really isn’t what the whole prospect of eating raw foods is really about.
A plate of steamed broccoli is closer to being a natural food than a raw cheeseburger or raw cake sold at a raw restaurant somewhere.
Eating raw is about filling our bodies with an abundance of natural vitamins, minerals, organic water, fiber, and all the nutrients needed to meet our needs, both for energy and maintenance. Time and time again, these needs are met the best with foods that are in their freshest, most natural form.
If you are 100% raw and feel wonderful and someone comes along to tell you that what you are doing is killing you, I recommend you don’t waste any time discussing it. Just go along with your life and let them think what they will.
If you are eating 50% raw and feel great and some annoying raw-foodist comes along and just, “can’t believe that you don’t eat 100% raw” — just forget them too. You are here to eat and do what makes you feel your best, not rise to the expectations of others around you.
What are you doing this for anyway? Because you want to call yourself a raw-foodist or a vegan? Hopefully not!
Hopefully, you are eating and living the way you do because it’s what feels right to you and allows you to look and feel your very best.
Eating raw is not the end-all, it’s simply a means to get you where you want to go.
What have been your experiences with raw-food-fanaticism and everything in between? Let us know in the comments below!
All around the world you’ll find people in varying degrees of health. While most health-enthusiast tend to get down specifically on the U.S. and other western countries, other countries are increasingly becoming more and more “westernized”.
They’ve begun to abandon their traditional diets, typically based on starches, vegetables, fruits, and smaller amounts of meat, in favor of the more western approach: lots of meat, animal products, and processed foods.
Yet it’s surprising to find that many people, even those in modern western countries, simply aren’t aware of how profoundly their diet impacts their health, and instead are concerned about other unfound health hazards.
Check out this video today where Dr. Milton Mills gives a presentation on why exactly there are so many sick people in the world and how that can be changed.
- How many people actually die per year from diet-related diseases in contrast to how most people fear they will die.
- Why more children in the US are put on behavioral-disorder medications every year.
- How a high intake of meat and animal products has been linked to depression and other psychological disorders in children.
- What people can do to shift their focus to the things in their lives that really do impact their health and as a result live long, happy lives.
Dr. Mills points out several important points when it comes to the importance of prioritizing our health. Many people spend hours every week talking and worrying about things that ultimately do very little to negatively impact their health.
Many of those same people are more afraid of being eaten by a shark than experiencing bad health from their poor diet, too.
Considering that there are so many things in the world that you “could” be afraid of, it’s important prioritize what actually impacts you and then taking control of the things that you do decide.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!
Let me start off by asking you a simple question: do you feel you’re getting the best results from your current food program?
After all, we all want the same things: increased energy, a fit and sexy body, to live longer and healthier, avoid and heal health challenges, and attain a sound nutritional approach to the way we eat and live.
Sometimes it happens that you may be doing well for a while with your diet, but imperceptibly you move away from the results you’re looking for, and sooner or later you realize, “this diet isn’t working for me anymore!”
Nobody wants to have to go through this experience, so here are some warning signs to watch out for and what to do about them.
It’s perfectly normal to experience cravings for cooked and processed foods when you transition to a mostly raw or all raw diet. The problem comes to be when these cravings persist and don’t go away, or they are so powerful they are difficult to control.
In my experience, there are two causes for cravings: nutritional and emotional. I will review nutritional causes now, as emotional causes are much more complex and beyond the scope of this article.
However I will say that emotions and your food do go hand-in-hand, and identifying the emotional triggers and reasons why you eat what you do can help you attain a healthier, more conscious approach to eating.
Nutritional causes are fairly simple: if you’re not eating enough calories from fruits and vegetables, you *are* going to crave cooked and processed foods. At least eventually.
The trick is to be able to consume enough fruits to get your calories, without consuming more fat than you need to (and at the same time consuming enough greens for minerals).
Eating enough vegetables and other nutritionally-dense foods is important as well.
Some cravings stem from the body’s cry for minerals or certain nutrients. Everybody has a much different history and intake of specific vitamins and minerals in their lives, and our body’s all have varying amounts and stores of them.
So follow your intuition if you’re craving something for a nutritional reason, which only you can decide for yourself.
Eating too much fat also has a tendency to slow the body down and cause cravings, typically for starchy or sweet foods.
Just eating enough calories on a daily basis to support your body is usually enough to keep cravings away, but if you find yourself craving something particular over a period of time, use your own head.
