How do we work out how to eat in such a way as to maximise our health and well-being whilst opening our awareness and creative consciousness? The answer will be different for everybody depending on their situation, personal preferences, physical constitution, personal and ancestral history etc. There are some clues however that have helped many people optimise their own diet.
Firstly of course the raw food clue - a high raw food diet maximises health and energy. However, many raw foodists are finding that that the totally raw vegan diet is not working for them and are moderating what they eat, including taking note of the findings of researchers such as Weston Price, eating animal products and preparing vegetables differently. The thing is with many vegetables is that they are not really part of our biological diet and contain toxins such as goitrogens which were traditionally broken down by cooking or fermenting. This interview with Kevin Gianni illustrates the scenario (from about half way through)
For me, when I can sustain it, a virtually all raw diet is magical. I would never want to make anyone feel pressurised to achieve this but am grateful to the person who told me how amazing it feels.
The challenge for people is how to sustain a raw food diet whilst getting the nourishment they need. Including raw dairy changed everything for me. One of the main issues is getting fat soluble vitamins e.g. vitamin A in the usable for of retinol, vitamin D and one of the co-factors needed to absorb it, vitamin K2. Plant sources simply do not provide these vitamins in a form that most people can use, especially in the case of children and women. And then there is the case of vitamin B12 where the same applies. By the way in latitudes such as those of the UK, the sun is not high enough between September and March to give us the UVB light we need on our skins to manufacture vitamin D. Including raw milk, cheese , butter and kefir has worked for me for the last six years. I also need to obtain my DHA and EPA from fish - like many people I cannot convert enough from the omega 3's in plant foods An attempt to do so by drinking vast amounts of flax oil can leave the omega 3 omega 6 ratio out of balance with omega 6 deficiency symptoms. At the moment I use fermented cod liver and high vitamin butter oil. Ubiquinol (CoQ10) is a crucial substance needed for cell mitochondria to work properly and to get enough from food we really need to eat organ meats. Traditional cultures included plenty of organ meats in their diets - if we are not willing to do this we need to supplement. You can cut raw liver into tiny pieces and freeze it long enough for any pathogens to be killed. It is really delicious, yes! and melts in the mouth.
The point about eating animal flesh is not just the issue about whether it is raw but that meat also contains steroid hormones which affect pineal biochemistry so minimising it is a good idea. Liver is far more nutritionally rich than muscle meats so we can get nutrition we need more effectively whilst eating smaller quantities.
Here Barry Groves elaborates on our need for animal fats and dissolves some misconceptions about fellow primates and other mammals. I add that I do not come to the same conclusions about the history of humans or need to eat a lot of meat.
If you think what we would have ate in our original forest home: fruit, the seeds in fruit, presumably some leaves it gives some clues as to some of the foods it is important to include. Our digestive systems have changed since then and do not assimilate in the same way, so we need extra foods. Although it may on first sight seem 'unnatural' to drink the milk of another animal, we nonetheless are in some ways designed to consume dairy products- we are mammals and can drink our mother's milk. The ability to digest lactose in dairy products in later life varies a great deal for person to person. In cultures such as those of the orient which traditionally did not consume dairy produce there is greater lactose intolerance. However, tolerance to FERMENTED dairy products such as kefir is more common and uniform.
As we do not digest the seeds in fruit properly there is a lot to be said for including nutritious seeds broken down by blending in smoothies for example.
Then there are more subtle elements to be included such as monatomic elements rhodium and iridium which are essential for higher brain function (aloe vera gel is a good source). There are deficient pineal biochemicals to consider such as melatonin, di-methyl-tryptamine and mono-amine oxidase inhibitors. Sufficient iodine is important for pineal function and is lacking in the soil. It's important to include some iodine rich foods and avoid structurally similar elements such as chlorine and fluoride which get lapped up by the pineal in place of iodine. Nettle are very rich in minerals and also serotonin, strengthen all the glands and stimulate the pineal gland and are free! Pick the very tops of them before they flower and juice with carrot to bulk them out.
With all this going on the energy can get almost too high to handle! Staying grounded by spending time in nature, barefoot on the ground, in contact with trees or lying on the earth is part of the experience. Simply watching the sky, the sunrise and sunset, listening to birdsong, can become transcendental experiences in this state.
Some of these aspects of nutrition will be discussed in more detail at the event Food for Consciousness in Totnes, Devon on 27th November.