• 24Jul
    Posted by:The Culture of Life on 10/15/2010
    There are many “best” lists of healthy foods, superfoods, and live foods in the media. What is missing, however, is a context for choosing what best serves you and your life’s purpose. In my set of twenty-two recommendations, I will provide a framework to help you understand which appropriate herbs and superfoods to select for your specific constitution, condition, and your immediate and long-term life’s purpose.
    In 1987, I activated a shift in the live-food movement consciousness toward using diet and lifestyle to enhance spiritual life by becoming a superconductor for the Divine. This took us beyond focusing solely on general good health, and longevity, which was the predominant paradigm. In 1990 and again in 2000 (with my second edition of Conscious Eating), I refined the use and integration of Ayurvedic understanding into a live-food nutrition perspective, and I also introduced the constitutional and metabolic types (“fast and slow oxidizer” types, and “parasympathetic and sympathetic” types) to help each person discover his or her optimal live-food diet according to one’s specific overall constitution.

    I am delighted that these considerations have become relatively mainstream. Now I am adding a new dimension to this understanding, which is how to select herbs and superfoods according to the energies of the Taoist Three Treasure system. For this, I am calling upon my two-year study of Chinese herbalism and my acupuncture diploma from UCLA, as well as my work with different Taoist herbalists, as a basis for expanding our nutritional awareness.

    The interface of these three treasures (Jing (constitutional vitality), Chi (immediate daily energy), Shen (spirit) help one to select energy intake in the form of foods, supplements, herbs, and superfoods, not merely according to one’s constitution, but also the three basic energies necessary for creating the highest quality of life from a Taoist point of view.

    An elegant analogy of the Three Treasures paradigm is to view them as the composite parts of a burning candle. Jing, as essence and physical substance, is symbolized as the wax and wick of the candle. The density and quality of the candle determines how long it will burn (i.e. how long one will live in wellness). Chi, as energy and metabolism, is symbolized as the candle’s flame. It creates light, but also heat that melts the wax and burns the wick of the candle. Balancing Chi is essential for regulating how fast the Jing is burned up. Finally, Shen, as spirit, including presence, wisdom and spiritual understanding, is symbolized by the candle’s light. This is the light of consciousness that we are ever seeking, in the context of expanding the energy of Shen. This is the guiding light and context for individualizing your dietary choices and lifestyle. If your goal is simply more energy, and improving athletic or sexual performance, this approach can also be used to optimize your approach.

    You can see by this analogy that the Three Treasures must be regulated and guided in an intelligent way for optimal support of your life purpose. If the wax and wick (Jing) are weak, only a small flame (Chi) with mediocre light (Shen) will be produced. If the flame (Chi) is too strong it will shine much light (Shen), but only briefly, as it quickly consumes the wax and wick (Jing). The light (Shen) is obviously dependent upon the quality of the flame (Chi), while the quality of the flame (Chi) determines the quality and longevity of the wax and wick (Jing). Considering that my primary motivation and life purpose is spiritual development and enlightenment, I recognize that we must cultivate Shen by conserving Jing and balancing Chi. This may or may not be your agenda, so this system can be focused to serve your personal ends. My list of twenty-two top herbs, supplements, and superfoods can help you find your balance as a unique individual.

    Jing (Primordial Lifeforce and Constitutional Energy)

    Jing energy is similar to the Vedic ojas. It is the energy of our reproductive force, our basic seed energy, and the genetic strength we pass to future generations. Jing is housed in the kidneys, adrenals, testes, and ovaries. It is theorized that it comes out in the lower dantian, in the area slightly lower than the solar plexus. Jing has two levels: We are born with ‘prenatal’ or ‘primordial’ jing. It is our natural, constitutional, primordial strength. Our ‘postnatal’ jing is superficial and is conditional upon the quality of our environment, lifestyle, and food choices. We have the most effect on our post-natal jing through diet.
    Jing is the essence of our deep health, youthfulness, and our ability to function and reproduce in the world. It allows us to handle life’s stresses and challenges. Prenatal jing, when depleted from toxic lifestyle, is difficult to rebuild. It takes years of a live-food lifestyle to begin to build it up, after depleting it through abuse. Post-natal or superficial jing, on the other hand, can be built up through the use of herbs, live-food, structured water, and living the Six Foundations and Sevenfold Peace. The primary yin jing herb is goji berry.

