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Showing posts from 2012


Too often the focus of a discussion about whether to eat a certain way is limited to the realm of nutrition; i.e., this food offers more of these vitamins, or those minerals, or it burns fat, or builds muscle, etc.

It is important to remember that your food choices impact not only your own body but also the health of the environment, economy, not to mention the well-being of your fellow Earthlings. Which is why we say that the proper foods require a relative minimum of resources and regenerate rather than ravage the environment, while being a source of pleasure and life rather than pain and death.

This holiday season, when you sit down to that turkey or that hog (and even for those who shun such foods, animal products often infiltrate family gatherings), and when you possibly pray over such food, as is customary for families to do, remember the words of the eminent Upton Sinclair, who wrote in "The Jungle" (1906) about these creatures whose pain we make our pleasure:

... “And e…


We have said it before and we'll say it again, humans require large quantities of food in order to feel satisfied and to encourage efficient digestion. We are talking in the range of 5 lbs or more a day. Concentrated foods provide lots of calories for small portion sizes due to the absence or lack of water and fiber, so it is wise to choose plant foods to meet your bulk needs.

If ever you find your digestion is a little sluggish (there is no excuse for not "going" at least once a day every day) try this diet on for size. We call it the 10 lb diet. Simple, the 10 LB diet calls for 10 lbs of food. Specifically, 8 lbs of fruit/vegetable fruits, 1 lb of leafy green vegetables, and 1 lb of lentils, beans, or non-gluten grain (quinoa, rice). Such an intake provides over 100 grams of fiber and well over the daily requirement of all major nutrients (except D, which you should get from the sun, and B12, which can be found in yeast) - and at under 2,500 calories.

Here it is:

1 lb …


Seasonal fruit is such a delight, and we encourage all our loved ones (that means you!) to visit your local farmer's market and see what's in stock. Autumn is a lovely time of year for orange foods. That means pumpkins and other ornately-colored squash, as well as oranges (which, like apples, are harvested starting in September/October).

While we're all familiar with these delicious foods (even though most use pumpkin as an ornament or dessert, you should try eating it as a squash!) fewer are intimately acquainted with the delicious persimmon.

Persimmon season is short (late October through December), so get them while they last. Japanese persimmons are teardrop shaped and should be eaten when soft, while Fuyu persimmons, native to California, look like heirloom tomatoes and are best enjoyed crunchy. Persimmons are low calorie foods (under 50 calories per fruit) and a good source of vitamin C. But nutrition aside, they are delish!

Eat them as you would apples, either for …


It has often been suggested that one should consume a tall glass of water whenever the urge to eat arises, and right before a meal. The body can mistake thirst for hunger, they say, and drinking water before you eat assures that you will consume less food.

Well, yes and no.

If you eat when you are thirsty, then you'll take in more calories than you would by simply quenching your thirst with, say, water, which is calorie free, so drinking water before eating is good advice. Besides, it helps to keep you hydrated.

But if you think that water fills your stomach and helps to make you feel fuller faster, guess again. Water is absorbed very rapidly by the stomach. We're talking a matter of minutes, likely before you've even had time to take you first mouthful of lunch or dinner.

Water AND fiber, however, will remain in your stomach for thirty minutes or more and a diet which includes ample amounts of foods containing both water and fiber - and these foods are without exceptio…


The human tongue comes equipped with taste buds for various taste sensations. These include sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Textbooks differ on the existence of a fifth taste bud. Perhaps, and this is only speculation, only a portion of the population has the spicy taste bud, which might explain why some enjoy spicy food, and others are averse to it. We are kidding, of course. Spicy foods are actually picked up by pain receptors in the brain, which, if you eat enough of them, can make you feel somewhat like this poor fella:

Be that as it may, the average person uses spices, seasonings, and sauces to some degree. And why not? If you have the taste buds (and the receptors), it can't hurt to stimulate them now and again (or it can, but that's why we reach for those jalapenos, don't we? hurts so good?). But spicy food is not just for the masochistic; hot food can increase the metabolism as well as act as an appetite suppressent; moreover, the capsaicin present in peppers such…


We've all been told to drink enough water, but how many of us are adequately hydrated? The daily requirement for water for inactive males is 3.5 liters (about 14 cups); for inactive females the requirement is 2.5 liters (about 10 cups). This is to replace losses in breath, sweat, urine, feces, and metabolic processes that use water (these reactions are referred to by the blanket term hydrolisis). The water can come in the form of food or beverages.

