Welcome to the VIBRANT LIVING NEWSLETTER
This month’s newsletter comes on the heels of The 2nd Annual Raw Food Health Expo which was loads of fun. I met so many wonderful people engaged in learning about health and building community with likeminded beings.
One of my talks was on my revised list of “Basic 10 for Optimal Health” which has now grown to 15 because I wanted to cover other very important material. At any rate I had many people come up to me later and asked for a copy of the points of my talk so I decided to post it here in the newsletter.
Because it’s rather long there will only be three other topics, one about the book, “Creating Healthy Children”, one about coaching discounts offered at the Raw Health Expo which I will continue to honor, and a shorty about the new web pages under “List of Raw Foods”. Enjoy!
Creating Healthy Children
I met a Wonderful woman, Karin Ranzi, at the Raw Health Expo who has written an important book for our times, and one that I think many of you would really enjoy, particularly if you have children or grandchildren of your own and are concerned about the direction of their diet. The book is 'Creating Healthy Children'.
In my opinion it’s all about the little people. They are our future and will be forming and shaping the world when most of us are retired or at least not involved in the daily grind of the working world. If they are raised with love and on real food (what a concept) then the world stands a better chance of evolving into what we envisioned when we were young and dreaming of a peaceful pristine world with abundance for all.
I would like to encourage you to visit the website and if you feel moved order a copy, and perhaps one for a friend or family member who is possibly raising little people right now.
Raw Food Coaching at 35% Discount
I offered a discount on my coaching services for those at the Raw Health Expo, the biggest ever offered in all my years and want to let those that attended the Raw Health Expo and all of you that subscribe to Vibrant Living that I will continue to honor that discount through August.
So here it is, 35% off my regular coaching fee, that’s just $35/ hr. if you book by the end of August. That’s for anyone reading this newsletter.
If you’re stuck, struggling, or just want to take it to the next level, a little coaching from someone with success and experience can make all the difference. You can contact me through the website or here.
New Web Pages on the Website
I have been burning the candle as of late so I can provide you with more excellent material at the website. The new page “List of Raw Foods” has 9 sub pages that cover all types of foods and their attributes, vitamins, minerals, plus information on Goitrogens and foods containing oxalic acid.
I’ll be continuing to add new pages and recipes to the website each week as I strive to give you the information you’re seeking. If you don’t see what you’re looking for let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
Check out "List of Raw Foods" here.
Basic 15 for Optimal Health
These 15 tips will provide better digestion and thus better health no matter what your diet is. They may look simple at first, and you may have seen some of them before, but I assure you they are very important in terms of improving your health. As you read along please think about each of them in reference to your own habits and then try implementing them if even for a week or so to see if you notice a difference.
1) Chew your food thoroughly. 2500 years ago Confucius offered the healthful advice of chewing each mouthful 50 times. Now I realize that 50 may be a stretch for most of us, but what if you were to be mindful of chewing each bite until it was completely liquefied, say 25 to 30 chews, and see if that didn’t create better digestion for you. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “drink your food and chew your liquids”. The reason this is so important is for the obvious reason that we have no teeth in our stomach, and that enzymes and hydrochloric acid in the stomach only act on tiny particles in their liquid state. Anything undigested gives us no nutritional benefit for the effort, puts additional burden on the digestive system to eliminate this undigested and now rotting matter, can cause gas, and over time will deteriorate the quality of our health.
2) Allow ample time between meals for the stomach to empty before adding more food. In our society today we eat at the drop of a hat. We see food and automatically think we should be eating. This probably is an instinctive reflex from times gone by when our ancestors didn’t always know when the next meal might be, so when they came upon food they would eat. This survival mechanism does not serve us today in a world where there is food available 24/7 just about everywhere around us. Read more on this in the book, The Pleasure Trap, by Lisle and Goldhammer.
Eating meals on top of meals is a very unhealthful practice because it does not allow for complete digestion of the food from either meal. Many times this behavior will cause gas and or bloating, puts a burden on the digestive system to eliminate partially digested and decaying matter, and ultimately cause damage to our health. So the food we’re eating, even health giving food, can actually being doing harm instead of fostering good health.
It’s recommend to wait at least 4 hours between meals, unless the first meal was a fruit only meal, then time will vary depending on the type of fruit and quantity eaten. The best method is to not eat by the clock, but to actually feel that your stomach is empty and that you are truly hungry. Usually this takes between 5 to 7 hours, once again depending on what was eaten prior.
