Friday, December 30, 2011

Super-Duper Exciting News!!!

Today was a very interesting and exciting day. It's one of those rare days when everything kinda went nuts but the important stuff aligned itself the way it should have had you constructed it in your dreams.

It didn't just fall into my lap because I made things happen, but it turned out exactly how I wanted it to.

After having seen the movie "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" I have been juicing religously for about a month. And I go through POUNDS of produce. The pulp usually goes into my kitties food. They love carrots, cabbage, cauliflower and collards and kale. Their coat is getting a nice sheen to it. Right now as I write this particular post, my youngest kitten is munching on red leaf lettuce sitting on the counter still in it's plastic bag from the store. :)

Sigh. I love it that my cats are raw foodists and extremely healthy (my oldest is 18 years this March) but it gets a little annoying sometimes that we eat the same foods 'cause when I sit down to eat my spiralized zucchini noodles with tomato marinara, they want some. They love zucchinis and tomatos.

But I digress.

I got my dream job today starting in a couple of weeks working at a locally owned juice shop that specializes in juice cleanses as their marketing person. Can you believe it? The owner asked me "do you juice"? I'm like, "every day of my life"!!

Do I juice? Ha! Is rice white? Do dogs bark? LOL. DO I JUICE? ;)

I am so excited. What's neat about this opportunity is that I will be going to local businesses trying to get their employees to drink more juices. He's got carrot, spinach, celery, wheatgrass, OJ, smoothies, you name it. He is not a franchise so we can get creative with the recipes, so if you've got a killer recipe we should try then let me know it!

So I am floating right about now and really excited for what 2012 will bring.

One thing I KNOW it will bring and that is JUICE!!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Omega Balance

Perhaps you've heard about the importance of EFA's or Essential Fatty Acids. Perhaps you haven't. Whether you have or haven't, they still affect your health profoundly. This is going to be a long post, but hopefully, if you follow what's suggested therein, it will change your life profoundly. That is not an empty promise.

I started focusing on health and nutrition when I got endometriosis pain several years ago. Fast forward to today, I am 43 and have avoided surgery and have finally figured out how to be completely pain free from this condition without surgery or drugs. And other health conditions heal from the same information I am going to share with you today.

Essential means we need to get it from our diets, that the body does not manufacture it on it's own. There are 8 "essential" amino acids we must get from our diets and Omega 6 and Omega 3 fats are essential fats that are integral to our body's health.

Omega 6 fats promote inflammation and clotting and Omega 3 fats balance it out and reduce inflammation and clotting. While we need some inflammation and clotting (we don't want to bleed to death), I'm sure you can see the importance of having a balance here.

A century ago, people used to have the milk man deliver fresh milk in milk bottles to people's doors. What also was delivered to people's doors was fresh-pressed flax oil, a highly perishable oil that quickly oxidizes and goes rancid, making the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio in people's diets back then close to 1:1.

Fast forward to today and the food industry, in it's qwest for long shelf life and profits, has not found a way to keep the Omega oils from going rancid, so they created trans fats that have ultra-long shelf life that they use in their foods.

In addition, Omega 3 fats are primarily found in greens and grasses. Many will tell you to eat fatty fish to get your Omega 3's, but the fish got it from the algae that they ate.

Personally, I don't like the taste of fish. I never have. Also, it's very high in mercury which is not healthy. Finally, after watching Happy Feet 1 and 2, overfishing of the seas to the point of a predicted collapse in 2050 has shown that it is not a sustainable way of getting our nutrients. If you haven't seen these two entertaining and delightful films, I can't recommend them enough.

Okay, I am still laughing after seeing those trailers again. :) Really, you gotta see these films. ;)

At any rate, back to the Omega's. Life is a real drag when you are in pain. Whether that pain is in your joints, your lungs, your eyes, your uterus, your heart or your brain, you are in PAIN and you want it to stop NOW.

That's where the Omega's come in. We are now eating WAY MORE Omega 6's than we need, and they are way out of balance with the Omega 3's and it shows in the pain we are in. Pain is a message from our bodies that something is out of balance and needs to be addressed. We oftentimes have difficulty deciphering the body's messages, but this one is clear: cut out completely vegetable oils, even cut out nuts, and eat more leafy greens. Get back to the 1:1 ratio of Omega 6 to 3 fats and you will see your arthritis, asthma, glaucoma/macular degeneration, menstrual cramps, alzheimer's and mental depression and schizophrenia, heart disease and a host of other conditions clear up and subside. Some may say that that ratio can be different, but that is what I personally have found has helped me to heal. You play with what ratio works for you.

Animal foods are another huge problem: grass fed animals which had more omega 3 fats in their tissues when humans ate them are now fed corn and the Omega 6 fats predominate in them when eaten adding to the imbalance.

I personally do not eat animal foods for ethical reasons, and it was important for me to find vegan sources of healthy fats.

Whatever you decide to do, it's important you have this knowledge.

I would like to share a very important couple of articles that Victoria Boutenco shared on her website about this topic. I found them fascinating and illuminating. Victoria had overcome many health issues for herself and her family by switching to a raw vegan diet. However, several years after following a raw vegan diet, she and her family were having some challenges and they ended up being related to this Omega fat imbalance issue due to eating lots of nuts and vegetable oils. Fruitarians may have challenges as well since most fruits other than some melons have a higher ratio of Omega 6 fats than Omega 3 fats. If you are already coming from eating a SAD diet and are in an unbalanced state already, if you are not eating greens in a sufficient volume, you may still be having problems.

While switching to a vegan diet and then eventually a raw vegan diet helped me with my symptoms somewhat, it was not until I addressed the Omega fat issue that I really noticed some great progress.That's because many cooked vegan foods are cooked in vegetable oils and many raw vegan diets are centered around nuts or fruits, both of which are higher in Omega 6 fats.

What is also of interesting note, that Victoria shares in her article below, is that Dr. Max Gerson and his daughter Charlotte, were only able to offer flax oil, the only vegetable oil higher in Omega 3 than 6, to their cancer patients without their cancer tumors regrowing. ALL OTHER VEGETABLE FATS CAUSED THEIR TUMORS TO REGROW AFTER HAVING BEEN SHRUNK ON THE GERSON PROGRAM.

This has huge implications that I hope are not lost on you.

Enjoy these couple of articles. Before I share them with you, however, I wanted you to be aware that most greens (not all) have a higher ratio of Omega 3's to 6's, so green smoothies, salads without vegetable oil as a dressing (or use flax oil), should be a BIG part of your diet. Cut out nuts and oils completely and watch the miracles happen. The closest ancestor's to us in the wild are gorillas and chimps and gorillas have been classified as "foliavores", even though many associate eating bananas with them. That means, that some varieties of gorillas get 80% of their diet from eating leafy greens. That's a LOT.