    Chi (Immediate Vital Lifeforce)

    Chi is the vital lifeforce we use for our daily energetic needs. Chi is the force behind talking, eating, digestion, and all metabolic functions. Chi is located in the realm of the middle jiao region of the stomach, spleen, and liver. Chi comes from food and oxygen metabolization. It is one step above jing and protects it. Chi is also depleted by toxic lifestyle and poor diet. When this occurs we feel fatigued and worn out. If that chi is not reestablished by chi-building foods and exercises, we begin to use up our jing. This results in the degeneration of our health.

    When these jing and chi energies are added together, combined with a strong constitution and a Culture of Life and Liberation lifestyle, we can continue to cultivate our chi and live a long, healthy, and spiritually expansive life. Strong chi helps us to assimilate nutrients from our food, such as minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients. The bioavailability of nutrients is determined by the amount of chi we have. In other words a strong chi empowers our digestion. The most powerful chi-building herb is ginseng and second to that is the goji berry.

    Shen (Spirit)

    From my perspective on Spiritual Nutrition, we are each put here to reach our highest spiritual potential. Because of this, for me Shen is the most important of the Three Treasures. Shen is the essence of spiritual nutrition. It is the foundation that allows our spirit to ascend and the kundalini to awaken and unfold. Shen is often considered the ability to access spiritual awareness. Strong jing and chi are necessary to help our body become a superconductor for the Divine. Shen helps us detoxify and strengthen our body and expand the mind and consciousness to become a superconductor for the Divine.

    As I pointed out in 1987, becoming a superconductor for the Divine is the goal of our spiritual nutrition and lifestyle. Shen is this state of expanded awareness. Enhancing Shen is the essence of Spiritual Nutrition. As Taoist masters taught, without spiritual purpose, there is a lack of depth, quality, meaning, and value in life. This is why I teach that the purpose of life is not longevity, but that, properly used, longevity can create an opportunity to expand our consciousness and our knowledge of God as our primary life purpose or dharma. These herbs, nutrients, and superfoods can help us to more easily ascend to the Throne of God. While we cannot eat our way to God, a healthy and conscious dietary lifestyle can enhance our way. The most powerful herb for building and expanding shen is reishi mushroom.

    For a lucid discussion of Taoist Three Treasure theory, I recommend the book Healing Thresholds by Dean “Rehmannia” Thomas. I also recommend Ron Teeguarden’s books on Chinese tonic herbalism.


  • 22Jul


    “People who eat at least one avocado a day will lose 17% fat.”
    low blood sugar=high anxiety
    This is a great, great podcast. Gosh, he is so patient, the epitome of patience, with each questioner.
    Physical health discussed the first hour. MSM + a diet minus the bracchea family should heal the hyporthyroidism
    Spiritual questions start at 58 minutes. Spirituality is supported by the quiet mind.
  • 22Jul
     Problems of a vegan diet – A really good video!
    Gabriel Cousens
    Cocnentrate the minerals in your diet!
    ~40% fats, natural fats daily in your diet! YAY!
    “My vision is whole-person enlightenment….I want to see everyone wake up and be healthy.”
  • 21Jul


    no intention, just being, “that’s what all of life is about.” The minute you have intention, you bring ego into it, and it blocks you.”

    I just feel so blessed, so happy when I listen to him . D

  • 21Jul

    How Dr Cousens became a Vegetarian – Dr Gabriel Cousens MD

  • 21Jul

    Check out this video on YouTube:


    Very brief – basically meat and dairy are sludge to kundalini

  • 21Jul

    Good, brief Dr. Gabriel Cousens video on eating fresh food impacting spiritual


  • 09Jul

    Rainbow Green Live Cuisine. .  I wanted to read why high glycemic foods are so bad like watermelon, mango, pineapple, bananas and I think this is the answer.  He says they hit the internal compost button and make your internal landscape turn acidic and let the bacteria thrive and create all kinds of serious problems.  He also includes oats and rice (bummer).  There are lots of recipes in it but I am going to have to rethink my diet if I give up my mainstays (bananas, watermelon, pineapple, oats, mango).  He is big on flax seeds and nuts and seeds. No soy sauce or nama shoyu by the way – they are on the bad list. Nutritional yeast is on the bad list big time.

