Mark Tassi

Holistic Health the Way Nature Intended

Woodstock 2013 – Another Great Success

This year’s fruit festival, Woodstock 2013, was a blast. Attended by 600 people, the festival has grown leaps and bounds and has gone from strength to strength facilitated by an able staff. In past years, the festival had gone through its growing pains, but this year, all the kinks and bugs had been worked out. I’m looking forward to Woodstock 2014 which will be held for two weeks as the festival has already outgrown the larger facility. Hope to see you there!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageodImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageoImagestoImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Evan and I Chat

Evan, aka Fruit Zen, and I chat in beautiful Topanga Canyon about fruit, health, Sun, prana, cycling, Gandhi and a few other things.

Dietary Fat

A friend asked me to talk about avocados. Since avocados are comprised of mostly fat, I will discuss fat in general.

Americans, overall, are consuming too much fat. Fat is absolutely essential in the diet but not in the amounts consumed in first world nations and especially the amount of animal fat consumed. Since I advocate a raw food diet, I will discuss fat in the raw food diet, or to be more specific, fat in the raw vegan diet.

While the average American is getting an average of 20% to 45% of their calories from fat, much of which is coming from saturated animal fat, processed foods and processed vegetable oils, the average raw fooder is getting an average of anywhere from 50% to 80%, and sometimes even higher, of their calories from fat! The average raw fooder would argue that these are healthy fats. Even if they were “healthy” fats and some of them are not, especially oil, this is far too much fat in any healthy diet.

The problem with this amount of fat even from so-called “healthy” fats is that it is clogging. Too much fat mucks up the bowels and thickens the blood. Blood, thickened with fat, coats the cells and prevents sugar from entering where it is needed, creating a host of problems from Candida to hyperglycemia. People, especially in the raw food movement, blame these problems on sugar, when in reality it is too much fat.

The average raw fooder is ingesting far too much oil, too many avocados and too many nuts. Oil would be by far the most detrimental of these. Avocados and nuts are not necessarily unhealthy unless consumed in excess qualities. Oil, however, is a processed, refined fat and not a whole food. Olive oil, for instance, is by no means a “heath” food and has not only been shown to slow the circulation by a whopping 32%, but has also been shown to clog the arteries as much as butter. Oil, in any form, should be entirely eliminated from any diet, certainly from any healthy diet.

The average raw fooder subsisting on such quantities of fat would be far better off eating pounds of potatoes or cooked millet or even brown rice. But by far, the best choice of calories would be from plenty of fresh, ripe fruit.

Sugar, i.e. fruit, has been demonized by a few so-called “gurus” who have led this plant fat craze to no end for no other reason than commerce. So-called “superfoods”, and the only thing “super” about them is their price, including cacao, pirated from the third world and sold in the first world at grotesquely exorbitant mark ups, make a lot more money for a fraction of the energy in time and effort than farming fruit orchards in order to sell their yields.

Rather than subscribe to such advice, I would strongly advise that people adhere to a low fat plant based diet limiting such foods as avocados and nuts, and completely eliminating oil, so that one’s total fat intake comprises no more than 10% of daily calorie intake. I recommend that one derive the majority of calories from fruit, but one could also successfully and healthfully achieve this through the consumption of potatoes, millet or even brown rice. If one chooses to consume grains, my favorite is millet as it is gluten free, very low in mucous forming activity and alkalizing which is rare for a grain as most grains are acid forming.

Eliminate oil, keep the fat low and carbohydrates high, eat enough calories and protein intake will take care of itself and you won’t go too far wrong.

References:

80/10/10 by Dr. Douglas Graham
Reversing Diabetes by Neal Barnard M.D.
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn M.D.
The Starch Solution by John McDougal M.D.
Oil to Nuts: The Truth About Fats by Jeff Novick

Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important ingredients to health, not just physical health either, and one of the biggest pitfalls in the journey of health is not getting enough sleep. Sleep is absolutely essential to good mental health as well as anyone who has been sleep deprived undoubtedly knows. Sleep is more important than eating, as important as drinking and almost as important as breathing. Sleep recharges the physical battery and organizes the mental apparatus. Without sleep, we find ourselves soon being unable to function properly, even more so mentally than physically.

