Will my teeth go bad on a raw diet?

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: Will my teeth go bad on a raw diet? I am troubled by the Weston A. Price Foundation’s claim. –Megan

From Robyn: I have noticed observationally that those on a long-term 100% vegan diet sometimes have dental problems. I do not think that this diet is necessary. (I wonder if there are good cooked plant foods that may be helpful to our health that can prevent deficiency, which people throughout time have utilized–grains and legumes, for instance.)

Nor do I think the evidence points conclusively to human beings needing meat, far from it, in the face of the Oxford-Cornell China Study. If you feel compelled eat animal flesh, it’s still clear that it MUST be organic and it must be minimal. Not three times a day as many Americans do.

(And I have noticed that when most people say “meat,” they mean beef and pork. When I say meat, I refer to the flesh of all animals.) Most people are B12 deficient, but the idea that vegetarians are deficient overlooks the fact that most meat eaters are, too. 80%+ of people in America are B12 deficient, in fact.

I don’t eat meat and I am not B12 deficient. I haven’t had a cavity in years (although my Sonic toothbrush may share in the credit for that—those things are amazing). My dentist says my teeth are “naturally white,” and when I go in for cleanings, I’ve been told twice, “I don’t know why you even come in, because you have no plaque on your teeth.” None of this was the case before I cleaned up my diet.

While the Weston A. Price research found that people who eat meat, among indigenous peoples, had strong teeth, we cannot compare that to modern populations and draw the conclusions that we should eat the kind of animal flesh that modern people do.

What we eat, and what people living far from a processed diet did at the time of Price’s studies, are terribly different. Today’s animals used for food are caged in tiny, filthy pens, and are full of antibiotics, hormones, and terrible diets of genetically modified grains or diseased animal parts. We cannot assume that because the native people Price studied had clean animal flesh in their diets, that means we can eat lots of dirty animal flesh and achieve strong teeth (and bones).

I have more to say, but local Dr. Garon Larson, D.D.S., says it better, in response to Megan’s question:

“Can I respond to Megan’s question about teeth?

I am a local general dentist who drinks green smoothies and eats whole foods and a plant-based diet with my family.   I was on ABC4 morning news yesterday and KSL noon news segment for children’s dental health awareness month (Feb).   The news anchor asked me what parents can do to help children have healthy teeth.   My answer:   Stop feeding your children the Standard America Diet, which is processed foods from cans and boxes, processed sugars, and fast food.   Give your kids real food to eat.   Absolutely the best thing you can do for your teeth, mouth, and body.   Healthy teeth are really important when eating a whole foods diet because this is real food and you need strong healthy teeth to chew and break down the food to digest it well and absorb the nutrients (unless you want to blend everything up in your Blendtec!).

Teeth form when we are very young, almost all permanent teeth have completed development of crown and most of the root by the age of 6-8 years old.   Good nutrition (from whole foods) is so important for our young children.   After tooth development, we are mainly talking about maintaining the teeth, which is removing food and debris which gets left on our teeth (biofilm).   Standard American Diet is very hard on teeth as full of refined carbohydrates and refined sugars, which the normal flora (normal bacteria) in our mouths use as fuel and metabolize these substances, giving off acid as a byproduct.   The acid demineralizes the teeth and begins the decay process.   Chewing whole foods which are fibrous stimulates the gum tissues, has a natural lavaging effect on them, and promotes healthy gums.

There is absolutely no need for animal products for healthy teeth or gums.   I received a certificate from E Cornell University last year in Plant-Based Diet and I can confidently say that and I am confident in the way my family eats…that’s the way my kids eat and they have great teeth!

Hope this helps put your mind at ease!

Dr. Garon Larsen”

The latest green smoothie debate, part 2 of 3

In addition to that formalized piece of research, we have had thousands of testimonials mailed to the site, and I’ve spoken in 2011 to 50 live audiences of approximately   9,000 people. Many of them stay after and wait for up to 2 hours to talk, and many email us, and I daily hear stories that cause me to continue traveling to share my message.

None of the three people spreading this idea to avoid blending greens have the experience I do speaking to audiences of 15,000 the past 2 years and asking questions like this:

“How many of you are eating the amount of greens on this platter?” (The platter represents what’s in a quart of green smoothie.)

