Food really is medicine, but it’s a lot more than that. If you consider that the average person may enjoy upwards of 100,000 meals in her lifetime, it is easy to see that food just may be the one thing that motivates us most, that evokes more emotions and unites more people than anything else. So it should come as no surprise that there are more than a few opinions on what you should eat. In fact, it is rare that any two experts would fully agree on what constitutes the ideal diet. Undoubtedly, experts that disagree with me will be just as sure that their ideas are correct, as I am confident of my own carefully-balanced views. I have studied nutritional textbooks, reviewed medical journals, and scoured the Internet, and I’ve found parts of the truth in all of these places. But my own experimentation has revealed other portions of the truth that appear to be absent from all of the literature. So I give you this page, a short summary of my views with links to lots more information from others that are extremely knowledgeable about nutrition. I encourage you to go for the essence of each person’s message, rather than worrying about following any particular diet precisely and fanatically.
A crucial step in The Lotus Lifestyle is to eat the right foods. But attempting to write the ideal diet that every person should eat to gain optimal health would be unrealistic. Trying to follow such a utopian diet may result in arguments between loved ones, feelings of guilt when one fails to follow the plan to the letter, and undue stress in finding and preparing all of the right ingredients in a world where unhealthy items are much more ubiquitous. Instead, I encourage you to relax, both while reading this page and afterwards, while selecting, preparing and sharing your food with the people most important to you (and even those that you don’t personally know). The videos below offer suggestions for selecting a nutritional strategy. You will also find a short list of some of the best and worst foods and recipes for tasty, healthy foods.
The Best Concepts for Nutrition
1. Navigating the maze of Conventional (pesticide-ridden) Farming Techniques vs. GMO’s vs. Organic Foods
a) Conventionally-Farmed Foods
The word “conventional” should not be misunderstood as “traditional”, since the latter implies that a particular method has been handed down many generations, presumably without any major known complication. Conventional, on the other hand, refers to the most common method of today. And in the case of farming, most farmers today slather their crops with a cocktail of herbicides and pesticides and inorganic growth stimulants. Benign-looking produce may actually be harmful if it is covered with carcinogenic (cancer-causing) pesticides, so avoid these whenever possible.
With the recent addition of genetically-modified organisms, (GMO’s) to the playing field, the general food supply is becoming increasingly dangerous every day. One can no longer live by the adage that an apple a day will keep the doctor away. Eating an apple that was engineered by the evil Monsanto each day may in fact lead you to attract an entire team of doctors and specialists. In the United States and Canada, GMO’s do not require special labeling and already they are practically everywhere. It is disturbing that these bastardized “foods” are allowed to be sold after hardly any human testing at all. In fact studies in several species of animals show serious problems including grotesque mutations, tumors, and mass sterility. Yes, that’s right, animals that eat GMO’s (some downright refuse to eat them, and it would be wise for us to do likewise) typically have more of their babies dead on arrival, and by the third generation, the animals are completely unable to reproduce. To find out if this will happen to our descendents would require waiting about 85 more years, since humans take much longer to reproduce than most animals. The most reasonable approach would be to avoid GMO’s completely until there is conclusive evidence that they are safe. So I’m going to pencil it in my planner for the year 2098 before I’ll consider feeding GMO’s to my family, just to be on the safe side. It sure seems to me, that even the bubonic plague is less dangerous than GMO’s, albeit its effect is immediately visible and deadly in a full two-thirds of those infected.
c) Organic Foods
Truly organic foods are, by definition, completely free of pesticides, herbicides, toxic additives, and they must not ever be genetically-modified. Therefore, this is the only completely safe option for your family.
2. Alkalize and Detoxify
Many popular foods cause an acidic reaction in the body that leads to cancer, diabetes and heart disease, to name but a few of the major consequences of not paying proper attention to your body’s pH, which stands for “potential of hydrogen”. The pH scale goes from 0-14, with lower numbers being more acidic, 7 being neutral, and higher numbers being alkaline. Your body needs to be alkaline before it can properly detoxify itself. Most vegetables, especially dark green vegetables, will provide a high number of nutrients and will produce the desired alkaline reaction. As for fruits, some produce an acidic reaction, while others produce a healthy alkaline reaction. Grains, meats and dairy, as well as coffee and most drugs, are purely acid-formers. The idea is not that you must never eat anything that produces an acidic reaction, simply that you make an effort to lean more towards alkaline than acidic, since the consequence of not doing so is the accumulation of toxins that will give rise to innumerable symptoms.
3. Prefer Plant Sources over Animal Sources
There are a multitude of reasons why you should eliminate animal products from your diet. Others focus on the moralistic reasons for doing so (and they are right) but I prefer to focus more attention on the health reasons. Plant-based products are MUCH healthier than their animal-based counterparts. It may be hard for some to believe that this is especially true with proteins. Yes, ALL plants have proteins, which are the building blocks of life contained in all living organism. It so happens that the proteins in plants are much more easily absorbed by the human body than are animal-based proteins. To get the same amount of digestible protein, you would have to eat a lot more meat, and this means that meat-eaters will inevitably have to waste a great deal of their energy digesting the meat products. And even then, a percentage of the meat will stay in your intestines forever, unless you find a clever way to expel them, such as a lengthy water fast or the unthinkable colonic enemas. And for fats, the saturated fats in animals are perfect for them, but really bad for us. And they are so bad, that saturated fats in plants have unfairly received a bad reputation, when in fact they are perfectly healthy. The most obvious example is that of coconut oil. It is a saturated fat, meaning that it is solid at about room temperature. But it is a perfect fuel for humans, and has been shown to promote weight loss (no foolin’!) and some studies show that it can even reverse brain diseases like alzeimer’s! All while tasting great and giving you plenty of energy that will never lead to diabetes or obesity, as is the case with energy in the form of simple sugars.
