athletes and experts quoted about eating plants

I don’t preach about the -isms. I don’t talk about or embrace words like raw foodist, vegetarian, or vegan, even though I do teach to eat a high-raw, mostly-plants diet. I leave it to you to figure out whether you want organic, clean eggs, cheese, milk, or meat as a small (5% or less) part of your diet. The implications of the biggest nutrition study in history, the China Project done by Oxford and Cornell, are clear: a plant-based diet can overcome carcinogens in our lifestyle. The standard American diet that includes 20% animal protein is a cancer feeder and puts us at high risk for that, and many other diseases.

I personally do not ever put animal products in anything I make at home. Organic eggs and cheese were the last things to go, at my house. There were less and less of them until one day I realized it had been 18 months since I had bought either of them. Making an egg substitute with 1 Tbsp. chia soaked in 3 Tbsp. of water works great. The baked product is more crumbly, but I can live with that. That’s all I used eggs for, anyway. The days of serving my little kids “toads-in-a-hole” for dinner were long gone. (A piece of bread, a hole punched out and an egg put in, fried in a little butter.) In the early days of my transition, we had that WITH a green smoothie!

It’s a rare occasion that I eat anything in a restaurant with animal products, either. I choose not to embrace those titles for two reasons. One, I think they are a turn-off to many people who are just starting out, wanting only to learn about and eat more nutritious food. I want to “be there” for the folks just beginning a transition to a high-quality diet.

Second, because I am often approached in restaurants, everything I eat scrutinized and commented on, and I don’t want to be held to absolutes. So I never call myself any of those labels even though I have eaten a high-raw, 95%+ plant-based diet for 18 years.

I’m supportive of those who do eat veg, vegan, and raw, and I’m proud of my vegan daughter who goes out of her way to eat only plants, so that there is no cruelty to animals caused by her life. (She’s a competitive soccer and cross-country athlete, and we look high and low to make sure there is no leather in her cleats and running shoes as well.) She and I have two very different ideologies that fuel our similar choices—hers animal cruelty, mine nutrition—and both are valid and important.

The quotes below use the words “vegetarian” and “vegan” quite a bit, but of course they’re not my quotes. But if extremist labels offend you, just consider these thoughts towards my agenda of helping you EAT MORE PLANTS! Regardless of whether you have a goal of eating no animal products. :-)

“A number of studies have shown that cancer risk is lower and immune competence is higher in individuals who consume a vegetarian diet. Epidemiological studies almost unanimously report a strong correlation between a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low cancer risk.”

– John Boik, in his book Cancer & Natural Medicine: A Textbook of Basic Research and Clinical Research

“I have been a vegan for almost two years now and the benefits have been tremendous. I have more stamina and it helps keep me in a positive state of mind. I didn’t realize how weighed down I was when I ate meat. I never really felt 100 percent until I freed it from my diet. Now, I can’t imagine going back to meat. I feel incredible.”

– Mike Tyson, World heavyweight boxing champion, in 2011

“Today you have processed meats and a lot of animals suffering unnecessarily for it. Now, some people just blow that off and don’t have a conscience about it, or they just don’t care. They wouldn’t eat their dog, but they feel that way about other animals. But for me, I decided to stop eating meat. I didn’t want to contribute to all of that. I’m not trying to change the world, or wear that on my sleeve, or make a political statement, because that just turns people away. I only have control over one person, and that’s myself. And I feel good about it.”

– Mac Danzig, vegan mixed martial arts champ

“I’ve found that a person does not need protein from meat to be a successful athlete. In fact, my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet.”

– Carl Lewis, nine-time Olympic gold medal winner

“Someone may say that there are some antioxidants in meat. They are not incorrect in saying this. But, it is like comparing a raindrop to a lake, with a piece of meat being the raindrop, and an apple or other raw fruit or vegetable being a lake of beneficial nutrients. Any antioxidants in the meat only got there by way of the animal eating plants. Animals, including humans, do not conduct photosynthesis, which is the process that takes place in plant cells when they absorb sun energy and store it, forming the colors in the plants. Therefore, antioxidants, which are in the natural colors of plants, are vastly more available in edible, raw plant substances, and much less present in meat, dairy, and eggs. By consuming animal protein to try to access antioxidants is less than licking the juice from a knife that just cut through a piece of fruit, instead of simply eating the fruit itself.

