Food and Nutrition
Table of Contents
In this chapter I
will briefly discuss what is sometimes called a "natural foods diet." This
chapter is not intended as a substitute for nutrition counselling from a
Holistic Medicine practitioner. A practitioner such as a very experienced Ayurvedic Medical
Doctor or Oriental
Medical Doctor would be able to devise a diet that very closely matches your
health and nutritional needs. I will simply attempt to provide general
guidelines that can help you get started. I will also include a list of resources that
can provide more detailed information.
A growing number of people are
benefiting from a natural foods diet. These people along with countless
scientists and nutritionists and Holistic Medicine practitioners know that a natural foods diet is a very important part of
holistic healing. Such a nutrition plan can help cure acute and chronic
illnesses and play an enormous part in preventing future illnesses. I encourage
you to become part of the countless millions of others who are gradually
incorporating holistic healing fundamentals into their lifestyle to reap
immediate and future health benefits.
In order to prevent or heal health
problems and build a foundation for the development of vibrant health, you
should consider incorporating some of the ideas in this article. The goal is not
to develop a strict or "perfect" diet, but to develop a relaxed and varied, yet
healthy diet. It is very important that you not take the
holistic healing information on this page any other pages as a way to feel
guilty about your past decisions or what you cannot do at the current time. Just
make gradual changes as you are ready, relax, and accept whatever you can do at
the moment. Stress
reduction techniques and Inner
Healing Techniquessuch as meditation can help you make changes more
Some people are under the impression that healing from a serious
illness or even preventing future illness possibilities simply involves
switching from a Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) to a "natural foods diet."
While, it is true that a change to such a diet can be very beneficial, it is
often a mistake to get too caught up in nutritional changes (or taking
supplements or herbs). Some of the other techniques discussed in the Fundamental of Holistic Healing
section are as beneficial as dietetic adjustments and, in some cases, more
The Ideal Natural Foods Diet
Ideal Natural Foods Diet is one where you (the reader) uses your own knowledge
and intuition to decide what your body needs. I sincerely hope that you do not
use the ideas below as rigid rules, but instead, use them as suggested
guidelines as you develop your own personal inner feeling as to what food your
As your nutrition plan gradually improves, please practice
deciding for yourself what food your body needs rather than relying on what I
say or what a well-known author says. So, have fun and don't get too rigid using
someone's dietary rules. In the long run, this usually provides the best
nutrition for your body. Any regular practice that helps you get in touch with
your own inner feelings and process can help develop the ability to know what
foods your body needs. Practices such as meditation, yoga, tai chi/ qigong, etc.
are practices that can be helpful in this regard and may someday be something
you would like to experiment with by taking a class.
Regular, Gradual Improvement without
It is much easier for most people to change their
diet over time at a comfortable pace. It is also important to not obsess
constantly about improving your diet and to not beat yourself up if you don't
have a "perfect" diet. Making dietetic changes too quickly may make you uptight
and cause you to feel deprived. On the other hand, making no dietetic changes
from a S.A.D. over time can slow you healing progress.
The following is a
list of some of the problems that could occur if a person is too restrictive
with their diet:
- Causes feelings of deprivation and emotional stress which can actaully make
some health problems worse.
- Tends to take focus away from other activities that can be extremely
important in the complete healing process such as enjoyment and nurturing
activities, fun, stress relief, and inner healing & transformation
- Makes it easier to fall into the trap that a temporary reduction of symptoms
through a restrictive diet is the equivalent to being on the road to complete
- May set you up for midnight binges and overeating.
are cases where a very strict diet may be indicated. But this is usually where
severe reactions cannot be eliminated any other way. Otherwise, please remember
that these are lifestyle changes are best done gradually.
I like to eat a
relatively healthy, natural foods diet, but I have fun with it by not being too
restrictive. Please do not use any of the ideas below to make yourself feel
guilty. The goal should be gradual progress not
How to Move to a Natural Foods
There is an enormous amount of useful information in this
article. But please do not be intimidated into thinking that everything has to
be changed at once.
An excellent way to start the process is the perform
the following steps:
- Locate Natural Foods / Health Foods stores in your area.
- Ask at local Natural Foods stores about cooking classes.
- If you have difficulty making changes over time, don't worry about it. Try
commiting experimenting with one of the Inner Healing & Transformation
techniques discussed on this web page. These techniques (especially the
body-oriented and inner peace-oriented techniques) can be enormously helpful in
reducing cravings and/or addressing eating disorders over
Techniques & Resources
Natural Foods Diet
follows is a description of a natural foods diet that you can make progress
towards. Please go at your own pace.
- Vegetables (Cooked and Salads)
- Whole grains
- Fish, Fowl, and other meat
- Legumes (beans)
- Sea Vegetables
- Dairy & Eggs (Small amounts or none)
- Herbal teas and coffee substitutes
- Herbs, spices, sea salt, tamari, unrefined seasame oil/sesame oil (excellent
source for essential fatty acids), virgin olive oil, natural sweeteners (maple
syrup, rice syrup, barley malt, stevia, etc.)
- Spring water for cooking and drinking
The bulk of the diet
consists of a wide variety of foods within the follow main categories:
- whole grains
- fish, fowl, or other meat
- sea vegetables
- freshly made juices, herbal teas, and coffee substitutes
While it can be
counterproductive to create "dietary rules," here are some general tips that
many people have found helpful.
Shopping For Foods
If possible, do
most of your food shopping at a natural foods store. In some cities, there are
large natural food grocery stores that are not unlike modern supermarkets in
that they have an enormous selection of products. There are smaller health food
stores that can also provide many of the food products needed for a healthier
diet. There are some health food stores that sell little more than food
supplements and may not be useful for you in putting together a healthy
In order to find a natural foods grocery store:
- Look in the phone book under "Health Food Stores."
resources for Healthy Foods & Organic Foods web page is a good place to
look for links to health food stores, co-ops, and other resources.
- Ask local holistic healthcare practitioners (e.g., acupuncturists,
- Ask friends who eat a healthy diet.
- Contact people in nearby cities where there might be a natural foods grocery
store that you could visit on ocassion to stock up.
- Contact a major health food store chain for information on stores in your
If you cannot find any natural food stores in your area,
there are a number of other options:
- Shop at a large local supermarket. Many supermarkets have a small "natural
foods" section. In addition, one can purchase whole grains, meats, vegetables,
fruits, legumes, etc. Just try to avoid most of the highly processed foods that
often make up the bulk of what is sold at some supermarkets.
- Get fresh vegetables, fruits, and whatever else is possible at local
farmers' markets or farmstands. It may take some effort to locate these places,
but it can be worth it. Try to get certified organic produce where possible
(Buying organic is especially important for soy products, corn, and
- Many staple foods can be ordered through the mail. See the Resources section at the end of this article for mailorder
sources of natural foods.
I do want to stress, however, that
just because you shop at a natural food store does not mean that everything
there is healthy. Some health food stores sell some products that can actually
be quite detrimental to your health (e.g., aspartame (NutraSweet), neotame,
acesulfame-k (Sweet-n-Safe, Sunette), sucralose (Splenda) and other toxic
artificial sweeteners, MSG, etc.). Reading labels is a good habit to have
wherever you shop.
Try to eat a variety of
foods within each main category listed above, especially vegetables. In
addition, try to get a wide variety of cooked green, leafy vegetables such as
collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens, etc.
An enormous variety of
very tastey meals can be made with a little bit of practice and some good
Balance of Foods
There are many
conflicting opinions on what the best balance of foods are for people. Most
people now agree that a diet that is balanced for one person may be intolerable
for another. Some people have enormous success with a traditional natural foods
diet as presented by authors such as Dr. Dean Ornish or Annamarie Colbin, while
others have more success with a different way of balancing one's diet such as
that prescribed by Dr. Barry Sears in his book, "Enter The Zone." (Note: I
believe that there is too much artificial, junk food allowed in the Zone Diet
and that staying on it for *years* may not be healthy, but the ideas about
macronutrient balance may be very helpful to many people.)
What works for
you may take a little bit of experimenting. I suggest that you look eat each of
the ideas for balancing types of foods and find out what works best for you
through experimen- tation. But keep in mind the following two very important
- Whatever balance of foods you choose, you can still have the majority of
your diet made up of natural, healthy foods; and
- Your food needs will likely change over time. For example, for several years
you may start out eating a small percentage of whole grains and more meat and
fat as described by Barry Sears, but over time as your health improves using
nutrition and other possible healing techniques (e.g., Tai Chi, Yoga, Herbalism,
Acupuncture, Bioenergetics, Meditation, Qigong, etc.), you may find it more
beneficial to move towards a natural foods diet as described by Annamarie
Colbin. In addition, as your health improves you may find the ability to eat
foods that you could not tolerate years earlier because they caused wild insulin
swings or because of allergic and intolerance reactions.
examples dietary percentages are meant to give you a general idea of what a
balanced diet might look like for one person. These percentages would vary
widely depending upon several circumstances.
0-10% sea vegetables
fish or other meat
5-10% fruits (mostly in the warmer months)
herbal teas, coffee substitutes, freshly-made juices, Spring water,
0-10% Organic dairy, ghee & eggs
5-10% other (spices -- ginger,
tumeric, etc., seeds, nuts, cooking oils, etc.)
Some people have
difficulty digesting whole grains. If that is the case, try using soba
(buckwheat) noodles (which can be purchased at a Natural Foods store or Japanese
grocery store) to see if that helps. For others, eating too much grain causes
them to crave large amounts of carbohydrates. In these cases, increase the use
of vegetables and meat with the knowledge that you may find it beneficial to
begin adding more whole grains to your diet several months or years later as
your health and condition allows.
As an example, many persons with
chronic immune system disorders, carbohydrate cravings, excess weight and other
conditions feel much better if they start off with a diet that includes fewer
carbohydrates and more protein in the form of fish and chicken:
meat (mostly a variety of fish + a small to moderate amount of "organic" fowl or
20-40% vegetables (including green, leafy vegetables)
10-15% herbal teas, and coffee substitutes, and other healthy
beverages (see below)
5-15% grains and/or buckwheat (soba) or udon noodles
(chewed very well)
0-10% dairy and eggs
(e.g., fruit if tolerated -- separate from meal)
Forcing large amounts of
whole grains in your system if it cannot handle it is not a
good idea. Over a long period of time and as the body heals using a healthy diet
and other important techniques, it is preferable to gradually add more whole
grains into the diet. You will have to find out what your body needs and
tolerates with some experimentation.
I suggest reading some of the books
listed in the resource section by Annamarie Colbin, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr.
Barry Sears. Please try not to get overly caught up in all of the theories. The
important thing is to take the steps necessary to find what works best for you
and keep open to future changes as you condition
In colder climates, it is traditional to eat slightly more
root vegetables, meat and heavier grains (e.g., buckwheat, barley), and much
less fruit. In warmer climates, it is traditional to eat more lighter grains,
more green leafy vegetables, more salads, slightly more fruit, and less meat.
However, these subtleties take a back seat to eating whatever balance feels most
comfortable during your healing process.
This is the most important variation. Please try to avoid
obsessing about percentages of food categories. Over time, you can work towards
the very approximate percentages that feel right for you.
health practitioner can give you a diet to suit your needs. In general, start
out by gradually moving towards a diet that includes plenty of vegetables, some
whole grains, some legumes, some meat, a small, but regular amount of various
sea vegetables, regular use of small amounts of natural cooking oils or ground
seeds, a limited amount of fruit (although more in the warmer climates is fine),
some herb teas or other beverages, and some treats from time to time. Then vary
it over time to find out what works best for you.
Some illnesses make it necessary to vary the percentages of
food eaten. For example some people cannot easily tolerate whole grains. In this
case, it is important to try to incorporate easily digestible
grain products such as soba (buckwheat) noodles or even baby food made from
whole grain. If it is still not possible, you may want to consider whether you
have a gluten intolerance. (See the Gluten-Free Web Page for more
information.) You may also need to take regular supplementation as discussed
Try to do whatever you can to include some food from the main food
categories. However, if it is not possible, then don't worry. As your health
improves, you may eventually be able to incorporate easily digestible foods from
categories that you may not be able to tolerate at this time.