EVEN IF a salad is superior (and I dispute that, even though I love salads too!), guess what? Virtually no one is eating that much salad. I choose to operate in facts and realities to come up with solutions that people will actually DO.

Try putting 2 lbs. of fresh greens and vegetables on a giant platter. Tell someone to eat it in a day.  (That’s the goal in 12 Steps to Whole Foods. It’s also the goal of Eat to Live, Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s program.) It’s beyond daunting—it’s virtually impossible unless you’re going to spend 30 mins. chopping and 90 minutes chewing. Remember, we are debilitated (thanks to three generations of our people eating processed foods, weakening the jaw and narrowing the palate). I am working within current realities.

Remember, green smoothies require no salad dressings, with all their calories, preservatives, fat, refined oils and processed/chemical sweeteners. And cell walls are broken open, making nutrition instantly available. Some of the nutrition in salad is locked away to us because our narrow palates cannot break it down, and we swallow chunks rather than creamed greens.

I obviously feel strongly that green smoothies are a great way to spend 10 minutes to get up to 15 servings of raw fruits and greens in the diet. That said, an important point we can take from this new criticism of blending our raw greens, is that we should eat a variety of high-fiber plant foods.

If you don’t think that regular ‘chewed’ food that you eat with a fork or spoon is important, you haven’t made one of my granola recipes in Chapter 11 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods. My challenge has always been,

Eat it daily for two weeks and tell me if it doesn’t radically change your digestion.

I texted my friend Jennie just now who was complaining about constipation, “Make my granola from Ch. 10 and it will change your life.”

Let me be graphic. You will eliminate regularly, with more bulk, and feel very “cleaned out” and energized. Honestly, I don’t talk enough about eating granola. Not store-bought kinds. Homemade, with lots of bran and grains and seeds and nuts. Fabulous sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. And loads of roughage.

To drag your digestive tract with lots of insoluble fiber, granola wins.

For overall nutrition, made quickly, consumed easily, for high impact on many different health issues, green smoothies win. Don’t forget that a quart will completely fill your stomach, with only 200 calories. You don’t need any dressing to get it down. You don’t have to prep it for 30 minutes and spend another 30 minutes eating it.

Nutrition is usually a gradual process of changes and improvement!

I think it’s important you know how gradual my health changes were. Because I don’t want you to be discouraged if you like how you feel eating whole foods, but your problems didn’t disappear overnight.

I’ve written about 21 health problems I had in my 20’s that have all gone the way of the Dodo.

Aren’t people supposed to develop more and more health problems the older they get? We’ve come to think of this as normal and inevitable. I have a tennis teammate, Gloria, who will NOT divulge her age. She has a beautiful little body that any 30-year old would love to have, she eats right, and she’s never been overweight in her life. But her daughter plays with us and is 52! That puts Gloria well into her 70’s, and I’m telling you, she is an excellent tennis player, runs as fast as we do, and doesn’t have joint problems!

So, you might start drinking green smoothies and even though you’ve read the crazy-awesome testimonials people send to me on this site, you aren’t at your ideal weight with all health conditions gone.

Me neither. I started making serious changes at 28 years old, but they were gradual and hit-or-miss for quite a while. Two steps forward, one step back. I was 100% about it for my little boy, whose health crisis was desperate, but I was still addicted to some processed foods and didn’t quite give up animal products. I gradually read more, implemented more, conquered my addictions more—but not overnight. My behavior lagged behind my education. I was frustrated by that, mad at myself, sometimes.

I was diagnosed with 20/20 vision when I was 40—that was the last degenerative condition to completely resolve. That and insomnia, which resolved when I started taking amazing fulvic acid (now in the form of GreenSmoothieGirl Ultimate Minerals)—love the minerals, the chelating ability, the detoxifying ability, the power in that product. My eyesight was completely restored after 12 years of an increasingly whole-foods, plant-based diet.

All the other problems disappeared much faster than that—some were virtually overnight. Quick to disappear were all my hypoglycemia and eczema. (Seasonal allergies took quite a few years and happened when I started eating raw local honey.)

The migraines ended when I completely gave up artificial sweetener and caffeine.   Circulation problems (cold hands and feet) went away when I started to get medium-chain fatty acids in the form of coconut oil in my diet and on my skin. The weight problem went away when I quit eating sugar every day.

