You shouldn't eat late at night. Your body will just store the food as fat.
In fact, the opposite is true. It's best to make your evening meal the biggest of the day. When you consume food, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This is the housekeeping arm of your autonomic nervous system that conserves energy and metabolizes food. In other words, it helps you rest and digest.
By contrast, input from the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for your fight or flight response and active during the day as you face challenges, meet deadlines and argue with the phone company.
In other words, the stresses of the day interfere with digestion and with the functions of the parasympathetic, which is most effective when your body is at rest.
Small portions are best. Don't ever stuff yourself.
Small meals throughout the day can deplete your body's digestive enzymes and delay the passage of food through your intestines. This can lead to stomach upset, gas and bloat. Your stomach functions most efficiently when it is full. As it has a capacity of over 3 L, equivalent to 12 8-oz glasses of water, full means a lot of food. In fact, more food than you are likely accustomed to consuming, so rather than restrain yourself from eating too much, you'll have to train yourself to eat enough! It's okay to go to bed with a full belly. If your meal is nutritious, when you wake up in the morning your stomach will be flat as a board.
It's wise to drink a lot of water.
Sure, water is good to drink, but your main source of H2O should not be by the glass. Drinking large amounts of liquids, especially with meals, can dilute enzymes and increase the work of digestion. Also, many brands of drinking water – not just tap water but also bottled versions - are known to contain high levels of metals, chemicals and other pollutants, including bacteria. It is best to satisfy your hydration requirements through food.
By weight, fruits and vegetables are 80 percent or more water. A diet that emphasizes these foods can easily meet 80 percent or more of your recommended water intake. And the water in plant foods is in its purest possible form, naturally filtered through their roots, stems and leaves. So, eat up!
Milk does a body good.
It is true that milk is high in calcium and vitamin D and that these nutrients are needed for strong bones. But drinking milk can actually weaken your bones. How can this be? Milk is high in animal protein and acid-forming. To buffer the excess acid produced by protein digestion, your body borrows calcium from its storage site in your bones, leading to osteoporosis and increasing your risk for broken bones as you age. Leafy green vegetables are higher in calcium than milk, and your best source of vitamin D is your own skin, which produces it on exposure to the sun.
Also, over 2/3 of the population is lactose intolerant. Fart much?
Besides, no animal other than humans consumes the milk of another species, let alone drinks milk into adulthood. Two-thirds of the population is unable to digest milk, which can result in abdominal cramps, bloat, gas and other more serious conditions. Milk is for babies. Cow's milk is for baby cows.
Animal foods (meat, eggs, dairy) are highest in protein.
Indeed, animal foods are high in protein, but they contain little else of nutritional value. They lack water, are devoid of fiber and vitamin C and contain large amounts of cholesterol, fat and saturated fat. The vitamins and minerals animal foods do contain come by way of the plants they consume. Plants, not animals, are the ultimate source of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and even protein.
The protein in animal products contributes to cancer, weight gain, osteoporosis and kidney stones. Per calorie, leafy green vegetables contain more protein than meat, and beans are also high in protein.
A diet that includes generous helpings of these lovely foods easily provides adequate protein to meet the needs of even the most active and actively growing persons.
Olive oil is good for you.
All oils are pure fat, and fat serves a very limited function in the diet. In fact, the digestion of fat produces free radicals, which contribute to cancer and premature aging. In other words, the more fat in your diet, the more free-radical damage, and the older you look.
Whole foods – fruits, vegetables, beans and seeds – contain adequate amounts of fat, including the essential fatty acids. Even those foods commonly considered fat-free, such as lemons and onions, contain fat. Added fat in the form of oil, butter, margarine or lard, not to mention animal products such as chicken and beef, is unnecessary and can even be deadly.
Nuts are healthy fats.
Nuts are high in the pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, which contribute to conditions including asthma, arthritis, heart disease and chronic pain. Nuts are also concentrated foods devoid of water, which makes them very hard to digest. Avoid nuts and instead choose seeds such as flax and chia seeds, which are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. These fats oppose the actions of omega-6, protect the heart and offer pain relief.