Here are Victoria's articles:

By the time I had my own family, technological advances had increased the shelf life of sunflower, corn, and other vegetable oils to one year. As I understand now, such convenience had been achieved by removing omega-3s from the oil due to their highly perishable nature. Over the course of several decades, many of our foods became increasingly richer in omega-6 fatty acids and deficient in omega-3s. In recent years genetic engineering has been manipulating seeds, trying to develop strains with higher omega-6 and lower omega-3 content in order to prolong the storage life of seeds along with the oils made from them even further. In addition, most farm animals, such as cattle, sheep, pigs, and chickens have increasingly been fed soy, corn, and other grains instead of grass and hay. People who consume animal products would benefit from knowing that the meat from animals that consume grass is rich in omega-3s while the meat from animals that consume corn and other grains is rich in omega-6s. Even fish is now fed grains at fish farms

The same diversity appears in dairy products and eggs. For example, one study showed that eggs from free-range chickens which had feasted on grass, insects, and a very small amount of grain contained twenty times more omega-3 fatty acids than did standard supermarket eggs.

We’ve seen that one of the disadvantages of a diet rich in omega-6 fatty acids is that it slows down metabolic functions and promotes significant weight gain, like in the case of the hibernating bear. Whereas in a bear the function is a healthy cyclical one, the same is not true for humans! And the paradox of many obese people today is that they are starved for fat—they have more omega-6 than they need but are deficient in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Not only all chips, crackers, and cookies are made with seeds and oils but almost all salads and vegetarian dishes in restaurants are prepared with vegetable oils, loaded with omega-6s. As the consumption of foods rich in omega-6s continues to stay high, obesity continues to climb. The following obesity statistics reveal the disturbing trends in Americans’ health over the last two decades:
[i] . In nature small fish, and some species of whales, eat phytoplankton, microscopic algae rich in chlorophyll which is the original source for omega-3 fatty acids in fish. Larger fish eat the smaller fish. Humans catch and eat many of these larger fish. [ii] That is why wild fish is famous for its high omega-3 content. Contrary to this, farm fish often has more omega-6s than omega-3s. [iii]
There are fifty-eight million overweight, forty million obese, and three million morbidly obese Americans
Eight out of ten Americans over the age of twenty-five are overweight
78 percent of Americans are not meeting the basic recommended levels of daily exercises
25 percent of Americans are completely sedentary
Since 1990 there has been a 76 percent increase in Type II diabetes among adults thirty to forty years old
> [i] says Professor Leonard Storlien the University of Sydney in Australia. Professor Storlien, who studies the effect of dietary fats on obesity and insulin resistance, has found that “not only the quantity of dietary fat, but also the type of fat used, will produce different effects on body weight and metabolism.”[ii] In his experiments, foods rich in omega-3s can protect against obesity and diabetes. Another study, conducted by two Danish scientists, Dr. Jørn Dyerberg and Dr. Hans Olaf Bang, followed Eskimos of the Umanak district of Greenland, whose diet consists of fish, seal meat, and whale blubber. The scientists stated that despite very high saturated fat consumption, “not a single established case of diabetes mellitus is known at present in the population of the Umanak district.”[iii]
Ironically, and most unfortunately, many of the very people who have been making an effort to eat healthier by substituting seed oils for animal fats have accumulated a lot more omega-6s in their bodies than they would have otherwise
According to nutritional biochemist William E. M. Lands, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health and one of the world’s foremost authorities on essential fatty acids, both omega-6s and omega-3s are competing for a certain enzyme in cell membranes called a desaturase enzyme. Although omega-3s are the preferred substrate of the enzyme, an excess of dietary omega-6s compared to omega-3s results in greater net formation of omega-6s.

So how can we achieve the healthiest balance of essential fatty acids? Most of the articles I read suggested that the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s should be 3:1 or 2:1. The typical American diet today contains anywhere from a 10:1 to a 20:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, an imbalance associated with a high rate of disease. The Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, recommends an intake of approximately 10:1, much higher than the ratio recommended by Sweden (5:1) or Japan (4:1). The ratio in Japan is associated with a very low incidence of heart and other disease.
What can we do to increase our consumption of omega-3s? According to Dr. Frank Sacks, Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health,
Fortunately, omega-3 is widely available in all greens, especially in spinach, romaine, and arugula. One of the highest levels of omega-3 can be found in purslane, a widespread wild green.

Other great sources of omega-3s are sprouted flax seed, sprouted chia seeds, and flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is the only fat allowed in the diets of cancer patients at the Gerson Institute in San Diego. Charlotte Gerson, the founder of the Gerson Institute, explained that according to their research, flaxseed oil is the only fat that does not promote the growth of cancer cells.
 [x] The time has come for us to carefully examine our diets and reduce or eliminate our intake of such oils as corn oil, sesame oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and peanut oil as well as reduce our consumption of nuts and seeds. To help you make better dietary choices, I have compiled a list of ratios between omega-3s and omega-6s in a variety of nuts, seeds, oils, greens, and fruit. I have used the nutritional data provided by USDA.[xi]
Omega-3s are very unstable and can become rancid extremely quickly, even inside our digestive tract. For example, flaxseed oil, which is highest in omega-3s, has to remain refrigerated; if it stays at room temperature even for twenty minutes it can become rancid.

Increasing the omega-3s in our diet is important but not enough; it is also crucial to decrease our consumption of omega-6s

This important information about essential fatty acids helped me to find the answers to some of my own unanswered questions that I have asked for years. For example, I was puzzled why I, among some other raw fooders, gained extra weight and had a hard time loosing it.[xii]. I believe that greens are the second highest vegetarian source of omega-3s after flaxseed oil and so greens are very important for helping us get enough essential omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. [i] Allport, “Queen of Fats,” all the benefits that we can get from omega-3s, green smoothies are simply a miraculous healing drink. I enjoy my green smoothies every day. I prefer to associate myself with a hummingbird rather than with a hibernating bear.I realize now that for a number of years I was fanatical about being a 100 percent raw foodist. I believed that anything raw was better than anything cooked. When I learned about the benefits of raw food, I didn’t think twice—I was going to do it all the way. While in the beginning of my raw food diet (which consisted of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds) I felt completely satisfied, several years later I started to feel that something was missing. I developed cravings that continued to grow stronger and more frequent until at last I felt constantly hungry. I enjoyed eating fruits and I could eat a pound or two of them in one sitting, but after I was done, which is a symptom of deficiency, I was still hungry. Carrots, broccoli, and other such vegetables were not very appealing to me, especially when they were prepared with any kind of dressing made with oils. I have developed a strong dislike for any oils and after about ten years of being a raw foodist I couldn’t tolerate even a drop of oil in my food.

