December 21, 2017
I honestly feel like I could spend hours and hours researching and citing and contriving what I already know into words in order to give you the proper low-down throw-down on what real health food is, but I’ll keep it pretty simple instead and provide you with a gist. I’ve listed some really good resources at the end to help you further your studies if you so choose.
There are a few concepts I want to discuss in this article:
- Oil is “bad” (even coconut oil (!!!)).
- Refined sugar is “bad”.
Both of these statements are in large part based on the fact that any food item in a refined state is less-than-ideal when compared to its whole counterpart*. It’s not that avocado oil doesn’t possess any nutritional value; it’s just that you might as well eat the avocado if you want all of the health benefits (and flavor!). Interestingly enough, I’ve noticed most people don’t realize how much oils contribute to the fat we carry on our bodies. In this case, fat does make you fat, whether you lightly fry or “sauté” (sounds healthier) your foods; whole fats, however, such as those you obtain from nuts and seeds, will not lead to weight gain. It blows my mind how many people still think they have to watch their nut intake because they’re “fattening”, when in reality, if most people in this country ate only nuts instead of the meat, dairy, and processed crap they normally feed themselves, they would be the thinnest they’ve ever been. They also probably wouldn’t poop, but that’s beside the point.
The fact of the matter is, any vegan with an optimally-functioning digestive system (or a digestive system that returns to its proper function after eating 100% plant-based, or undergoing homeopathic treatment), who eats majority whole foods (I’m talking roughly 90%; restriction is no bueno), who eats when ne is hungry and stops when ne is full, and furthermore ensures that ne consumes enough of the “red flag” nutrients in order to meet nir daily nutritional requirements, will thrive. Not only that, in light of this country’s obsession with being skinny, a predominantly whole-food, plant-based diet will minimize body fat more than any other regimen that focuses on eating abundantly. No, plant-based foodies do not starve despite what you may have heard–quite the opposite, actually. Vegans tend to be very lean, even with the high volume of nourishing food they consume (no empty calories here); it seems as if nature wants us to have a healthy relationship with its fruitions, don’t you think?
Too bad all these shit-food industries stand in our way, perpetuating the misconception that bad food is good food. Bad food is not good food, I can assure you; you may think plant-based eating, with the added component of “whole foods” sounds like a huge feat, but you only think so because you’ve been eating meat and dairy and likely quite a bit of processed grub your whole life, and now you don’t know any better. Animal-based products and their highly-refined counterparts dominate grocery stores (my local market has one whole aisle dedicated to “natural” and organic food); even items marketed as nourishing, with “sugar free!”, “low in fat!” and “made with coconut oil” glorifying their otherwise nutrient-devoid ingredients lists do no more for the body than the eatables they reprimand. Misconstrue the definition of healthy fare and suddenly goodies loaded with modified fats, heavy on the unwhole calories, and deficient in the fibers and essential nutrients that naturally occur in intact plant-based foods seem essential in their own right (the fatty acids found in coconut oil may fight Candida, but so do those found in coconut butter). Plant oil companies have deep pockets too, as Happy Herbivore so cleverly stated…
And they have it in their best interest–not yours–to ensure that you keep buying into their crap. And buying their crap, which is almost always the same thing.
Like oils, sugar replacements aren’t as beneficial as they are purported to be, or really beneficial at all; a gross oversimplification–the less-is-better advertising technique–characterizes this marketing schema. Sure, you may not gain weight from the occasional gum-chewing (lack of caloric density justifying the usage of artificial sweeteners), but long-term aspartame consumption can actually contribute to weight gain, if not the development of severe ailments like cancer, because aspartame damages the lining of the gut, initiating or reinforcing gut flora imbalances in its wake, whilst dually impressing disorder on other parts of the body (recall that the vital force is a total system that needs to be treated accordingly). Artificial sweeteners are also not nearly as beneficial as a date or dried fig, natural, shall I say original sources of sugar, which can be used to sweeten virtually any dish if they are pureed first. Organic gums utilize refined sugars that, while less-than-ideal, keep the flavors poppin’ without increasing your risk of developing cancer.