Try to have your food
cooked on a regular stove or in an oven rather than having it "nuked" in a
microwave oven. Eat freshly cooked/prepared dishes when possible as there is
more energy (chi) in freshly-cooked foods than foods that have been cooked or
prepared several days earlier.
It can be very helpful to take cooking
classes or to get help from a friend. Ask at your local natural food stores
where you can take cooking classes. It may take a while to become adept at using
natural, healthy foods. Please be patient with yourself.
home-cooked meals can be helpful, the reality is that many people work 40+ hours
per week and are too tired to cook everyday after work. If that is the case, it
is important to try and avoid adding enormous stress to your life by
forcing yourself to cook when you don't have the energy to do
it regularly. Try to cook the foods you can and use the following techniques as
a way to reduce the effort spent cooking meals:
- Share cooking/cleaning up tasks with other members of the household either
regularly or whenever you can (e.g., once per week).
- Find restaurants that serve relatively healthy meals without too much junk
and eat at those restaurants. (If you have to eat at restaurants often because
of no time/energy to cook foods, just try to find healthy food and be happy with
that -- don't beat yourself up about it.) "Ethnic" restaurants with food from
India, Thiland, Korea, Japan, Africa, etc. often have healthy options (without
- Make quick-cooking meals on occasion. Many dishes such as soda noodles,
steamed vegetables, salads, fish, etc. do not take too long to cook. Sometimes,
I will add natural, pre-made sauces or salad dressings from my local Natural
Foods store if I do not have the time or energy or ability to make them
Another very important point related to cooking is that
it can be extremely healing to eat hot meals the majority of the time (except in
the heat of the Summer months). Overdoing cold foods can damage one's digestive
strength and overall health. Try to warm up your body with hot meals and hot
drinks, especially in the cold Winter months.
Probiotics refer to
friendly bacteria which contribute to the health of the intestinal tract. There
are a number of traditional foods that promote the health of beneficial
bacteria. If possible, a variety of these foods should be ingested on a regular
basis. Some of these include:
Many people find that having Miso soup several times
per week helps strengthen their health over time. Sauerkraut and other traditionally fermented
products can be helpful as well when they are eaten ocassionally. Some people
are sensitive to some of these fermented products (although miso is usually
tolerated well), so please start with small amounts to see if you have
More detailed information about Probiotics, especially
probiotic supplements, can be found in Appendix A below. For many people it is
preferable to get their probiotics from the food sources listed above.
Essential Fatty Acids
While avoiding a
high saturated fat diet can be beneficial, there are some essential fats that
are extremely important for healing and maintaining good health. There are two
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linoleic acid (LNA).
The body takes these EFAs and makes other useful substances from them. Some
foods contain derivatives of these EFAs and other fatty acids that can also be
Some signs of linoleic acid (LA) deficiency include:
- loss of hair
- behavioral problems
- susceptibility to infections
- failure of wound healing
- arthritic conditions
- heart and circulatory problem
- growth retardation
Some signs of alpha-linoleic acid (LNA)
- motor incoordination
- tingling in the extremities
- behavioral changes
- growth retardation
- vision impairment
- behavioral changes
I strongly encourage regular ingestion of
small amounts of foods that contain these EFAs and their derivaties. You do not
have to eat large amounts of these foods, simply include them as a regular part
of your cooking and food plan.
Good sources of linoleic acid (LA)
- Sesame seed oil
- Safflower seed oil
- Sunflower seed oil
- Hemp seed oil
Good sources of alpha-linoleic acid (LNA)
- Flax seed oil and ground flax seeds
- Hemp seed oil
- Soybean oil (organic) (small amounts of LNA)
Some fish such as
salmon, mackerel herring, ect. contain LNA derivaties, EPA & DHA, which have
numerous positive health benefits. Farmed fish (sometimes found in Natural Food
stores) have less EPA & DHA than fresh, wild fish but the wild fish may have
more pollutants. Some people find it beneficial to ingest small amounts of these
fish on a regular basis.
Seed oils should be purchased from a Natural
Foods store and should be "unrefined" and preferably pressed at low
temperatures. (Read the label.) Opaque (non-transparent) bottles are preferable
because heat and light can begin to slowly destroy the EFAs. I try to stay away
from canola oil unless because it is usually genetically-engineered and treated
with chemicals (even when found in health food stores). Soybean oil has only
small amounts of LNA, but can be healthy as long as the organic varieties are
used (since the non-organic varieties are often genetically-engineered). Seed
oils with large amounts of LNAs (e.g., Flax, Hemp) can go bad very quickly, so
these can often be found in the refrigerated section of Natural Food stores in
opaque bottles. Look for ones that have been pressed recently.
can be difficult to get essential fatty acids (EFAs) from modern diets (even
natural foods diets in some cases), an EFA supplement may be helpful. "Udo's
Choice Perfected Oil Blend" is one excellent EFA supplement. Unlike some
supplements and oils available in health food stores, care is taken to process
the oil with low heat and care is taken to balance the proportion of LNA, LA and
other key nutrients for the most beneficial effect. It can be ordered from Flora
Health on the U.S. or Canadian web site. Do
not supplement with flax seed oil by itself for more than six months because its
extremely high LNA content could contribute to an LA fatty acid deficiency.
In summary, here are some general guidelines to consider:
- Regular use of moderate amounts of sesame oil in cooking and safflower oil
in occasional use for salad dressings, sauces, etc.
- Regular intake of small amounts of cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel
and herring (3-4 times/week).
- Semi-regular use of flax seed oil/ground flax seeds or hemp seed oil (if you
can find it). Freshly ground flax seeds or hemp seeds can be put onto cooked
cereals and other dishes. Some Natural Food stores and cooking supply stores
carry inexpensive grinders for seeds.
- Moderate use of extra virgin olive oil.
- Possible use of EFA supplements.
Please see "Fats That Heal,
Fats That Kill" by Udo Erasmus for more detailed information about Essential
Avoid foods that you
are allergic to or have a food intolerance for. If you are allergic to certain
healthy foods, you may be able to incorporate them into your diet at a later
time when your health improves using holistic healing techniques (e.g.,
nutrition, yoga/meditation, tai chi, etc.). But for now, it is important to
either 1) make the food more digestible to avoid reactions or, 2) if that
doesn't work, avoid the food completely.
A enormous number of people have
reported that some symptoms disappeared when they, for an extended period of
time, avoided foods that caused problems. Food allergies and intolerances and
many times more common than the "medical establishment" likes to admit. Many
times, eating foods that cause problems leads very gradually to adverse
symptoms, poor health, or simply a run-down feeling. Below are some ideas for
identifying and eliminating allergy and intolerance problems.
- NAET Treatment
Some people report significant
improvement when diagnosed and treated by a Nambudripad-trained (NAET)
To find out more about this innovative treatment
that helps many people, please see the recent article published in Issue 6 of
"Alternative Medicine Digest." You can read the article online at:
(partial list): http://www.allergy2000.com/members/practitioners.html
official NAET page is now online and can be found at:
and the official NAET
list of practitioners can be found at:
- Low-Dose Immunotherapy
The innovative techniques
developed by Dr. Doris J. Rapp for diagnosing and treating health problems
caused by hidden allergic or intolerance reactions may prove helpful to many
people. Information about her books and her treatment techniques can be found in
the speeches she gave before the Allergy and Environmental Health Association of
Canada on May 31, 1996 reprinted in the proceedings on the following web
second speech given by Dr. Doris J. Rapp ("Practical Ways to Resolve
Environmental and Allergy Problems Caused by Housing, School Environment and
Diet" presents some excellent advice on simple, preliminary steps that can be
taken to find hidden allergies or intolerances.
addition, Dr. Rapp has written a new book with extensive resources for
identifying and dealing with allergic, intolerance and toxicity reactions in
Some people find that by moving gradually towards a
natural foods diet (including significantly cutting down on or cutting out dairy
foods), and practicing yoga regularly for six months or more that their
allergies naturally become much less severe and nonexistent in some cases. The
benefits of regular yoga practice and a natural foods diet go far beyond simply
a reduction of allergy symptoms.
- Rotation Diet
Switch to a Rotation Diet until your body
is able to tolerate a larger variety of foods. In order to continue to eat a
healthy varied diet, it is extremely helpful for some people to "rotate" the
foods they eat so that the immune system does not react to those foods
continuously. This technique, the Rotation Diet, has been enormously helpful for
many people with extreme food allergies.
A rotation diet is a natural
foods diet with the added technique of rotating each food that you eat so that
you only eat it every 4 to 7 days. You will have to keep a food diary and/or
keep track of your planned foods on 3x5 cards so that you do not repeat the same
food. If you eat brown rice on Monday, simply put the "brown rice" 3x5 card in
the next week's selection of possible food options and remove it from this
Even if you do not think you have food allergies, I
highly recommend printing out and reading the article on the Nambudripad
treatment and the speeches by Dr. Rapp referenced on web pages above. In this
way, you may be able to help many others in the future.
Finally, if you
are able to find and eliminate an allergy, that is wonderful, but I would still
strongly suggest experimenting with other holistic healing techniques (e.g., yoga, inner healing & transformation,
It is very
helpful to avoid drinking chlorinated water on a regular basis. It can be
difficult to build a healthy environment of beneficial bacteria in the colon
while drinking chlorinated water. In addition, by drinking chlorinated water it
is very likely that one is also ingesting significant levels of Trihalomethanes
(TCMs), chemical compounds that are suspected of increasing cancer rates and may
adversely effect other bodily systems.
It is also very helpful to avoid
drinking water medicated with fluoride compounds. Water with fluoride compounds
added often has a much higher lead content. In addtion, the fluoride builds up
in the tissues, organs, and bones, causes slow damage to the bones, inhibits key
enzymes, contributes to arthritic-like symptoms, has recently been shown to be
neurotoxic (and lower children's IQ), and possibly increases one's chances of
getting cancer. In 1997, EPA scientists and risk assessment specialists voted
unanimously to oppose mandatory fluoridation in California because of the major
health risks. Recent research proves that fluoride in drinking water, cooking
water, and premade beverages does not prevent tooth decay (only topical
applications of fluoride does this to a extremely small extent). Like other slow
poisons (e.g., aspartame, neotame), fluoride is avoided by people who are
serious about healing or preventing illness. (Note: There are other sources for
high levels of fluoride. Junk foods and infant foods with deboned chicken and
non-organic fruit juices such as grape juice can contain dangerously high levels
of fluoride and should be avoided.) Please see the following web page for
information and links to independent and authoritative information on the
is a list of suggested water sources in order of my preference.
- "Spring Water" from glass bottles. As long as the water bottle says, "Spring
Water," it must, by U.S. law, come from a real spring and cannot be filtered tap
water. Water should be regularly tested by the bottler. Call the bottler for
more information. This is ideal because you avoid the toxic substances
(chlorine, fluoride compounds, THM's, etc.) and get the natural minerals in the
- Same as "1" above, but water is stored in heavy 5-gallon jugs.
- Spring water stored in 1-gallon jugs. Try to avoid the flimsy jugs as the
plastic can leech into the water.
- Water filtered with a solid carbon filter. (If water supply is *not*
artificially fluoridated, this option should come before "4" above.)
carbon block or granulated water filter will not remove fluoride compounds from
the water no matter what the manufacturer literature might say.
- Boiled tap water.
Check the labels of the
products you purchase at the natural foods store. Many vendors now use filtered
water when making their product. Buying food and liquids from vendors who filter
their water will help you avoid chlorine compounds. However, there may be
fluoride compounds in the water if the manufacturer did not use a reverse
It is impossible to avoid chlorinated and fluoridated
water completely if you enjoy going out to restaurants ocassionally or going
over to friend's houses, so I suggest just doing the best you can. Preferably
that means using spring water as the bulk of your cooking and drinking
It is important to get
plenty of fluids. The amount will vary from person to person, but most people
should get at least 6 cups of beverage per day. You can have quite a bit of
variety in this category, including:
- Herbal Teas
Unless you are taking a specific herbal tea
for medicinal reasons, you can experiment quite a bit with different herbal
teas. Try to avoid regular drinking tea that contains herbs with significant
amounts of caffeine (e.g., guarana, kola, nut, black tea). You can get a variety
of herbal tea beverages at a natural foods grocery store or from mailorder
sources. (See Resources section below).
