Wednesday, May 23, 2007

First meal of the day

Instead of moving on right away to second meal or lunch suggestions, I thought'd be a great idea to throw out some suggestions to those who might be finding the first meal of the day a bit of a struggle.

When you are used to waking up and eating heavy cooked foods, a lot of animal protein or even cold cereal like granola and almond milk, eating fruit can be a challenge.

So here are some ideas that you may want to think about.

1 - Variety - there should be lots of different fruit options available. So if you don't feel like eating half a melon, then grapes or pears (or whatever you picked out at the store) should be easily accessible. Make sure there are at least 3 different fruit choices for your breakfast.

2 - Abundance - there should be enough fruit around to get full on. Eating 2 oranges may not be satisfying for everyone - some people will want to eat 10 of them.

3 - Ripeness - Eating a hard pear or mango is just not very pleasing to someone who is very hungry. Bananas that are all yellow are very starchy and can be hard on a stomach. Fruit needs to yield to slight pressure and bananas should have spots on them. Some people can handle very ripe fruit while others don't care for the flavor, sometimes it gets some getting use to.

4 - Space - many people will throw their hands up and reach for a quick bowl of cereal if the kitchen is messy with dishes and junk all around. Make sure your dishes are done the night before and the counters are nice and clean. If you want, you can put a cutting board and sharp knife out to entice you to cut into your fruit first thing in the morning.

5 - Hesitation - many times we are not hungry when we first wake up. But then, if we wait, we'll often get so hungry that we are not in the mood for fruit, if we are unaccustomed to eating it on a regular basis as a meal. So if you are new to eating fruit in the morning, try to have some before you get hungry to curb your appetite. This way you won't make a mistake or get an insatiable craving for something you should not have. It really works. Once you get used to eating fruit for meals, it becomes so much easier to reach for it when you feel famished.

6 - Lightness - The feeling of a full, heavy stomach after eating is common to a cooked eater and bad food combining. It doesn't mean anything healthy to have a full feeling when you are done eating. If you aren't used to feeling light after a full meal, you may feel unsatisfied. These things take a while, they don't happen overnight. Once you get used to the way you feel after eating a meal of fruit you will really like that feeling, so allow an adjustment period.

7 - Boredom - if you get sick or board of eating fruit straight up, try using a blender, adding juice, or pureeing some fruit up in a food processor for a pudding. Sometimes it's more fun and satisfying to eat a banana-mango pudding than eating bananas and mangoes, or orange juice blended up with strawberries than eating the fruit whole. After a while you may want to eat the fruit whole and feel more satisfied doing so.

8 - Too Sweet - there aren't any hard and fast rules that you have to eat sweet fruit in the morning. You may want to eat bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. or maybe you want to make a veggie juice or soup. Follow your palette.

I hope these ideas and suggestions gave some insight on eating your breakfast!

Monday, May 21, 2007

What Am I Supposed To Eat Then?

This is a follow-up to my last entry about eating too much fat. After reading this, many people new to the raw food lifestyle may be scratching their heads wondering what in the world can they eat?

First I'm going to preface this by mentioning that reducing your fat intake does not have to be a sudden thing. This may be a more difficult feat for some than others, so if drastically reducing an already high fat intake is a challenge, take it slow and steady. Log on to a free nutritional analysis site, like, or and put in everything you ate for a few days just to see your percentage.

If you ate a recipe, then enter all the ingredients in measurements and it will give you a percentage, even if you didn't eat the whole recipe, it is the percentage that you want to look at. If you ate over 60% of your calories from fat, then you are eating way more fat than is recommended, and you may want to aim for no more than 40% fat for the next few weeks to make things easier. You can start reducing it after that as you feel comfortable. Most health experts advise no more than 10%-15% calories coming from fat.

Just a note, that you do not have to keep entering your daily intake for more than a few days. Once you enter a few days' worth of food, you'll see what needs to be tweaked. The key is, that the more calories you eat in a day, the more fat you can eat.