2. No Energy to Exercise
If you have no energy to exercise, or are not making progress in your fitness program, it’s likely because you’re not consuming enough calories and/or you are consuming too much fat/not getting the right minerals.
An energy deficit will be obvious when you follow a fitness program. If you’re barely consuming enough fruits and vegetables to meet your dietary needs, you can’t expect to have extra energy to exercise.
People often tend to “under-estimate” the amount of fruits and vegetables they need to eat to support themselves, and “over-estimate” the amount of fat that they need to eat. This combination leaves people feeling sluggish and tired.
3. Waking up in the Morning Tired
Waking up in the morning still tired is also a sign that your diet may not be balanced.
Many people experience this on a raw food diet after overdoing the avocados and nut butter. So if you’re experiencing the morning fog, I recommend you look at how much fat you’re eating and if it’s in the right amounts for you.
You may experiment with eating just low-fat fruits/vegetables for several nights, and finishing your meal several hours before bed, and see if that has on impact on your energy levels.
Chances are that you’ll start waking up in the morning much more refreshed and energetic!
4. Inability to Maintain Weight
Two things can happen here. Either you haven’t been able to *release* the weight you were carrying around in excess, or you’re getting thinner than you’d like to be.
In the first case, if you’re still struggling to reach your ideal weight, even though you’ve transitioned to a raw food diet, you may simply have the wrong nutritional and lifestyle approach.
Releasing excess weight is a taxing process on the body and needs to be allowed the proper amount of time to happen.
Everyone will need to eat slightly different combinations and amounts of foods to feel their best too, so I encourage you to trust your body and not invest everything into a “guru” to tell you what to eat!
If you’re getting thinner than you’d like to, know that the best thing you can do is to combine strength training (basically lifting weights or high-resistance bodyweight exercises) and eating plenty of food. More than you may be used to.
If you wish to gain significant muscle mass, you can, even on a raw food diet.
But you’ll need a good training program and to consume the right amounts and combinations of calories and nutrients to get the results you want.
5. You’re Confused
Another sign that you may be heading towards a diet “disaster” is having the feeling of confusion and doubt. Eventually, that feeling may intensify and lead you to either give up entirely or spend all sorts of time and money trying other programs that won’t work either.
The solution to this is to gain sufficient knowledge to avoid this confusion, go to the root of emotional issues behind food, and find a group of people for community and support that can provide you with constant encouragement and inspiration to continue on the path of radiant health.
And ultimately if you still find yourself confused, listen to your own needs. You know them better than anybody.
What have been your experiences with changes in your diet, cravings, or any other roadblocks you faced in your diet journeys? Let us know in the comments below!
High blood pressure has always been something we’ve been warned against and told that if your blood pressure is too high, it invites a host of other problems like heart disease and strokes, among others.
Would it surprise you to find out that high blood pressure isn’t in and of itself a condition that need to be feared or avoided, but simply a result or symptom of an otherwise unhealthy body?
Check out this video today by Dr. John McDougall as he shares with you a few enlightening thoughts on blood pressure and the importance of keeping your arteries clean.
- Why high blood pressure isn’t really the disease many people have been told.
- How and why the heart raises the pressure of your blood.
- Why it doesn’t make any sense to take medications or supplements to lower your blood pressure without addressing the underlying cause of the high blood pressure first.
- How you can easily mange your blood pressure with lifestyle factors that you control all on your own.
I think Dr. McDougall brings up some important distinctions when it comes to not only how we treat high blood pressure, but also how we interpret it. This distinction is important not just to the understanding of disease, but how we then treat it.
It’s also clear that there is not one specific cause of high blood pressure, like sodium or salt intake for example. The determining factor of how healthy your arteries are ultimately determines how stable your blood pressure is, and your heart and artery health are affected by a larger number of factors.
What have been your experiences with blood pressure and artery health? Let us know in the comments below!
I’ve had a lot of personal experience in the raw food movement. Much of my adult life I’ve been actively seeking information and learning from others on the topic of nutrition and raw foods.
Over those years, I’ve heard many things said about what is the healthiest way to eat: like how your body supposedly reacts to certain foods and what is the healthiest type of water to drink, among many other things.
But one thing that always caught my attention was digestion people experienced on a raw food diet, and how a raw food diet may impact it.
Raw Foodists and Digestion
Any health-orientated person has taken a greater interest in their digestion, or how your body utilizes and absorbs nutrients from the food you eat, once they started to get in tune with how largely it impacts how you feel.