I like to drink
dandelion root tea with a little bit of licorice root. Some people like to drink
bancha twig tea after meals.
- Coffee Substitutes
There are quite a few coffee
substitutes that you can buy from your local natural foods store. I prefer Inca
(Distributed by Adamba Imports Int'l, Brooklyn, NY 11237) which contains Roasted
Barley, Rye, Chicory, and Beet Roots, but there are a number of other good
- Spring Water
Plain spring water is an excellant, healthy
beverage. See discussion above regarding water.
- Milk Substitutes
Soy milk and rice milk are sold in
natural foods stores and are excellant milk substitutes. Soy milk can be
particularly difficulty to digest for some people, so rice milk may prove a
If you can make your own fresh juices, that will
be much better than store-bought juices.
- Purchasing a juicer: If you are looking for a juicer, consider purchasing a
Champion brand juicer. Even though they are more expensive than some heavily
advertised cheaper models, they are very easy to use, do a wonderful job making
the juice, and they are very easy to clean. Vitamix also makes an excellent
juicer, but some people dislike the juice consistency that is produced, so
taste-test juice before purchasing if possible.
- Try to avoid mixing vegetables and fruits in the same juice on a regular
basis. Many people feel better over the long-term when eat fruits separately
from meals and other food groups.
- Try to focus mostly on vegetable juice mixtures and to go easy on the fruit
- Develop a habit from the beginning of diluting all juices with 50% juice and
50% spring water. It will be difficult to get used to it at first, but after a
while undiluted juice will seem much too strong.
- If you buy juice from a grocery store, look for juice that is:
- juice and nothing but juice
- uses filtered water
I like to drink apple cider from time to
time. Look for apple cider without and sweateners or preservatives.
Amasake is a beverage make from rice, sweet
rice, koji or other starter, and sometimes other flavorings such as almonds. The
starter breaks down the polysaccharides (complex sugars) in the rice into
disaccharides (two linked simple sugar molecules). This makes amasake much
sweeter than rice, but not extremely sweet like sugared beverages.
far east, amasake drinks are sometimes sold as hot drinks in the Winter. In the
U.S., they are sold as cold beverages (but can be heated) in natural food
I sometimes make my own amasake, but sometimes purchase it from
the natural food store (although it is much more expensive this way). The
amasake at natural food stores with almonds, pecans, etc. can be difficult on
the digestive system, so it is better to purchase primarily the plain
- Vegetable Broths
Vegetable broths are an excellant way
to get extra vitamins and minerals in a balanced, easily assimilable form. They
are also can help warm and heal the digestive system. I often drink a cup of hot
vegetable broth before lunch.
It is better to make your own vegetable
broth. But you can purchase it at a natural food store. Be very careful when
purchasing vegetable broths, however, as many of them contain significant
amounts of *hidden* MSG in the form of "hydrolyzed vegetable proteins" (HVP) or
One store-bought broth that I like is:
All Natural Vegetable Broth
Gayelord Hauser Products
Milwaukee, WI 53209
- Alcoholic Beverages
If you decide to drink alcoholic
beverages, please do so in small to moderate amounts.
Since beer and wine
ingredients do not have to be labelled, manufacturers dump in a variety of
unhealthy chemicals as preservatives, flavor enhancers, etc.. Natural food
stores often sell alcoholic beverages without lots of chemicals. Certain
American beers like Coors and Anchor Steam have no additives. Many German and
Austrian beers are also toxin-free. Try to find wine at natural food stores that
do not have additives and are grown with organic grapes (since grapes are
sprayed so heavily when they are not organic). Stores like Whole Foods Market
usually carry natural beers and wines. In addition, the Organic Traveler's Guide to the
Wine Country may prove useful for finding organic wines from
Foods to Phase Out or Cut
Below are some tips on what foods often need to be reduced
or, in some cases, eliminated completely from the diet. Please focus primarily
on the positive aspects, i.e., the other sections of this article which
discusses the healthier foods options.
This section is included as a reference in case you need information on foods to
Before we get to the list, I would like to point out that it is
important not to restrict yourself too severely. If you do, it might slow your
healing progress considerably. If you have been eating these foods for some
time, it is fine in most cases to eat some of them a little while longer while
you search for suitable, healthy replacements. In addition, it it very important
not to worry about eating unhealthy foods on occasion as the worrying is not
doing you any good. Simply be gentle with yourself and try to make gradual
progress towards a healthier food plan.
- Dangerous and Unhealthy Sweeteners
sweetener should be eliminated immediately from the diet as it does
considerable, albeit gradual, damage to the body:
- aspartame / neotame (NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful)
labels very carefully for the word "aspartame" or "neotame" as it is often
difficult to see in the ingredients list. Aspartame may also be found in
over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and supplements. Unless
you are looking for serious health problems down the line, I cannot to strongly
suggest avoiding it. Please see the Aspartame Toxicity Information
- acesulfame-k (Sunette, Sweet One, Sweet-n-Safe)
- sucralose (Splenda)
The following sweetener should be
eliminated fairly soon after beginning a move towards a natural foods diet and
finding suitable sweetener replacements (see below):
- refined white sugar
- fructose sweeteners (refined)
- corn syrup
- raw sugar (often just white sugar with coloring)
- brown sugar (usually just white sugar mixed with molasses or sprayed with
- sugar alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, etc.)
All of these
sweeteners are not good for your health, can prevent or delay healing from a
chronic disease when used regularly, and may cause serious health problems years
after use begins. Despite what you may have read in books or heard concentrated
fructose sweeteners have been shown to cause more health problems from long-term
use than refined sugar.
There are still a large number of much healthier
sweeteners that can be used by the general population and some of them can be
used safely by diabetics. Some of these sweeteners include:
- Evaporated cane juice (Sucanat, Florida Crystals)
- Stevia leaf, powder, and extract
- Barley Malt
- Rice Syrup
- Yinnie Syrup
- Fruit Juice
In almost all cases, dairy foods were
traditionally eaten in small amounts. Often, when they were eaten, it was in the
form of traditionally fermented foods such as yogurt or kefir. Many people have
an unidentified intolerance or allergy to dairy products. In the long run, it
can be very helpful for most people to cut dairy foods way back or cut them
completely out of the diet. Some people find that they can do this quickly
without any major cravings. Others find that gradually replacing dairy foods
with other healthy aspects of a natural foods diet is the best way to
Here are a few facts about dairy foods:
- Galactose in dairy products may contribute to ovarian cancer as the cancer
rates parallel worldwide dairy- eating patterns.
- Pesticides and antibiotic residues are frequently found in dairy products
despite government efforts to screen the dairy. Some antibiotics are tested for,
but most are not.
- Dairy proteins contribute to allergies, asthma, and sinus problems.
- Antigens in dairy may also contribute to rheumatoid arthritis and
- Other conditions that can be contributed to by dairy include: Acne,
Atherosclerosis, Bellyaches, Bloated Abdomen, Bronchitis, Chest Infections,
Cramps, Diarrhea, Eczema, Gas, Gastrointestinal Disturbance, Hay Fever,
Hemorrhage, High Blood Pressure, Hives, Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple
Sclerosis, Nasal Congestion, Kidney disease, Pyoderma, Skin rash, and
- Elderly people in some developing countries show low osteoporosis rates
despite a much lower intake of calcium than developed countries such as the
- Countries that DO NOT use dairy often have a lower osteoporosis rate than
- Scientific studies have show that high animal protein diets (dairy, meat)
decrease calcium absorbtion.
- Caffeine decreases calcium absorbtion.
- Weight-bearing exercises increase bone density significantly and decrease
- Good sources of calcium include (but are not limited to) Turnip greens,
Watercress, Collard greens, Kale, Broccoli, Soy Products, Sesame seeds. In some
cases, a calcium/ magnesium supplement can be taken to increase calcium
A few tips on selecting a small amount of dairy products:
- Choose plain yogurt or kefir where possible. Or use small amount of ghee in
- Avoid homogenized dairy products where possible. Homogenization
significantly reduces the size of the dairy fat molecules making absorption of
the fat and other undesirable elements much greater.
- Choose whole dairy foods. If the dairy is homogenized, however, then choose
skim or 1% fat dairy foods.
- Avoid dairy foods where rBGH was injected into the cow. rBGH injections have
been proven recently to cause chemical changes in milk that may significant
increase human cancer growth rates. Please see the following web page for more
information and resources:
- Milk proteins such as casein (caseinate) and whey are often found in
non-dairy products, especially creamy soy products. Many people benefit by
avoiding these ingredients to a large extent.
Suggested substitutes: Rice milk, soy milk,
soy products (without casein), amasake.
- Food Additives and Preservatives
The cumlative effects
of all of the additives and preservatives that are eaten in the S.A.D. diet are
very bad for the body. I strongly suggest that you consider phasing out most of
the non-traditionally used additives and preservatives. The easiest way to do
this is to do most, if not all, of your shopping at a natural foods
There are many different additives and preservatives. Anything
with a chemical-like name is most likely something to be avoided. Some common
- Monosodium Glutimate (MSG)
- artificial colors
- artificial flavors
- food dyes
- sodium sulfite
- potassium bisulfite
Be careful, because some additives and
preservatives are not listed on the labels. For example, according to FDA
"regulations," MSG does not have to be listed if it is part of a food that is
listed on the ingredients label. Also, MSG is often hidden under a variety of
names on a label such as:
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
- Hydrolyzed Protein
- Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
- Plant Protein Extract
- Sodium Caseinate
- Calcium Caseinate
- Yeast Extract
- Textured Protein
- Autolyzed Yeast
- Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
- Natural Flavoring
- Natural Beef or Chiken Flavoring
MSG, in the form of
"hydrolyzed proteins" are often found in soups at health food stores under the
guise of natural MSG. MSG can cause brain cell death from long-term use and
these so-called "natural MSGs" are exactly the same as MSG (despite public
relations claims to the contrary).
Alcohol (beer, wine) often
contains all sorts of dangerous additives and does not list these on the label.
There are several brands of "natural" beer and wine if you drink these
Suggested substitutes: A tiny amount of
umeboshi paste or sea salt for use as a preservative.
- Heavily Refined Foods
Heavily refined foods and meals
should be avoided. Examples include:
- Frozen pizzas
- Pot pies (e.g., Chicken Pot Pie)
- Prepared meals from grocery stores (e.g., Lean Cuisine, Hungry Man)
- Filtered fruit juices
- White Bread
Eighty percent (80%) of most items sold in a typical
grocery store would probably fit into this category.
substitutes: Ethnic restaurants often have healthy food that will save
cooking (e.g., Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnemese). Be sure to insist upon
getting food without MSG. Also, many natural food stores have healthier
prepackaged foods that can be made quickly.
- Foods Without Toxic Chemicals
grown foods are preferable. The cumulative exposure to toxic pesticide residues
that one can get from regularly eating heavily sprayed crops found in some
grocery stores is quite high and may have a significant impact on your health
over time. In addition, some research points to the fact that organically grown
foods may have higher average levels of nutrients in some. Even though organic
foods are slightly more expensive, they are well worth the cost in the long
It is nearly impossible in this society to completely avoid
non-organic foods. We just have to be satisfied with what we can do now and keep
our eyes open for future sources that become available (or do some footwork to
find those sources). Please keep the following points in mind when considering
toxic chemical-free foods:
Suggested substitutes: Certified organic
produce, Transitional produce (organic for less than 3 years), Locally-grown
- Foreign Produce
Produce grown in some "third-world" countries
averages a _much_ higher level of pesticide residues. In addition, pesticides
that are banned the U.S. are often sold by chemical companies in "third-world"
countries and used on produce that may reach your dinner plate. Please take time
to investigate the source of your produce. Here is an excerpt from Debra Lynn
Dadd's book, "Non-toxic and Natural":
Also, another category of chemicals is introduced for "cosmetic purposes,"
to make our produce more attractive to the eye. Some oranges are dyed orange
with the coal-tar dye Red No. 32, known to cause cancer in laboratory animals.