  • 01Oct



    Soaked, sun-dried tomatoes are one of the key ingredients in Dr. Gabriel Cousen’s raw recipe for Tomato-Cucumber Dressing, from his book ‘Conscious Eating.’

    Tomato-Cucumber Dressing – A Raw Recipe from Gabriel Cousens, M.D.

    Following is a low-glycemic, live-food recipe by Dr. Gabriel Cousens, featured in his book Conscious Eating. This delicious recipe is great for everyone – even those who do not have any blood-sugar related health challenges!

    Prep time: 15 minutes

    Serves: 1-2

    1 cucumber
    1 cup sesame mylk
    1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked
    2 Tbs raw apple cider vinegar
    1 tsp mellow miso
    Juice of 1 lemon

    Blend all of the ingredients together, except for the miso, until smooth. Add the miso and blend for another 30 seconds. Enjoy!

  • 24May



    Dear Dr. Mercola,

    Thank you for your excellent, thoughtful, and sensitive discussion on vegetarianism and the China study. I have been researching and exploring the benefits of a plant-source-only diet for over 38 years (since 1973). Given the length of my practice and the scope of my experience, I have come to some working conclusions on the interrelated topics of diet, health, and longevity. I am writing this for the people who have become confused by your subtle, but clear avocation for a meat-centered diet over a plant-source-only diet, as they are tentatively inspired to shift from one paradigm of health and consciousness to a new level. Although I appreciate most of your points, my main objection is that your implication that people with higher metabolic protein requirements need to eat meat. Based on my extensive, successful, clinical experience over the course of 38 years of helping people do exactly that, with a 99.99% success rate, your position is misleading and untrue.

    I did not start my life as a vegetarian and had no bias toward it. I was born and raised in Chicago, and didn’t even meet a vegetarian until I was 28 years old. Born in the early 40’s, and raised with a meat-centered diet, I was a steak-eating, honorable mention, all-state football player, who had no awareness of the dangers of meat consumption. I was heavily biased toward this way of eating. I recall, after participating in a winning high school football game against Evanston, eating thirteen MacDonald’s hamburgers in celebration, when our football team stopped for lunch after the game. The idea of vegetarianism (much less veganism) was completely foreign to me. My father and both grandfathers ate a typical American high-meat diet, and each died at the age of 57. Only my uncle, who became a vegetarian after his first heart by-pass, lived to see his 84th birthday. On my mother’s side, all the men were heavy meat-eaters, and all died of heart attacks in their 40’s. There was never a connection made between diet, heart disease, and mortality by anyone but myself and my uncle.

    On a humorous note, I didn’t become a vegetarian until my pregnant wife and I shared a strange dream, in which we both saw our unborn child gestating as a chicken. We were both so disturbed by this dream, that we became lacto-vegetarians overnight.

    Several years later, in 1975, while in deep meditation, I was instructed by an inner voice to learn to eat and live in a way that supports the unfolding of spiritual energy. At this point I began exploring the best diet for spirituality. That exploration led me to plant-source-only nutrition and live-foods. My clinical research with thousands of people revealed this to be the most powerful diet on the planet for supporting spiritual life. Although one cannot eat their way to God, this seemed to be the most supportive diet for the spiritual path and life. In a holistic context, diet is not separate from supporting one’s ultimate life purpose as expressed in all spiritual paths and religions; namely, to know God. A key understanding, however, is that only a minority of people actually experience this as their life purpose, and so most are not naturally drawn to this way of life and diet. Some feel that the choice of diet has nothing to do with morals or spirituality. Many vegans are vegans for ethical reasons and are not necessarily interested in spirituality. They are content with a cooked vegan cuisine and have no interest in live-food. Those who are not drawn to plant-source, organic, live-foods for moral, ethical, or spiritual reasons often do not have any interest in such a diet, so I have tried to be sensitive to this issue and am aware that the general population and media is only too happy to find any reason to discount a vegan diet.

