Tag Archives: nutrition

DRINKING WATER AT THE CORRECT TIME – who knew there were rules?

POST #905
Now, this is interesting. Who knew there were times to drink water. I thought it was just all about drinking water. Who knew there were rules?




What is up with low fat hysteria among raw foodists?

If you are eating a Standard American Diet (SAD), with all the fried foods and processed foods containing hydrogenated fats, then, yes, a high fat diet is to be avoided.  If you are, in fact, eating such a diet, then you should consider lowering the fat content of your diet.

Actually, recently, health experts are beginning to notice that, since low-fat diets began to be recommended,  people throughout the world have consistently become even heavier (yes, folks! It is not just an American issue, and we are not even the heaviest; Australia owns that title, and the U.K. and Canada are not far behind.  Obesity is an issue throughout Europe and also in Asian countries.  (These are but the countries which consider fat to be unattractive.  The surveys do not take into account Middle Eastern, African,  or South American countries, nor those of the Indian subcontinent, where obesity has traditionally been considered desirable) .

The problem, in the SAD diet arena, with low fat,  is that foods which are designated as “low fat” generally tend to include more sugar.  (Thus, I advise my clients that “low fat” does not mean “no fat” on you.).

Now, if you are reading this blog, you are probably not following a SAD diet, and you may well be eating few or no processed foods.  You may even know how to read the ingredients listing on the processed foods that you do consider picking up.

One of the things that has ended up making raw food converts quit and go back to either SAD or cooked vegetarian or vegan, is the emphasis on low dietary fat espoused by some self-designated raw food gurus (I am talking about people who have little or no nutritional education, who posit themselves as dietary experts, but who actually simply follow the concept of low fat which has been recommended for the mainstream, who follow the SAD diet).  Those who observe low fat diets of any sort, tend to experience intense cravings which can undercut their desire to adhere to a healthy diet.  Raw foodists, particularly, often begin to experience diet-breaking cravings when attempting to adhere to a low-fat diet.

The human body needs fats to construct the walls of the cells that make up our bodies.   We need to get at least 30% of our dietary intake from good fats to allow our bodies to construct healthy cell walls (and thus be more impervious to disease).

Most raw foodists would have to really work hard to exceed the 30% fat count in our diets.  Most of us primarily  raw vegetables and fruit.  We use a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil to moisten and flavor our recipes.  From time to time, we add in nuts and/or seeds, either munching them as snacks or incorporating them into recipes, whether for crackers, breads, pates, sauces,  or cheezes.   Most of us  do not eat high fat meals (do you actually eat 4 avocadoes every day?)

Yes, we have recipes for nut and seed breads.  Do we make those often enough to eat them every day? (I mean those of us who do not have personal chefs to cook for us, and, of course, those of us who are not graced with time and/or finances to afford to make those items for daily use.)

I can really only speak for myself, although I think that my experience is likely similar to that of many others who follow a raw living food diet.

In 1974, I began to follow a raw living food diet.  It was not a conscious choice; it was simply cheaper  and easier to do what I was doing, which was making a cabbage-based salad with whatever vegetables were cheap, along with kelp powder and olive oil.  What I didn’t eat I refrigerated and added to the next day.  I added to my salad tomatoes, onions, garlic, and avocado when I could afford it (avocado was a new find for me, and also rare in the markets)

In 1975, I found my first raw food cookbook, which suggested some different combinations for vegetables and fruit, and also suggested adding some nuts into recipes. (I did not die from the addition of more fat.)

Fast forward to 1999.  I was still eating pretty much the same way, but I had a blender and a food processor, so I could make my food look different from a salad.  My mom gave me Rose Calabro’s recipe book, Living in the Raw, and I suddenly discovered that other people were eating raw, and that people were making interesting recipes for eating raw food.  I was totally fascinated.   Because of Calabro’s book, I bought a dehydrator and began to make nut and seed crackers.

What I found out about nut and seed crackers (oh my gosh! High fat!) was that four or five of them would fill me up.  What did that tell me?  Not junk food!  I carried crackers with me when I was going to be out for long hours – I could just munch on my crackers and then feel full. (you don’t get that if you just eat a cup of fruit or vegetables)

Many of the popular videos and recipe books do rely heavily on raw nuts and seeds to create the time-consuming recipes.   Furthermore, the recipe books tend to concentrate on macadamia nuts (substitute cashews), and young Thai coconut (if you are on a budget or live away from a large metropolitan area, or believe in eating locally, this one is easy: ignore such recipes – I do, because I want to eat more locally—or else just use them once in a while).

