Nutrients: Are You Getting Enough?
1. Perfect your caloronutrient ratio, directing it towards 80/10/10.
There are only three caloronutrients, protein, fat and carbohydrate. Protein consumption does not vary appreciably from diet to diet. Therefore, the more fat you consume, the less carbohydrates you consume. Worldwide, RDAs for carbohydrate range from 65-75% of total calories. The average raw fooder consumes only about 20% of their total calories as carbohydrates, most of this from fruit. The underconsumption of carbohydrates and overconsumption of fats leads to a host of health problems. Leading the list are candida, diabetes, hypoglycemia, chronic fatigue, heart disease and cancer. Most of the so-called sugar metabolic disorders are actually the symptoms of the overconsumption of fats.
2. More is not better.
Nutrients are found in the body in specific quantitative relationships to other nutrients. Calcium, for example, is present in a 2/1 relationship with phosphorus. Consuming more of a specific nutrient, or consistently eating foods that are overly high in that nutrient will inevitably lead to an imbalance. We are designed like Goldilocks--we thrive when the nutritional ratios are "just right". When it comes to nutrients, too much is just as much of a problem as too little. The optimum foods for us, nutritionally, are those foods whose nutrient content most closely mimic our nutrient needs. In every category of nutrition, fruits come closest to meeting those needs.
3. Supplements do not supplement – rather, they foster nutritional imbalances.
Except in the instance of severe and specific nutritional deficiency, chemical isolates, generally recognized as pharmaceutical quality drugs, always lead to imbalances and do more harm than good. The approach known as "better living through chemistry" has failed us consistently, every time it has been tried. On a healthy lowfat raw vegan diet, supplements are not necessary. Supplements will not make up for the nutritional insufficiencies we experience when eating a less than optimal diet because those insufficiencies are broad spectrum and supplements are relatively specific. It is always better to correct the diet than it is to attempt to supplement or remedy it.
4. Superfoods are not really super.
Dehydrated foods, especially those that have been powdered, undergo the deleterious impact of extensive oxidation and other heat related nutritive losses, such as the transformation of the viable form of B-12 into its unusable analog form. When minute quantities of any substance result in profound shifts in energy, we are dealing with a stimulant. Stimulants actually result in a release of vital reserves, hence ultimately draining vitality. Foods that are not in scale with human consumption, (the relative size relationship between us and our foods) or that must be packaged in bottles, boxes, cans, or bags, are not really super, but appeal to our superficial consumer mentality. Foods that cannot be eaten as a complete meal should automatically be suspect in human nutrition.
5. Ripen fruits fully, do not rush them.
Ripe fruits yield the optimal nutrients per calorie. As many nutrients do not become fully available in fruit until it undergoes the final stages of ripening, the consumption of ripe foods is an important consideration when one aspires to optimum nutrition. Learning about fruit is a pleasant pastime. Learn the names of the various fruit varieties that are available to you. Catalogue when each variety comes into season, which ones ripen after picking, and other interesting facts about each fruit. Become a connoisseur of fruit, and, as the old saying goes, "eat no fruit before its time."
6. Cooked foods are junk foods and supply only empty calories.
The nutrient losses associated with cooking are so extreme as to be unnecessary to list in this short article. Suffice it to say that proteins, fats and carbohydrates all degrade under the heat of cooking into toxic matter. Enzymes, coenzymes, and most vitamins are destroyed by heat. Antioxidants, phytonutrients, and minerals are damaged, as is fiber. Even water is lost in the cooking process. Nutritionally, there are no benefits to cooking wholesome raw foods. Empty calories are those from protein, fat, or carbohydrates, without their full nutrient package intact. Junk foods are generally thought of as refined foods that are missing vital nutritional elements. Oils and juices (lacking fiber), dehydrated foods (lacking water), as well as other refined foods, certainly fall into these categories.
7. Panic if it isn't organic.
The nutritional impact of herbicide, fungicide, pesticide, rodenticide, and other "cides" upon food has repeatedly been shown to be negative--deadly, in fact. It has also been shown that the consumption of these "cides" negatively affects our nutritional status. Organic food is always the best choice nutritionally, when all other factors are equal. Scientists tell us that there has been life on earth for six billion years. We have been experimenting with toxic chemicals in our food for about sixty years. If you had to bet your life, and the lives of all people on earth, which would you choose: the system that had succeeded for 99.999999% of time, or the one that had created such doubt about its efficacy over the last 0.000001% of time?
