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   When I first wrote this article I was high on the immediate benefits of a mostly raw diet with a great amount of fruit. It is true, you do feel great energy. However, like most raw foodists, that regime had quickly became unwieldy for one like myself with a normal schedule; it is also very hard, although not impossible, to get most of one's calories from fruits (preventing excess weight loss is difficult for the same reason). One also finds himself becoming so sensitive to 'heavier' foods (such as beans or rice) that he has difficulty eating out or with friends, being sociable, or dealing with the many changes and uncertainties of life situations. Ones digestive power for handling other foods also gets diminished when one mostly eats the extremely-easy-to-digest fruits and tender greens. Raw food purists will say this proves that those other foods are not good for you, but this is erroneous. While in some cases of genuine allergies this may be so, the simple truth is that one loses the ability to digest easily the foods he stops eating. In addition, on the raw foods, mostly fruit diet one essentially has to live close to his blender (!) or produce supply , and more or less almost carve out an alternative lifestyle, in order to pull it off. And the extreme sensitivity itself can become a liability.

   Going very very raw is something most of humanity is not and has nor ever been willing to do. Raw food certainly has definite advantages and health benefits , but the case has also been made that cooking foods has been in part responsible for the evolution of humanity, for several reasons: it enables the storage of certain foods (like grains and root vegetables) for use year-round; it frees man from spending 75% of his time looking for and assimilating food; certain cooked foods, like starches, are more nutrient-dense and easily assimilated than raw foods, and likewise steamed greens such as kale, chard, or spinach, are much more nutrient-dense cooked than raw, because one can eat so much more of them (although one can match this result by blending or juicing them); and it has even been claimed that the digestive tract of man has become shorter due to the advancement that was cooking, making him unable to digest the insoluble fiber that an herbivore or even the advanced primates can do. See the interesting book, Catching Fire, by Prof. Richard Wrangham, for the role of cooking in the development of mankind, cooking which has been around for nearly two million years - and not just the ten thousand when cultivation of grains was introduced. All of this considered, besides the fact that all of the long-lived people with traditional diets, and all of the especially noted long-lived cultures in the world (Hunzan, Georgian, Okinawan, Sardinians, Seventh Day Adventists, etc.) eat cooked foods, including potatoes, root vegetables, grains - and especially beans, with only a small amount of animal products, suggests that a raw plant-based diet is neither the most efficient or a necessity for longevity and perfect health, and is certainly not the way man used to eat for millennia before agriculture was developed, or what man as "but one among all the animals who do not cook their foods" should eat all the time. Man is different than all of the other animals. And cooking seems to be intimately involved with his evolutionary path. Of course, the raw foodists would call this 'devolution', not evolution! But, this is now entering into philosophy, which I have covered elsewhere....

   Rather than immediately re-writing all of this article in the light of my emerging insights and re-adjustments, however, I will only insert here what I currently see as the path for me, and leave the rest for a future re-write, trusting that the reader can read between the lines and separate the wheat from the chaff. The new book I have come across that seems to sum up nearly all of the issues I have been grappling with, and what many diet mavens have argued back and forth for decades, is entitled Raw Freedom, by Frederic Patenaude. Patenaude is a former raw foodist, who, unlike some converts, still believes that raw foods, especially fruits, vegetables (especially greens), nuts and seeds, have noble virtues and that we would do well to dramatically increase our consumption of them, but who nevertheless has found a happy medium between all the extremes in a diet more approaching 50% raw and 50% cooked.

   Raw Freedom is great, it clarifies a lot of problems that people (like me) have had with raw diets, and shows a simple way to get the best of both worlds, raw and cooked. It shows what is good to eat raw, what is good to eat cooked, discusses common myths about both approaches, difficulties with digestion for both sides, a positive role of cooking in human evolution, etc., etc., that makes a lot of sense and personally is a great relief. So for now, I will continue most of the time with (1) fruit and/or a fruit or green smoothie for breakfast (except on days, such as those with long workouts, when I prefer oatmeal for slow and sustained release of energy), as this feels great, seems the natural time for fruit, and the results on my energy and well-being are clear; (2) a large salad, with up to a dozen items, once a day (often the heart of a meal, or even the meal itself); (3) freshly made vegetable juice (with lots of protective greens); (4) and for all the rest a normal vegetarian diet of cooked foods, such as veggie burgers or corn tortillas with beans, tomato, and avocado, or while grain bread with nut butters for a lunch; rice and stir-fry or lightly steamed vegetables, or whole grain pastas and vegetables for dinner, and so on. This is how I formerly was eating, but with the addition of much more raw foods. This works well, provides abundant energy, and also makes life function able and tolerable!

   The rest of this article is as before.

