In this edition of Vibrant Living I reprint an article I wrote nearly 10 years ago, but I think it help explains much about health that may be confusing to some. There’s also a list of toxins found in personal care products that you may not be aware of, and after all, awareness is the first step in any kind of change.

And there's more, a short article outlining a study on prostate prevention, several good quotes, and a tasty recipe or two. Enjoy!


“We live in a crazy time, when people who make food choices that are healthy and compassionate are often considered weird, while people are considered normal whose eating habits promote disease and are dependent on enormous suffering.” ~John Robbins


Hummus Spread

1 cup sprouted chickpeas

2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic minced (optional)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Blend in food processor until smooth. Serve in lettuce leaves with sliced tomatoes. Makes two servings.


Candy Apple Salad

10 dates

1 cup of water (or more)

2 Fuji or other apples in ¾ in chunks

1 head of romaine or other greens cut or torn into bite size pieces

Blend dates and water, pour over other ingredients in large bowl


The Toxic Twelve List

Aging is not just the way we look but, more importantly, it's the degenerative diseases which prematurely change our life.

Breast Cancer



Birth Defects

Heart Disease

Hormone disruption

Memory Loss


The following are the worst of the worst, toxic, carcinogenic list commonly found in most skin and personal care products. Each is directly linked to one or more of the above conditions.

Benzoyl Peroxide: Frequently used in acne products, the MSDS states "Facilitates action of known carcinogens...Possible tumor promoter. May act as mutagen; produces DNA damage in human and other mammalian cells in some concentrations. Also, toxic by inhalation. May be harmful if swallowed and in contact with skin. Eye, Skin and respiratory irritant.

DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), & TEA (Triethanolamine): This foam booster is a skin/eye irritant and causes contact dermatitis. Easily absorbed through skin to accumulate in body organs, even the brain. Repeated use resulted in major increases of liver and kidney cancer.

Dioxin: Won't appear on an ingredient list. Often contained in antibacterial ingredients like triclosan, emulsifiers, PEGs and Ethoxylated cleansers like Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Dioxin causes cancer, reduced immunity, nervous system disorders, miscarriages and birth deformity. It's a hormone-disrupting chemical with toxic effects measured in the parts per trillion - one drop in 300 Olympic-size swimming pools! Our bodies have no defense against its damage. Most visible example was Yushchenko, the Ukrainian President, who suffered from dioxin poisoning and looked old overnight.

DMDM Hydantoin & Urea (Imidazolidinyl): Just two f many preservatives that often release formaldehyde which may cause joint pain, cancer, skin reaction, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatique, dizziness, and loss of sleep. Exposure may irritate the respiratory system, trigger heart palpitations or asthma, aggravate coughs and colds.

FD&C Color &Pigments: Synthetic colors from coal tar contain heavy metal salts that deposit toxins in skin, causing skin sensitivity/irritation. Absorption can cause depletion of oxygen and death. Animal studies show almost all are carcinogenic.

Parabens: (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl) - used as preservatives and aren't always labeled "parabens." Theyre used in deodorants and antiperspirants and have been found in breast cancer tumors. Parabens, as xenoestrogens (hormone disruptor's), may contribute to sterility in male mice and humans. Estrogen-like activity causes hormone imbalance in females and early puberty.

PEG (polyethylene glycol): Made by ethoxylating Propylene Glycol. Dangerous levels of dioxin have been found as a by-product of the ethoxylation process. PEGs are in everything including personal care, baby care and sunscreens.

Phthalates: Xenoestrogens are commonly found in many products, usually not listed on labels. Health effects include damage to liver/kidneys, birth defects, decreased sperm counts and early breast development in girls and boys.

Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol: Petroleum plastics act as surfactants (wetting agents, solvents). EPA considers PG so toxic it requires protective gloves, clothing, goggles and disposal by burying. Because PG penetrates skin so quickly, EPA warns against skin contact to prevent brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. There is NO warning label on products where concentration is greater than in mot industrial applications.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Larueth Sulfate (SLES): Detergents and surfactants that pose serious health threats. Used in car washes, garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and 90% of personal-care products that foam. Animals exposed to SLS experienced eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation - even death. SLS may also damage skin's immune system by causing layers to separate, inflame and age.

Sunscreen chemicals: avobenzone, benzphenone, ethoxycinnamate, PABA A few commonly used ingredients that are known free radical generators and are believed to damage DNA or lead to cancers.

Triclosan: Synthetic "antibacterial" ingredient with chemical structure similar to Agent Orange! EPA registers it as a pesticide, posing risks to human health and environment. Classified as a Chlorophenol, chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. Tufts University School of Medicine says triclosan is capable of forcing emergence of super bugs it cannot kill.