And, before green oranges are dye to look ripe, they are "degreened" with
ethylene gas to remove the chlorophyll from the rind. The colorless oranges are
then tinted by passing through a vat of hot dye. Almost all Florida citrus that
reaches the marketplace before January 1 has been treated. Other produce that
may be dyed are some "new" potatoes (regular potatoes dyed red) and some red
yams (actually dyed sweet potatoes).
Concerns about packaging materials
are by no means limited to processed foods. Citrus fruits are generally wrapped
in papers treated with a potent fungicide.
- Citrus Fruit
Citrus fruit is often grown with very toxic pesticides
that can build up in the body and contribute to immune system problems. In
addition, non-organic citrus fruit is often "treated" with chemicals.
- Waxed Produce
Most people think of only apples as being waxed with an
unhealthy petrochemical product. Debra Lynn Dadd lists the following produce as
sometimes being waxed so that it looks shinier:
carrots, organes, lemons,
limes, apples, pears, plums, peaches, melons, parsnips, tomatoes, green peppers,
rutabagas, turnips, cucumbers, grapefruits, and tangerines.
pumpkins, squash, and eggplant are waxed.
I suggest avoiding waxed
produce where possible or at least peeling the produce. If a fumigant was
applied to the produce, such as ortho-phenylphenol, and the wax was then
applied, the fumigant cannot be washed off.
Potatoes and onions may be treated with the dangerous
chemical, maleic hydrazide to inhibit sprouting. Mushrooms may be fumigated with
Produce is sometimes distributed in trucks that have been
hosed out with dangerous chemicals or uncleaned trucks that have been
distributing dangerous chemicals.
If you buy this produce from your local
natural foods store, you may want to have the store manager check to see if any
post-treatment of produce (both organic and non-organic) is occurring. It is a
good idea to know the sources of your food and how it is
- Very Cold Foods
Very cold foods can temporarily paralyze
the digestive process and weaken the stomach. Regular intake of cold foods can
contribute to digestive system problems and a variety of other health problems.
I strongly suggest that you limit the very cold foods to a minimum eaten
separately from meals. When or if you eat or drink very cold foods, warm each
bite up in the mouth before swallowing.
If you are used to eating cold
foods such as ice cream, don't make yourself suffer by cutting it all out at
once. Try gradually finding healthier replacements that satisfy your
Suggested substitutes: Rice Dream (on occasion,
warmed in mouth), cooled Amasake, cooled herb teas, cooled juices.
It can be very helpful to gradually
eliminated caffeinated beverages from one's diet including coffee, caffeinated
soda, black tea, kola nut, and guarana herb. Caffeine is far too stimulating,
causes restless sleeping, irritates the stomach, and it is hard on the adrenals.
Weakening the adrenals by drinking caffeinated beverages regularly can
contribute to the development of significant health problems over the
Some people replace caffeinated beverages with natural coffee
substitutes, fresh vegetable juices, or herbal teas They are all excellant
replacements. On the other hand, I strongly suggest that you do not replace
coffee with decaffeinated coffee. Decaffeinated coffee is an imbalanced,
unhealthy beverage processed with synthetic chemicals. If you are currently
drinking decaffeinated coffee, I strongly suggest that you gradually phase it
Please remember that cutting caffeine out of the diet too quickly
can cause severe reactions. A gradual reduction and elimination of caffeine is
the best way to go.
Suggested substitutes: Coffee
substitutes, roasted dandelion root tea, fresh juices, herbal teas with a small
amount of licorice root.
- Fruit and Fruit Juices
There is nothing inherantly "bad"
about eating fruit. It is a good idea, however, to reduce fruit intake to no
more than once per day as separately eaten snacks. In the colder months, fruit
is best consumed on an occasional basis only. Eat fruit often is cleansing, but
also cooling and weakening to the digestion system. So, for a cleansing regimen
(a special holistic healing process) some fruit and fruit juice is more
appropriate, but during the bulk of the healing process when you are trying to
warm and strengthen your digestive system, it is a good idea to cut
Citrus fruit was sometimes eaten with a small piece of the citrus
peel to counteract its cooling affect on the digestive system. This is a very
bad idea if you are not eating organically grown fruit. Otherwise, if you eat a
citrus fruit on occasion, try a bit of the peel (if the fruit is organically
I eat very small amounts of fruit a few times per week in the
warmer months and much less in the colder months.
- Carbonated Beverages
If you drink alot of carbonated
beverages, it is a very good idea to gradually reduce these beverages, even if
it is just carbonated water. On occasion, it okay to enjoy a carbonated beverage
such as Poland Spring or carbonated fruit juice beverage, but it can slow
healing considerably to drink such beverages constantly. This is especially the
case if you have digestive weakness or asthma.
- Flour Products
Try to make progress towards eating the
majority of your grain products in the form of whole grains or noodles (e.g.,
soba, udon noodles) as opposed to flour products. Eating alot of flour products
can lead to mucus buildup throughout the body, especially when accompanied by a
weak digestion or a large fruit intake.
substitutes: Whole grains, soba and udon noodles, whole grain "baby"
food or cereals.
- Refined Grains
Refined grains such as white rice and
white flour have most of the vitamins and minerals removed. Sometimes vitamins
and minerals are then added back in and the product is called "enriched." As a
general rule, I would phase out these products whether they are "enriched" or
not. It is much better to eat whole grains.
On occasion, I still eat
refined grains. If I go to a restaurant, my dish may include white rice. If I
make seitan (wheat meat), I may use some white flour. The majority of grains
products eaten should be unrefined.
substitutes: Whole grains in easily digestible form or gluten-free
grain products if necessary.
Most people who eat a Standard American Diet
(S.A.D.) are better off cutting out most, if not all red meat. Also, most fowl
and shellfish should be cut out as well. It is better for most people to eat
fish and some fowl anywhere from a couple times per week to once per day
(depending upon what feels best for you) If you are allergic to fish, it is okay
to use a small, regular amount of chicken or turkey.
ingestion, especially red meat, can cause numerous problems in the GI Tract and
the liver which can lead to health problems throughout the body. On the other
hand, regularly eating a small amount of meat can be very helpful for some
people. As mentioned previously, everyone has to find their own balance as to
how much of each major food group works best for them at a particular
I eat deep water ocean fish (e.g., salmon, mackarel) three to four
times per week in the colder months and slightly less in the warmer months. On
rare ocassion, I eat a little bit of chicken or turkey.
If you eat meat,
here are a few tips that may help:
- Try to purchase it at a natural foods store and make sure that the animal
was not fed a chemical diet and treated abusively.
- Cook the meat thoroughly so that all of the bacteria is killed.
- Traditional societies added various spices to meat to make it more
digestable and less toxic to the gastro intestinal tract. Some of the cookbooks
below include recipes along these lines. I like to eat a little bit of raw,
grated ginger root along with a meat dish. I often cook fish with parsley and
add lemon juice afterwards to make it healthier.
- Eat a cooked leafy, green vegetable at the same meal as meat is
Suggested substitutes: A variety of
legumes (e.g., mung beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, etc.,
- Table Salt
It is important to use only a moderate amount
of salt and usually only during the cooking process. Everyone has to find out
what their salt needs are. However, most people should not overdue the use of
salt. That does not mean that one needs to avoid salt completely (unless ordered
to do so by your healthcare practitioner).
Cooking legumes takes the most
salt as it makes them more digestible when added 30 minutes before the end of
the cooking time. You only need a tiny pinch when cooking grains. Limit the
amount of salt used to a moderate amount when cooking vegetables.
much better to avoid common table salt and use the following in small
- Sea salt (preferably without trace minerals removed)
- Umeboshi Plum (or paste)
- Other fermented foods (pickles, sauerkraut)
- Cooking Oil
Gradually eliminate cooking oil bought at
normal grocery stores and use small to moderate amounts (1-2 Tablespoons per
day) of "unrefined" sesame oil or virgin olive oil bought in natural food
stores. Unrefined sesame & olive oils are an excellent source of some types
of essential fatty acdes and generally should not be eliminated. Cold-pressed
oils (e.g., sesame) go rancid faster than unrefined oils, but are okay to use if
nothing else is available. Try to find oils that have been kept in
non-transparent containers as the light can gradually destroy the essential
fatty acids. I tend to avoid non-organic canola oil because it is often
genetically-engineered and grown with very toxic herbicides. Refrigerate opened
bottles of cooking oil. Throw out old bottles in case they have begun to become
Suggested substitutes: Unrefined oils from
natural food stores.
- Nightshade Foods
As a general rule, it is a good idea
not too overdo eating foods in the Nightshade family, including tomatos,
potatoes, eggplant, and all peppers except for black and white pepper. This does
not mean that you have to totally avoid these foods, but it means to make other
vegetables the bulk of your vegetable intake.
If you have arthritis, it
can be very helpful to avoid the Nightshade family completely as these foods can
cause a worsening of symtoms. Check the labels carefully, as some prepared foods
contain tomatoes, peppers, or potato flour.
substitutes: A wide variety of other vegetables including green leafy
- Foods that cause allergic or intolerance-type
It is important to avoid foods that cause moderate or
large negative reactions. As your health improves over time, you will be able to
very gradually re-introduce healthy foods that used to cause negative reactions.
Some common foods that can cause problems for some people include:
- Dairy (including ingredients: caseine and whey)
- Gluten-Containing foods (often need to be reduced or eliminated until the
digestive system is healed and strengthened). Gluten-containing foods include
wheat, barley, oats, and rye.
- Fermented Foods (Pickles, beer, wine, etc.)
- Yeast-Containing Foods
- Citrus Fruits
- Meat (especially red meat)
- Fatty foods (e.g., red meat, avacados, dairy)
- Nightshades (tomato, eggplant, potato, green pepper)
- Sugar, additives, preservatives, food coloring, etc.
- Caffeine-containing foods
In order to determine what foods you
are allergic to, see an Environmental Medicine Doctor or an Allergist (not a
General Practitioner). You Holistic Health practitioner may be able to arrange
the tests. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine can help you find an
Environmental Medicine Doctor in your area.
Please be aware that persons who have more than a
few silver amalgam (mercury) fillings and who chew gum are exposing themselves
to a significant amount of mercury. The World Health Organization report on
inorganic mercury states that the average person gets five times more mercury
from fillings than from fish (in the form or elemental mercury, methyl mercury
and inorganic mercury). Chewing gum regularly increases that mercury burden
tremendously. Chronic, long-term exposure to mercury has been link to
neurological disorders, psychological disorders, gastrointestinal problems,
Alzheimer's disease and a number of other health problems.
If you have
very few or no silver amalgam (mercury) fillings, and would like to chew gum
regularly, try to find gum at a natural food store without dangerous
Below are listed many
ideas to help deal with and heal digestive difficulties. Please do not try
everything listed at once. It is best to simply pick one or two ideas to use at
To promote better digestion at a meal:
- Chew very well. This is very important if your digestion is weak.
- Limit very cold foods especially during meals. Hot, cooked meals are usually
easier to digest and will help build a stronger digestion over time. It is very
important, especially during the colder months, to eat warming meals.
- Eat meal in a calm, unhurried manner. However, that doesn't mean you can't
talk and tell jokes during the meal.
- It's okay to drink some liquids during the meal, but try to get plenty of
liquids between meals so that there is less of a desire to drink too much and
- Bland or undercooked foods can make digestion more difficult.
- Eat fruit and fruit juices separately from other foods (as snacks or
In difficult cases of poor digestion at meals:
- Over a period of time, see if you can notice a food item, a type of food
(e.g., fatty foods), or a combination of foods that are giving you trouble
(e.g., fruits and grains, meat and legumes). Make changes to eliminate food or
combination that gives you trouble.