(You can, of course, overdose on natural gums too, so if you or someone you know has a gum problem–indicative of a larger problem–perhaps to curb food cravings, consider that homeopathy heals addiction by restoring the body and mind, compelling them to return to their natural states, in effect awakening the capacity to be happy that leaves one without the yearn for external substances, which only further suppress the emotions ne can no longer feel…)
Overindulging in natural, but refined sugars (such as cane sugar from its whole counterpart, sugarcane, coconut sugar from its whole counterpart, coconuts, and even maple syrup, which is not “bad” in moderate amounts but inevitably causes more stress on the body to digest than the aforementioned date or dried fig) presents its own issues. While “realer” than aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin, unwhole sources of sugar spike blood sugar levels, causing inflammation the adrenal glands must then work to regulate by producing an excess of the hormone cortisol. Constantly in a mild state of fight-or-flight, regularly-elevated levels of cortisol suppress the immune system, perhaps instigating and certainly sustaining a myriad of health problems. Refined sugars, thus, contribute to disease-causing inflammation in the body, like their friends meat and dairy. When vegans and their vegan doctors talk about how healthy sugar is, they’re not referring to the processed, limitless amounts most Americans know and love (rather, their gut flora imbalances know and love). They are referring to the fiber-intact, vitamin-intact, nutrient-intact fruits us vegans consume day in and day out, long past the FDA’s recommended daily amounts (which doesn’t mean anything anyway; the government is in bed with the meat and dairy industry, not the produce industry. At least not to the same degree…). The whole-food sugar-food diet schema does not lead to blood sugar imbalances, nor gut flora imbalances when, as always, the digestive system is operating at its best. People with Candida/parasite/dysbiotic issues may find that they need to consume fruits on an empty stomach (at least until they heal with homeopathy), or none at all as with some SIBO sufferers–but they are the exception, not the rule. Disordered omnivores too have foods that are “off limits”; pathogens have to eat just as we do, and they prefer the foods we have a hard time digesting (meat and dairy), or that otherwise feed them when those foods can’t thoroughly feed us (it is often sugar plus fat that exacerbates gut issues, not the sugar itself).
Sugar exists in nature because when found in its natural, intact form it fuels our natural, intact gastrointestinal tracts without inflaming our gut linings. Thus, you do not need to restrict your fruit sugar consumption, or even how or when you eat it so long as you are in a state of homeostasis, your adrenals are functioning properly (and thus capable of regulating blood sugar levels properly), and are varying your diet the way you should. Moreover, fat is your friend (within reason!), and your friends are at their best when they are their most genuine selves. The two macronutrients depicted thus far have been demonized heavily over the past century–in the media, on product labels, by your healthnut friend–yet these outlets have it all wrong. The nutrients themselves–naturally-occuring, necessary-to-some-degree, put-on-the-earth-for-some-reason to boot–are not harmful; their synthesized versions are.
Whole-food eating is unusual in this day and age; embodying the image of the stereotypical healthnut–whether well-informed or not!–manifests an identity in and of itself. Yet vowing to consume foods in their native states, the majority of the time, with respect to the wants of both the body and mind, is not “unnatural”, nor un-whole, despite the action starkly contrasting that of the masses. Indeed, while whole-food veganism is typically a one-human party (unless you live in San Francisco, or attend a perhaps-existent vegan meet-up in your area, in which case your disapproval of oil may still prove isolative), renouncing the synthesized on a fundamental level, within the schema of your daily eats, does not have to be a feat characterized by restriction. It sure can be if your motives are tainted by a disordered, controlling mentality, but the health-minded vegan can be just that: health-minded. And self-loving. Ne can also be ethically opposed to the widespread poisoning of Americans via deficient, and even toxic nutrition, in which case whole-food veganism is not just a big fuck-you to factory farming, but a I-think-for-myself to the Hollywood-esque inauthenticity rampant throughout the entire food industry! Not unlike the American politicians that exalt themselves while lying through their teeth, the consumerist schema on which big business depends also depends on your ignorance. And malleability. As well as your sometimes-inadvertent desire to fulfill the norms drilled into our heads since the moment we could potentially formulate our own thoughts, opinions, and behaviors…
Corporate America should be ashamed of its disposition to deceive, but it’s not. The FDA should be ashamed of all the truly destructive substances it allows to slip through the cracks (meanwhile deeming those that actually do a lot of good, like Ibogaine, a threat to society!), but it’s not. As a result we, the impressionable people that we are, listen, trust, and suffer. Most of us spend a few minutes in the produce section and call it quits because we’ve been lead to believe a 1/2 cup of broccoli satisfies our daily micronutrient-itional needs, yet the prevalence of heart disease, diabetes, the altered personality, and more indicates otherwise. Few people recognize the enormous, even fundamental role gut health plays in our overall well-being, the consequences of which are disastrous. Even if you kind of like fruits and vegetables, you kind of like beans, and you’re happy with your side dish of microwaveable potatoes, I am telling you, you could do better, and you will crave better once you start giving your body what it has always wanted but has never known to ask for. Rather, what you have always wanted but have never known to ask for. An optimally-functioning vital force does not incite the mind to desire foods the body does not want, and the body does not yearn for oily, greasy grub, nor Twinkies flavored with sugar and… flavoring. Thus, heal the gut flora imbalances that must accompany unfruitful desires, restore the body’s ability to communicate what it needs, allow the vital force to adapt to a cruelty-free diet, and your taste buds will adjust.