A healthy diet should include several servings per day of whole grains.
So says the USDA. Sadly, the Department of Agriculture has vested interests.
In reality, grain products are not health foods. Whether refined or whole, grains such as wheat, barley, rye and possibly oats are among the major causes of food allergies and sensitivities. Like nuts, grains are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats and acid-forming. Also, whole grains have high glycemic indices and are low in fiber relative to vegetables and beans. This makes eating grains a recipe for weight gain, which is why they are replacing grass as cow feed: to fatten them (and us) up.
Fruit is high in sugar.
Fruit derives most of its calories from simple sugars, which are rapidly assimilated to provide instant fuel your body depends on. In fact, your brain uses glucose almost exclusively. The water and fiber in fruits modulate the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. This assures steady levels of energy. Though sweeter than candy, fruits are mostly low glycemic foods, meaning the sugar they contain does not play havoc with your blood sugar. Per serving, whole grains are much higher in carbohydrates than fruits. The carbohydrate in grains such as rice and pasta gets broken down to the same simple sugars – glucose and fructose – that make up fruit, making grains actually much higher in sugar. Want to reduce your sugar consumption? Give up grains. They're not even sweet!
I don't poop every day, but my doctor says I'm not constipated.
Untrue. Our digestive systems are all designed the same, consisting of 30 feet of tube from mouth to anus. The differences in our bowel habits arise from food choices. Vegetarians move food through the intestinal tract much more rapidly than meat-eaters, whose food can fester in the bowels for up to a week. Going every day should be the rule. In fact, going several times per day is normal. Just observe infants, whose digestion is in perfect working order. They go after every feeding. If you have three meals a day, you should have at least as many daily BMs, no matter what your doctor says.
Vegans require supplementation with vitamin B12, as they are likely deficient.
Actually, a large portion of the population is B12 deficient, as many as 30 percent of adults over age 60.1 Only 1 percent of the American population is vegan, and so if 30 percent of the population has B12 deficiency, the majority - you guessed it – the majority consume animal products. In fact, the likelihood a person is B12 deficient may actually increase with higher intakes of B12.
How can this be?
Your dietary B12 requirement is very minimal. In fact, the amount of B12 you need in food is measured by the microgram, or thousandth of a milligram, which is 1 millionth of a gram. Which is very very small! This is because most of the B12 in your body gets recycled and used over and over again.2 Also, bacteria in your colon produce it and other vitamins, which your body is able to absorb. So B12 deficiency is less likely to arise from inadequate intake than from defects in absorption. These defects can occur in the stomach, which produces a chemical (intrinsic factor) needed to absorb vitamin B12, or in the small intestine, the site of B12's entrance into your blood. Damage to the small intestine can result from an intolerance to wheat products; damage to the stomach may occur as a result of excessive amounts of acid produced by years of consuming animal products, whose digestion requires large amounts of acid. In other words, eating foods high in B12 may result in B12 deficiency.
So just being a vegan does not mean you need to supplement with vitamin B12, and if the statistics are any indication, avoiding animal products may offer you some protection from deficiency. A study in Japan found that vegan children on a diet of brown rice and Nori seaweed (an unreliable source of B12) all contained normal B12 levels.3
In truth, it is meat eating that poses the biggest risk of B12 deficiency. If you consume or have consumed animal products regularly, you may suffer from inadequate absorption and should talk to your doctor about checking your B12 levels. Deficiency can produce symptoms of anemia (fatigue, anxiety, pale skin and rapid heart rate), in addition to numbness and tingling of the arms and feet and other nervous system abnormalities.
Read more of THE PARADIGM DIET.
Heal yourself and the planet one tasty bite at time.
3Suzuki, H. Serum vitamin B12 levels in young vegans who eat brown rice. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1995 Dec;41(6):587-94.