I quit getting sick when I stopped eating sugar every day and started eating probiotic (cultured) foods. My energy returned, more and more—what I ended up with is something I wouldn’t have had the vision to hope for. I have tons of energy, every day, from early till late.

But let me say this, and it’s important: green smoothies alone would not have been enough for me. I would have been still overweight—but just less so, and healthier.

More commitment is needed, more than just green smoothies. Take more steps!

Question authority and use your critical thinking skills

One of my readers, Amanda, sent me this exchange that got her labeled a ‘Dissenter’ and ejected from Joe Mercola’s forum. Whey protein, including his, is a highly processed food with additives and flavorings you should avoid. Most Americans are overdosing on protein, but if you feel you need more, I hope you look to whole foods or better products than this. Eat more yogurt, nuts, legumes, and greens–all high in protein–or a whole-foods, plant-source protein powder. I would put you into the forum Amanda was rejected from to see an M.D. and others disagree with Joe’s sales claims, but you are forced to sign up for his newsletter in order to see the discussion.

And regarding the convo below (I have not changed Joe’s misspellings or anything in either party’s words), it’s fine to have heroes as long as we maintain our critical thinking skills, ask questions, and put our own instincts and research first as Amanda is doing here.

Let’s don’t eat “byproducts” of anything.

Posted On Jul 13, 2011

Just discovered that one of my health heroes, Dr. Mercola, is using maltodextrin, a corn by-product, in his Miracle Whey powder. Not just any maltodextrin, mind you, but one produced by a “joint venture” of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), one of the massively corrupt Big Ag companies, and the Matsutani Chemical Industry Company. Ew! Didn’t say this on the label–in fact, the Nutritional Information panel for Miracle Whey was not available in the store.

I received the product and asked why there is maltodextrin in it, when Dr. Mercola writes articles saying not to use it. I received a reply saying basically that THIS maltodextrin is GOOD for me because it’s Fibersol! Oh, phew, I feel better! Another Frankenfood in my breakfast bowl made by ADM, a heavily subsidized Big Ag conglomerate, and a chemical industry company, which I’m sure is concerned only for my health and well-being. Yea! I’m so relieved.

ADM is one of the world’s largest producers of high-fructose corn syrup and many other of the toxic, processed foods that Dr. Mercola is always warning us about. Makes me wonder–does he know anymore what’s going into his products???

Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to be a pain in a–. It’s your health and our environment at stake! We must regularly challenge all authorities–even those we think we can trust.

 

Dr. Mercola  

Joined On 12/1997

Posted On Jul 13, 2011

This has been mentioned dozens of times on the site, you have just never seen it. The maltodextrin content in our products is naturally occurring  digestive resistant maltodextrin, which Is a non-digestible fiber. It is NOT the cheap maltodextrin your are referring to which is easily broken down and will stimulate insulin release.

Our maltodextrin is just another name for a water soluble fiber (long chain saccarides) that naturally occur in maize and other plants. That fiber has shown to help lower blood sugar and blood lipids. And it also works as a pre-biotic food to support health gut flora. Probiotics are essentially important for the digestion and utilization of protein. In fact, probiotics increase the biological value of the protein. This is completely different than the typical NON digestive resistant maltodextrin that is use in many other products that will raise your insulin level and also has MSG.

secretbird  

Joined On 4/2009

Posted On Jul 13, 2011

Dr. Mercola, thanks for your reply. However, you seem to have completely missed my point.

I understand what Fibersol, the type of maltodextrin you include in your Miracle Whey formulation, is and why you’re using it. My problem with Fibersol, and thus your Miracle Whey, is its source.

As I stated in my original post, a quick Google search revealed that Fibersol is a “joint venture” between Archer Daniels Midland–one of the world’s most egregious examples of Big Ag corruption and environmental devastation, and the Matsutani Chemical Industry Corporation, whose name alone is sufficient evidence that their products do not belong in our food supply.

You yourself have been a vociferous and passionate advocate of withdrawing support from Big Ag by using our main power as consumers: not buying their products and eating whole, fresh foods as much as possible. You have also been one of my main teachers and information sources in the health field, and I’ve paid attention when you say to read labels, ask questions, and do research. That’s all I’m doing now.