All information taken from the toxic alarm(tm) guide - courtesy of The Toxicfree Foundation


Tip #1 - Did you know that Styrofoam products (cups, plates, fast food containers) not only take for ever to break down and are toxic to the environment but they are also very harmful to us. They are in essence styrene, an extremely toxic substance which is activated by heat.

Solution - carry your own mug with you and do not purchase foods that come in these containers. Also bring your own flatware to potlucks.

Tip #2 - So you're safe because you get your coffee or favorite beverage in a paper cup avoiding toxic styrene. Actually all paper products (cups, plates, paper towels, toilet paper) contain OCDD (dioxin), another extremely toxic substance for us and the planet.

Solution - Avoid the use of these products as much as you can.


The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly. --Buddha


The Secrets of Optimal Health & Longevity (2001)

By Hugh Cruickshank

We all know someone who “seemed so healthy”, he or she looked good, they worked out, heck they were only in their late 40’s or perhaps their early 50’s, but one day cancer, heart disease, or some other illness came and took them away. How can something like that happen? The sad fact is that we are sick on the inside long before it shows up on the outside, and we bring many of these diseases on ourselves by over taxing our systems with toxins.

All day every day we are bombarded by a multitude of pollutants, which upon entering the body and upsetting the rhythm of nature, become toxins. They come at us in the form of radio, TV and micro waves; electro-magnetic fields (EMF), from the air we breathe, the water we drink, and food we ingest. Most of us are aware of these sources to some degree, but there are also many seemingly harmless sources of toxins that we unknowingly bring into our lives daily. What’s in the hairspray, deodorant, or toothpaste you use? Did you know that you take in more toxins in one shower than all the water you drink in a week?

When our body systems cannot keep up with the in-flow of toxins they begin to stash them away in various areas of the body, just until they can catch up; with the intention of going back to clean them out later. The problem is our bodies never can catch up, unknowingly we continually overload our systems with these toxins. After a time the toxins have clogged the flow of life energy and polluted the cells where they were stored. Those cells die or mutate to survive, then multiply and spread. At this point we are in a state of dis-ease although we may be completely unaware of it.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘I shop at a natural foods market where everything is natural and healthy.’ This is where things start to get a little tricky. The products may be so-called “natural”, but are not necessarily healthy; in fact a majority of the items in that market are actually not good for us. There are lots of things in this world that are natural, some even classified as food, but that doesn’t mean they are healthy for us to put in or on our bodies. Natural products that are over processed, even from organic sources lose their nutrients and vital life force. Like breads that are made from refined and de-natured ingredients, are just that, de-natured. If the first ingredient of bread is not a whole grain it’s not a good choice.

Another example is sweeteners. Brown sugar is 90% white sugar and 10% molasses. Then there’s dehydrated cane juice, fruit juice concentrate and turbanado sugar, call it what you like, it’s still sugar. Granted these may be slightly better choices than refined white sugar but don’t be fooled by “natural” labeling. Always go to the back label and look at the total grams of sugar, fat, etc. The thing to remember is that all substances we take into our bodies either provide nutritional value and support our good health, or they are part of the problem and help create toxic overload.

If allowed to, the body will go back and clean up the mess created by these stored toxins, but it must be supported by us in this work. The solution is to lighten the load on our bodies so they may function in the way they were meant to. So we really do hold the key to our own health. The days are gone when we could ignore these truths and wait for a super supplement or magic pill to be discovered. The time for action is here. To ignore these truths is to put our health and the health of our families at risk.

Now you may be thinking wait a minute, my Uncle Harry smoked, drank, ate steak and potatoes smothered in butter with gravy and he lived to be 99 years old. There are many factors that contribute to longevity, but the bottom line is during his lifetime he eliminated a large enough volume of toxins one way or another, to keep him alive that long. There are many types of toxins present today that were not present during most of Uncle Harry’s life as well as the fact that he was probably raised on organic produce and foods, and enjoyed a far better quality of water and air than we do today. Perhaps he had a less stressful lifestyle, had a close loving relationship or knew how to relax, laugh and not get excited, all of which create a sense of ease in the body as opposed to dis-ease.

The idea here is to realize that even though we live in a world surrounded by pollutants we have choices, and through these choices lays our power. When our bodies are supported by us in the choices we make on a daily basis, they can safely handle and eliminate a large number of toxins. When the body is eliminating more toxins than it is taking in we begin to experience good health and are on the path to optimal health and longevity. Depending on how clean the body gets we can actually reverse the aging process. As the cells we replace every day, every week, every month become healthier and able to function at optimal capacity we begin to reflect on the outside the true health that lies within.