By consuming animal protein, you are also consuming free radicals, which exist and form in meat, milk, and eggs. So, even if you are consuming some trace amounts of certain antioxidants in the animal protein, you are countering it by also consuming the damaging free radicals in that animal flesh, dairy, or eggs. This scenario does not equal good nutrition – especially considering that meat, dairy, and eggs also contain saturated fat, cholesterol, and a variety of other substances that work against health.

Studies are constantly revealing how certain fruits and vegetables not only provide needed nutrients that are beneficial to health, but also that they contain and provide properties that prevent certain serious ailments, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease; limit intestinal exposure to carcinogens; and help the body to contain, transport, and eliminate toxins.”

– Sunfood Diet Infusion: Transforming Health And Preventing Disease Through Raw Veganism by John McCabe

beautiful and young at age 70! three ageless examples show the value of good nutrition!

I often hear people judging the raw vegan movement, or its credibility as a lifestyle, because a particular raw vegan doesn’t look good.  In fact, it is often debilitating health conditions that started the person on the path to raw/vegan in the first place. So they may have a long way to travel out of the health/beauty morass they were in from a lifetime of eating the S.A.D.

It’s also confusing to newbies when people are overweight and say they eat raw or vegetarian. This leads me to believe they maybe aren’t practicing what they preach.  Or maybe they eat tons of nuts, seeds, fruit, and cold-pressed oils—and few of the low-calorie options that make a plant-based diet so healthful, like greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes. Greens and vegetables have to be the crux of a life-giving diet.

Or maybe they eat late at night, or they have no “off” switch. I don’t know. There’s a certain famous raw foodist who is beloved by many people, but who is extremely overweight. It’s not great role model stuff—so confusing for people—but it is possible to be overweight eating raw. Possible….but unlikely!

So don’t judge the folks who just got started last year. Take a look at these 3 women who are all about 70 years old. This first one of Annette Larkin, sent to me by my friend Ben, is ASTONISHING—check out what happens from the time you’re my age (45) till you’re 70, you eat all raw food. WOW!!!

(For a baseline of what she WOULD look like, just compare her to her husband, who has continued on the S.A.D. and looks and feels every bit of his 70+ years.)

And there’s Mimi Kirk, voted world’s sexiest vegetarian, who is over 70.

And there’s Donna Gates, author, who is about 65. She’s known for teaching about fermented, probiotic-rich foods and lots of sea vegetables are part of her diet. Long ago she was totally debilitated by candida.

I’m inspired. Are you?

Vegetarians’ favorite question

My daughter Emma, 16, and I had a convo the other day about how every vegetarian gets sick of the question, “How do you get your protein?” (I bet we hear from some of them here!)

I often point those asking that question to my report HERE called “Protein: Are We Deficient? Or Overdosing?”

A soccer teammate of Emma’s props up her diet with protein shakes. EVEN THE VEGANS BUY INTO THE PROTEIN MYTH! And she’s not healthy. This is the logical fallacy:

“I know a vegetarian, and she’s not healthy. Therefore we must need meat to be healthy.”

Nearly every logical fallacy applies here, and I love exposing logical fallacies, but don’t want to deliver a dissertation on all the ways that fails. My readers are smart and you can poke holes in that kind of thinking yourself.

Most if not all our degenerative diseases are related to undigested proteins floating in our bloodstream. That’s right, our EXCESSIVE PROTEIN consumption is killing us. We do NOT need 20% animal protein, thank you very much Dr. Robert Atkins. (It didn’t work very well for him, did it?)