Unless you are going to be eating in raw food restaurants all day long every day, you are probably not going to risk a too-high raw food diet.  If you do primarily eat in raw food restaurants, then you might want to pay attention to the ingredients in the menu choices, in order to up your intake of vegetables and fruit.

If you are on a raw living food diet, and you are feeling cravings for certain foods, try eating more raw nuts and seeds.  Eat them by the handful, process them into pates or cheezes, or grind them and sprinkle them on foods you eating.

Cravings on a raw living food diet are usually occasioned by a need for fats in the diet.  If you are experiencing cravings, add to your diet fats, in the form of avocados, oils, or raw nuts and seeds.

What we do need to continually be aware of, particularly if we are watching our weight, are foods with high carbohydrate content. Many delicious gourmet-style foods are high in carbohydrates (usually sugars). If this is your concern, consult high carbohydrate food lists such as the one on this blog, or those found on various sites across the Internet. (then note which foods are low in carbohydrates and create your meals around those items).


Okay, I like to watch Dr. Oz. (I did not think I would, especially after my Turkish students kept telling me “Oh, he is Turkish”, but I finally watched his show, just to make sure I did not like him, and I found out that he is pretty likeable.  He is American (okay, his parents came here from Turkey, and they named him a Turkish name, but Dr. Oz comes across as about as American as they come, and that is a plus in my book.  His audiences are mostly women, and he knows how to talk to American women, i.e., he is an American guy.)

So, anyway, today, while I was working on THE NEXT BOOK,  I tuned in to Dr. Oz, and, lo and behold, he was talking about something I want to know more about – bone density and bone loss.

Being a normal human, I heard what I want to hear:

CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS: yes, you should take them, but you should get calcium supplements that are combined with Vitamin D (actually, in my ND training, I learned that you should take a combo calcium/vitamin D/magnesium supplement)

VITAMIN K2 helps prevent bone loss…. Now here is the kicker!  It is found in fermented foods (awwww! Dr. Oz, you could not have found a better way to endear yourself to me)  We all know that I am so into fermented nut cheeses, and sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables.  I am putting Vitamin K2 on my list of things I must eat (so I don’t have to add anything… I am addicted to sauerkraut and I love my raw vegan seed cheeses….  !!!)


I’ve gone back to my roots, so to speak… back to my original nutrition training…. and I’m reading an old favorite, Protein Power, by Michael and Mary Dan Eades, both MDs, which came out right after the Atkins Diet, but with a lot more specific information on vitamins, minerals, etc., and so forth, and what have you.

This is NOT a RAW book. No.

It is a book which explains how the body operates, and what it needs to operate at maximum functionality. It explains how the body functions, and what the body needs to function. It explains how nutrients are broken down and utilized.

It is relatively easy to read, i.e., if your eyes are open, you can probably handle it. Aha! I just caught myself: your eyes need to be open.

We have all been hearing all these different takes on what raw food nutrition should be. Many of us have formed definite opinions about how raw food should be eaten, in what quantities, including what amounts of what types of raw food, based on what this or that raw food guru has announced.

What I find interesting about the Eades’ book is the concentration on the physiology of nutrition, i.e., what happens when you eat what you eat, and what the body does when it wants to get what it wants to get. This book is basically a refresher course on my entire nutrition training (minus the colonics, enemas and wheatgrass)

As a raw food person, I, of course, ignore the suggestions of animal-based nutrients, but that is as easy to do as ignoring the person halfway down the subway car who is telling you he hasn’t eaten in 3 days when you know darn well you gave him your entire lunch yesterday–okay, no! It is easier to ignore than that guy, when you went fasting yesterday because you gave him your lunch!)

In this book, if you are considering reading it, you get straight physiology… how does the body work? What does it do with what it gets? What does it need? Where can you get that?

The book is geared to SAD diet, in particular, people with elevated insulin and/or cholesterol levels, but the physiology remains the same. You can be on raw food, but your body will still need the same things.