Correcting disharmony, either with diet in lesser cases or homeopathy in heftier ones (note: homeopathy does not equate to veganism, and your homeopath will not tell you to go vegan) eradicates those mental, emotional, and physical factors that foster mechanisms of self-destruction, which shit food sustains; you will learn to love you–I promise.
*That is, when a refined food item is compared to its whole counterpart [a more fruitful option exists]. The philosophical preference of the natural over the synthesized is often flawed (what constitutes the former? At which point in history must it have come to be? When does the original end, and the still-natural progressive take its place?), except when the natural constitutes paramount (we’ve been provided for), untampered with (see below), higher prospects–prospects that comprise the whole soul. Remember that we create the problems we must now solve. Take a peek around my website and you’ll know what I mean.
For example, even if GMO’s do no harm (which Monsanto ensures is not the case considering the ill-effects of glyphosate), do they really do better than what we have already [a more fruitful option exists]? Consider the distinction between Monsanto’s golden rice and a naturally-cultivated “super” sweet potato, or just a regular sweet potato that has been provided to poor countries with love and altruism. The latter two do just as well, if not better, than the former, which has never worked but *might* in the future (hopefully without the added burden on Monsanto’s herbicides). But why would we seek these means when a means already exists, merely by altering our immoral ways? We’re always trying to make up for our follies. The source of our most arduous dilemmas is not organic–that is, they do not occur without meddling, without lower motives. We the people, persuaded by sinister norms and even eviler institutions, must now solve the very problems we have created. World hunger is, in fact, a facet of a much greater issue, and that issue is human indecency…
(Note that world hunger would virtually disappear if everyone went vegan and the majority of our crops were consequently fed to us–not the billions of livestock we raise each year only to slaughter.)
Also note that I know “higher prospects” are subject to earthly interpretation; however, our innermost selves (our souls), when fully expressed (i.e. we, as earthly beings, are not still learning and thus potentially misguided in belief), uncorrupted by social norms and misguided thinking, must agree on just what prospects those are merely by virtue of their derivation from The Soul (that which binds us all).
OTHER FACETS OF THE “WHOLE” VEGAN
Calories. I already touched on the “eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full” concept, but this condition doesn’t necessarily preclude calories consumed. Ideally, when one’s digestion is functioning optimally, the body will ask for enough food. Most vegans I know, both in real life and on the internet, consume an upwards of a couple thousand calories daily. This notion is kind of unsettling considering how many young women and men these days fall victim to the 1200-calorie schema. The body and mind will function optimally when they function off of an optimal amount of calories. Vegans do not eat until 80% full; they eat until 100% full. Our stomachs are here to help us grasp that concept. If only we taught our children to eat well from birth, we could save so many of them from developing an unhealthy relationship with food.