Unfortunately, my solution to satisfy my cravings and still stay on a 100 percent raw food diet was to increase my consumption of seeds and nuts. In the late 90s, several companies in the United States began manufacturing a new line of health products designed especially for raw foodists, which included organic raw tahini (ground sesame seeds) and a number of raw organic nut butters such as almond, cashew, and pumpkin. One of such manufactures was located in our town of Ashland. I started to buy nut butters on a regular basis and even ordered in bulk, buying a case at a time. At first, eating more nuts and nut butters seemed to help me with my cravings and I thought that I found the solution to my problems. However, after several months of overconsuming nuts, I noticed that my health began to decline. My energy went down, my nails became brittle, and I developed several cavities in my teeth. Worst of all, I started gaining weight. It wasn’t until I came up with the idea of green smoothies in 2004 and began drinking them daily that I experienced a profound improvement in my health and lost some weight. I understand now that I added the necessary omega-3s to my diet but still had not eliminated the omega-6s.
 I continued consuming nuts on a regular basis, as I thought them to be a necessary source of good fat for raw vegans but to my surprise, I was becoming less and less fond of nuts. To continue consuming them, I started preparing “gourmet nuts,” enhancing their taste with different herbs and fruits. I became really good at making these delicious mixtures, but despite my efforts, the time came when I was not able to consume any nuts or seeds at all. If I ate any amount of nuts, I instantly developed a sore throat and fever that would last several hours. A few times I visited potlucks in different raw food communities and accidentally consumed nuts without being aware that I had done so. Each time nuts had the same effect on me and I had to leave the party.

At one of my lectures in St. Petersburg, Russia, a young man told me an interesting story. As an experiment, he once ate nothing but nuts and seeds for six months. His rationale was that if people could live on fast food, he should be able to live on raw organic nuts and seeds. After six months he passed out on the street and was taken to an emergency room, diagnosed with brain seizures. When he explained to doctors about his experiment, the doctors told him never to eat nuts or seeds again.
 For a long time I couldn’t find an explanation for my body’s rejection of nuts, and didn’t know what to do about my diet until I read the very latest research about the dangers of overconsumption of omega-6 fatty acids that could cause a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids.

While I still consider a raw diet to be the optimal, I don’t want to fanatically follow a 100 percent raw food diet, especially at the expense of my health. When asked, I respond that my diet now is about 95% raw. If I need to choose between nuts and steamed vegetables, I allow myself to choose steamed vegetables. As I continue my life and my research, my diet might slightly change again.

I find it remarkable that the highest concentrations of alpha-linolenic acid, the parent omega-3 fat, are found in the chloroplasts of green leaves, where it assists plants with their most active process, photosynthesis, the basis of all life on earth


© Copyright by Victoria Boutenko,
Greens - the Original Source of Omega-3s The important thing is not to stop questioning. -- Albert EinsteinWhat is one of the most striking differences between a hummingbird and a hibernating bear? Their metabolism. One moves extremely fast and the other is extremely slow, largely due to differences in the composition of fat in their bodies. According to recent scientific research on factors affecting metabolism, "the fats of high-speed animals such as the hummingbird are loaded with the omega-3 fatty acids." Contrary to that, bears have to accumulate a lot of omega-6 fatty acids in their fat before they can go into hibernation. Omega-3s and omega-6s are seemingly alike substances and are even united under one name: essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, there are major differences between them.

The omega-3 molecule is unique in its ability to rapidly change its shape. This exceptional flexibility of omega-3s is passed to organs that absorb it. Omega-3s thin the blood of humans and animals as well as the sap of plants. As a result of these qualities, omega-3s are utilized by the fastest functioning organs in the body. For example, omega-3s enable our hearts to beat properly, our blood to flow freely, our eyes to see, and our brains to make decisions faster and more clearly. The omega-6 fatty acids, on the other hand, serve the opposite function: they thicken the blood of humans and animals as well as the juices of plants. Omega-6s solidify and cause inflammation of the tissues. Some scientists link an excess of omega-6s in the human diet with such conditions as heart disease, stroke, arthritis, asthma, menstrual cramps, diabetes, headaches, and tumor metastases.

After I heard for the first time about the significance of omega-3s in the human diet I began searching for more information and read everything I could possibly find on this subject. The Queen of Fats, a book written by Susan Allport in 2006, has been particularly useful to me; it contains a wealth of reference material, most of which I was able to find online and read.
 According to Allport, there are numerous studies looking into the role omega-6 fats play in the promotion of certain cancers, including breast, prostate, and colon cancer and exploring the benefits of omega-3s in treating psychological disorders such as depression and postpartum depression, attention deficit disorder, and bipolar disorder. A growing number of diseases are being associated with an imbalance of the essential fats, not just heart disease, cancer, depression, immune disorders, and arthritis but also obesity and diabetes.
For many decades, nutritionists have been linking obesity to the overconsumption of foods high in fat, particularly in saturated fat. Since then, many people have been trying to reduce the percentage of fat in their diet. From 1955 to 1995 Americans reduced fat consumption from 40 percent of their total calorie intake to 35 percent. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Americans decreased their consumption of saturated fats and increased their consumption of salad and cooking oils from 9.8 pounds per person in 1955 to 35.2 pounds per person in 2000. Yet despite these efforts, during the same time period the percentage of overweight adults in the U.S. grew from 25 percent to 47 percent. Apparently we have been eating the wrong fats.

When I was a little girl in Russia in the early sixties, my mother would give me a glass bottle and send me to the store to buy vegetable oil. She told me to always ask what date the oil had been delivered before I purchased any. If the oil was more than a week old, I had to go to another store. That was how quickly the freshly pressed oil could become rancid. At home, we knew to never leave the oil in direct sunlight and to store it in a dark, cool place to help keep it fresh.


You may purchase the Green for Life here.
Ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s in Some

© Copyright by Victoria Boutenko,

Flaxseed oil: (1 tbsp)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 7196 mg (4.2 times) more omega 3s
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 1715 mg oil: (1 tbsp)
Sesame oil: (1 tbsp)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 40.5 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 5576 mg (1138 times) more omega-6s Olive oil: (1 tbsp)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 103 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 1318 mg (13 times) more omega-6s seeds: (1 ounce)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 4915 mg (3 times) more omega 3s
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 1620 mg seeds: (1 ounce)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 6388 mg (3.9 times) more omega 3s
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 1655 mg seeds: (1 cup)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 34.0 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 10602 mg (312 times)more omega 6s Sesame seeds: (1 cup)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 541 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 30776 mg (57 times) more omega-6s Pumpkin seeds: (1 cup)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 250 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 28571 mg (114 times) more omega-6s (1 cup)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 10623 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 44567 mg (4.2 times) more omega-6s Almonds (1 cup)
Lettuce, green leaf, raw (1 head, 360 g)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 209 mg (2.4 times) more omega-3s
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 86.4 mg Spinach, raw (1 bunch, 340 g)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 469 mg (5.3 times) more omega-3s
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 88.4 mg Bananas, raw (1 medium size)
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 31.9 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 54.3 mg (1.7 times) more omega-6s, raw (100 g)