    Being a holistic physician and a scientist, with papers already published in Biochemical & Biophysics Journal, I, like you, soon discovered that the traditional vegan dietary recommendations were only helpful for a select portion of my clientele. I began discovering in the 70’s, some of the very problems you have recently written about. So in 1975 I began to apply certain nutritional principles in an attempt to move beyond popular vegan mythology and hardcore “religious teachings”, to discover how one can succeed using plant-source-only, live-foods. I began utilizing the Ayurvedic, tri-doshic constitutional analysis and metabolic typing, which I learned, personally, from William Wolcott and Dr. Krystal. The Ayurvedic approach also emphasizes eating with the seasons, and eating with the seasons of life (i.e. eating for age). Using these two systems to address these considerations has provided my clients and myself with a highly effective means for successfully following a plant-source-only, live-food diet, no matter what their metabolic type or Ayurvedic constitution was. I have also seen additional potentially unhealthy patterns with vegan diets that your statements do not address. These vital considerations include the B12 issue; the cholesterol issue; the carnosine issue; the long-chain omega 3 fatty acid issue; as well as one’s overall caloric intake. I will address these as follows.

    As discussed above, my clinical experience since 1975 has shown that when there is a properly applied plant-source diet, 99.99% of the people are successful in attaining optimum health. I have only ever had one person, in over 40 years of practice, who was unsuccessful on a properly informed, organized, plant-based diet. This person was born and lived near the Arctic Circle. Similar to your findings, I have discovered that only about 30-40% of people do well on a high-complex carbohydrate diet. About 50-60% of my clients do well on a higher protein/higher fat diet. I discuss the different constitutional approaches to this in my book Conscious Eating (published in 1990).

    B12 is also an important issue for both plant-source and meat eaters. Research suggests that both vegans and meat eaters run deficient in B12. (80% of vegans run deficient after 6 years, and 40% of meat-eaters test deficient for the minimum B12 levels.) At the higher levels, needed for optimum function, the rate of B12 deficiency among meat-eaters and vegans is similar and is above 80%. My clinical experience is that almost everyone I have seen, including meat-eaters, needs a B12 supplement. We offer a live, vegan B12 at the Tree of Life webstore, because I do not recommend long-term use of synthetic B12.

    I have also noticed a tendency in vegans for low cholesterol, which is below 140 (an unhealthy range). I typically address this by having clients add therapeutic doses of coconut oil to their diets, which raises cholesterol to healthy levels.

    Long chain omega 3’s are also a critical deficiency for the general population. Studies have shown that 90% of pregnant women in the US are deficient in DHA (a critical long-chain omega 3 fatty acid for pregnant women, as it is necessary for brain and vision development in the infant). I routinely give DHA/EPA to all clients, because both meat-eaters and vegans seem to be deficient. As a psychiatrist, as well as a holistic physician, I find that post-partum depression rapidly dissolves when the mother is given ample amounts of DHA. All of this, of course, is directly available from the same place the fish get it; yellow algae. (We sell a vegan yellow algae source of DHA and EPA at the Tree of Life webstore.) DHA and EPA can also be gotten in reasonable amounts from purslane and Klamath Lake blue-green algae.

    Another consideration, when looking at longevity and diet, is the issue of caloric intake. Research has shown that a caloric intake of 1600 (no matter the food in question) leads to longer life, as opposed to the common 3800 calories the average American consumes. Cooking food destroys 50% of the protein, 60-70% of the vitamins and minerals, and 95% or more of the phytonutients. So one can eat 50% of the calories, if one is eating live-foods and achieve non-stressful “caloric restriction”.

    These considerations make some play in longevity studies and overall quality of health. In looking at the full spectrum of longevity studies over the years, one can make a few statements. As pointed out in research by the “non-plant-source magazine”, Life Extension, people consuming a plant-source diet generally live longer. The question Life Extension asks is why don’t they live significantly longer? This may be because of the points I have already mentioned, and particularly the issue of carnosine deficiency. Carnosine is needed to prevent glycosylation and free radical production, which are primary aging mechanisms. To get adequate carnosine a meat-eater would have to eat three steaks per day. Most on a flesh-centered diet, as well as all vegetarians, will tend to run deficient in carnosine. At the Tree of Life we have a vegan carnosine that requires only 1/8 teaspoon per day to be sufficient.