Those of you eating a plant-based diet, what’s your favorite response to that question, “Where do you get your protein?”

Libby Goes Vegan

You know I don’t   promote any “isms”–vegetarianism, veganism, raw foodism.  I’m secretly a fan of all those movements. But I don’t adopt them as extremist positions because I think they send most people running for the hills. And I believe that sticking to the idea of eating MORE PLANT FOODS wins more converts.

But I don’t cook/serve animal flesh in my home. My older daughter, though, is a militant vegetarian.

The younger one, Libby, 14, struggles. She admires her sister’s “cause” orientation, and has “gone veg” several times but it doesn’t stick. She goes to her dad’s where meat is a staple, and she caves in, falls off the wagon. She has been looking at vegetarian vids on youtube and studying the issue.

Today she brought me this typed statement:

“I, Libby Pay, am going vegan. I will not eat anything with eggs or milk. Or meat. So I want to make  special veggie foods for myself since the rest of you drink kefir in the mornings. If I have to drink kefir I will be deeply hurt. Anyways, to make my special food I would like these ingredients. Some of them I have already, but just want to make sure I am allowed to use them. I want to be hardcore vegan. You don’t have to be. But I really want to.”

“Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, sweet potatoes, fresh kale (to try this one recipe I found), black beans, that seaweed stuff you buy, big carrots, garlic and onion, green and black olives (not needed, just somewhat wanted!), green beans, cucumbers.”

“I feel very strongly about this. If it gets too hard, I’ll just be vegetarian, but I really want to do this.”

A few hours later, she came in with a binder she’d made, with lots of printed material about cruelty to animals and nutritional support for a plant-based diet, in plastic sleeves. The cover page has this printed, in large text:

“WHY I DO NOT EAT MEAT:

“Yes, God may have put them on the earth for us to eat. But in the scriptures it says to eat meat sparingly in times of winter and famine. I don’t think our Heavenly Father intended for the animals we eat to be tortured, stuffed into tight cages for their whole lives, beaten, and to rarely see sunlight. Chickens, pigs, and cows have been chemically altered to grow way bigger than they are supposed to. They put steroids in the animals to make more meat. These animals can’t walk, and are tortured daily.”

I’m so proud of my kids when they stand for something. When it’s something that will benefit them and the world, even better!

Now if I could just get them to take a vigilante stand against SUGAR.

Oasis of Hope, Tijuana (Contreras Clinic)

Oasis of Hope in Tijuana is inpatient, with all meals served to you. It is very much a hospital—not a medical spa like in Irvine, or a detox retreat like Creative Health Institute or Hippocrates Health Institute. It’s a small hospital, but they have an emergency room, a pharmacy, radiology, the works.

The food is radically different from “normal” hospital food. You can ask them for lots of green juice (I had some from the buffet, see the juices in this photo), and dictate your own nutrition protocol if you want. The meals are 95% vegan (occasionally they serve a little fish or chicken although I never saw any) because their patients want it, and some demand it). Meals are an organic, varied, gluten free buffet—delicious, and although it’s not 100% raw, there is lots of raw plant food.

I was very impressed by the food, actually. It isn’t “detox food” like you’d get at Creative Health Institute or Optimum Health Institute, but you can easily eat raw and vegan there, and it’s all really yummy.

I was told stories of patients who bring in bags of junk food. This would never fly at other places I have been. Oasis of Hope’s philosophy seems to be that while they aren’t going to provide it, they also aren’t going to be the Food Gestapo for their patients either.

But the culture there is very much Latin American. That is, it’s very respectful of you, your wants, your spirit, your individuality. Rosa, the nutritionist, is Dr. Contreras’ daughter and has an American master’s degree. She is happy to teach nutrition to patients one-on-one, but the Latin tendency is clear: that they are not dogmatic or pushy or militant, as some clinics are in the U.S. (I personally respond just fine to nutritional militancy, even appreciate it, LOL! However, some don’t.)