- Fifteen minutes before meal take a small amount of "stomach bitters" herbs
in a little bit of water to promote HCl production. You can purchase stomach
bitters from a natural foods store or by mail.
- Test to see if digestive enzymes help your digestion. You can get enzymes
from a natural foods store or by mailorder. Enteric-coated capsules are better
if you can find them. If they don't help you significanly, do not use
- In severe cases of poor digestion there may be insuffient stomach acids
being produced (i.e., HCL). In this case, you may need short term use of betine
hydrochloride and/or pepsin until the condition improves. You can get such
products from your local Naturopath or call Standard Process Labs (SPL) (800)
848-5061 to locate the nearest practitioner who can prescribe SPL's "natural"
supplements that contain betine hydrochoride. As you use the long-term digestion
strengthening techniques below, you will want to taper off the use of this
useful short-term technique.
- Food and Cooking
Some people have difficulty digesting whole grains. Here are
some ideas that may help.
- Udon and soda noodles tend to be much easier to digest than whole
- Some natural food stores sell partially processed brown/white rice which is
easier to digest than brown rice.
- Some people purchase natural "baby food" at natural food store in the case
of very poor digestion. Also, cereals like Rice 'n Shine are easily
- Barley should be soaked overnight. All grains should be cooked thoroughly.
Please see cookbooks in Resource section for more information.
- If you still cannot tolerate any of the above-mentioned ideas for
easily-digestible grains, it is okay to eat white rice. Over time, please try to
mix in a small, but increasing percentage of whole grains. Over the period of a
year or two while using other healing techniques, you may be able to work your
way up to 50% whole grains/50% white rice. If you cannot eat whole grains, it
would be a good idea to consider taking some supplements as suggested
Mung beans are fairly easy to digest as far as legumes go.
Other beans should be soaked overnight in spring water. Pour off water. Cook in
pot for at least 1.5 hours (except lentils can be cooked quicker). Add a rinsed
strip of Kombu sea vegetable to pot before cooking. Boil rapidly for 20 minutes,
spooning off foam that comes to the surface. Simmer. Add 1/2 tbs. of sea salt
for every cup of beans 20 minutes before end of cooking time and boil rapily
until done. In addition, adding 1/2 tbs. of cumin powder and/or ginger powder to
the cooking water helps some people. If all else fails, try Beano available at
local natural foods store.
Tempeh, made from soy beans, is a easily
digestible source of protein. But don't rely totally on soy products for
protein. Try to eat a variety of legumes that you can tolerate.
You may need to cook your vegetables longer so that they
are easier to digest. Some greens, such as kale, can be a little tougher to
digest. Soups and vegetable broths can be extremely good for you and easy to
digest. Eating more vegetables and less grains and beans is sometimes helpful
If I eat fish, I usually cook it with lemon (or lime) juice or
juice from the grated ginger root. Eating a touch of finely grated ginger root
with the meat can help reduce the toxicity. All meat should be cooked
If you decide to eat dairy foods, which I don't recommend, you
should purchase "Lactaid" from your local health food store to help with lactose
If you are having post-meal digestive
- The most important thing is NOT to beat yourself up about it. Realize that
it will get better over time. Don't worry if you ate poorly and it led to
indigestion--it happens to everyone from time to time. Use one or more of the
techniques below as nurturing tools.
- Drink and herbal tea formulated for digestion after the meal. The Maharishi
Ayur-Ved company makes some very good teas (800-255-8332, ext. 147 for catalog).
Check at a natural food store for an herbal tea to treat indigestion after a
If you can't find such a pre-made tea, use peppermint tea bags and
add a few drops of ginger juice squeezed from grated ginger. Alternatively, you
can use one or two drops of peppermint oil in any hot tea.
- Add a tiny amount of Ume' Concentrate (1/3 - 1/2 the size of a pea) to the
tea mentioned above for indigestion. It is good for removing countering toxic
stomach acids created when digestive probelms exist. A natural foods store
should be able to order it from Mitoku Compay, Ltd., Tokyo, Japan. Eden Foods
(Clinton, Michigan) puts out a products called Ume' Plum Balls made from Ume'
Concentrate and Japanese Wild Mountain Yam.
- I have found that a large hot water bottle, filled with hot water and placed
on the abdomen helps with indigestion after the meal, before bed, or in the
morning. Place a piece of cloth of towel between the hot water bottle and the
abdomen. It should feel moderaly hot, but should not burn. Move the bottle
around as needed.
You can get such a bottle from your local pharmacy. (It
has the shape of an enema bag.)
- I would avoid that antacids and other digestive aide pharmaceuticals if
possible since they counteract the stomach acids making you feel better in the
short run but causing many problems in the long run due to poorly digested
foods. It is much better to try the other ideas first.
For long-term improvement of digestion:
- Eat hot meals when possible. This will help you gradually build digestive
energy. Habitually eating cold meals (especially during the cold months) will
reduce your digestive energy. If you cannot eat hot foods at every meal, that is
okay. Just do the best you can without putting too much pressure on
- As part of your yoga practice, twisting exercises help improve the
digestion. Ask your yoga teacher to show you variations of Jathara
Parivartanasana and Marichyasana or see the book "Light on Yoga" by BKS Iyengar
for more details.
- Regularly perform the Fire Wash (Abdominal Lifts) and the Horse Mudra
exercises described in the book, "The Herbs of Life" by Lesley Tierra (The
Crossing Freedom Press, c1992, ISBN 0-89594-499-5).
Most people will start
with many times less than the author's recommended number of repetitions. These
breathing exercises are very helpful for long-term digestion
- You may need to perform a detoxification of the GI Tract, Liver, or
Gallbladder to help strengthen your digestive capabilities. Liver and
Gallbladder cleanses are especially useful if you have trouble digesting foods
that are high in fats. See the following web page for more information on
- Regularly perform a moderate amount of abdominal strengthing exercises. Do
not over-exert yourself, though.
- Regular use of an herbal formulas to strengthen the digestion on a long-term
It is important to keep in mind that there are many other herbal
formulas that will help build digestive strength. It is best to get a customized
formula from a professional Herbalist. Please look into finding the best herbal
formula for you, it will pay off in the long run.
One example of a
general herbal formula that may be helpful is:
- The use of a *high quality* probiotic supplement to help build a healthy
population of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. If can be important to
build and keep a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the
See the discussion of probiotics in Appendix A for more
There are three
ways to obtain nutrients:
- Nutrients Through Diet
The goal is to work towards
being able to obtain most or all of our nutrients through a healthy, natural
foods diet. The reality is that many people, for a variety of reasons, need to
take some forms of supplements to help themselves heal or simply to meet their
- Nutrients Through Concentrated Food Souces
helpful supplements come in the form of concentrated food sources of nutrients.
For many people these supplements are very helpful because they have less of a
tendency to throw a person's body chemistry out of balance.
- Nutrients Through Individual Vitamin and Mineral
There are many people who are unable to get adequate
nutrients for healing from food sources or concentrated food supplements. If
that is the case for you, then use vitamin and mineral products to supplements
what you cannot get from your food and concentrated food supplements. Persons
with a chronic illness or a significant amount of stress should consider using
It is impossible to give detailed
recommendations in this documents as to their supplementation needs. A holistic
healthcare practitioner or professional nutritionist (not a dietician) can help
you with specific recommendations.
Below is listed a few general ideas
and resources for supplements. Please do not haphazardly begin taking all of the
supplements listed below. Simply choose one or two that you believe are helpful,
or even better would be to consult a professional.
Here is a subset of the many possible
concentrated food supplements that you could try. As with all lists, don't try
to do everything at once. In addition, start with tiny amounts of each
supplement you choose in order to test for allergic reactions.
- Green Radiance (yeast-free)
This is a mixture of
concentrated food suppiments that contains a balanced source of vitamins and
minerals. It can be very helpful if you are very weak and have difficulty
obtaining nutrients from your food. It contains juice powders of wheat grass,
barley grass, alfalfa *leaf*, oat grass, spirulina, chlorells, Dunaliella salina
(microalgae), dulse, licorice root, siberian ginseng, suma, astragalus,
echinacea, soy lecithin, wheat sprout powder (gluten-free), acerola berry juice,
beet juice powder, spinach, royal jelly, bee pollen, vitamin E, probiotic
bacteria (probably not viable though), flaxseed meal, apple pectin and fiber,
fructooligosaccharides, milk thistle, ginkgo biloba, green tea, grape pip
extract, bilberry extract. Start with small amounts if you decide to take this
supplement to test for allergic reactions.
You can order the product
Allergy Research Group/Nutricology
P.O. Box 489
San Leandro, CA 94577
(800) 782-4274 (orders)
- Herbal Nutrition
Herbal Nutrition from Arise &
Shine is a blend of 13 herbs, enzymes, and fiber. It contains almost all
vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, enzymes, and amino acids that most people
need. It helps balance the pH of the blood as well as helping the heal the
heart, lymphatic system, and endocrine glands. It contains Alfalfa, Kelp,
Rosehips, Dandelion, Shavegrass, Knitback Boraginaceae, Yellow Dock, Chickweed,
Irish Moss, Hawthorn Berry, Suma, Sheep Sorrell, Enzymes, and Cellulase
You can order this product from Arise & Shine
(800-688-2444 or 916-926-8867).
- Bernard Jensen's Whole Food Blend
This is a
different type of comprehensive food supplement. This formula contains many
vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, as well as chlorophyll, immunoglobulins and
nuclectides for the immune system, and beneficial bacteria. The formula is made
from powders of Sesame Seeds, Chlorella, Colostrum, Acidophilus, Oat Straw, and
Echinacea. It is recommended that bee pollen be taken with this formula if you
are not allergic to it.
You can purchase or order this formula from your
local natural food store or directly from Bernard Jensen International (619)
749-2727. Ask for the Whole Life Blend.
- Plant Power From Preventive Health Care
food and herbal concentrate containing Spriulina, Chlorella, Sprouted Barlet
Grass, Alfalfa, Wheat Sprout Concentrate, Blue-Green Algae, Siberian/American/
Chinese Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Fo Ti, Don Quai, Suma, Astragalus, Licorice,
Gingko Biloba, Gota Kola, Pau da Arco, Soy Lecithin, Raw Enzyme Powder, Green
Papaya Powder, Acerola Cherry Powder, Rose Hips, Indian Goosberries, Schizandra,
Hawthorn, Milk Thistle Seed Powder, Dandelion Root, Burdock Root, Carob Powder,
Apple Fiber, Rice Bran, Slippery Elm, Jerusalem Artichoke Powder, Flax Meal,
Fennel Seed, Ginger Root, Fenugreek Seed, Red Dulse, Norwegian Kelp, Sodium
You can order it from Preventive Health Care (408) 457-
- Mineral Supplements From Sea Vegetables
important to get plenty of minerals during the healing process. A healthy person
with a strong digestion can get adequate minerals from a natural foods diet with
the addition of sea vegetables.
The mineral supplements suggested here
are derived from sea vegetables. The minerals are in organic form (chelated),
allowing them to combine with the body's enzymes and draw inorganic minerals out
of the joints and body tissues.
You can order such minerals in capsule or
liquid form from Arise & Shine (800-688-2444 or 916-926-8867) or Enzymes
International (715/543-8401). The liquid for is preferable.
Chyavanprash is a food and herbal
supplement used to treat all forms of weakness, gout, immune disorders,
digestive weakness, and other illnesses. It is made with large amounts of alma
(Indian Gooseberries) with are very high in easily assimilable, heat resistant
(bound in tannins) Vitamin C. Crude brown sugar and molasses are added to the
alma. Finally a powder of anywhere between 34 to 50 herbs are added to this
mixture. Chyavanprash is usually fried with a small amount of butter.
you decide to try this supplement, please test for bad reactions because of the
small amount of butter used. Also, because dairy products are used, please do
not take this supplement in large quanities.