    Longevity arguments are complicated and the best we can do is make epidemiological statements, which strongly suggest those with the greatest longevity and primarily, if not entirely plant source only in their diet. According to Herodotus, the father of history, the Pelagasians, who lived 3,000 years B.C., had a 100% live-food, plant-source diet; their average age was 200. I travelled to this area of Greece and learned that these people did, in fact, exist, and that this was indeed their diet. The inner circle of Essenes, when most of the population’s lifespan at that time was 40-50 years, had an average lifespan of 120 years. In my book Conscious Eating, and in other books, it is documented that Jesus and all his disciples were vegetarian. This fits with the Biblical Genesis 1:29 recommendation. People who don’t understand Torah teaching, and use Genesis 9:3 to justify meat-eating, miss the point. Genesis 1:29 is the ideal diet. If you are not ready, as I paraphrase the great Torah sage and physician Maimonides, “Then do the best you can and limit your flesh intake until you are spiritually ready to live by Genesis 1:29.”

    There is at least one anthropological finding of 3.2 million years ago, showing that the basic diet of the people at that time was similar the chimpanzees’ diet, which is about 98% plant-source. The Hunzakuts (well known for their longevity) are generally considered to be primarily vegetarian, except for the ceremonial use of meat. There is a certain tribe of Yemanites, who were vegetarian and long-lived. One study done in Russia on their 21,000 centenarians found the highest percent were vegetarians. Another study done in Bulgaria showed 1,600 centenarians for every million of its population compared to 9 centenarians per million in the US. The vast majority of these Bulgarian centenarians were lacto-vegetarians. The tribes in the Vilcabama region of Equador, the Mayans, and Tarahumaras of Mexico are all known for their longevity and are primarily plant-source-only societies. All these studies suggest that vegetarian cultures tend to live longer.

    Another important issue, only partially addressed in your discussion, is the higher amount of toxicity in animal, dairy, and fish. As far back as 1990, in my book Conscious Eating, I site research suggesting that animal flesh (being at the top of the food chain) contained approximately 15 times more toxins than vegetables. Root vegetables had 4 times more than leafy vegetables. Milk had about 5-6 times more toxins than leafy vegetables. This information in our rapidly increasing polluted environment becomes particularly significant in choosing the best diet for health. For example when looking at the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, statistics showed a 900% increase in perinatal mortality in the Boston area for three months after the nuclear incident. This was traced to radioactive I-131 released from the Chernobyl accident. Breastfeeding mothers were drinking cow’s milk (organic or otherwise) tainted by the I-131 landing on the grass the cows grazed on throughout the Boston area, and were passing this on to their nursing infants. The children were dying from radioactive I-131 poisoning. This radioactive iodine also fell on the grazing areas of organic cows and the foraging areas of the wild deer as well. To heighten your uneasiness, sources in Russia claim there have actually been four other Chernobyl-type catastrophes, which were kept from going public. As I wrote in my book Conscious Eating, “accidents at nuclear plants occur more frequently than one would ever expect. The Radiation Protection manual points out that there were 2,974 reported mishaps at nuclear plants filed in the records of the Nuclear Regulatory Committee in 1985 alone. According to the September 1985 report released by the U.S. General Accounting Office, there were 151 “significant nuclear safety incidents between 1971 and 1984 in fourteen Western countries’.” This unreported radioactive exposure has not stopped and has gotten worse as the use of nuclear power has spread. In other words, we have a significant amount of radioactive toxicity in our environment, and this toxicity is more concentrated in animals higher on the food chain. This radioactive toxicity also pertains to radioactive depleted uranium, bombs, and other weapons in Iraq, Bosnia, and Afghanistan, which has come over to the U.S. on the jet streams. Depleted uranium is somewhere in estimate of 15 to 30 times greater in milk and in water than in plants. My research on 40 people in the U.S. showed that 38 had depleted uranium in their systems.

