We love the SOUTH! Part 3 of 3

Sometimes we meet readers who are just pure inspiration to us all. We got a letter from Annette before we left for Atlanta, telling us about her parents in advance of them coming to our class in South Carolina.

Mel and Julie Lacock are 78 and 73, spry and healthy, and they’ve been eating a mostly plant-based, whole-foods diet, for almost as long as I’ve been alive. Mel reminds me of my own daddy, who is 69 and still runs 4 miles a day.

Here’s what Annette said about Mel and Julie (edited version):

“My parents are two of my heroes, for the health choices they made 42 years ago, the reason I’m so passionate about eating a plant-based diet for life. You share in your lectures that if the young mothers today will embrace a whole-foods, 60-80% raw diet, and teach their children the same, then there is hope for America’s health.

“My parents returned from a mission in Taiwan and learned from a naturopath about the raw food diet. They maintained that for a while, on a missionary’s budget, feeding three small children. Eventually they embraced more cooked food, but retained a high-raw lifestyle. They ‘made’ us eat healthy.

“They didn’t have the aid of the internet, libraries, or a popularized vegetarian movement. I realize now how tenacious my parents were to self-educate and thereby protect their own health and pass a wonderful example on to their children.

“They are living WITHOUT MEDICATION, eating a plant-based diet of vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and seeds from all over the world where they have lived.

“Two of their children have turned to the Standard American Diet, with exactly the effects you would predict. And my parents’ peers are dropping like flies and eating lots of medication—the contrast is stark.

“I have great health because my parents safeguarded it when I was young. I veered into the S.A.D. for a few years, but I returned and have never looked back.”

What a love letter! I got emotional when Annette sent it to me before we flew to Georgia. Then I met her lovely parents, and I found tears in my eyes again as I edited this condensed version of her tribute to them.

I hope my kids “get it” enough to write something like that, someday. Don’t you? Who needs it on a headstone! I want to read it on the GSG blog while I’m still living, hehe.

And Mel and Julie get to do that—read it on the GSG blog—because they’ve taken the path less traveled and changed the course of their daughter’s life.

If my grandmother were still with us, she and the Lacocks would be fast friends. I remember that when my grandmother learned that oxygen spells death for cancer, and that a raw plant-based diet has the power to starve it out, she became a little “out of balance” in life.

Very normal, of course, given her diagnosis and a doc telling her she was going to die. Most conversations with her were about food, and most people found her to be a little militant and dogmatic. She eventually balanced out, and returned to thinking about other things besides just food—but many of you know what I’m talking about here:

When your eyes are first opened, you’re astonished. You’re angry, even. You want to tell everyone. Then, you’re frustrated when almost no one listens. It may take years to find ways to talk about your lifestyle that more people are interested in, and will take at least baby steps towards it. They do it because of your example and patience. They never do it because you’re preachy, condescending, or strident.

Here’s a photo of me with Mel and Julie Lacock that they just emailed. I’m inspired by their long-time stamina and consistency in living the truth. That’s why they look so good. Kristin kept saying, “I can’t believe he’s 78!

Love to you all for being a part of this movement. I cannot do it without you. We continue to spend $0.00 on advertising, thanks to your spreading the love to people you care about. God willing, I’ll keep teaching the classes if you keep showing up with your friends and family who are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

My friend Nancy drops 100+ lbs.

My longtime friend Nancy is a radio personality. I’ve done a couple of shows with her, most recently to talk about the release of The Adventures of Junk Food Dude. Nancy’s youngest child, Anna, refuses to drink soda and loves green smoothies, after they did an experiment and measured the amount of sugar that was in their daily diet, which shocked the kids. (Alex isn’t quite as eager, but Nancy’s working on it. He eats apples and fruit leather now instead of candy bars.)

Nancy emailed me last week asking about dehydrators. Like all of us, she keeps taking baby steps towards the healthiest lifestyle possible. She told me since I saw her last, she has lost ANOTHER 40 lbs., so I demanded photos. Holy cow, this hot mama looks better than she has in the 17 years I’ve known her, and as you can see in these before and after photos, she’s lost over 100 lbs. total.

I wanted to know HOW. She eats tons of veggies and fruits. She sticks to the outside of the store and stays away from processed foods in the middle. Occasionally she eats a little Chex cereal or a multi-grain cracker, but, she says, “for the most part, I am all about things looking like they came in nature when I eat them.”

[This reminds me of what my grandmother said to me once, when I was talking to her about how she cured herself of Stage III cancer with strict adherence to the Gerson diet, and then just ate a very healthy diet for the rest of her life. She said: “It’s not what you do once in a while that’s going to kill you. It’s what you do every day that’s going to save you.”]