You can purchase or order
the Planetary Herbal Formula from you local natural foods store or call
Planetary Herbal Formulas 800-606-6226 for the nearest distributor. Ask for
Formula #27: Chyavanprash
- Green Essence
This supplement is another useful
whole foods supplement that provides a wide variety of vitamin and minerals. It
is good for persons who wants to get extra nutrients from green vegetables
(which are very important) as well as B Vitamins and minerals. The supplement
contains young barley leaves, maltodextrin, carrots, pearl barley, wheat germ,
brown rice, alfalfa (from leaves only), aloe, garlic, shitake mushroom,
lecithin, spinach, broccoli, celery, green pepper, and kelp.
order this product from your local natural foods store or find a distributor by
contacting the manufacturer, Green Foods Corp., 620 Maple, Ave., Torrance, CA
90503, (310) 618-0678, (800) 777-4430.
- Essential Fatty Acid Supplement
Because it can be
difficult to get essential fatty acids (EFAs) from modern diets (even natural
foods diets in some cases), an EFA supplement may be helpful. "Udo's Choice
Perfected Oil Blend" is one excellent EFA supplement. Unlike some supplements
and oils available in health food stores, care is taken to process the oil with
low heat and care is taken to balance the proportion of LNA, LA and other key
nutrients for the most beneficial effect. It can be ordered from Flora Health on
the U.S. or Canadian web site. Do
not supplement with flax seed oil by itself for more than six months because its
extremely high LNA content could contribute to an LA fatty acid
- Alfalfa Leaf Tablets
Alfalfa tablets (made from
alfalfa leaves) are one of the most nutritous foods available. It contains
vitamins A, B1, B6, C, D, E, K, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid,
minerals and trace minerals, and is 25% protein by weight. Along with kelp, and
algin (from seaweed) it is often used for detoxification from environmental
pollution. You can take alfalfa leaf tablets with meals.
Alfalfa leaf can
be taken in the form of tablets (from Bernard Jensen Internation 619/749-2727 or
local natural foods store) or in the form of a tea (which is slightly less
preferable, but often easier to digest).
Please note that this is not the
same as eating alfalfa sprouts or alfalfa seeds. Alfalfa seeds and alfalfa
sprouts contain a small amount of the amino acid L-Canavanine which can cause
the symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) to worsen in some cases. If
you have SLE, it is very important that you check to be sure that none of your
concentrated food supplements contain alfalfa seeds or sprouts. As with all
herbs and supplements, start with tiny amounts before increasing to full dosage
to check if you are sensative to the product.
- Green Drinks
There are many other green drinks that
are available as supplements. It is okay to use these supplements in small
amounts. If you have the condition, hyperkalemia (too much potassium in the
blood) or a chronic kidney condition, avoid large intakes of green drinks.
Popular green drinks include the following:
- Barley Green
- Liquid Chlorophyll
- Vegetable Broths
Vegetable broths are an excellant
way to get extra vitamins and minerals in a balanced, easily assimilable form. I
often drink a cup of hot vegetable broth before lunch.
You can make your own
vegetable broth or buy it at your local natural foods store. The store-bought
vegetables broths contain a small amount of yeast, so if you are avoiding yeast,
you will have to make your own vegetable broths. Be very careful when purchasing
vegetable broths, however, as many of them contain products that have MSG or
hidden MSG (hydrolyzed proteins, autolyzed yeasts).
broth that I like is:
All Natural Vegetable Broth
P.O. Box 09398
Milwaukee, WI 53209
Kelp is a general term for several species of
sea vegetables. It is often sold as a supplement because it is a very
concentrated source of minerals and trace minerals. Kelp is good for the nervous
system, arthritic conditions, detoxification, strengthening the endocrine
glands, soothing mucous membranes, reducing water retention, and healing the
immune system to name just a few of the beneficial effects.
Kelp can be
purchased as a separate supplement or part of a supplement or condiment in
almost any natural foods store.
- Supplements High in Vitamin C Complex
several whole food supplements which are high in Vitamin C Complex.
- Alma (Indian Gooseberries) have one of the highest sources of Vitamin C
Complex of any plant.
- Schizandra is a herb which is very high in Vitamin C Complex.
- Rose Hips is a very popular herb for Vitamin C supplementation. Beware of
Vitamin C supplements that say on the package "in a Rose Hip base" as there is
probably very little Rose Hips and therfore Vitamin C *Complex* in the
- Acerola Cherry is one of the more common Vitamin C Complex supplements found
in natural food stores.
- Hawthorn Berry is a popular herbs used for heart conditions in the West and
to remove congestion from overeating or poor digestion in Chinese Medicine. It
is a good source of Vitamin C Complex.
- Miscellaneous Herbs
The following herbs provide an
large amount of vitamins and minerals are are especially high in iron.
- Dandelion Root
- Yellow Dock
Dandelion root tea can be taken regularly. Nettles
can be taken in an herbal supplement or eaten cooked in season (Springtime).
Yellow dock is usually taken as part of an herbal
Individual supplements can be very helpful if you
cannot get your nutrients needed for healing from food or concentrated food
sources. In addition, for severe deficiencies or acute symptoms, short-term use
of individual supplements can be very helpful.
Here are some ideas for
individual supplements. I will only be discussing a few of the most commonly
As with all lists, don't try to do everything at once. In
addition, start with tiny amounts of each supplement you choose in order to test
for negative reactions.
- Vitamin C Complex
Many people find it helpful to
supplement with Vitamin C. For example, some persons with chronic immune systems
disorders and many people who have had mercury poisoning from dental amalgam
fillings have found Vitamin C very helpful. If you feel that you need additional
supplementation of Vitamin C, I suggest you look into taking a Vitamin C
_Complex_ supplement. If you are currently taking steroids, your need for
Vitamin C may be higher, in which case a Vitamin C Complex supplement may be
Vitamin C Complex contains the following:
- Ascorbic Acid
Ascorbic acid, by itself, can be helpful in
certain acute conditions. But for regular use, it is preferable to try to get
your extra Vitamin C through concentrated food sources or a Vitamin C Complex
supplement. You should be able to pick up a quality Vitamin C Complex supplement
at a natural food store. Here is a mailorder resource:
International Vitamin C Complex
Contains a blend of
Ascorbic Acid, Bioflavanoids, Rose Hips, and Amylase.
- Vitamin B
B vitamins are important for maintaining
the health of the nervous system, the skin, and the tone of the muscles
including GI tract muscles. By eating a varied natural foods diet, most healthy
people can get enough B vitamins. However, many people do find that a general
B-Complex supplement is helpful to them over the long run.
(Pyridoxine) is one of the more important B vitamins for persons with chronic
immune system-related disorders. The need for B vitamins, especially B-6 may
increase if you are taking antidepressants, estrogen, steroids, antibiotics, or
other medication. If you are suffering from digestive problems or bowel
problems, depression or anxiety, your need for B vitamins is probably higher. In
this case it can be helpful to supplement with Vitamin B-Complex.
A proper amount and proportion of minerals
are needed for the formation of healthy blood, bone, and bodily tissues. It can
be very difficult for a healthy person to obtain an adequate supply of minerals
and trace minerals (which are minerals needed only in minute quantities).
Therefore, it is usually recommended that a healthy person eat a small
proportion of sea vegetables along with a varied natural foods diet.
many cases, supplementation of individual minerals can be very helpful. A few of
the many individual supplements that have proven very helpful include:
Avoid taking mineral supplementation as part of
antacids such as Tums. Such medicine use can weaken digestion significantly over
PrerequisitesThere are no prerequisites
for dietary changes although in most cases it is preferable to:
- Discuss changes with your chosen holistic health practitioner.
- Make changes gradually.
Actions To Be Taken
- Review the discussion and techniques listed in this chapter and decide what
change, if any, you would like to make.
- Discuss these ideas with your holistic health practitioner.
- Begin to locate all of the grocery stores and farm stands in your area that
sell healthy (preferably organic) foods.
- Purchase one or two of the general books listed in the resource section and
one or two of the cookbooks.
- Gradually make changes to move towards a natural foods diet.
- Take a cooking class if necessary. Talk with natural food store owners,
holistic health practitioners, and other practitioners for leads on where to
learn natural foods cooking.
Questions & Answers
I am having
difficulty cutting out certain food because I have a craving for them. Do you
have any ideas?
First of all, three important points to keep in
- Be certain that you aren't trying to change your current diet too quickly.
Just make some comfortable changes. Get used to those changes for at least a
couple of months. Then you see if you're ready to or have a desire to make
- Remember to give yourself a healthy dose of self-love and self-acceptance
wherever you are at in your diet. This will be the most important technique in
making slow permanent dietary changes.
- If you have a eating disorder such as regular binging, purging, bulemia,
anorexia, or heavy eating for emotional reasons, you should definately get help
from a professional or a group/organizations that is experienced in working with
persons who have eating disorder issues. It is very important to avoid trying to
work through these issues by yourself, as that usually leads to alot of
frustration. Please see the Resources section for helpful
Here are a couple of ideas that might help you.
I've had the most success with idea "2." Ideas "1." and "2." may be a good way
to approach cutting out caffeine when you are ready to make that change.
- Slowly phase out consumption of the food.
- Replace the food with a healthy alternative found at your local natural
foods store that has a similar taste and texture.
For example, I had a
very strong craving for ice cream. I started by replacing it with Rice Dream
(made with cultured rice) which had a similar taste and texture but was much
healthier. Even though I knew that it was good for me to totally forgo very cold
foods to improve my weak digestion, it was more important that I not too
radically change my diet. Such a radical change may have led me to secret,
midnight ice cream binges. Eventually, I moved to Amasake drinks which are
creamy and usually slightly chilled drinks.
- Cold turkey. This is sometimes used successfully by persons with certain
eating disorders. It can, however, lead to the person becoming extremely
"uptight" if there were any emotional issues behind the craving that were not
resolved. This technique is not recommended for use in changing a moderate to
heavy caffeine habit.
- A combination of "1." and "2."
Meat/Red Meat Needs
I feel that I need
meat, including some red meat. I don't feel well eating a diet based on whole
grains, legumes, and vegetables. Your suggestions seem to be counterproductive
for me. Any comments?
This is where the "Regular, Gradual Improvement
without Obsessing" section becomes important. Please don't force yourself to eat
a diet that makes you feel bad. Over several years times you may be able to
change your diet gradually with positive results as your health slowly
In your particular case you should consider the following
- Try to eat alot of cooked vegetables, especially greens such as collard
greens, beet greens, spinach, etc. Some salads are okay if your digestion can
- Try to eat some of your meat in the form of fish (deep-water, ocean fish are
preferable) and some red meat when you feel you need it. It is preferable to buy
and especially prepare you meat as described in this chapter.
- If possible, try to include some form of easily digestable grain products
(e.g., whole grains, whole grain noodles -- udon, soba, etc.) in your diet on
- Try to get some sea vegetables in your diet and/or a food concentrate
mineral supplement as described above. You may need to get more B Vitamins in
the form of a food concentrate or supplements.
- You can cut back slightly on the legumes, especially at meals where you eat
- Finally, take your time and change your diet as your health improves and you
feel comfortable with the change. That way, you can spend less time worrying
about your diet and more time enjoying life.
How do I determine if I'm allergic to a
Your health care practitioner (e.g., holistic doctor,
allergist, environmental illness doctor) can schedule an appointment for you to
have allergy tests. These tests can determine if you have an allergy to a
particular food, they cannot show whether or not you have an intolerance-like
reaction to that food.
It is important to note that following a Natural
Foods Diet similar to what is described above will often eliminate most, if not
all allergic food reactions. I feel that most people should try the Natural
Foods Diet for a few weeks to see if some of the allergic reactions disappear.
If that doesn't help then experiment with eliminating the foods that are common
causes of allergic reactions such as listed in the section above. Finally, as a
last resort, you can try the Elimination Diet as described below.
use the Elimination Diet to determine if you have any negative reactions to a
particular food. It is preferable to work with a healthcare practitioner when
performing the Elimination Diet. The Elimination Diet is performed as
- For one week eat only from the following list of foods in order to eliminate
all food allergy symptoms:
- Starches (cooked)
Brown rice, taro root, puffed rice
(e.g, rice cakes), sweet potatoes, winter squash, tapioca.