   The various topics of diet - omnivore or vegan; dietary supplementation with vitamins, fish oil, CoQ10, and so on - remain a source of much confusion for many and therefore needs much attention. Myriad arguments abound and people are confused. After thinking and researching these issues lately, I have tentatively modified some of my views. After eating basically grains and beans and stir-fried vegetables for forty years, I have been eating a 75% [now 50%] or more raw diet of fresh fruits and vegetables the past  year, dropping to a cool 146 from 165 pounds (and, since adding running and cycling, stabilized at 135, my lifetime average). I have more energy, and almost never get tired, especially after eating. The 'life current' is getting stronger. And, although it may sound "woo-woo" to some, I can sometimes feel as if my cells are breathing. So, on its own merits, this regime is highly recommended by me, if one is suitable for it. It takes some adaptation and purification, however. And the important key with any diet is to sustain it healthily over a long time, meaning years. In this light a new trend among endurance athletes, such as distance runners, as well as other raw foodists, is the "80-10-10" diet, or 80% carbohydrates (mostly as raw fruits, often dozens of bananas and/or gallons of orange juice!), 10% fat and 10% protein. The internet is flooded with YouTube videos claiming amazing energy and endurance using this regime. But even nutritional expert Gabriel Cousins poses the question, "maybe they appear healthy now, but what about in 10 or 15 years?" "Might they not develop life or health-threatening deficiencies?" "Where do they get their protein?" These are valid questions. And they might be true if it were not for a distortion of what this diet - which is not really a diet per se but a natural way of eating - actually means. What this diet is really about is based on the recognition that natural, plant-based foods, are already 80-10-10. More on this shortly. I man to advocating a 100% plant-based diet for everyone. There is too much evidence on both sides of this debate. Everyone has different needs.

   Let it also be said at the outset, however, that fitness and health are two distinct things. One can be considered fit and still be unhealthy, and one can be considered healthy but not particularly fit - although, they are certainly related and, forgetting 'conventional wisdom', a certain amount of both are necessary for a life of optimal functional well-being.

   When considering how to maintain a way of eating for many years the question of vitamin B12, oils, protein, and other essential nutrients usually comes up. So, let's start here. As for oils, whether fish, flax, olive, or coconut, they never occur in a refined or fractionated form in nature. This should suggest something to us. Subsequently, the ubiquitous push for consuming omega-3 oils has largely been based on the over-proportion of omega-6 oil to omega-3 in the SAD (Standard American Diet) of processed and cooked foods, with an overemphasis on carbohydrates, especially grains). The average American has anywhere up to a 16:1 ratio in favor of omega-6, instead of an optimum and traditional 4:1, 2:1, or even 1:1 (depending on who you read). Even a standard vegetarian diet of cooked food may still be imbalanced in this respect. Omega-6's are found in great amounts in processed foods, chips, breads, grains, vegetable oils (corn, soy, safflower, etc.), cooked grains, and are pro-inflammatory. They are necessary to the body, but not in that amount. Therefore, for anyone eating the SAD, or even conventional vegetarian, foods like wild salmon,  grass-fed meat, pasteurized eggs, grass-fed butter, and fish oils seem to offer health benefits (forgetting for now, if one can, the issues of karma, compassion, or cruelty in the mostly factory-farming industry; personally, I am somewhat sympathetic to supporting the small family farmers who as-humanely-as-possible (if in fact it is possible) raise clean, grass-fed eggs and meat, as I feel that is important in this world to not support the cruel industrial factory-farming system, and the more radical position of some vegans may not be the most compassionate stance to take nor do the most good at this juncture in human evolution. More on this later). Omega-3's are basically anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting, etc., so they balance the omega-6's, and such supplementation seems reasonable, for those who do not eat fish but continue to eat meat and grains.

    In addition, one of the chief arguments often given for the need for omega-3 oil from fish is that vegetable sources of omega-3's  (nuts, seeds, many vegetables), are in the form of ALA, which is inefficiently converted to the readily usable DHA and EPA, which occur  ready-made in fish and krill. However, if one does not eat the Standard American Diet, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is much smaller, and the 'need' for fish oil decreases dramatically. Plus, some have argued that the ALA  is sufficiently converted by the body to DHA and EPA, on an as-needed basis. This is controversial.

   So for a time I switched to Udo's 3-6-9 blend, which is a mix of flax and other oils. [I used to think, "why do I need to get more omega-6 (present in Udo's), I thought we had too much of that already?" But then I read that Udo's formula, made for the company Flora, has the 'parent' form of these oils, and is superior to what most people get in their diet, so that made sense for me to try it and also abandon reliance on either fish or algae (DHA in algae) form of omega-3]. However, I have now come to the realization that any processed oil - however 'healthy', which includes olive, coconut, or flax oils - is a fractionated approach to health, and may be instead satisfied by eating whole, fresh, ripe, raw plant foods, with perhaps some select animal products as needed. (Even so, as little as a third of a teaspoon of flax oil, according to government statistics, is more than enough to satisfy the omega-3 (ALA) requirement (assuming we don't get any from fruits and vegetables, which we do). Ground flax seeds are probably a simpler and better solution than oil, in my opinion.

   However (there is always a 'however'), some will object, saying that much research tells us that the bodily conversion of ALA not only steadily decreases with age, but is not efficient enough to satisfy our current species-level deficiency of omega-3's, which some say is between 3-4000 milligrams per day (3-4 times the amount in a standard dose of fish oil). We today know much more about human biology and genetics than previous generations. Many studies have shown that omega-3 oils EPA and DHA are of major importance to the health of the brain and nervous system (30-50% of its fat composition), significantly decreases depression and other mental disorders, anger, aggression, heart disease and cancer. So this is a very significant finding that cannot be ignored, also in my opinion.And to be honest, up to this point anyway I have felt better having a can of sardines, or some salmon, or a couple of eggs, or some grass-fed butter, once in a while.

   However, this advise about supplementation is generally for those on the SAD, i.e., FACTORY-FARMED-MEAT AND-PROCESED-JUNK-FOOD. There may be little need to take tons of omega-3's if you are not taking in excess omega-6s.

   In the same way, there may be no need to take 10,000 milligrams of Vitamin C if one is eating lots of fresh fruit. In this I think that we can trust nature.