In this modern age of technology and alarm clocks and ambition, capital gains and schedules, adequate sleep is often overlooked. The one who “sleeps in” is regarded as unambitious, lazy, unfit for modern society. “Burning the midnight” oil has, in this modern era, been associated with the hard worker and what we call a “go getter.”

But what about sleep? What about recharging the battery? We’re all too enthusiastic about charging the iPhone but not generally nearly as enthusiastic to charge the apparatus which we inhabit, which we use every day all our lives. When I mentioned to a friend of mine, God bless him, that the alarm clock was an “evil” invention, it was met with ridicule. Why? Because if we need an alarm clock to wake up, then we haven’t slept enough. They now even have apps which are specially designed to help you to force yourself from a sound sleep. If forcing yourself from a sound sleep seems natural to you, then you’ve undoubtedly become indoctrinated by modern times. I’ll go even farther and say that you’ve been bamboozled by it!

Our body’s natural clock is set to the natural cycle of Sunrise and Sunset. When it gets dark, the body begins to produce certain hormones which encourage sleep. At dawn, the body stops producing those hormones. That’s why that if you get up at night and turn a light on, it’s often difficult to get back to sleep. The light fooled the brain into thinking that it was time to get up. One time, I accidentally shined a bright flash light in my eyes while camping at 2:30 in the morning. That was the end of my sleep for that night.

Keep in mind that the homeland is the tropical forest. The nearer we get to the equator, our natural home, the closer is the length of the night and day to one another. On the equator, our origin, nights and days are about 12 hours in length year round. At the equator, the Sun rises at around 7:30 and sets at around 7:30 year round. Before the advent of technology, light bulbs, candles etc., darkness in the tropical forest would allow for us to do little else other than sleep. It would have been dangerous never mind impractical to do much else. In these modern days, 12 hours of sleep is regarded as excessive, but if we look back to more natural times, that would have been just routine.

Early nights and waking up when the body naturally wakes is what our bodies are designed to do. We are diurnal creatures designed for activity during the day and inactivity at night. The best hours of sleep come before midnight, but certainly when it is dark, completely dark. The best sleep, the best rest comes when it is completely dark without any hint of light as it would have been in the forest at night under the tropical canopy.

Today, I didn’t have to get up at any particular time. Last night I went to bed fairly early. So I slept until I naturally awoke. Today I am absolutely super charged. Admittedly there are more factors in this feeling of unlimited energy than just sleep. Proper diet, a diet which does not usurp much of the body’s energy for unnecessary digestion, proper hydration, Sun shine, deep breathing and physical activity are essentials. But all of these things mean much less without enough sleep.

Sleep friends. Sleep. Get early nights, nights early enough so that we awake naturally, without the aid of an alarm clock. Recharge that battery! Don’t let so-called ambition or downright disorganization interfere with one of the most important factors in being the human dynamos that we naturally are!

Woodstock 2012, A Great Success!

The Woodstock Fruit Festival 2012 was another great success. 380 fruit loving pilgrims from all over the world made their journey to Camp Walden in Diamond Point, NY by Lake George nestled in the Adirondack Mountains.

This year’s festival, as with last year, was replete with activities from morning ’til night. No less than three activities/lectures per time slot were running concurrently throughout the day.

The best part of the festival, of course, was the people. How often to we get to spend a week with 380 people living the fruity lifestyle. Count me in for next year!

Hats off to Michael, Victoria, Yuliya, Anne and the entire Woodstock Fruit Festival Team!

Presidential Election 2012 and Proposition 37

With the way people choose to be and the way they choose to think and act, I can almost understand the failure of Proposition 34, the proposition to end the death penalty in California, to not pass as vile as the implications of that are. But that people would vote down a proposition to enforce the labeling of genetically modified foods, namely Proposition 37, is beyond me. Then again, if people are capable of supporting a law that upholds the State’s “right” to murder a murderer, then I suppose that how they regard those things that they put in their bodies is, to them, inconsequential.

The fact of the matter is that a lot was at stake for large food corporations in the Presidential election last week. They stood to potentially lose millions of dollars or at least to wield less of a powerful influence by the shining of a much brighter light on their dark schemes, and the last thing that they wanted was to shine that kind of illumination upon their underhanded and insidious endeavors the motive, let’s face it, behind which is to gain total control.

Large corporations like Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Bayer, PepsiCo, Coco Cola, Nestle, General Mills, Kraft, Del Monte and other large corporations spewing out large amounts of processed foods, junk foods and pesticides, spent millions, approximately 46 million dollars, to spread propaganda, misinformation and downright lies in order to sway the public to oppose the passing of such a necessary law.

One of the arguments on the opposing side was the adverse effect that the passing of Prop 37 would have on farmers. Even if this were true, farmers would be in such a position because of impositions put upon them by companies like Monsanto. Secondly, are we to compromise the health of millions because of the effect that Monsanto says that labeling may have on farmers? I am one who wholeheartedly supports farmers, especially small farmers, but to defeat what has become nothing more than a tyrant, a controlling power like Monsanto and others, will require some sacrifice. If a cancer exists, it either needs to be removed or conditions rendered so that that cancer can no longer exist.

Other arguments on the opposing side included higher grocery costs, an increase to taxpayers, causing a host of new law suits targeted at family farmers and grocers without proof and, the most damning of the lot, conflicts with science. Conflicts with science because the AMA, NAS, FDA and 400 other “scientific studies” say that GMO’s are safe? What science are we referring to here and who funded such research is what this one would like to know! To accept these studies is to accept the playing of Russian roulette with a gun aimed firmly at our own heads. We don’t really know the affect that these foods, with which we have no biological experience, will have on us and future generations. To propose that these foods are safe is a downright lie! Biologically engineered foods are not “safe” and we have no proof of their total effects.

The bottom line is that the failure to pass Prop 37 has solidified the future of corporations like Monsanto and the fact that grassroots movements cannot outspend big food. The fact that 61 countries do label GMO’s and we do not only affirms our own ignorance and that we have allowed ourselves to be ruled by corporate greed. But the power is still in our hands. Big food cannot wield power if we do not let them. We can refuse their products and this is what we must do. It is obvious that this will not be accomplished through policy but by individual choice and the pooling and organization of the resources of those individuals who make that choice, a choice which each of us has the power to make!

Resources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/proposition-37

http://www.noprop37.com/

http://www.kcet.org/news/ballotbrief/elections2012/propositions/prop-37-funding-genetically-engineered-food.html

http://www.minyanville.com/trading-and-investing/commodities/articles/Monsanto-Prop-37-GM-food-Dow/11/12/2012/id/45763

http://vote.sos.ca.gov/returns/maps/ballot-measures/prop/37/

Teeth

One of the main complaints that people seem to have on a high fruit diet is problems with teeth. I’ve heard people say that the reason is because of sugar, but in my experience, the reason for this problem is acid, acid particularly from unripe fruit, more especially, unripe acid fruit. By acid fruit, I am referring to citrus, pineapples, kiwis, tomatoes and the like.

Let us not forget that the fruit of the plant is the reproductive aspect of that plant, in other words, the seed pod. The seeds of the pod are not ready to reproduce until the fruit is ripe. At the fully ripened stage, the fruit is either eaten or drops from the tree on its own. Nature, in its brilliance, must protect the seed pod or the fruit on the tree until it is ready and does so by a concentration of an acid called salicylic acid which is in high concentration in unripe fruit. No animal in the wild would ever eat a fruit in this state, but man in his insistence on breaking every natural law, does so on a regular basis. I have yet to meet a person, without considerable experience on the high fruit lifestyle, who knows what ripe fruit is and when and how to eat it.

When fruit is left to ripen on the tree, the concentration of salicylic acid is low. Fruit that is picked before it is ripe, as with most store bought fruit, even if allowed to ripen off the tree contains a concentration of this acid which is still higher than normal. Sweet fruit, like bananas, have very little acid, but acid and sub-acid fruits are fairly high.

It is important to note that salicylic acid has a ph of 2.4. Soft drinks and commercial sodas have a ph of 2.5, making salicylic acid quite strong.

Personally, I had a considerable amount of dental problems a few years ago. I was eating a lot of acid fruit, often most of my calories would come from acid fruit, but what is more, I was eating a lot of it unripe. I was picking Valencia oranges, a summer fruit, far too early in the season and eating it. I was also eating a lot of pineapples, which even if are able to be obtained ripe outside of the tropics where they are native, are still picked early.

These days, all of my fruit, including acid fruit like citrus are eaten ripe and with living in Southern California are usually tree ripened. Tomatoes are bought at the farm that have been vine ripened. Pineapples, as much as I enjoy them, have been eliminated since they are never picked ripe when shipped and are difficult to ripen. Imported pineapples seem to retain the most acid of fruits that I have encountered as evidenced by the burning sensation in the mouth after eating. I am now also relying on bananas for a good portion of my calories which as mentioned previously, while being high in sugar, are low in acid.

After implementing these simple precautions and procedures, I am happy to report that I have not had a single incidence with dental issues for nearly 3 years!

In the earlier days of implementing these precautions, I would faithfully swish my mouth with water or a solution of baking soda and water after eating. These days, I find that it is not even necessary to do that, but as a precaution in the present days of the supermarket vs. the rainforest, it is probably not a bad idea. I will say that when I was swishing with the baking soda solution on a regular basis, my plaque level on visits to the dentist was next to zero. Having said that, there still isn’t much plaque accumulating on the teeth with a diet of fruits and shoots, but baking soda seems to have the ability of lifting stains from a surface.

I have also heard it theorized that a diet of fruits and vegetables is devoid of necessary nutrients thereby causing ill dental health. From my experience, I have found nothing to be further from the truth. A diet of fruits and vegetables is the most nutrient dense diet on the planet.

From my experience, dental issues while on a diet high in fruits are the result of the regular consumption of immature or unripe fruit or and including fruit which has been picked too soon.

To your health,

M

Harley and I Chat Bicycles

At our recent fruitluck in Santa Monica at the Palisades Park Totem Pole, we were lucky enough to have Harley Johnstone, aka Durianrider. Harley missed his connecting flight in LA due to a delay with his flight from NYC which delayed Harley in LA for 24 hours. It just so happened that we had our fruitluck on the same day, lucky for us, maybe not so lucky for him. Although, knowing Harley, he’s never one to miss an opportunity and in his book, opportunities are like ripe fruit, waiting to be found!

It’s always good to see Harley and he’s always generous and willing to lend a hand wherever he can. Check out the video at 3:05 where he makes some adjustments to my bike and goes over it with a fine tooth comb making sure that there are no cracks which could prove disastrous should the bike fail in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’d just ridden in from Silverlake, and while to the uninitiated, a 40 mile round trip ride may seem a bit excessive, to the hard core cyclist, it’s just business as usual!

Oh and there’s Sylvia Vale, the Vegan Ninja Bunny at 4:04 and that’s always a good thing. And look! There’s Robby Barbaro!

Hope to see you at our next Fruitluck as you never know who or what the wind may blow in.

Thanks Evan and Harley!

To your health,

M

Detoxification

There are various things that happen on the path to greater health. Of all these, one that is probably the least understood is what is commonly referred to as “detox”.

Detox, so-called, is, of course, nothing more than detoxification or the body’s attempt to throw out that which is toxic or that which it recognizes to be toxic. The body actually does this on a regular basis and is a normal part of daily biological function.

That the body detoxifies on a regular basis is a good and necessary thing. The body has organs of excretion whose purpose it is to either excrete waste or excrete those things which the body deems as toxic.

However, in an industrialized world motivated by material power and ruled by greed, the average individual lives and breathes within an onslaught of toxic influence. As a result, tremendous barriers of tolerance are built so that functioning in a literal cesspit can take place. Most of the cesspit, unfortunately, is internal. While each individual is indeed influenced by the toxins of an external environment, it is the internal environment that is by far the worse.

Tremendous tolerances to the toxic onslaught via incorrect eating and drinking are brought about through an increasing lack of sensitivity to the toxins and a build up of thick mucous in order to protect the delicate mucosa from the acids.

As the tolerance builds, the ability to detoxify diminishes. Toxins continue to store deep within the tissues as a result of the body’s diminished capacity to detoxify. Brought on by wrong eating and drinking practices through a lifetime, the body of the average human living in the first world becomes not unlike a cesspit.

There is only one disease and not two, and that is a body which vitality is undermined through congestion and autointoxication.

There is another side to this coin. As the aspirant to better health removes the offending substances from the daily menu and opts for a cleaner diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, the strong tolerances, to the toxic influx now removed, begin to diminish. The thick coating of viscous mucous also begins to lesson. The body gradually becomes cleaner, more efficient. Greater energy and mental clarity return.

There is, however, a double edge to this sword. As with all things, but even more pronounced with all great things, there are two poles. On the one hand, the practitioner of this art becomes very clean, very much cleaner than before, more energetic, more efficient in every way, a brighter bulb in the scheme. On the other hand, that same practitioner becomes more “sensitive” to environment in every way, albeit a lot stronger. The same toxins are no longer tolerated. The practitioner gets to the point in his art where even a small amount of toxic influence, hitherto tolerated, is now violently thrown out.

There is a catch here. While those toxins are removed and not stored, thereby not causing a loss of vitality and a host of maladies and eventually disease, as mentioned previously, they often are, at this stage of vibrant health, thrown out so vigorously that this type of detoxification becomes what is commonly known, in holistic circles, as a “cleansing reaction” or when more severe, a “healing crisis”.

What is a cleansing reaction or healing crisis? These occur when the body throws out toxins from the tissues at such a rapid rate that it overwhelms the organs of excretion and the toxins build up in the blood, where they must go until final exit from the body, until the organs of excretion eventually catch up. While the toxins are circulating freely in the blood, one feels rather ill in varying degrees to say the very least, dependent upon how much toxic matter has temporarily accumulated in the blood.

This ill state, which can manifest in a variety of ways, is usually interpreted as weakness by the uninitiated. Nothing could be further from the truth! Here we have a powerful system in action, a system whose cleansing mechanism is no longer almost dormant, weakened by years of abuse. Here is a system that tolerates a much lower level of toxicity, rather than storing toxins for months and years thereby causing loss of vitality, malady and disease, and with great vigor throws these toxins out. 

This type of virile cleansing ability is a blessing albeit difficult, difficult only though while one transgresses. On a fruit and vegetable diet, I have little to no cleansing reactions or healing crises.

Another misconception that people have is mistaking tolerance with immunity. I want to make this absolutely clear; tolerance has nothing to do with immunity. If stronger tolerance were synonymous with greater immunity then alcoholics and drug addicts would be the strongest and healthiest people that we know. Toxins and “germs” are not the same thing. Alcohol, a strong toxin, is not the same as a flu virus for instance. One is a toxin, while the other is what may be called a “germ”.

The other misconception that I often run across is that this powerful detoxification process is due to weak digestion. Again, nothing is further from the truth. Personally, I can digest just about anything. The detoxification process starts long after the digestion process is finished, usually the next day, but in some cases even two days later. This process begins when the body decides to throw out the toxins released by the metabolism of certain foods and not due to the digestive process itself or the lack there of.

For me, the detoxification process is marked by stinging in the eyes from mild to excruciating depending upon the amount of toxic matter being removed, signifying kidneys that are overworked, and sometimes accompanied by nausea from mild to violent, again dependant up the amount of toxic matter being removed from the system. A more severe detoxification is almost always accompanied by nausea. I’ve gone through detoxification in the past that was so severe that I couldn’t hold down water. Dry heaves have also been experienced in cases of more profound detoxification.

As difficult as the process can be, I have always felt absolutely marvelous when it was over, feeling more vital and stronger than before. After all, a toxic weight had been lifted.

A great Master once said, “If you want to heal, you must know what hell is”. From my experience with detoxification, I would say that that assessment is entirely correct.

To your health,

M

Woodstock Fruit Festival 2012


I will be attending the Woodstock Fruit Festival again this year from August 20th to August 28th at Camp Walden in the southern Adirondack Mountains of New York, near Lake George.

Last year’s festival was an absolute blast with the general consensus being that it was simply the best event that any of us had ever attended. This year looks to be just as good, maybe even better with even more people attending.

If you’re like me and you like fruit, who doesn’t, and like to be around fellow fruitheads, this year’s festival is an event you won’t want to miss. There will be unlimited fruit and greens 24 hours per day for the entire event and so much more. Last year’s event was chock full of outdoor group activities, cutting edge lectures and dancing and campfires in the evenings.

There simply isn’t a more fun and informative event, for those living the lifestyle or those wishing to, around.

Hope to see you there!

Thanks Michael and Vic.

M