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Don Bennett's Blog

November 13, 2020

How it's possible to get less of certain nutrients
when eating the healthiest of diets

Even though no nutrients are damaged by cooking when eating a raw vegan diet (because there is no cooked food in this diet), it is possible to get less of certain nutrients on a raw vegan diet compared to the typical Western diet. If you haven't heard this before, it's because most raw vegan diet educators aren't teaching it. And they aren't teaching it either because they didn't learn it, or because they refuse to believe it. But reality has a way of having the last word, and realizing this as a teenager, I decided 47 years ago to make sure that whatever I learned, it squared with reality. I came to understand that the reason the scientific method way of investigating things was created in the first place because the scientists and researchers of the time realized that humans can have subconscious biases that could color their judgment. And since they are after the truth, and didn't want what they preferred to believe to affect their findings, the ethos of science was created as a way to look at things from the perspective of reality. I liked this very introspective and independent approach to researching/learning. And it's what I've stuck to for these last 47 years. And it has served me well when researching health issues. And this is why what I teach can be a little "different" than what other educators teach.

So the following may be new to you, and for those who've learned about a raw vegan diet from someone thought to be a trusted source of information, but you didn't hear about this info, don't assume that it's ridiculous simply because you weren't taught it. It's easy to vet/verify the accuracy of this info because it deals with objective facts and not with subjective opinions. I'm not interested in my opinion, nor should you be. Just the facts.

I mention all of the above because some raw vegan educators will tell you that this info is "ridiculous", and it's good for you to hear this from them because it is a red flag that's a warning that the educators who say this are themselves not properly educated, and are not open-minded enough to look into it and to doing the peer-to-peer work necessary to explore this information. Yes, this educator and I teach a lot of the same info, and this educator therefore also has a lot of spot-on, accurate info, but if they have some inaccurate info, and you follow what they teach 100%, you will be following some misinfo. And it is this misinfo that has contributed to some raw vegans not thriving after a period of time. If you don't want to be one of these raw vegans, read on.

So how is it possible, when eating the healthiest of all the diets that have ever been thought up, and eating the healthiest of the raw vegan diets specifically, can you get less nutrients than you would have when you ate the typical Western (SAD) diet? Buckle up, because here's how...

The nutritional fortification program

When it was discovered that the reasons for people becoming ill in large numbers was a lack of certain key nutrients, the government ordered that those nutrients be added to the foods that people were eating. And this solved a lot of ill health issues. Vitamin D was added to dairy products, vitamin C was added to orange juice (because that juice was pasteurized which destroys C, and some oranges were grown in zinc-poor soil so the trees couldn't make enough C in their oranges), B12 was sprayed onto cereal as it was dispensed into their boxes, and iodine was added to table salt to stem the growing epidemic of goiter (an enlargement of the thyroid gland in an effort to get more iodine). So lots of processed foods – foods that lots of people ate – had certain "problematic" nutrients added to them through this nationwide (and then worldwide) nutritional fortification program. And this helped to dramatically reduce ill health issues that were caused by nutritional insufficiencies that worsened into deficiencies. Of course when chemical additives like preservatives started being added to food, along with using the newly invented synthetic chemical pesticides, and "fast food" was invented, people's health went downhill from these wonderful innovations ("wonderful" for sales of corporations, but obviously not wonderful for the general population).

So what happens when a person stops eating all processed foods? Obviously no more nutrients courtesy of the nutritional fortification program. No more D or B12. But these are normally not food-provided nutrients. So if a raw vegan educator doesn't spend an entire "chapter" on the importance of being vigilant to get enough of these two nutrients, this is one reason vegans and raw vegans can lose their health over time. And it's not a given that you will automatically get enough of these. A lot of people live too far away from equatorial regions to get sufficient strong enough sunshine. And there are way too many people whose bodies aren't up to the task of making enough B12 (especially when you consider the "Demand" side of the issue where some people's B12 needs are higher today than they would have been 100,000 years ago).

But what about the food-provided nutrients? Surely when eating the healthiest of the raw vegan diets we'll get "enough of all" (the nutrients the body requires for optimal healing and optimal future health). Turns out, this is not the case for everyone. For those people who get their fruits and greens from agri-industry growers, they have been found to not be getting "enough of all". Why? Agri-industry growers grow their crops for appearance, size, yield, pest-resistance, shelf-life, growth-rate, sugar-content, and above all, for profit, but not for nutritional content. Why should they? Government isn't mandating that they do so, and consumers aren't asking them to, so why, when doing so would lower their profits, would they do it voluntarily. It turns out that they add back to their soils only those nutrients that the plants require for the grower to be able to grow crop after crop year after year. And that's nitrogen (which we don't require), potassium, and phosphorous. Those last two we do require. So no one who eats a lot of produce is walking around with a potassium or phosphorous deficiency.

But what about the dozens of other essential nutrients that we need? The ones that are supposed to come from food? If someone told you that the reason potassium and phosphorous are added back to the soils is because agri-industry soils have plenty of all the other nutrients, but not enough potassium and phosphorous, they would be wrong. And that doesn't even sound like it makes any sense. And soil assays wouldn't show this ridiculous scenario. What soil assays have shown is that the nutritional quality of agri-industry soils have gone down over the decades, and the nutritional assays of the foods grown on those soils correlate with this. However, you will be told otherwise by laypeople and educators who don't want to believe that the foods of a raw vegan diet could be nutritionally insufficient for optimal health. But remember, I deal with reality, regardless of the pros and cons of doing so.

Since there's a reason that the health of some raw vegans has gone downhill over the years, and I'm good at discovering reasons for things like this (because I deal with reality), I and my colleagues who also employ the ethos of science have been able to help people regain lost health. And the #1 reason for this unfortunate scenario is simply not getting "enough of all" over a long enough period of time. This time period varies because some people come to a raw vegan diet with existing nutritional insufficiencies, and some people have a higher Demand for certain nutrients because of existing ill health conditions that they are not aware of yet (no noticeable symptoms yet). And by-the-way, why do so many people improve their health when switching from the typical Western diet to a raw vegan diet (any raw vegan diet)? It's mostly because of what they stop eating (meat, dairy, grain products, cooked junk food etc).

If you'd like to discover why, when long time and longish time raw vegans' health went downhill, and they added animal back into their diet, and their health improved (and yes, this has happened, much to the delight of the anti-vegan YT bloggers), the links below explain this, and, no surprise, it has to do with getting the nutrients they were low in through supplementation using animal products. I think it's better to use plant-based nutritional supplements to resolve the issue so you don't get the negative aspects associated with eating animal products... cooked or raw. And those who had the presence of mind to realize that their loss of health couldn't be due to a vegan diet, so it must be due to something else, and then found me or one of the other, more "enlightened" educators, were able to regain their lost health without having to resort to animal products, and all it took was some lab tests and the prudent use of some worthwhile (vegan) nutritional supplements... the ones they and many other people are lacking in their raw vegan diets. Don't be one of those people who discover this because of a loss of health somewhere down the road... be one the people who discover this before they lose their health, so they don't lose it. (And no, I don't sell any nutritional supplements... a common and understandable assumption.)

The links below represent some enlightening and empowering info that, sadly, is not being taught to vegans and raw vegans as much as it should be. And even more sadly, is being discredited as "nonsense" by irresponsible raw vegan educators and laypeople simply because it goes against their belief that a raw vegan diet will provide "enough of all" without any need for worthless nutritional supplements. And this belief is just as honest and just as strong as the anti-vegans' belief that all humans need to eat animal products to have optimal health. And both positions are, according to reality, incorrect.


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Don Bennett's Blog

June 1, 2020

Two categories of nutrients

It's important to understand that nutrients like vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, etc. come in two categories as far as their need by the body: "critically important", and "important". The difference is, your continued existence depends on getting enough of the critically important nutrients, but if you don't get enough of the important nutrients, your life won't be immediately threatened, but your quality of life will be negatively affected over the long term. This is an important distinction, and one we all should be aware of, but you're not going to hear about this from most health educators because they don't get into the outside-the-box nuances about health.

Sodium, for example, is in the "critically important" category. And this is the reason you have taste buds on your tongue that are coded for salty things. Each cell has a sodium-potassium pump, so you have trillions of these pumps. And since fruit and vegetable growers replenish their soils with potassium (they have no choice, they must), no one who eats a healthy diet is walking around with a potassium deficiency. But growers do not replenish sodium (because they do not need to, so why should they), and this is why vegans and raw vegans can experience cravings for salty things. If your sodium-potassium balance gets too far out of whack, you die. This is why sodium is in the "critically important" category.

Iodine is another essential nutrient and is needed by all organs of the body for them to function at their best. But if you don't get enough iodine, unlike sodium, your life won't be at risk immediately. Over time however, with the organs of your immune system not working at their best due to an iodine deficiency, you won't have optimal health, regardless of how good your diet is, or how wonderful your lab work looks. For example, you will (not may) be more prone to developing cancer because iodine plays a key role in enabling your immune system to destroy a tiny group of cancerous cells before they can become "cancer" many decades down the road. Iodine also has antiviral properties – very important these days – so if you have an iodine insufficiency or deficiency, this puts you more at risk of not handling a viral infection as well as you could have if your iodine level was "full".

So it's physiologically impossible to have optimal health if you don't get enough iodine. But since you aren't acutely at risk of dying from an iodine deficiency, it's in the "important" category instead of the "critically important" category.

When people tell me, "I must be getting enough sodium because I don't have any cravings for salty things" I tell them that this assumption is a safe bet. But when they continue to tell me that they must be getting enough iodine because they feel great, this is not a given.

More on the importance of iodine here.

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Don Bennett's Blog

April 17, 2020

A logical but incorrect assumption

I was asked this question...


"If my thyroid tests all showed normal operation, wouldn't one logically assume that the iodine level would be functioning normally?"


I explained it this way: There are people who eat a horrible diet, very "acid forming" (meat, dairy, grain products), and they tell me that their lab work is fine... their blood pH is perfect, thus their diet can't be acid-forming. I explain that one of the very important roles of blood is to transfer oxygen to cells, and if blood isn't slightly alkaline and tips over into the acidic range of the pH scale, you die instantly (it would be like you exhaled as completely as you could and then someone put a large piece of tape over your nose and mouth). So obviously keeping blood pH perfect is a super high priority for the body, so it will "rob Peter to pay Paul" and will steal alkaline material from its bones (the body's biggest source) to make 100% sure that blood pH will stay slightly alkaline, even if it results in osteoporosis over time; the lesser of the two evils, the other one being instant death. So just because the blood pH lab test is perfect doesn't mean that the person isn't acidifying their body with an unhealthy diet.

The thyroid is the master gland for metabolism, with metabolic control being a very important function... too low and you won't even feel like getting out of bed and therefore could starve to death, and too high and you could die instantly. So the body will rob Peter to pay Paul with iodine too, iodine being of critical importance to the thyroid, with the thyroid being the body's biggest "customer" of iodine. The 3 and 4 in T3 and T4 (two hormones the thyroid makes) represent molecules of iodine (and yet endocrinologists don't include iodine tests as part of a full thyroid panel... go figure).

And also, just as 98.6° is the average temperature, it is not the normal temperature for healthy human beings, which is a little lower. But when the thermometer was invented and used on lots of people to ascertain an average temp, it was used on a cohort of unhealthy people. The same can be said for all lab work. Those reference ranges are not handed down from the heavens.

Also, every other organ in the body requires amounts of iodine. So when they are robbed of iodine in an attempt to satisfy the thyroid's requirements, now the poor thymus gland doesn't have enough to make enough T-killer cells to deal with a teeny tiny group of a few cancerous cells, and they then get ahead of the body's ability to stay ahead of their growth, and in about 30 years, WHAM, you get a diagnosis of cancer with a tumor about the size of a plum. And I could paint similar scenarios for all the other organs, such as breast tissue (the #2 customer of iodine), and the skin (the body's largest organ), and eyeballs, and brain, and lungs... they all need "enough" iodine. And since the government mandated that iodine be added to the gen pop's diet to combat the epidemic of goiter almost 100 years ago by adding it to table salt, and since the government surely knows that lots of people today are no longer using salt, why haven't they mandated that it be added to something else? It would appear that they're okay with people not getting enough iodine, and that it will take another epidemic of goiter to force them to act again, but until that time, they will be influenced by Big Pharma who makes boatloads of money from thyroid meds and antibiotics, both of which could be completely unnecessary if people got enough iodine. So much for the government doing its main job of protecting the people... instead, helping to protect Big Pharma's profits. But I digress.

But the above doesn't mean to simply go get some iodine and start taking it. Testing should always be done first... the most accurate way to tell where you are with your iodine level is to test; same as for B12 and D. Don't guess or assume. And then, for iodine to be taken effectively and safely, it should be done with guidance from an iodine literate practitioner. Doing it in a DIY manner often results in not addressing the deficiency or worse, "fails" that can do damage. More on iodine here.

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Don Bennett's Blog

April 9, 2020

A "healthy" lifestyle?

Here's the headline: "22-Year-Old With Coronavirus Shares How Terribly it Affected Her Despite Living a Healthy Lifestyle"

My first thought upon reading that headline was, "What defines her 'healthy lifestyle'"? The article said, "She warned young people in their 20s to be careful [with Covid-19], especially considering that she was very ill despite living a healthy lifestyle, having no underlying conditions, and exercising every day." But what was her diet like? Many people who assume they're eating a healthy diet, in fact aren't. Let's look for clues.

"The first couple of days of symptoms were manageable. I had a fever, mild cough, chills, headache, and a runny nose. By the third day I couldn't keep anything down. I was vomiting constantly."

That's a clue. Despite having no appetite, she ate anyway. How do I know she had no appetite? Her symptoms. There's no way the body wants to eat anything with those symptoms, and eventually, therefore, she couldn't have been hungry, and when the infection got serious enough to the point of being life-threatening, her body tossed back up the food she ate. But prior to the vomiting, when she forced digestion to occur by eating, this robbed the body of nerve energy which could have been put towards dealing with the virus, but wasn't, and this allowed the virus to get ahead of the body's ability to deal with it effectively, and symptoms worsened.

Eating when not hungry is not a tenet of healthy living; when you don't respect your body's desires to eat or not to eat, this sows the seeds for less-than-optimal health. There was no way to discern from the article what her diet was like, but based on her experience, I'd be willing to bet that she wasn't eating the healthiest of diets and making sure to get enough of all the nutrients that the organs of the immune system require to function optimally so as to have the best odds of handily dealing with a viral infection so you can avoid being hospitalized.

She's now out of the hospital and one week symptom-free, but says, "I still do not have all of my strength and energy back due to being sick and not eating for so long." When I was exposed to a virus, and didn't eat for 20 days (because I had no appetite), when I got my appetite back and started eating again, my normal energy level returned instantly. And that was at age 60. But I'm probably living a very different lifestyle than this person. And BTW, during those 20 days, my only symptoms were no appetite, and a low grade fever for half a day.

"Amy doesn’t know why she got so ill from the virus. 'I think it is so variable as to who gets what symptoms, and how severe they are. I have read about healthy people my age dying from the illness.'" My opinion is: People who are truly healthy don't die from a viral infection. And since many people equate a lack of a diagnosed illness or condition with being in "good health", many people can think they're healthy when they're not. The health spectrum is not an on/off state where you either are or aren't healthy; there are many levels in between deathly ill and perfect health, and a large cohort of people think a level of five on a scale of one to ten is a nine or ten when it's really a five. And when it comes to how the body deals with a pathogen infection, there's a huge difference between a five and a nine or ten.

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Don Bennett's Blog

April 7, 2020

A contrary viewpoint

I don't typically post thank-yous and testimonials from those I've helped by sharing my research of 45 years, but I thought I'd post a contrary viewpoint, which helps to make my point about how it can be counterproductive to be certain about something that, in reality, isn't true.

Some context: I was posting about how it is possible to eat a fruit-based diet and not get "enough of all" (the nutrients the body requires to provide you with OPTIMAL health). And I don't just state that this is so with no explanation; I take the time to provide the thinking that supports this contention. But there are those who steadfastly believe that we can get "enough of all" from a fruit-based diet, therefore I must be lying or am just wrong and I can't realize that I'm wrong.

Here is the contrary comment:

"OMG Don you are a windbag. I do not like to dis someone who supports the same things that l do but you are clearly wrong and cannot admit it. PEOPLE CAN AND DO LIVE ON FRUITS PERIOD. Because you make your income from advising people to use supplements you are BLINDED to reality of what people are telling you. That they actually do LIVE HEALTHY ON FRUITS! Don't bother replying with your ramblings and links Don it is meaningless. It's your choice to tell people whatever the f@$k you like but don't tell us fruit eaters we are wrong. Stay with your own kind - supplement pushers. And btw it is absolutely possible to gain enough dietary iodine with adequate fruit especially bananas. You obviously don't understand this!!"

My reply:

"Jane, with all due respect, yes, people can live on fruit, but there's a difference between surviving and thriving. And since I've counseled many people who live on fruit who didn't thrive after a time, obviously I'm qualified to speak to this issue. And those people who've been helped by my counsel are thankful for my thorough (windbaggy) responses.

And I don't make my living from advising people to use supplements... that info is free on my website. In fact, I have two windbaggy articles that detail how to self-assess and self-correct D and B12 levels that have helped many people, for free.

And I am so sure that you cannot get enough iodine from eating bananas and other fruit, that I will bet you $1000 that I am correct and you are incorrect. If you'd like to take me up on this, let me know.

It is sad that there are people who have such high levels of certainty uncoupled to the world of evidence, debate, and rationality. And I'm taking this rather harsh tone because I care about people, including you."

Folks, since in my practice I've seen so many people who've failed to thrive on a fruit-based diet (not the fault of the diet), and I understand why this happens, it does pain me when people insist that, just like 100,000 years ago, it is totally possible to be optimally healthy on a fruit-based diet, when, for many people, it isn't.

And this situation is made worse by the stubborn and/or arrogant raw vegan educators who are not open-minded and who think they are God's gift to the raw vegan community, so when they say that no one needs any supplements to be optimally healthy (except maybe B12) you can take that to the bank. And those who follow these irresponsible educators without vetting their information for accuracy are likely in for a rude awakening somewhere down the road. Don't be one of them. So please buy the supplements I sell (kidding; I don't sell any supplements like some people assume I do).

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Don Bennett's Blog

March 26, 2020

Covid-19, whose fault is it?

There's a lot of blame being placed on various aspects of society regarding who is at fault for this Coronavirus outbreak. This governor didn't do this, the president called it a Democratic hoax and minimized it and closed the Federal Government's Pandemic Office a year ago, the Defense Department withholding face masks, and a woman ate a bat in Wuhan China. Let's be clear, this outbreak is a natural result of human behavior. The facts: humans are not designed to eat animals, humans are not designed to eat cooked food, humans require enough of various nutrients for optimal health. More facts: most humans on this planet eat animals, most humans eat cooked food, and most humans are not getting enough of all the nutrients their bodies require for optimal health. A triple whammy. A perfect storm. A recipe for disaster for a significant segment of the population when a viral outbreak occurs, like we're experiencing now. First, if humans had never started eating animals, we wouldn't have Covid-19 today. And, if people had healthier "immune" systems, viral infections would not devastate them to the point of death. If humans had never put fire to their food, and had exclusively eaten the foods we're actually designed to eat, we'd be a lot healthier today as a species, and better able to deal with any natural pathogen exposure, and we wouldn't have caused cross-species outbreaks like Covid-19.

So, ultimately, who's to blame for the Covid-19 devastation? The human species. This could be a learning experience for humanity. But because of the influence of profit by such entities as Big Pharma and the AMA, the truth will not become public knowledge, which is what's necessary to prevent the next Covid-19.

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Don Bennett's Blog

March 23, 2020

A great vegan supplement for vegans?

The supplement industry is huge; it's a 30 billion dollar a year business, and most of the products are worthless. I should know, I was an industry insider. But because these particular supplements don't kill you, the FDA is fine with them. But what about the ones that swear they are the "best"? Their promotional material sounds very convincing, but of course it does; it's designed to get you to buy their product instead of other products. And since I said above that "most" are worthless, that means that some are worthwhile and beneficial (and no, I don't sell them).

A newcomer on the block is being target marketed to an ever growing demographic: vegans. Is it the best? While it may be better than others, no, it's not the best (and I say it may be because a supplement can be something other than what their promo material says it is, unlike a pharmaceutical). So, "Let the Buyer Beware" really does apply to nutritional supplements.

I'll point out three issues I have with this supplement. They say...

"It's possible to get enough iodine if you regularly eat
seaweed (multiple times a week), or use iodized salt."

The seaweeds vegans eat are dried, not fresh, and dried seaweeds contain little to no iodine because the drying process causes the iodine to sublimate (go from a solid to a gas), and it does this at relatively low temperatures compared to evaporation. And using iodized salt provides some iodide (but no iodine), but not enough for whole body tissue sufficiency (150mcg is the RDI which is a minimal amount that helps to prevent goiter but doesn't provide enough for the organs of your immune system). And this supplement provides no iodide, only iodine, and some organs concentrate iodide and some concentrate iodine.

While the amount of D3 in this product (2,000 IU) is more than the outdated standard of 400 IU, it's still not enough for tissue sufficiency (some D supplements use 4,000 IU, which is better; being out in strong enough sunshine can make 10,000 IU a day). And of course they make no mention of the other sunshine-provided nutrients that their supplement does not contain (no supplement does yet) which can't be obtained from food either. But they sell supplements, so they're not going to be honest and admit that taking D3 is the third best way to get it, the first being strong enough sunshine, and the second best way is a phototherapy device (because it makes all the other equally important sunshine-provided nutrients and it has the potential to make more appropriate amounts).