We all know the feeling of a sour stomach, and when your stomach isn’t happy, it’s hard to think about anything else.
Raw foodists, Natural Hygienists, and many Indian and Eastern health philosophies all put an emphasis on the importance of digestion.
Some stress the importance of eating certain foods together at the same time, or specifically not eating specific foods together at one time.
Food-combining has been written about for decades now, and is something I personally used to follow relatively rigidly for several years.
Specifically, the Natural Hygiene approach to food combining, like not eating melons with other foods, acid foods with sweet foods, and so on.
The Digestion Industry
Digestion has become so important to the general public now that it’s become a bit of a food-marketing gimmick.
Everything from probiotic-boosted green powders to endless brews of kombucha and lacto-fermented yogurts line the shelves of most grocery stores and supermarkets today, all touting a specific amount and strain of probiotic bacteria.
They’re sold with promises of improving the balances of bacteria in your intestinal tract, in-turn allowing you better digestion, sharper mental performance, clearer skin, etc. etc.
I think to a large degree, many of the benefits of these specific strains of bacteria and the packaged foods that are “boosted” with them are overall exaggerated to market them.
Naturally fermented foods like raw kombuchas, kimchi, and sauerkraut are much more likely to have truly beneficial bacteria in them vs. powder-boosted items too.
You can make these foods in your own home from your own garden!
It’s also questionable as to how many of the once-living probiotics actually survive from the time of packaging to you eating it, after transit and shelf-time.
I’m not saying that they may not offer some benefit to your digestion, but I feel that truly healthy gut flora starts with an otherwise healthy gut via eating and living healthfully, not a reliance on supplemental bacteria from packaged foods.
Some raw foodist will go as far as buying digestive enzymes in powdered form to supplement the enzymes everyone’s body naturally produces.
This could be a topic for a whole other article, but for now I’ll just say that the body produces all the digestive enzymes you need perfectly fine by itself, given you take care of it.
The Raw Curse
There is something that at one time felt like a phenomenon, but now just makes more logical sense as a natural progression of human adaption.
One thing I noticed amongst fellow raw-food-enthusiasts was that there seemed like a predictable decline in digestive abilities the longer they followed a strict raw food diet.
The longer they followed a raw food diet, the less ability they had to digest any other foods than raw foods.
The longer they followed that path, the types of raw foods they ate started being limited, too.
In many circles, you see people eating mostly mono-meals of one type of sweet fruit and tender, leafy greens, for most of their food intake. These are among the easiest foods for the digestive system to digest, as they are mostly composed of simple sugars.
This is a good and a bad thing.
There are valuable nutrients in fruits and tender leafy vegetables that can be easily absorbed by just eating them as they naturally come to you, from the garden or your nearest produce aisle.
But when you eat these foods and absolutely nothing else, you body quits producing the proper digestive enzymes and gastric juices to digest other foods, like dense proteins or starches.
Humans can eat and absorb nutrients from proteins and starch-dense foods just fine, but your body needs to “get used” to digesting them first.
Tuning Up Your Body’s Digestive Fire
I’ve come to the conclusion that many of the so-called digestive imbalances and woes that many people face amongst the vegetarian, vegan and raw food scenes may not always be caused by a complex imbalance of specific digestive bacteria, and more to do with the individual’s inability to digest foods that other people can digest, without any supplements.
The raw foodist who gets knocked out by eating a bowl of rice for the first time in nine months isn’t necessarily a sign that rice is bad for them. It could just be their body wasn’t used to digesting the rice.
You can observe this by the same person eating rice (and many other things!) in the years before and digesting them at least relatively well enough to still function and not be doubled over in pain.
Whether they are incredibly happy to admit it or not, there are many people who previously swore by a 100% raw food diet and now eat cooked foods of many different kinds. The same foods that people swore at one time would wreak havoc on the system are now being eaten and digested perfectly well.
Did their body magically gain the ability to digest the previously “poison!” cooked food from all of that meditation?
While the meditation probably doesn’t hurt anything, it’s mostly just a matter of the body producing the same digestive acids again, in the proper balance, once the new foods are reintroduced into the stomach. The body re-learns how to digest them again.
Like riding a bike!
Keeping Your Stomach Strong
Even basic activities like regular walking and movement/exercise of any kind improves the muscles in your stomach, leading to stronger, more efficient digestion and absorption of the food you eat.
You digestion is much more multi-faceted than some may lead you to believe, so when diagnosing your own circumstances, I encourage you to consider all points of view.