If I’d known that your product contained maltodextrin, which I didn’t because the Nutritional Information panel is not available in your store (why?), I would have asked these questions earlier and probably not bought the product for ethical reasons–not merely because it contains maltodextrin.

I want to thank you for all you do and for the excellent information you disseminate. Having been ranked as the No. 1 source for health information, it’s essential now that you live up to your own standards.  With great respect,  Amanda de la Garza

Dr. Mercola  

Joined On 12/1997

Posted On Jul 13, 2011

The digestive resistant maltodextrin (from maze) that we use in our whey protein has unmatched nutritional properties particularly regarding the sustainability of blood sugar and blood lipids. It is by all means a water soluble fiber (unlike conventional maltodextrin which is a high glycemic carbohydrate). Unfortunately some unique and valuable products are produced by companies which may not fit your ethical standards but the products that they produce have no substitute – that’s including the gasoline you put in your car, the antibiotics you need to use against infection, etc.

Nutritional information is available for all our products at the bottom of the sales page. Seems you just overlooked it.

secretbird  

Joined On 4/2009

Posted On Jul 14, 2011

Dr. Mercola, with all due respect, your ethical standards are in question here, not mine. I’m not formulating and marketing a product whose second ingredient is a fake fiber co-manufactured by a Big Ag conglomerate and a chemical company.

I strongly disagree with your assertion that your use of Fibersol in Miracle Whey is an unavoidable choice similar to us having to use gasoline for our cars and antibiotics for infection (particularly that last, coming from you!). We have many choices available to us in terms of what we put in our bodies, including whether we eat at McDonald’s or have a grass-fed, organic steak for dinner. Indeed, you yourself were a major influence on my awareness that we must be informed about the sources of our food!

I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you’ve been too busy to stay in close touch with your formulation process and supply chain, rather than think that you knowingly chose to include Fibersol-brand maltodextrin, which might rightly be called a “Frankenfood,” in a product that you are now marketing heavily on your web site.

In the former case, I hope that as one of the world’s leading authorities on health, you will do the right thing and reformulate your Miracle Whey to follow the very same good advice you frequently offer your many readers–namely, to avoid Big Ag- and chemical company-created “food products” like the plague that they are.

I have been one of your biggest fans and supporters, Dr. Mercola. All I’m asking is that you uphold the same high standards you’ve encouraged me and millions of others to live by. Thank you for your time, and best regards, Amanda de la Garza

secretbird  

Joined On 4/2009

Posted On Jul 15, 2011

Dr. Mercola, I notice you’ve slapped a “Dissenter Badge” on my posts now, indicating that I post “comments that are in disagreement with the Mercola.com community” and that my comments “should be viewed with caution.”

It’s very telling that such a designation exists in your forum.

Thanks for letting me know exactly where you stand on my request that you observe the same standards you encourage your readers to live by.

I hope that Archer Daniels Midland and the Matsutani Chemical Industry Corporation appreciate your continuing financial support through the inclusion of Fibersol-brand maltodextrin in your Miracle Whey products.

Best of luck with your business.

Received within a half-hour of above post: 7/15: “Content contained within your posting violated our terms of service and your posting has been deleted. Repeat or flagrant offenses of this nature may result in your account being banned.”

Are “eating healthy” and “obsessed” synonymous?” [part 1 of 3]

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl (from Linda):

“I just received an e-mail earlier today from a friend who considers herself a very healthy eater (she’s a nurse) with a link to the following article “New Eating Disorders: Are They For Real?” about newly discovered or classified eating disorder, Orthorexia.

“It says: ‘Orthorexia is Latin for ‘correct eating.’’ Here, too, the focus isn’t on losing weight. Instead, sufferers increasingly restrict their diets to foods they consider pure, natural and healthful. Some researchers say that Orthorexia may combine a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder with anxiety and warn that severely limited “healthy” diets may be a stepping stone to anorexia nervosa, the most severe – and potentially life-threatening – eating disorder.’

“Linda continues: Okay, I say, but I am not “severely limiting” my healthful foods, I eat quite a variety, probably more than the average adult. My weight is well within normal limits, and I do not worry too much about calories or restrictions, other than making a clear attempt to eat unprocessed whole natural foods, as much raw as I can.