   I am now reading a book now called “Whole”. It’s about eating whole foods, and the reductionistic paradigm in medicine and even supplement research, where scientists with an educational blind-spot working for companies with a financial agenda like to split things up into little pieces and then manipulate them separately from the whole. But I found an interesting fact reported by this author: just half a cup of apples has the anti-oxidant  activity equivalent to 1500 mg of Vit C - even though it only contains 5.7 mg of Vit C! This is one of many facts supporting the idea that foods contain many unknown elements that act in synergy in countless reactions which our body has the wisdom to process. And many nutrients are supportive of health (anti-cancer, etc.) when found in foods, while the opposite has sometimes been found when in supplement form, even so-called nutriceuticals. [Supplements, if any, need to be made from whole food sources. See It's the Right Kind of Supplements That Matter for more on this topic].

   Since it is well nigh impossible to determine all the myriad reactions our body makes with any source of nutrient, therefore, and however (!), I am currently not taking a lot of my supplements, even the natural ones, as basic trust in nature is something I have lately been feeling to be true. My reasoning is as follows: do I really need 5000 units of Vit D3 every day? - I get that from the sun being outside exercising so much. In just twenty minutes or so you can get a couple of thousand units, unless you live in a northern climate, or in the winter in the temperate zones, when supplementation makes sense - much research says Vit D is important for the immune system and disease prevention. And sunlight is the safest form of Vit D, with no possibility of overdose (UV radiation being another and separate consideration). Therefore I also might not need to take a lot of K2, a vitamin recently heavily promoted to balance supplemental Vit D and thereby prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the coronary and carotid arteries) - which excess Vit D can contribute to. True, it is reported that there is a tendency towards arteriosclerosis as we get older, and K2 may help prevent that, due to its role in routing calcium from the arteries and into the bones where it belongs. This is a promising area, however, and something I am looking into. But who knows how much is really needed, and by whom? Likewise, I don’t think I necessarily need lots of DHA (from fish), since if one is not an SAD eater then the often-belittled ~10% human conversion of vegetable ALA into DHA may be enough for many of us. After all, nature made us that way, didn't it? Still, when I was depressed I found DHA supplementation useful, and I still take a teaspoon of cod liver oil each day, which also gives me 1000 units of Vitamin A to balance all the Vitamin D I get from the sun. [Vitamins A and D are complementary; taking supplemental Vitamin D can create a Vitamin A deficiency].

   This is the key, in my opinion: many supplements are only needed to maintain some kind of gerry-rigged balance if you are eating a diet high in omega-6. Otherwise one may get most of what is needed from plants. Therefore I personally question the need to press hundreds of fish or millions of krill to get their oil. That is really only important for the processed-food and (corn-and-not-grass-fed) meat eaters, whose imbalances may be temporarily adjusted by fish oil. But on a largely raw plant-based diet this is not so necessary. What a relief! And in the process we also avoid the increase in cancer risk that goes along with consuming excess conventionally-raised animal protein. This is due to the addictive excitotoxins that the industry puts in most meats to enhance flavor, as well as to the fact that our digestive tract is somewhere between that of an herbivore and a carnivore: able to ferment carbohydrates, and able to breakdown some animal protein, but not excessively, for when meat stays in our intestines for too many hours, as it often does, it can become carcinogenic. It is noteworthy that vegetarians generally have a reduced incidence of colon cancer compared to meat eaters.

   Some supplements are marketed to balance what pharmaceutical drugs destroy. This is true in the cased of statin or cholesterol-lowering drugs, which destroys much of our CoQ10 production. It is also a marketing pitch that our CoQ10 levels also drop as we age, but do we really need to supplement with lots of it? Lots of things can be shown to decrease as we age. How much CoQ10 do we ourselves make if we are on a diet of largely whole plant-based foods? I'm not sure if anyone knows. Bottom line, maybe it will enhance our physical and mental abilities as some claim if we take extra amounts of it, but it is certain that if we do not take statin drugs we will not suffer the destruction of CoQ10 that those drugs cause. And once again, it is doubtful if we need to take lots of omega-3 fish oil if we don’t consume lots of omega-6.  But individual needs vary.

   Having said that, it is generally recommended that near vegans or vegetarian supplement with Vitamin B12, and fat-soluble vitamins A,D, and K2, and omega-3 oils for their DHA and EPA, just to be on the safe side. There is not room here to discuss all the ins and outs of this issue, whether you can get these things fine on a vegetarian diet, and so on.They are harder to get on that diet, however.

     Currently I am waiting on the book “80-10-10” to arrive [Update - it has arrived and I like it]. I thought that was just a crazy diet plan, also, but have re-considered the issue. 80-10-10 does not only mean 30 bananas or oranges a day - though some extreme athletes eat that (see You Tubes by a cyclist named durianrider - he’s a character). 80-10-10 means a natural way of eating fresh, whole, ripe, raw, organic  produce. It turns out that even fruits and vegetables have 3-9% protein, and according to the government we only need 5% of calories per day as protein - not “40-30-30" as the Zone people or what some would call the Weston Price ‘cool-aid’ tells us [Note: this is an important link; please read]. Remember how little protein is actually in mother's milk - a few percent - which supplies all that an infant needs during the most rapid growth stage in its lifetime. Animal protein, in the form of flesh, takes many hours before the body breaks down the tough sinews and fibrous tissue. Only then does it yield amino acids, which the body can then further break down and use. The amount of actual protein in, say, meat, is not as much as one may think. It may be needed, this point is controversial, but still it is not that much. And the fact is that spinach or kale have more than twice as much protein per calorie than beef. That's right! The catch is that one has to eat A LOT of it! And a practical way (for some) to do that is by juicing - which can easily be done. However, this is not a good idea to get all our protein! We can eat a lot more than kale, and keep in mind that all fruits and vegetables, beans and grains, nuts and seeds contribute to one's daily protein intake, and it is just not that hard to get enough. In fact, it has been argued that it is nearly impossible not to get enough protein if you eat a varied diet, with sufficient calories (not starving like in Africa or some other place) , of whole, fresh raw, ripe, organic plant foods. The 'we-need-LOTS-of-protein' argument is a straw-man created by the meat and dairy industry, it seems to me. Some people may thrive on a higher amount of animal products, but by and large the requirement is not huge. Many of the longest lived cultures in the world do eat meat or fish, especially the latter, but not always a great amount.

