Tuesday
Jan052010

Meat (Part 3): Necessary to prevent mineral deficiencies?

We've been on a bit of a meat mini-series in the last few posts.
If you missed any of them, here are the links:

Today, I'm continuing on the topic with the issue of meat and minerals.

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One of the reasons many people are hesitant to drop meat from their diets is fear of mineral deficiencies.

Conventional wisdom in western cultures generally suggests that eating meat is necessary to getting your minerals and avoiding deficiencies like anemia (iron deficiency).

This view is merely a byproduct of a culture with an entrenched meat industry.

It has no basis in fact. 

Vegetarians actually aren’t any more prone to mineral deficiency than are meat-eaters.

The thing with mineral deficiencies is that, in many cases, the problem isn’t really a lack of minerals at all. 

Using anemia as general example, the sufferer usually has significant stores of iron already in her body.  The problem isn’t a deficiency, but rather that the iron isn’t being used, or “assimilated”

In such cases, adding more iron to the diet isn’t going to achieve anything at all.  There’s already plenty.  The assimilation issue is what must be addressed. 

The ability of the body to absorb a particular mineral can be affected by several things.  In the case of iron, excesses in other minerals can actually block it.  One such mineral is phosphorous, which happens to be a mineral that meat is very high in. 

Effective absorption of iron also relies upon sufficient levels of Vitamin C -- something a raw-vegan diet is loaded with.

Once we realize that the key isn’t necessarily to get the most nutrients, but to get the most absorbable nutrients, eating meat doesn’t make sense anymore. 

Leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of highly-absorbable minerals. 

If you're eating a raw-vegan diet with lots of mineral-rich green vegetables, paired with the abundance of vitamins found in fresh fruit, nutritional deficiencies should be the furthest thing from your mind.

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Real-World Raw Health and Nutrition:
The raw food diet made easy for your busy life!

Mike Dillman is a self-taught raw-vegan who began his journey nearly five years ago.   Having worked his way through all the challenges firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself.  You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle.

If you want to experience the amazing health that comes with living the one truly natural diet, Mike's new book, "Real-World Raw: The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet" is just what you're looking for.  See for yourself. 
To Download a FREE 20-Page Sneak Preview of the eBook click here!

Thursday
Dec312009

Meat (Part 2): We don't need to eat protein to make protein.

The argument that we should eat meat to get protein is wrong, because the basic principle is wrong.  It assumes that you need to eat protein to make protein. 

We don’t. 

Here’s an example.  In 1961, Professor H. Oomen completed a study in which he documented tribal natives on the island of New Guinea.  The natives lived on diets comprised primarily of root vegetables (potatoes) and consumed very low levels of protein.  Yet, Oomen found they experienced robust health and strong, muscular physiques.  When measuring their feces, he found that they contained higher levels of protein than the natives ingested in their diets. How is this possible?

This can be explained by the process of protein synthesis.  When you ingest protein, your body can’t use it in its present form.  The protein molecules must first be broken down into smaller molecules called amino acids It’s with these amino acids that your body builds the proteins that it uses to repair itself.

You don’t have to get these amino acids from meat.  In fact, it’s better not to.  There are more than enough amino acids present in the proteins found in whole fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

While we do need some protein, the decades of advertising put out by the meat industry (I’d actually prefer to call it propaganda) have made us believe high-protein foods like meat and dairy are beneficial, or even essential.  That simply isn’t the case.

The human body recycles most of its protein, thus limiting its needs.  For the average person, 25g of protein per day is more than enough.  You could get a little more if you’re particularly active, but certainly the numbers put out there by the mainstream media and supplement industries are way too high.  The whole protein scare really is just that — a campaign to scare you into thinking you need a high-protein diet and thus need meat to be healthy.

[more to follow on Tuesday about meat and nutrients...]

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Real-World Raw Health and Nutrition:
The raw food diet made easy for your busy life!

Mike Dillman is a self-taught raw-vegan who began his journey nearly five years ago.   Having worked his way through all the challenges firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself.  You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle.

If you want to experience the amazing health that comes with living the one truly natural diet, Mike's new book, "Real-World Raw: The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet" is just what you're looking for.  See for yourself. 
To Download a FREE 20-Page Sneak Preview of the eBook click here!

Tuesday
Dec292009

Meat (Part 1): Not a Natural Food

Let me correct that.  Meat is a natural food for carnivores.  It’s not a natural food for humans.  Humans aren’t carnivores. 

When we examine animals that are designed to thrive on a diet of meat, they share common traits.  At first glance, we can recognize them from their sharp canine teeth and their talons or claws which they use to bring down their prey and tear the flesh from their bones.

Last I checked, humans aren’t so endowed.  If you were placed in a field with a deer, with no weapons or tools, would you be able to run down that deer, tackle it, bite its throat, and kill it?  Would you want to, for that matter?  Or would you rather just walk over to that fruit tree over there?  Mmm… peaches… 

How about another example.  If you place a baby in a playpen with a bunny and a banana, which is it more likely to eat.  I think it’s safe to say the baby will eat the banana and play with the bunny every time.     

We aren’t naturally drawn to eating animals any more so than we find the thought of eating raw flesh to be appealing.  One must acquire the taste after being raised on cooked meat.

Even if one does come to fancy the eating of charred animal flesh, that doesn’t make our bodies any more suited to the task.  What carnivores all have in common that we can’t see are very short intestinal tracts.  This allows them to pass the meat through their digestive system quickly, before it putrefies.  They also have very powerful livers that can handle neutralizing all the toxins that come with a meat-based diet. 

Humans, on the other hand, have long intestinal tracts, measuring 10 to 12 times their body length, and livers that are comparatively quite weak.  If we had to rely on tracking down and eating animals as a food source, I’d have to say evolution did a pretty crappy job in designing us.

Meat quite obviously isn’t something we’re designed to eat, but isn’t it a good idea anyway?  After all, we’ve got fire and tools now, and we can handle much more effectively than in early times. 

No.  That doesn’t change the fact that meat isn’t the right food for our bodies, nor is it nutritionally sound.  We'll examine why in the next post.

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Real-World Raw Health and Nutrition:
The raw food diet made easy for your busy life!

Mike Dillman is a self-taught raw-vegan who began his journey nearly five years ago.   Having worked his way through all the challenges firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself.  You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle.

If you want to experience the amazing health that comes with living the one truly natural diet, Mike's new book, "Real-World Raw: The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet" is just what you're looking for.  See for yourself. 
To Download a FREE 20-Page Sneak Preview of the eBook click here!

Tuesday
Dec222009

Organic Produce: More Vitamins and Minerals

A great way to get more vitamins and minerals in your diet is to eat organically grown produce. 

Definition of 'Certified Organic'

For any food (or food product) to be labeled as “certified organic” it must adhere to a set of very specific standards.  Those standards cover everything right from the beginning (such as the soil or feed that the plant or animal was raised on) to the end (where the food ultimately lands in your shopping cart), and everything else in between.  Strict guidelines on the growing, storing, processing, packaging, and shipping of certified organic food products must all be met through every step of the way or the food can’t be declared as certified organic.   Most "western" countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia and the members of the European Union, have comprehensive organic legislation.  These legislations set some rather wordy criteria for what “certified organic” means exactly, but for our purposes I’ll paraphrase the key points. 

Certified organic foods:

  • Have not been treated with any synthetic/chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
  • Have not been injected with or fed antibiotics or hormones.
  • Have not been irradiated.

None of the bad stuff

The benefit that most consumers associate with organics foods is that they’re untainted.  In other words, they don’t have all the nasty chemicals that come with unnatural growing practices.  This is absolutely true, and a good enough reason on its own to switch to organic.  What’s often forgotten, however, are the secondary benefits of organic foods.  It’s not just what they don’t have (the toxins), but also the extras that they do have. 