What have been your experiences with digestion, supplements promising to improve your digestion, or anything else you care to share? Let us know in the comments section below.
Many people’s aim for eating a healthier diet isn’t just to feel and perform better NOW, but also with a mind towards the distant future.
How far? Many people say that living to a hundred years isn’t that hard to manage, given you take care of yourself.
Check out this video clip today by John Robbins as he shares some of his basic principles to eating and living in a way that keeps you healthy for your whole life and you’ll learn:
- Why it’s so important to have not only a healthy body, but a healthy emotional body and mindset if you’d like to live longer than the norm.
- How everyday choices that you make greatly impact the rest of your life.
- How to easily integrate better choices into your mind so you automatically make better decisions without having to think them through every time.
- The differences between individual cultures that live into their 100’s, and why those differences are important yet not the determining factor in their total health.
- Why eating a plant-based diet ultimately offers the body more nutrition for fewer calories.
John brings up some great points, and I think it’s particularly good to recognize that each culture that tends to live well past world standards of life expectancy don’t all eat one specific way.
While they all eat a plant-based diet, they all have little differences in the types of foods, amounts of animal products, and cooking methods they use.
What are your thoughts on living into your 100’s? What have you learned in your years so far?
Coffee is one of those beverages that has always received mixed reviews.
At one time, it was everybody’s favorite breakfast item to criticize, saying that it was too stimulating and hard on your adrenals, so you should swap it for a green juice or tea.
More recent years people have come up and argued the contrary and said that it’s actually full of antioxidants and all sorts of other nutritional components that actually make any small side effects from the caffeine negligible.
Some people will go as far to say that dark roast black coffee is very good for you, and will cite a number of studies arguing that dark coffee is good for the following conditions:
- – Type 2 diabetes
- – Parkinson’s disease
- – Alzheimer’s disease
- – Prostate cancer
- – Liver cancer
- – Kidney cancer
- – Etc.
Now in a moment I will give you what I believe is a more balanced view on coffee.
But first, let me be clear that I absolutely LOVE coffee. I totally understand the love affair that the world has with coffee, and other caffeinated beverages, like tea.
But for me coffee has always been a love/hate relationship.
I love caffeine and its immediate effects on my body. However, I also know that I’m very caffeine sensitive and I know the short and long-term effects of caffeine’s effects on my body.
If I consume coffee one or two days in a row, I will inevitably get headaches as a result. I will also get depressed and lack energy a day or two after I stop coffee.
If I keep drinking coffee and make it a habit (I have done that at times in the past), I personally experience the following symptoms:
- – Irritability
- – Clouded thinking in the morning until I have coffee again
- – Regular migraine headaches
- – Back pain
- – Bouts of irregular feelings of depression
I know that I am more sensitive to caffeine than most people. Therefore, I treat coffee with respect. I don’t underestimate its effects as a drug and I stay away for the most part.
But as I said, I love coffee and the feeling of caffeine in general. So once in a while, I can’t resist having a cup of tea or coffee and go ahead and have one.
When I do, I like the immediate effects. But I know there will be some consequences.
I have found that if I don’t consume caffeine more than a couple of times a month (say 2-3) then I can manage with it.
There are times, for example when traveling, when using a little bit of a boost is not a bad idea.
After all, certain circumstances in life are unnatural to begin with, like traveling across multiple time zones in minutes or hours.
But what’s important is that I treat coffee for what it is:
Not a beverage like fruit juice or green juice, or even an innocent breakfast beverage: a drug!
Just a little bit of research into the effects coffee has on the human body quickly brings to mind the effects of any other type of stimulating drug.
Many books have been written on the subject of caffeine and coffee specifically not being good for the human body. They list a number of side effects and conditions:
- – Energy swings or periods of fatigue during the day
- – Mood swings or periods of depression
- – Gastrointestinal distress, cramping, and diarrhea
- – Constipation and/or dependence on caffeine for bowel movement
- – Tension or stiffness in the neck, shoulders, hands, legs or stomach
- – Premenstrual syndrome, menstrual irregularity, cramps, sore breasts
- – Insomnia
- – Anxiety
- – Irritability, including inappropriate fits of anger
- – Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- – Light-headness/dizziness
- – Waking up feeling tired
- – Generalized pain (back, stomach, muscles)
- – High blood pressure
- – Ulcers
- – Anemia
- – Shortness of breath
- – Difficulty in concentration
- – Ringing in ears - Coldness in extremities
Of course, not every coffee drinker will immediately, or possibly even ever experience all of these symptoms. Some of these more intense side effects would only occur at a sustained level of consumption. Which in the western world isn’t that far from the norm.
For some people however, they notice very acute symptoms after drinking coffee or caffeine.
Some other people are sensitive to the high levels of caffeine in coffee, but can drink green tea every day.
Others seem to process caffeine better and do well with a certain amount of coffee per day, like a cup of espresso or a cup or two of dark coffee.
Everybody seems to have a little bit different tolerance level for coffee and/or caffeine, ranging from can’t-have-a-drop to multiple cups of coffee or tea everyday with seemingly little to no negative effect.
I believe this is mostly due to different people’s individual makeup and ability to process caffeine via the liver.
Caffeine being a drug has its side effects as well as potential benefits.
But nobody likes to talk about the side effects. It’s just not popular to question America’s most popular drug!
I feel some people can have at least a certain amount of caffeine in their life, whether it be from tea, coffee, or a bit of chocolate. Yet at the same time, for certain people, it’s likely that their healthy amount is next to no caffeine.
But I want to hear from you. Do you consume any form of caffeine? Do you consider yourself sensitive to caffeine? Have you quit coffee or caffeine?
Let us know in the comments below!
Over the years of being in the raw foods scene, I’ve heard a lot of crazy theories as to “why” people ate a raw food diet and didn’t cook their food.
Some of them really do make sense, like the preservation of nutrients.
Others, like when someone says that they should eat green bananas because of the enzymes present in them, don’t hold as much weight.
I will say that a 100% raw food diet may be very appropriate and beneficial for many people. For others however, the all-or-nothing approach just doesn’t work the way they want it to.
There are also many different people who believe many different things. And anything you believe is just that: something you believe. That can change.
I personally don’t think there is any life force in food, something touted in raw circles, besides the raw materials necessary for human nutrition. I haven’t found any proof to bring me to another conclusion for myself.
However, you may disagree with me and still think that there is indeed life force in food or any other thing you want to believe. Nobody needs a rational reason to think or believe anything, and that’s okay.
I have certain beliefs that are not completely rational.
For example, I do believe that everything happens for a reason. That kind of belief is based on my personal experience, and it also works for me. But I know it’s not necessarily “rational”, it’s just something I believe.
Top 5 Reasons to Eat Raw
Fruits and vegetables are the most-nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and most of these foods are better eaten raw than cooked.
When we say that a food is “nutrient-dense,” we mean that it has many nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, per calorie. Starchy foods are calorie-dense, but not as nutrient-dense as fruits and vegetables.
In other words, 500 calories of rice or potatoes will contain fewer vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals than 500 calories of kale, or 500 calories of apples.
By eating a diet composed mainly of fruits and vegetables, we take in more nutrients than if we were to eat mostly cooked foods.
There are some exceptions, however. Cooked green vegetables tend to be more nutrient-dense than raw greens, simply because we can eat more of them more easily.
For example, you probably remember taking a huge amount of spinach and cooking it down in a matter of seconds to almost nothing. Well that small cup of cooked spinach is now jam-packed with minerals, and will only take you a few minutes to eat. On the other hand, the same amount of raw spinach would take a long time chewing to get down.
Raw foodists can use the same principle by using a blender and other devices to process their food, such as the case of green smoothies.
One of the most important concepts to understand in human nutrition is that of caloric density. Caloric density is an estimation of a food’s energy content by weight.
For example, an entire head of lettuce weighing over one pound contains less than 100 calories. That means that the caloric density of lettuce is less than 100 calories per pound.
On the other hand, a single tablespoon of oil contains 120 calories. So you have more calories in 1 tablespoon of oil than in a pound of lettuce. But guess which one is going to fill you up more?
The principle of caloric density is to encourage eating sufficient nutrients while feeling satisfied eating a larger volume of food and a healthy amount of calories.
Studies have confirmed that if you feed people foods of low caloric density, they will eat as much as they want, not be hungry and lose weight, without having to count calories.
Let’s take a look at the average caloric density of certain foods. 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.
|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|
|Processed grains and Flours (even if made from whole grains)||1200-1500|
|Nuts and Seeds||2800|
Now it’s important to note that nobody will ever really successfully live off a diet of just raw vegetables, and I wouldn’t recommend doing so.
However, you want your diet to contain plenty of raw vegetables by weight. The concept of caloric density is to look at the overall caloric density of the foods you eat throughout the day.
Low Toxic Load
When cooking carbohydrates (such as potatoes) at high temperatures (baking, frying, etc.), a compound called acrylamide is created. In animal studies, high doses of acrylamide cause cancer and doesn’t sound very promising for your health.
More acrylamide is created when foods are cooked at a higher temperature or for longer periods of time.
We also know that other molecules called “Maillard Molecules” are formed when foods brown and caramelize during cooking. Some people speculate that these new compounds, created in the cooking process, may affect health negatively.
It’s also important to note that the act of being alive and living is toxic to you, and every bite of food you ever intake will always have varying degrees of “nutriment” and varying degrees of “toxicity”.
While certain forms of cooking appear to be relatively harmless (steaming, for example), the surest way to reduce the amount of toxins in your diet to the lowest level is to eat foods in their raw state.
You Eliminate Everything Else That’s Really Bad for You
One of the main reasons why people get sick is that they eat so many “dead”, pre-packaged foods in their diet.
These foods are not only heavily processed, but they contain a long list of suspicious ingredients, including MSG, preservatives, artificial coloring, and more.
Eating a raw food diet automatically eliminates all of this unhealthy food, which means that your diet will be 100% more clean and pure. It will be “wholesome” in the true sense of the word.
When I started the raw food diet, there were no pre-packaged raw snacks available. All that I bought were actual foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Eventually I got into olive oil, but that was a pretty simple product. The “worst” thing that raw foodists bought was jars of olives that could possibly have been marinated in salt water.
Nowadays, a variety of raw food snacks — from kale chips to chocolate brownies — are available at a variety of stores. Many of the people making these products do remain true to their nature of keeping them free of artificial flavors and preservatives, but processed foods are still processed foods and eaten in moderation.
Raw fruits and vegetables, as well as raw nuts and seeds, are absolutely packed with phytochemicals.
“Phyto” means “plant,” so the term phytochemical designates different compounds in foods that protect against illness. Some phytochemicals can prevent DNA damage caused by free radicals.
You’ve probably heard of antioxidants with cancer-preventing benefits found in many fruits and vegetables and dark leafy greens. Antioxidants are a class of phytochemicals.
Some of the most potent phytochemicals are found in raw foods, and many of them are heat-sensitive. Therefore, eating a raw food diet or a mostly raw diet will give you an abundance of phytochemicals — and this could prove to be one of the main benefits of the diet.
Some notable phytochemicals are to be found in:
The Cruciferous Family — including cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc. These vegetables contain a class of phytochemicals (called sulphoraphane and indole-3-carbinol) that are converted into cancer-fighting enzymes by the liver.
Berries — This includes pomegranate, cherries, blueberries, grapes etc. They contain many phytochemicals that increase immunity.
Citrus fruits — Those fruits contain many phytochemicals (close to the skin), in addition to lots of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant.
Pretty much every raw fruit and vegetable contains health-enhancing phytochemicals. Cooking food sometimes enhance the bio-availability of certain phytochemicals, like lycopene in tomatoes, but in general we get more benefits from eating foods in their raw state.
When we use bad arguments to promote a certain philosophy, it often leads us to make mistakes. Sometimes people oversimplify a health philosophy and refuse to look at new information on top of it all.
There are so many great reasons to eat more raw foods in your diet, I feel that being conscious about the reasons we give for them are important to gaining a better understanding of ourselves and our food!
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
Many people tend to get a bit scrambled when it comes to following a new diet, or even just changing their diet in the simplest of ways.
Why? Because there are so many different people out there all saying that ONE specific way to eat is the only sane, healthy way to eat and live.
See the contradiction?
Today Dr. McDougall sheds a bit of light on the topic by sharing his experiences with people following what they considered a “vegan” diet, and his own experiences with
Check it out and you’ll learn:
- Why all vegan diets are not created equal, and why “vegan” doesn’t automatically mean healthy.
- The differences between starch-based diets and the typical plant-based diet you may think of, and what this means for your health.
- Why the food industries hardly give consumers a fair chance at choosing the right foods to eat for their bodies by using confusing terminology to cloud the truth.
- Ways that you can educate yourself so that you can understand what you are eating just by changing how you describe your food.
Many of us have had personal or second-hand personal experience with somebody following a vegan diet, and we’ve also had different experiences with vegan diets.
I think the important thing to remember with following any diet is to remain free-thinking so that you can learn and grow along with everybody else.
What have been your experiences? Let us know in the comments below!