by Mark Tassi


As mentioned in the last post, the plan was to grab vine ripened tomatoes at the farm in Encino on Saturday. Are they as good as they look? They’re probably better. I’ve been making huge spinach salads with loads of tomatoes. I’ve been getting great deals on organic spinach as well at the 99 cent store. Yeah, it can be done. Deals are where you find them. The success of this lifestyle often depends on how resourceful you are. You have to keep a sharp eye. Deals are everywhere and sometimes where you least expect. Last night I also made a nice tomato sauce for cucumber and zucchini noodles. Life is good!

It’s an interesting thing about tomatoes though, that since 1995, when people think of tomatoes, they also often think of lycopene. Lycopene is the compound in tomatoes that makes them red. Lycopene is a carotenoid that has certain antioxidant properties. Research studies had shown that those who ate more tomatoes and foods containing tomatoes had a lower risk for prostate cancer. 

With the discovery of lycopene, however, the industry jumped on this new found “phenomenon” and focused on the lycopene, rather than the whole tomato, as the “miraculous” chemical which was responsible. Not to miss a chance to make a buck, as the industry often does at the expense of the unwary consumer, there were lycopene products, pills and “potions”, suddenly on the market. This was just another marketing ploy that had a lot to do with marketing, but little to do with science. Don’t be fooled, bamboozled or hoodwinked by an industry that produces products that takes your money leaving you poorer in finance yet no richer in health. 

The thing is, the research was done on tomatoes, whole tomatoes, not an isolated chemical which tomatoes contain. There are hundreds, if not thousands of chemicals in tomatoes, many of which have not even been discovered yet, all working together, all having a synergistic effect like an orchestral symphony. To isolate one chemical and say “that’s it, that’s the active ingredient” is like isolating a violin part of Beethoven’s 9th and saying that that’s the genius of Beethoven. Maybe it is, but it’s not the 9th.

The trend  in “modern” science has generally been to break up, isolate and analyze. There’s nothing wrong with that approach per se, but until we get back to a holistic view, a holistic approach, we won’t get very far. This is obvious, evidenced by a pill-pushing industry that focuses on treating symptoms rather than root cause. 

So what’s the message? Eat whole foods. That’s the message. Eat whole, plant-based foods for health and well being, and the closer to their natural state that we find these foods, the better.

Whole, plant-based foods, especially in their raw, natural state are like virtual Solar energy batteries containing all the prana, all the life-force, and all the vitality needed to thrive on this planet in the human form.