Nancy paid attention to what foods bothered her, and she eliminated gluten and other sensitivities she identified, like dairy products.

She told me she eats corn products but worried about the fact that most of it is genetically modified. I told her I eat only ORGANIC corn products. Did you know that if it’s organic, it’s also NOT genetically modified? I just told Nancy that.

Nancy is one of the founders of www.themompodcast.com.  They are doing four shows this summer that you will find interesting:

  1. While losing 100 lbs., Nancy also lost her identity
  2. A mom’s body effects changes in her child’s body image
  3. Maintaining the changes to your body long term (guest: a woman four years past a 110 lb. weight loss)
  4. Re-establishing your identity after any major change (weight loss, divorce, job change, family loss, etc)

I hope you enjoy Nancy’s before-and-after photos. They show how external and powerful the difference is when we eat whole foods, and listen to our body’s needs and respond to them.

Comments from another dentist, Kristi……part 7 of 7

A reader and dentist, Kristi, shared these observations after my root canal post. I have paraphrased some of her comments for length:

“ I have much respect for Robyn and her goals of sharing important life saving information with all of you. Her willingness to stand up for what she believes in is admirable. I would mention a word of caution though about jumping on bandwagon before you’ve done your own due diligence as there are always consequences for the decisions we make.

I always use dental dams and highly recommend you not use dentists who don’t put dental dams in place for root canals and other procedures.

As for amalgam, indeed there are gases that are given off from amalgam fillings; however, it is very minute and your exposure to mercury from air pollution, car exhaust, among other things, particularly if you are big fish eaters is much MUCH greater than what is given off from metal fillings. In fact, the greatest exposure to mercury when it comes to amalgam fillings is in the process of putting them in OR TAKING THEM OUT for all of you considering this procedure.

Trust me, dentists LOVE doing composite (plastic) fillings and usually are more than happy to do this if you insist. You know why? Because they tend to not last as long as amalgam fillings (often replacing in the range of 5 or so years) as compared to metal which many times last 20 plus) and because they can charge you more to put them in. (They are more technique sensitive, take longer to put in and thus they can charge more). Just know there are pros and cons to both. Just as there are some studies that show this leakage of gas, there are many more studies that show that the exposure is VERY minimal in comparison to other routine day to day practices. Especially with today’s techniques of placement.  Unless you are planning to make a radical lifestyle change you will not notice a difference as you are unfortunately exposed in so many other ways where with much higher loads than a filling would give off. Also for interest sake, there are studies that show blood levels of mercury being the same for people who have never had a metal filling before and those who have a mouth full of them.

Now, am I saying that I would put amalgam in my own children’s mouths? No, I plan on never doing that but I also plan on doing everything I can to prevent them from getting a cavity in the first place and that is the reason I love the things that Robyn is teaching about whole food and healthy eating because I believe this is the first step in prevention.

Which brings me to the topic of root canal therapy. Before you start walking into your dentist and refusing root canal treatment, you need to understand why it is done and what the alternative is.

Root canal treatment is done (MOST TIMES) because a person has a cavity that has gone so deep that it has eventually gone into the nerve of the tooth. It takes a lot to get to this point and is usually because someone has neglected to see a dentist sooner to deal with the cavity before it got too big. And then we must look at why that person got a cavity in the first place? In MOST cases it’s because they don’t take proper care of them, they have a poor diet and perhaps at no fault of their own, were never taught how.

So a root canal is a dentist’s last attempt basically to save a tooth that in most cases has not been properly taken care of in the first place. Unfortunately the alternative to root canal therapy is extraction. For those of you who have had root canal therapy done, are you now considering pulling all those teeth? Do you think that you would be better off having NO teeth? Do you think that your standard of living would go up having no teeth to chew with and trying to eat a plant based diet? Trust me, dentures are not a bed of roses. If you decide that you don’t want dentures but that you would rather have implants placed (titanium posts drilled in your jaw bone with a fake tooth built on top)? Are you prepared to pay $3k to $5k (depending on the dentist) PER TOOTH to have each of these teeth replaced? And that entirely depends on whether you are even a candidate for implant placement in the first place. Do you recognize that as you start losing teeth there is a tendency for things to break down more rapidly and that you can start having more jaw joint issues? There are a lot of other consequences to pulling teeth.

About those studies, I will not dispute their validity; however, I think it’s very difficult to determine that root canals are the cause of cancer in those cases. I think there are way too many other factors.

