by Walter Last
Diets for health improvement are rather different from slimming diets that do not always improve the health of the dieter. However, on a health diet weight loss can be expected, if overweight, in addition to an improvement in health.
As a general rule, the more you follow a diet that is ideally suited for you, the better will be your health. The diets recommended in this chapter have been shown to be effective but you may need to experiment to find individual variations that best suit your own constitution and health problems. Your long-term diet, together with mental attitude and life-style, will decide your health in future years; therefore choose wisely.
If you are on a conventional diet at present, you may change gradually onto the high-quality diet, a process that could take years, especially if you have to take along a reluctant family. Others may rapidly adopt a raw-food diet, especially if confronted with an advanced degenerative disease. However, everyone can live temporarily on raw food as a cleansing measure.
If you are unusually sensitive to raw food diets and develop digestive problems, you may eat cooked brown rice exclusively for several days or weeks as a mild cleansing diet. If even brown rice causes problems, try Basmati or white rice. Use only olive oil and possibly a small amount of salt, herbs, spices or vegetables for flavoring. Strictly observe how you feel as you re-introduce other foods.
You need not be afraid that you may never eat your favorite food again. The long-term impact on our health comes from what we eat daily, not from occasional transgressions. When you eat out you may eat what is available; if it does not agree with you, you will know better the next time. Often our body becomes temporarily hypersensitive to foods that we have habitually eaten before. Then our reflexes were dulled, but now the body lets us know what is good or bad for us. Try to listen to it and become friends with your body.
This is a low-allergy diet based on freshly pressed vegetable juices, sprouted seeds, fermented and purple food, legumes, non-gluten grains and a high intake of raw food. It is most important to eat proteins, fats and oils predominantly raw, while vegetables may be cooked in addition to using them juiced and as salads.
Often use colored root vegetables. If you cannot chew very well, grate them very fine or even puree them. Examples of suitable roots are red beet, carrot, turnip and sweet potato; you may also use pumpkin. Tomato, cucumber and celery may be added for flavoring.
As a salad dressing you may use olive oil, lemon juice, herbs and spices. For example, shake equal parts of olive oil and lemon juice in a jar, 1 teaspoon of lecithin, a pinch of cayenne and some marjoram or mixed herbs. You may also blend into it some unsprayed lemon or orange skin or a whole lemon. Keep refrigerated and shake before using. A small amount of cider vinegar may be used if lemon juice is not available.
Use only a minimum of commercial leaf vegetables and cabbage as they may have a high exposure to toxic sprays. Instead of commercial greens, you may use sunflower and buckwheat lettuce grown in seed boxes. You may also try a small amount of very young wheat grass cut finely into a salad. If you have chewing difficulties, or vegetable salads do not agree with you for some other reasons, then make an effort to have plenty of fresh vegetable juices produced with a non-centrifugal juicer.
Before cooking legumes or whole grains soak them overnight or even longer to start the germination process. Then the enzyme phytase can start converting phytates into inositol and liberating minerals that are otherwise not available when cooking without prior soaking. Soaking and vigorously rinsing the seeds before cooking also reduces any pesticide residues and myco-toxins from fungal contamination. Use mainly non-gluten grains, such as rice, millet and buckwheat, and in addition also sago and tapioca. Corn is fine after allergy testing. However, generally and in particular for individuals with blood group 0, I recommend to use mainly vegetables rather than grains as the cooked part of their diet.
Pre-soaked legumes need cooking only for a few minutes, as they are already soft; the exception is soybeans, which are better cooked for two hours. If cooked legumes cause wind, next time discard the water used for soaking as well as the cooking water. The cooking water for soybeans may be changed several times to avoid or reduce wind.
Lentils are recommended as a cooked addition to a meal and may be combined with rice. For sugar-sensitive individuals it is good to have legumes with breakfast to slow the absorption of glucose from the same and even the following meal. Fenugreek is even more effective in this regard; preferably use also the water in which it has been soaked. It is not necessary to cook legumes in order to slow the absorption of glucose; even more effective are partly sprouted legumes.
A breakfast based on ground linseed, seed yogurt or coconut cream and bananas is suitable for most individuals, for details see Linseed-Yogurt in Recipes. For individuals with blood sugar problems it is preferable to eat sweet vegetables – for example, carrot, pumpkin, turnip and sweet potato – raw instead of cooked. If you cook them, do so cautiously together with legumes or flesh food.
Cooked flesh foods should be eaten with restriction. The best flesh foods are (organic) liver and deep-sea fish of non-predatory species or seafood from uncontaminated coastal regions. Farmed fish commonly has high levels of pollution and low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and is not recommended. Chicken or other fowl should preferably be home grown, organic or otherwise free of chemicals. Beef broth is strengthening with muscle weakness and general debility. I now believe that the only healthy meat is raw mince from chemical-free animals, for details see the Raw Food Diet.
