Saturday, September 02, 2006

Living Foods Retreat!

I just returned from the Living Foods Retreat just outside of Portland, Oregon. It was fantastic! Presenters included Brigitte Mars, Herbalist, Nutritional Consultant and Raw Chef, Gabriel Cousens, MD, and the pretty impressive Victoria Boutenko, author of 12 Steps to Raw Foods and Green For Life. Green for Life is Victoria's latest book and includes the groundbreaking Green Smoothies!

Victoria did some very interesting research. She looked at the eating habits of chimpanzees. Chimpanzees have DNA that is startlingly similar to humans. She noted that the chimp diet was in large part composed of fruit and greens. She cited that work of Jane Goodall who saw the chimps grab some greens and roll a fig inside as a handy snack to munch on! A quest for a more complete nutritional program led her to the development of her wonderful recipes for Green Smoothies. Generally, these drinks are about 60% fruit and 40% greens. Here is one of her recipes:

4 ripe pears
4-5 leaves of kale
1/2 bunch mint
2 cups water
Yields: 1 quart of smoothie

Once Victoria began consuming these healthful drinks, her cravings for heavy foods like nuts decreased. She had discovered that her stomach acid was very low, and that drinking all the greens actually improved lack of stomach acid. This is something I am very familiar with in naturopathic medicine. I have observed that a majority of my patients have some degree of hypochlorhydria, which means low stomach acid.

Stomach acid functions best at a pH between 1-2. This is a very strong acid! Foods are best digestes at this pH. If you have bloating after eating, or gas, discomfort, heartburn, or feel as if the food just "sits" in your stomach, you have symptoms of low stomach acid. When this happens, it will be very difficult to digest your food and it will be even more difficult to absorb all the wonderful vitamins and minerals that your body needs from food.

You might be thinking, how could heartburn come as a result of low stomach acid? When stomach acid is low, food sits in your stomach, begins to ferment (lovely, isn't it) and produces acids. These acids are what causes the burning sensation. So, what do you take as a result? Antacids! These make your symptoms better, but ultimately your situation gets worse, as you are suppressing what little acid you may have.

If you have heartburn or these other symptoms, you may want to contact me for a consultation. It is important not to miss complications like ulcers, or to find out if you have a bacteria in your stomach called Helicobacter Pylori. This bacteria is in some ways responsible for making the stomach produce less acid. In my office I run a test that checks for bacteria in the stomach, small intestine and large intestine (colon.) You would be shocked how many people have parasites like giardia or amebiasis or have the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria. Be sure to ask about this test, called a GI Health Panel, if you are concerned about those stomach upsets or tummy pain.

Back to Victoria's Green Smoothies. These drinks contain high amounts of chlorophyll, which will help to improve your stomach acid! I highly recommend her book, Green for Life. You can get the book and read more about her at

I will be lecturing more with details about greens and nutrtion, and I will be doing a Green Smoothie demonstration class coming up in September. Just to give you a little extra incentive to join us, I will also demonstrate a recipe for an absolutely delicious almond milk that contains raw cacao and carob with some delicious natural sweeteners!

The Living Foods Retreat was a great success. It was great to connect with other people interested in living foods, to hear the latest developments, and to taste some incredible recipes.
If you enjoy the taste of food, I would like to recommend generous sponsors of the retreat, Blossoming Lotus Cafe, in the Pearl District. They served us a 5 course meal that was out of this world! You wouldn't have to have an affection for raw food to have loved this incredible feast.

Check on my website at for the LIVING FOODS PREPARATION classes coming up in September!!!

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