High-(simple)carb, low fat, and fatigued adrenals. First and foremost, you must slowly transition your body into a high-fiber lifestyle if it has yet to experience one. If you jump into 80/10/10 (carbs/fat/protein), you will detoxify at a quicker rate (and you will be constipated). Yes, high-simple-carb eating is great, especially for a cleansing regimen, but make sure you include some complexity in your life. I am not a big fan of all-fruit diets because of their role in fatiguing the adrenals. A meal of fruit on an empty stomach may be cleansing–such “mono-meals” allow the body to produce the proper alkaline environment for optimal absorption, with fiber latching onto toxins in order to escort them out of the digestive tract–but these diets can tax an already-taxed system if they fail to incorporate fats and complex carbs (homeopathy needs to be sought in such cases; the body can no longer heal itself on its own). If adrenal fatigue is not an issue, however, and the body responds well to the raw vegan diet, it can eradicate mild pathogenic overgrowth, but do not fear the fat; just don’t eat it with fruit. The 80/10/10 rule–or even 60/20/20 schema–allows for plenty of the fatty acids found in avocados, nuts, seeds and coconuts, those that need to be consumed in order to support hormonal processes, to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and to release bile, which itself will work to detoxify the body. Which leads me to my next point…
Raw or Cooked? I have a really super simple, unscientific answer for this one. Eat what you crave. I tend to heir on the philosophical side of things when it comes to idealizing veganism, and the same goes for the state in which vegan food “should be” consumed: humans have fire, and have always had fire, so why shouldn’t we cook our food if we want to? I think people go a little bit overboard with this one; yes, raw foods are a valuable part of any detoxification regimen, but I personally craved cooked food every so often while healing, and I wasn’t about to deny my body what it was asking for. Cooked food also eases the body’s battle when eradicating overgrowth in the small intestine. Even further, some vegetables are healthier when lightly steamed. Regardless, you can and should be eating whatever vegan foods you feel like eating–which, like I said, will generally consist of whole foods when you are totally healed and crave only what will nourish you–because you desire to negate harm to life first. Or the environment. Or, if you’re health-minded, because you want to optimize your welfare; in which case, part of your welfare concerns what you yearn for so long as your digestion is getting back on track and you’re not binging on excess sugars–even maple syrup, agave, etc. Remember: life isn’t about food. Nature has made it easy for us to live well with little worry. Eat what we have been provided, eat in abundance, and with variation. Folks, we shouldn’t have to think so hard to be happy. We shouldn’t have to think so much about eating to be happy.
Should you ever eat “unwholly”? Of course. People who have a very strict list of “yes” and “no” foods also have a very strict list of can-do’s and cannot’s. Restriction extends to all facets of life and should be avoided because life is about experience. The whole vegan diet is not exclusionary, rather inclusionary of the lifestyle you know you and all lifeforms will prosper within the context of. Eating a piece of cake once in awhile won’t kill you; if you really want it, your body will relish in the satisfaction of your mind. The same goes for fried oreos, which are, in fact, vegan.
More scientific stuff. Read this and this about the dangers of oil. Happy Herbivore provides some pretty compelling arguments and articles of her own regarding the benefits of oil-free living, and Jeff Novick explains what it does to the body. So much information out there on “whole” living already exists; I figured I might as well just give an overview, but I know this is by no means extensive. I’m more concerned with extending the How To Go Vegan The Right Way article for those trying to optimize their welfare while eating plant-based; for some, this will mean how to lose weight safely and healthily without restriction. (I also wanted to shed light on the evils of the American food industry, maybe bash ’em a bit, give them a taste of their suppressive medicine if you know what I’m sayin’.)
Of course I advocate homeopathy, but I do believe the vegan diet is enough to revitalize an individual in search of a mild cleansing regimen in which the desire to cease harm also compels. Still, will plant-based eating uproot the emotion one has suppressed regarding nir childhood abuse? Probably not, for which we must consider the depth and concentration of disorder. One that has little trauma, but some gut flora imbalances due to an imbalanced diet, may totally heal, in theory, with veganism. Someone who has been subjugated time and time again by troublesome circumstances should first seek homeopathy, then go vegan maybe a month after initiating treatment, however. We don’t want to “shock” the vital force with too many avenues to detoxification, nor do we want to confound the healing picture by doing so.
It is especially important to listen to your body’s needs if you are coming from a past of digestive distress. For example, if you crave flax, you may be lacking in your omegas. Alternatively, if you crave sugar all the time and have ongoing GI issues, consider that you may need an extra boost to guide your body back into equilibrium (you’re no longer capable of telling you what you need), but don’t call it quits on the vegan diet if you have an attempted failure haunting you in your past. Once you go vegan (the right way), you’ll never go back, if not because you feel amazing, because you will connect with the world around you on a new level. Connecting with nature has an odd way of fostering connectivity in all facets of life (mind-body, human-human, human-animal). As your appreciation for the earth grows, the regeneration of your spirit will necessarily follow; we are here to flourish, and how blessed we are to have substances that guide us into doing so! Animals also sense vegans and love vegans, especially when you look them in the eyes when you’re talking to them 😉 .