3) Take your last meal as early in the evening as you can, and don’t eat again before bed. This will improve your sleep, your energy level the next day, and create a healthy appetite for breakfast the next morning. This means no desert, an unhealthy custom started by the wealthy years ago, that is a prime example of tip #2, eating meals on top of meals. Aside from those negative effects, having a belly full of food during the evening and night as we sleep is extremely hard on all aspects of our health. It not only creates daytime fatigue and lack of true hunger in the morning, but is devastating to our good health.
Sleep is for recovery and regeneration from the day’s activities so we may be alert and fully functional the next day. If we are laying in bed with a full belly these critical nighttime functions are not being carried out as designed, so that both our short and long term health is negatively affected. Some people thrive on a daily diet of only 2 meals, with the second one taken early to mid afternoon, just another version of taking your last meal as early in the evening as you can.
4) Breakfast is an important meal, so eat a healthy breakfast that will carry you until your lunchtime meal. If a low calorically dense meal is taken early enough the evening before, a healthy appetite will be present in the morning. Lunch is also very important; it will provide calories and nutrition to carry you until your last meal of the day. So once again, eat a healthy lunch, to the point of being satiated, but not full. The first two meals of the day should provide the bulk of your calories because during the day is when you need the energy they provide. Your last meal should be less calorically dense, because your body’s requirements are different in the evening.
Less calorically dense foods contain more water and are lower in fat, with the added bonus of being high in fiber. So vegetables and salads would be a great evening meal, and if you did decide to add some starch or animal protein take small portions after the veggies and salad have been eaten. And remember one tablespoon of salad dressing is typically 180 calories so be mindful of its use. It would be easy to turn a healthy meal into an unhealthy meal with a tip of the wrist.
5) Eat until satiated but not full. This principle is very important in terms of digestive health and performance. If we overburden the digestive system digestion will be delayed and incomplete, once again resulting in decayed food matter in the system. If adhering to the principle above of ‘drinking our food’ we’ll be better able to determine when we are satiated and not go beyond to the point of full, or worse yet “stuffed”. It takes approx 15 minutes for the brain to receive the message from the stomach that it is approaching fullness, so this principle may take a little time to become adjusted to, but as we improve digestion and begin to listen to our bodies and their responses to the food we eat, knowing how much food is appropriate at each meal will become second nature. Digesting food is actually very stressful and demanding on our bodies, we use an incredible amount of our daily energy to digest the food we eat, so by not over eating we can lighten that burden and reap the rewards in greater energy and health.
6) Ripe food is healthy food, and unripe food is poison. Even if we are eating the right foods, if they are not fully matured, ready for eating and containing the enzymes necessary for their complete digestion then we are eating unhealthy food. Unripe food is also acidic in nature which creates an additional burden on the body.
One example of a vegetable many people have problems with is green bell peppers. The reason for this is that they are simply unripe. If left on the plant they will turn color as they ripen and become digestible. When we’re young we may be able digest them by drawing on our own enzymes resources, but over time they become a big problem for most people.
Something overlooked quite often is how farmers are picking crops weeks before their maturity so they can make it to market without spoiling and damage. Look your food over when you buy it, does it have green spots, is it hard as a rock, where did it come from, another hemisphere? Today tomatoes are picked green and shipped around the world, but before they are put out in markets they are gassed to bring out at least a dingy orange or pale red color. You know the one’s I’m talking about, we see them in the markets every winter. They are not a health producing food, but quite the contrary.
If you get a craving for tomatoes during the winter months try soaking dehydrated tomatoes and blending them in a soup, sauce or dressing.
Get to know the workers in the produce section of your market or better yet the farmers at your local farmers market and ask about the food you are buying. You will probably get your ripest fruits and veggies at your local farmers market. And if after you get home and find something is unripe or has gone bad days later don’t be afraid to feed it to the compost instead of yourself. After all its health you’re after and the money spent for food that had to be discarded is nothing compared to the price you’ll pay in compromised health from eating bad food.
7) Eat as close to nature as possible. Try to eat foods that are not processed, but rather come in their natural packaging. A fresh raw corn salad would be a better choice than cooked corn on the cob, which would be a better choice that corn chips. A fresh ripe apple is a whole food and better than a glass of apple juice, which would be better than a slice of apple pie.
Nature never intended for us to eat the myriad of concoctions that the human imagination has come up with and have become mainstream today. You don’t see pizza trees or hamburger bushes in nature, and as appealing as they may seem to our denatured taste buds, they are not meant to be included in our natural diet, and are certainly not healthy for us.