If you weren't hungry at all but had a couple of handfuls of nuts, then you could be eating 70-80% fat, just because all you had were the nuts, and nothing to offset them. The amount of calories you take in is entirely up to you, but if you are very active, the amount of calories you should be eating is your weight x 10 plus what you are burning off in activity.

Example - if you weigh 150 pounds and are active, you'll want to get eat at least 1,500 calories plus extra to make up for the calories you burn in activity. However if you are not active or don't feel like eating anything, your calorie intake will vary. So this is just a guideline.

It is so common today that prepared raw foods, recipes, and products available to the public tend to be very dense and abnormally high in fat. Years and years ago, the pioneer raw foodists were eating fresh fruits and vegetables as meals, and smaller amounts of fats. This I believe was the ideal kind of raw diet. they weren't supplementing with superfoods and oils as many are today.

Now it is popular, even chic to be eating coconut oil, hemp seeds, pumpkin butter, superfood smoothies made with cocoa and a lot of fats.

There are many recipes out there that are loaded with nuts and fats. One in particular I've seen gain popularity is a cheesecake recipe. The main ingredients consists of lots of cashews, macadamia nuts and coconut oil and a liquid sweetener. Many folks were trying out this recipes and exclaiming how it tasted just like the real thing. However, this recipe contained over 65% fat. Whether you eat one bite, one piece or the whole cake, the percentage is the same.

Out of curiosity, I made half a recipe for the holidays a couple of years ago. I anxiously tried it and to me, it didn't even come close to a cheesecake. In fact, it tasted very fatty, as if I was eating a stick of sweetened frozen butter (it had to be kept frozen in order for it to stay firm).

While enjoying recipes are great, sometimes people with eating disorders or who may have a hard time with food addictions really need to take caution with some of those recipes. People were eating cheesecakes, puddings and pies for breakfast while patting themselves on the back for "staying raw". In my opinion, a bowl of natural cooked oatmeal would have been far healthier as a breakfast option.

Which brings me back to the original topic, "what am I supposed to eat?"

So for today's entry, we'll start with breakfast.

Many raw fooders believe that adding a fat to their smoothie is beneficial. It is not uncommon for people to add tablespoons of fat, such as coconut oil, flax seed oil, or flax seeds themselves to a smoothie.

There are many problems with this, the first being that most people don't require that amount of fat, especially when breaking a fast. In addition, mixing fat with fruit is a recipe for many problems, at the very least a bad case of indigestion and gas, and at the worst blood sugar problems which may contribute or worsen things like candida and diabetes.

Here are some ideas for breakfast:

  • Fresh squeezed orange juice

  • Young coconut water - this has a little more fat, but it's still under 10% calorically

  • An all fruit smoothie. You can use orange juice or plain water as the base, add bananas and mangoes for creaminess, then any other kind of fruit like pineapple, peaches, berries, frozen fruit and ice cubes if you like your smoothies cold. I prefer to keep the variety to a minimum, usually no more than 3 kinds of fruit.

  • Mono fruit. You can eat one kind of fruit such as several oranges, several peaches, kiwi, grapefruit, grapes or whatever you desire. Although this is simple, you will be surprised at how enjoyable the flavor is. Eat as much you'd like, but make sure you are hungry first!

  • Fruit salad - mixing 2 or more fruits. Bananas and berries, pineapples and oranges, peaches & pears, etc.

Most people prefer to skip breakfast, which is perfectly fine. Breakfast is only the most important meal of the day when you eat it properly. It is better not to eat at all if you aren't going to give yourself the appropriate type of fuel.

Sometimes I will just drink a big glass of water, which is a great way to cleanse the body after a night of detox. If you are waking up with a heavy head and a funny taste in your mouth, your body is in full detox mode and has worked hard the night before, so be gentle with it the next morning. Especially if you haven't done any kind of activity, there may be no real need to re-fuel. So eating light, or drinking water or juice may be the easiest on your body.