If you’re craving something sweet…
The majority of these recipes should be processed in a food processor unless indicated otherwise. Smoothies and shakes can be made in blenders.
- Raw brownies: 1 cup dates, 1/2 cup cashews (or less; may also sub nut butter), 1/4 cup cacao powder or cocoa powder
- Banana “nice cream”: As many frozen bananas as you’re hungry for (or your heart desires), with vanilla for vanilla ice cream, cacao powder for chocolate, peanut butter for PB ice cream (will produce fattier mouthfeel), or even fruit- fresh or frozen (fresh fruit will make the nice cream less creamy). Add dates or dried figs for more sweetness–although ripe bananas should be enough. Maple syrup and cinnamon banana nice cream is yummy too.
- Mylkshakes: 2 frozen bananas with 1/2 of a regular banana, roughly 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk. Add vanilla extract for true vanilla flavor (I prefer without), or cacao powder for chocolate. I find that when I make nice cream or shakes with cacao powder, I prefer to add a bit of sweetness to balance out the bitterness of the cacao powder. Dates, once again, will do, as will maple syrup. Coconut sugar has an earthy taste and a lower glycemic index than regular sugar.
- Make pumpkin spice nice cream or shakes by adding 1/2 cup pumpkin puree to either recipe, as well as 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, or a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
- In recipes that call for maple syrup, please get the real thing. Do not support Aunt Jemima; she’s evil.
- Make homemade nut butter cups with 85% cacao chocolate. Super yummy if you like dark chocolate, which I am inclined to think would be a reality for more people if they weren’t used to Hershey’s “real” milk chocolate, which is not real chocolate at all incidentally (consider the additives). Melt the chocolate, pour a bit into a small mold or cupcake tin, add a dollop of nut butter, and cover with chocolate. Refrigerate or freeze for a quicker fix.
- Shmoothies: 1 regular banana, frozen mango, and frozen strawberries comprises one of my favorite versions. Thin it out with water or almond milk to make it creamier. Frozen blueberries are yummy too, as are mixed berries–on their own or with mango. When using fresh fruit, use frozen banana.
- An amazing vanilla cake can be made with just oats, vanilla, dates, water, and baking powder. Feasting on Fruit has a recipe for it, which I linked down below.
- A chocolate whole-foods cake can also be made with the aforementioned recipe; just swap cacao powder for the vanilla and plant milk for the water. This recipe can also be found on the blog, Feasting on Fruit.
- Frostings can be made with nut butter plus pureed dates and vanilla or cacao. You can also make chocolate frosting out of avocado, cacao powder, and dates or maple syrup. Sometimes I’ll just melt 85% cacao chocolate chips and mix it with coconut cream. Or peanut butter with coconut cream and maple syrup.
- Replace white pasta with lentil or chickpea pasta. It tastes way better and is extremely nutritious. I buy oil-free pasta sauce at my local health food store. Top the pasta sauce and noodles with avocado and steamed veggies, nutritional yeast or even tahini (it’s yummy, I swear!).
- “Buttered” noodles: 1 cup brown rice & quinoa pasta with 1/2 an avocado strewn throughout. Mix well until you can no longer see chunks of avocado. Salt with himalayan pink salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Top with lightly steamed veggies.
- Quick, yummy tahini sauce to put on brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, and veggies: 2 tablespoons tahini, roughly 1 small lemon, and 2 tablespoons liquid aminos, which has all of your amino acids. Add freshly ground black pepper if you are so inclined.
- Breakfast: sprouted flax bread with mixed nut butter (almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and pecans, from Trader Joe’s) to get your omega-3 and selenium intake for the day covered (see how I did that); add homemade or store-bought reduced-sugar blackberry jam for sweetness (not comprised of fake sugar, but less sugar; check the labels). Trader Joe’s version has citric acid, which is often derived from black mold because it’s cheap and America is a corporation. I still use it. Serve with a banana mylkshake.
More to come later…
Some solid resources to take a look at:
- Michael Klaper: A Diet For All Reasons
- Neal Barnard on reversing diabetes with the plant-based diet
- Melanie Joy on carnism
- The Starch Solution- John McDougall MD (I eat more whole fats than he recommends)
- John McDougall on oil
- Feasting on Fruit’s bombass, whole-food-sweets recipes