- Green, Yellow, Orange Vegetables (cooked)
beets and beet
greens, celery, chard, summer squash, artichokes, string beans, asparagus,
- Non-citrus Fruits (cooked)
peaches, plums, prunes,
cranberries, apricots, papaya, cherries
sea salt (tiny amounts)
After one week,
your negative food reactions are likely to have ended.
- Add only one food item at a time to your diet by eating it at all three
meals for a day in moderately large quanities. If you have a negative reaction
to the new food, you will know to avoid that food.
- If you have a negative reaction, you have to wait at least four days on the
Elimination Diet before adding a new food.
What about eating a
Macrobiotic diet? Is that healthy?
I think that a macrobiotic diet can be
very helpful for many people. I suggest keeping the following points in mind if
you are planning to try a macrobiotic diet:
- The diet should not be too strict.
- Try not to overdo the salty products such as miso, pickles, etc.
- You may need to cook your foods more thoroughly that is sometimes done by
macrobiotic cooks in order to make them more digestable.
- Make sure most of your meals are palatable.
- Don't be afraid to use herbs and spices with your cooking.
- Keep in mind that you may have to adjust the diet if it isn't meeting your
Chinese and Ayurvedic
What about food plans based on Ayurvedic theory or
Chinese Medicine theory?
I heartily recommend using Ayurvedic or Chinese
Medicine principals to help improve health. Food adjustments are used as
medicine in both of these well-respected systems of health. It is easier to get
a specific diagnosis and customized nutrition recommendation from a practitioner
than to self-prescribe. But there are some useful books that can help you
understand the principals of Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine dietary therapy and
make some of the adjustments yourself.
Probiotics refer to
friendly bacteria which contribute to the health of the intestinal
- Positive Health Affects
A selection of the positive
health affects of probiotics can be summarized with the following excerpts from
"Probiotics" by Leon Chaitow and Natasha Trenev:
- They manufacture B-vitamins, such as biotin, niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6)
and folic acid.
- They act as anti-carcinogenic (anti-cancer) factors, with powerful
- They act as 'watchdogs' by keeping an eye on, and effectively controlling,
the spread of undesirable microorganisms (by altering the acidity of the region
they inhabit and/or producing specific antibiotic substances, as well as by
depriving rival unfriendly bacteria of their nutrients). The antibiotics some of
the friendly bacteria produce are effective against many harmful bacteria,
viruses and fungi. Not the least of the potentially harmful yeasts controlled by
some lactobacilli is "Candida albicans," now implicated in many health problems
in people who are malnourished or whose immune systems are depleted.
- They effectively help to control high cholesterol levels, thereby affording
us protection from the cardiovascular damage which excessive levels of this
nevertheless important substance can create.
- They sometimes act to relieve the symptoms of anxiety.
- They play a role in protecting against the negative effects of radiation and
toxic pollutants, enhancing immune function.
- They help considerably to enhance bowel function. Where bowel bacteria are
absent, the function of peristalsis is impaired, and the amount of time it take
for food to pass completely through the system is much increased.
- 60 percent of the circulating female hormones such as estrogen are excreted
into the GI tract in the bile. The hormones are then, in normal conditions,
acted upon--a process known as deconjugation--by bacterial enzymes such as
sulphatase catalyse before most of it (some is excreted in the faeces) is
re-absorbed into the bloodstream. From there, it is sent back to the liver for
reactivation into a biologically active form. [The author goes on to discuss how
problems with the beneficial bacterial population in the intestines cause by
antibiotics (for example) can lead to much lower levels of hormones being
recirculated into the bloodstream. This can be a major problem for
- Causes of Loss of Probiotics
Probiotics can be
negatively affected by the following:
- Unhealthy diet, especially a diet that leads to regular indigestion.
- Poor digestion of food from various causes and/or poor elimination of
- Antibiotics can kill a significant percentage of beneficial bacteria in the
intestines. The amount killed is largely dependant upon whether they are
narrow-spectrum or wide- sprectrum antibiotics and how long they are used for.
If you are forced to use antibiotics, use narrow-spectrum antibiotics for as
short a time as possible and subsequently take probiotic supplements.
- Chlorinated water used on a regular basis can kill beneficial bacteria in
- Stress, especially on-going stress negatively affects beneficial
- Other pharmaceuticals such as steroids and NSAIDS (non-steroidal,
anti-inflammatory drugs) can have a negative affect on the beneficial bacteria
in the intestines.
- Radiation (i.e., x-rays)
- Negative Health Affects From Loss of Probiotics
- Lack of reciculation of female hormones such as estrogen.
- Overgrowth of detrimental, disease-causing bacteria and yeasts such as
Clostridium dificile, Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, Yersinia
- Production of endotoxins in the GI Tract contributing to lupus
erythematosus, psoriasis and other skin conditions, and pancreatitis (to mention
just a few).
- Allows partially digested proteins to enter the bloodstream contributing to
eczema, nervous system disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and a variety of immune
- GI tract problems such as leaky bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, IBS,
etc. are contributed to by loss of probiotics and appearance of detrimental
- Specific strains of detrimental bacteria may cause health problems. For
example, E. coli may lead to problems with insulin and blood sugar function.
Yersinia enterocolitica produces substances which cause the over-production of
thyroid hormone. This detrimental bacteria can also contribute to autoimmune
- Choosing a *High Quality* Probiotics Supplement
is extremely important to choose carefully when selecting a probiotics
supplement. Most of the supplements of the market run anywhere from worthless to
slightly useful. Spending the extra time looking for the right product and
spending a little extra money purchasing the right product will pay off in the
long run. You may be fooling yourself if you rely on the "conscientiousness" of
your favorite natural food store or manufacturer to choose a good probiotic
products for you.
Below are a few things to look for or to avoid in a
- Number of Organisms
Product should say on the label
a guarantee of the number of viable organisms in the product. It should be at
least 1 billion organisms per gram for a therapeutic dosage. The label should
ideally give a guarantee of the number of viable organisms at the expiration
date since it will be less than the manufacture date.
should have an *independant* lab analyze their product for potency on a regular
basis. They should be able to send you a copy of the lab results upon
- Type of Organisms
- Single-strain products are strongly prefered because in multiple-strain
products, one strain can begin to dominate during storage leaving little viable
L. acidophilus or B. bifidum. It is better to take two or three single-strain
products than one multi-strain product (which may have little viable organisms
in it at consumption time). For example, strains of L. acidophilus and L.
bulgaricus should not be put together as the L. bulgaricus would take over. Some
double-strain products with both L. acidophilus and B. bifidum such as those
made by Natren (see below) are okay to use.
- The most important types of bacteria to take *therapeutically* are:
- L. acidophillus
- B. bifidum
- L. bulgaricus
- S. thermophilus
L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus are very
useful for encouraging the growth of B. bifidum in the intestines.
believe that there are a few others that would be very helpful such as some of
the strains found in products like miso, but you won't find such strains in
products on the market (at least I don't think so).
- The *strain* of the type of bacteria is extremely important. The strain must
be able to:
- survive the stomach digestive acids and the bile acids.
- attach itself to the intestinal wall.
- accepted by the immune system.
- produce substances such as natural antibiotics that help destroy significant
numbers of pathenogenic organisms.
INT 9, DDS-1, and NAS
strains of L. acidophilus are all good strains to use.
The Malyoth strain
of B. Bifidum is an example of good strain.
The LB-51 strain of L.
bulgaricus is an example of good strain.
Many labels do not list the
strains of the bacteria. You may have to check with the
- Type of Processing
It is very important that the
product *not* have been processed using centrifuging. Centrifuging has the
following detrimental effects on a probiotics product:
- Damages colonies
The g-forces produced by centrifuging damages the
acidophilus colonies causing growth after implantation to be poor. A healthy
acidophilus colony may have 20 organisms which tends to have a much greater
ability to implant and grow. Centrifuging breaks these colonies in much smaller
bits. This raises the *apparent* number of viable organisms, but the
implantation and growth of these organisms in the human body will be reduced
- Damages Cell
Centrifuging damages the cell walls of the bacteria
reducing its viability.
- Supernatant Lost
The Supernatant is the growth medium of the
probiotics culture. During the culturing process, the bacteria secretes or
synthesizes chemicals which are very powerful for inhibiting pathenogenic
bacteria and fungus (e.g., lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and antibiotic-like
substances -- acidophilin, for example). The Supernatant also protects the
probiotic bacteria from stomach acids and provides food for the bacteria to help
them flourish once they reach their destination in the intestines. Centrifuging
removes the Supernatant from the bacteria.
If the product does
not say on the label that it is uncentrifuged, you need to get a guarantee from
the manufacturer that this is the case. Since most companies do not manufacture
their own probiotic supplements (they just put their label on the bottle), you
may have to do a little detective work to track down the
Some products that are not centrifuged are ultra-filtrated.
Ultra-filtration does not damage the product as much as centrifuging, but it
does remove the Supernatant from the bacteria.
manufacturers add chemicals and/or hormones to stimulate the growth of the
bacteria. Since they are processing agents, they do not have to be listed on the
label. Please check with the manufacturer to be certain that they do not add
these chemicals to their product.
- Base of Product
A milk base is an ideal base for the
organisms in a probiotics supplement. Since this is such a small part of the
diet, I believe it is okay to use a milk base *if* you do not have a negative
reaction from the product. If a milk base is used it is preferable that the
product contain the DDS-1 strain of L. acidophilus which produces plenty of
lactose to help digestion of the dairy.
It is preferable to find a
quality product that has a dairy-free base. It is also preferable that a
non-dairy base be one that provides an adequate diet for the acidophilus so that
they remain viable. A rice base is one example.
Ideally the product should be in powdered form.
If you use powdered form, it is crucial that you keep the jar sealed and in the
refrigerator when not in use and that you only touch the powder with a *clean*
spoon so as not to damage the product.
The second best choice is
encapsulated powder. The number of viable organisms go down quicker when
encapsulated, especially if the encapsulation process is not done
Avoid liquid products.
The product should be packaged in glass to
avoid condensation inside the container. Amber (dark) colored glass should be
used to keep the light from destroying the product. Avoid plastic containers if
The product should always be refrigerated.
*Some* products are viable without refrigeration for a short period of time
(e.g., a few weeks), but it is a good idea to refrigerate once
Check with the retailer you purchase from to be certain that
they are carefully refrigerating the probiotics product and not turning off or
turning down their cooler at night.
- Using a *High Quality* Probiotics Supplement
should be taken when starting your healing program, after a cleanse or
enema/colonic or after a chemical exposure. You can stay on therapeutic dosage
for up to ten days unless directed overwise by your healthcare professional.
Then gradually work your way down to maintenance dosage (see below).
may find that the therapeutic dosage of probiotics suggested below is expensive
if you use a quality product. Please bear in mind that the therapeutic dosage is
temporary and that it is still much cheaper than most prescriptions.
L. acidophilus -- 5 to 10 grams (2.5 to 5 level teaspoonsful) of powder
*total* per day. These should be divided evenly and taken half way between
B. bifidum -- 5 to 10 grams (2.5 to 5 level teaspoonsful) of
powder *total* per day. These should be divided evenly and taken half way
L. bulgaricus (if taken) -- 3 to 6 grams (1.5 to 3
teaspoonsful) taken with each meal (3 times daily).
You can stay on the maintenance dosage indefinately, but I
recommend gradually working away from regular use of probiotic supplements and
replacing it with the use of fermented foods and other foods naturally building
the health of the bacteria in your intestines. Of course, you should only do
this when you have healed enough to slowly add small, regular amount of
fermented foods to your diet (e.g., miso).
L. acidophilus -- 1 gram (0.5 level teaspoonsful) of powder *total* per day.
These should be divided evenly and taken half way between meals.
bifidum -- 4 grams (2 level teaspoonsful) of powder *total* per day. These
should be divided evenly and taken half way between meals.