   I say this because many will object and say that they feel better with meat. I am not arguing here specifically on moral grounds, or for every individual case. But consider this: many instances of where this seems to be so are likely due to blood sugar problems, with meat protein giving a temporary reprieve from the glucose swings related to starch intake. But someone well-adapted to a mostly whole-food plant-based diet will generally not have these swings anymore. I know that is so in my case. This state may take time to achieve. Just because it feels hard now does't mean it can't be done. Or, perhaps one has a hormonal imbalance, and meat due to its stimulants gives a lift. Or some other nutrients in the food provides something that they need. It cannot be directly due to the protein itself, however, because, as stated, that takes many hours to break down and assimilate. [Yes there are always exceptions. In the cancer treatment work of Dr. Gonzales, for instance, he finds that, depending on metabolic type, some people's cancers (the solid tumor variety) regress only on a strict vegetarian diet, while others with blood cancers (i.e., leukemias) need meat several times a day. But now we are talking of using food as medicine for those with gross imbalances, not what works for a vast majority desiring optimum health.

   Joel Fuhrman, MD, writes in the link cited above:

   "Keep in mind, I am not arguing that a person who eats no animal products (a vegan) will be healthier or will lead a longer life than one who eats small amounts of animal products (such as a small amount of fish or eggs). What I am pointing out s that as animal products increase in the diet (and natural plant foods are forced off the plate), the modern diseases that kill over 80 per cent of Americans (heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes) will occur in greater and greater likelihood in every genetic type.

   My review of over 60,000 articles in the scientific literature supports the conclusion that if animal products are consumed they should constitute no more that 10% of total caloric intake. Remember, animal products are high in calories and very low in nutrients-per-calorie compared with vegetables. The higher animal product consumption compared to a vegetable-based diet, the lower the nutrient intake. The typical American gets 40% of total calories from animal products (those on the Zone and South Beach diets get 60%, and Adkins adherents get 80%). Mercola's high protein type diet is in the 60-80% range. Diets like these are extremely high in dangerous fats and extremely low in nutrients and phytonutrients."

   This seems reasonable. And this much both camps, vegan and paleo, seem to agree upon: refined grains, polyunsaturated vegetable oils (corn, soy, safflower), refined sugars, and pasteurized cow's milk, are not too good for us. The vegans damn all animal products - while also admitting a need for certain supplements such as Vitamin B12, and the fat-soluble A, D, and K, and sometimes DHA; while the paleo people advocate far too much meat protein and fat, a diet not recommended by thousands of studies or even by Weston Price himself.

   A couple of things to keep in mind if one is concerned with global warming and environmental degradation: animal protein production takes eight times as much fossil fuel as plant protein; each kilogram of beef needs 100,000 liters of water to produce, while a kilogram of potatoes (and similar plant stuffs) needs only 500; 80% of the deforestation of the tropics is attributable to creation of new farmland for grazing livestock. Who says we need animals to eat plants to provide us with usable protein? Why not go directly to the plants for most of it? Hint: follow the money.

   On the other hand, the arguments by non-vegans for grazing animals providing much-needed fertilization of the soil and completion of the eco-system (in the case of small family farms, not the vast factory farming operations, which are greatly destructive of the environment), , are worth considering. It is complicated, however. The paleo people say grain production is wasteful, and uses far too much fossil fuel. But 75% or more of our grain production, however, is for animal feed! If we went back to small family farm livestock production, then we are talking about a complete reversal of modern society. If we go totally vegan, then we are talking about species extinction, for where will the millions of cows and chickens live, having been domesticated for thousands of years? Simply set free on the plains to be hunted by predators? An interesting problem.

   The key going mostly or partially raw is to get enough plant-based calories to satisfy.This can be assisted by relying heavily upon the blender, food processor, along with large salads with cooked grain and/or beans, or whatever else one wants as ones main meals. For good fats add olives, avocados, nuts or seeds - but not too much, and not necessarily everyday. Maybe a half an avocado or an ounce or two of nuts and seeds (with double that for an athlete). The goal according to the 80-10-10 philosophy is ten percent fats, but studies have shown that most vegetarians and even vegans actually eat approximately the same percent of fat (40%) as process-food and meat-eaters, due to their reliance on avocados, nuts, nut butters, and 'seed-cheeses', etc.. Too much fat may 'gum up' the works, decrease oxygen supply to the cells, decrease energy, prevent sugar from being removed from the bloodstream. To some extent all fats, not just saturated fat. It is not the only culprit in blood sugar/insulin resistance problems - processed sugars and processed grains may in fact be worse - but it is a factor.