Consider for example the fact that generally speaking those who have need for a lot of root canal therapy, usually have had in the past or do have a poor diet and could that have not been the possible cause of the cancer? I’m curious how many of those people were smokers, or ate high meat diets, or highly processed diets…I just think there are much bigger fish to fry here. If you compared the number of people out there with root canals who have never had cancer, I don’t know how convincing that material would be.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that one must consider the alternatives. Yes having fillings and root canal treatment is unfortunately a compromise and it would be better if we never had to do them, but it is what it is and the alternative is not any better.

I would agree that most dentists don’t do a very good job of promoting prevention and that is what this really comes down to: Being educated on how to prevent cavities and the need for root canal treatment in the first place.

A few of my suggestions are as follows:

-Make sure you are brushing at least in the morning after breakfast and at night before you go to bed.

-Floss at least once a day (preferably at night)

-Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice or anything but water (I’ve pulled enough teeth on 1 and 2 year olds to know this is important). Breast feeding, that is a different story but you still must wipe out their mouths as there is still sugar in breast milk and they can still get cavities from it.

-Definitely try to have a diet that is whole foods based. Eating more of what Robyn promotes and less of what she doesn’t will definitely steer you in the right direction.

-Have regular checkups to the dentist so that if you do get a cavity you can catch it while it’s small and before it turns into root canal therapy.

-A couple of cautions about a whole foods diet is that if you like to eat dried fruit such as raisins, you are still at risk of decay because these chewy sticky foods are very good at sticking in the grooves of teeth as well as between them and if you don’t get it cleaned out, bacteria will break it down into simple sugars and cause cavities. So brush brush brush.

-If you are a big vegetable and fruit juicer, be careful, drink it in one sitting and don’t sip it all day long. Fruit juice especially is still sugar and if you are bathing your teeth in it all day long, you are much more likely to get cavities.

-Also watch the amount of acid intake. Vinegars, lemon and lime juice, they all have acid and can break down & weaken tooth structure rapidly. So be cautious, rinse with water, and brush about 30 or so minutes after.

-Please help your children brush their teeth as they cannot do it on their own. Until they can hand write their name legibly or tie their own shoe or maybe even longer, they literally do not have the manual dexterity to get everywhere so you need to help them…and don’t forget to floss their teeth too ?

Robyn’s response: Thanks to Dr. Kristy for sharing her thoughts, especially these suggestions. I would encourage more dentists reading this to seek out additional training to practice biologically. You have three different organizations accrediting or promoting holistic practices that deeply respect the human body and which are not afraid to question modern practices that are harmful to the human organism in general.

Dentists cold-mix mercury with other metals to make amalgam fillings in the office. The resulting mixture is neither chemically stable, nor biologically inert. It’s an oft-repeated but untrue statement that fish and pollution are higher sources of mercury, and that the amount offgassing in your mouth is “tiny.” The EPA stated in a report to Congress in 1997 that the highest body burden of inorganic mercury comes from dental amalgam fillings, and the report shows that dental exposure totals more than from food, including, fish, and water.

The ADA is far too invested in a few specific practices. It spends far too many resources defending harm and high risk. It’s time to support holistic dentists, and call more attention to alternatives in dental practice so that they gain more traction if they are effective.

In Utah, they are Dr. Wall in Bountiful (Dr. Ulm’s wife told me he is fantastic), Dr. Ulm in Lindon, Dr. Bruce Pyper in SLC, and Dr. Robertson in Spanish Fork. Thank you to GSG readers who have pointed me to these dentists.

(To access the other posts in this series, Click Here.)

Anti-Nutrients….are you letting them scare you off whole foods? part 1 of 3

One of the more infuriating aspects of nutrition education is the highly confusing anti-nutrients debate.

For example, hot issues include but are not limited to….

Grains have PHYTATES.

Spinach has OXALATES.

Apple seeds have CYANIDE.

Legumes have PURINES.

Broccoli and cabbage have GOITROGENS.

Dr. Mercola propagates a bunch of needless fear, attacking all grains and some vegetables because they contain an anti-nutrient. He creates fear about lots of whole foods people have eaten for centuries. And then he moves on to leverage that to sell whey protein (an over-popular, highly refined food).

Keep in mind that I feel some of Mercola’s stuff is brilliant, important, and well researched. Some of it is salesy, with shoddy thinking/research. Sometimes I wonder if he doesn’t watch over his staff writers very well…..

No one addresses this issue more logically, than my friend Jim Simmons, whose book Original Fast Foods is a great addition to your library. Because it’s excellent, well researched, and comprehensive, with good recipes. It’s the closest thing out there to the diet I teach. There are lots of raw-food recipe books, but people burn out from how labor-intensive they can be. Eating cooked legumes and whole organic grains is a way to eat a whole-foods diet without burnout, and with the high-fiber, high-nutrition, low-effort gains of, for instance, split peas, lentils, and black beans. I am suspect of any eating plans that ban such foods. I advocate for 60-80% raw plant foods—but I feel that some cooked vegetables, legumes, and grains are a wonderfully healthy part of a good disease-preventative diet, as evidenced by long history.