    The issue of pesticides and herbicides has even played out in university research done on the polluted waters of Lake Michigan. It was found that mothers who had one helping of fish per month from Lake Michigan, had a lower (APGAR) neurological scores in their babies and lower SAT scores in these children 17 years later. The impact this concentration of toxins in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy has on our children is significant. For example, the Environmental Defense Counsel has shown that every child born in the US has an average of 200 toxins in its umbilical blood. Some studies have shown that vegetarian breast milk has just 1% of the pesticides and herbicides, as compared to the breast milk from meat-eating women. The question of concentrations of herbicides and pesticides in animal products is central to the discussion of a post 1930’s diet. Pesticides, herbicides, and radioactivity through the spread of depleted uranium in warfare, nuclear plant accidents, nuclear testing, and increasing pesticide and herbicide use in industrial agriculture are having an insidious impact on our food quality. Eating higher on the food chain (milk, meat, chicken, and fish) is definitely exposing people to a higher level of toxins, which of course is worse if cooked.

    Given the amount of toxins in our environment, a key point that is confusing for people is the “ideal” of a perfect animal diet with organically raised freely grazing animals in small integrated animal agricultural settings is rarely found. The vast majority of meat is factory farmed, and the so-called organic cows and sheep are still eating the environmental toxins. Moreover, the romantic notion of hunting for food like the Native Americans is, in reality for most, hunting for food is at the supermarket. Moreover, the very idea of the primal hunter-gatherer ideal is suspect because of findings that 3.2 million years ago, people were primarily vegan. Two major studies now show that 60% of Native Americans were historically vegetarian. The Plains People were not the majority model, or even the ideal – as, according to some of their inner teachings, they were instructed to eat buffalo only when they had no other choice.

    Perhaps prior to the introduction of pesticides, herbicides, and radioactive materials, a meat diet was far less toxic and less disease producing than it is today. We must consider this fact when we look at Weston Price’s research, which more accurately stated in my book, Conscious Eating, showed that as 14 indigenous cultures moved away from their indigenous diets to white flour, white sugar, and other processed foods, they had significant degeneration within one generation and with each successive generation. His focus was not directly on a meat-centered diet, and his time was before the high use of pesticides and herbicides. Because of this, we don’t get a correct translation of animal agriculture in our modern world, where animal foods are loaded with pollutants. As you correctly point out, these pollutants are even more toxic when cooked and transmuted into carcinogenic free-radical combinations. It is useful in understanding this discussion that before 1900, the rate of cancer was 1-2% of the U.S. population. Today, the rate is 33% in the United States. The major statistical difference probably stems from bringing pesticides, herbicides, white flour, white sugar, and junk food ingredients into the dietary environment. Additionally, in the U.S., annual per capita meat consumption has increased by 57 pounds since 1950, and a 500% increase from 1900 to 1997, so the sheer volume of flesh being consumed is also a factor. Price’s study was primarily about the effects of moving away from natural diet into white flour, sugar, and processed food, and not particularly focused on the meat content of those diets. Our greatest defense against this onslaught of malefic toxins is to avoid eating meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. There is a serious problem with using historical studies to support animal product consumption, as pre-1930’s meat, dairy, and fish qualities were drastically superior to today’s fare.

    Just like the question of whether smoking causes cancer (which took 30 years to prove), the definitive proof that meat-eating increases the rate of cancer has not been made. There are strong suggestions that meat-eating in our modern times increases the overall rate not only of cancer 2-4 times, heart disease by 4-10 times, but also the rate of diabetes by 2-4 times (although sugar intake and especially high fructose corn syrup are by far the major cause of diabetes, and definitely are associated with increased cancer [especially of the prostate, colon, breast, and pancreas]). It is a fact that cancer cells thrive on sugar and they need 10-50 times more sugar to thrive. This is why I now only suggest a low fruit diet consisting of low-glycemic berries, cherries, and citrus.

    It is difficult at this stage of research to make definitive statements. Like the China study, these are best considered epidemiological studies. However, it is reasonably clear from these studies that the more plant-sourced food a people eat, and the less animal food a people eat, the less chronic disease they have, (including, cancer, heart-disease and diabetes). Like you, I do not consider the China study definitive proof, although it is impressively the largest nutritional study ever done. It is best cited as a strong suggestion. This is similar to the controversy that existed revolving around smoking and cancer, where cigarette companies tried to discount studies because they were not perfect. To me, it was always clear that smoking causes cancer, no matter what the cigarette companies and their researchers tried to disprove. We see this in many of the anti-cancer clinics using a plant-source protocol to reverse cancers. Hippocrates’, Gerson’s, and Thomas Lodi’s therapies include this protocol.