It is the best mass market nutrition book I know of — and the fact of the matter is that all of us have the same basic kind of body, regardless of what we are putting into it.(if you know of a better book, which covers all the points that this book covers, please let me know)


I went to the doctor today.  After she ran all her tests and took some of my blood, she asked me if I was eating right.  Yes, I get a lot of healthy vegetables, nuts and seeds, and fruit.  She then asked me if I didn’t eat any cars.….. wait a minute!!!!  After I recovered, and understood that she meant “carbohydrates”, I paused for a moment.  Okay, since English is not her native language, and since even some people who are native speakers are mightily confused as to what carbohydrates are, I patiently explained that vegetables are carbohydrates, that food breaks down to three basic groups: protein, fats, and carbohydrates.  She wouldn’t hear it.  You have to eat grains, she told me.  I promised her I would run home and sprout some wheat.  I told her that, if anything, my diet might be low on protein, but certainly not on carbohydrates.   Okay, so wherever she studied medicine, they did not cover nutrition very thoroughly.  She doesn’t even know the full word “carbohydrates”, it seems.  I think I will go to the kitchen now and eat some more cars.


For the moment, after seeing ZenPawn’s hurt face, and after spending some time on his blog, I have put ZenPawn’s blog back on my list. I had removed it because I don’t really think wine belongs to a raw food diet. After a good long think, however, I have decided, because his site does have quite a bit of useful information, to put him back.

PATENAUDE CALLS SPINACH TOXIC: We will all die someday

Frederic Patenaude’s recent blog article, “Are There Raw Foods We Should Avoid?” suggests that many popular fruit and vegetables are toxic, and should not be eaten.

Patenaude starts out by condemning buckwheat greens as toxic. He cites an article by Gilles Arbour which suggests that fagopryn, a substance which occurs naturally in buckwheat is a serious toxin. Patenaude quotes Arbour as suggesting that “when ingested in sufficient quantity, fagopyrin is known to cause the skin of animals and people to become phototoxic, which is to say hypersensitive to sunlight. This condition, specifically known as fagopyrism” which causes sun-sensitivity, and extreme sensitivity to cold and hot water and friction, among other symptoms.

My question here is what a sufficient quantity might be. Are we talking a pound of buckwheat sprouts or a few ounces? How come Ann Wigmore and her crew never had this problem?

Patenaude goes on to finger other foods as toxic. He claims that spinach, lambsquarters, beet greens, purslane, Swiss chard, rhubarb, parsley, amaranth leaves, and sorrel have too much oxalic acid, which can be detrimental. This is quite interesting, when we consider that generation upon generation of humans have considered spinach, particularly, to be very healthy. Many, if not most of our current issue of food gurus have encouraged us to eat our spinach and other greens. Pleasant taste is normally a rule of thumb as to what is good to eat, and raw spinach tastes good. Add to that the fact that we still haven’t been told how much spinach is a “large quantity.” Is it one leaf, or five pounds, and in what time frame?

Not satisfied with suggesting removal of some of our favorite greens from our diets, Patenaude goes on to call into question acidic fruit, which he says “can be a problem when those fruits are consumed regularly and in large quantities.” He has yet to tell us what is a large quantity, yet he goes on to finger as poison oranges, pineapple, tomatoes, grapefruit, and lemons.
The current generation of food gurus has long called into question “strong herbs,” so it comes as no surprise that Patenaude suggests they contain toxins.

Fortunately for us, Patenaude apparently “dandelion greens, most fruit, kale, watercress, escarole, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, cabbage,” and most other greens not mentioned are okay to eat, for now, at least.

I am not altogether convinced that the ideas presented in Patenaude’s article are truly valid for us. Other than citing linking to Arbour’s article on buckwheat greens, Patenaude does not reveal his sources for this astonishing information. Arbour’s article details what seems to be a food sensitivity experienced by some. Allergic reactions to common food items are not unusual – indeed, I, myself, am allergic, or “sensitive,” to some of the foods on Patenaude’s list, but I simply avoid these; I would not presume to suggest that they are toxic to the average individual. Then, too, Patenaude never does tell us how much is too much, or how far we must restrict our intake in order to remain within safe levels. Anyone familiar with laboratory animal testing is aware that substance dosages administered to the animals used in testing are very frequently much higher, proportionately, than the amount which might reasonably be consumed by the average human. The fact that Patenaude does not reveal the sources from which he has culled the information he has used to make his disturbing allegations (disturbing in that they would seem to remove most items from the tables of many raw food consumers, and invalidate, as toxic, a vast number of the raw food recipes currently in publication, including a number of his own) casts, in my book, a shadow of doubt as to the validity and/or fearful reality of these dire warnings.