Eggs should be genuinely free-range or organic and not fed any commercial pellets. Fresh, raw egg yolk is a health food that improves vitality and the immune functions. It may be used as part of a salad dressing. It does not increase but rather prevents the risk of heart disease. Alternatively eat egg soft-boiled or coddled. In view of the high incidence of egg allergy and if you are a regular egg eater, I recommend that you test yourself for egg allergy once a year after a period of one or more weeks of abstention.
The best milk products are yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese made of goat’s milk. Raw goat’s milk may also be used as sour milk or clabber milk. If not sensitive to it, these products may also be all right if made from fresh, raw, organic cows’ milk. However, avoid milk products if you have catarrh or other mucus problems.
Almonds are excellent; nuts are more difficult to digest and should be used with caution. All oily seeds are easier to digest if soaked overnight. Peanuts may be vigorously washed and rinsed to reduce any fungal contamination. Nuts and other oily seeds may be used as pastes or nut butters. Tahini or sesame seed paste is good. Unfortunately the seeds are commonly roasted before grinding – this also applies to commercial peanut butter. However sesame oil is more resistant to oxidation damage than other oils. Tahini may be diluted with olive oil for food flavoring.
I regard extra virgin olive oil as the best oil or fat for everyday use. Sesame and almond oil are also good but generally much more expensive. Select oils with a dark color and strong flavor. ‘Fine, light’ oil has usually been highly heated during refining and lacks valuable cofactors. Even cold-pressed oils may have been heated during refining, the more so the lighter they are. High-quality linseed oil is beneficial for many conditions but needs extra care to keep it from getting rancid; you may store it in the freezer, generally it is better to use freshly ground linseed.
Coconut oil, on the other hand, is least prone to rancidity and appears to provide good energy and body heat without causing undue weight gain. If you have access to fresh coconuts, you may find that ingesting the flesh often causes stinking wind, with or without additional indigestion. Pieces of coconut flesh are difficult to digest and are then fermented in the large intestines. This releases smelly short-chain fatty acids. You can avoid this by pressing the coconut flesh through a juice extractor. Alternatively, blend the coconut flesh for a minute or two with a cupful of warm water and then press it through a strainer. Refrigerate liquid and residue and add them in small to moderate amounts to meals or use with other foods or on their own.
Fruits need to be used with care. Commercial fruits and tomatoes are exposed to more toxic sprays than any other food, and their high sugar and acid content often cause problems for sensitive individuals. Minimize the use of sprayed fruit that are eaten with skins, such as berries. You may reduce spray residues somewhat by soaking fruit in warm soapy water and scrubbing hard-skinned fruit such as apples. Afterwards rinse well. Fruit such as apples or pears may also be peeled. Also the core of sprayed apples and pears tends to have higher pesticide content than the flesh.
Preferably slow down the absorption of sugars from fruits by combining them with suitable proteins and fats as suggested in Recipes for Smoothie and Spirulina-Pollen-Linseed Mix, or just adding some (coconut) cream to a fruit salad.
Individuals with a sensitive skin or low blood pressure are better off using only a minimum of fruit unless they neutralize any fruit acids. Some types of fruit, such as bananas, papaws or pears, are best eaten when they just start ripening and are less sweet. Overripe fruit are usually not well tolerated; apples generally cause few problems, and avocados are usually fine.
Individuals with insensitive skin and raised blood pressure, on the other hand, do well with fruit and may often have just fruit instead of a regular meal, especially for breakfast. Most beneficial for them are acid fruit, such as acid berries, grapefruit, acidic oranges and pineapples.
Individuals in a very weak or debilitated condition may not be able to eat raw vegetables. In such instances use mainly cooked rice or other non-gluten grains with steamed vegetables and as much freshly pressed vegetable juice as can comfortably be consumed. This diet may also be used for those who temporarily become oversensitive to a wide range of food items or who want to maintain a stable basic diet while testing for food allergies or other negative reactions. If brown rice causes reactions then try white rice or sago.
Restrict food that commonly has a negative influence on our health and especially if you are already in poor health. You must decide for yourself how strict you want to be and how much willpower you can muster to remain on the high-quality diet.
If you have cravings for a restricted food, it is better to give yourself a reward from time to time and eat some of it at set and well-spaced-out occasions rather than to snack on it daily or give up the whole diet because it is too difficult. Generally, the more severe your condition, the more strict you should try to be. Some restricted food may be harmless or even beneficial after you have sufficiently recovered.