Modern man lives to a fairly decent age, albeit with many diseases and health complications, not because of his diet, but rather in spite of it. If you would like to learn more about modern man’s diet as it relates to health, the environment, and our future as a planet visit ravediet.com and check out the DVD entitled Eating.
8) Eat more living foods. Although raw food is a huge improvement over modern man’s typical diet, live food is that much more of an improvement again. A head of romaine lettuce even from the farmers market may be 24 to 48 hrs out of the ground so it has begun to lose much of its vitamin content, a portion of the enzymes, and a fair amount of the life force.
So just imagine a head of romaine from the grocery store that may be a week or more out of the ground. Or tomatoes or other fruit picked weeks before you see them in your local market. On the other hand produce from your garden picked just before your meal is full of life force, vitamins and enzymes.
I would like to suggest everyone start at least a small garden plot or even pots on your deck and begin to grow some of your own food. Perhaps take a trip to the local nursery and purchase a fruit tree or two that will provide lifetimes of live food for you and your family.
If your space is severely limited or you’re in the midst of winter then indoor sprouting is a fantastic way to go. Both The Hippocrates Health Institute and The Sproutman have information online and by book or DVD to get you started. Sprouts contain incredible energy and life force, and it’s said that wheat grass and sunflower seed sprouts have 30 times the life force of other sprouts. I would encourage anybody who wants to experience optimal health to include more live foods in their daily diet.
9) Eat your Greens. Well your mother certainly was right about that. Including a large amount of greens in the diet is paramount to being successful on the raw food diet for several reasons. First they provide valuable fiber to clean out the digestive tract and keep things moving as toxins are expelled. They are a great source of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and even some small amounts of essential fatty acids.
The chlorophyll in plants collects and distributes the sun’s energy throughout the plant and is available to us when we eat the plant. Chlorophyll is a great purifier also and works throughout the digestive tract to do just that.
Leafy green plants in particular are loaded with minerals and help alkalize the system. When we eat a cleansing diet, which the raw food diet is, the body throws off old toxic matter which is highly acid. In order to buffer this acid load the body requires alkaline minerals like those found in leafy greens.
For those that have difficulty consuming 2 to 3 heads of greens per day, or are unable to fully digest them without discomfort, then juicing and green smoothies are a great way to get that done. There are some great recipes on the website for both.
10) Daily Exercise, Fresh Air, and Sunshine. I group these 3 together because the benefits can be gained at one time. And yes, exercise aids digestion. It helps with circulation and to work the lymphatic system which is the body’s waste removal system. When we exercise we breathe deeply and bring in loads of good oxygen vital to remaining healthy. At the same time with every exhale our lungs expel toxins cleaning the body and the blood.
Walking is good but try to get as much upper body movement in as you can while you walk. We don’t get stiff, tired, weak and sedentary because we get old. We get old because we fail to exercise and keep moving every day. To become sedentary is to become old.
Daily exercise is as important as diet, without it we become a shell of the person we once were and our health slowly disintegrates. Daily exercise at an appropriate level is paramount to retaining our youthful body and spirit. Find a walking partner, go swimming, play tennis, take a yoga or tai chi class, go for a hike, or turn up the stereo and dance around the house. Exercise, fresh air, and sunshine are also known to improve mood and the quality of our sleep.
Fresh air is incredibly important for good health as you can imagine. The cleaner the air we breathe the fewer toxins in and the more expelled with every breath. You’ve probably noticed how good you feel when you’re out in nature somewhere breathing clean air.
The Sun’s energy stimulates all life on the planet including people, plants, and animals. It activates mechanisms in the body to produce vitamin D which is vital to good health and responsible for approximately 2500 different functions in the human body.
11) Sleep is critical to good health. Quality sleep is another corner stone of good health, and once again perhaps more important than diet. Sleep is for recovery and regeneration from the day’s activities. The more stressful and demanding our day is the more critical it is to get a good night sleep. During sleep our systems process toxins taken in during the day and eliminate them so we can start over with a clean slate, full of energy the next day. If we do not get enough quality sleep both our short and long term health is negatively affected.
As mentioned above, exercise, fresh air, and sunshine improve sleep. Also avoid electronic stimulus the hour before bed. That includes TV, computer, telephone or anything else that generates any un-natural energy. Reading is a great way to calm down and let the stress of the day fall away in the hour or two before bed.
Sleep with the window open and hopefully your bedroom does not contain any of the afore mentioned electronic garb. You know if you’re getting enough sleep if you wake up naturally without an alarm and feel refreshed without the need for any stimulants.