(if taken) -- 1 gram (0.5 teaspoonsful) taken with each meal (3 times
The ratio of B. bifidum to L. acidophilus should be
approximately 4:1 if you follow the Natural Foods Diet described in the "Food
and Nutrition" chapter. If you eat more meat, take a higher proportion of L.
- Method of Administration
The probiotics supplements
should be taken with spring water *only* (except in the case of L. bulgaricus
which is taken with or after meals as described above). Do not take with juice
or broth as this can stimulate more stomach acids to be released leading to
fewer bacteria surviving in the stomach.
- What To Expect
During the first few days of
supplementation, and possibly through the entire ten days of therapeutic dosing,
you may experience cleansing symtpoms. (See "Detoxification" chapter for more
detail on cleansing symtoms.) This is due to the dying off of yeast overgrowth
(especially if you are taking products to combat yeast -- garlic, caprylic acid,
Pau d'Arco, etc.) and dying off of detrimental bacteria. Symptoms such as gas,
bloating, IBS, diarrhea are not uncommon. Be certain to consume warming, healthy
foods and beverages when possible.
- Other Ways to Get and Increase Probiotics
heal your condition, it is desirable to eventually add fermented products to the
diet (when they do not cause adverse reactions) and gradually reduce and
eliminate the regular use of probiotic supplement products. If you are not
sensitive to eating fermented foods, it is a good idea to eat a little bit
regularly. Light miso soup/broth once per day is a good way to
Eating fermented foods is the normal way human beings can get and
increase their beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. Some of the more
common fermented foods include:
Miso is a fermented product made from soybeans,
various grains, koji (a starter), and sea salt. The koji is added to the mixture
to break down the beans and grains into easily digestible amino acids, fatty
acids, and simple sugars.
The strains of bacteria found in miso are ideal
for persons eating a vegetarian or near-vegetarian diet. In addition, miso is
believed to help neutralize environmental pollution, alkalinize the blood and
block the effects of carcinogens.
It is important that you keep the
following points in mind when purchasing miso:
- Purchase from you local natural foods store and *not* an oriental grocery
store. The products at oriental grocery stores are usually not naturally-aged
and often worthless.
- The miso product must state on the label that it is *unpasturized*.
Otherwise, it will lack the beneficial bacteria.
- The miso should be naturally-aged.
- It is preferable that only organically-grown ingredients be used in the
- The light miso (white or yellow) are high in simple sugars and have twice
the niacin and ten times the bacteria as the dark, saltier miso (e.g., red
miso). The dark miso are higher in protein and contain more fatty acids which
have been shown to be anti-carcinogenic agents. I suggest using the lighter miso
until you get used to it and then only use the dark, saltier miso in small
amounts during the cold Winter months.
There are numerous
cookbooks on the market that discuss how to cook with miso. "How to Cook With Miso" by
Aveline Kushi (Japan Publications, 1978) is another book that may
Here are a few tips in addition to what you may find in the
- Use only a *small* amount of miso. Always err of the side of using too
little as it is somewhat salty.
- Put the miso in the dish (i.e., soup) near the very end of cooking and be
certain that the water is not boiling in the *slightest* way immediately before
putting the miso in and after putting the miso in. Boiling water will destroy
the beneficial bacteria.
- Try starting by drinking some broth made in the morning with a small amount
of miso added at the end of cooking. Having a small amount of miso in soup or
broth once per day is plenty.
If you cannot find unpasturized,
organic miso at your local natural foods store, you can mail-order miso
South River Miso
The Elwell Family
Conway, MA 01341
Pickles (pickled cucumbers) and
sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) are common forms of fermented foods. In some
stores, you may find other pickled vegetables. Please try to purchase these
products at a natural foods store and check the labels for sugar, additives or
other unhealthy ingrediants--otherwise they may be worthless as a probiotics
supplements. The products that say "low-salt" are preferable. Please do not eat
*large* amount of these products.
Yogurt is a fermented dairy product
made traditionally from milk (unpasturized, unhomogenized) and a starter which
contains the bacteria S. thermophilus and L. bulgaricus. If you do decide to eat
small amount of yogurt, please bear the following in mind:
- Avoid products that have been pasturized.
- Avoid products with fruit in them.
- Some comercial brands do not even contain beneficial bacteria.
- Purchase yogurt only at a natural food store.
- It is better, by far, to make your own yogurt. Do not use L. acidophilus as
a starter or any other bacteria meant for supplementation. Use a culture-mix,
preferably with a ratio of seven parts S. thermophilus to one part L.
Kefir is a very healthy fermented dairy product
traditionally made from goat, sheep, or cows milk (unpasturized, unhomogenized)
and a culture containing the bacteria, Saccaromyces kefir, Torula kefir,
Lactobacillus brevis, Streptococcus lactic and others. The yeasts in the culture
lead to a slight alcohol content (approximately 3 percent).
brought to the U.S. from the Soviet Union in the 1960s by Natasha Trenev
(co-author of the Probiotics book). Some states such as California do not allow
cultured dairy products to contain yeasts, but other states such as New York
will allow traditionally-made kefir.
There are substances which
have a much more indirect method of increasing the number of friendly bacteria
in the intestines including:
Inulin is a fiber-like substance found in
vegetables such as dandelion and Jerusalem artichokes which is food for
bifidobacteria. Some authors recommend eating Jerusalem artichokes when taking
probiotic supplements to increase the bifidobacteria in the intestines.
Unfortunately, some people find that they have gas when eating Jerusalme
artichokes. If that is the case with you, I would try something else.
- Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
are a fiber-like substance which feeds the bifidobacteria in the intestines. FOS
can be useful for persons who are on a Candida Reduction Program as it is 1/2 as
sweet as sugar and is much healthier than artificial
Please note that you may experience more
cleansing symptoms when using a high quality probiotic supplement. This is due
to the fact that the beneficial bacteria and the supernatant are killing off
pathenogenic bacteria and fungus. When that happens, xenobiotics (organic
toxins) are release which can cause these reactions. For most people these
reactions should subside after a week.
- Natren, Inc.
10935 Camarillo Street
North Hollywood, CA 91602
992-3323 or (800) 992-9393
Nutri (Imports & Exports) Ltd.
Road, New Mills
products are not centrifuged or ultra-filtrated. The probiotic organisms are
therefore still bound with the supernatant medium which strengthen the product's
ability to 1) survive stomach acids, and 2) inhibit disease-causing bacteria.
The products have no yeasts, MSG, additives, fillers, or any other unnatural
The company is owned by Natasha Trenev, coauthor of the
"Probiotics" book. A lot of care was put into the strain selection for their
product line. I strongly recommend Natren probiotics products.
- Bio-Nate acidophilus (NAS Strain)
- Bifido-Nate B. bifidum (Malyoth Strain)
- Digesta-Lac (LB-51 strain of L. Bulgaricus)
- Bifido Factor/Life Start Two
- Life Start
- D.F.A. Vegetarian Formula
- BioCare Limited UK
54 Northfield Road
021 433-3727 (country code from U.S. is
- Vegidophilus (INT-9 L. acidophilus and B. bifidum)
- INT-9 L. acidophilus (with fructooligosaccharides)
- B. bifidum
- B. infantis (for infants)
- L. bulgaricus
An excellant line of products which I highly
recommend. These products are made by practitioners and it is obvious that they
have taken great pains to use the best strains and best processing techniques
available. They have a vegan product for those of you who are vegetarian. They
sell mail order to the U.S.
- Other Products
Some other probiotics products on the market have one
or more of the following characteristics:
- Centrifuged which artificially raises the level of "viable" organisms but
damages the product.
- Mixture of several competing strains which often leads to the destruction of
acidophilus strain even in free-dried products.
- Added fillers and additives which do not appear on the label.
- Poor strain selection. This is crucial for bacteria adhesion.
- Improper storage.
by Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O.
and Natasha Trenev
Thorsons Publishing Group, Northamptonshire England,
An excellant book. Leon Chaitow is the editor of
the "International Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine" and
Natasha Trenev has over 25 years of experience studying probiotics. Jeremija Lj.
Rasic, Ph.D., a researcher in the field of probiotics contributes expertise to
HERE To Order through Amazon.Com)
Twelve Steps to Healthy Eating
you want to print this page out separately, please click here.
Twelve Steps to Heathy Eating
- Eat lots of cooked vegetables including green leafy vegetables.
- Eat mostly cooked and warm foods where possible (with ocassional salads).
Use foods prepared within 24 hours when possible.
- Eat meals on a regular schedule where possible.
- Eat fruit on ocassion only and separate from meals when possible. Slightly
more fruit in the warmer months and very little in the colder months.
- Gradually cut back on dairy or cut it out entirely. Try to limit dairy
(eventually) to ocassional yogurt or kefir from a natural food store.
(Unhomgenized milk is preferable when used.)
- Eat miso soup several times per week and include the ocassional use of other
traditionally fermented dishes.
- Gradually eliminate foods with additives, preservatives, caffeinated
products, coloring, MSG/hydrolyzed proteins, artificial sweeteners (aspartame,
neotame, acesulfame-k, sucralose, etc.), and chemical names in the ingredient
list that you are not sure of. Shopping regularly at a natural foods store will
make it much easier to find such products. The ocassional "treat" can be
replaced with healthier "treats" from a natural food store.
- Determine with some experimentation what balance of vegetables and sea
vegeteables, whole grains, fish/fowl, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, juices,
herbal teas/coffee substitutes/spring water, and treats/snacks works best for
you. You may decide to regularly take a concentrated food supplement or
individual supplements (e.g., magnesium, calcium, B Vitamins) until your health
and nutrition plan improves. Use health food store natural supplements without
additives sweeteners, fillers, etc.
- Shop for foods at a natural food store and wherever possible, purchase
organic foods. If you need to, purchase staple foods via mailorder
- Purchase natural foods cookbooks such as those recommended in Food and
Nutrition article to help you with cooking techniques and recipes. Locate ethnic
and other restaurants with healthy foods so you can give yourself a break from
time to time.
- Food cravings can be handled best by using holistic healing tools such as
taking classes in yoga, meditation, moderate exercise and using a Twelve Stop
Program (e.g., Overeater's Anonymous) for addictions. Getting small, regular
amounts of protein at meals (e.g., legumes, fish, tofu, etc.) can help reduce
sugar and other cravings.
- When cooking and eating (including eating at restaurants) try to have a
spirit of love and joy in your heart and serenity in your mind. Of course, this
isn't always possible, so just do the best you can.
- Mailorder Food Sources
- Gold Mine Natural Food
3419 Hancock St.
San Diego, CA 92110
- Maine Coast Sea Vegetables
RR 1, Box 78
Franklin, Maine 04634
- Mercantile Food Company
P.O. Box SS
- Mountain Ark Trading
P.O. Box 3170
- The Nature's Goodness
20800 Route 19N
Township, PA 16066
- Paradise Farm Organics, Inc.
1000 Wild Iris Ln.
- Diagnose and Treat Food Allergies Resources
- Resources For Persons With Eating Disorders
- Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.
383 Van Ness Avenue
Mail Address: P.O. Box 92870
Los Angeles, CA
Office # (213) 936-4206
Meeting Information # (213)
12-Step support group for persons with any eating disorders.
- Alcoholics Anonymous
P.O. Box 459, Grand Central Station
New York, NY
Provides referrals to all 12-step groups including
- Herb Companies for Teas and Selected Medicinal
- Oriental Herb Company
P.O. Box 3141
Evergreen, CO 80439
- Maharishi Ayur-Ved Teas/Products
P.O. Box 49667
Spring, CO 80949-9667
(800) 255-8332, ext 147
- The Yogi Tea Company
2545 Prairie Road
Eugene, Oregon 79402
- Planetary Herbal Products
P.O. Box 7145
Santa Cruz, CA 95061
- Priobiotics Supplements Companies
- Natren, Inc.
10935 Camarillo Street
North Hollywood, CA 91602
992-3323 or (800) 992-9393
- Nutri (Imports & Exports) Ltd.
Buxton Road, New Mills
Cheshire, United Kingdom
- Wakunaga of America, Co., Ltd.
Mission Viejo, CA