8. Plants perfectly meet all our needs: nutritional, spiritual, emotional, environmental, ecological and ethical.
Every nutrient known to be needed by humans is available to us from plants. There are no nutrients necessary to humans that can be obtained from animal foods that cannot also be obtained from plants. Nutritionally, all plant foods contain all nutrients--they simply exist in different proportions in different plants. Have you ever looked at a field of cows and found your mouth watering? Have you ever felt compassion for a helpless animal? Are you aware of the environmental, ecological and ethical nightmares that are perpetrated by the various animal industries? Have you ever felt a closeness to the earth, or a spiritual connection with G-d when you were nurturing plants?
9. Simplicity is the key to good digestion.
Good digestion is critical to ideal nutrition. We can only absorb and assimilate that which we can digest. Simplicity at each mealtime best facilitates optimum digestion. Reduction of the number of courses in the meal, as well as the number of ingredients in each dish, are both conducive to good digestion. If a meal has more than five ingredients, or takes more than five minutes to prepare, you are probably working too hard at creating the meal, and will likely suffer compromised digestion. Start from where you are comfortable (e.g., ten ingredients, ten minutes) and work toward eventually using only one ingredient, one minute.
10. Variety in your diet best ensures optimum nutrition.
Nutritional sufficiency is best guaranteed through the consumption of a wide variety of foods. Fortunately, Nature provides such variety during the course of each year. Over 200 different fruits and over 50 vegetables are readily available at some point during the year in most places. Take advantage of each one as it comes into season, in order to access the most variety, freshness, and lowest cost. Variety throughout the year coupled with simplicity at mealtimes creates the ideal situation for optimum nutrition. We have the ability to store most of our nutrients for long periods of time, and even to recycle many of them. The ebb and flow of the seasons brings foods to us that best satisfy our nutritional needs.
11. Develop the mono meal habit.
Mono (single course) meals provide the obvious ultimate goal for perfect digestion and nutrition. Almost all creatures eat mono meals when living naturally. The concept of eating "one food at a time, when hungry, until full" makes sense on many levels. Simply waiting for hunger to arrive is a wise move in optimizing digestion, absorption, and assimilation--all critical factors in good nutrition. Overeating results in compromised digestion. Variety of food choices is commonly a huge factor in overeating. The easiest way to vanquish the habit of overeating is to avoid stimulating our appetites with an excess of different foods by choosing very simple or even mono-meals. Mono meals provide a satiation that cannot be matched by complex meals. They allow us to fully and realistically get in touch with our hunger, and to finally come to appreciate the healthful reasons for eating. Experiment with the mono meal program by including a few mono meals each week. As you come to like the results, you can gradually increase the number of mono meals you consume. Your nutritional status will improve, and you will develop superior overall health.
12. Fitness matters.
Physical activity is one of the key requirements to good nutrition. Without sufficient physical activity, peristalsis of the intestines is not as efficient. Physical activity utilizes blood sugar, making for healthier blood sugar metabolism. It also greatly accelerates blood circulation and lymphatic flow, enhancing protein and fat metabolism while improving their utilization. The vasodilation that accompanies physical activity also enhances nutrient delivery. There is another aspect of fitness worthy of serious consideration. Athletes consume and utilize considerably more fuel (calories) than the average person, for two reasons. The first is that their higher activity levels require additional fuel. The second is that fit folks usually carry more muscle mass than their sedentary counterparts, and their muscle tissue requires more fuel than any tissue other than nerves. By eating more food, active people consume more calories, and along with those extra calories come additional essential nutrients: enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and even water. It is easier for a fit person to be nutritionally sound because they take in more nutrients. This may be one of the most powerful arguments for attaining fitness: we are naturally better nourished than sedentary folks, and are able to eat more food without weight gain.
There Is No Substitute For Healthful Living
Each of these steps is beneficial in the pursuit of health and optimum nutrition. The lowfat raw vegan approach, accomplished by the consumption of whole, fresh, ripe raw organic plants, is the most nutritious method of eating. Couple this with simplicity at mealtimes, diversity in your diet, the implementation of frequent mono meals and a regular fitness program, and you have the makings of a regimen that will bring you to the pinnacle of good health.