With Green Love,
Victoria Boutenko
J. P. Infante R. C. Kirwan,b1 and J. T. Brenna, "High levels of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3)-containing phospholipids in high-frequency contraction muscles of hummingbirds and rattlesnakes," Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 130, no. 3 (October 2001):
W. E. Lands, "Please don't tell me to die faster," Inform 13 (2002):;896–897 Susan Allport, The Queen of Fats: Why Omega-3s Were Removed from the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).
"The Agriculture Fact Book 2001-2002," United States Department of Agriculture. J. B. Allred, "Too much of a good thing? An overemphasis on eating low-fat foods may be contributing to the alarming increase," J Am Diet Assoc. (1995).
Artemis P. Simopoulos., The Omega Diet: The Lifesaving Nutritional Program Based on the Diet of the Island of Crete, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1975).
"Facts from the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Allport, "Queen of Fats,"
A. P. David, A. J. Hulbert, and L. H. Storlien, "Dietary Fats, Membrane Phospholipids and Obesity," The Journal of Nutrition (1993).
H. O. Bang, J. Dyerberg, A. B. Nielsen, "Plasma lipid and lipoprotein pattern in Greenlandic West-coast Eskimos," The Lancet, no. 1 (1971).
William E. M. Lands, "Fish, Omega-3 And Human Health," American Oil Chemists Society(2005).
Allport, The Queen of Fats.
Allport, The Queen of Fats.
Allport, The Queen of Fats.
C. Gerson, B. Bishop,J. Shwed, and R. Stone, Healing the Gerson Way: Defeating Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases (Carmel: Totality Books, 2007). Simopoulos, The Omega Diet.
Allport, The Queen of Fats.

Total Omega-3 fatty acids 65.0 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 90.0 mg (1.4 times) more omega-6s

Total Omega-3 fatty acids 5.7 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 11462 mg (2000 times) more omega-6s

Total Omega-3 fatty acids 0 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 10073 mg (too much! Omega-6s)
. “Fish consumption counts, but our problems are probably caused not by a lack of fish in our diets but by an overconsumption of seed oils and underconsumption of greens,” writes Dr. Artemis Simopoulos in The Omega Diet.
Ingesting rancid oil is dangerous because it can actually promote instead of prevent heart disease by forming lots of free radicals. To combat this problem, make sure to include a large variety of fresh fruit and vegetables in your meals that are rich in antioxidants, such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, grapes cherries, beets, red cabbage, colored bell peppers, kale, and others. The high-rancidity potential of omega-3 oils makes it difficult for manufacturers to produce, transport, and store oils such as flaxseed in mass quantity, which is why products rich in omega-3s are usually a lot more expensive. But I would rather pay for high-quality food now than for medical bills resulting from my poor nutrition later on.
[ix] I now pour a tablespoon of flaxseed oil on my salads almost daily.
While several research papers stated that it was not certain if the parental molecule of omega-3 found in greens could be turned into DHA or EPA that the body could use, I was fortunate to find the following information: Dr. Ralph Holman, a biochemist who has focused his studies on lipids and fatty acids, researched the blood samples of thirty-eight Nigerians from Enugu, the capital city of Enugu State, Nigeria. Dr. increasingly Holman found that the omega-3 content in this group was higher than in any population he had studied. These Nigerians didn’t eat very much fish but they ate a lot of greens and had no omega-6-heavy vegetable oils in their diet.
[vii] there are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets. One type is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in flaxseed oil, walnuts, and also in green leafy vegetables. [viii]The other type, the longer chain fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found in fatty fish. The body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA.
[iv] Put more simply, if we consume too few omega-3s, the body will use an even smaller percent of those omega-3s, choosing the higher amount of omega-6s instead. All these new science discoveries point to one major conclusion: humans need to consume plenty of omega-3s in their diet. Otherwise their metabolism may slow down and they could start feeling sleepy and sluggish similar to a hibernating bear. As Dr. Burton Litman, a membrane biophysicist concluded, “You couldn’t be an astronaut or a fighter pilot if you were raised on an omega-3 deficient diet.”[v]
. Their metabolic rate has slowed down and as a result, they “could have a profound predisposition for obesity,”

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Confronting Your Fears and Living Consciously

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do." -Eleanor Roosevelt

The above quote was on someone's Facebook page and I loved it so much I wanted to write about it today.

We are living in an age of fear. Fear is paralyzing and people are afraid of loss: losing their jobs, homes, health, loved ones, youth, you name it.

Living consciously means we quiet the voice of fear, look our problems square in the face and devise a plan to conquer them one step at a time.

What are we afraid of? What are we afraid is going to happen when we start eating healthfully?

What's your plan of overcoming it?

We need to start NOW and TODAY to plan the life you desire and to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Take baby steps, but take steps in the direction you want to go. As you start your path and see the results, confidence builds.

The results will spur us on.

What happens if we don't see the results we want? Then take a look at your plan and make needed adjustments. What if we consistently fail to get up an exercise or fall back into eating what we didn't want to eat?

Look at your environment and goals and see if they are supporting you. Are you depriving yourself of nutrients? Check Cronometer and put eat foods that have what you are lacking.

Are you being weighed down by people who are critical or jealous or non-supportive? Find new friends.

To break free from old patterns, you must do things differently from what you have been doing. Change can be scary, but it can be invigorating as well.

We can grow and break free from self-defeating habits. We are not puppets. Those habits may have been created by our cultures or family traditions or whatever, but we decide our lives and are consciously creating our lives every day even if we are deciding to give up control and live in fear.

Our Obsession with Toxins, Cleansing and Detox Scams

What you are going to read today may be a new thought to you. You may wonder by what authority I say these things when you've heard from so many other authorities something different. As usual, I ask you to keep an open mind and question what my motives may be, and also what motives the other "authorities" might have. I am not making any money from this article, you might want to ask the same from the other sources that you are getting your information from.

We have become obsessed with toxins. We either love to ingest them until we are in a coma of sorts, and then, knowing we have "sinned" feel the need to purge and pay penance through some sort of detox "cleanse". Some use vinegar, honey, and cayenne mixed together, some add psyllium husks, some do water only fasts and eat nothing at all, and then others  take herbs and other such gross-tasting "cleansing" potions, while still others do multiple colonics and enemas.

We need to have a voice of reason here. Right now as you are sitting and reading this blog, you are detoxing through no effort of your own. Whenever you breath in, you take in fresh oxygen which is distributed to your blood cells which take it to your body's cells, which exchange the gases for carbon dioxide wastes which are then breathed out by you into our environment, which are picked up by the plants which recycle and purify it back into oxygen for us to use.

It's actually quite simple and you have been doing it since birth, effortlessly most of the time and this will continue until you take your last breath and die. The only thing that you need to do to keep this process going smoothly is to avoid smoking cigars and cigarettes and other things like marijuana, avoid toxic out gassing in homes from formaldehyde and avoid polluted city areas and factories.

You do not need anything else to aid you in this detox process except to get outside in fresh air and bring plants indoors to grow clean air inside.

It is the same with our food. Our bodies have natural cleansers in our kidneys and livers and they are constantly purifying our blood 24 hours a day. When we eat fresh ripe whole fruits and vegetables, the water in these foods aids in the process of cleansing and we eliminate what we don't need or use and there is no further need to "cleanse."

What about all the junk food that pollutes up our bodies. Doesn't the body need help in cleansing out all that toxic matter? Doesn't it stick to our colons?