More of the good stuff

That brings us back to my original point. Organic produce is grown in much healthier soil that’s been fertilized by green growing practices like crop rotation and the use of natural compost.  Just like us, plants need to be fed properly to excel.  When grown organically, plants are well fed by soil that’s rich in nutrients, and as a result they become nutrient-rich themselves.  When we eat those well-nourished plants we reap the benefits.  This is why eating organically grown fruits and vegetables is a great way to help ensure proper nutrition.  If you’re eating a raw-vegan diet and most of your produce is organically grown, you’ll be getting so many vitamins and minerals that you shouldn’t ever need to worry about falling short. 

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Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

Monday
Dec072009

Irritants: Spices, Herbs and Hot Peppers

In the Middle Ages, spices were one of the most luxurious products in the world, and possessing them was a sign of great wealth.  Entire European city-states built their economies around the spice trade with Asia and Africa.  The search for spices prompted the quests of such famous explorers as Vasco de Gama and Christopher Columbus, and led to the discovery of the western world. 

Today, while not commanding quite the same level of excitement, spices are still very popular.   They’re used to flavor most of the foods we’ve become accustomed to, the world over.

The there are many, many herbs and spices out there, but some common ones include garlic, onion, mustard, black pepper, hot peppers, nutmeg, basil, oregano, and chives.   

Spices and herbs aren’t foods

Our bodies can’t handle them when eaten alone in significant quantities.  The spices get rejected because our taste receptors are trained to recognize the poisonous substances they contain.  They’re only palatable when diluted into other foods.  When we use them this way, it tricks our bodies and perverts our tastes, leading to a false sense of appetite.  The variety of flavors leads to us to eat more than we normally would, or to eat when not even hungry at all.  This overeating eventually leads to weight gain and many related health concerns.

When we eat a strong spice, such as onions, garlic, or hot peppers, our body reacts by increasing the saliva, tears, and mucous into overdrive.  This is an attempt to dilute and flush the toxins.  After ingesting them, we feel a warming sensation.

Many people like eating spicy foods to feel warmer in the winter, to cleanse the body, or promote healing.  However, they’re confused about what’s actually occurring.  What the spices are doing is attacking the body and causing a defensive action.  This is the body’s fight/flight response kicking in to combat the invasive poisons.  Much like drinking alcohol, eating spicy foods to warm up doesn’t achieve anything.  It actually wears the body down, meaning we’ll feel colder than ever once the effects wear off.

As the herbs and spices pass through the digestive system, they irritate the bowels.  This can kill the beneficial bacteria that are necessary for digestion.  Losing these bacteria leads to digestive impairment and nutritional deficiencies.  Irritating the intestines can also lead to irritable bowel syndrome, and/or stomach cancer.

Eventually our body expels the toxins, using every method available at its disposal.  This causes significant body odor, bad breath, and sometimes itchiness and rashes.  The fact that our bodies work so hard to expel these substances shows how toxic they really are.

So what exactly am I saying here?  Should we swear entirely off all spices and herbs?

Yes and no.  I wouldn’t worry much about the majority of the milder herbs and spices.  I don’t often use any myself, but if you don’t want to part with your basil, dill, oregano and cinnamon, don’t fret about it.  They certainly aren’t a big deal.

Just understand that herbs and spices aren’t foods.  If you can’t eat a handful of something without your body fervently rejecting it, there’s obviously a reason for it.

I do recommend that you generally stay away from the stronger spices though.  Limit your use of onions, chives, radishes and garlic, and pretty much stay away from hot peppers completely. 

Your body will thank you for it.

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Real-World Raw Health and Nutrition:
The raw food diet made easy for your busy life!

Mike Dillman is a self-taught raw-vegan who began his journey nearly five years ago.   Having worked his way through all the challenges firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself.  You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle.

If you want to experience the amazing health that comes with living the one truly natural diet, Mike's new book, "Real-World Raw: The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet" is just what you're looking for.  See for yourself. 
To Download a FREE 20-Page Sneak Preview of the eBook click here!