And while their form of B12 is good, it's 300mcg, and if a person has a B12 deficiency, they may need 5,000mcg for a while. So B12 testing via a uMMA test is a good idea before taking any B12... but this information is of course not on their bottle.

I will not be mentioning the name of this supplement because my specialty is optimal health, and there is a much better supplementation plan than simply popping this capsule: Two heaping tablespoons of Daily Green Boost per day with a phototherapy device during the winter, and separate B12 only if needed, and some iodine (which Daily Green Boost doesn't have enough of). And no, I don't sell any of the items I just mentioned.

Remember, as with most things, there are poor/fair/good/better/best versions, and this goes for nutritional supplementation too. And if you believe, as some raw vegan educators do, that when you eat a raw vegan diet of fruits and some greens, you don't need any supplements, just know that this lovely notion is incorrect. Why? The answer is here.

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Don Bennett's Blog

March 19, 2020

Let's Be Clear About Covid-19

It's a virus, just like the viruses that cause a "cold" or "flu" except that this one is more virulent, meaning, the symptoms can be more pronounced, and the percentage of deaths per 1000 cases can be higher than the viruses that cause the flu. Notice, I said "viruses". This is because a virus can mutate into a different version, which makes it a "new" virus from the body's perspective. Why is this fact important? Because once you get and deal with a specific virus, when exposed to the same virus again, it can't affect you as it did before because your body has already built up antibodies to it, so even though you can "get it" again, you are not likely to even know. This is often called "immunity" but this is an outdated and inaccurate term, just like "immune system". It is a holdover from a long time ago when observations suggested that when exposed to the same virus again, nothing happens this time, therefore you must now be "immune" to it. Today we know that this is not what happens, but the terms remain.

And why does a virus (that you've never been exposed to before) affect people differently, with some having mild symptoms, some having severe symptoms, and some even dying from it? It's all about the health of the organs that comprise your body's defense and maintenance system (the "immune" system). The better those organs function, the less severe your symptoms will be. When your "immune" system is weak, your body struggles to deal with a viral or "bad" bacterial infection, and this is characterized by feeling like you've been hit by a truck, with all the sneezing, coughing, high fever, etc. When a person with a truly healthy "immune" system gets that same exposure level of that same virus, they barely notice it because it is not a struggle for the body to deal with it. This is what I experience. My symptoms include: loss of appetite, less than normal energy level but not weak or bedridden, maybe a low grade fever for a few hours, and a tiny bit of nose blowing at the very end. That's it. But that's because I care for those organs that comprise my "immune" system. How? I make sure they get "enough of all" (the nutrients that they require to provide me with optimal operation*).

* Sleep

* Deep sleep

* Fresh air

* Hydration

* Exercise, but not too much which is counterproductive

* The foods I'm designed for

* The nutrients my body requires, especially those that the foods I'm eating don't provide because of the way they are grown by agri-industry that grows food for appearance, size, yield, growth-rate, shelf-life, pest-resistance, and sugar-content but not for nutritional content because they grow for profit first and foremost. And a key player to the organs of the "immune" system is iodine, and most people are deficient in it, accounting for such poor "immune" system response among a large demographic of people.

* The nutrients my body requires that are not meant to come from food, like B12 and D+ (the plus stands for all the other equally important nutrients that sunshine makes in your skin that can't come from food or a supplement BTW).

It should be noted that the susceptibility to a viral infection can also be affected by whether or not you got a flu shot in the past... and I don't mean that if you got the shot, you're less vulnerable. Currently, there's a correlation between people who've gotten flu shots, and people who've manifested serious Covid-19 symptoms. If this correlation implies more than just correlation, then this is another reason people should avoid the flu vaccination... which is more of a profitable product for a very powerful and profit-driven industry than it is something that protects people from a viral infection. IMO.

More info about the nutrition needed so you can have mild symptoms of an infection is here.

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Don Bennett's Blog

January 17, 2020

"But animals in nature..."

The observation of "have you ever seen an animal in the wild need a supplement or worry about doing blood work" is a ridiculous one when you deal with reality. In the real world, animals in nature get to eat food grown by nature, and they get to pick the best food when it's ripe. Sadly, we no longer get our food the same way. Today, nature doesn't grow our food for us, WE grow our food for us, and by 'we' I mean the for-profit agri-industry that grows for yield, size, appearance, growth-rate, pest-resistance, shelf-life, and sugar-content, but not for nutritional content. This is why when people change from eating foods fortified with certain nutrients to a diet of unfortified, agri-industry grown fruit and greens, we can come up short in certain nutrients over time, unlike the animals in the wild. This insufficiency is not an acute condition; it develops slowly over time so you don't notice any health degradation until it gets to the point where it becomes obvious that something is "off". But we don't need to get to that point if we deal with reality and have no biases or philosophies that work against our best interests (we can prevent insufficiencies from becoming deficiencies, and this does happen with raw vegans, despite what some so-called educators say).

So the recommendation to "just eat fruit and relax" and "you don't need to do any testing" are irresponsible ones made by people who've bought into the popular raw vegan meme, "Once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables you don't have to worry about nutrition", which has been shown to be incorrect. And if these people are themselves educators, this advice is unconscionable because it has the potential to harm people, and health educators are supposed to adhere to the oath, "First, do no harm."

Let's try dealing with reality instead of living in a fantasy world that existed 100,000 years ago.

Additional reading, here, and here, and here.

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Don Bennett's Blog

January 6, 2020

Can we get enough protein from a fruit and greens diet?

We hear this a lot even from highly educated nutritionists, that you can't get enough protein from a fruit-based diet. And many raw vegan educators say that this is wrong and that it's impossible to not get enough protein as long as you aren't cooking what you eat (cooking denatures protein making it unavailable to the body). But as with a lot of things, the truth is often somewhere in the middle.

First, it's important to know that protein is made up of different amino acids, and some of them are "essential", meaning they must come from food because the body can't make them from other amino acids that you are getting enough of.

Now, it doesn't happen often, but it is possible to get enough protein by grams, but not enough of one or two essential amino acids. How? By being sedentary; not being active enough (you won't eat as much food as you would have been if you were normally active, and less food means less amino acids), and also by eating a "narrow" diet without enough variety (because some fruits are higher in certain essential amino acids than other fruits). It's not common, but I've seen it happen with raw vegans. But it's easy to avoid... just be active (but not too active) so you'll warrant eating enough food, and eat a variety of fruit.

And if anyone says there isn't enough protein in a plant-based diet, ask them how a gorilla manages to get enough protein, or how I have been able to get enough for 26 years from a fruit-based diet... if I wasn't getting enough protein over that time period, I'd be dead by now, yet I'm still typing!

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Don Bennett's Blog

November 23, 2019

"Just listen to your body."

One piece of popular advice is to simply, "listen to your body". I have an issue with this, and for very good reason. Since counseling vegans and raw vegans for 16 years, I have seen how this piece of advice, even though it sounds like good advice, and often comes from very well-intentioned folks, has gotten people into trouble. Why? Because of three reasons:

1) If you don't understand what you're hearing, and you misinterpret what you're body is saying, and you then base your behaviors and decisions on what you think your body is telling you, you can get into trouble.

2) Sometimes people can interpret what they're hearing through a lens that is influenced by a bias, and the conclusions reached will also take you in the wrong direction. These biases can be instilled by some miseducation the person received (that they believe to be spot-on, when in reality, it isn't).

3) A person can be doing something that is unhealthy for the body, but they won't "hear" anything for a very long time. Things that contribute to degenerative illness can take a long time to get to a place where you "hear" something, yet all that time went by with the body experiencing something unhealthy, and this scenario is preventable.

All this is to say that while sometimes you can depend on what you're hearing from your body, there are plenty of times that you can't or can't accurately interpret what you're hearing, if indeed you're hearing anything. This is why, when not living in your natural biological "eco-niche" where there are no mistakes you can make, education is of critical importance. And reality-based education is the best type of education. I hope you partake of other insights of mine here in this blog and on the EDU section and ARTICLES section of this website.

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Don Bennett's Blog

November 23, 2019

"But we need balance when it comes to diet!"

In a discussion about diet, I saw someone mention that it is actually possible to be incredibly healthy while eating a “balanced” diet that includes plants and animal products. This person went on to say, "So I can’t agree with opinions and beliefs that it is only possible to have optimal health on a plant based diet and that animal products are detrimental to health because that clearly is false." Since this is not a subjective issue that is subject to opinions and beliefs, and instead is an objective issue that deals with facts and science and empirical evidence, and since my 45 years of research and 16 years in practice have clearly shown that this notion of animal products being okay to eat is not the case, there must be something else going on that leads people to believe this erroneous notion.

Yes, balance is important, but balance when it comes to the human diet would not include the "right balance" of plant and animal. Our gut (and entire body) does better when no animal or processed foods come in, and this applies to everyone across the board. Yes, some vegans improve a lost health condition when they add animal food back to their diet, but this is not because there is anything that is unique to animal foods that we require that plant foods don't normally provide (which is often the meme touted by animal food proponents and anti-vegans). There are reasons why the inclusion of animal foods can reverse ill health, and they are explained in the three blog posts below. And when you realize what's really going on, you can correct the issues that led to not thriving on a vegan diet without having ditch to the vegan diet.

So, the more important balance when it comes to diet is the balance between carbs/fat/protein (the "macro" nutrients) and the micro nutrients (minerals, vitamins, trace elements, etc). Because of the way vegan foods are grown, this "balance" is often way off (meaning, not enough micro nutrients in the fruits and veggies). This can be compensated for so that vegans DON'T lose their health in the first place. And there are also non-food-provided nutrients that those eating the typical Western diet can get, but vegans don't (like D and B12) that can account for a loss of health among vegans. If you're not aware of the above and the below information, it can be easy to believe that some animal food can be beneficial because of results, and then draw what is in reality an erroneous conclusion that we do require some animal after all, and that the anti-vegans were correct, when this is not true.


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Don Bennett's Blog

November 9, 2019

When a raw vegan diet is not enough to normalize your weight

I was asked recently:

"When I ate the typical Western diet I was overweight, and then I switched to a raw vegan, low fat diet, making sure to eat the amount of calories that would support my normal set-weight as per your "calories" article (very helpful, thanks), and I did lose some weight, but I'm still about 20 pounds overweight after eating this way for over a year and a half! I'm active, I'm getting enough sleep (you mentioned that not enough can make it difficult to resolve an overweight condition), so what the hell!!!"

I've seen this a lot in my practice. The reason for it affects everyone, but some people will be more overweight than others because of it. Sounds like this person may be one of them. And as a side note, this issue can also go the other way, and a person may be slightly underweight even when eating enough calories worth of carbs to support their normal, natural set-weight, but this is the exception and not the rule.

Here's the explanation: The body's master gland that controls metabolism – and thus your weight – is the thyroid. If the thyroid is under-performing, you will (not may) be overweight to some degree even when eating a proper diet and amount of food. This can be termed, "sub-clinical hypothyroidism" (or full-blown hypothyroidism). And even though some thyroid tests may be "in range", your thyroid can still be "slow" (but sometimes your TSH will be in the high end of the reference range, but since no "H" appears in the flag column of the lab report, the doctor will not notice it).

What is the cause of this scenario? Well, two thyroid tests are called "Free T3" and "Free T4". The 3 and 4 represent molecules of iodine (pronounced like chlorine), so this would suggest that iodine is important to optimal functioning of the thyroid... and it is, big time. Of all the glands and organs in the body, the biggest "customer" of iodine is the thyroid. Yes, all cells of all organs have an iodine receptor because all organs require some iodine, but the thyroid is the #1 consumer (breast tissue is #2). So what do you think happens when you don't get enough dietary iodine? Yep! An under-functioning thyroid (and in a small number of cases, a slightly overactive thyroid).

And what is the likelihood that you have an iodine insufficiency? Very likely according to the thousands of people I and others have tested (since becoming aware of this likelihood, I test everyone in my practice, and, to date, all but one person was low). Especially if you're not using table salt like people used to do (the government mandated that iodine be added to it to stop the epidemic of people not getting enough iodine). But even with table salt use, you're still not getting enough for Whole Body Tissue Sufficiency, and considering that the organs of the "immune system" require iodine too, WBTS of this hard-to-get nutrient is important, wouldn't you say?

So when people I counsel then get enough iodine into their diet, issues resolve (and not just an overweight condition). It can take time, but things improve. And to those who believe that we can get enough of all the nutrients we require from just eating fruit and greens, this is slam-dunk evidence that this lovely notion is wrong (and no, the losing of an overweight condition or the resolving of other issues like breast cysts or cancer was not due to the placebo effect, so please, to those anti-supplement educators, stop embarrassing yourselves with that ridiculous explanation).

More on the iodine issue here.
My "calories" article is here.

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Don Bennett's Blog

October 12, 2019

Why do some health educators teach some inaccurate info?

I've been told that no one health educator can have all the answers. And I agree. Not even me. But all the answers that a health educator does have should be accurate. I think we all can agree to that, especially when it's health information that's being taught... info that has the potential to improve a person's health, or hurt it. And let's be clear, a program's health info can cause a person to experience improved health initially, but then encounter degraded health later on down the road. Why? Because health information can consist of both accurate and inaccurate information.

If you don't already know, the health info you get from conventionally trained medical practitioners is often not in your best interest health-wise... it is in the best interest of the medical and pharmaceutical industries. They control the ill-health management system in the U.S., often referred to as a "health care system", which it really isn't. Oh, it's great for emergency care, and if I'm hit by a truck, yes, rush me to an emergency room. But when dealing with the causes and remedies for degenerative disease, there are better options, ones that result in better long-term outcomes (ones where you're not prescribed medications for the rest of your life).

But some of these better options themselves fall prey to misinformation, and this has the potential to prevent you from achieving your health potential. Here then are the reasons why.


If a vegan/raw-vegan educator was educated with some inaccurate info, this is what they will teach because they believe that they were taught 100% accurate information. But this is not always the case. So these educators may be very well-intentioned and well-meaning and sincere and caring, but they can be teaching some inaccurate info because they learned as a student instead of as a researcher (where they might have caught some of the inaccurate info).

Lack of critical thinking abilities

Some people can be great students, but lack the ability to think for themselves. Because of this, they wouldn't think of questioning anything they are taught, and will often defend their teachers against any and all accusations of teaching inaccurate info.

Biases and personal preferences

A trait of human beings is the ability to believe what we prefer to believe, and conversely, to disbelieve what we don't want to believe; we're the only species capable of this. This "ability" afflicts not just some of the students of health information but also some of the educators as well. And it can obviously color a person's judgment and affect the accuracy of what they teach and have been taught. The most common bias is "confirmation bias", which is the tendency to interpret evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs, and conversely, the tendency to dismiss as false anything presented as evidence that calls into question that which a person prefers to believe. Then there's "bandwagon bias" where people tend to believe what their friends believe. And if you're in an online group with people who learned a particular health program, you may defend that program and argue with anyone who calls any of it into question. But a small percentage of the people in that group who are not influenced by any biases will be able to consider the merits of both sides of the debate.


Health educators are only human, and some humans have a "touch of the arrogance". And this very human trait can prevent them from acknowledging that they are wrong about some aspect of what they are teaching. And this arrogance more often than not prevents them from even considering that something they are teaching is incorrect. And if this is what they believe, they will make no attempt to rethink their position, and will even double-down on it, and may even resort to disingenuous attempts to discredit anyone who publicly calls attention to their inaccurate teachings. And sadly, this impediment to teaching accurate health information affects some of the most popular educators in the vegan and raw vegan communities.

And if you're of the opinion, "But he/she/they have done so much good for the vegan/raw-vegan movement; can't we just overlook their failings?" I would consider that there have been vegans and raw vegans who have had their health decline over time and have gone back to eating animal products, and this was due in large part to miseducation. And this misinfo was from some educators who refuse to adhere to the oath that all health educators take (whether they raise their hand to it or not), "First, do no harm". We have enough vegan and raw vegan educators who take that oath seriously and who employ the ethos of science in their learning and teaching processes that we can do without those educators who refuse to consider that they are teaching some inaccurate information. And believe it or not, there's even a large annual raw vegan event that teaches both accurate and inaccurate information, and this is because the founder of the event is affected by some of the above reasons for teaching inaccurate health information.

The "Evil" Ones

And let's not forgot that small segment of the educational community that teaches inaccurate info for reasons of personal gain. These are the "evil" educators. They can be public health officials telling us that meat and dairy should be part of a balanced diet (and they know better), or they may be doing the bidding of Big Pharma when they tell us that vaccines are "safe and effective" when they know they are not. Yes, they may be bought off by or indirectly work for the meat, dairy, and pharma industries. Or they may be "entrepreneurs" who simply have a "I'm going to tell them what I know they want to hear" attitude... a "profits-before-people" business model. And a small segment of these people are charlatans because they claim to have supernatural abilities where they can "read" you (even over the phone) to assess what's wrong with you. And just because these people teach a lot of the same reality-based things that I and my honest colleagues teach, doesn't mean that their so-called "gift" is also real (they teach these things to give them credibility). Fortunately all these miscreants are the minority of educators, but some (public health officials) can have a huge platform and therefore have a huge influence on a large number of people who mistakenly trust these poor excuses for human beings to tell them the truth. Too harsh? No. These people are directly responsible for a lot of pain, suffering, and even premature death. This is why true health care is self care. Learn as a researcher and not as a student (or a trusting citizen).


An informative mini-discussion

DON: I would not rely on info from John Smith. He and I teach many of the same things, but he also teaches some inaccurate info, and people new to this diet are not going to be able to distinguish the accurate from the inaccurate. What is called into question with Smith is his ability to research something properly. For example, he is on record as saying that the Holocaust never happened, and Hitler was actually good to the Jews. And since there are other raw vegan educators who teach the same accurate info as Smith without any of the inaccurate info, this is why we in this group don't recommend him.

COMMENTER: That's beside the point Don… when it comes to juicing, to defer to someone with that much experience is wise… you can avoid his videos on other topics and go straight to the playlist regarding juicing.

DON: The point that I was trying to make was: Even if a health educator has videos about juicing, how do you know what's being said is 100% accurate? I've been vetting the info from vegan and raw vegan educators AND the educators themselves for many decades, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that many of them have both accurate and inaccurate info. Yes, mostly accurate, but it's the inaccurate info that can sabotage a person's efforts at maximal healing and optimal future health. Unless you view Smith's videos on juicing as a researcher and not as a student, so that you also view other educators' info about juicing, so that you can seek out any conflicting information, and then research the conflicting info, you could end up following some inaccurate info... i.e., not following the most accurate and thus the most helpful info. That's the point I was making. And for those who don't have the time or patience or wherewithal to do that, wouldn't it be wise for them to rely on those educators who HAVE done that, and share that info with others?


Recommended Reading:

But he/she/they have done so much good for the vegan/raw-vegan movement; can't we just overlook their failings?

What is considered evidence?

Examples of misinformation from raw vegan educators

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Don Bennett's Blog

October 10, 2019

Fruits today are too sweet?

I just read an article titled, “Humans have bred fruits to be so sweet, a zoo had to stop feeding them to some animals”. It said that zookeepers at the Melbourne Zoo are weaning some primates off of fruits because those fruits were “too sweet for the animals’ own good”.

Some animals at the Melbourne zoo, particularly red pandas and monkeys, have developed a sweet tooth for the genetically modified fruit they’ve been given over the years. If they could, many of them would eat mostly fruit and completely ignore other, less sweet foods that are normally provided to them to try to help them maintain a balanced diet. In captivity, zookeepers had previously been feeding red pandas and monkeys diets high in fruit, to mimic what they’d eat in the wild.

All animals that eat fruit have a natural affinity for the sweetest fruit. (This trait is taken advantage of by the candy industry.) So it should be no surprise that the monkeys gravitate towards the sweetest fruit... that's in our genes. And maybe if that sweeter fruit wasn't so nutritionally sub-par, the animals' health wouldn't suffer – like some raw vegans – and they wouldn't be overeating on the fruit in what I see as an attempt to get enough nutrients. The body requires and desires food for two reasons: fuel and nutrients, and it can create an appetite for food if it's not getting enough of both.

The issue is the cultivated fruits have been genetically modified to be much higher in sugar content than their natural, ancestral fruits.”

It's all well and good to compare the sugar content of today's fruit with that of our ancestral fruit, but we also should compare the nutritional value, which the zookeepers and this article fail to do.

Wild fruits are a lot less sugar-dense than what we’ve made for ourselves”.

Yes, and wild fruits were more nutrient-dense than the fruits grown today... the ones fed to those zoo animals... and to us. Why is it that some people can see this and others can't?

The solution for zoo animals is simple: Keepers have switched red pandas diets from fruits to little nutritional pellets...”

If the fruits were as nutritious as they should be, the pellets wouldn't be needed. I've seen the same scenario with raw vegans who eat mostly fruit. If it's fruit grown in nutrient-rich soil, they're fine. If it's fruit from the for-profit agri-industry who do not grow for nutritional quality, people eating a fruit-based diet can bump up against nutritional insufficiencies that eventually turn into deficiencies that contribute to ill health. The fix for us humans? 1) Realize that some of our fruit and greens are not as nutritionally sufficient as they need to be. 2) Add to the diet a nutritional complement that compensates for this unfortunate scenario; a worthwhile, broad-spectrum, plant-based nutritional supplement. 3) Stop believing the popular notion, “Once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables you don't have to worry about nutrition.”

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Don Bennett's Blog

September 20, 2019

What is considered evidence?