The next entry we will talk about lunch options.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Big Fat Debate

Over the years on a raw food diet, I've noticed that one of the many on-going debates is about fat intake.

Fat, fat, fat. It is a touchy subject for some. It's been discussed and over-discussed, and some raw discussion sites even prohibit fat from being discussed!

But we will discuss it here. There are 2 different types of eaters when it comes to fat, obviously, the low fat eaters and the high fat eaters.

The low fat eaters may be consciously eating low fat, or may be mono-mealing or just plain enjoying their food with very small amounts of fat.

The high fat eaters are either aware or unaware of the high amount of fat intake they are eating on a daily basis. The ones who are aware are usually doing it because they believe eating a lot of fat is really good for them. Or they could be those who know that over-eating fat is not so good for them, but they are in a habit of reaching for the higher fat foods. This is a problem I face at times. I will be eating really well, and then I can get sucked into the "fat trap", whether it is from a raw source or a non-raw source.

The ones who seem to be eating a lot of fat really don't believe or feel they are, and they feel like purposely eating a lot of it is going to be healing and beneficial to them. The reason why they don't believe they are eating a lot of daily fat on a regular basis is because they don't look at their intake on a caloric level, they look at it on a meal level (some research found that raw food eaters commonly take in over 60% fat on a daily basis!)

Plus, when they eat a very fat-heavy meal or recipe, it can be enough fat for an entire week, but since it's only ONE meal or ONE recipe and the rest of the meals are moderate to low-fat, people tend to think that they are eating "well".

I have eaten raw so many different ways. And when I was eating a fat and recipe heavy raw diet, I hardly felt much different from eating cooked, because what I was doing was replacing the heaviness of cooked grains with the heaviness of fats.

Many raw food experts will say that this is perfectly fine, because the fat is still raw, but lets take a look at how fresh it really is, because the object of eating raw food is healing our bodies, correct? If we aren't getting fresh food into us, our bodies will react to the food differently than raw, as if we were still eating cooked, even though we think that food it raw.

Oils - Sometimes I wonder if we were even meant to be ingesting oils (and pure fats such as lard, butter, margarine, etc.) since really, it's not found in nature. Yes, oils are naturally IN things such as nuts, seeds and fatty fruits, but they are in perfect amounts in these foods. But oils are a form of extracted 100% pure fat.

I hardly use oil for eating purposes and when I do it is sparingly. And it is usually for external purposes, such as hair and skin. In the Bible, oils were used for burning candles and anointing, which tells me the purpose for oils is really external.

Nuts - There have not been too many people who haven't ventured into a raw food lifestyle and not over-consumed on nuts. I did, mostly in recipes, but I still did.

It is so very easy to overeat nuts, when there's a bag of conveniently shelled and supposedly "raw" almonds, cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, etc. right in front of you. They are not like this on the trees. I have not been privileged to eat a truly fresh nut, but I can imagine they take some effort to open and are soft inside.

In nature, it would not be probable that someone ready to eat a meal would sit under the nut tree, opening 100 nuts and eating them, as this would take half a day! The nuts that are available to us in bulk are void of any water, we don't know how long they've been sitting on shelves, and really, most of them may not even be viable, or sproutable.

We know that raw almonds are soon to be endangered, and most of us have been aware that cashews are heated at high temperatures to release them from their shells. Other nuts such as walnuts and pecans are hard to determine because I've never been able to sprout them myself.

Seeds - In nature, seeds are in fruits and many vegetables, and often we eat them intuitively, for instance in cucumbers and tomatoes. However, we hear how healthy it is to eat flax, pumpkin, sesame and hemp seeds. So many times we will overeat them in seed butters, oils, and seed milks. I tend to think that eating an abundance of seeds or seed products on their own is not even close to promoting health as eating fresh fruits and vegetables. As mentioned above regarding nuts, eating them in abundance seems to be un-natural.