There is a deep focus on spirituality. Dr. Contreras and the other practitioners at his hospital feel that healing is impossible if you do not BELIEVE in the treatment, if your attitude is negative, if you are not an active participant in recovery. His father, Dr. Ernesto, greeted each patient as they arrived, and played his guitar and sang for them when they left. The staff at Oasis Tijuana is very gentle and even kitchen staff hugs the patients every day. They are openly Christian, while inclusive and welcoming to those of other faiths. Attending a daily devotional, and worshiping or meditating in the beautiful chapel, is an important part of treatment.

Two great recipes and an awesome new ingredient!

I  recently gave a lecture in St. George, Utah, and in three other Nevada and Cali cities. In St. George, we stayed with my longtime friends, vegan raw foodists Denley and Jan, whose kitchen and fridge contents always inspire me.

Denley was raised on sodas and Twinkies, and eventually he was so ill that he discovered that he could recover his health ONLY when he eats vegan and virtually 100% raw. They have raised their six children on a plant-based diet. They made that shift when their twin daughters were born with cystic fibrosis. Now both are mothers of 6 and 7 children and are healthy vegans even though most with CF don’t live past 25.

Next time I stay with Jan, I’ll make a video of all her great nutrition habits and gadgets.

She made us a fabulous dinner when we pulled into town, and Kristin and I couldn’t stop eating apples dipped in the fruit dip, recipe below, that tastes like marshmallow cream. But it’s all raw, with no sugar, guilt free! (I can eat it without having to pay Matthew $10,000—we’re both going strong, by the way, after 3.5 months. Easy!)

Here’s the recipe I’ve adapted from Jan’s—she keeps a jar of Irish Moss gel in her fridge, which is a whole-food thickener, gel, and emulsifier. It’s the raw, nutritious form of “carageenan” that you’ve seen in ice cream, etc., You can get it on Amazon and many other places online or possibly in your health food store. Buy unbleached “Carageen” raw Irish Moss so you’ll get the sun-dried rather than bleached product. The Irish eat it with potatoes and cabbage!

In addition to its function, it’s a nearly flavorless seaweed that, like other algaes, is an excellent source of iodine, minerals, A and B vitamins, and protein. It is soothing to mucous membranes and thus may help with indigestion, constipation, and skin conditions. Some use it in water to ease coughing associated with colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

You’ll have fun using it for ice cream, shakes, puddings, and more…give it a try! I personally am so excited to discover this ingredient. Having enough ingredients and habits that you love is KEY in making a transition to raw plant foods easy and “deprivation-free.”

Fruit Dip / Topping

1 cup macadamia nuts

2 Tbsp raw almonds, sesame seeds, or cashews, soaked overnight and drained

6 Tbsp. water

¼ cup Irish Moss gel (see below)

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ cup raw, organic agave, or raw honey

1/8 tsp. Original Crystal Himalayan Salt

Blend almonds, sesame seeds, or cashews in water, in turbo blender until creamy, about 90 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight, will last 3-4 days. Use as a dip for fruit, or as a topping for a pie.

Strawberry Shake

1/2 cup Brazil nuts

1 ½ cups water

¼ to ½ cup Irish Moss gel (see below)

1 cup frozen strawberries

8 drops liquid stevia, or ½ packet dry stevia

1/2 tsp. vanilla or pinch of a vanilla bean

Soak Brazil nuts several hours, drain and rinse. Blend soaked nuts in 1 ½ cups water for 90 seconds or until very smooth, in a high-speed blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend on high until creamy. This is a low-sugar treat your children will love and you won’t feel guilty about.

Irish Moss Gel

Keep the dry moss refrigerated in a sealed Ziploc bag or jar. Soak a handful in a quart jar full of water for 3-5 hours on the counter. Drain and rinse well (you may have to pick out bits of shell/sand). Blend ¼ cup soaked, packed Irish Moss, with 1 cup filtered water until smooth. Store in fridge in a glass jar for up to 2 weeks. Use in potatoes, gravy, ice creams, puddings, etc.