I have been in conversation with Ronnie Smith discussing the need for vegans/raw-vegans to consume as part of their diet nutritional supplementation so that they can get enough of all the nutrients their bodies require to provide them with optimal health over their lifetime. I have been counseling vegans/raw-vegans over the past 20 years who have failed to thrive on a vegan/raw-vegan diet, and I have seen how adding a worthwhile, broad-spectrum, plant-based nutritional supplement helped in resolving their ill-health issues. And sometimes, even a pill-type supplement was needed. This experience is considered empirical evidence, and it is supported by the science that explains the reasons these things help, and the reasons why people can lose their health when eating a vegan/raw-vegan diet, and I have written extensively on this topic. But Ronnie, the raw vegan advocate I've been discussing this with, holds firm to the notion that raw vegans do not need any nutritional supplements (except maybe B12) even though I've presented this evidence, which he contends is not evidence. I should mention that Ronnie is an advocate of Doug Graham's 80-10-10 Diet, which teaches, "Once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables you don't have to worry about nutrition", so a person's thinking may be influenced by these teachings if they are not an independent thinker who employs critical thinking, and takes in information as a researcher instead of as a student (students don't tend to question what they are taught), and employs the ethos of science when doing so.

After many conversations, I then thought to ask Ronnie for the evidence that supports his contention that raw vegans need not use any nutritional supplements to bolster their food-provided nutrient intake. Here's that conversation...

RONNIE: I know a number of long term raw vegans who have not supplemented and had no issues. There is my evidence, therefore your ideas have now been refuted. ... You didn't supply any evidence. You don't have any. You just have observations of people who you have no clue what they were doing. It's a shame you see this as evidence.

DON: Ronnie, first, how do you know these long-term raw vegans have no health issues at this time? My Dad felt "fine" when he had a cancerous tumor in him as large as a teenager's fist. The tumor was simply growing in a place that didn't bother anything, until it did, and that's when he became aware of it. So, just because some long-term raw vegans report to you that they feel "fine" does not necessarily mean they are in perfect health. And even standard lab work doesn't provide a complete picture. So, a person can think they feel "fine" when they are, in reality, not thriving.

And a while ago you criticized me for saying that some of the people I counseled for ill health issues had been eating an 80-10-10 diet because they may not have been honest with me about what they actually ate, yet you take these long-term raw vegans at their word that they, 1) have no issues now (because maybe they do and don't realize it yet), 2) have had no issues (maybe they have but are reluctant to admit it), 3) are not eating any foods that are fortified with certain nutrients, and 4) are taking no supplements (some might be but don't want to admit it for fear of being given grief over it).

So what you provide as evidence is in fact not evidence that those consuming a raw vegan diet needn't take any nutritional supplements. Funny how my compelling evidence is not considered evidence by you, yet you believe that what you present as evidence that supports your position is compelling. No wonder you do not want to participate in a debate with me on this issue. I hope that one day you can see this clearly for yourself, because in the raw vegan community you influence people, and how would you feel if, because of your influence, people failed to thrive on a raw vegan diet? Doug Graham and I teach about 90% of the same info, so Doug does teach a lot of great info, but this doesn't mean that fully 100% of what he teaches is accurate. I hope that one day you can see this.

So folks, my point is that those eating the healthiest diet won't know if the foods of that diet allowed them to live to their health and longevity potentials until they get into their late 90s or early 100s and die in their sleep of nothing specific... that's when they'll know for sure (of course there are other "basics of health" that must be followed, like getting enough sleep, sunshine, hydration, stress management, etc). And yes, there's no doubt that not eating animal and grain products will allow for improved health, but so will getting enough of all the nutrients the body requires for optimal health, and this is not guaranteed just because we're exclusively eating the foods of our biological adaptation. And those who believe that everyone can get "enough of all" by simply eating those foods are living in a fantasy world. And raw vegan educators and advocates need to stop teaching info that doesn't square with reality for the sake of those who follow them.

UPDATE: On October 4th, 2023 I did an interview with Ms.FitVegan, where I mentioned Daily Green Boost (that worthwhile, broad-spectrum, plant-based nutritional supplement I referenced above). And a viewer commented: "Why is daily green boost so salty compared to other barley grass juice powders?". And I answered: "Because it has a proper amount of sodium because the soils the plant was grown in have proper amounts of sodium. Sodium is so important that we have taste buds on our tongue specifically coded to detect savory. And this is how you can tell the difference between the savory barley grass juice powders and the not-so-savory ones." Ronnie Smith then felt it necessary to comment: "That's the only reason people buy the stuff. It has zero impact on improving people's health and like all multivitamin products is best avoided." The fact that Ronnie can say, as if it's established fact, that adding this nutritional supplement to the diet has "zero impact on people's health" demonstrates his bias and inability to consider issues using the ethos of science... and his clear violation of "First, do no harm". This is why, when it comes to information, Let the Buyer Beware.

UPDATE #2: In November of 2022 Ronnie asked me to be on his podcast to do an interview. Always holding out hope that people can "come around" and realize they had been incorrect about a position they held, I agreed (prior to this I had spent an inordinate amount of time trying to present to Ronnie the evidence that supports my contention that some people will need some nutritional support). After the interview was posted on Youtube, these were some of the comments, including one by Ronnie himself:

"What a wealth of information from one of the greats! Thank you so much for another great interview."

"Thanks, Don, and Ronnie; that was an excellent show; really appreciated it."

"Don is a wealth of infomation thanks for sharing this."

"Thanks for the interview, alot of stuff made alot of sense."

"Out of all you guests you've have on he is definitely one of the best."

"Don is one of the most intelligent people you have ever interviewed."

RONNIE replied to that last comment with: "Yet he won't provide evidence for his ideas???"

DON: "I've presented my evidence to Ronnie, he just can't hear it due to his biases."

RONNIE: "that's a lie Don. You have never, not once presented evidence for the ideas I have questioned you on. You evidence is the opinion you have of the experiences that a select group of clients had. This is a poor level of evidence."

DON: "Ronnie, I am certainly not lying. You believe I am lying when I say I've given you evidence to support my contention that some vegans and raw vegans will require certain nutritional support, but this is simply because you don't recognize the evidence I give you as evidence. But not believing it is evidence does not invalidate the evidence. I sat down with you (and Tom) for 1.5 hours at a state park in Florida and explained, in great detail, the evidence that supports my position. And "evidence" is not restricted to multiple, peer-reviewed, double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies of lots of people over a long period of time. If it was, we'd have no evidence that an all-raw vegan diet is superior to a cooked diet, but we do have other evidence that it is. Studies are just one example of evidence. There is also the empirical evidence... evidence derived from observation and/or experimentation... evidence which you choose to discredit and ignore because it supports a position that you can't allow yourself to accept, because doing so would have you no longer inviting Doug Graham to speak at your annual raw vegan event because of the contradictions between some of what Doug teaches and the evidence that demonstrates that Doug is incorrect about those things. And that scenario is not something you can consider. My wish for you is that you can one day employ the "ethos of science" in your thinking about this issue.
And I hope that you can view my rebuttal to Doug's deriding of the broad-spectrum nutritional supplement that I recommend, and do so in an unbiased manner employing those tenets of the "ethos of science" mentioned above...

SOMEONE IN MY FACEBOOK GROUP: "Don, Ronnie deleted your comments on that video... I am not surprised unfortunately."

And then Ronnie went too far. At an event where I was speaking, and where Daily Green Boost was donated and made available to the attendess, Ronnie disrespectfully did something that will end up discrediting him publicly. Why? Because the efficacy of Daily Green Boost is not a matter of opinion. It is squarely in the realm of objective fact. Why? It either is beneficial or it isn't. Whether it is or is not is not a matter of opinion... mine, Ronnie's, or anyone else's. But like any good disciple (in this case of Doug Graham's), Ronnie will make a T-shirt the same way someone who honestly believes that veganism is unhealthy and makes a T-shirt that says so. Inaccurate pieces of info like these must be countered so that people don't buy into BS that has the potential to do harm, and if doing so discredits Smith, you can't say he wasn't presented with the facts and given every opportunity to do his due diligence and look at the issue as an objective, unbiased researcher would, but he chose to look at it as a student/disciple and let a philosophy color his judgment. So be it.

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Don Bennett's Blog

September 9, 2019

When is a Study Not a Study?

A: When it is misleading. And I don't care if it's misleading intentionally or because those well-meaning folks doing the study didn't do their homework, if it misleads or confuses people, it's not a credbile study. Take this so-called study for example...

For those "in the know" about a vegan diet, this conclusion should seem unlikely, and it should raise a red flag about the study. And you'll note the headline doesn't say, "Vegans and vegetarians have higher stroke risk". Any article about a study with the word "may" in the title should be looked at with suspicion. Any study worth anything would not have the word "may" in its conclusion.

The way this so-called study was done could result in the conclusion that vegans and vegetarians can have a higher stroke risk, but it shouldn't. There are unhealthy vegan and vegetarian diets in addition to healthy ones, so which ones did the study participants eat? Did those conducting the study even know? And if the risk of stroke did indeed increase, then I would guess that they were eating unhealthy versions of the diets where the fatty acid content of the diets were not at healthy levels or ratios. Or maybe they weren't getting enough of some other nutrient – like D or B12 – which put them at a higher risk of a stroke (if they weren't getting enough D, they were also not getting enough of the other sunshine-provided nutrients... nutrients that can't come from a supplement or food, and some of those other nutrients impact the body in a negative way if you're not getting enough). Why did those doing the study not do lab tests with the participants to rule things in or out? Because this wasn't a credible study; it could have been one of those studies designed to have a predetermined result... and there are a lot of those thanks to greedy, self-interested people who are part of the meat, dairy, and pharma industries.

Plus, the article commenting on the study did say, "However, it cannot prove whether the effect is down to their diet or some other aspect of their lifestyle." And it also stated, "Diet experts said, whatever people's dietary choice, eating a wide range of foods was best for their health." But many so-called "diet experts" don't know the fine points about the human diet because they themselves have biases, miseducation, or are shills for various food industries who are paid to confuse or mislead the public with their statements.

The article also said, "those on plant-based diets had a 20% higher risk of stroke. The researchers suggested this could be linked to low vitamin B12 levels but said more studies were needed to investigate the connection", and yet the title of the article was, "Vegans and vegetarians may have higher stroke risk". Most publications know that there is a large demographic who just reads the headline. So this headline is another red flag.

And good old Dr. Frankie Phillips, from the British Dietetic Association, says, "The message, for everyone, is it makes sense to have a well-planned diet, and to eat a wide variety of foods; meat-eaters don't necessarily have a varied diet, because they might live on meat and potatoes for dinner every night and not have any vegetables." And this implies that it's okay to eat meat as long as you eat other things too, like vegetables, even though humans are designed to eat fruit, and he makes no mention of that.

Look, there are dietitians who don't know how to get rid of Type 2 Diabetes with diet, and this is their profession, so they should know, as should medical doctors. But dietitians and nutritionists and medical doctors can only know what they're taught, and their courses-of-study are rife with mis- and dis-information courtesy of those organizations and industries who have a lot to lose from more people eating a healthy vegan diet and the healthiEST diet, a raw vegan diet. But even the healthiest diet can be unhealthy in practice if the education that touts the diet is flawed, and there is a bunch of flawed vegan and even raw vegan dietary info circulating around, some courtesy of well-liked raw vegan educators who are either too arrogant to be teaching anything that affects people's health (because they themselves are not teachable and refuse to peer-to-peer), or because they themselves have been miseducated, or because of their own personal biases which colors their judgment which allows them to teach mostly accurate info along with some inaccurate info that has the potential to derail a raw vegan's health somewhere in the future. "Let the Buyer Beware" applies to health education as well as consumer electronics.

If you want to read about some better studies, try these. If you want to read the above article that comments on the study, click the image of it.

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Don Bennett's Blog

June 11, 2019

It's not natural

I want to address a notion that is going around.

"I don't believe in supplements...maybe for a short period of time to deal with something but not on an ongoing basis because you become dependent on them."

We're dependent on food. Food is a transportation mechanism for nutrients. So we're dependent on nutrients to sustain us, and we need enough of them. In fact, we need more than enough to be able to guarantee that we get enough.

So, what if the foods of the diet we're designed to eat aren't providing enough of all the nutrients our body requires to provide us with optimal health? What then? Do we simply assume it does provide us with "enough of all" despite evidence to the contrary, because that's what we'd like to believe? What if the addition to the diet of a worthwhile, plant-based nutritional supplement complements the diet, allowing the diet to then provide "enough of all". Would it be wrong to be dependent on that supplement, no different from being dependent on other sources of nutrients, including food and sunshine?

You might be tempted to think, "But supplements aren't natural." Yes, but neither is not getting "enough of all". We were very likely to get enough 100,000 years ago, but today, many people are likely to not get enough, and from the body's perspective, this scenario isn't natural, and is, in fact, a recipe for disaster down the road (which is another unnatural scenario).

Assuming that since we didn't need supplements 100,000 years ago, we therefore don't need them today may sound like a sensible conclusion, but when you factor in the Supply & Demand aspects of nutrition, and you discover that today's food is not the same as "yesterday's" food, you will see that this conclusion doesn't square with reality. And this is not merely a hypothesis; it has been borne out by empirical evidence (evidence that some raw vegan educators choose to ignore).

Bottom line: What your diet consists of should depend on how healthy you want to be, not on notions that sound good to you but do not agree with reality.

More at...

The Role Supplementation Plays in Nutrition

With Nutrition, Enough is Not Necessarily Enough

Knowing vs Believing

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Don Bennett's Blog

June 1, 2019


Q: "I follow a high fruit low fat raw vegan diet. I am 41 and have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Is it true that I am at significantly higher risk of fractures?"

A: A high fruit low fat diet doesn't automatically put a person at a higher risk for osteoporosis than other diets, but even though it's the diet all humans are designed to eat, this diet must be eaten properly. This means that the diet must provide your body with enough of all the nutrients that it requires for optimal health. And it's a sad fact that the fruits and greens grown by agri-industry aren't as nutritious as they could be and should be. While those farms add potassium and phosphorous back to their soils, that's all they add back. No calcium, magnesium, selenium, chromium, and all the other minerals we need enough of, which is why it's important to make part of the diet something like Daily Green Boost; two heaping tablespoons a day, preferably in a smoothie, preferably made in a Vitamix. Here's why. (And BTW, that link to Daily Green Boost is not an affiliate link... I don't sell it or make money from you buying it.)

Also, bones require work placed on them to keep them strong. So even if you're eating a perfect diet, if you're sedentary, your bones will not be as strong as they could be. Here's how to help provide them with the work they need without providing too much (which is also bad for the body, albeit for a different set of reasons).

Thirdly, vitamin D is important for strong bones. This is meant to come from the sun, but for those who can't get strong enough sunshine all year 'round, the use of a phototherapy device is important. I do not recommend a D3 supplement because it doesn't contain the other, equally important nutrients that sunshine makes in your skin, but a phototherapy device does.

Also worth reading: Osteoporosis: An Information Deficiency Disease!

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Don Bennett's Blog

March 19, 2019

"Why is there some anti-fruit sentiment in the raw vegan community?"

I was asked this by someone who has been eating a raw vegan fruit-based diet and is having some health issues. And when he asked various raw vegan educators about what was causing his issues, blame was often placed on fruit or on nuts, and not where it squarely belongs. Here was my answer to his question:

"Yes, there is a lot of anti-fruit rhetoric, even in vegan circles, and even with some raw vegans. And this is because of misunderstandings. Watch how this can happen:

A) There is a bias against nutritional supplements, the underlying thinking being that we simply don't need them when eating an all-raw vegan diet.

B) Because of A) and the fact that this thinking is incorrect, many people do NOT get enough of all the nutrients they need for optimal functioning of all their organs, and this includes the organs that comprise the immune system, and this can lead to...

C) People eating a raw vegan diet develop ill health, so...

D) Raw vegan educators look to place blame on something that allows them to not go against their firmly held beliefs, in this case, that we do not need any nutritional supplements. So they will blame fruit-eating, or eating nuts, or not eating enough of some particular food, etc.

So you'll find blame for things that have nothing to do with the actual cause, because these educators – because of their bias – can't consider that the actual underlying cause is not enough nutrition. What results are lots of recommendations that do not address the underlying cause... sound familiar? Isn't this the same thing that the medical industry does? They refuse to consider an unnatural diet and environmental toxins as the cause of something, so they instead say "the cause is unknown". Or saying that, "We don't know what causes type 2 diabetes", when it's been shown it's too much fat and not enough chromium and vanadium. So the raw vegan educators and practitioners who refuse to consider that the diet can often not provide "enough of all" are forced to come up with explanations and recommendations that do not address the actual cause, and where does that leave the person whose health is heading in the wrong direction. Often it leads them to practitioners like me; those who take a real-world approach to health and nutrition, and can therefore offer recommendations that actually help resolve their issues.

So a better question is: "Why is there so much anti-supplement sentiment in the raw vegan community?" And this I address in many of my articles [and on some blog posts on this page]."

And since this person was having some fungal issues, I added...

"And being that (and these are facts) iodine is used by the body to provide anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasite, and anti-tumor abilities, the lack of whole body tissue sufficiency of iodine would explain a lot of the issues people are having, both those who eat the Typical Western Diet and a raw vegan diet. Yes, D and B12 can play roles too when people stop eating a diet that contains foods that were fortified with these non-food-provided nutrients, and they change to a diet of foods that don't have any of these nutrients. But the nutrients that are supposed to be food-provided in sufficient quantities but aren't because of the way most foods are grown today, is also a huge issue... and one that many raw vegan educators will not acknowledge for the reasons I speak to in my articles."

This is why I recommend to all those I counsel to do two things: A) get those three "problematic" nutrients tested and any insufficiencies or deficiencies addressed (D, B12, iodine), and B) add a worthwhile, broad-spectrum, whole-food nutritional supplement to the diet (via smoothies). The one I add to my diet is here.

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Don Bennett's Blog

March 9, 2019

High-Raw Diet vs All-Raw Diet

I'm finding more and more raw vegan educators promoting a "high" raw version of the diet, which essentially means that the diet they're promoting contains some cooked food. Now, I advocate such a diet when transitioning from the Typical Western Diet to the healthiest diet of all-raw fruits and greens, so this interim diet was always meant as a temporary phase; something to help you get from here to there. But these educators are promoting it as the endgame; the diet to shoot for, for life. Since it's not the healthiest diet, why would they do this? Could it be because it's an easier diet to adopt and therefore would garner them a bigger market share... more followers... more money? Should we be thankful that at least they're not saying that an all-raw diet is unhealthy like some health "educators" do?

What about the concept of being honest? How about telling people that there is a range of vegan diets, with some being easier to do than others, and some being healthier than others, but the easier ones don't give you the best odds of avoiding degenerative disease, just better odds than those who eat the Typical Western Diet. That would be refreshing. And it would be a responsible thing to do. Give the people all the information and let them decide what diet to eat based on how healthy they want to be. Don't paint a high-raw diet as the healthiest diet when it isn't. Don't say it is just as healthy as an all-raw diet when this isn't true. Just be honest and say that, in the beginning, it's easier than an all-raw diet, and if you're okay with not having the best odds of never going to a hospital except to visit others, than it's a great diet for you as your regular diet, but if want the highest level of vitality and the best chance of living to your health and longevity potentials, the best diet is the one you're designed to eat, which doesn't contain any cooked food. Or you could do what some (most) politicians do and pander to the people, telling them what you know they want to hear. And most people want to hear that they can have some cooked food (assuming they weren't raised on an all-raw diet).

And here's a fun observation: When an educator who promotes a high-raw diet tells me there aren't any multiple, peer-reviewed, double-blinded studies of thousands of people over many decades that show that an all-raw diet results in healthier outcomes than a high-raw diet, I ask him where are those type of studies that show that a high-raw diet is healthier than the diet that the USDA promotes (a "balanced" diet that includes meat, dairy, and grain products). There are none of those either, yet he says with 100% certainty that a high-raw vegan diet is healthier. Let's be clear: Just because this level of study hasn't been done (and never will be) doesn't mean that there aren't other tools in a researcher's toolbox that allow them to figure things out and reach conclusions. And one of those tools is the science behind what cooking does to food, and what the ingestion of cooked food can do to the body. We may not like to hear this information, but that doesn't affect the information's veracity.

Bottom line: The diet you adopt as your lifelong diet should depend on how healthy you want to be, both now and for the rest of your life. And then make sure that whatever diet you follow, it provides "enough of all" (see blog post below). This is because a diet is about both food and nutrition.

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Don Bennett's Blog

March 8, 2019

We Need Meat!

Vegans sometimes laugh when they hear people say that we need meat. But when hearing this from people who tried an all-raw, plant-based diet for years and failed to thrive on it, this isn't funny. Since the science is clear on this issue – that we don't require meat for optimal health – why then are there so many stories like this one (sorry for the expletives but this person was understandably angry)...

"I am no longer vegan or promoting veganism. ... For a really long time I actually believed I could live off fruits and vegetables alone! Nothing cooked... NO! 100% RAW, which I no longer think is "MOST OPTIMAL" for many reasons: not just because, duh, common sense, but because I now look fucking older than my mom, my hair's falling out, my bones feel weak, and I just had a tooth extracted after it finally cracked in half at a fruit festival along with its cousin molar right above it. And NO I'm not on meth. Fuck religious dogmas, fuck fake health movements!"

This person had followed a popular raw vegan program. She wasn't "cheating", she wasn't under-eating, and she wasn't eating a "narrow" diet... she followed the plan. So why do some people fail on an all-raw, vegan diet, which can naturally lead them to believe that it's BS and that the anti-vegan videos are correct? (And there's more and more of those fails and videos every day.)

Here's what I've found to be the main reason (and I've counseled many people who failed to thrive on a raw vegan diet, so this isn't a theory). Just because they were doing it "by the book" doesn't mean that the foods of the diet they were eating were providing "enough of all" (enough of all the nutrients their body required for optimal healing and optimal health on a continuing basis). Just because the book's author says, "Once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables you don't have to worry about nutrition" doesn't mean this is an accurate statement. It's a lovely notion, but it turns out it's not a correct one. And what do you think will happen over time when a person switches from a diet that contained nutrients courtesy of a fortification program to a diet that contains no fortified nutrients and consists of foods grown by an industry that does not grow them for their nutritional content (with the exception of potassium and phosphorus) so that they are nutritionally sub-par (except for potassium and phosphorus). Could this account for a person's health going in the opposite direction than expected? Yes! Especially if the person's body was trying to heal something (either known or unknown to the person).

So why do people's fallen health improve when they go back to what they had been eating before? Since we know it's not because we require meat in our diet, it must be due to something else. Let's look at the likely reasons:

* Their original diet was fortified with D and B12, and their vegan diet wasn't, and they weren't educated to be vigilant to make sure they got enough D and B12 (which do not come from the foods of a natural diet). And if they had been flirting with a D and/or B12 insufficiency, their new "better" diet could have ushered them into deficiency and into ill health over time. This is not debatable, this is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of fact. Even Michael Greger – who does not promote a raw vegan diet – talks about this vegan issue.

* The above bullet point addresses two non-food-provided nutrients that aren't meant to come from food, but what about the food-provided nutrients? Can the Typical Western Diet provide some nutrients that we weren't getting enough of from an all-raw, vegan diet? I hope you're sitting down because the short answer is 'YES'. For example: Iodine is added to chicken feed at the point of use so the chickens get enough iodine so they don't get sick. If you eat their eggs as "sunny side up", you can get some iodine. You will not get enough iodine from a raw vegan diet (since it does not include iodized table salt or those eggs, and since it can often include foods that contain an iodine-inhibiting substance so that any iodine you do manage to take in isn't fully utilized). That's just one example. Then, when you consider the processed foods that people go back to in addition to the meat, they will get from those processed foods the nutrients that are courtesy of the nutrient fortification program that is mandated in the U.S. and other countries.

* And some people who switch to the Carnivore Diet and start eating eating mostly meat, also stop eating lots of the garbage food that many Typical Western Diet eaters eat. And it was these foods that likely contributed to their ill health that made them seek out a better diet. But if that better diet didn't supply "enough of all", they could end up seeking a different diet, one that has its own name and also has lots of Youtube videos extolling the benefits of this supposedly healthy diet. Then throw in some prominent people who get lots of online face-time who say they eat this better diet and are thriving, and you've got a recipe for widespread adoption of a diet that is not the healthiest of the diets we could be eating (and a person can't know that they are thriving until enough time has gone by to know that they thrived; past tense... Did they get to a ripe old age eating this diet and not die from the detrimental properties of this diet?).

Although there can be psychological reasons for someone not succeeding on a raw vegan diet, these are the two main physiological reasons for raw vegan diet fails, and they both revolve around the subject of nutrition. But since the popular notion is that we don't have to be concerned about nutrition when we switch to a raw vegan diet, this problem persists. And it's growing as time goes by (because the degradation in health can take a number of years to manifest). And when it happens to outspoken raw vegan Youtubers and bloggers, the anti-vegan diet videos and blog posts will increase, much to the delight of the meat industry (and the medical and pharmaceutical industries who are happy to cater to the inevitable outcomes).

So what have we in the raw vegan educational community done to combat this? Not a whole lot. I've done my best to speak out about it, but popular educators are still teaching that we don't need any nutritional supplements, or maybe they have moved a bit on the D and B12 issues but not for any other added nutrition... they still maintain that agri-industry grows fruit and greens that are just fine. And as long as this miseducation continues, more raw vegans will fail to thrive somewhere down the road, and can conclude that they were sold a bunch of BS and that the USDA and the meat and dairy industries were right all along. All this because some educators with big egos or a stubborn streak refuse to be proper researchers and consider that something they are teaching is incorrect.

So the person quoted above who ranted about why she lost her health was right about one thing... dogmatic teachings can lead to inaccurate information being taught, which can result in degraded health over time. What can you do about it? Question what you're being taught! Do not be afraid to hold educators' feet to the fire on these issues mentioned above... ask them for the evidence that supports their contentions. And if their answers to your questions don't sound like they make sense, or if you find an educator to be intolerant of open-ended honest discussion, at the very least, stop defending them!

Learn as a researcher, not as a student.

More at: A Raw Food Diet is Not for Everyone

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Don Bennett's Blog

March 3, 2019

When it comes to Dietary Advice: Keep it Simple?

I've been told that when I speak about diet, I should keep it simple; don't mention the things that complicate the issue, and certainly don't mention things that are controversial. This is because we want to make a healthy diet as palatable as possible... we want as many people as possible to consider it. And while I agree with wanting to spread the message far and wide, I disagree that health educators should sugarcoat their info by hiding important nuances of the diet.

Let me give you an example of how I'm perceived to complicate the issue. When I speak about the subject of how to be as healthy as you can be – often the actual name of my talk – I mention that a diet of things that haven't been cooked is the healthiest diet (and I explain why), and that a plant-based diet of mainly fruit and some greens is what we're biologically adapted to eat and is what allows our body to function at its best, which helps to allow the best odds of never getting a diagnosis of something serious (we also need to pay attention to getting enough sunshine, sleep, exercise, etc). But I don't want anyone to come away from my talk thinking that it's as simple as just eating fruit and greens; if you want optimal health (the best health your genetics will allow you to have), you need enough of all the nutrients your body requires for optimal health. And although this notion would appear to be common sense, there's a reason people need to be told this.

So I will always mention, towards the end of a talk, that because of the way today's store-bought fruit and greens are grown, it's likely that you won't get "enough of all" if you just consume fruit and greens. You would have gotten enough a very long time ago, but not today. So even though it's a great diet, the foods of that diet aren't great... at least not great enough to allow for optimal health, which is some people's goal.

But not to worry; there are things that we can do to compensate for the less than optimal environment we live in today (like using a lightbox to make vitamin D all year 'round if you live far from the equator). So to help ensure that we get "enough of all" we can add some nutrition to our diet with a worthwhile nutritional supplement. At this point in my talk I'm quick to point out that while it's true that about 95% of supplements are worthless, there are some worthwhile ones... and because some people will be thinking: "Here it comes, his sales pitch for the ones he's selling" I mention that I don't sell any because I want my recommendations to have the highest degree of credibility. This eliminates any perceived ulterior motive on my part.

Granted, this recommendation to include some additional nutrition in the diet is both controversial and is one more thing to know about, but if those listening to my talk want optimal health, and not just improved health, or they want optimal healing of something they're already dealing with, should I not mention the "fine points" that are needed to achieve this? Do I wait until they're comfortable with doing the diet to say, "And oh, by-the-way, you also need to do this and this so it can be the healthiest diet"? Keep in mind that it can take a long time to get truly comfortable with a new diet (and you'll never embrace it if it doesn't help you resolve something you're dealing with). So to me, waiting to mention certain things until people have adopted the diet and gotten used to it would be irresponsible as a health educator, especially if their body was trying to heal something and needed that additional nutrition to be able to do it. In short: explaining how to do the diet should include all the important points, and not just some. This way, people don't go down a less than optimal path.

And as far as it being controversial, that's because there are some health educators who insist that we don't need any supplements when eating the healthiest diet. And although this is a lovely notion, since in reality this is not true, I will continue to tell-it-like-it-is. This isn't a subjective issue that is a matter of opinion, it's an objective issue that is a matter of fact... regardless of what someone wants to believe.

I'm often asked to show the evidence that supports my contention – and I do – but when I ask for the evidence that supports a person's contention that we don't need any added nutrition to have optimal health, I get unsupported statements and dogmatic talking points. And although some of them may sound like they make sense on the surface, this is not evidence. But we often choose to believe what we prefer to believe. And although living outside of reality is emotionally helpful in some instances, believing in anything but the facts can effect your health and well-being. And since I am acutely aware of this, I will continue to speak the truth – all of it – even if I'm one of the few who will.

More on this important issue here.

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Don Bennett's Blog

January 23, 2019

Doctors Know Best?

Recently, someone asked, in an online vegan forum, how to treat a thyroid issue naturally. A valid question, because as with many maladies, there are medical/pharma ways to deal with something, and there are natural, non-pharma ways. Yes, in that second category are the woo-woo methods that often do more harm than good, but there are also therapies that are more effective than a medical approach, and that actually deal with the underlying cause of the issue instead of managing the issue and its symptoms with meds.

But what was some of the advice given?

True, this wasn't a "natural healing" forum, but it was a vegan forum, and although many vegans are vegan for ethical reasons and they don't really care about their own health and well-being, just the health and well-being of the other animals, some people go vegan for health reasons. So for this person, this seemed like a valid place to pose such a question. And as I said, there is a lot of non-helpful, woo-woo nonsense on the Internet, but there is also very helpful info; info that can mean the difference between truly resolving a health issue, and merely managing it via a health care system (which is often an ill-health management system). Doctors are not born with the info they have; they acquire it from a curriculum, and those courses of study can be and are influenced by the for-profit medical and pharma industries. So the advice to "see a doctor" is not always in a person's best interest considering what docs are taught and, more important, not taught (at least in the U.S.).

The comment I made in that forum (before commenting was disabled and prior to those two comments above) regarding the person's thyroid issue was...

To deal with any thyroid issue without first testing one's iodine level should be considered malpractice by the medical industry. Here's why. If thyroid issues are suspected, thyroid tests are done, and two tests are T3 and T4 (thyroid hormones). The 3 and 4 represent molecules of iodine, THAT's how important iodine is to the thyroid. And most people are not getting enough dietary iodine, especially health conscious folks who no longer use iodized table salt. But when you go for thyroid function tests, the endocrinologist doesn't test your iodine level! Odd? 80 years ago MDs prescribed iodine pills for thyroid issues (and as a natural antibiotic) but when patent medicine became "Big Pharma" that practice of using natural (un-patentable) substances had to stop. Today, thyroid meds are big money for the medical and pharma industries, yet many people with hypo and even hyper thyroid conditions are helped by simply normalizing their iodine levels (but that process isn't as simple as taking a supplement, like with B12). More at http://health101.org/iodine

For someone who was researching a non-medical way of dealing with their thyroid issue, this was an example of good advice. I say this not because it was my advice, but because research and empirical evidence will show that it is good advice. And yes, people are entitled to their opinion of "go see a doctor", but it would be nice if those folks had a better understanding of the actual role that medical doctors play in our society, and that a medical doctor's opinion of how to deal with something may not be in a person's best interest.

Now, please don't think that I'm bashing medical doctors; I'm not. I'm commenting on the system they're locked into; a system so entrenched in the profit motive by the higher-up corporate types, that when some doctors stray outside the party lines by incorporating some methods of treatment that are more effective than the standard-of-care treatments, they are penalized by losing their medical license or even worse (and I don't mean being put in prison). The not-for-profit health care systems of countries in Europe are not so draconian, and we here in the U.S could benefit from a system that puts people's health first. But human nature being what it is, and the profit motive being what it is, that won't happen here anytime soon. But fortunately there's some of that truly helpful info on the Internet. The trick is distinguishing it from the woo-woo nonsense and the well-intentioned but nevertheless inaccurate information, and not being scared into "go see a doctor".

I'll add one more thing to this issue. Since I offer health related information, I'm sometimes asked if I'm a medical doctor. And when I say 'no' some people are of the opinion, "Well then what could you possibly know that's of any value!" My standard reply is, "If you're diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and you ask your doctor 'what's the cure', they will tell you there is no cure, and that all you can do is manage it, yet I and my colleagues have helped many people get rid of their Type 2 Diabetes. So wouldn't you say that my info was better than a medical doctor's info in this case, and well worth considering?" If that's not evidence that medical doctors don't always "know what's best", I don't know what is.

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Don Bennett's Blog

December 8, 2018

The Truth is Often Somewhere in the Middle

There was an article that listed the downsides of a fruitarian diet, and why it was an unhealthy diet. Now, the points it made were false and easily refutable, and if the author had taken the time to do proper research instead of just parroting unsubstantiated claims, well, the article wouldn't have been written at all. Or would it? There is actually a downside that could have been mentioned, but wasn't. The article says, "fruit cannot provide all of the vital nutrients your body needs to function." If they had phrased it another way, that statement would be correct: "Although fruit should be able to provide enough of all the food-provided nutrients we require for optimal health, the way most fruit is grown, it cannot provide 'enough of all' without some fortification of the diet." This is something that is in the middle of the argument, with one side saying a fruit-based diet is nutritionally complete in every way, and the other side – the side who wrote the article – saying that it isn't. The truth often lies somewhere in between. And regarding the way most of the fruit that many fruitarians are eating is grown: When we discover how nutritionally poor the fruits are that many fruitarians are eating (that come from the for-profit agri-business industry that grows for size, yield, appearance, profit, growth-rate, shelf-life, pest-resistance, and sugar-content but not for nutritional content), it's not hard to understand the need for the fortification of even this diet, even though they are the foods of our biological adaptation. This wouldn't have been needed 100,000 years ago, so unless you own a time machine so you can get your fruit from a time when it was nutritionally sufficient, you should be thankful that there are worthwhile nutritional supplements that exist alongside the many worthless supplements on the market.

And the article's third reason, "This diet could be pretty bad for you" is true if it's not taught to vegans and raw vegans that when you transition from a diet that is fortified with some non-food-provided nutrients like D and B12 to a diet that contains none of these, you must be vigilant to get enough (in the case of D, using a light box if you live far enough away from the equator, and in the case of B12, if your body isn't yet up to the task of making enough, then a B12 supplement is warranted).

So although that "anti" article parrots the typical misinformation, when we counter an article like that by going to the other end of the spectrum, we miss out on the important nuances in the middle that are hardly discussed, but these are the issues that can mean the difference between a fruitarian thriving and just surviving (even though better than 95% of the gen pop).

A worthwhile nutritional supplement

A lightbox (phototherapy device)

My B12 article

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Don Bennett's Blog

December 1, 2018

Which "Best" is Best for You?

When someone gets a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, and they ask the doctor, "What can I do to get rid of it?" the doctor will say, "Well, as of yet, there is no cure for diabetes, so all you can do is manage it as best you can." When someone is given a diagnosis of cancer and told that their options are chemo and radiation, and they ask, "Aren't there any other options?" they are told, "At this time this is the best you can do." In these scenarios, no, that is the best that the medical industry can do! It is not the best that you can do.

As a kid, I'd ride around in my dad's car, and I'd see the many used car dealerships that lined both sides of the street, and they all had signs that said, "The BEST Prices!" And I'd ask my dad, "How can each one of these places have the best price?" And he told me that this is something that they all say to get you to come into their store, and that they all can't have the best price... the best price is the one that you can find, but you have to look for it... Bob's Used Cars isn't going to say that they don't have the best price, and that you'd need to go to Joe's Used Cars to get the best price. And that's when I learned about the phrase, Caveat Emptor... Let the Buyer Beware. And, sadly, the same holds true for health care. True health care is self care, meaning, you should treat a treatment that you're looking for the same as any other service. Don't assume that when you're told "This is the best we can offer" that it's the best that's available.

If the best treatment option isn't something that's offered by the conventional medical industry, that MD is not going to tell you about it, probably because he or she doesn't even know about it because they weren't taught that it exists. But just because they say that what they have to offer is your best option doesn't mean that it's your best option... it's just the best the medical industry has to offer. If there are lower cost (lower profit) therapies, you won't hear about it from these doctors, even if these non-standard-of-care therapies have better outcomes. Sad, but that's what you get with a for-profit health care system... more aptly called an ill-health management system. And that's what we currently have in the United States. In other countries it's a different story.

Did you know that there are some countries where health care services are nonprofit and are provided by the National government, and the government wants to spend as little money as possible so it can keep taxes as low as possible because low taxes are what the business and people sectors want. So in these countries the doctors are incentivized to keep their patient base healthy. How? Well, the healthier their patient base, the more money the doctors are paid. And this arrangement actually saves the government money. Brilliant! And since the doctors don't have their hands tied by the equivalent of an A.M.A. (American Medical Association), they can (and do) tell their patients to eat more fruit and veggies, and can offer highly effective, low cost treatments for things like cancer because the pharmaceutical industry doesn't have the kind of influence over the medical profession as it does in the United States (in the U.S, TV ads for prescription drugs are allowed, but not in those other countries).

So what can you do if you don't live in one of the more progressive countries that care for their citizens with a National universal health care system? What can you do if you live in the United States and are diagnosed with something? You can keep in mind that the best route to go may be something that the conventional medical industry doesn't offer, but is available. Yes, there are lots of woo-woo rip-off therapies out there, and Caveat Emptor applies here too, but there are also highly efficacious, nontoxic, low cost therapies available. In fact, the "cure" for Type 2 Diabetes is known, it's just not common knowledge in the U.S. And this is because the way to get rid of diabetes is inexpensive and requires no drugs, so it would severely injure the medical and pharma industries if everyone who developed Type 2 Diabetes went the "alternative" route. Same for cancer. If everyone who developed cancer dealt with it using a number of the highly effective, nontoxic therapies, Big Pharma would no longer be as big, and that is not okay with them. And don't blame the doctors; they can only know what they're taught, and what they are taught is strongly influenced by the pharma industry and the upper management suits at the A.M.A. If the phrase "follow the money" starts to ring a bell, good, because it applies here.

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Don Bennett's Blog

November 30, 2018

The Bacon & Butter Diet

This diet is great! It's great for the bacon industry, it's great for the dairy industry, and it's great for the medical and pharma industries. And it's great for those who choose to believe it's great, but it is not great for people's bodies. And it doesn't matter your blood type, hair color, or Zodiac sign, it is horrible for your body.

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet that forces the body to burn fat for fuel. But since the body's primary fuel source is carbs (the good kind), forcing it to use a "survival" fuel source like fat will help you lose fat weight, but will tax the body in the process. We are meant to use fat for fuel when fasting or when food is scarce – body fat, not dietary fat – and as a temporary measure. If done long term, you will lose health along with the weight, but this fact is conveniently missing from books such as the one to the left.

So you can lose weight with this diet? Sure! But you can lose weight by getting cancer or doing liposuction. There are unhealthy ways to lose weight – many of them – and there is a healthy way to lose weight. Which sounds better for your health?

Is this diet unhealthy because I say it is? No. It is unhealthy because reality says it is. And you can argue with reality, and you will lose, but only 100% of the time. Seriously, if you're considering this diet and you care about your health, you'll do your due diligence and research it, and not just the literature that supports this diet (there are of course some loaded studies that will support it), and not the sellout MDs who tout the diet on TV, but also consider the "anti" literature... the info that makes sense even though you don't want to hear it because you hear bacon and butter calling you.

[BTW, I saw this book recommended on a webpage that was talking about the unhealthy effects from wearing nail polish. An example of a webpage that has both great info and horrible info all under the banner of health improvement.]

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Don Bennett's Blog

November 29, 2018

"I was helped by eating an animal product"

I received this comment on one of my Youtube videos, "I had tooth aches 3 years back. I started eating cow butter and in a week, pain was gone. If cow butter is bad for us, this shouldn't happen."

Even though I think that dealing with a toothache as a DIY project may not be the wisest idea, I kept that opinion to myself and replied, "Not necessarily so. Something we do can have both beneficial and detrimental effects. So there could have been something that the cow butter provided you that you were lacking, or antibiotics in the milk may have helped if your pain was from an infection (but this would be a pharmacological effect and not a nutritive effect). But make no mistake about it, cow butter does have detrimental effects over time (as in degenerative disease). So the idea is to eat things that have beneficial effects but none of the negative effects of eating cooked animal products.

And there is nothing in animal products that we need that we can't get from a healthy plant-based diet. Yes, those animals can have certain nutrients added to their feed to help keep them healthy, and we can make use of some of those nutrients (the ones not damaged by cooking), and maybe the fruits and greens we're eating, even though they should have those nutrients, don't have enough of them because of the poor quality soil they were grown in, so there was that benefit from the animal products, but there are also the negative aspects of eating cooked animals that will take a toll on the body eventually. Plus, if the plant foods we eat aren't providing enough of the nutrients we need, we can get those nutrients added to our diet by adding a worthwhile nutritional supplement, and it's better to add that supplement to a fruit smoothie than to the feed that the cow eats... it's a much healthier way to get those supplemental nutrients. For example, chicken feed is supplemented with iodine so the chickens get enough iodine, but it's better to take an iodine supplement than to eat raw eggs for the iodine (cooked eggs won't have any iodine). It would be better still if the natural foods we ate had enough iodine, but the sad fact is that they don't. But the body needs what it needs, and iodine is useful to the body for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-parastic, and anti-tumor properties.

So if the nutritionally sub-par foods of the healthiest diet aren't providing enough of all the nutrients that we need to have optimal health now and in the future, then we have two choices, A) add worthwhile nutritional adjuncts to our diet so we do get them, or B) don't, and suffer whatever consequences there are from not getting "enough of all" throughout our entire lives. It doesn't require a PhD to see this, just some outside-the-box critical thinking, and not having a bias against nutritional supplements.

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Don Bennett's Blog

November 28, 2018

The real cause of the E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce

Here's why romaine lettuce came to have E. coli (again).

This is the second E. coli outbreak this year, and you won't hear why this is happening on most news networks. It has to do with the regulations on the watering systems used by the growers, or rather the lack of them. The Obama administration enacted regulations on irrigation systems, requiring that farmers test the water for things like E. coli (they hadn't been!). Those who supply us with drinking water must do this, so it was time for the water that irrigates our food to do the same. But just before those regulations were to take effect, President Trump nixed them, shelving them for four years or more! Was this because of the pressure from the farm industry to nix these regs, or was this because his only real policy agenda (besides his self-dealing, taking care of those who benefit him, and the wall) seems to be overturning everything his predecessor did simply because the previous President made fun of him at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner? Who knows, probably both. But what we do know is that this nixing of those regulations will cause more illness and deaths in the future.

Oh, and you can't simply wash the greens to get rid of E. coli; the pathogens make their way into the veggies through the roots, making irrigation water testing even more important.

How is the lettuce industry responding to this recent incident? They will change their labeling so that it's easier to place blame on the actual culprit instead of recalling all lettuce and hurting everyone's sales. Nice. Would they self-police themselves and voluntarily test their water as they promised to do after the last E. coli outbreak? No, they didn't, and they won't, because that's expensive and will harm their profits (12 million dollars a year). One grower was quoted as saying,
"I think this whole thing is an overblown attempt to exert government power over us."

Folks, this is the purpose of regulations; they are protections against the profit motive. Keep in mind that all corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profit. So, General Motors announces it will lay off 150,000 workers and their stock price rises. Why? That action will be good for business and thus the stockholders (and the execs that made the decision because they have stock options). So regulations/protections are necessary, but not according to a lot of politicians... politicians whose job it is to protect us from preventable widespread illness and death. What did Trump say? "For every new regulation, I'm going to end two regulations." Well isn't that a great way to deal with regulations... by the numbers instead of on a case-by-case basis. Which party is the one that feels there are too many regulations? Wouldn't it be ironic if someone's child who dies from E. coli from eating tainted greens because Trump nixed the regulation that would have prevented it was a Trump supporter. Think about it.

And, hey, other countries, wanna import our produce knowing that our growers aren't required to test their irrigation water for pathogens? Oh, what a surprise, some do not want it. Way to hurt our economy even further.

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Don Bennett's Blog

April 30, 2018

"You can't eat a fruit-based diet; that's way too much sugar!!!"

"Sugar" gets a bad rap. But since our cells are designed to run on sugar (carbs), there must be both unhealthy sugars and healthy sugars. And there are. But articles that slam sugar just mention the unhealthy sugars, and if they mention fruit at all, it's usually in "...fruit juice drinks with added sugar" as an example of something bad. But the natural sugars in our natural foods (fruit) are not only not bad for us, but they are exactly what our bodies are meant to be fueled by... when obtained via their natural delivery mechanism... fresh fruit (as opposed to fructose that's been added to something).

There was a time I ate a very unhealthy diet. During this time, I could eat 3000 calories worth of carbs a day on a regular basis, but only needing about 2000 calories a day at most, yet I was slim and not overweight, year after year. And I'm not even counting the calories from the fat I took in, just the sugars. So if that 1000 calories of sugar per day wasn't being turned into fat and showing up on my waist, where did it go? Obviously it had to go somewhere.

To try and figure this out, let's think about the other things we take in that can be more than we need. What about vitamins and minerals? There are only three scenarios regarding amounts of these:

A) We take in exactly what we need in a day of calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, etc, no more, no less, or

B) We take in less than what the body needs on a regular basis, or

C) We take in more than what the body needs on a regular basis.

Choice A is impossible, so we'll discard it. So we're left with only two possible scenarios; which one do you think the body would choose? Obviously C (so that we're guaranteed to get enough). So where do the excess minerals go? The minerals the body doesn't need and doesn't care to store? I would guess the body excretes them, no? So maybe this is where excess sugars go, at least for those people who do not have a "sparing" metabolism... those people who can eat anything and as much of it as they want and never become overweight. Yes, there are people with a "slow" sparing metabolism who can just look at a photo of chocolate cake and gain five pounds, but that is not the "original" metabolism of humans; the ability to put on excess body fat for insulation and energy storage was an adaptation to be able to survive in the cold climates that we roamed into. Some people retain the genetics of this adaptation, and some do not have it.

And to those who claim that all that fruit sugar causes type 2 diabetes, I would say to ask those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes if they ever ate a lot of fruit; the answer will likely be 'no'. And since people have gotten rid of type 2 diabetes by switching to a fruit-based diet (one where the fat content of the diet was appropriate instead of too high), this discredits the notion that sugar causes diabetes. And since in Australia last year, there were 4,400 leg amputations directly related to diabetes, I think getting rid of diabetes as opposed to managing it is a better option, but this option is not on the conventional medicine's list (maybe because it makes less money for the medical and pharma industries compared to getting rid of diabetes).

So, the key with eating a diet that has a goodly amount of fruit sugar is to make sure that you don't eat too much fat. But you do need some, and it should have a proper Omega 3 to 6 ratio, and it should contain some plant-based saturated fat too (the body needs some of this, but doesn't want the animal version, especially if it's been cooked).

Related reading

Raw Vegan 2.0

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Don Bennett's Blog

April 30, 2018

"When I ate a fruit-based diet I failed to thrive, but going back to the Typical Western Diet, my health improved! Does this mean that I'm not designed for that diet?"

Since we're all best suited to the one species-specific diet that all humans are designed to eat, it doesn't make sense that the reason for this type of "fail" is due to eating the diet we're designed to eat. Fails certainly apply when a person is eating a diet they are not designed to eat (fails like cancer, diabetes, heart disease etc), so what could be the reason(s) for this person not thriving, and then improving when going back to eating foods of their previous diet? (And yes, this is a real scenario.)

The Typical Western Diet (TWD) does have a lot to not like about it (from the body's perspective), but it does offer a benefit that the diet we're designed to eat does not. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but hear me out. In the past, the public developed a few ill-health conditions that were discovered to be caused by insufficient amounts of certain nutrients in their diet. Not surprising given what they were eating (a lot of cooked food). So to address this issue, governments mandated that those nutrients be added to the food supply as part of a national fortification program – iodine was the first nutrient, soon followed by B12 and D.

You may see where I'm going with this, yes? Since the foods of the healthiest diet aren't fortified with anything, and since they are grown for size, appearance, yield, pest-resistance, shelf-life, growth-rate, sugar-content, and – above all – profit, but not for nutritional sufficiency, and since food does not contain D and B12 (because we're not meant to get those from food), when eating the foods of a much healthier diet, a person can bump up against nutritional deficiencies if they aren't aware of this major difference between the diet they had been eating and the one they're eating now, and what they can do about it. And nutritional deficiencies can be a major cause of failing to thrive.

For example, those eating the TWD often included table salt, and this was how the iodine that people weren't getting enough of was added to the public's diet. So a problem can develop when we stop using table salt and start eating foods that are very poor sources of iodine (even if they're touted to be "a good source of iodine"). This is why people eating the TWD that include table salt in their diet will find it unlikely that they will develop hypothyroidism to the point of developing a goiter (although they're still not getting enough iodine to help prevent sub-clinical hypothyroidism and cancer, but the government doesn't care about that, possibly because of the influence of certain industry's upper management).

And it's not just iodine that raw vegan fruitarians can become lacking in over time. Obviously the two non-food-provided nutrients mentioned above that are added to the foods of the TWD but not added to fruits and greens can be a cause of a fail if not paid attention to. And it's been found that many vegans do not pay attention to these two nutrients. Raw vegans tend to be better educated on health issues than "ethical" vegans, but even they can be following some incorrect advice like, "Once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables you don't have to worry about nutrition" (a popular but incorrect meme touted by a popular raw vegan educator).

Yes, there are other reasons for fruit-based diet fails, like eating a "narrow" diet without much variety, and undereating due to not being active enough, so even though you're eating an appropriate amount of calories for the amount of activity you're doing, that amount of food can't provide enough of certain nutrients because we're designed to need more nutrients than the amount of food that an underactive person eats can provide (and when you factor in the nutritionally sub-par fruits and greens that many people are eating, this undereating scenario can be a double-whammy). And "fruit" doesn't mean that any fruit will suffice. If you eat only temperate zone fruit (apples, pears, berries, grapes), you won't get enough EFAs, and adding avocado to be able to get enough fat is a recipe for disaster because of its very unbalanced ratio of Omega 6s to 3s (17:1!!! The 6s are the pro-inflammatory Omegas)

So to thrive on a Raw Vegan Fruit-Based Diet (the diet we're all designed to eat), you need amounts of education that those eating the TWD do not need, and this is because the RVFBD is not the common diet like it once was many millennia ago. When you live in a society that has profit as one of its underpinnings, and you have for-profit health care and food industries, what you actually have is an ill-health management industry that profits from ill-health, and a food supply industry that doesn't care about the nutritional value of the fruits and greens they grow because government isn't mandating that they do so, and there's no consumer demand for it. So to thrive when eating an uncommon diet, we not only need information, we need accurate information. And believe me, both exist in the raw vegan community.

Related reading...

The Importance of Sufficient Iodine

Vitamin D - a DIY Guide

B12 - a DIY Guide

Why the Need for Nutritional Supplementation?

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Don Bennett's Blog

April 29, 2018

My thoughts on juicing

1) If we're going to juice a food, it's best to juice a food we would normally eat as part of our natural diet. And these foods only contain beneficial properties, and no detrimental ones. Cabbage, kale, and collards are not a natural part of the human diet, and as cruciferous vegetables, they contain a substance that interferes with iodine uptake and utilization, and since most of us are not getting enough dietary iodine to supply our body's needs, interfering with iodine uptake to any degree is unwise (because of the important roles that iodine plays in disease avoidance and optimal health). Plus, we can get the benefits of cruciferous vegetables from foods that haven't this detrimental property (something that cruciferous vegetable advocates don't acknowledge or admit to). And yes, cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur, an essential nutrient we need (one of the body's natural "disinfectants"), but it's best to get it from a food that has no detrimental properties, like durian).

2) While juicing does concentrate nutrients, all of those nutrients aren't necessarily absorbed. I know this will raise some eyebrows, and many juicing advocates will have a negative knee-jerk reaction, but read on. The only liquid we're designed to consume is water, and water has no usable nutrients, so our gut is designed to allow a liquid to fly through the small intestines into the large intestines where it is absorbed into the body. But it's the small intestines where the bulk of nutrients enter the body (from a solid food meal that moves slowly through the small intestines). So a liquid doesn't get to spend much "face time" with the small intestines. I'm not saying you'll get no nutrition from juice meals, of course you'll get some, but not as much as the juicing advocates would have you believe. But juicing does give the digestive system a break, and that's its main benefit (plus, if a meal of juice replaces a meal of something we're not designed to eat, like meat or grain products, this is another benefit, and a huge one).

3) Consuming sweet fruit juices, where the fiber has been removed, has an effect on the body that some people might not want. One of the roles of fiber is to control the uptake of sugar into the bloodstream, so without the fiber and with a concentrated amount of sugars, this "double whammy" can stress the blood sugar regulatory system. And even if you don't feel like sweet fruit juices affect you negatively, they still can, you just don't feel it (although you'd probably have to be consuming sweet fruit juices on a regular basis for this to happen; once in a while is probably fine).

The important roles that iodine plays in disease avoidance and optimal health

More about that awesome tropical fruit that is available in the U.S... durian

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Don Bennett's Blog

April 27, 2018

Well that's your opinion!!!

When do I hear this? When I share the facts about the diet all humans are designed to eat with someone who doesn't want to believe what I'm saying, that's when I'll hear, "Well, that's your opinion" or "Well, that's your opinion."

So what is an "opinion"? The dictionary defines it as "a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty." So is it an opinion what a giraffe's diet is? No. Is it an opinion what a hummingbird's diet is? No. Is it anyone's opinion? Again, no. So, is a human being's diet a matter of opinion or a matter of fact? Obviously it's a matter of fact.

But we could define an opinion as "anything a person says," and in that case, an opinion of what diet we're designed to eat would depend on the "grounds" that are used to support the definition of that diet. For example, if someone said that the diet a person is designed to eat is based on their blood type, hair color, or Zodiac sign, the grounds that their contention is based on is anything but scientific (because there is no supporting science for those diets, just pseudo-science), and only the defenders of the Blood Type Diet or Zodiac Diet are certain that it's the diet that we're all designed to eat. While it's nice to be certain, I'd rather be correct when it comes to issues that can have a profound affect on my health (including my future health).

So if we define an opinion as anything a person says, we'd then have to ask, what is that opinion based on? Is it based on what the person prefers to believe? On what the person has been convinced to believe by others? Or is it based on science; on empirical evidence, critical thinking, logic, common sense, open-minded unbiased discussion, an honest desire to know the truth, and on a skeptical interrogation of accepted notions. An opinion based on that would have a better chance of being correct, don't you think?

Take, for example, my opinion that those eating agri-industry grown fruit and greens stand to develop certain nutritional insufficiencies that, if given enough time, can become deficiencies. What is this opinion based on? Is it based on a hunch? Is it based on an assumption unsupported by any evidence? No. It is based on facts, empirical evidence, and on sound reasoning (by a mind that isn't influenced by personal biases or a dependence on authority).

The body needs enough of all the nutrients it requires to provide optimal health in order to provide it. This "opinion" is an example of a self-evident fact. This statement can also be termed a "maxim of health," a maxim simply being an unwritten truism. I'm not playing semantical games here; it is important to determine the factual weight of any given statement if you're trying to get at the truth.

But back to nutritional deficiencies: If it's possible to develop one when eating the healthiest diet, does this mean that this diet is not the healthiest diet after all? No. It simply means that the foods consumed weren't the healthiest foods in terms of their nutritional sufficiency. They can be the foods we're biologically adapted to eat while also being nutritionally sub-par because of the way they were grown (for profit and not for nutritional content). But this fact doesn't sit well with those who want to believe the popular meme, "Once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables you don't have to worry about nutrition." This meme, as lovely as it sounds, is not based on facts in evidence, it's based on how things worked many millennia ago. So it was true and correct at one time in human existence, but that doesn't automatically mean it's correct today. What I just said is also self-evident, and is an important starting point for a discussion on nutritional sufficiency in the 21st Century. But those who prefer to believe the lovely sounding meme above will dismiss it out-of-hand, labeling it as merely someone's opinion. But remember, opinions can be based on facts.

So, my opinion? Like all opinions, it's based on something... it's an objective opinion based on science. So if we're comparing my opinion of what humans are best suited to eat to the opinion of someone who contends that we're all designed to eat a diet that doesn't have any objective hard science behind it (just loaded studies or popular support) whose opinion would you value more? Well, I guess that would depend on what you prefer; the truth or what you'd rather believe.

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Don Bennett's Blog

April 26, 2018

Comments to me from mainstream folks

Here are some of the things said to me...

CASHIER: [when buying a large watermelon]: "Having a party?"
ME: "No, just my lunch."

ANOTHER CASHIER: "That's a lot of bananas!"
ME: "Once they ripen, they're my lunch."

A CONCERNED PERSON: "Eating that much fruit will give you diabetes!"
ME: "Actually it helps to prevent diabetes, and if you ask people with diabetes if they ever ate a lot of fruit, they will likely tell you 'no'. It's too much fat in the diet that's the major cause of diabetes." [BTW, not enough chromium and vanadium are also contributors.]

"You need to get some meat on your bones."
"I've got just enough to prevent diabetes and cancer, thanks."

A police officer pulled my RV over just before I drove into a tunnel because vehicles with propane are not allowed in tunnels. I told him I have no propane.
OFFICER: "What about for your stove... how do you cook?"
ME: "I have no stove." [He thought I was lying so he asked to look in the RV. I gave him the okay.]
OFFICER: "Okay, so you get takeout." [An understandable assumption, but I didn't correct him and tell him that I don't eat anything cooked because I didn't want to be locked up for being seen as mentally unbalanced.]

Someone comparing recent Facebook photos of my Junior High School classmates with how *I* look today: "Wow! I guess your diet does work!"

"I believe I can eat anything I want and I will be just fine [health-wise]."
"Belief and reality can be, and often are, two different things, but best of luck to you, because you're gonna need it." [Harsh? No; tough love.]

At the children's playground I was running around with my then seven year old niece, "chasing" her through all the tubes and gymnastic equipment. The parents of the other kids were sitting on benches around the outskirts of the playground, many of them far younger than I. One of them mentioned to me as I was leaving:
"Where do you get all that energy?!!"
"A fruit-based diet."

"...Then there's the annual festival I attend where there are about 600 people from all around the world who also eat a fruit-based diet..." [I'm referring to the Woodstock Fruit Festival]
"Six-hundred people?!!"
"Yeh, but they're just a small segment of those eating a fruit-based diet... they're just the ones who can attend the festival. There are tons of truly health-conscious people in the world eating this way, but because this diet is bad for the medical and pharmaceutical industries, you won't hear about it from the mainstream media, and if you do, it will be a smear job."
(She just stood there with a stunned look on her face. I gave her a copy of my first book. Fast forward six months: she's eating a raw vegan diet.)

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Don Bennett's Blog

April 26, 2018

When being vegan isn't about health

I recently read, "I'm totally in on being vegan, but I can't handle all the gluten." Some people assume that a vegan, plant-based diet includes anything edible that isn't animal related. So grain products are just fine... as long as they don't contain dairy products. But if you're as concerned about your health as well as all the other animals' health, you'd need to know what you're actually designed to eat, instead of just knowing that we're not designed to eat animals. But I've met vegans who believe we are designed to eat animals, but they won't eat them because of the way the animals are raised for food, so they are willing to have less than optimal health in order to not be a part of that horrible process. While this is very honorable behavior, it doesn't honor that person's body. But most people who are vegan for ethical reasons don't believe we're meant to eat animals, but many also don't know what we're actually designed to eat. When they're exposed to this information, some will consider it, and some will dismiss it out-of-hand because they want to continue eating what they've always eaten: burgers, fries, pizza, cake, cookies, ice cream, and all the other vegan products that the stores' shelves are full of. But this category of vegan food requires things we're not designed to eat, and it requires that these be cooked, adding insult to injury. So while no cows, pigs, or chickens are harmed, many humans are harmed. And if I know about the harm being done, don't you think that the industries that sell all the vegan products know? Of course they do. So how is this industry any different than the meat and dairy industries who know that meat and dairy are not what we're meant to eat, and know that their products are harmful? Just because there are no cows, pigs, or chickens being mistreated doesn't mean that no animals are being harmed. Humans are animals too.

So just as the meat and dairy industries take advantage of us humans in addition to the animals they slaughter for profit, the vegan food industry does the same thing, except no animals are harmed in the process, other than humans.

If you're thinking, "Well at least a vegan diet isn't as harmful to us as a diet that contains animals," while this is true, is it okay to still get a diagnosis of a serious illness if you get it 20 years later than you would have had you continued to eat animals? Regardless of when that kind of diagnosis hits, I can pretty much guarantee you that you won't like it. So to have the best odds of avoiding it, and the less than optimal vitality that usually accompanies it, why not simply do like all the other animals on the planet do, and eat your species specific diet.

If you're thinking, "That's all well and good to recommend that, but we simply don't know what that diet is!" I'd offer the following thought: We know what every species of animal on this planet is meant to eat, with no argument. So how can it be that we don't know what we are meant to eat? Here are some reasons why people either think that it isn't known what we're meant to eat, or think that we're meant to eat a diet that we're not meant to eat...

1) Health educators who will only rely on published, peer-reviewed, randomized studies of a diet

2) Industries, like the soy and cooked food industries who don't give a rat's rump about what we're actually designed to eat; all they care about is profit (sound like other industries that you know?)

3) Our desire to eat the way our "in-group" eats

4) Misinformation which leads to miseducation by otherwise well-intentioned health educators

5) Disinformation from "health educators" who run a profits-before-people business and care more about money than about your health. Yes, they exist in the vegan and raw vegan communities too.

Let's unpack these reasons.

1) What if there are simply no published, peer-reviewed, randomized studies of the diet that, in reality, is the healthiest diet? Does this mean it isn't the healthiest diet? Of course not. But there are some health educators who will not recommend something unless it's supported by such studies. While such studies are a part of the scientific method, so are using critical thinking skills and the empirical evidence that's available to reach a conclusion, even though that conclusion is as of yet unsupported by any large studies. So while I admire those health educators who go against the official party line of eating a "balanced diet" that includes foods from all the food groups including meat and dairy, I wish they would have the courage to do the research necessary to be able to acknowledge what the optimal human diet is. But if they themselves are vegan and are motivated to promote a vegan diet, they will likely promote a version of the diet that is the most inclusive. The diet we're actually designed to eat will have less adherents because it contains nothing that must be cooked to be able to be eaten, and that's simply a deal-breaker for some people.

2) Profit is a powerful motivator. It is the main reason there are still wars, and the main reason that the most effective ways to resolve diabetes and cancer are not being told to those who develop these conditions. So it should come as no surprise that the cooked vegan products industry exists, and that misleading info about their foods will be with us for a very long time.

3) Social pressures can be a huge driver of some people's behaviors. But there are some independent people who couldn't care less what others think of them, and they can easily adopt a diet that is different from the one that everyone around them eats. These people are the ones who can take advantage of the body of information that exists that clearly shows what all humans are designed to eat. And often, these people will lose some friends, but they soon realize that they lost the friends they needed losing, and that they made new ones along the way. These new friends aren't necessarily better than their old friends, they're just better for them.

4&5) I've penned plenty of articles on the very important subject of misinformation, such as...

Why Some Information Being Taught is Not Necessarily Correct

Well-intentioned Misinformation

The Misinformation Continues

The Reasons Vegans Aren't Healthy

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Don Bennett's Blog

April 24, 2018

The difference between it's supposed to and it does

We often hear that a certain food is a great source of a particular nutrient, such as "cranberries are a good source of iodine". But this statement is missing some very important words, assuming we want to take a reality-based approach to the world we live in. It should read, "cranberries are supposed to be a good source of iodine". Or another way of saying it is, "cranberries are a good source of iodine assuming the soil they are grown in is a good source of iodine." And in this case, an even more accurate statement would be, "cranberries can be a good source of iodine if the soil they are grown in is a good source of iodine but since many soils aren't, we shouldn't rely on cranberries for iodine." (Or Brazil nuts for selenium BTW.)

To look at many of the nutritional food composition database charts, you'd assume that we can get enough iodine, but in reality (which is where our bodies exist) we can't. And not simply because our iodine needs today are higher than what they would have been 100,000 years ago when we lived in a more pristine environment (even though they are higher today), but because of diminished amounts of iodine in the soils. This was the reason the U.S. government mandated that iodine be added to the public's food supply to stop the epidemic of malfunctioning thyroids. And iodine isn't the only nutrient that many people's diets lack in sufficient quantities – even those eating the healthiest of diets (remember, the healthiest diet doesn't automatically guarantee that the foods eaten are themselves "healthy" regarding their nutritional content... if there's not enough in the soil, there's not enough in the plant).

Above I said that we should be adding the words "...is supposed to..." when talking about a food being a good source of a particular nutrient. The definition of suppose is "to believe or assume as true; take for granted." So if you want optimal health, it would be wise not to assume that the foods of even the healthiest diet are supplying enough of all the nutrients your body requires for optimal healing and health, and to instead either A) do your due diligence and thoroughly research the issue to see that the odds are that a particular food or diet will supply "enough", or B) if you can't or don't want to do A, then adopt a philosophy of "it's better to be safe than sorry" and add worthwhile nutritional adjuncts to your diet to help ensure you're getting "enough of all".


"But the tree roots reach way down below the depleted topsoils"

The notion that because the roots of trees go way down into the soil, the fruits they bear will have a plentiful amount of nutrients is a false meme that has been circulating for quite a while. The evidence that this is not true can be found in nutritional assays done on agri-based fruits. When compared to what is supposed to be in those fruits (according to nutritional database charts), there is not only a stark difference, but the amounts that are found today are less than what were found just two decades ago. The fault of this degradation of nutritional content is the way these foods are grown. (And even though those database charts are not reliable sources of what's in the foods you're actually eating, those numbers have been adjusted downward over the decades to reflect the diminishing nutritional contents.)


Read about when "enough" is not necessarily enough


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Don Bennett's Blog

April 24, 2018

Supplements are not "the" key to health

A few days ago I wrote a rebuttal to a blog post on the UK Fruitfest website, and to the author's credit, he read my comments and edited his blog post. In it, "supplements" were described as being "seen as the key to health by some people". But since I don't want those eating a raw vegan diet to think that this means that they don't need to take supplements because, after all, they are eating the healthiest of diets, I wrote the following...

While I don't feel that nutritional supplements are "the key" to health, for some people, they are "a key". These are people who get their fruit and greens from an agri-based food industry that grows food for many reasons – one of which is profit – but nutritional content is not one of them (so they only add back the two nutrients that the plants need to grow instead of the dozens that we need). And nutritional assays of those soils and the foods grown in them bear out the fact that those foods aren't as nutritious as the nutrient composition database charts would have us believe. And on the empirical evidence side of this issue, some people who were actually eating a 100% fruit-based diet have bumped up against a health issue caused by one or more dietary nutritional insufficiencies (and no, not an absorption issue). So, believe it or not, there is clinical evidence of this scenario. I realize this is difficult to believe, and there are people who don't want to believe it, but reality has a way of always being right.

So let's deal with reality and acknowledge that, in today's world, the perfect diet can contain imperfect foods (not as nutritious as they're supposed/assumed to be and need to be for us to have optimal health). And this is where a worthwhile, efficacious nutritional adjunct to the diet can be an important key to health (and no, I don't sell one, but I recommend a specific one... the one I use).

But if a person has a philosophical aversion to supplements, or has been taught that they are not necessary, and they are dismissed out-of-hand, this can become a contributing factor to ill-health somewhere down the road. And IMO, those raw vegan educators who dismiss and deride this fact because of their teachings or preferred beliefs need to do some open-minded peer-to-peer work if they truly care about those they teach and counsel.

That some of us can't get enough of all the nutrients our bodies require for optimal health from simply eating a variety of fruits and some greens as we once did is, admittedly, a tough pill to swallow, but to continue the metaphor, if we don't swallow it, we're flirting with the very thing we're trying to prevent by our adoption of the healthiest of diets.

The above mentioned blog post

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Don Bennett's Blog

April 21, 2018

The misinformation continues

When you've been researching health issues for over 45 years as I have, with the goal to discover how to live to your health and longevity potentials, and with no desire to become rich doing it, and you seek the truth "though the heavens may fall", and you learn as a researcher and not as a student, employing the ethos of science to ensure any personal preferences or biases don't color your judgment, you end up discovering conflicting information, and then upon further research, you identify the inaccurate information that is being shared as established fact.

Usually, this misinfo is simply due to miseducation, but it can also be due to an educator running a "profits-before-people" business. While the latter is, fortunately, the smaller of the two, the former does have the potential to derail many of those people who want to live as healthfully a life as possible.

Recently someone in that former category, a very well-meaning, well-intentioned and sincere gent, posted an important article entitled, "The Beginners Guide to a Raw Vegan Diet". Since I teach a class on this very subject, I was glad to see such an article appear in many of the raw food Facebook groups. And while I agree with much of what the author wrote, as sometimes happens, there is some 100% spot-on info and some inaccurate info. And it's important for the reader to, 1) be aware that this scenario can and often does happen, and more important, 2) to be able to recognize the inaccurate info instead of simply assuming that all of the info is accurate.

The article states that one of the most common mistakes when starting a raw food diet is...

"Getting too concerned about supplements, herbs, cleanses, flushes and other gimmicks and fads ... rather than focusing on the incredible nutrition that is abundant in fruits and vegetables."

While it is true that there are things that people can get sold on that have little to no benefit (and even some downsides), to lump nutritional supplements into this "gimmicks and fads" category is doing a disservice to those who adopt a raw vegan diet because they want the best health their genetics can provide.

Since this issue deals with nutrition and health, it is an objective issue and not a subjective one subject to many opinions with no way to know who's right and who's not right. From my experience, those who dismiss nutritional supplements out-of-hand are doing so because their view of health is seen through the lens of a doctrinal position, in this case that of: "Once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables you don't have to worry about nutrition" which is the position of one or more of the speakers at the event that the webpage which sports this very important article is dedicated to. But in reality, if long-term thriving is the goal, then yes, you should be concerned about getting enough of all the nutrients your body requires for optimal healing and optimal health (and future health). Assuming that as long as you eat only the foods of your biological adaptation, you'll get enough of all of these nutrients would be a reason why you can fail to thrive on a raw food diet, even the healthiest of the raw food diets.

While that "once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables..." is indeed a lovely sounding notion, it is also untrue. And this is not merely a matter of opinion. We are able to make a study of the science of health, which can be thought of as, "that branch of biology which investigates and applies the conditions upon which life and health depend, and the means by which health is rebuilt and maintained when it has been lost or impaired," and this inquiry includes more than just figuring out which foods humans are biologically adapted to; it is also concerned with being able to get enough of the nutrients those foods are supposed to be able to supply... the nutrients that our bodies require to be able to operate at an optimal level, defined as the level that gives us the best odds of never getting a diagnosis of something life-threatening.

While I agree that approximately 95% of the nutritional supplements sold are worthless (or worse), that number is not 100%. And we should be glad for the worthwhile, efficacious supplements that can be adjuncts to the healthiest diet in order to allow us to get "enough of all". Just because we're eating the perfect diet doesn't mean the foods we're eating are also perfect. They were many millennia ago when Nature grew them for us, but today, we are growing them. And by "we" I mean a for-profit agri-business industry that grows food for size, appearance, yield, shelf-life, growth-rate, pest-resistance, and sugar content, but not for nutritional content. Why not? Because there's no demand from consumers to do so, and because they're not being mandated to do so by government (who uses a different way of getting certain essential nutrients into the public through a fortification program that only applies to processed foods, which most people eat). So the "incredible nutrition that is abundant in fruits and vegetables" that the article mentioned is unfortunately another lovely notion. Don't get me wrong, while the nutritional value of a raw fruit and greens diet is better in some ways than the foods of the Typical Western Diet, they are not as abundantly nutritious as some folks believe them to be.

So we shouldn't base our dietary recommendations on a philosophy that applied to us a very long time ago; we should think about diet with respect to the reality we are living in today. The science of health that I mentioned above can be additionally defined as, "the scientific application of the principles of Nature in the restoration and preservation of health." And this includes considering empirical evidence. If you're waiting for multiple, peer-reviewed, double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies of thousands of people over many decades to conclusively show that we do require nutritional supplementation of the healthiest of diet to be able to have optimal health, you're going to be waiting forever, because this is never going to happen. So we must use the other tools in our toolbox to discover if the foods of the optimal diet – as they are grown today – allow us to have optimal health. And empirical evidence demonstrates that they, sadly, do not.

Now, please don't shoot the messenger or dismiss this info out-of-hand because you don't want to believe it, or because a health educator you like and trust says otherwise. All health educators are human beings, and as such, are subject to those personality traits that the scientific method was invented to deal with; to prevent things like personal preferences, biases, arrogance, stubbornness, narrow-mindedness, the tendency to rely on authorities, etc. from influencing the study of something and therefore the conclusions drawn. If an educator's judgment is colored by any of those traits, you can bet that what they teach will have some incorrect info. And if it's a health educator, you don't want to end up following any inaccurate info if your goal is optimal health.

So I invite you to learn as a researcher and not as a student, and to employ the ethos of science in your learning journey, and just as important, to vet not just the incoming information, but also the supplier of that info... are they employing the ethos of science? And if they are a health-educator, do they take seriously the implied oath that all health educators should abide by: "First, do no harm."

This is the above mentioned article, "The Beginners Guide to a Raw Vegan Diet"

Additional enlightening and empowering reading:

Why Raw Food Diets Fail

The Ethos of Science Explained

Can Human Nature be Bad for Your Health?

With Nutrition, Enough is Not Necessarily Enough

The Science of Health

The Role of Science in Health

Food for Thought About a Raw Vegan Diet

Supplement Rebuttal

The Role Nutritional Supplements Play in Nutrition


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Don Bennett's Blog

March 4, 2017

The biggest loser

Remember the TV show "The Biggest Loser"? It featured overweight contestants, and the winner was the person who lost the most weight (yes, TV producers are getting desperate for content).

It's been said the show was canceled because of a weight-loss drug scandal. But I think it was canceled because of something else. Money! It was observed that contestants who had been on meds were able to come off those meds as a result of losing weight (from eating better and exercising). One of the TV network's major advertisers are pharmaceutical companies, and this didn't sit well with them. They can't have the public seeing that health can be improved to the point where people no longer need what they sell.

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Don Bennett's Blog

January 30, 2016

Culinary Medicine?!

Recently, I received an email saying, "Don, look at this! Doctors in New Orleans are being taught about food, it's called "culinary medicine". Maybe there is hope for doctors."

Culinary medicine! A medical school added a class to its curriculum where doctors-to-be take cooking classes. The video shows one of the organizers of the program – a doctor – saying, "I'll write you a prescription for a cooking class, and insurance will pay for it."

First of all, if insurance will pay for it, there can't be much benefit to the class. Let's remember that in the U.S. it's a for-profit ill-health management system where more illness equates with more profit, which is the goal of any industry. The doctors may have the best of intentions, but they are not the ones running the industries that make up Organized Medicine. And in the video I saw lots of food, but no fruit. The most helpful dietary recommendation an MD can give is simply, "Eat more fruit and greens and less animal products". It's not, "Here's how to cook sautéed shrimp and onions."

Personally, I think this course is in response to the growing criticism that doctors know nothing about diet. It's like, "Okay, so now we're doing something about it and doctors will be trained." And I wouldn't be surprised if the course is influenced in some way or outright sponsored by the dairy or pharmaceutical industry to ensure that the most helpful dietary advice is not included (like cut down on animal products).

So while some may see this as a step forward, I see it as continued subterfuge, misdirection, and misinformation, misleading both the doctors and those they counsel.

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Don Bennett's Blog

December 26, 2015

A Raw Food Diet is Not for Everyone

A raw food diet is not for everyone. It's not for people who don't care to have the best health their genetics will allow. It's not for people who care more about "fitting in" with their family or existing social circles than they do about achieving optimal health. And it's not for people who prefer to do what they'd rather do rather than do what's best for their body (the Self-Indulgent-Pleasure-Seeking-Behavior folks).

The healthiest of the raw food diets are for those who truly care about their future health; it's for those who realize that every day they are alive they will have a level of health, and they possess the foresight to want to have the best health and quality of life for each and every one of those days. They have high levels of wisdom, can think for themselves, the ability to do skeptical interrogation, and they have an intolerance for misrepresentation and misinformation; these are necessary because of all the inaccurate information out there regarding the raw food diet, courtesy of those folks who care more about making money than they do about your health, and those who allow their personal biases and philosophies to color their otherwise good judgment.

And then there are people who will embrace the healthiest of the raw food diets to deal with a serious diagnosis, but when they resolve their malady and are "cured", some go back to their normal lifestyle, seeing a raw food diet in much the same way as the gen pop sees their cures. The folks in this category who do not see their sickness as a wake-up call do not have the wisdom to make prudent investments in their future health. Many have the "it's all good" mantra... but in reality, it's not all good.

Oh, and yes, a raw food diet is for those wanting increased athletic performance, but this relatively small subset of raw foodists are often willing to sacrifice optimal health for high levels of achievement whether they realize this or not; they don't have the same priorities as health oriented raw foodists, or if they do, they have, for the time being, fooled themselves into believing that they can have both maximal performance and optimal health... at least until they "crash and burn" and experience the payback for overworking their body, but this can take decades, and due to endorphins, they feel GREAT during this time, and this can color any good judgment they do have. This is why I am not only an advocate for appropriate diets, but also for appropriate physical activity (and sunshine, and sleep, and hydration, and nutrition).

Now let's look at those who are at the other side of dietary issues. Promoting an all-raw fruit-based diet is also not for every health educator. Some health educators who are avid vegans for ethical reasons seem to care more about getting people to switch to a vegan diet than they do about promoting the diet that is best for people's health; subconsciously they know that the healthiest diet won't be embraced by as many people as a vegan diet that contains cooked food, and turning more people to veganism is their ultimate goal and thus their priority. Unfortunately some of these educators – because of their concern for animal suffering – have convinced themselves that a vegan diet that contains cooked food is superior to a vegan diet that is all raw. But since humans have the ability to perceive reality as something other than it actually is, these otherwise well-intentioned educators unintentionally mislead people while doing great work for the other animals. Ironic.

And we can't have a proper discussion of this issue without visiting the less-than-altruistic side of human nature. Some health educators are doing what they're doing solely as a business, and employ the ubiquitous "profits-before-people" business model, and therefore will promote the diet that stands to get them the biggest piece of the pie within their market. We recognize these dishonest people in the cooked animal food industry ("butter is back!" Dr. Perlmutter), but they also exist in the raw food industry because raw food has become an industry too. The diet humans are best suited to eat is not rocket science, so there is no excuse for teaching inaccurate dietary information. Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but everyone is not entitled to their own facts, and the healthiest diet for humans is a matter of fact even if it's portrayed as an unsettled issue or one with multiple hypotheses.

Fortunately these health educators are the exception and not the rule, but unfortunately they don't play by the same rules as honest people, and they are often seen as sincere, caring, honest, and well-intentioned when in reality they are not, and they employ this persona for the same reasons all corporations that engage in underhanded things do... marketing. But when they are good at what they do – and most are – it is, for most folks, difficult to tell them apart from the truly sincere, caring, honest, and well-intentioned educators, and as such, these charismatic miscreants will have hordes of ardent fans and followers who will support and defend them when those who can see through their BS call them out on it (one of my endeavors). This is a really sad state of affairs because most if not all of their followers truly want optimal health and will not end up getting it (unless they can eventually see these people for who they really are). But since less-than-optimal health will not be obvious for a very long time, these reprehensible folks will be responsible for much pain and suffering way down the road, but because of their sociopathic tendencies, they don't care; specifically, they care more about themselves than anyone else. (And this is not "bad behavior shaming", it is an attempt to raise awareness of a profoundly influential problem.)

I know that you may find it difficult to relate to people I've just described, and you may believe that while they exist in some of the mainstream industries, surely not in the raw food community. But it's a sad fact of life that they are everywhere, and this is why it's important to know about, not only dietary info, but also about the educators themselves and their motivations so you can better vet their info (assuming you want the best health your DNA will allow).

So even though everyone deserves to reap the benefits of the healthiest of the raw food diets, it's clearly not for everyone. And advocates of the healthiest of the raw food diets would do well to acknowledge this so they don't come off sounding like this diet is for everyone even though everyone is designed for this diet.

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Don Bennett's Blog

December 18, 2015


Who represents veganism?

In the vegan community, we have many representatives. Some are ardent fans who blog about it for ethical and health reasons, and some are health educators. Health educators should be held to a high standard because – unlike those who simply chat about it – health education is a profession, and one that has a basic tenet of, "First, do no harm". But not all health educators are professional. And who would be a better representative for the raw vegan diet; what kind of person would you want the world's healthiest diet associated with? Someone who was professional and who truly cared about helping people, or someone who was unprofessional and who only cared about helping him or herself.

More people going vegan – whether raw or not – is important if we want to have a habitable planet to leave to future generations. An animal-based diet is popular and profitable, but not sustainable when we're talking about billions of people. But fortunately, the vegan diet is the diet we're best suited to, physiologically. And what about the moral and ethical issues regarding the eating of animals? So eating a vegan diet is best for people, the other animals we share this planet with, and the planet itself. The only ones who would suffer from the eating of a vegan diet are those whose first priority is profit.

In general, when a person or company (which is made up of people) has a profits-before-people business model, the public will not be best served. We only have to look at the for-profit health care systems (ill-health management systems) to see how the winner is Organized Medicine (pharmaceutical, medical, and health insurance industries) and the losers are the folks who put their health in the hands of those who see people only as revenue generating units (I'm not talking about the nurses and doctors because the vast majority of them really do care about people but have the unfortunate luck to have to operate within a profits-before-people industry, at least here in the U.S.).

So it's fair to say that insincere marketeers; those who – in reality – care more about profits and popularity than they do about the people they supposedly serve, are "bad", all things considered.

Let's look at an example of someone who represents the vegan diet. He started out promoting an all-raw vegan diet, unapologetically banning from his website anyone who dared to express an opinion that some cooked food might be okay or that it's not as bad as people are making it out to be. But it appears that it might have become obvious to him and his partner at the time that there was a bigger market out there... he could be more popular if he gave a pass to some cooked food because this would be an "easier sell" than an all-raw diet. And we're not talking about the least offensive cooked food, like steamed sweet potatoes and steamed veggies. No. If we're going to give a thumbs up to cooked food, it should be more popular, like pasta and white potatoes. It almost doesn't matter as long as you carb-the-f__k-up... and keep it vegan of course. And along with this misinformation came other equally erroneous info.

Was this approach just a transition to an all-raw diet? A way to make it easier for people to adopt the raw vegan diet? No. They figured let's take a transition tactic, like eating all raw until the last meal of the day, and make it into a diet plan, complete with a catchy name, T-shirts, and events. And because we want to be the most popular people out there and garner the largest market-share, let's allow the meme to circulate that you can be just as healthy eating a "high-raw" diet as an all-raw diet (because who in their right mind would eat all-raw if they could be just as healthy eating a diet that included some cooked vegan food!) The fact that this meme is untrue is meaningless. What's true is what you can get people to believe. Does this sound like unprofessional behavior to you? If you want to excuse it in the name of promoting veganism, read on.

Now let's give the impression that we are sincere, down-to-earth people who don't care about what our detractors say and who only care about the truth, and let's drop the F bomb every five seconds to prove this is so. And because some people think that the most popular health educators have the most accurate information (not true BTW), let's show off the proof of our popularity with grandiose proclamations like "we created the world's largest raw vegan website" (no you didn't, the members did), and let's flash around our monetary bounty, proving how popular we are.

Photo: YouTube/Durian Rider

And when confronted with those who call into question any of our teachings, let's simply say untrue things about these people in order to discredit them and therefore their information. (Easy to do if you're unprofessional and unethical.) It doesn't matter that what these people are saying is true, truth is what we say it is, and we'll punctuate our truth with vulgar language proving that we have the moral high ground.

And then let's employ forms of sensationalism to get more Youtube views, like making inflammatory statements (easy to do if you don't care about what other people say because you have an overinflated opinion of yourself). But let's try not to say things that could land us in court (again). How about saying something about domestic violence that is sure to get lots of hits on our monetized Youtube channel. Here's an excerpt from a recently published article about vegans and their bad behavior.

The article by Ruby Hamad in DAILYLIFE entitled, "When is being vegan no longer about ethical living?" opens with a photo...

Vegan 'celebrity' Durian Rider's abhorrent views are just the tip of the iceberg.
Photo: YouTube/Durian Rider

...and then goes on to say...

"By the time the images of the bruised and bloody face of alleged domestic violence victim 19-year-old Ashlee Savins had made it into the media, prompting the police – who had hitherto neglected to press charges against Savins' boyfriend Justin Toro – into action, the photos had already made the rounds in the vegan community. This was due to some ugly comments made by "vegan celebrity" Durian Rider, who labeled Savins a "dumb bitch" for not leaving Toro, claiming her ordeal was "100% her fault." Unfortunately, his toxic views on domestic violence are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ill-informed and outright dangerous attitudes prevalent amongst some vegans."

If you want to read the rest of Durian Rider's comments and his defense of his comments, they are here.

If you want to read the whole story about Ashlee's attack...

Ashlee Savins

...and how the police botched the investigation, it's here.

Some would say that it's high time that followers of insincere health educators pull their heads out of their butts and start thinking for themselves and stop following charismatic people who appeal to them because those people say things like, "I don't tell you what you want to hear, I tell you what you need to hear" and then proceed to tell you what they know you want to hear, knowing that this is a way to "hook" you. Pompous, arrogant, self-important people who act sincere and caring in order to garner your support aren't doing you any favors, and these personality traits should call into question the veracity of their information... unless, of course, you like what you hear.

The two blog posts following this one are recommended reading if you care more about your health than you care about following someone who may not have your best interests at heart, and someone who – in reality – isn't really a good representative of the vegan community, all things considered.

UPDATE: It should be no surprise that others have commented on Durian Rider's statements, and this is an example of how he responds to these folks...

I feel slighted that I haven't received a similar response. And BTW, it is ridiculous for someone wanting to sue a person to ask that person for their snail-mail address... that's what attorneys are for. This is an obvious scare tactic to get the person to take down their comments, but as this is the same as trying to stop the person from exercising their right of freedom of speech, it is, in legal parlance, "lame". It would appear that Durian Rider doesn't know what kind of speech rises to the level of slander and what qualifies as defamation of character; if he did, he wouldn't be making such a ridiculous and ineffectual ultimatum... unless he's simply trying to use threatening scare tactics to bully the person into submission.

So again I ask: All things considered, is this the type of person who is a good representative of veganism? And does this type of person deserve your unwavering support?

More research info here and here.

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Don Bennett's Blog

May 27, 2015

Better or Best - Which Health Information Do You Want?

This is a very important question because in addition to the "poor" health information which is out there (which this article doesn't address), there also exists better and the best health information. How do I qualify these categories? The best health information – assuming you follow it and don't cherry pick which aspects of it you'll do and not do – will allow you to be as healthy as your genetics will permit, and will give you the best odds of avoiding degenerative disease and a diagnosis of a serious condition. The better information will not; it's just better than what most people are following, and it may help you resolve a non-serious health issue, and survive better than the general population, but surviving – no matter now well relative to others – is not the same as thriving. Your health is your wealth, and from my experience, most people don't value their health until they lose it. The approach I advocate is valuing your health before you lose it, so that you don't.

When you truly value your health and take it seriously, you'll be better equipped to do the things necessary to have robust health, and to make investments now for your future health. What's "future health"? Every day that you're alive you will have a level of health... what do you want that level of health to be when you're in the last one-sixth, one-seventh, and one-eighth of your life? How you live now will affect your future quality of life regardless of the quantity.

Okay, so you've come to realize just how valuable your health really is, and how important your future health depends on how you live today. But how you live now is largely dependent on what information you decide to take to heart and follow. If you follow what everyone else is doing, you will likely get what everyone else gets. So the first thing to acknowledge is that we can be a lot healthier than the general populations of most countries, and there is a goodly amount of hard-science reasons for this, but this information is not known by the general public. But luckily there are "unconventional" health educators who teach health creation information.

With human nature being what it is, this guarantees that there will be different kinds of health educators. In-other-words, all health educators are not cut from the same cloth. In this article we won't be talking about the health educators who promote "woo-woo" practices like wear a crystal around your neck to heal your cancer; we'll be focusing on those who teach about the raw food diet, the diet that all human beings' physiologies are best suited to eat. All species of animal have a species-specific diet, and humans are no exception. And I'll just add that it doesn't matter what blood type, metabolism type, eye color, or Zodiac sign you have; we're all designed to eat the same diet if optimal health is the goal. We can survive on many different diets, but we can only thrive on one.

Just as there are different types of diets being taught, there are different types of health educators teaching the different raw food diets (there is more than one version of the diet). I've written many articles and books about the raw food diet, but this article will concern itself with the different types of raw food diet educators. And you need to know about them if optimal health is your goal. If you just want slightly better health, almost any raw food health educator will do, however some of their information will likely have you doing worse decades down the road than when you started. So even when it comes to health improvement information, the expression, "Let the buyer beware" applies.

Before a health educator teaches information that he or she has learned, they should vet the information, meaning they should verify and check for accuracy to make sure the information is correct. It is true that no one health educator has all the answers, but all the answers a health educator has should be correct. This is because health educators are not teaching pottery making, they are teaching things that can affect people's most valuable possession; their health. So all health educators take an oath of "First, do no harm". And whether they raise their hand to take an official oath or take an implied oath, this is the most basic tenet of health education they should follow.

Some health educators don't vet the information they teach for two basic reasons: 1. they assume the information to be correct, 2. they care more about teaching what will be popular than about teaching what's correct. Here are the reasons behind these two scenarios.

First let's look at the number one reason above. When a person who has health issues finds out about a better way of dealing with them – like a raw food diet – and they find and follow a program (usually one of the more popular ones) and they improve their health, they naturally assume that the information they followed is correct. And some people are so joyous about their improved health, and are also passionate about what they've found, that they decide to share this with others by blogging about it or by becoming a health educator themselves. What nobler a vocation to have than to help other people reclaim their lost health.

It should be understood that, more likely than not, these people are not researchers, so they don't understand that any information they acquire should be dispassionately interrogated to insure that it is completely correct, and that what they learned or are being taught has no misinformation or important missing information... they shouldn't assume what they're learning is 100% accurate. Instead, many of today's health educators learn as students, and although a student may ask questions of clarification, they will usually not question what they are taught, and will certainly not question their teacher's motives. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, some health educators' motives should be questioned. Am I saying this just because of what human nature has taught us over the centuries? No, not just because of this, but also because of my inquiries and research over the last 40 years, with special attention being paid to those who teach what I teach. After all, I started teaching about health improvement because I hated seeing people being taken advantage of, for the sake of profit, at the expense of their health. And it was disheartening to see that this also took place in the health improvement community, and among people who should be considered my colleagues.

So if someone who becomes a health educator bases their program on teachings that contain some flaws or have some important missing information, and they never thought to check for this, they will be teaching the same flawed information. And even though these educators may be truly well-intentioned and sincere, their teachings may help people improve their health, but it will not likely result in long-term optimal health, and they won't realize this for a very long time.

Now let's look at the number two reason for teaching health related things that don't square with Nature (reality). When something goes from being a fad to a trend to a market and then becomes an industry – like the raw food diet – it will be seen as a business opportunity by some people. If the person creates and manufactures a healthy raw food snack that they're passionate about, that's great. But if the person wants to follow the all too typical profits-before-people business model, and cares more about becoming popular and financially successful than about their consumers, that's where people will be taken advantage of, for the sake of profit, at the expense of their future health. This is a sad scenario, but a very realistic one, and one that we all should be aware of and acknowledge. Every industry has these people, and the raw food industry is no exception.

But it is very difficult for most folks to know just who these people are. They know that to become popular and successful they must have a public perception of being very sincere, well-intentioned, down-to-earth, honest, and caring. Most every corporation in any industry works very hard to have this public perception even if they are engaged in practices that poison the planet and drag down the health of those who buy their products. So how can you tell which health educators are really sincere, well-intentioned, down-to-earth, honest, and caring, and which ones only appear to be sincere, well-intentioned, down-to-earth, honest, and caring? It can be very difficult, but not impossible. And it's very important that you know who you're getting your information from, because the quality and veracity of that information is dependent on the person or people giving it to you.

The first thing needed is to be able to vet the health educator dispassionately and without biases. It can be very hard for someone who has had their health issues helped by following a particular health educator to turn around and cast a questioning eye on the very person whose information helped them... you will usually feel like you owe them a debt of gratitude. But if you care more about long-term optimal health than you do about initial improvements, and you acknowledge that there are some disreputable health educators out there who do have some great health information that will allow you to experience initial improvement, you owe it to yourself not to let your otherwise good judgment be colored by any positive experiences you've had so far, and you'll take a "better to be safe than sorry" approach and make absolutely sure that whomever you're following is "the real deal", and that they are the real deal not just because they say they are.

Here are some tell-tale signs that a health educator has their best interests in mind instead of yours.

1. Look at how open they are to discussing what they teach. If they truly are wanting to teach reality-based health information that is 100% accurate, they should have no problem allowing people to shine a light on what they are teaching, and to question it. They should not be deleting posts and banning people who call into question what they are teaching. Banning internet trolls is one thing, but censoring posts that would get people thinking about what's being taught because there are some things that don't quite add up is something else entirely.

2. Search for any published information that specifically applies to who you're following or considering following. If health educators have been teaching any incorrect information, and they've been around for any length of time, there will certainly be some "fails" and accounts of poor outcomes. And if they have been behaving badly as far as how they treat people, there will be some discrediting information to be found. And don't bother looking on their website, or in any online groups that they moderate or are moderated by ardent followers; these may be called "forums" or "discussion groups", but they are not because there is a lot of censorship taking place that you are not aware of. And if you find there has actually been a website created for people who were banned from some health educator's website so that they could publicly post their deleted comments and have an open, honest discussion about the disreputable and irresponsible behavior of a particular health educator, that can be a red flag too. By example, you will never find an AnneOsborneSucks.com or a RobertLockhartIsBad.com.

3. Seek out information that conflicts with what you've been led to believe. Your knee-jerk reaction to me saying this may be, "Ugg, I don't want to!" but if you want to follow correct health information that will allow you to thrive and not just survive better than the general population, this is something you should want to do. And along the same line: if you come across any conflicting information, be glad, because you are now very likely in possession of both some correct and incorrect information. Think about it, this may result in you discovering that what you've been following is indeed the best information available today, so you can not only be confident in following it, but also be comfortable recommending it to others, or teaching it yourself. But if you discover that there's something fishy going on, and you have been following some incorrect information, or worse, have been duped into following some incorrect information from someone who cares more about their popularity than your health, wouldn't you want to know this? Especially if you're recommending this person or people to your friends and family! When recommending someone or some program, your integrity is at stake. And if you hold the lives of children in your hands, you have a huge responsibility to apply information to them that is in concert with reality (which is the same huge responsibility that health educators have; some take that responsibility seriously, and some only appear to).

4. If it sounds too good to be true, it just might be. Being told that all you have to do is eat fruit and green leafy veggies and you don't have to worry about nutrition is a red flag. And that's because this is simply not true. We need to deal with reality and with how our foods are grown today. And being told that you can have the same robust level of health eating a "high-raw" food diet as you can eating an all-raw food diet (implying that you don't need to eat an all-raw diet to be optimally healthy) is another red flag, and a reason to be suspicious of this information and its source. And this is because this is also not true. But it is also a very popular and attractive notion, and that's why it's taught. It comes under the marketing tactic of "you can have your cake and eat it too". An example of this would be to take a tactic used to transition from a mainstream diet to a relatively healthier diet – like eating all fruits and vegetables until the last meal of the day – and turning it into a program in and of itself, complete with its own festival. In my opinion, the turning of a transitioning step into an actual program is at the least disingenuous and at the worst irresponsible. And the notion that is associated with this "program" that is currently circulating that cooked food can be a part of a diet that results in optimal health is not only ridiculous on its face with what we know about diets and their affect on human health, but it could be said that it is simply an inducement to get more adherents. I have a lot of respect for George Malkmus who recommended people to eat a diet comprised of 80 percent uncooked vegan food and 20 percent cooked vegan food, but he always in the same breath said, "…but 100 percent uncooked is best." He was fond of teaching the truth. It's unfortunate that other educators don't have his high level of ethics.

But don't misunderstand, I realize there are people who can't eat the best diet, either because they can't financially afford to, or because they're on the way but they're not there yet. But some people want the best diet as their diet for life, and to have it, they need to know the difference between a better diet and the best diet, and not be fooled into thinking that a better diet is the best diet. So the "Eat all raw until the last meal of the day" approach is good if you can't financially afford to eat all-raw all the time (although pasta and potatoes should never be mentioned in the same sentence as if they're equal because they are not in the same health category, and when mentioning potatoes, it should be sweet potatoes, not white potatoes... and these are red flags too).

5. Multi-source education is best. Because there are some health improvement programs that do not consist of 100% correct information (for the various reasons mentioned above), it is best to research (not study) more than one program or repository of information because this will make it easier to find the conflicting information I spoke of earlier. The sooner you find this information, and the sooner you discover which is the best information to follow, the better it will be for you and your future health. I have counseled many people who had diligently followed a particular popular program, and followed it to the letter, and who either failed to resolve the health challenge that brought them to the program in the first place, or who initially improved but went downhill after a number of years. And when they found out specifically why this happened, it was a rude awakening. I only wish more of these people would blog about their experiences, but in reality, only a tiny handful do; most are either just relieved to have finally found the truth, or are afraid of being bashed online by the mighty armies of devoted, ardent disciples who have been deluded into following a particular program often led by charismatic people who couldn't care less about "First, do no harm".

In conclusion: Human nature is responsible for all the kinds of people in the health creation movement, most good, some not so good. Getting your health restoration information from people who truly care more about you than their profits are the ones you want to work with if optimal health is your goal. The best health information is out there, you've just got to get good at recognizing it from the better information. And, yes, I do get criticized for talking about the negative side of the health improvement community, but I'm not a pessimist, and I'm not an optimist, I'm a realist, and I believe in looking at things on balance, all thing considered. If we want the truth, we need to stop optimistically focusing only on the love and the good, and acknowledge that, in life, both the positive and the negative exists, and a balanced approach requires taking both into consideration if you want to know the better from the best.

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Don Bennett's Blog

March 2, 2015

"But he/she/they have done so much good for the vegan/raw-vegan movement; can't we overlook their failings!"

I often hear from people who, whether they realize it or not, are apologists for some popular health educator who has come under fire for one thing or another. To defend someone's bad behavior or irresponsible actions by pointing out all the good they've done, isn't looking at the issue on balance, all things considered.

If there were two surgeons, both with a high degree of saving people's lives, and both with some "fails" where people died on the operating table, but the fails of one surgeon were due to negligence, ego, or a faulty education (graduating in the bottom 10% of his class), and the other surgeon's fails were through no fault of his/her own, would we focus on both surgeons' positive outcomes, giving a pass to that first surgeon because of them? I think not. There are enough truly good surgeons that we can do without the bad ones. And let's take the analogy a little further. If a surgeon literally saved your life, you'd no doubt feel indebted to him/her, and would certainly have only good things to say about the surgeon. But what if you then discovered that he was surgeon A above – the one where the people who died on his table died from negligence. Would discovering that fact change your feelings about him? Would you still be an avid supporter regardless, or would you treat him as he deserves to be treated regardless of the fact that he was the surgeon who saved your life?

So just as there are enough good surgeons that we can do without the bad ones, the same can be said for the raw food health creation arena, especially considering that the most popular educators aren't necessarily the ones with the most correct information (and when it comes to health creation as opposed to pottery making, correct information is vital). And let's consider that there are truly sincere, well-intentioned, honest, caring, health educators who are toiling in obscurity because they aren't into marketing, and they base their teachings on the ethos of science: open questioning, no authorities, honesty, transparency, and reliance on evidence, and the requisites for their inquiry are respect for rational and honest discussion, and an intolerance of distortion and misrepresentation. These are the folks that should be popular, but there are reasons that they're not.

No one health educator has all the answers, but all the answers a health educator has should be correct because we're talking about impacting people's health here. And accordingly, those answers should pass the "First, do no harm" test. When, in the past, I've attempted to mention, on some popular educator's website, some inaccuracies in the information being promulgated there, I was admonished to not say such things or I'll be banned, and my post would be summarily deleted, or I'd simply be banned with no discussion at all. Something billed as a "forum" or "discussion group" that censors free speech (the respectful, dispassionate, critical thinking kind) is nothing more than a comment section monitored by admins with a biased worldview. So a website that exists essentially to promote opinions masquerading as facts as decreed by someone who will not tolerate anyone disagreeing with their teachings, well, let's just say that this behavior doesn't square with a well-intentioned, sincere, health educator, and in a perfect world it wouldn't be tolerated once discovered (but then again, in a perfect world you'd never come across it).

So how about promoting educators who do fit this description? We do a disservice to the health creation community to give passes to educators who won't revisit their teachings even in the face of acknowledged fails because of their "good works". Would we speak highly of McDonalds for the good works of Ronald McDonald House? Let's call a spade a spade, and let's see folks like those who have a profits-before-people business model for who they really are, and not for who they appear to be or who we believe them to be, and treat them accordingly. Let's also consider the unnecessary fails of those folks who follow their advice – both past and future – whose fails result from teachings that contain egregious misinformation. Am I being too harsh here? Keep in mind how many fails I've seen of people who diligently followed a popular program because the advice they followed contained incorrect information that the program's authors would not address (either because of ego or because the misinfo was deliberate in order to garner more market-share). The raw food diet is now an industry, and as such, there will be some who – behind the scenes – treat it as a revenue generating opportunity. And there are also some educators who are well intentioned but never-the-less miseducated. We need to be mindful of both if we want information that will allow us to live to our health and longevity potentials.

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Don Bennett's Blog

February 20, 2014

Why do greens play the role they do?

Regarding greens in general: The reason we are admonished to eat a "fruit and green leafy" diet is because of the poor quality soil that these foods are grown in (and picked early), not because this is what we're designed to eat. But most people are not aware of this fact, and many raw food educators don't explain the reason why greens are included the way they are because they simply were never taught the reason.

In general, greens are a higher source of minerals, pound-for-pound, than fruits. And since the fruit most of us are eating is grown in nutritionally sub-par soils and picked before they're ripe, and therefore aren't as good a supplier of minerals as their more mineral-rich counterparts that most of us don't get to eat, we turn to greens to increase the odds of getting enough minerals – hopefully. I say 'hopefully' because those greens we're eating are grown in the same sub-par soil the fruits are grown in.

So that is the reason for the emphasis on greens. But the diet we're biologically adapted to eat does not contain as many greens as most raw foodists are eating. So the upside of eating all these greens is the increased mineral content, but there are downsides too. Greens are harder to digest than fruit. Now, it may be hard to think of greens as something hard to digest because we're told a raw, vegan diet is waaaay easier to digest than any other diet that humans eat, and it is. But the fact remains that more energy is needed to digest a meal of greens than a meal of fruit. And the less nervous system energy (nerve energy) you spend on digestion, the more is available for healing, or if your body has finally dealt with all that was ailing it (most of which you had no idea about), now the less nerve energy you spend on digestion, the less sleep you'll need, and the less you sleep the more you're awake. So if you make changes to your lifestyle habits that allow for less sleep being needed, you've just added more "life-time" to your life (and this is in addition to the longer life you'll likely have from no longer burdening your body with the things that cause premature death, and from supporting your body's efforts at keeping you as healthy as your genetics will allow).

If you take all the anthropoid primates and put them on a graph with the least intelligent species on the left end and the most intelligent on the right end, you'll also find that greens eating is highest on the left end of the line, and gets lower the farther to the right you go. And fruit eating is lowest on the left end of the line, and gets higher the farther to the right you go. So going by this, we should be eating even more fruit and less greens than our nearest cousin, the Bonobo. And to drive this point home, the Howler monkey and the Spider Monkey are the same size, but the Spider Monkey eats way more fruit and way less greens than the Howler Monkey, and has a brain twice the size of the Howler Monkey. I won't go into the anthropological reasons for this, I just wanted to point out that – technically – we should be eating a diet of mostly fruit, and very little greens, and if you ate nutrient-rich fruit, you could eat this way and get enough minerals. And there's another way to bolster the mineral content of a raw food diet that will enable you not to have to eat so many greens, but that's a topic for another blog post.

Another downside of greens is that many of the ones people eat contain goitrogenic properties, more accurately called, "iodide transport/utilization inhibitors". These greens interfere with the thyroid getting enough iodine, which is not good for a whole host of reasons, the most popular ones are: being somewhat overweight, hypothyroidism, and thyroid cancer. But let's not do what we often do and take an isolated view of things... not enough iodine also contributes to breast conditions like Fibrocystic Breast Disease and cancer, and since all glands and organs need iodine, your "immune system" which is made up of many glands and organs, will not function at its best without sufficient iodine... and "best" is what you need if you want the best odds of never getting a diagnosis of something serious. So this is why I don't like to use the term "goitrogenic properties" when referring to greens because it refers to the thyroid (more info on iodine here).

So it would be wise to steer clear of the cruciferous veggies, and leafies like kale, especially if you have an iodine deficiency and/or any conditions that have as a contributing factor insufficient iodine. And yes, I know, we've all heard that "the darker the green, the better it is for you", but this old adage doesn't take into account iodide transport/utilization inhibitors. And keep in mind that there is not one nutrient that we require that's in greens that can't be obtained from fruit, meaning that there is nothing special about broccoli or cabbage or kale, so we need to look past those articles that would imply that Brussels sprouts have some benefit that can't be found anywhere else in the universe. And even though dark leafy greens are better suppliers of certain nutrients than fruit grown in the same soil, their downsides tend to outweigh their upsides. It's far better to get the highest quality fruit (organically grown) than to add lots of greens to make up for the nutritional sub-par quality of conventionally grown fruit. And remember that the reason the gorilla reaches up and grabs a large leaf off a tree and eats it in the middle of his seemingly non-stop banana eating is because his body wanted some additional fiber to help regulate the uptake of sugar into the blood, and this is a role of leafy greens for those animal species eating a fruit-based diet (and one that you don't often hear about).

And those who advise cooking the greens as a way to lower their goitrogenic properties are obviously unaware that when you do this, you also lower the nutritional benefits of greens which is the reason they were being recommended to you! So when someone advises you to cook the greens, this is a case of "a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing". If they were knowledgeable enough to look at the issue on balance – all things considered – they wouldn't recommend cooking, and instead would recommend that you eat non-goitrogenic greens like the lettuces.

Being appropriately active is another way to get more minerals because the more active you are, the more fruit you'll eat. And as I said above, there is another way to ensure you're getting a goodly amount of minerals without having to pile on the greens, and you'll find that info elsewhere on this site. And, yes, as a food, it is an unnatural thing to consume, but all things considered, this is preferable to eating an unnatural amount of nutritionally sub-par greens (spoiler alert: it's a specific green "superfood", the only one I recommend).

It's a tenet of Natural Hygiene that if something doesn't taste delicious to you (assuming you have normally functioning taste buds), it's not meant to be your food. And some greens that we are often advised to eat simply do not taste "delicious" to me (and after 20+ years of eating an all-raw fruit-based diet, my taste buds are a very accurate indicator of what I'm designed and not designed to eat). And even the greens that taste "okay", I find I am not moved to make a meal out of them. And when I'm eating a diet that supplies me with a goodly amount of minerals, my desire for greens is way less than what it was when I first started eating this way (when I likely had a lot of catching up to do in the minerals department, and when I ate a diet that wasn't up to par minerals-wise).

And we can't talk about greens without mentioning oxalic acid. Is it bad, is it okay... we hear a lot of contradictory information. But what most conversations don't factor in, is quantity. And regarding greens, spinach is the only real "offender" (and sadly it also has some goitrogenic properties - interferes with iodine utilization). But if you were to eat spinach as a part of a normal amount of greens for a human being, you'd be eating very little of it (or none of it), so its oxalic acid would be a non-issue. And by-the-way, kale also has goitrogenic properties, but again, in a normal diet where fruit supplied enough minerals, you'd eat little or no kale.

So as you can see, there's a lot more to the "greens issue" than is talked about in raw food circles. You'll often hear these kinds of insightful and enlightening comments from those educators who obtained their knowledge from a lot of research and independent thinking, rather than from someone else's teachings. And the same applies to you guys: learn as a researcher and not as a student... take a multi-source educational approach while on your learning journey.


Part of the problem our bodies have with living in this unnatural world is that things that evolution has taught our bodies are true, aren't true anymore. And this can confuse the body. Greens for example. At one time in our history (long ago), they were dependable sources of minerals, and we could turn to them when need be. But today, not so much. And this is because the greens most of us eat don't grow, but are being grown... a big difference when it comes to nutritional content. And if that's not bad enough, then there are the charts and tables that tell us that, for example, spinach is a great source of iron, when the chart should note that spinach is supposed to be a great source of iron. Another big difference. Research studies have shown that spinach grown from all over the U.S. had widely varying amounts of iron, and many of them did not have what the official charts and tables tell us are in one gram of spinach.


For more insight on the "greens issue", I'd get Anne Osborne's wonderful book, Fruitarianism: The Path to Paradise.


Interesting tidbit

When you put the first mouthful of a meal into your mouth, the body analyzes it and does two things: 1) Makes appropriate digestive juices and saliva pH based on what came in (which underscores the importance of mono meals), and 2) Files away in its database what this stuff is and what it offers in the way of nutrition. So when you consume things with good quality barley grass juice powder, the body's mineral requirements become better fulfilled and so the body naturally "steers" you to the barley grass juice powder, or rather to the things that contain it. And as a consequence of achieving mineral sufficiency, your body's desire for the previous things that provided the "best source" of minerals (greens) goes away in favor of the new "best source" (mineral rich fruit smoothies) because it's a better source and more easily digestible than a meal of greens (and more delicious too, and provides carbs; win-win-win).


A question about salads, and my answer

Q: Why are salads a problem?

A: They're not as much a problem as they are something that's simply unnatural for humans to eat. The reason why greens are recommended as they are, is because the fruits (a main component of the healthiest diet) are not as mineral rich as they should be (because of the way they are grown), and greens in general are better suppliers of minerals than fruits. So many people include lots of greens in an effort to get enough minerals. And if the fruits they were eating were grown in mineral-adequate soils, they wouldn't need to eat so many greens. Evidence for this can be found with all those who were eating big salads, and then added a nutritional adjunct to their diet – like a green powder supplement – that is very mineral rich, and they then find that their desire for greens wanes, and often to the point of not wanting them at all. This behavior is supported by the fact that as you go "up" in the primate lineage, from Orangutan to Bonobos to us, greens eating lessens and fruit eating increases, with the Bonobos eating mostly fruit and little greens. So it stands to reason that if you go further up to us, we'd eat even more fruit than the Bonobos and less greens than them.

Also, as many of us know, the foods of a plant-based diet digest much easier than the foods of an animal/grain-based diet. But what many don't know is that fruit digests easier than greens. And the easier thy digestion, the happier thy life (and the reason I use the word "thy" is because that's a very old expression from the times when that word was in use).

So if optimal health – both now and in the future – is the goal, then getting to point where the diet can consist of mostly fruit and little greens is a good thing.

Also, keep in mind that thinking, "Well rather than take a supplement, I'll just continue eating lots of greens", it would be good to consider that those greens – although more "minerally" than fruit – are grown in the same nutritionally sub-par soils as those fruits we're eating. And the green supplement I use is grown in kick-butt soil (because it is a nutritional supplement, and as such, it better be mineral-rich or they go out of business). The agri-farmers that grow the greens and fruit that most of us are eating have no reason to add back anything to their soils (other than potassium and phosphorous) because consumers aren't asking for nutrient-rich produce, and the government isn't mandating them to do so because the foods of the gen pop are already fortified with the nutrients that are needed to prevent widespread deficiency diseases. So why would those farmers add all the other nutrients – like sodium, chromium, selenium, etc – to their soils if they don't have to... they grow things for profit after all.

Oh, and another reason salads may pose an issue in a diet is because the big salads – ones with lots of veggies – take up a lot of stomach real estate but don't represent a goodly amount of calories, and this can be a reason that some people who've transitioned to a raw vegan fruit and veggie diet lose too much weight, because the big salads compete with fruits for space, and the person then doesn't take in enough calories.


An important tidbit

"I have noticed that since I started using Daily Green Boost a week or so ago, I have not used any greens since."

DON: This is a common occurrence. When people who are lowish in minerals and eat greens to try and get enough of them add Daily Green Boost to their diet, since their body is now getting an abundance of minerals, it doesn't "direct" the person to the lesser quality greens anymore (and greens provide no calories but require calories to process, so the body would rather not have them if possible). So when adding DGB to the diet, people's physiological desires for greens wanes, but some people who eat salads out of habit more than anything else still continue to eat salads, but any physiological desire for them does diminish even though they keep eating them.



greens~~~~~~ Go to Table of Contents ~~~~~~~~


Don Bennett's Blog

December 13, 2013

A "backup plan"

One of the reasons for all the arguing that's been going on of late, is that many health educators who've been teaching for decades have come to recognize how certain ways of promoting a plant-based diet can affect how certain people do the diet as a way of life. How the diet and certain aspects of it are "positioned" can make a huge difference in how close a person gets to being as healthy as their DNA will allow them to be.

In the minds of many health educators, people should follow a plan. Why? We're good at following a plan. We're wired to follow a plan. Children when being raised by their parents are actually being taught to follow a plan in a certain sense. So when it comes to diet, a plan is a good thing... if it's a good plan.

Human beings, when having more than one plan they can follow, will often be "directed" to follow the plan that the Self-Indulgent-Pleasure-Seeking-Behavior part of their brain prefers, and not the plan that the wisdom part of their brain would choose. So this is the problem with the wording "back up plan". And make no mistake about it, your brain influences your behavior based on how things are categorized, and things are categorized with words. (And you thought health educators were just about the physiology of eating). High powered ad agencies use very carefully chosen words to get people to do things, so how things are worded is very important. So let's follow one plan, a plan that takes everything into consideration (including there not being a one size fits all for daily carb minimums, and an acknowledgment that even a diet made up of the best foods might not supply our bodies with enough of all the nutrients it needs... let's deal with reality).

If the term that had been used instead was "back up foods" there wouldn't have been as much of an issue. But why not label those foods what they really are: "fallback foods" or "second-best foods" (and "third-best foods"). Wouldn't this be a more accurate description? But if these descriptions were used, wouldn't it be confusing to see people who had been eating an all-raw fruit-based diet now eating second- and third-best foods? And that's one of the three things that started the whole problem in the first place (yes, there were two others).

Here's a good question which no one is really addressing... the proverbial elephant in the room: Couldn't a health educator teach about the role of second- and third-best foods (when the best foods couldn't be had) without having to demonstrate what these foods were by eating them themselves? To use the existing terminology, why eat a backup plan when you don't really need to eat a backup plan? There are many health educators who talk about the role of second-best foods consumed during transition or when you can't get the best foods, but they themselves eat the best foods and eat them all the time simply because it's their diet. Yes, for some people, it's no biggie to eat an all-raw diet. And since these health educators are aware that they have a tremendous responsibility when they teach people a way to eat, they are careful to not be perceived as giving tacit permission to those who are learning from them to eat second- and third-best foods. They are careful to make crystal clear that to have the best health you're capable of having, you need to have a primary diet that consists of the best foods for your body, and that you need to eat them all the time, or as much as humanly possible. And this is the primary point, with the secondary point being that carbs are the body's fuel of choice. And those people who want to eat the healthiest diet they can eat find value in those health educators who demonstrate in their daily lives that this is indeed possible. We humans are wired to learn by example (another facet of human nature that is not lost on ad agencies).

So it's one thing for raw food health educators to acknowledge that there are people who find it difficult to transition to an all-raw diet overnight, and help them "get there" by outlining a program whereby they still eat some cooked carbs for a while. And they also teach which are the best second-best foods for those times when the best stuff can't be had for one reason or another. Raw food health educators who say that "all-raw is best" and who focus on saying that it's possible to eat this way, and that this is the way they eat, well, these educators are setting a good example, and certainly do not need to demonstrate in their own lives, on a daily basis, what a transition diet looks like.

And here's another point worth making: There's a big difference between second-best and fourth-best foods, and to lump both into the same category of "backup foods" when someone is well aware of the difference, is intellectually dishonest IMO. There's a big difference between the cooked carb foods that you could, sort'a, eat raw, like sweet potatoes, but are way easier for your body to deal with when steamed, and the cooked carb foods that you could never in a million years eat raw, like pasta or cereal (even its individual components). By not pointing out the differences, isn't it being implied that all these foods will have the same effect on the body from a "burden" perspective?

And if carbs are key, which in many ways they are, isn't there a healthier way to get more carbs into you than your fruit based diet can supply without resorting to processed, fractionated carbs (sugar from a package)? But when these carbs are also part of your backup plan, then it's okay. Not.

So let's be honest for honesty's sake and call foods what they really are. Let's use terms such as best, second-best, third-best, fourth-best, worst. True, this is not as easy as simply saying "best foods" and "backup foods", but easier is not necessarily better. And we're not even saying "backup foods", are we.

Another way to look at it...

My issue with the "back-up" plan is that it infers that it's something to do when the primary plan can't be followed. So a "fallback contingency" is a better name for this aspect of a plan which is designed to bring about optimal health. If we're talking about a different plan, such as a plan for that segment of the population who would never, ever consider eating an all-raw vegan diet under any set of circumstances (even a diagnosis of something serious), then that's great, and "raw until dinner" type plans are wonderful for those people who could do them.

The problem I have is when a plan that will result in improved health but not optimal health is presented as a plan that will result in the best health possible where "possible" infers the best health your DNA will allow instead of the best health you're capable of having based on your priorities, limitations, and willingness. Let's simply make a clear distinction between a vastly better way of eating that will result in improved health, such as the "raw until dinner" or "all-raw breakfast" or "60/40 cooked/raw" programs, and the programs that can teach those who desire the best health their DNA will allow how to achieve it (which naturally must include a transition diet). And, yes, this is a smaller segment of the population, but these people *do* exist, and are willing to do what it takes to "get there". So let's not paint a picture of impossibility, because it is possible... for those who want it.

If I'm someone who wants the best odds of never getting a diagnosis of something serious later in life, I want to be successful at an optimal diet plan, and not a plan that is easier than an optimal diet plan and results in improved health only. It's all about how healthy do we want to be, and what are we willing and not willing to do to achieve our goals. All I'm asking is that we not misrepresent our plans for the purposes of promoting veganism or ourselves, and I don't think that's an unreasonable request.

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Don Bennett's Blog

December 13, 2013

"Do the best you can do"

I hear this phrase used a lot, and it sounds like it's good advice, and as a standalone piece of advice, it is. But sometimes it's used in conjunction with dietary advice, and that's where this advice may sometimes not be in a person's best interest, health-wise.

In sports, some athletic people are always trying to better their "personal best". They understand that their "best" at any given moment may not be the best they can do. But this has to do with physical activity, which is quantifiable, so realizing that you can better your best can be easy to see. But when it comes to the psychological, behavior is not quantifiable, at least not in the same way as in athletics. My point here is that we may believe we're doing our best when it comes to our behavioral lifestyle practices, when we're actually not. Another way to frame it would be to say that you can't really know when you're actually doing your best unless you try to better it. If you find that you can do better, well, then you really weren't doing your best.

One of the traits of human beings is that we can be really good at fooling ourselves into believing things that, in reality, aren't true. (And Madison Avenue ad agencies take full advantage of this.) And one of the things we can believe that isn't true is that we're doing our best. There are many reasons for this. Maybe subconsciously we simply don't want to take things up a notch because we think it'll be difficult, or because we'd have to leave some cherished things behind (like chocolate or scrumptious cooked meals that we've grown up with). Or maybe we're not fooling ourselves at all, and it's other people who are fooling us; maybe we're being led to believe that what we're currently doing sounds like it's the best we can do (done for the purposes of promoting something that's easier to do which will result in greater popularity which results in a larger market share, and this occurs in every industry, including the raw food industry).

So wouldn't it make good sense to try to better our best in case we really aren't doing our best yet? Well, if optimum health is your goal, this would be a very wise thing to do. And the not-so-surprising thing is, most people are capable of doing better. And here's the kicker: if they're not given good reasons to try to do better, they often won't. This is why many health educators spend a goodly amount of time talking about the benefits of optimum health; both the obvious ones, and the not-so-obvious ones. We do this to try and paint as vivid a picture as possible in an effort to incentivize people to try kicking things up a notch because we are well aware of the differences between surviving and thriving 30 years from now. And we know that most people who seek out health educators are not looking to simply survive better than those eating a typical Western diet; they want the best health they can have along with all the benefits that go along with it.

So if you honestly believe you are currently doing the best you can do, try and prove yourself wrong. If you can, it will have been one of those rare times when being wrong was a good thing.

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Don Bennett's Blog

September 27, 2010

Durians and booze: worse than a hangover

From http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327253.200-durians-and-booze-worse-than-a-stinking-hangover.html

According to Asian folklore, eating the famously pungent durian - known as the "king of fruits" - along with alcohol can kill you. Now intrepid researchers have confirmed there may be some truth in this supposition. It is the first time combining a fruit with booze has been scientifically linked to an adverse reaction.

John Maninang and Hiroshi Gemma from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, wondered if the reported side effects were due to durian's high sulfur content impairing alcohol breakdown. In test tubes they found that durian extract inhibited the activity of aldehyde dehydrogenase - an enzyme that clears toxic breakdown products - by up to 70 percent (Food Chemistry, DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2009.03.106).

Detractors complain about the rotting smell of durian, says Gemma. "Now we know that it may smell of danger too."


Needless to say, durian may only be dangerous to those who consume the poison ethyl alcohol. Durian by itself is a very healthful thing to consume; the same cannot be said for ethyl alcohol. But we might want to mention the above factoid to those we recommend durian to, in case they still imbibe. If their take-home point is, "Well I better steer clear of durian", instead of rethinking their drinking habits, this will be very telling.

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Don Bennett's Blog

October 30, 2009

Fat vs Fruit

I was presented with this comment by someone who was defending a high fat low fruit diet...

> You either have to get your calories from fat or from
> fruit. There is no study in the world that has validated Doug Graham's
> recommendations. Too much fruit in the diet has its own dangers. The vast
> majority of people can't handle large amounts of fruit. When the stomach
> can't handle fruit, guess what happens? It ferments. Eating 30 bananas a day
> is beyond ridiculous. It's absurd. I find it disconcerting that you and
> others are spreading misinformation around as if it were a patent fact.

Here was my reply...

I agree that eating 30 bananas a day may be a bit much. That would be approx. 3,000 calories, way more than I'd need, and more than I'd want to get from a singular food item in a typical day; that is way too narrow a diet, and we're designed to have variety. The question comes down to, "A variety of what?"

You need to keep in mind my perspective. I counsel people who have health issues, and people who don't have them (that they know of) and who don't want them. And since my research, my personal experience, and my common sense have shown me that a diet of all-uncooked food, that's mostly a variety of fruit, with some green leafy vegetable matter, and an appropriate amount of some "fatty foods" (some are fruit) is the diet that all humans are designed to eat (whether we all do well when adopting it or not), and accordingly, this is what I recommend to those I counsel (obviously with certain accommodations for any current ill-health conditions). And if this diet is done correctly, and if all the other requisites of health (all the "basics of health" like enough nutrition, sunshine, sleep, stress management, etc) are given equal attention and respect, I've found that, across the board, those I counsel always, eventually, improve their health (regardless of blood type, hair color, or Zodiac sign). Yes, there may be some bumps in the road along the way, but there are reasons for those bumps, and when those reasons are understood, and when they are addressed (if they are ones that require addressing), health improves. It is when these bumps are not understood and therefore not addressed, and it is when the recommended diet is not adhered to fully, that people do not vector towards optimal health in my experience. And these observations and experiences are shared by those who make the same recommendations I do.

It's hard to argue with first hand empirical evidence and hard to argue with logic (but people do it anyway). And if we're going to wait for multiple, long-term, double-blind, peer-reviewed, placebo-controlled studies comparing the diet I and my colleagues advocate with other diets and variations of other diets, we're going to be waiting a very long time. Until then there may be something that can be deduced from studies that have already been done (link appears at end of this post).

And I think that it's misinformative statements from the dairy, grain, meat, and various organizations like the USDA that do the most damage. And even irresponsible statements like these from raw food advocates don't do anybody any good: "You can eat burgers, pizza, pasta, cookies, cakes and pies everyday on a raw food diet, and you never have to count calories, proteins, fats or carbs!" and "It's okay to eat whatever you want as long as it's vegan" and "It's okay to eat chocolate and gourmet raw foods as long as they're raw" and the equally unfortunate (and incorrect), "Once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables you don't have to worry about nutrition."

Between the sincere misinformation and the deliberate disinformation, and the "profits before people" folks (both in the raw and non-raw worlds), and the "I don't believe you (because deep down I don't want to believe you)" people, it's no wonder we're a very sick species, both physiologically and emotionally.


Fruit and fat together?!!!

Another "fat vs fruit" issue is sometimes brought up when I recommend adding some hemp and chia seeds to a banana smoothie to improve the fat content of the diet in the absence of tropical fruits (which are fattier than temperate zone fruits).

A person commented, "But if you combine sugars (bananas) and fat (seeds) this can cause insulin resistance!"

Yes, if the amount of fat is large enough and if the sweet item and fatty item are two separate items eaten at the same meal. But when you consider that a fruit that is both naturally sweet and fatty, like durian, does not cause insulin resistance, the answer is clear: when you eat a food that contains both sugar (carbs) and fat together in one package, and you eat it as a meal, the body recognizes this food and processes it accordingly.

In my article Raw Vegan 2.0 I mention "[by adding some hemp and chia seeds to a banana smoothie] you'll essentially be consuming the equivalent of a fattier banana... more like the varieties of banana that grow in the tropics..." So those bananas have some fat, yet they, like durian, digest fine and don't cause blood sugar spikes.

So the point this person mentioned is valid mainly for those eating a Typical Western Diet and other diets where goodly amounts of both carbs and fat are consumed at the same meal via different foods, or the carbs and fat are consumed at different meals but the fat content of the diet is too high. It is then that insulin resistance can occur. This is why if you eat a diet of exclusively tropical fruits, this can never happen (BTW, an avocado is not a tropical fruit).



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Click here for more enlightening and empowering reading in the EDU section...




How it's possible to get less of certain nutrients when eating the healthiest of diets

Two categories of nutrients

A logical but incorrect assumption

A "healthy" lifestyle?

A contrary viewpoint

Covid-19 is whose fault?

A great vegan supplement for vegans?

Let's Be Clear About Covid-19

"But animals in nature..."

Can we get enough protein from a fruit and greens diet?

Just listen to your body

But we need balance when it comes to diet!

When a raw vegan diet is not enough to normalize your weight

Why do some health educators teach some inaccurate info?

Fruits today are too sweet?

What is considered evidence?

When is a Study Not a Study?

It's not natural


"Why is there some anti-fruit sentiment in the raw vegan community?

High-Raw Diet vs All-Raw Diet

We Need Meat!

When it comes to Dietary Advice: Keep it Simple?

Doctors Know Best?

The Truth is Often Somewhere in the Middle

Which "Best" is Best for You?

The Bacon & Butter Diet

"I was helped by eating an animal product"

The real cause of the E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce

"You can't eat a fruit-based diet; that's way too much sugar!!!"

"When I ate a fruit-based diet I failed to thrive, but going back to the Typical Western Diet, my health improved! Does this mean that I'm not designed for that diet?"

My thoughts on juicing

Well that's your opinion!!!

Comments to me from mainstream folks

When being vegan isn't about health

The difference between it's supposed to and it does

Supplements are not "the" key to health

The misinformation continues

The Biggest Loser

Culinary Medicine?!

A Raw Food Diet is Not for Everyone

Who represents veganism?

Better or Best - Which Health Information Do You Want?

"Can't we just overlook their failings!"

Why do greens play the role they do?

A "backup plan"

"Do the best you can do"

Durians and booze: worse than a hangover

Fat vs Fruit