Fatty Fruits - Some of the tastiest foods - avocados, fresh coconuts and other fruits such as the durian have higher amounts of fats in them. Usually these foods are very filling so it doesn't take much to satisfy, but these are probably the healthiest sources of fat as they are in the most natural state.

Olives - This is another tasty example of a high fat food, which would be hard to eat in abundance. In reality olives are quite bitter, so after the procedures of drying and salting, what remains is not very close at all to what came off the tree.

I hope that highlighting the main foods that people eating raw food eat, will help some think about where fat is coming from and how much one may be eating. The best fat is the freshest, least concentrated and processed and in small amounts.

Based on my own experience, when I eat concentrated raw fats or just plain higher raw fat recipes and meals, my intake of fresh fruits and vegetables drops dramatically. Since my appetite has been suppressed by the heavier foods, I no longer have hunger for the fresher, water rich, whole foods that are going to allow my body to heal. But the interesting thing is, when I do have those higher fat meals, I tend to want something "sweet" afterward. This is telling me I haven't had enough fruit during the day.

Some quotes about fat:

"Udo Erasmus, author of Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, has
extensively researched the topic of fat consumption and health. What's more, he sells fat for a living. Yet in his book, he recommends we eat just 15-20% of our calories as fat." pg. 111 The 80/10/10 Diet, Dr. Douglas Graham

"The high-fat raw foods that well-meaning raw chefs, teachers, and authors promote are very likely to cause in raw fooders many of the same health issues that plague cooked-food eaters, including candida, chronic and intermittent fatigue, and even heart disease. These maladies result in large part from excess fat in the bloodstream, a correlation explained in Chapter 2" pg. 129 The 10/10/10 Diet, Dr. Douglas Graham

"Fat is not 'bad' either; we just consume too much of it. The average person needs to consume less than fourteen grams of fat to meet the daily requirements of essential fatty acids, which your body needs to synthesize a variety of important substances. Unfortunately, the average American consumes at least eight times that amount." pg. 255-256 Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease

"high-fat meals, in contrast to low-fat meals, can cause considerable increases in plasma triglycerides and plasma levels of blood coagulation factors which lead to a blood clot or thrombosis in the heart artery" Dr. McDougall Newsletter

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A couple of interesting articles about dairy...


Dairy may cause weight gain

More misleading information that the Dairy Industry did not want you to know is now uncovered. They've been advertising that consuming dairy helps you to lose weight.

Not only have they misled the public in the past with their unscrupulous ads that it "does a body good" but now they can no longer claim that drinking it causes weight loss.


USDA and Dairy Industry Halt Misleading Weight-Loss Ads After Physicians Group Complains to Federal Trade Commission

Cheese and Milk Actually Likely to Cause Weight Gain, Doctors Say

WASHINGTON—In a victory for consumers, two national dairy advertising campaigns overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will stop claiming that dairy products cause weight loss because such claims are not supported by existing scientific research, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced in a letter to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The decision, which comes in response to an FTC petition filed by PCRM, will end misleading claims made in the “Milk Your Diet. Lose Weight” and “3-A-Day. Burn More Fat, Lose Weight” promotions.

In the FTC petition, PCRM charged that the dairy industry has used false and misleading advertising in its multimillion-dollar, celebrity-filled marketing campaign suggesting that consuming milk and other dairy products causes weight loss. In response, the FTC’s Division of Advertising Practices met with USDA staff and representatives of the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board and the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, who agreed to discontinue all advertising and other marketing activities involving weight-loss claims pending further research into the issue. The decision also applies to affiliated entities, including Dairy Management Inc.

“Milk and cheese are more likely to pack on pounds than help people slim down,” said Dan Kinburn, PCRM’s general counsel. “This case calls into question other advertising claims made by the industry, especially the notion that milk builds strong bones. Evidence shows it does nothing of the kind.”

The dairy industry’s weight-loss campaign was based largely on small studies conducted by Michael Zemel, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at the University of Tennessee whose funding came from dairy industry sources. Independent research, including a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has found that dairy product consumption either has little or no effect on weight loss or actually increases body weight.