Not exactly. True, our body stores excess calories in our fat cells and also cholesterol is laid down in our arteries from eating animal foods and calcium deposits settle in our eyes as cataracts and joints and in our kidneys as kidney stones, but we don't need to do "cleanses" for these to be reversed.

What we DO need to do is STOP INGESTING the substances that are polluting up our bodies so that our bodies can catch up on the back-log of residue.

We have been sold a bill of goods telling us that many symptoms that are actually deficiency symptoms are "detox" symptoms.

True, when an alcoholic or drug addict or even smoker or coffee drinker stops ingesting their substances, 72 hours of detox headaches, nausea, diarrhea and other such uncomfortable symptoms are to be expected.

However, it is not usual to be having detox problems for years after eating a healthy diet.

It DOES, however, take years to BUILD HEALTH by replacing nutrient poor foods with nutrient rich foods to give the body the building blocks to repair itself.

This friends, is the real problem: we have been eating such depleted foods that the body does not have the necessary building materials from which to draw upon to repair itself. This process may take some time.

However: we MUST provide the body all the vitamins, minerals and other substances that it needs for this to occur.

If we get hung up on detoxing diets or fasting on water constantly, then we are missing an opportunity to provide the body with much-needed nutrition in order to do it's job.

I have looked at many detox or cleansing diets and many of them are missing in several nutrients, that if followed for a period of time, can cause chronic deficiencies that lead to sub-par health that can be cleared up fairly quickly with the addition of the needed nutrients via food.

This is a philosophical departing for sure from the much-loved detox paradigm that is so popular these days and is lining the pockets of a lot of people through the sales of detox supplements and cleanses and many fasting centers.

Dr. Norman Walker wrote a book on juicing and asked the question "What's missing in your body?"

He lived to be in his late 90's. Fresh vegetable juices provide super nutrition to the body in an easily assimilated manner and are delicious to drink and easy to make. If you feel that the soil is nutrient depleted and take a multi-vitamin each day because of that belief, then you will get everything you need by adding in vegetable juices daily.

Fresh vegetable and fruit juices were the foundation of Dr. Max Gerson's protocol for healing his patients from cancer and many other diseases. We need the fresh nutrition from these juices as heat often destroys many vitamins that are lost during cooking.

We do not need enemas, colonics, fasting, herbs, sauna's, tonics, and the many other things sold to us in order for us to detox. We need to stop the TOX-ing of our bodies with white flour, coffee, alcohol, animal foods, sugar, caffeine, hydrogenated oils, and anything else that is not a whole food. Our bodies will do the rest. It does not need extra "help" it just needs us to stop polluting it.

We need to BUILD the body with eating high-nutrient food and let the body do the cleansing of the leftovers that it doesn't use.  We can aid this process by getting enough rest so the body has enough energy to do it's job.

We should not be detoxing years into eating well. We should see a gradual improvement of health and deficiency symptoms should be gradually going away.

Trust your judgment and think twice when someone is trying to sell you a potion, retreat stay, herb or detox diet. Keep your money and spend it on good quality food and STOP INJURING YOURSELF with non-food items that have been sold to us as "food".

Monday, December 12, 2011

Keeping it Easy by listening to your body

Our eating choices were never really ever choices that we consciously made. Sure, as a baby we may have spit up some of our food and shown a preference for others...but our parents, in particular, for most of us our mothers, made the decision on what choices we got to pick from.

And eating came to be a bit of a control game with rewards and punishments.

But to chance upon food as a discovery and most importantly, as a feedback process...listening to how our bodies and moods responded after eating them, was a skill most of us were never taught.

We were taught to suppress our feelings in the name of politeness and guilt--all the starving children in Africa, blah, blah, blah.

Eating until we were full, eating enough, eating when we wanted to and were hungry and not according to someone else's eating schedules.

This post is so going in a direction that I really didn't sit down and intend to write it as, but what really prompted today's post what about the ease I feel with the raw lifestyle.

So many dieter's and people attempting to eat healthier have an absolutely hateful relationship with food. The LOVE certain foods, while they punish themselves with eating WELL---inwardly, they associating eating healthy with deprivation and eating foods they hate.


Because they are listening to someone else's idea of how and what they are supposed to eat. They are in their heads.

In the same breath I write this, I am mindful of how divorced I was to my own body's needs by being ignorant of what it actually needed. Once my head overrode the other voices from outside and my cravings from within, and I started feeding my body the nutrients it really needed, LO! and behold, I actually started craving those foods. My body and mind started associating those foods with getting their actual needs really met rather than with deprivation and punishment. My mind started associating the fake, empty foods with deprivation and punishment.

For instance, I used to hate broccoli. I never ate it. When I saw how much nutrition was in it, however, I forced myself to eat it. I noticed that after I ate broccoli and cauliflower, my moods and energy were noticably BETTER and clearer and more stable. I liked feeling that way. So, I started looking for ways of putting those foods in pleasant-tasting recipes that looked, smelled and tasted great and once I started eating those regularly, this whole white-nuckle struggle internally of staying on track just melted away and I realize now the futilility of fighting against the internal signals my body was intuitively and intelligently giving me all along.

Folks, the body needs certain nutrients in order to do it's job. When it doesn't get those nutrients, it sends out signals to EAT and to eat MORE in order to get those nutrients. When we eat nutrient dense foods, our body knows when we've gotten enough and we are satisfied and satiated. When we eat empty foods, then we can't get enough and we keep on going back for more and more gasping for air as it were.

Take the time to intelligently figure our what it is that you are deficient in and then give your body what it is crying out for. You will watch your struggle to maintain your weight or resolve your health issue just melt away.

Your body will give you feedback when you are out of balance. Your mind will verify the information signals that your body is giving you. Finally, you will just KNOW that your snarly mood is caused by not enough B vitamins or calcium or whatever, and you will know that once you give that to your body, you will feel better again.

Eating shouldn't be so hard. It should be easy. When you are eating REAL food that is RAW and hasn't had the nutrients destroyed by heat, you are giving your body the FULL requirement and not a half empty or three-quarter's empty serving.

Eat a variety. Eat raw, Eat real. Eat regularly.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Calcium and Magnesium: Our Calming Minerals and Bone Builders

Sorry it's been so long since I last blogged. I have been extremely busy and yet have still been faithfully doing my raw smoothie qwest.

Some exciting news since my last blog: my co-worker has actually joined me at work in drinking juices during lunch. They are still eating everything else normally, but at least it's a start in adding some extra nutrients in their diet. They bring their juicer, I bring my Vitamix, and we make beautiful smoothies together! They were the ones to introduce me to the documentary "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" which also, by the way, finally arrived at my home so my hubby was able to watch it. He's also doing more smoothies, but I still can't seem to turn him on to veggie juices....YET. :)

Today's blog is going to be about the two minerals calcium and magnesium. I am writing about both of them since they need to be together to absorb one another.

We all know about Calcium being the mineral that builds strong bones and that prevents osteoporosis. This has been marketed to us to sell milk, calcium supplements, Tums and just about anything else. And yet, osteoporosis is still a problem even among some vegans.

I was shocked when I first heard about some raw vegans who were getting osteoporosis. I couldn't understand why since calcium is excreted copiously to buffer acidic minerals such as phosphorus and sulfur in animal foods and thus it was being proclaimed by some vegan authors that a vegan diet was insurance against osteoporosis.

Not quite. Not unless you take some precautions and avoid some unhealthy VEGAN habits and foods.

Coffee is a major villain which excretes both of these minerals in our urine when we drink it.

This substance washes out several vitamins and minerals in the body, but calcium and magnesium are two of the biggies sacrificed to buffer this extremely acidic substance in your body. "Coffee Jitters" are the result.

When we are deficient in either of these minerals, we become grouchy and irritable and get insomnia which further aggravates this problem. For women, the last 10 days of their monthly cycle plummets their calcium levels and when they start their menses, it drops even further. Adding more calcium and magnesium-rich foods during this time will make this "time of the month" so much easier in terms of PMS mood, sleep and even cramps as both of these minerals are muscle relaxants.

Some symptoms of a deficiency of these minerals are muscle twitches such as when you are sleeping and your feet twitch or when the under eye starts twitching. Epileptics have gotten great results by upping their intake especially of magnesium. Some have even see their epilepsy stop.

Magnesium helps absorb calcium, so a deficiency in magnesium can cause you to be deficient in Calcium which is why milk is not a good source even though it has 246g per cup---ir only has 12.2 g of magnesium which is not a good ratio.

That's why we crave chocolate when we are PMS-ing: one chocolate bar of Mr. Goodbar has 23 g of magnesium  and 53 g of calcium---but it also has sugar, caffeine and saturated fat---all of which make PMS and cramps worse. We may need to drink water on a daily basis, but if there's a drop of arsenic in it would you drink it? Same with chocolate--get your magnesium from a better source that doesn't have the unwanted other "stuff".

You can actually get a calcium and magnesium deficiency on a cooked or even raw vegan diet. Here's how:

1) Eat mostly grains and beans. Both are high in magnesium, but they also contain phytic acid which inhibits it's absorption. Tofu, a popular vegan subsitute for diary, is actually quite low in magnesium and only provides modest calcium.

2) As for calcium, the RDA is 1000 mg a day. Fruits, except for figs, oranges, berries, sapotes and melons, are rather low in calcium.. For example, if you are on "banana island" which is a mono-diet of bananas only, you are only getting 7 g of calcium per banana. Oranges and sapotes are the highest at approx 80 g per fruit, but most other fruits would need you to eat a volume that is way too high in order to get the RDA of 100g a day. Most fruits have a modest amount of magnesium, but you need BOTH for strong bones and teeth. Dates would be an exception: 20 dates provides 320 g of Calcium and 270 of Magnesium, but provide no Vitman C (it is destroyed during drying) and no Vitamin E or Selenium, so make sure you balance your diet with foods with these nutrients if you use dates as a main calorie source.

That's why raw vegans need to eat greens. They are by far the best source of calcium and a great source of magnesium. Cooked vegans need to do this as well. Here's a break down of magnesium and calcium in leafy and cruciferous greens:

One head Romaine lettuce:     mag- 88g /calc- 207
One head cabbage:                mag-109 /calc--363
One bunch broccoli:               mag--128 /calc--268
One head cauliflower:             mag--86/calc--126
One honeydew--                   mag--100/calc--60
Carrot Juice (6 carrots)--       mag--51 /calc--163
One head green leaf lettuce--  mag-47 /calc--129
One head red leaf lettuce--     mag--37/calc--102

The RDA for calcium is 1000g a day and for magnesium is 320-400 g a day. You can see by the above numbers, that it is attainable on a raw and cooked vegan diet if plenty of raw greens are ingested daily.

Right before my menstrual period would begin, my mood would often make me feel like I was falling out of the sky:

I realize now that my body was telling me that I was not getting enough of these minerals. By upping my intake of parsley, kale and especially trying to get FOUR HEADS of Romaine lettuce daily, I immediately level out and notice that my sleep and cramps improve. Calcium is used to control pain due to it's muscle relaxing properties. Eating these foods are important for women giving birth as it eases labor pains.

Sensitivitiy to noise is another symptom of magnesium deficiency as well as kidney stones as magnesium keeps calcium in a solution in the body until it is eliminated. Without enough magnesium, calcium deposits in the kidneys as stones, in the eyes as cataracts and in the joints as arthritis.

If you are fruitarian and experiencing teeth issues, check your daily calcium AND magnesium intake to make sure you are getting enough. Some fruits are high, other's aren't.

Finally, remove substances from your diet that use up these minerals to buffer their detoxification or prevent their absorption. Coffee, alcohol , salt, animal foods and soda wash them out. Grains, beans and nuts have phytic acid which prevent their absorption. And, of course, white flour, sugar and white rice contain NONE of these minerals and actually use the body's stores in order to buffer the phosporous in these foods.

Again, we see that a raw plant-based diet with a variety of foods, ensures that we get enough. Our bodies will tell us if we are not getting enough if we know which symptoms to watch for. RDA's are just guidelines; your lifestyle and specific needs ultimately will determine how much you really need.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 3: Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an important anti-oxidant that is important to get enough of daily.

It's a fat soluble vitamin that prevents oxidation in the body so it protects against free radicals.It prevents saturated fatty acids and Vitamin A from breaking down and combining with other substances that may be harmful to the body.

The benefits of this vitamin take time, indeed months, to become apparent. Vegetable oils are a high source of this vitamin, but because they are also high in Omega 6 EFA's, which brings the body out of balance with Omega 3's, I don't recommend using oils as a source of this vitamin.

There is some evidence that Vitamin E can slow down the progression of Parkinson's. PMS and breast tenderness are lessened and eliminated when we get enough of this nutrient. Yay!

Some have reported that it eliminates persperation odor and improved nearsightedness and crossed eyes.

What are sources for raw vegans?

The RDA is 15:

Sunflower seeds (1 oz) 9.3
Carrot juice (12 carrots) 4.8
Red Bell Pepper (1 whole) 2.4
1 head broccoli: 4.7
1 head romaine lettuce: .8
One mango: 2.3

If you are fruitarian, then mangoes, red peppers and sunflower seeds are your best option, if you are cooked vegan, then sweet potatoes have 1.4.

Almonds are high as well. If you are looking to keep all fats low, then carrot juice and broccoli are your best bets.

Today I had:

Juiced one head cabbage and 6 carrots
Blended with 5 small green apples, 1 cup peaches
and 1/2 head of romaine and handful of spinach and one head broccoli

Lunch: 5 persimmons blended with 1/2 head romaine

one head broccoli

Dinner: 1/2 head cauliflower blended with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and 2 red bell peppers cut into slices dipped in soup.
One head iceburg lettuce
1 brazil nut (for selenium)

After dinner smoothie:

juice of one head cabbage, 6 carrots blended with 2 cups strawberries and 5 small apples and handful of spinach

For Vitamin E, I got 27.5 and 2500 calories.

So far, so good. No hunger, no cravings, just enjoying my food. I was experimenting
 with adding in some sunflower seeds, but I'd rather get my vitamin E from non-fatty foods as I feel better that way.

Day 3: Erin Moubray turns Bodybuilding on it's ear through raw veganism...

See my new e-book featuring Erin Simpson (Moubray) and fitness competitor Sofia Sabeti and other raw vegan athletes from body builders to fitness competitors to learn how to become fit and healthy on a raw plant-based diet:


Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 2: Vitamin C--the Immune Vitamin

Most people, when they think of Vitamin C think of Orange juice. After today's blog, hopefully, you will know a few more foods that have this precious vitamin in it. I got 1038 grams of Vitamin C in my food:

Today I had:

8am juice of whole head cabbage and 6 carrots blended with
whole head parsley
5 green apples
2 cups strawberries
handful of spinach

7 bananas


1/2 head cauliflower
pint cherry tomatoes
fresh basil
tsp of sunflower seeds on top
3 brazil nuts

Smoothie later:
whole head cabbage juiced
5 green apples
2 cups strawberries
handful of spinach

Humans and primates are the only mammals that cannot make their own Vitamin C in their bodies. Here's what Wikipedia had to say about it:

Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress. It is also a cofactor in at least eight enzymatic reactions including several collagen synthesis reactions that, when dysfunctional, cause the most severe symptoms of scurvy. In animals these reactions are especially important in wound-healing and in preventing bleeding from capillaries.
Ascorbate (an ion of ascorbic acid) is required for a range of essential metabolic reactions in all animals and plants. It is made internally by almost all organisms although notable mammalian group exceptions are most or all of the order chiroptera (bats), guinea pigs, capybaras, and one of the two major primate suborders, the Anthropoidea (Haplorrhini) (tarsiers, monkeys and apes, including human beings). Ascorbic acid is also not synthesized by some species of birds and fish. All species that do not synthesize ascorbate require it in the diet. Deficiency in this vitamin causes the disease scurvy in humans.

The full extent of the effects and recommended daily intake of vitamin C are matters of ongoing debate, with RDI ranging from 45mg to 400mg or more per day,

I was interested in the symptoms of scurvy, so I looked that up, too, and here's what I found:

Early symptoms are malaise and lethargy. After 1–3 months, patients develop shortness of breath and bone pain. Myalgias may occur because of reduced carnitine production. Other symptoms include skin changes with roughness, easy bruising and petchiae ( , gum disease, loosening of teeth, poor wound healing, and emotional changes. Dry mouth and dry eyes similar to Sjogren's syndrome may occur. In the late stages, jaundice, generalized edema, oliguria, neuropathy, fever, and convulsions, and eventual death are frequently seen.

A little history on scurvy:

In the 13th century, the Crusaders frequently suffered from scurvy. In the 1497 expedition of Vasco de Gama, the curative effects of citrus fruit were known.[15] In 1536, the French explorer Jacques Cartier, exploring the St. Lawrence River, used the local natives' knowledge to save his men who were dying of scurvy. He boiled the needles of the arbor vitae tree (Eastern White Cedar) to make a tea that was later shown to contain 50 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams.[16][17] Such treatments were not available aboard ship, where the disease was most common.

Between 1500 and 1800, it has been estimated that scurvy killed at least two million sailors.[18] According to Jonathan Lamb, "In 1499, Vasco da Gama lost 116 of his crew of 170; In 1520, Magellan lost 208 out of 230;...all mainly to scurvy."[19]

In 1593 Admiral Sir Richard Hawkins advocated drinking orange and lemon juice as a means of preventing scurvy.

And the foods they recommend to avoid scurvy?

Scurvy can be prevented by a diet that includes certain citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons. Other sources rich in vitamin C are fruits such as blackcurrants, guava, kiwifruit, papaya, tomatoes, bell peppers, and strawberries. It can also be found in some vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, spinach and paprika. Some fruits and vegetables not high in vitamin C may be pickled in lemon juice, which is high in vitamin C. Though redundant in the presence of a balanced diet,[11] various nutritional supplements are available that provide ascorbic acid well in excess of that required to prevent scurvy, and even some candies and most soft drinks contain vitamin C as a preservative.

Many animal products, including liver, Muktuk (whale skin), oysters, and parts of the centrail nervous sytem, including the brain, spinal cord, and adrenal medula, contain large amounts of vitamin C, and can even be used to treat scurvy.

Here's how to create a vitamin C deficiency or get bleeding gums:

1) Eat a cooked vegan diet of grains, nuts, seeds and beans. Include lots of soy and tofu and white flour and pasta and bread.There is very littlr vitamin C in these foods. Make sure you don't eat any vegetables or fruits. You will have bleeding gums in no time.

2) Eat junk food all the time with coffee, donuts, pizza, soft drinks and lots of white flour. Yup, you'll get a C deficiency mighty quick.

The fresh foods highest in this Vitmain are:

1 cup kale: 60g
1 head green leaf lettuce: 65 g
1 head romaine or cos lettuce: 150
1 head cabbage: 332
1 honeydew: 180
1 canteloupe: 203
1 head cauliflower: 267
1 head broccoli--542
Bell Pepper-190

Here's some other common foods:

bran flakes cereal-0
pizza hut pepperoni pizza-24
taco bell bean burrito--0
soy burger--0
corn tortilla-0
taco bell rice--3.6
cottage cheese--0
subway veggie delight sandwich--21
pizza hut spaghetti--0
burger king cheese burger--1.2
ham and cheese sandwich--2.8

So, there you have it. How do fruitarians and raw vegans fare? If done correctly, there's an abundance of Vitamin C in fruits and veggies. Oranges have 83g and bananas have only 12 per banana, so 30 bananas yields about 360g a day. Figs are really low, having only 2 g and dates have ZERO (at least by the nutrition website I was using).

Lamb's quarters has 180g.

Nuts have very little Vitamin C as do grains and beans. Brown rice has zero.

We are seeing a theme, here aren't we? Fruits and vegetables should form the base, if not the entire part, of our diets. We are setting ourselves up for shortages and disease by not eating them.

And there are some foods that should be avoided entirely as they offer no nutritive value beyond carbohydrates, fats and protein.

Some other interesting factoids about Vitamin C:

It is the least stable of vitamins and is very sensitive to oxygen. It's potency can be lost to exposure to light, heat, and air--so cooking destroys about 50% of this vitamin.

It plays a key role in healing wounds and burns because it facilitates teh formation of connective tissue in the scar.

It aids in forming red blood cells and preventing hemorrhaging.  Vitamin C acts as a anti-histamine.

Vitamin C must be supplied through out the day as daily struggles and hassles deplete this vitamin. The body's ability to absorb Vitamin C is reduced by smoking, stress, high fever and fumes of petroleum. Baking soda creates an alkaline environment that destroys vitamin C.

Cooking in copper utensils will destroy vitamin C.

Deficiency is noted by split ends in hair, dry and tangled hair, bleeding gums, tendency to bruising, weakened enamel, swollen or painful joints, slow healing of wounds. Teeth may become loose and fillings may fall out.

The lubricating fluid of joints (synovial fluid) becomes thinner (allowing freer movement) when the serum levels of ascorbic acid are high.

The need for the vitamin increase with age, because of greater need to regenerate collagen.

Vitamin C and E have helped varicose veins and has been successful in treating snake and spider bites, bee stings, and rabies and can help protect against frostbite.

Vitamin C helps victims of shock from injury, electric voltage and lightning. It prevents prickly heat and heat stroke.

Powdered vitamin C mixed with water to form a paste and then applied to the skin will clear up poison ivy or aok in 24 hours if also taken in the diet as well.

As you can see, this vitamin plays many key roles in keeping us well, so it behooves us to get enough DAILY.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 1: Vitamin A or Beta Carotene

So today starts with Day 1. Here's what I had:
6 carrots juiced
1 whole head cabbage juiced
5 green apples blended with juice from above added with:
big handful spinach
a couple leaves of kale
2 cups frozen strawberries
several sprigs of mint
whole head of parsley

5 bananas and one head of broccoli-lunch

blended soup of:
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 pint cherry tomatoes
5 sprigs of fresh basil
1 tsp sunflower seeds sprinkled on top
2 red bell peppers sliced and dipped into soup

handful of brazil nuts

A little later:

Smoothie of:
4 bananas
4 kale leaves
juice of one head cabbage
handful of spinach
a few sprigs of mint

I tell you, it was a Vitamin A kinda day! I got up at 7:10am and made myself the smoothie, drank it and then hopped on the treadmill for 1/2 hour. I got into the shower, grabbed my bananas and went to work around 9:30am.

I ate my bananas spread out during the day, but I was hungry by the time I got home at 7pm and probably ate too many brazil nuts on the drive home before my home made soup.

Each day I will be talking about a different nutrient and it's importance in health and how to get enough of it.

Today we are starting with Vitamin A--'cause "A" is the first letter in the alphabet. :)

Vitamin A can be fully formed, or in it's precursor, betacarotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A in the body.

Vitamin A is important to eyesight and can prevent night blindness. In fact, the slice of a carrot even looks
like an eyeball:

Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant, which helps protect the body from free radicals and oxidation. It also helps keep the skin supple and beautiful and prevents dry skin and hair.

Large amounts of synthetic Vitamin A can be toxic--it is a fat soluble vitamin which means it can be stored in the fat cells--however, betacarotene found in orange foods and dark leafy greens does not have this effect in the body.

The US Recommend Daily Allowance of Vitamin A is 5000. On a raw vegan diet, you can get WAY more. However, it is possible on a raw diet and a cooked vegan diet to not get enough and here's how:

Beans have ZERO vitamin A or betacarotene. This includes soybeans.

Nuts have ZERO vitamin A.

Grains have ZERO vitamin A. (All these foods also have zero vitamin C as well, but more on that in the Vitamin C blog)

So, if you are following a raw diet or vegan diet and are eating mostly beans, oatmeal, rice, wheat, pasta, and nut pate's, and not including orange fruits or dark leafy greens or are fruitarian and eating certain fruits exclusively and not a variety,--you are setting yourself up for a deficiency.

What foods are high in Vitamin A?

One Sweet potato: 38,433 .
One head romaine lettuce: 54,530
One Mango: 1262
1 cup of Spinach: 2464

If we are doing a mono-diet, however, or a fruitarian diet with no greens, we need to be very careful about our selections.

Bananas have only 87 per banana.  We would have to eat 57 bananas a day in order to get our RDA of Vitamn A. If we ate only oranges, then we'd have to juice 255 to get our day's amount.
Persimmons, being an orange food, offer 2733 and canteloupe, another orange fruit gives us 18,670 probably the most of all fruits. Papaya has 1531 per cup. Watermelon has 1627 (one wedge).

Red bell pepper's are higher, and one cup provides 4666, almost a day's worth, and 1 cup of tomato offers 2364.

When you think vitamin A, however, think CARROTS and think GREENS. They are the power storehouses of this vitamin and a host of many more as we will find out in coming days.

6 juiced carrots offers a whopping 72168.
 4 cups chard (put in a smoothie) is 8808.
4 cups kale is 41208
1 head iceburg lettuce (Yes! Iceburg): 3790
1 head romaine: 54530
1 cup broccoli: 2130
1 head cabbage: 890
1 head butter lettuce: 5399
1 head red leaf lettuce: 23152
1 head green leaf lettuce: 26655
1 cup turnip greens: 6372
1 cup collards: 2400
1 cup mustard greens: 5881
1 cup dandelion greens: 5588
1 cup beet greens: 2404
1 cup lamb's quarters: 15000

To be fair, we need to compare these foods with animal foods and junk foods. Here goes:

1 Steak: 0
Chicken: 72
Salmon: 79
eggs: 797

bacon: 2.9
toast: 0
hashbrowns: 0
butter: 475
protein isolate: 0
cream cheese: 202
ranch dressing: 30
soy yogurt: 0
pizza hut spaghetti: 2000
burger king cheese burger: 300
ham and cheese sandwich: 320
bagel: 0
bran flakes cereal: 750
old fashioned oat meal: 0
pizza hut pepperoni pizza: 750

So I hope it's become clear to you that you can eat a fruitarian diet of only mono-oranges or bananas and actually get LESS vitamin A than if you ate a Pizza Hut Pepperoni Pizza. Granted, you would be getting a lot of unwanted fat and cholesterol with the pizza, but it's important to not focus on the macro nutrients only when making food choices.

Vitamin A is only one of the vitamins and it does need fat in order to be absorbed well.

According to crono-meter, my diet today netted me: 96040 Vitamin A and 2785 in calories. Whoa!

I got all my recommend Daily Allowance for all vitamins and minerals except one: Sodium. All the other vitamins and minerals were way over 100%. My Omega 3's were about 8% short which can be easily corrected with a tablespoon of flax added to my smoothies, which I do regularly, just not today.

I am not worried about the sodium as I think we get way too much sodium as it is.

I hope this exercise was eye-opening to you and useful. I plan to continue writing each day on each individual nutrient so you can compare what you are getting in foods you regularly put into your mouth.

I found this exercise very powerful when I did it at home and it's changed forever the way I look at food.

I will never again eat pasta or white rice as they offer ZERO nutrition.

Just as we want to put optimum fuel in our car gas tanks, we also want to put optimum fuel in our bodies.
Empty calories means just that: there's lots of the macro nutrients like fat, protein and carbs, but none of the other, equally important stuff. Don't short change yourself.

If you are cooked vegan, meat-eaters can look and feel healthier than you if you do not include greens, orange fruits and sweet potatoes on a regular basis. Since we know that vegan diets are plant-based and are healthier, be a good example for your cause by not just by what you give up, but also with what you replace it with. Donuts and soy burgers are not high nutrition. Compassion for the animals needs to be balanced with compassion for yourself.

Just like you would never feed white bread to your cat or dog (or at least you shouldn't) don't put it inside yourself.

You deserve the BEST and fruits and vegetables are the best there is.