The following three short videos may give you some good reasons to try plant-based.
In the first video, Julieanna Hever discusses the many benefits of plant-based foods by comparing them to a magic elixir that has the potential to eliminate most disease, as well as world hunger and animal cruelty.
In the second video, Oprah interviews Alicia Silverstone, who is not necessarily a nutrition expert, but her argument is nonetheless valid. Alicia does not boldly request that all people immediately become vegan. Instead, she suggests that all people should be interested in health, and this interest should prompt them to “flirt” with veganism, to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
The third video provides some direct scientific evidence to debunk many popular myths about vegetarianism. It also provides many colorful images of appetizing vegetarian meals, and a few pictures of meat products that are decidedly less appetizing than the former. While some of the delicious vegetarian meals presented in this third video may not be very healthy, the video seeks to convince you that you do not require meat in your diet to eat delicious food.
One final video will eliminate any doubt that you may have about physical performance on a plant-only diet. The shaolin monks are among the top physical performers in the world, and they are strict vegans.
Some of the Best Foods
The following is a short list of some of the best foods, followed by some of the worst. Take a look at my food glossary for a more complete listing. Keep in mind that almost anything can be considered medicinal at some dose and toxic at another. I therefore prefer not to create green lists and red lists, white lists and black lists. Conveniently, human beings are so evolved that we can digest just about anything, even toxins. Our organism constantly eliminates toxins through respiration, perspiration, urination and defecation. Common sense would suggest that reducing toxic intake and increasing toxic elimination will lead to more health.
According to Tuleina, the medicine of the Kuna tribe of Panama, basil is everyday medicine for everybody. Basil has the highest level of iron of any food item. Some of its amazing health benefits may be obtained simply by smelling its wonderful fragrance. Basil contains about 35 times more iron than red meat. I have watched at least one basil miracle… a 70-year-old friend was written off for dead by the doctors and hospital staff that explained to me that his hemoglobin level was beyond rescue. I called all of the organic farmers that I know and asked them to give me all of the fresh basil that they could. All were amazed that my friend’s hemoglobin shot back up and within days he signed himself out of the hospital. A year later, he is still as strong as ever.
Lemons are among the best cancer-fighting foods in the world. Despite the acidic taste, lemons will help eliminate acidity from your system. Pure lemon juice can be used on salads instead of vinegar, and it can be added to almost any recipe. I do not recommend drinking pure lemon juice as it can harm the enamel of your teeth. Instead, dilute it with mountain spring water or filtered tap water, and enjoy it unsweetened or with stevia, the herbal sweetener that will not cause diabetes.
Aloe is a miracle plant that has an infinite number of medicinal and culinary uses. It is among the most perfect foods available, although it is rarely offered as food. The yellow oil called Aloin is present near the skin, and tastes bitter. But there are two ways to get Aloe’s healing benefits running through your system without the bitter taste: 1. Baby aloe plants may be eaten whole (without the roots). 2. You can remove the skin of a very large aloe plant. The clear “meat” of the leaves has a very mild taste and can be prepared with other ingredients, as sort of a vegetarian sushi.
Garlic has amazing curative properties. Garlic’s sulfur-containing compounds helps protect us against oxidative stress and inflammation. Garlic may also be used as an organic pest-control method… instead of spraying your crops with chemical pesticides, garlic juice will obtain similar results without harming your health.
A flavorful healing herb. The oil of oregano is quite powerful against colds, the flu, sore throats, and a large number of other bacterial and viral infections. You can buy oregano oil in a small jar at your favorite health food store. At the first sign of any illness, swallow about six drops of oregano oil, either alone or diluted in water.
Cannabis was once the largest crop in the world. It is a vegetable when its leaves and flowers are eaten in salads or juiced along with other essential nutrients. Its active ingredients, cannabinoids, may be concentrated into capsules and are prescribed by doctors and dispensed by pharmacists as medicine for cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, chronic pain, insomnia, anorexia and many more diseases. Its non-medicinal cousin, hemp, has been grown to produce fuel, clothing, paper and ultra-strong ropes. Cannabis has been outlawed as an illegal recreational drug in some countries during the last century. The author of this site does not promote the illegal use of any prohibited substance.
Cacao, and natural chocolate
Cacao has long been considered “food of the gods” and was used as currency by the Kunas (their abundant gold was used as a mere decoration as it could not be as valuable as that which produced health). Modern scientists are re-discovering the many medicinal uses of antioxidant-rich cacao, including its ability to fight cancer and heart disease. Chocolate may be even better for mental health issues including depression. Several woman have told me that they were able to avoid PMS by indulging in chocolate therapy a few days prior to the expected onset of the monthly symptoms. Take a look at my food glossary for a more complete listing.
Some of the Worst Foods
Avoid sugar, sweets and grains whenever possible
Sugar is a highly addictive substance that causes a great deal of illness, including cancer, diabetes and the condition we know as “aging”. Avoid all types of sugar, even brown sugar, and even try not to go overboard eating fruits that are high in fructose. Other things to avoid: alcoholic beverages, animal products, brewers yeast, carbonated soft drinks, coffee or products containing caffeine, dressing with vinegar, energy drinks (Red Bull, Cyclone, Gatorade, Koolaid or similar), flour or cereal products made with it, fried food of any kind with any kind of oil except coconut oil, gelatin and puddings, legumes or beans of any kind (lentils, peas, chickpeas, broad beans, black eye beans, others), ice cream, junk food (gum, candy, potato chips, etc.), ketchup, lecithin, mayonnaise, peanuts in any form, pickled olives, popcorn, smoking (cigar or cigarette), soy or soy milk, vinegar, wheat and wheat gluten. For more complete details, take a look at my food glossary and glossary of toxins.