The truth though is that today Americans are up to their eyebrows in toxins, and the overload of our health care system clearly shows this. Think back 20 years ago, how many people did you know or hear with Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Osteoporosis or even Cancer? Today we are watching our friends, family and neighbors succumb to these and a hundred other maladies at a staggering rate. In essence they are all the same dis-ease, over toxicity of the body. The good news is we can enjoy optimal health and longevity today even though we face more toxins than Uncle Harry did. There are a myriad of contributing factors to attaining this state of health: appropriate exercise, adequate fresh air and sunshine, deep rejuvenating sleep, daily meditation or quiet time, quality relationships, proper breathing techniques, and attitude, among others. What we have the most control over with possibly the greatest impact, is what we eat. Not only what we eat but how and in what combinations we take our food. Our poor choices and combinations often lead to weight gain, chronic discomfort and conditions that we all have come to believe are a natural part of aging. We want to eat our food in a way that makes for the easiest assimilation of nutrients. The less energy our system has to expend digesting meals and extracting nutrients, the more energy left for our daily activities and cleaning out the stored toxins.

A meal of non-health supporting food or even fairly decent food choices combined incorrectly will use 65% of our energy to digest, assimilate and dispose of. Consider that our brains and central nervous systems take another 10% of our energy right off the top, and the other organs not directly involved in the digestion process take another 10%. You do the math, but it’s not hard to figure out why we are a nation of caffeine addicts. What those coffee and pop drinkers don’t realize is that the stimulants they drink don’t really give them any energy, they stimulate the body to give up its own energy reserves which one way or the other will be paid for later.

As far as phasing in a healthy, easy, and tasty diet that you will stick with and won’t make your family mutiny and run off to the local fast food restaurant, well, it may be easier than you think. There are many small changes and substitutions that will aid your body immensely on the road to good health, as well as the following guidelines:

1) Eat foods that have been through minimal processing. 2) Eliminate white sugar and products containing white sugar from your diet. 3) Use no hydrogenated oils or products.

4) Organic raw apple cider vinegar is the only vinegar you should use. Better yet, use citrus juice.

5) Cut out or at least cut way back on dairy products, particularly if you have concerns about Osteoporosis.

6) Meat consumption should be no more than one 4 oz. serving (about the size of your palm) per day and from grass fed animals raised by organic methods.

7) Grains and their by-products should always be kept in small to moderate servings. Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet, and whole grain sprouted breads are best.

8) Fill out your diet with lots of fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables. This is the single most important thing you can do in supporting your body and overall health.

9) Leave the table before you are full, your stomach and mind will adjust to this in a short time.

There are plenty of good books available today on natural nutrition and lifestyle, although you may have to search a little. Most of the big bookstores only carry books on the latest wonder diets that happen to be popular at the moment. They are basically the same diets that re-circulate every few years, but ultimately don’t work because they are not supported by the laws of nature. There is no magic or universal diet other than the one nature provides. This is because we all have a varied genetic, ethnic, and environmental profile, as well as body build, energy expended, and so on; thus, our bodies all require at least slightly varied nutrition. The wonderful thing about following natural health nutrition habits is that as the body cleanses the right foods for us become more and more apparent instinctively.

To enjoy optimal health we simply have to be more conscious about our daily decisions and get involved where we can as citizens concerned with clean air and water, stand against irradiated and genetically engineered foods, support local organic farmers, demand clean energy sources, support preserving natural resources in this country and around the world. Showing love and respect for the planet, other people and ourselves would go a long way in fostering the proper environment for us all to live in health and harmony. And remember, the health of the planet is nothing more than a reflection of our individual health. As we go so goes the planet, and vise versa.


Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. --Helen Keller



According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute -- March 6th issue, a recent study found that men who's diet had an increased daily intake of Lycopene (an antioxidant abundant in tomatoes), reduced their risk of developing prostate cancer by as much as 23%. The research team analyzed data from 47,365 men who completed dietary questionnaires from 1986 through 1998... from that group, 2,481 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Based on the questionnaire results, the investigators were able to calculate the amount of Lycopene consumed daily from all food sources. For the men whose average intake of Lycopene was 18,780 micrograms each day had a 16% lower risk of prostate cancer than the men who took in 3,415 micrograms of Lycopene daily.

The reduction in prostate cancer risk was even greater for men who ate two or more servings of tomato sauce each week... they were 23% less likely to develop prostate cancer during the study period than men who ate less than one serving of tomato sauce each month.

This study gives further evidence that Lycopene, as well as other cell-protecting antioxidants, play an important role in the prevention of cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases by neutralizing harmful molecules known as oxygen free radicals.


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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