   Actually, ten percent fat as a goal is more appropriate for those on a nearly all raw diet, as fats and the large amount of sugars from fruit on that diet can lead to problems of blood sugar regulation. However, for those on only a 50% raw diet, according to Patenaude, fats are better tolerated, and so a goal of 18-25% fats may be reasonable/

   Activity level is a key factor. For more active people, like athletes, more starches, including cooked starches, and less raw fruit and salads, may be necessary in order to get enough calories. It is a real pain in the rear to eat 30 bananas a day, even with large shakes! And it gets boring, too, as I have found out. There is also a problem for some in losing too much weight. For sedentary (as well as overweight) people, more raw is generally very appropriate and well tolerated.

   Again, the paleo-diet-Weston-Price-people will strongly disagree, and offer (mostly their own) arguments that show that cholesterol, saturated fats, and animal protein are NOT the risk factors for disease that we have been taught again and again. Okay, did you read this link? These findings can seem compelling. They are, however, directly opposite of the findings from the book The China Study (which is not just about the famous China Project, but an overview of many dietary reports), and hundreds of other studies, which hail a plant-based diet. Personally I find The China Study more convincing than the arguments of the paleo people. Saying the studies promoting cholesterol-lowering drugs are erroneous does not in itself prove that high cholesterol levels are fine, or that high saturated fat consumption is good. There is too much research, in my opinion, showing the negative effects of excess amounts of animal foods, and the beneficial effects of plant foods. For instance, most long-lived cultures in the world (see the book: The Blue Zone, a great read) have one specific thing in common: they have always regularly eaten beans, which have been shown to be protective against both high cholesterol and colon cancer, for instance. And most cultures have one or another WHOLE unprocessed grain as a dietary staple. But the paleo people would avoid both of these foods because of their starch content, which they think is the root of all evil as far as health is concerned. Why then would so many cultures worldwide have long eaten them regularly, without ill effect - aside from the fact that they are more inexpensive and more easily obtained than meat? There is much more to say, we will return to this consideration shortly.

   Rather than fruits and vegetables being mineral-poor as compared to animal products, as paleo people also often assert, in fact the opposite is true: fruits and vegetables are high in minerals, which alkalize the system, which helps build strong bones, while meat is acidifying, leaches minerals if eaten in too high amounts, and is one important reason ( among others) why western countries have much higher levels of osteoporosis compared to countries like Japan that consume much less protein than we do.

   A major nutrient concern that often comes up for vegetarians is Vitamin B12 deficiency, although the argument that it can only be derived from animal sources is complicated by the fact that the presence of the deficiency among meat eaters is actually just as high. Some say we can get B12 from nutritional yeast, but this is controversial, as many say we can't. Many of the B vitamins in pills do, however, come from yeast. Some Japanese monks have reported synthesizing B12 in their gut, even when only eating brown rice and miso. However, this, too, remains controversial, so to be safe it might not hurt to take a B12 supplement. Currently I have been taking a B12 tablet once a week. It is generally not necessary to take it every day. However, probably the main reason for B12 deficiency is a lack of intrinsic factor. And intrinsic factor - according to the author of The China Study - is decreased on a high fat diet (meat, even lean meat, is high in fat). Here again, the Weston Price people would say that this is totally false. Whatever the truth - which may be an individual matter - the official numbers for B12 may reflect an artificially high level of B12 levels in a population that eat lots of 'fortified' cereals, etc., which likely skews the recommendation towards a higher amount than may be necessary for those on a high plant-based diet. I any case, the need is small; I have no qualms in the interests of purity about taking a supplement for this.

   Some now argue that one needs a lot of fat (30% or more of the diet - I have seen even 70% suggested - by Dr. Mercola, heir to the Weston Price throne) to lose weight, cure heart disease, be healthy, etc., but I think this is another example of what may in some cases work in the short term, as a transitional diet, but long-term is not optimal for human health - unless perhaps if one is an Eskimo! I certainly don't know many endurance athletes that thrive on this kind of diet. Distance runner Stu Mittleman wrote about book called Slow Burn a few years back extolling the virtues of a high fat pale diet. But what did he eat on his run across the USA? 7000 calories a day of high carb food. A strange thing - many of the top athletes are now low-fat, even raw, vegans: Fauja Singh, who ran the London marathon at age 101 on a life-long simple diet of rice, chapatti, dahl, and vegetables; 91 year-old Mike Fremont, who set a world record for the marathon for his age, runs 35 miles a week, canoes 20, 400 push-ups a day, vegan ever since he was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 69; many recent winners of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run and other ultramarathons have been vegan, and so on and so on. Doug Graham, author of 80-10-10, a raw vegan for thirty years, continues to leaves in the dust athletic men half his age. Then, I look at myself. I do not suffer the blood sugar swings the Weston Price people say is inevitable for one on a high carb diet. A bowl of granola and yogurt, or polenta and beans will last me half a day. Even most well-adapted raw, largely fruit, class of vegans do not need to eat every two hours. Since adding a lot of raw fruit to my diet I have had more and more energy, my skin is glowing, I am and feel lighter, and I do just fine. I am 65 years old, biked 200k last week, jogged 15 miles, and work, too. How is that possible if what they say is true? It isn't, and they aren't.

   Last night after reading a paleo book, however, I had a can of sardines (for the DHA that they said I need) and have been sluggish and toxic for the last twelve hours. There is no evidence that such food provides a 'steady flow of blood sugar' as opposed to the rapid burn of fruits and vegetables and grains as they claim. Rather, in my experience, it provides a LONG digestion and assimilation time before it has any effect. The vegan diet provides more oxygen to the cells in the bloodstream, while too much fat seems to do the opposite. True, much of the new-found energy on a raw diet comes from the very little energy being needed to digest the foods, and also true that the large quantities required to sustain one likely becomes impractical for most people. We should ideally be able to digest (without abnormal blood sugar swings) a wide variety of foods. But going raw may produce the phenomena of 'heavier foods' feeling difficult to handle - like the sardines I ate last night! Therefore, I am not a raw food purist. I only attest to the benefits of eating more of it than before.

