by Mark Tassi
Someone asked me what the best way is to transition from SAD (standard American diet) to an 80/10/10 or herbivorous/frugivorous approach.
The question intrigues me. While some may make the transition in a relatively shorter time, others may take longer, much longer. Personally, I belong to the latter group. From the time of hitting the nail right on the head at the age of nine when I told my mother that I was going to stop eating junk and just eat fruit, to the place where I am now, over 40 years later, I went all the way around the block and back again. I literally came full circle. It can be amazing, the direct and simple perception of the child as compared with the adult that thinks with his head rather than perceive with his heart. “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” – Matthew 11:25. Until we begin again to listen to the inner promptings of the heart, we will not get very far.
Certainly, there is a way to get from point A to point B very successfully and not do that over night. That was my approach; that was my path, even though it wasn’t necessarily a predetermined approach or path, at least not consciously. If you are interested in transitioning to a healthier diet, you must take certain steps in order to achieve this goal and must do so at a pace which is entirely comfortable for you.
First of all, whatever you are eating, whether it is plant-based or not, learn about food combining. This won’t put right dietary indiscretions, but it will increase the digestibility of whatever you are eating and will help to reduce the toxic load, as improperly combined eating practices will likely cause the food you eat to ferment or putrefy, which will create toxic by-products in their wake.
The first items that I would recommend removing from the diet would be all animal products including eggs and dairy and I would also remove oil. Animal products are associated with circulatory diseases and cancer as well as a host of other maladies including constipation, body odor, bad breath, acidosis, endometriosis, diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure, as well as the dangers from environmental contamination from factory farms.
Oil is a refined fat. Olive oil has been shown to slow circulation by 32%! Studies have also shown that vegetable oils increase heart disease the same way butter does. Get rid of the oil. Reduce your fat intake, or at least make steps towards reducing your fat intake to no more than 10% of your calories. 10% of your calories from fat isn’t much since most fruits have approximately 5% of their calories from fat, and vegetables, more specifically green leaves, have generally approximately 10% of their calories coming from fat. So if you ate fruits and vegetables only with no added fat whatsoever, you’d still be consuming about 7% of your calories in fat. What is more, it is so easy to overeat fat, fat being a much more dense calorie source than carbohydrate for instance, especially oil which is 100% fat and contains no fiber, carbohydrate or protein. The body has no way to regulate or recognize the overeating of oil. The body has no satiation mechanism to measure oil being that oil is a refined fat, is 100% fat, and not a whole food. There are no foods in nature that are 100% fat. All whole foods contain varying ratios of the three macronutrients, namely carbohydrate, protein and fat.
I would recommend eliminating dairy for obvious reasons. No animal in nature takes milk from its mother after weaning let alone from another species. Casein, the protein found in cow’s milk has been shown to be highly carcinogenic. All milk, whether from cows that are grass fed or not, contain the hormone, IGF-1, which has been proven to accelerate tumor growth. In fact, cow’s milk contains 80 active hormones. Milk is highly mucous forming and acid forming along with all other animal products. Milk has also been shown to be a major factor in a variety of auto-immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and crone’s disease to name a few.
Contrary to current dairy propaganda, milk is not a proper source of calcium. It is a fact that countries with the highest incidence of osteoporosis are also the countries that consume the most dairy.
Cow’s milk is for the calf, certainly not for the human, baby or adult. Some may ask, “What about goat’s milk?” It can be said that goat’s milk is closer in composition to human milk and is less mucous forming than cow’s milk, but it is still an animal product with the problems associated with other animal products and is a mammary secretion from another species. Again, no animal in nature takes milk after weaning let alone from another species. If one is struggling to overcome a dairy addiction, then goat’s milk would be a better choice, but my advice would be to get sufficient calories from your favorite plant-based sources and leave cow’s milk for the calf and goat’s milk for the kid.
After you learn how to properly food combine, get off the animal products and oil and get your calories from whole plant-based sources keeping the fat intake low, not more than 10% of your calories.
So at this point in the transition, we have a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Once one feels comfortable and established at this stage, I would begin having fruit for breakfast and then whatever whole, plant-based foods that you want for lunch and dinner. At some point after this, I would recommend having as much fruit as you care for all day and then having whatever whole, plant-based foods that you want for dinner. Once you had gotten to this stage, if you went no further, you would be doing very well indeed.
The next step in the transition would be to remove all glutenous grains from the diet. From a biological standpoint, humans are simply not grain eaters. Humans don’t have gizzards and therefore cannot properly digest grain lest it is cooked and even then grains are mucous forming, clogging and difficult to digest, and what is more, difficult to eliminate. It’s not by chance that in the word, “gluten” is the word glue! In fact, grains were not a part of the human diet until the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago, not long when you consider the long history of man on this planet.