“So, this doesn’t seem to apply to me…. But then the article goes on to say…”Orthorexics: Those affected may start by eliminating processed foods, anything with artificial colorings or flavorings as well as foods that have come into contact with pesticides. Beyond that, orthorexics may also shun caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt, wheat and dairy foods. Some limit themselves to raw foods.”

“Hmmmm, like that is something bad, say, compared to eating unlimited junk food, highly processed food and foods with pesticides? But that was not enough: the article goes on to describe the TREATMENT the newly classified Orthorexic needs in order to be “cured”, I guess, of their disease/condition! Wow, this is the kind of stuff that I find myself running up against since I took up a whole foods, high raw diet just over two years ago.

“I say very little at this point to anyone about what I choose to eat or not, and this is very sad to me, since I am trying to just be the example of what good fitness/nutrition can be. This just seems to put the ultimate stamp of “disapproval” on the way many of us are choosing to eat to circumvent GMO, pesticides, processed foods and additives. Robyn, I have to give you credit that you can keep up the good fight despite resistance, but would love to know what you do when confronted with this type of information?

“This is the link: http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/new-eating-disorders-are-they-real.”

Robyn’s answer: in my next post!

Amorphous Blob of Diet Pepsi Jelly-Sausage

Just got back from the Bay Area–yummy raw food at Café Gratitude in Berkeley (photo below). Taught a really fun class in Oakland (will post photos as soon as someone sends me some–since I forgot my camera), so great to meet y’all who came!

So Laura (my best friend for 30 years) and I were hiking in Lafayette this weekend [photo below] and had this conversation:

Laura: You know, this really makes me mad, I had ONE vice. Is that too much to ask? You know, at 3:30 every afternoon, no matter where I was, I would fill a cup up with ice. Everywhere I work, everybody knows what I’m doing when they see me coming with the SMALL cup of ice: to fill it up with a SMALL amount of Diet Pepsi.

Robyn: Well, you drink wine. So technically isn’t that TWO vices?

Laura: No. Wine is good for you.

Robyn: Oh.

Laura: Anyway, so now, I have my own soda fountains, how lucky is that? But no!

(Laura owns a really cool store store that sells much better stuff than just Diet Pepsi.)

Laura: So my employee Greg was cleaning out the soda fountain machines one day, and he said, ‘Laura, you have got to see this.'” And I go over . . . and there is . . . [a look of horror comes over her face] . . .

. . . this quivering, gelatinous, mucousy sausage of goo. It was heinous, I’m telling you. Trembling, jelly-like, thick, brown . . . OMG! I don’t have words for the horror. It was in the tube coming out of the Diet Pepsi thing! [She is gesticulating wildly with her hands.]

And I have never had a Diet Pepsi since. That was last fall. I will never drink it again.

Robyn: I feel a blog entry forming in my head. But the problem is, a lot of people would read that and it wouldn’t slow them down for a minute. They’d keep drinking Diet Pepsi.

Laura: NO. No one would! No one! OMG! [She shudders.] You don’t understand. Did I say that it was like a giant SAUSAGE of slithery chemicals?

Robyn: I need a photo.

Laura: No! Then no one will come in my store! Everyone will stop buying Diet Pepsi! Anyway, I’m not sure a photo will do it justice. You have to see the quivering to fully appreciate it. It’s a video kind of thing.

Robyn: [stopping her on the hiking path, making a praying sign with my hands] A video then. I would pay money for that. Pretty please, I’m begging! This won’t hurt your business. It should hurt Pepsi, though it probably won’t. Remember 20 years ago when you worked at Bain and one of your clients was a meat packing plant? And you told me to promise you I would never eat a hot dog? Or let any of my future progeny eat one? I’ve kept that promise–no hot dogs!

End of conversation . . .

We’ll see whether I get my way on this one. If I obtain the photo or video. My birthday isn’t till February. Do not think I won’t remember to ask her for a photo of the Diet Pepsi Mucousy Sausage then, if she hasn’t sent me visual evidence yet.

Those of you who attend my classes may know my answer when some dude raises his hand and says, “If I drink a quart of green smoothie daily, it’s okay that I eat all kinds of other crap, right?” (Always, always a man who says that.) And my answer is, “I’m not answering that.”

Ditto my answer for the question, “So I should switch to Diet Coke, right?”