   The science the paleo people keep repeating is most often their own sources who keep on quoting each other. It just doesn't fly, in my opinion. They talk about their diet being the best for longevity, but none of them live long enough to prove it! The Inuit have the shortest lifespan in North America. Likewise with the Masai of Africa. We are no longer limited to our local environment. We are not exposed to the elements like primitive people. Most of us are comfortably situated in a climate controlled environment. We can eat like one might in the tropics, not the North Pole. If we choose to. We no longer are restricted to a local or traditional diet. The gene pool is being diversified. So why should we be limited to what someone 'thinks' is the correct traditional way to eat? It can be argued that now for the first time in human history we have the chance to have the healthiest diet there is. And here is another thought: maybe we will evolve and are slowly evolving beyond the grain agriculture of the last ten thousand years; why must one think that we should go backwards to the supposed hunter-gatherer or caveman days, as if we are fixed in the past and not still evolving? How is the gene pool, our collective DNA, ever to evolve if we insist on reverting to an earlier time in human history?

   Further, where do we stop in the search for the 'diet of our evolutionary ancestors which we have adapted to and should continue to eat? Why stop at the last Ice Age? What about before? Recent evidence suggests that we were primarily plant-based eaters, with meat an occasional luxury. See this interesting article for an alternate explanation of the real paleo diet, based on a comparative analysis of the evolution of digestive tracts. The situation is not nearly as clear-cut as the paleophiles would have us believe.

   One thing more. I don't know how many can feel it. But new energies are entering this earth. For all the new age hype, there is the potential to tune into subtle energies of light. And food choices have a lot to do with this. We are not just 'meat bodies' in a fight for survival. Why try to live a long time eating a paleo diet if the price to pay is to make a graveyard of our own bodies and increase the suffering around us? Why not be part of the forward press of the evolution of the planet. And there is also the question of moral evolution. As Leo Tolstoy wrote in 1882, in "The First Step":

   "I only wish to say that for a good life a certain order of good actions is indispensable ; that if a man's aspirations toward right living be serious they will inevitably follow one definite sequence ; and that in this sequence the first virtue a man will strive after will be self-control, self-restraint. And in seeking for self-control a man will inevitably follow one definite sequence, and in this sequence the first thing will be self-control in food—fasting. And in fasting, if he be really and seriously seeking to live a good life, the first thing from which he will abstain will always be the use of animal food, because, to say nothing of the excitation of the passions caused by such food, its use is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to the moral feeling— killing ; and is called forth only by greediness and the desire for tasty food.

   The precise reason why abstinence from animal food will be the first act of fasting and of a moral life is admirably explained in the book, The Ethics of Diet ; and not by one man only, but by all mankind in the persons of its best representatives during all the conscious life of humanity."

   I think there is evolution, however gradual - especially when I see things like this. But I could be dreaming.

   Weston Price proponents like Sally Fallon, in her book Nourishing Traditions, would have us eat lots of brains and organ meats, even mix them in our family's food without their knowledge, as well as feed them purred to infants, while strictly avoiding giving them fruits and vegetables. Maybe she has never seen a healthy vegan kid - they are positively glowing. And no kid instinctively loves to dive into a carcass and eat it raw, but they do instinctively love fruits. Not just because of an abnormal addiction to sugar; we have a sweet tooth for a reason, wouldn't you think? Children raised on whole plant foods, including fruits, usually recoil in disgust when drinking their first soda or eating a candy bar - it is too much for them until they become aberrantly conditioned. [For more on the theme of our dietary origins, see: Which Came First - The Garden Eden or the Cave?]

   One thing I might add, is that the vegan diet works best for active people. A high level of activity leads to efficient fat burning, while the fruit provides easily absorbed simple sugars which are the primary fuel for the cells. Their action is entirely different from that of refined grains, which release a dehydrated massive amount of sugar in the intestines, which does get converted to fat - unless it is consumed on a run! Fruit, however, has the right amount of soluble fiber, water, and rapidly moving into and out of the bloodstream sugars, which require no digestion. They don't stimulate insulin. The author of Primal Mind, Primal Body, however, admits this, but then says that 'even fresh fruit' is highly glycolating with fats and proteins - an aging factor - but, this is bogus. What fats and proteins are the fruits supposed to react with in a destructive manner? The intestine and artery walls, if you believe this person. If that were the case the human race would never gotten this far. If you eat fruit alone, say in the morning, with little or no fats and proteins floating around in the blood, there can be no such damage. My cells and arteries are clean. The Price people say that ketones or fat break-down products are the primary fuel for the cells, especially the brain, with insulin only being used for fat storage. While fatty acids are taken into the cell's mitochondria with the help of certain amino acids and used there for fuel, it is also true that there are insulin receptors not only on the artery walls, but also on each cell. And sugar (glucose) is taken in and used for energy. And, even the paleo people admit that glucose is the primary fuel for our red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all of the cells - no small or unimportant thing! When fasting, we break down fat for energy use, true; and it is good to keep the blood sugar at an even low level. But it is not true that fresh fruit by itself is a big problem there, or that the body does not like glucose as an energy supply. The paleo people often bring up the case of alcoholism as being a classic example of a sugar/carbohydrate addiction, where one needs a constant fix to keep his blood sugar levels up. While that may be true, it doesn't equally apply to one well-adapted to a whole plant-based diet including while grains. That is a whole different ballgame.