As well as being difficult to digest and eliminate, grains are also acid forming. What is more, the coarse, sharp insoluable fiber in grains is rather like finely ground glass and is highly irritating to the delicate mucosa of the intestine and associated with digestive dieases and disorders such as celiac disease, spastic colon, ulcers, diverticulosis, colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer. But the list of maladies associated with eating grains does not end there. Because grains are acid forming, the body produces mucous to protect the delicate tissue within the mucosa. Excess mucous production causes congestion and can lead to asthma and allergies. As well as this, the acid forming nature of grains and resultant acidic condition within the body has been linked to several types of arthritis. Acidosis, or an overly acidic condition, has been associated with many diseases. The high gluten content of certain grains, especially wheat, is exceptionally difficult to break down, highly congestive and constipating and can lead to gluten intolerance, celiac disease and other digestive disturbances.
And the list goes on. One could write a book on the health destroying characteristics of grains. In short, grains are not human food as evidenced by the need to process grains with high heat in order to make them edible. Any “food” which cannot be eaten as is in the field cannot be considered suitable for consumption. Any food which is not suitable for consumption will result in a host of health related problems. One cannot continually break the laws of Nature without the resultant consequences. Replace starch found in grains with carbohydrate found in fruit.
Having said that, however, at this stage of transition, by eating gluten-free grains, we mitigate some of the deleterious effects of grain eating. Limiting grain consumption to brown rice and millet, at this stage, would be highly advantageous, millet being the superior of the two. Millet is not only gluten free, but alkalizing, most grains are acid forming in the body, and what is more, millet is nearly mucous free. Brown rice, while being gluten free, is acid forming and mucous forming as well. Brown rice also contains phytic acid which can be considered an anti-nutrient as it partially blocks the absorption of key nutrients like calcium for instance. For this reason, I recommend, at some point, removing brown rice from the diet and restricting grain consumption to millet only. Millet is the queen of grains. It is easily digested and eliminated. I should probably also mention quinoa as an option, but as I have very little personal experience with quinoa, I am hesitant to recommend it. However, it seems to be an adequate transitional food.
At this stage in transition, we have a diet of fruits, vegetables, millet, nuts and seeds with the bulk of one’s calories coming from fruit, millet and baked tubers and a much smaller portion of one’s calories coming from vegetables, nuts and seeds. I should clarify here that while one would be eating a much smaller portion of one’s calories from vegetables, one may still be eating a rather large volume of vegetables, the caloric density of vegetables being relatively low.
As we are not grain eaters, the next stage in transition would be to remove millet from the diet all together having the bulk of the calories coming from fruits and baked tubers. It is at this stage, if not sooner depending on the individual, that one should begin to remove all excitotoxins from the diet. These would be salt, garlic, onions, caffeine, spices and most condiments as well as cacao, hot peppers, pepper, chili, turmeric, ginger and galangal. Excitotoxins are just that, toxic to the body and “exciting”, in other words, stimulating through their highly irritating characteristics. When you cut an onion, it irritates the eyes. Imagine what that does to the delicate layers of tissue in the mucosa when you consume it. There is a reason, as well, that garlic is a natural antibiotic. It is so irritating and toxic that it damages bacteria, both good and bad in the system. What is more, all excitotoxins disrupt and damage B12 producing bacteria in the body as well as tax the adrenals as particularly in the case of caffeine and cacao.
These substances, I won’t call them foods, are best left alone.
Vinegar, as well, should be avoided. Vinegar is acetic acid diluted with water. In the chemistry lab, you would find acetic acid with a skull and cross bones on its bottle. Missing vinegar? In the transition, use a squirt of lemon or lime instead.
At this point, I would recommend eating fruit, fruit smoothies and/or green smoothies during the day and a huge green salad at night or a green salad with baked tubers and/or baked winter squashes or lightly steamed vegetables.
At this stage of transition, you would be eating a very healthy diet and may decide to remain at this level for the rest of your long life. However, if you decided to take your progress to the next step and eat a completely raw herbivorous/frugivorous diet as one would find in pristine nature, then, at that point, the transition to this stage will be relatively easy. Simply remove the baked tubers and baked winter squashes and you’re there. Congratulations. You are now following the healthiest diet known to man. Use the energy wisely.
To your health,
80/10/10 by Dr. Douglas Graham
Grain Damage by Dr. Douglas Graham
The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn