Now that we’re getting used to writing 2010 on our checks and paperwork it’s time to settle in and address some of the health challenges that can pop up from time to time and really be an aggravation for some of us. This issue of Vibrant Living contains some tasty recipes, info on greens, enjoyable quotes, and a Great article on salt addiction and at the same time an endorsement for one of my favorite tunes “eat more greens”. lol

I don’t know about you but I have been finding some superb greens at the farmer’s market these blustery winter days. I find that blending them into my morning smoothie is a fantastic way to consume a large amount of greens with very little effort(and very easy on the digestion system as well). And I’m able to buffer the bitter taste of some greens with the addition of fruit which is where the bulk of calories come from. I find this combo of greens, fruit and a teaspoon of chia or flax seed easily tides me over until my afternoon meal.

Sometimes I will have another smoothie for that afternoon meal mainly focused on the greens, but usually with at least several apples or oranges included. Having some citrus or other acid fruit with the greens actually helps our systems to glean more nutrients from them. Another method to get in plenty of greens would be to lightly steam them and toss into a large salad. Cauliflower and broccoli would be good candidates for light steaming because of their fibrous makeup, but remember at least 2/3 of your greens each day should be raw and as fresh as possible.

Most days I consume the equivalent of 3 heads of greens in the form of sprouts, whole head greens, loose leaf, or whatever, not including a tablespoon or more of some form of super green powder that also goes into my morning smoothie. So yes, I think greens are huge in terms of living healthy and being successful on the raw food diet.

At any rate enjoy this issue and please send me your feedback, questions, and or comments…oh yes, and recipes too. We’ve been getting some great ones in with something for everyone no matter which hemisphere you live in. ENJOY!!!


"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be."

George Sheehan 1918-1993, Physician and Author


Gretchen’s Trio of Winter Salads.

Each salad is for one person, and obviously the amounts can be multiplied to feed several, or the salads can be used as a side dish to go along other foods and then serve several people.

1. Persimmon and walnut salad

Mesclun salad mix (1/2 pound or as much as you desire)

Fuyu persimmons (2-3 depending on size and appetite. You can include the peel or remove before slicing if you prefer)

Walnuts, broken into several pieces (1/2 to 1 ounce)

Place greens in a bowl, slice the fuyus over those, and then top with walnuts. These persimmons are the non-astringent, apple-shaped ones that you can eat firm or wait until they soften. A firmer texture works best for this recipe. I enjoy this salad without dressing, but for those who don't find that appealing yet, whisk together a small amount of olive or walnut oil and a splash of apple cider vinegar and then toss the green with the dressing before topping with the fruit and nuts. Cut back on the whole walnuts if you use oil.

2. Citrus and Avocado Salad

A head of butter lettuce

A grapefruit

One small or a half a medium avocado

Rinse and dry lettuce, tear into bite size pieces, and place in a bowl. Peel the grapefruit, and remove as much of the pith and membrane from the fruit as you have the patience for. Set the more intact pieces to the side as you go, working over a bowl to catch the juice. Open the avocado and cube or slice most of it, setting these aside. Then scoop out the remains and put the softer avocado pulp in with the lettuce leaves and toss them together, mixing with your hands, so the avocado coats the leaves. Then add the grapefruit juice and the more mangled segments and toss again. The combination of the two makes a delicious dressing. Finally, top with the most attractive grapefruit segments and avocado slices, and enjoy!

You can also use tangerines or blood oranges instead of the grapefruit.

3. Papaya and Fennel Salad

One head of romaine lettuce

One half of a large red papaya or one smaller Hawaiian papaya

One fennel bulb and a bit of the tender greens from the top

Rinse and dry the romaine leaves, cut into bite size pieces and place in a bowl. Slice off the bottom of the fennel bulb, and remove the outer, tough layers until you get to the whiter, tender inner layers.Then I like to cut the bulb in half from the top to the bottom, lay the cut side down on my cutting board, and then slice thinly (watch your fingers!) Arrange over the romaine. Open the papaya and scoop out the seeds. Cut the skin away from the fruit and then cube the fruit. Arrange this over top of the fennel and greens. Finally, chop the fennel greens up finely and sprinkle this over your salad (a little goes a long way). The papaya is so juicy that you won't need a dressing. Yum!


“Most people I see get better if they go back to a natural lifestyle…..Perhaps people just don’t realize that life is cause and effect and that for every action there is a reaction. It’s so much easier to prevent something from happening than to deal with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and involvement with drugs that treat only symptoms and cause more harm.” ~ Dr. Ruza Bogdanovichich, N.D.


My experiences with Salt Cravings, Minerals and Greens in the Diet by Gretchen Koles

I've been eating a low fat raw vegan diet (with a few minor transgressions here and there, lol) for almost two years now. And on the whole I've been doing really well - almost all my health complaints have cleared up, and I've found a level of health and energy and zest for life that are like an unexpected gift from heaven.

For the most part I've been following Dr. Doug Graham's 80/10/10 program, which advocates that a minimum of 80% of your calories come from carbohydrates, and a maximum of 10% each from fat and protein. That's what Dr. McDougall recommends too, and it's also in line with the recommendations of Dr. Joel Furhman, Alan Goldhammer and other leaders in the world of health and nutrition whom I respect. But this abstract guideline leaves most of us wondering how to actually accomplish that goal. Happily for us, Doug Graham's 80/10/10 book lists sample menus and gives a guideline for how many greens to eat. On a 2000 calorie diet, he recommends about a pound of greens per day. Another way to do it is to aim for about 3-5% of your calories to come from greens. Again on a 2000 calorie diet, 5% means 100 calories from greens, the amount in a large head of romaine lettuce.