Initially avoid the following foods and later minimize them:
Wheat products and gluten-enriched items, commercial breakfast cereals
Cow’s milk products (except butter) and foods with added lactose
Margarine, shortenings and commercial polyunsaturated oils, especially canola oil
Sugar and other sweeteners, definitely all artificial sweeteners as in ‘diet foods’
Pickled and smoked food and generally highly processed food with added unbiological chemicals
Food that has been irradiated or genetically engineered
Food cooked in a microwave oven or otherwise heated to more than boiling temperature.
However, even in this strongly restricted group, items may vary greatly in their effect on our health. Wheat grass does not in this sense count as a wheat product, and wheat-germ oil is generally beneficial except for those who are allergic to wheat. Wheat germ itself has some positive aspects, but its disadvantages are its high gluten content, strong enzyme inhibition and the frequent rancidity of commercial products stored without refrigeration.
Sprouted wheat is a more beneficial product than cooked whole wheat, and flour products are less beneficial than whole wheat. Whole meal sourdough bread may be beneficial for those not allergic to wheat, while white bread and cakes are devoid of vitamins and minerals and commonly contain added chemicals. However, whole grain products sometimes can cause sensitivity reactions while the corresponding refined foods may be tolerated.
The least harmful cow’s milk products are sour cream, cottage cheese and cheese made by natural fermentation, clabber milk or sour milk made from fresh raw milk, acidophilus milk and unflavored yogurt made from whole milk only, and finally butter, best butter made from sour cream. These should all remain unheated after production and before ingestion and be made from organic or otherwise unchemicalized milk.
Some of these products have various beneficial aspects while their negative aspects are the widespread incidence of cow’s milk allergy, as well as their contents of lactose, casein and saturated fat. However, even butter is better than processed cheese, pasteurized milk and the many low-fat products with their high content of mucus-forming lactose. The most harmful milk products are generally skim-milk powder and long-life milk. Another potentially harmful aspect of fatty milk products is their high estrogen content, which may act as a growth promoter for some female cancers.
In regard to fat, butter is preferable to hydrogenated and chemicalized margarine and vegetable shortening. Avoid canola oil, it may have potentially harmful ingredients. Cold-pressed oils are preferable to conventional polyunsaturated oils, and those in plastic bottles are the worst. Sensitive oils such as food-grade linseed oil should be extracted under nitrogen and kept in cold storage without exposure to light; otherwise they are likely to be harmful. The only really healthy way of obtaining polyunsaturated oils is by eating oily seeds.
In terms of health there is not much difference whether white, brown or raw sugar is used, and even honey can cause problems. Therefore, use sweeteners only on rare, special occasions and in small amounts. Artificial sweeteners are even worse. The least harmful sweeteners are barley sugar or maltose, raw honey and soaked and ground dates. Totally avoid artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame or nutrasweet.
With children – or even adults with cravings for sweets – a compromise agreement may be reached to abstain from sweets on all but one day of the week when they can eat as many sweets as they like. They may gradually be steered away from commercial sweets to eat unsulfured dried fruit.
The only acceptable breakfast cereals are those without added sugar and preferably low in gluten. Bran can have some benefit as a laxative but it reduces the absorption of minerals and I do not recommend it, ground linseed is preferable.
Pickled and smoked foods contain aging proteins that may trigger migraines, allergies and neurological problems. Smoked food also contains carcinogens. Read the labels and avoid food with added chemicals except if these are vitamins, minerals or carotene. Some products, such as bread, are not required to have all chemicals listed. Tinned food is unhealthy because it is precooked and may also contain lead from the soldering and other metals from the container, especially if the content is slightly acid.
Excitotoxins are taste or flavor enhancers that release glutamate and other brain-active amino acids such as aspartate and cysteine. The best-known example is MSG or mono-sodium glutamate. High blood levels can cross the normally protective blood-brain barrier and can cause brain cells to die.
Excitory amino acids cause problems mainly when they are used either in high concentrations or in free form while bound as in most natural foods they are slowly released and therefore harmless. Most processed foods contain excitotoxins, especially any kind of commercial taste or flavor enhancers, such as caseinate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy protein extract, yeast extract or beef stock. These may just be labeled as natural flavoring and are especially high in commercial soups, sauces and gravies.
The following foods should be used with caution: non-wheat gluten grains (barley, oats and rye), peanut products, yeast products, flesh foods, salted food, frozen vegetables, dried fruit and fruit juices, chemically sprayed fruit and vegetables; also soy products except if they have been traditionally fermented as for instance Miso.