Here’s what Jim said to me via email, when I posted on the goitrogens issue last July:

“Research now supports the idea that anti-nutrients are nature’s way of helping us to be more intuitive in our eating patterns. For instance, some spinach is really good for you, but as you consume too much, the level of oxalates will build up in your bloodstream to a point that a signal will be sent to your brain and then a signal is sent from the brain to your endocrine system. The long and the short is, you will lose your appetite for spinach until the level of oxalates drop sufficient that your taste for spinach is turned back on….don’t get too complicated in your eating habits.”

I agree with Jim. Anti-nutrients are in most, if not all, whole foods. This does not mean they are bad, scary, or to be avoided. God put them in the food for a reason.

Tomorrow I’ll write about each of those anti-nutrients.

Aloha from Hawaii!

I’ve just returned from a heaven of pineapples and papaya, teaching on Maui and Oahu. Thank you so much to my friends there, the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii, and Down to Earth Markets, for hosting my lectures. Many thanks to GSG reader and my friend Debbie Tuttle (shown below with her husband Tom, and my friend Ben and me) who organized the whole Hawaii trip.

In the photo below of the “Dine Out” event they hosted after the Honolulu event, you can see event organizers Anjie Pham, Jim Thompson, Ori Ann Li, and Lorraine Sakaguchi, who are delightful and committed to helping the world eat more plants—and encouraging others to not eat our friends, the animals. I have never met more detail oriented, kind, committed people. And Sylvia Thompson has a fabulous takeout / delivery raw-food service called Licious Dishes—absolutely fabulous food we ate all week. Thank you to Dr. Karl Seff who graciously opened his home to us, and Dr. Steve Blake in Maui for running our event there.

It turns out that wherever I go, about 50 cities a year, I find a big group of people who

–need help and inspiration returning to whole foods, to restore their health

–don’t know how to eat any more because they’ve been bullied and brainwashed by food cults

–want someone to help and inspire their family, friends, children they bring with them

I don’t like trying to get people to adopt labels or join food cults or extremism. (Of course I’m friendly to some movements in the nutrition space—vegetarian, vegan, raw food, alkaline food.) What I do like, staying out of pointless debates and marginalizing, is helping people learn how to eat more plants. That much is certain: eating more plants in their raw state means less disease, more energy, more abundance, more positive mood, pretty hair and skin, strong bones. It also means fewer animals live in misery and die to end up on a plate.

Just for fun after the lectures, Ben and I spent some time at the Pearl Harbor memorials, the Polynesian Cultural Center, the North Shore, hiking, paddle boarding, and lying around on Waikiki Beach. We came home tan and relaxed, and I can’t wait to visit Hawaii again.

 

Become a modern-day hunter-gatherer! Dr. Wahls beats M.S. with nutrition!

I love this TedTalk by Dr. Terry Wahls, M.D., great data and slides about how she reversed multiple sclerosis. She talks about how she was wheelchair-bound with MS and on many drugs, and is now a healthy mom and doctor. She became a “modern-day hunter-gatherer,” because indiginous people’s diets exceed our RDAs by 200% to 1000%. Check out the chart in her slide show showing the percentage of Americans deficient in each nutrient. The top two answers were OMEGA 3 (85%) and IODINE (80%!). We’re also highly deficient in calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins. Dr. Wahls undertook to address her nutritional deficiencies, which over the course of just a few months got her out of the reclining wheelchair and onto a bike, eventually completely regaining her life.

Daily, she eats 3 cups green leaves (dinner plate), 3 cups sulfur-rich colorful vegs (broccoli, cauliflower, onion, garlic, mushrooms, asparagus, many more), 3 cups  colorful high-antioxidant fruits and vegs—yes, 9 cups! Also wild fish and organ meats and grass fed meat, seaweed foods. Now she has dedicated her life to teaching others about the benefits of the hunter-gatherer diet and doing clinical trials to document its effects.

That doesn’t sound yummy to you? Destroying my myelin sheaths and losing the ability to walk, and feed myself, doesn’t sound yummy to me. More and more of us have these kinds of dire futures if we don’t stop eating what you see in the photo with the family of four: a week’s worth of their food, which is almost entirely processed.

Tomorrow we will talk about Dr. Brian Clement’s teaching about whether fish oil is really a good source of Omega 3. (Hint: as I’ve said in my books and speaking, fish is highly problematic both as a food and as a supplement. We’ll talk about WHY, but fish in clean water is difficult if not impossible to find.)