A recent study in the International Journal of Cancer found a disturbing link between dairy consumption and increased prostate cancer risk, something previously identified in two Harvard studies.

For a copy of the FTC letter or an interview with Mr. Kinburn or a PCRM physician or nutritionist, please contact Patrick Sullivan at 510-834-8680.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, especially good nutrition. PCRM also conducts clinical research studies, opposes unethical human experimentation, and promotes alternatives to animal research.

Taking grandma's milk away

Many of my family members have been ending up with alzheimers and dementia in their older years, leading to a painful, slow death full of medication, illness and full-time care in nursing homes. This has been a big concern for some of us who are getting up in our years. We know that calcium is essential but getting it through plant foods is the safest and healthiest way to do it.


Excess calcium in elderly 'linked to dementia'

By John von Radowitz, PA Science Correspondent
Published: 14 May 2007

Calcium and vitamin D in dairy products may be helping to cause brain damage and dementia in older men and women, new research suggests.

Scientists believe too much calcium can narrow blood vessels in the brain, leading to neural damage.

The effect may be compounded by vitamin D, which regulates calcium retention and activity.
Researchers made the discovery after scanning the brains of 79 men and 153 women aged between 60 and 86.

All had at least a number of brain lesions - areas of tissue damage.

They varied in size and included tiny ones often seen even in healthy older people. But participants consuming the most calcium and vitamin D were significantly more likely to have a higher total volume of brain lesions.

Age, high blood pressure and other medical and mental conditions, including depression, made no difference to the results.

In earlier studies, the same US team found that individuals who consumed high amounts of fatty dairy products had larger numbers of brain lesions.

However, fat intake in general was not a significant factor. The researchers wanted to find out if a factor other than fat caused the harmful effects of a high dairy diet.

The new findings, presented at the Experimental Biology meeting in Washington DC, point to calcium, which exists in abundance in dairy foods. Its regulator, vitamin D, is also found in many dairy products as well as vitamin-fortified foods such as margarine, breakfast cereal and bread.

Study leader Dr Martha Payne, from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, said: "At this point, we do not know if high calcium and vitamin D intake are involved with the causation of brain lesions, but the study provides support to the growing number of researchers who are concerned about the effects of too much calcium, particularly among older adults, given the current emphasis on promoting high intakes of calcium and vitamin D."

Her team is continuing to investigate possible ways in which high levels of calcium and vitamin D might damage the brain.

The leading theory is that when too much calcium is absorbed into blood vessel walls it produces bone-like deposits. This calcification may narrow the blood vessels and make them less flexible, reducing the blood flow through them.

In the brain, neurons could be deprived of blood and die, causing the lesions that increase the risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, depression and stroke.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Got a comment or question?

There'll be a new Mailbag feature on Raw Step by Step for comments, questions and answers. No question is stupid, so please don't hesitate. Obviously I can't give medical advice, but I can give my opinion and current knowledge on practically anything, or I can find an answer for you.

Please send your questions, comments and inquiries to I will only publish your first name or no name at all if you prefer.

Hope to get lots of feedback. Fire, erm I mean ask away!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fun news!

Next Monday will mark my 40th year around the sun. It is a bittersweet moment for me. My father, as well as many relatives have had heart attacks before they reached 40. I have inheredited the same cholesterol disorder, but I feel the Lord is watching over me, and has led me down the path searching for healing through a healthier lifestyle instead of pills & procedures through doctors and hospitals.

I appreciate doctors though. They do serve us when we need it, for emergencies and urgencies, but not diseases and disorders. Those cannot be covered with bandaids in bottles. This is where we need to search and find the answers to healing our own problems.

I am excited to offer all my e-books from my site for only $4.95, and to those who order all 6 e-books, they will receive the Health Journey PDF chart absolutely FREE.

I am also happy to be able to offer a raw food service by donation to those living in the area. If you are interested, or would like to have an item shipped to where you live, please send an e-mail to and I will send you the monthly menu.