There are many anti-nutrients in soy products, especially inhibitors of protein-digesting enzymes, phytates and substances that agglutinate or clump the blood. Commercial soymilk either has been highly heated to produce soy-protein extract with denatured proteins or it is made of whole soybeans and then is full of these anti-nutrients. Increasingly the beans may also have been genetically changed with unknown consequences.
The non-wheat gluten grains can cause problems to those allergic to wheat or gluten, especially oats with a rather high gluten content. Rye sourdough bread is generally good, however, many varieties of rye bread have added wheat disguised as bread-making flour.
Yeast products, such as bread, wine and beer, can aggravate fungal problems, such as Candida infestations that are frequently chronic with degenerative diseases. In addition, yeast-baked bread has a lower availability of minerals than sourdough bread, while modern fast-baking processes are even worse and keep the minerals tightly bound to phytic acid and unavailable for absorption.
Peanuts contain a long-chain fatty acid that is beneficial for arthritis but may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. Poorly stored peanuts can develop a toxic mold that may also infest peanut butter. Remove molds by discarding the skins and thoroughly wash or soak the peanuts before eating. Roasted peanuts, like all roasted nuts and oily seeds, contain harmful oxidized oil, which is also present in peanut butter. Peanut butter without oil on top is usually hydrogenated – avoid it. Some health shops can make healthier peanut butter from raw peanuts.
Cooked flesh foods should be used sparingly. Eating cooked meat requires that an individual have strong digestive powers, good muscle activity to properly metabolize it, healthy kidneys to discharge the high level of residues and good bowel activity to avoid harmful putrefaction. Furthermore, it is difficult to obtain chemical-free meat, and it is not good to eat meat from unhealthy animals. Factory-reared animals, such as in feedlots or battery hens, would fall into this category.
Processed meat is even more chemically contaminated and best avoided; also meat with a deep red color may have added nitrates and nitrites. Individuals with blood group 0 are best suited to include meat in their diet (see Raw Food Diet), those with blood group A are often better on a vegetarian diet.
Predatory fish such as tuna but also shellfish are often high in accumulated pesticides and mercury and not recommended for habitual eating. While sardines are safer, they have the disadvantage of being tinned. The best choice is fresh or frozen non-predatory deep-sea fish or other seafood from unpolluted coastal areas. For more detailed advice on pollutants in fish of different species and from various locations see the website of the Environmental Working Group at www.ewg.org.
For most degenerative diseases and especially with cancer and raised blood pressure a diet high in potassium and low in sodium is required; therefore, food should not be salted. The absence of iodized salt may cause thyroid problems that can be avoided by using additional kelp. However, in some conditions, when the adrenal glands are weak, and also with cystic fibrosis, glaucoma and low blood pressure, additional salt is advisable, also for individuals with dehydration, diarrhea or excessive sweating.
By far the best source of salt is seawater added directly to the food. You may even evaporate seawater in flat trays exposed to the sun to make genuine whole sea salt. This has about ten times more magnesium and trace minerals than a greatly advertised brand of sea-salt. Macrobiotic sea-salt appears to have retained all the minerals that are in seawater.
Commercial unrefined sea salt has been crystallized out in fractions and contains very little of the trace minerals originally in seawater. Highest in magnesium and trace minerals is the brine out of which the sea salt has been crystallized. It is sometimes available in liquid form as ‘sea-minerals’ and highly recommended as a mineral supplement. However, technical magnesium chloride, commonly derived from seawater, may be used instead.
Commercially frozen vegetables are pre-cooked and contain sulfites or other preservatives, as do most fruit juices and dried fruit, which also tend to upset the blood-sugar regulation. Dried fruit without added preservatives tend to have molds. Preferably soak dried fruit or frozen vegetables and discard the water to minimize preservatives or molds
Potatoes contain the toxic alkaloid solanine in any greened parts. Arthritis often improves when avoiding nightshade vegetables. Healthiest are non-greened potato peels and fresh, raw potato juice. Also avoid any green tomato pulp or skin and preferably use red instead of green capsicum (although the latter is not as harmful as green potatoes or tomatoes).
Tea and coffee have some benefits but become a problem if used in an addictive way. The same applies to alcohol. it can be beneficial as red wine, except for the commonly added sulfur preservatives which may trigger breathing problems in susceptible individuals. In this case try to obtain wine without preservatives. Also some traditionally brewed forms of beer can be beneficial as well as some herbal liqueurs to stimulate the digestion. However, in general it will be better to minimize alcohol intake and to test any preferred brands for food sensitivity. Any allergy is commonly against a raw material or additive rather against the alcohol itself.
In most cities there are now outlets for organically grown fruit and vegetables while in rural areas you may grow your own. Finally, make an attempt to select food according to your metabolic or blood type as explained in Metabolic Types.