    In 1961, the American Medical Association editorialized: “A vegetarian diet can prevent 97% of our coronary occlusions”. There is a trend suggesting more cancer and more heart disease amongst meat-eaters. Meanwhile the research by people like Pritikin and Edelstein suggest that heart disease can be reversed with a low-fat vegan diet. However, this does not necessarily prove that meat-eating causes heart disease. Although we no longer believe a cholesterol of 250 or less is not associated with heart disease, researchers are saying that inflammation stimulates all chronic disease, which includes heart disease. C-reactin protein (CRP) is a measure of inflammation. It is no accident that in our “30 Day Raw Vegan” movie, the CRP dropped 70% when people were taken off their meat and put on a raw plant source only diet for one month. This suggestion of increased CRP of the participants on a meat-based diet may be the “load-to-time” link between meat consumption and heart disease.

    In my own life, I have discovered remarkable health and spiritual power, eating a 100% live-food, plant-source-only diet since 1983. On this diet, I was able to do 601 consecutive pushups at the age of 60 (on the sixth day of a green juice fast), as compared to 70 pushups as a National Football Hall of Fame football player and captain of an undefeated college football team 40 years earlier. I am also much more flexible at 67 than I was at 20. This, of course, is an individual experience, but it does make a statement about strength and stability. Paavo Airola, PhD cites 10 studies wherein vegetarian non-athletes out-performed meat-eating athletes in endurance, starting with a 1917 Yale study. Another amazing case of superhuman development is Peter Ragnar, both a spiritually focused and physically powerful person, who, at close to 80, continues to thrive on a live-food, plant-source-only diet, which he has been on for over 30 years. He must be one of the strongest persons pound for pound of anybody, any age, on the planet. Some of his strength feats include bending steel horseshoes with his bare hands, performing 2000 dips in 80 minutes (double what Jack Lalane did in his prime), pinch gripping 160 lbs. of weight plates with one hand, and leg pressing 2020 lbs. Peter and myself dramatically make the point that a live-food, plant-source-only diet, in these modern times, has the power to significantly increase strength and endurance, as well as spiritual awareness beyond any other diet, and thus turning us into superior spiritual athletes. To a lesser degree, this is supported in an epidemiological study done by one of my Live Food Nutrition Masters students. 520 people, who were 100% plant-source-only and 80% live-food for at least 2 years, were interviewed. On this diet there was a 92% decrease in colds and flues after 2 years; an 87% increase in spiritual interest and intellectual acuity; and a 400% drop in constipation, depression, and anxiety. An apt metaphor is that a live-food, plant-source-only diet is akin to driving a Ferrari, while a meat-centered diet primal diet is akin to driving a Ford Escort. Although there are a lot more people driving Ford Escorts than Ferrari’s, more is not better. To carry the analogy further, a Ferrari needs a more specific high-octane fuel and requires more training to drive. Many of the people who have not done well on a vegan diet, choose not to properly educate themselves, and blame the diet for their lack of understanding of educational materials that have been available publically since 1990.

    From a holistic viewpoint, we have to consider the importance of spirituality and the ultimate purpose of life, which is to know God (or however you choose to say it). In my research, published in 1987, in my book called Spiritual Nutrition, it was clear that the flow of spiritual energy was suppressed by a flesh food diet. This was based upon my clinical experience with thousands of meditators and people who had their spiritual energy awakened. A key insight into this was finding that people whose spiritual energy was too active, naturally choose to suppress their spiritual energy by eating meat. I observed this phenomenon multiple times. Meat eating really works to suppress the flow of the spiritual energy. I found that a live-food, plant-source-only diet is the best diet for helping us to become superconductors of the divine. I find it no accident that many traditions, including early Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, as well as certain sects of Islam, all recommend a plant-source-only diet as the best for spiritual development. Such a diet also preserves life, health, peace, the ecology, and creates a more equal distribution of resources. It helps to feed the hungry, encourages non-violence and non-cruelty for animal and human members of the planet, and creates a powerful support for spiritual development of mind, body, and spirit. Perhaps the clearest statement of this principle, on both a health and spiritual level is by one by one of my two spiritual teachers, Swami Prakashananda: “When we kill animals we create pain, misery, and fear. When we eat the flesh of these animals, that pain, misery, and fear goes into us, creating disease and illness.” It is a poetic metaphor describing the subtle and gross connections between a carnivorous diet and all chronic disease. Not only does a person’s constitution impact dietary considerations, but also their awareness of the ultimate life-purpose. It is my overall clinical experience that live-food, plant-source-only diet, is the most powerful and effective for enhancing health, endurance, and spiritual evolution.