There are a couple of natural sleep aids I have used and will share info with anybody interested. Just email me.
12) Reduce stress. I feel certain that reducing stress is equally important as any of these other recommendations, and perhaps even more so because so often we don’t even realize we are in a stressful situation.
When we are in a stressful situation the hormone cortisol is released into the blood stream. This can be helpful if we’re trying to evade a wild animal or escape a burning building. Cortisol heightens our mental acuity, gives a burst of energy, and helps lower sensitivity to pain. The problem arises when our systems don’t have a chance to relax and recover from the “fight or flight” event, or events which is what’s happening today in this stressful society we live in.
We stress because we’re late for work, have a report due, someone cuts us off in traffic, our schedule is overloaded, we’re inside all day on a computer, or a thousand other things. We never have a chance to totally relax and recover which can lead to a number of issues including heart disease, thyroid problems, adrenal fatigue, lowered immunity, and high blood pressure.
I feel it’s so important to do as so many are trying to do these days in simplifying life and not taking things too seriously. I believe it was Winston Churchill who said something like ‘ninety five percent of the things we worry about never come to fruition.’
13) It’s what you do most of the time that counts. We all slip up now and then, but it’s what we do most of the time that counts with our diets, exercise, and really anything in life. However it’s important to make sure what we do most of the time is consistent in terms of achieving the results we want. Often you hear people say something like “oh come on, one little piece of cake won’t kill you”. And in the grand scheme of things they’re probably right. Although if they have the cake, and had raw cacao truffles during mid morning break, fast food for lunch, and pizza last night, and will have nut pate and a package of dehydrated crackers for lunch tomorrow….well you see where I’m going.
It can be very helpful for anyone making lifestyle and or diet changes to keep track of what was eaten, and when, how much exercise, and anything else you’re trying to monitor and implement in your life.
Always do the best you can where you are in the moment, and if you slip, even in a big way, don’t beat yourself up and feel guilty. Use it as a learning experience to move you forward with renewed dedication for improving your health. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. A brand new beginning to become whatever it is you choose to be.
14) Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. If you’re having challenges on the raw food diet, like you get cold in the winter, or are always hungry, or miss some cooked food, then fine, tweak your diet so it does work, but please don’t throw up your arms and say the raw food diet didn’t work for me and go back to eating a predominately cooked food diet.
If you get cold in the winter eat a little more fat and add in some warming foods like ginger, cinnamon, dried fruits, and nuts and seeds. I’ll have a list of these foods on the website under “List of Raw Foods” very soon.
Usually when starting out on the raw diet it does seem like we’re always hungry. That’s because we’re trying to replace all those calorically dense foods with a healthier raw food diet. Over time you will adjust and be able to eat reasonable portions and do just fine.
If you really want some cooked food, then eat a little. Nobody said it was an all or nothing proposition. Adding a few steamed veggies with your evening salad or a baked potato or squash could be just what you need to succeed on this healthy diet.
It’s not about being raw, it’s about being healthy. That’s what is so wonderful about this diet, there is no one way. Obviously it based around a raw food diet, but it’s all about what works best for you in feeling your best and being healthy.
15) Continue to educate yourself. Read books, watch videos attend raw food potlucks and events, and be open to new information, but don’t get swept away by every new idea or “superfood” that comes down the pike.
You can learn from everyone, but I would encourage you not to completely follow any one person or dogma. There are many different ideas on what is the perfect or most natural raw food diet, and what works for you may be a combination of many principles tweaked to what makes you feel best and gives you the highest level of health.
I find for me that a low fat diet works best (approx 10%) although in the winter sometimes I do eat more fat. I believe it’s important not to mix fruit and fats unless it’s in very small quantities, or as a very special once in a great while treat. And as I mentioned in #9, adequate greens are so very important for being successful on the raw food diet.
Experiment and monitor your results. Get your blood tested and be sure to include tests for B12, vitamin D, fasting insulin levels, essential fatty acids, as well as thyroid and adrenal function. If you need some guidance and support get some raw food coaching.
At any rate it’s your health and you should take a definite interest in finding out what works best for you. Our ancestors may have spent the better part of the day procuring food for their next meal so perhaps we should give it more time as well. Our diet is the foundation of our health and from that springs our outlook on life and to a large degree our happiness. We cannot be truly happy if we lack good health in any area of our life.
More information on these principles can be found within the pages of the website.
Please contact me with your questions, feedback and comments here.
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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