   Some of their arguments to support their carnivorous habits are amazing. It is claimed that the large size of our modern brains are due to the increased meat-eating we were forced into in the last Ice Age. But on the other side of the fence, the argument has been made that it was cooking itself that is responsible for the expansion of our brain. Primitive people almost all cook both their meats and their root vegetables. If meat-eating was so natural then why do we recoil from devouring a carcass? Why do we need to cook it to make it palatable? Some such authors also go way out on a limb and say that our brains are high in omega-3 fats, while even the other primates, have brains that are high in omega-6's. How they come to that piece of knowledge I do not know. It is then concluded that we need to eat animals high in omega-3 to support our enlarged brain, but then, one must ask, how come those other animals-eating-other-animals did not develop bigger brains?!!

   The paleo people also employ an ignore the timeframe and ignore the evidence tactic to support their claims. Let me explain. First they say that the incidence of modern diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes are the result of grain eating that began ten thousand years ago. But in the same breath, they also admit that prior to 1900, these diseases were much more rare than today! So while it may be true that our paleo ancestors had little incidence of these things, it is also true that a whole-unrefined-foods-eating-public of only a hundred or more years ago had little of these things, too!! For example, up to a pound or so of coarse dark brown bread with a few vegetables were the staple of many people in colonial times. Such grains have many benefits: they release their sugar slowly into the bloodstream, and also release many other nutrients slowly throughout the colon, as well as providing fiber to sweep up cholesterol and absorb toxins from the gut. We have largely adapted to them. Weston Price saw the consequences of indigenous peoples leaving their traditional diet for one of the empty calories they got at the trading post - not in people who continued to eat the traditional whole grain-based diets of their ancestors for the last tens of thousands of years. And for these reasons every major culture worldwide has had a grain that is their staff of life (which the paleo - and raw - communities euphemistically now call "the staff of death"!). The evidence clearly shows that it is the denaturing processes in the modern refining industry that has made grains and starch such a negative health factor, and not our much earlier (hypothetical) switch from a near-total animal food to a grain-based plant food diet.

   If you want to feel alive - not like an Ice Age caveman (who may not in fact be the final link in the human evolutionary chain - our 'natural' diet may go back long before that, longer than the paleo says their diet precedes the beginning of agriculture ten thousand years ago) then go for what thousands of studies have shown is the best and healthiest: predominantly whole, fresh, plant-based foods. But remember also, you must be active to have optimal health. Otherwise, calorie restriction is in order, and has been shown to extend the telomeres on your genes and prolong life.

   Before closing I want to say a few things about corn. Corn has gotten a bad rap in recent years, and for good reasons. One, in the 1980's the corn lobby pushed for and got the inclusion of high-fructose corn syrup in just about everything. This is implicated in an epidemic of obesity worldwide. Most processed foods (those found in the aisles, not the perimeter, of the supermarket) have corn syrup or fructose in them. This is bad. Two, it is nearly impossible to get non-GMO corn, unless you buy organic. Three, most meat, fish, or chicken are fed corn, not grass or their normal environmental foods. This increases the omega-6 content in them, whereas in nature, as wild game, they are actually fairly high in omega-3. (So if one wants to eat meat I recommend paying up for the clean, grass-fed, pastured variety. At least, this way one will be supporting some local farmer and not the unbelievably cruel factory farming system).

   Funny thing about corn, moreover, is that it is found as a staple in most indigenous cultures worldwide. The legendary Tarahumaran indians of the Copper Canyon of Mexico with their pinole, and the famous runners from Kenya with their ugali, both have corn meal as their main food. Personally, I find grits or polenta great as fuel for endurance events. However, this is not an everyday thing, but rather prior to certain multi-hour exercise sessions.

   It also turns out that of all grains corn is the highest in phenols, which are potent disease fighting chemicals. So corn, fresh, ripe, unadulterated, uncontaminated, non-gmo, is, in my current view, basically good for occasional consumption. It is a shame, however, that you have to spend $.98 at Whole Foods for just one ear!

   One more thing on nuts. Some say that omega-9's are important 'mood' nutrients and often overlooked. Omega-9 is supposedly high in cashews. But wait: it has recently been reported that omega-7 oil (palmitoleic acid ) is important for your heart health. New fractionated supplements are being promoted for that, even while announcing that "When researchers look at the cardio-value of the Mediterranean diet, they see a complex interaction between multiple fatty acids, including omega-3s, omega-6s, omega-9s and omega-7s." Hhhmmm...then why not just eat that way, instead of searching for the right isolated supplement to take? Answer: it is bad for marketing! So, there is omega 3, omega-6, omega-7, and omega-9 - as of last counting; one could go crazy in figuring out how to get enough of each! To my mind, this is all there more more reason to recognize and admit the futility of the reductionist paradigm of modern pharmaceutical-based medicine, and also of the supplement industry itself, where they try to isolate and figure out exactly how much of what nutrient that may be good for us is in each whole food (when there are in fact thousands, which the body in its wisdom uses as needed, and regardless of the amount present at the time of consumption), rather than simply understand what foods are good for us! Remember the example of the apple given above? We innately already know what to eat, or the human race would never have gotten this far.