I'm pretty tall and muscular, and active as well, so I usually consume between 2200-2500 calories per day. Thus I aimed for a large head of lettuce as well as some celery or baby spinach or other greens. Usually I'd eat fruit during the day for breakfast and lunch, and sometimes some greens with my lunch, and then I'd have a big salad at night, to which I'd add my small amount of avocado or nuts or seeds.

There was only one problem I was having. I was still craving salt. Now I must confess that I was a major salt addict before adopting this healthy diet. Everyone else at work would think the soup was too salty, but it always tasted just right to me! So I knew it would probably take me a while to adjust taste-wise, and also that the detox from salt was likely to create cravings. So for a long time, I just put up with the fact that I was still craving salt and figured I'd get over it. I'm pretty disciplined, but I'd occasionally give in and have something salty (dulse powder or a gourmet raw meal at a restaurant or a potluck), and I thought that this was prolonging the detox cravings.

But finally I started wondering how long this never-ending salt craving was going to go on, and I started thinking that perhaps it wasn't simply a detox symptom. I also noticed that in the past couple months when I would eat a flax seed cracker at my favorite raw vegan restaurant, it didn't taste that good to me anymore. Salt has actually started tasting too sharp and dry, and abrasive and shocking to my system. I realized that my taste buds were finally changing, and I didn't actually like the taste of salt anymore - yay! However, the salt cravings remained.

How could this possibly be? Here I was craving salt, but not actually liking salt anymore? What was up? And then I heard someone say, if you're craving salt, you're low on minerals. And this felt really right to me. I had thought that I was getting enough minerals because I was eating at least a pound of greens every day. But perhaps this wasn't enough, and I decided to try upping my consumption of greens. My beau Hugh was very supportive of this plan, as he is a huge believer in the healthfulness of including lots of greens in your diet.

Hugh gave me some powdered green supplement to try, Vitamineral Green, which is a blend of powdered greens, algae and other foods, and he warned me that it might not taste that good. Well it actually tasted really delicious to me! And I felt that if this tasted good to me, it was sign that I was really demineralized. I bought some and have been adding it to my diet. I've also started consuming as many greens as I can handle. For the past month I've eaten at least two heads of romaine or other lettuce (and sometimes three!) each day, as well as bok choy, spinach, mizuna, tatsoi, collard greens, pea tips, nettles, you name it. I'm lucky to have an awesome farmers' market nearby with a huge variety of greens, so I've been trying to get a wide variety. I'm estimating that now I'm getting 10-15% of my daily calories from greens on most days. And on really green days it might go as high as 20%! And I'll bet you can guess what happened. My salt cravings have disappeared. Amazing! All this time I was resisting them, thinking that they were a sign that my taste buds were still deranged. And here all along they were probably a sign that my body needed more minerals (and perhaps other things that greens offer as well). I feel kind of foolish for not realizing this sooner, but I'm very grateful to have finally figured out this missing piece of the puzzle, and it's so wonderful to realize that I can trust my body and its cravings to guide me to what I need to eat for optimal health.

It's definitely more challenging to eat greens versus fruit. Fruit is easy and sweet, and is much more calorie dense. I've had to make eating greens a priority because they take longer to consume and are much bulkier in the stomach. But it's very much worth it. Hugh is a big fan of the green smoothie - he has a huge one every morning - and this is a great way to get in a lot of greens in a very easy to assimilate form. I'll do a smoothie once in a while, but I prefer whole foods for some reason. I've been drinking my green powder in water before my morning fruit meal, and then following up my lunch fruit with a head or two of lettuce. Bananas and dates wrapped in romaine leaves are one of my current favorite lunches. Then dinner is still usually a big salad as before. If it's a day when I'm only getting two meals in, then I might skip the green powder, or sprinkle it on my dinner salad. I'm still figuring out how to eat my greens as I go along, but I know that I will continue to listen to my body and keep an open mind as I keep learning and growing and hopefully getting even healthier each day.

I wish you the best of luck on your journey to health.

Cheers, Gretchen


Health benefits of mixed greens from the book Whole Foods Companion by Dianne Onstad

Lettuce of every variety is among humankind’s most valuable healing foods because of its large organic water content, ranging from 92-95%. Nearly all the necessary vitamins are found in lettuce, with the outer leaves being the most valuable. A good rule of thumb is the greener and darker the leaf, the more nutritious it is. Of all common vegetables lettuce contains the most silicon, a nutrient that helps renew joints, bones, arteries, and all connective tissues.


“There is no disease without cause. We are what we eat, but more importantly, what we absorb. ~Dr. Bernard Jensen


If you're enjoying this newsletter please share it with a friend....you never know, they might find the one thing that brings their life into balance and allows them to experience true health and harmony. :-)


If you would like to share one of your favorite original raw food recipes please send one in and we'll post it in the next newsletter. I value your opinion so please feel free to send your comments or questions to hugh@raw-foods-diet-center.com


Be Well and Wonderful, Hugh




The contents of my website and my newsletter are gleaned from my experiences and observations, meant only for educational purposes and not intended to replace medical advice, consultations, or treatment of any kind. I recommend you see your professional health care provider if you suspect you have an illness or disease of any kind. I’m not medically trained, and I would never suggest or imply that I know what is best for someone else’s body or overall health, ultimately each of us is the only one who knows what’s best for us.

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