Fruits and vegetables are mainly water, and a diet exclusively of plant foods can go far towards hydrating you. In fact, if you were to eat 2,000 calories solely from fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods, like beans, you could get as much as 3.5 liters of water, meeting the requirement for either sex. This is because fruits and vegetables are as much as 90 percent water. In contrast, grains, nuts, and animal foods are drier in that they con…


Here is a simple progression to improve your diet, whether you need a complete overhaul or merely some fine-tuning. Print this and paste on your fridge for easy reference.

1. Eat fruit till noon. As much or as little as you wish, but only fruit.
Example: Morning Smoothie

Blend one orange, add two fresh bananas and blend till smooth. Then, add one frozen banana and one cup of your choice of frozen berries (strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry).

2. Eat a salad for lunch.
Chop one head of kale, add to this one medium diced tomato, 1/2 avocado, the juice of one lemon, and 1 tbsp Bragg's amino acids. Mix thoroughly. Top with fresh fruit. For example, one cup strawberries, 4 medjool dates, and 1 apple.

Note: Kale may be substituted with Romaine lettuce or baby spinach. Also, 1 cup of canned beans of your choice (kidney, white, garbanzo, black) may be substituted for the fruit. Be sure to rinse and strain before consuming.

3. Start dinner with 3 of your favorite crunchy vegetables.


People often make the mistake of lumping leafy greens into the same category. While it's true that these maximally nutritious vegetables should be eaten every day without fail, there are some differences in the nutritional profiles of, for example, spinach and Swiss chard on the one hand, and cruciferous veggies such as collards, kale, and broccoli on the other, and these differences are worthy of note.

Cruciferous vegetables include kale, cabbage, collard greens, bok choy, broccoli, and cauliflower. While known for their anticancer properties, these delicious vegetables are also high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and omega 3 fatty acids.

Chenopods include spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens. Unlike the crucifers, which are with few exceptions best prepared steamed, the chenopods lend themselves to quick boiling of up to 3 minutes in the case of chard, or 1 minute for spinach.

The chenopods tend to be higher in iron, calcium, folate, and perhaps m…


I often mention eating fruit and only fruit for breakfast and until noon as the single-most important dietary change you can make. Fruit is a source of easily digestible sugar, high in water and fiber, and a good source of many major vitamins and some minerals. The next most important dietary change?

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, 100 calories worth of leafy green vegetables elevates you to super hero status.

Which vegetables are we referring to? Especially:

Swiss chard

Baby spinach can be eaten raw. Spinach is also great boiled for 2 minutes. 100 calories is roughly 3 cups of boiled spinach, or 1 bunch of raw spinach. Raw spinach is a great base to a salad. Boiled spinach is wonderful mixed with your favorite bean.

Amount Per Serving (1 bunch) Calories 103.5 Calories from Fat 14.7 Fat 1.8 g 3 % Saturated Fat 0.28 g 1 % Polyunsaturated Fat 0.74 g Monounsaturated Fat 0.045 g Cholesterol 0.0 mg 0 % Sodium 355.5 mg 15 % Potassium 2,511.0 mg 72 % …


The raw community stands staunchly behind the benefits of what is known as the monomeal. As the name suggests, you choose one type of food, and make an entire meal out of it. What could be easier?

Monomeals have the benefit of convenience, nutrition, and deliciousness. What's more, they are very easy to digest.

Want to give the monomeal a shot? The best candidates are fruits, which can be eaten whole and unseasoned. They provide instant energy to propel you through the day ahead. And because fruit is so high in water, you won't need to drink any liquids with your lunch (or breakfast, or dinner). Not only that, you can exercise a short while after completing the feast. Some of our favorite foods to eat exclusively (usually for lunch) include apples, bananas, and oranges. If you crave salt, you may wish to choose vegetable fruits - for example bell peppers or tomatoes, which are highly nutritious and pair well with a dash of sea salt, and maybe a little lemon and basil.

You can…