   Regarding nuts and seeds, If one wants to get fancy, some say that these are better assimilated when pre-soaked or sprouted, as the form obtainable in the bins, even in health stores, are more or less dehydrated versions of the real thing. The natural form of nuts edible for humans is more like an apple, or soft like Macadamia nuts. If we want our cells well hydrated our foods should gave a high water content. This may be so, but research such as the very large Adventist Health Study showed that eating nuts 4-5 times a week had a marked affect in reducing heart disease - no matter what the form of the nuts: raw, dry-roasted, even sugar-coated!

   One thing I recommend and practise to start the day is immediately after rising have several glasses of water. This hydrates and primes the system, much like adding water to a wilted plant. This in fact is a good metaphor. I find it really helps to wake up the system and get it going. Coffee does not count, as it is actually dehydrating. Then, for breakfast, for me used to be granola and yogurt, or more often a cooked grain like oatmeal or grits, with chick peas, peanut butter, maybe an egg with a gooey yolk, but now it is more often fruit, or a fruit smoothie, such as lots of bananas, mangoes, or pineapple, frozen berries, apples and oranges. [If I am going to run an ultra-marathon that day, maybe not]. I also include sometimes include green juices in the shake, such as romaine lettuce, or some kale. I used to abide by the cardinal food-combining rule never to mix fruits and vegetables, due to the need for contrasting digestive enzymes to break down their different forms of cellulose and fiber. However, this rule does not apply when they are juiced, so adding juiced greens (or just the whole thing) to the shake is not only okay, but a source of added mineral content. The sugars in the fruits mask any bitterness of the greens; try it. On many days, I just eat fruit until lunch time - often a 'mono-meal of just one fruit. Most non-human primates often eat this way - as much of one thing as they desire until satisfied. Variety comes throughout the year, and not at every meal. This dramatically simplifies digestion.

   Lunch can be nothing or anything, depending on my energy requirements: more fruit, another shake, a large salad, an avocado/tomato sandwich. Maybe Ezekial bread with raw tahini, or some sprouted corn tortillas with beans, tomato, and lettuce. It depends on how active I am and what my schedule is like. If I am going to exercise and quicker digestion is needed, I may have a smoothie. Then for dinner, on most days, a main meal consisting of a large salad with vegetables, mostly raw and organic: greens, spinach, shredded radish/beets/carrots, cucumber, celery, cauliflower or broccoli (sometimes cooked with a little butter), sweet peas, artichoke hearts, perhaps some sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or a little raw cheese;  avocado, walnuts, calamata olives; and, sometimes, a cooked grain (rice, polenta, quinoa) and/or some canned white beans mixed in; with a home-made dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar (more vinegar than oil, and not that much in any case: two tablespoons of olive oil adds 250 mg of fat to the salad), lemon juice, sometimes curcumin, and nutritional yeast. Apple cider vinegar is traditionally considered the best form of vinegar - malic acid, as opposed to acetic acid in white wine vinegar, which is harsh to the system - and hailed as a health miracle and disease fighter for a couple of hundred years at least. The author of 80-10-10 strongly disagrees with this, and considers vinegar in any form as toxic to the body. He and other raw vegans advocate fruit, fruit/celery, or berry/tahini dressings. That is interesting, and I am currently experimenting with that. I avoid store-bought dressings that usually contain canola oil (ever heard of a canola plant? - this seems to be another health food scam) or soy or safflower oil, high in omega-6; as well as gums, sugars, and more.

   Eggs, sparingly (but always with the yolk intact: cooking the yolk oxidizes the 'good' cholesterol and makes it inflammatory), or salmon on occasion.  As I have been eating more raw foods the desire for these items has been decreasing. If eaten, however, always pay the $8-$9 a dozen for grass-fed pasteured eggs, which are not to be confused with "cage-free" eggs (which only means the chickens get twenty minutes per day spent out of the cage, while still in the barn - er, factory), but rather eggs produced by chickens actually grazing outside in the sun on real grass (the lucky females, that is - all males chickens are still killed). Pasteured eggs are higher in omega-3. Also get only wild salmon, high in omega-3. Farmed fish is not only dyed to look more pink, but is high in omega-6 oils due to the animals being fed corn.

   However, meat is meat. While grass-fed does raise omega-3 and decrease omega-6 content, the saturated fat and its attendant liabilities are still there. And the same goes for grass-fed butter. These foods need to be limited. The healthiest people worldwide eat starch and vegetables, with only small amounts of animal products.

   One important rule of food combining: it is best not to combine starch and protein. That means if one eats meat or fish, have vegetables or salad with it, not rice or potatoes. If one has a pasta, grains, or potato meal, have vegetables with that, not protein. Starch and protein require totally different enzymes to break down, and the system gets confused if the two are combined. There may or may not be outright digestive discomfort, but the process of digestion is delayed and assimilation of nutrients is suboptimal. The other basic food combining rule I adhere to is to eat fruits alone, either twenty minutes before or at least two hours after a meal. The reason is that fruits enters the small intestine quickly and 'chases' the other food, which results in either fermentation (with starches) or putrefaction (with protein). The size of the meal is relevant: small portions can cover a lot of sins.

   Some people simply cannot do this raw regimen, at least in the beginning, but many can. Try and see. Try whatever amount feels right for you, for you are the expert. One great benefit is that, after a period of adaptation, one can eat as much and as often as he feels hungry. There is no worry about counting calories or measuring portions, a rather tedious and boring affair to say the least.

   So far, so good. I am amazed I have waited so many years to make this change. Many people desiring to do so will have to slowly adapt from a standard (even vegetarian) diet. Take responsibility for freedom; experiment with your own body, for that is how we learn what it needs.