    I do appreciate your comment about sugar, as I am finding this to be the dominant and main cause of diabetes and poor health in general, even more so than meat. A key insight into longevity was that the only one lab test finding, consistent in long-lived cultures, was low fasting insulin. All my clients, over sixty, who has been on my constitutionally and metabolically-focused, plant-source-only, 80% live-food diet, has healthy fasting insulin scores. In the protocol utilized at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, and published in my book, There Is a Cure for Diabetes, I recommend a diet of approximately 50% calories from plant fat, and no carbohydrates, except from vegetables and leafy greens (even for slow-oxidizer and parasympathetic types). I also recommend low protein intake, as it converts to sugar, however, I recommend sufficient protein to support health, bodily repair, and what is best for a person’s constitution. I continue to encourage over-all reduced caloric intake. As a clinician I have found that within 21-days, using a low-sugar, plant-source-only diet and live-foods, we are able to take 55% of type-2 diabetics off their insulin within 3 weeks, and achieve a normal fasting blood sugar less than 100. Close to 30% of type 1’s were able to go off all insulin, and still maintain normal blood sugar under 100. There is no dietary approach in the world that can compare to these statistics. Although it is certainly possible to heal diabetes with meat in the diet with a low carbohydrate and moderate fat intake, it is also important to consider research done by Diabetes Journal in 1985 showing that ¼ pound of hamburger will raise your fasting insulin as much as a ¼ pound of white sugar. This, of course, is consistent with the science showing non-utilized protein is metabolized to sugar and increases blood sugar and therefore insulin secretion.

    In summary based on my extensive clinical experience in supporting thousands of people becoming successful on a plant source only diet, I have found:

    1) We are unique individuals for whom a consistently successful plant-source-only approach requires a thoughtful application of a constitutional approach to organizing ones diet. This includes, contrary to your subtle implication, that if someone is a fast oxidizer (i.e., needs a higher protein diet) that they need to be a meat eater. There are plenty of high protein sources in a plant-source diet, (such as spirulina, chlorella, and Klamath Lake algae – which are 60-70% protein and 40% assimilable as compared to meat, chicken, and fish, which are 14-16% assimilable). In other words, it is no problem for a fast oxidizer (high protein ratio need) to be 100% successful on a plant-source-only, live-food diet. I have had only one person in 40 years who wanted to be a vegan, not be successful using this approach; and they grew up near the Arctic Circle.

    2) General health, vitality, endurance increases on the physical plane and an increased spiritual desire on a spiritual plane on a plant-source-only, 80% live-food diet. That is not to say, it is not possible to evolve spiritually on a meat-centered diet, but intense spiritual practices, such as the Tibetan monks utilize, are needed to overcome the negative impact of eating meat. As of 2005, the Dalai Lama has asked all Buddhists to return to a vegetarian way of life. Based on my clinical experience with thousands of meditators, a meat-centered diet suppresses the flow of the spiritual energy.

    3) A plant-source-only, organic, at least 80% live-food, moderate fat and either low protein or carbohydrate intake, depending on constitution; low-glycemic, high-mineral, well hydrated and low caloric diet is best for general health, longevity, and spiritual life. Using these understandings and approaches 99.99% of the population can be successful, healthfully and spiritually, on a plant-source-only, organic, live-food diet.

    4) Both a meat-centered and plant-source-only diet require supplementation for optimal health. It is a subliminal myth that a meat-centered diet does not require supplementation and therefore is better than a plant source only diet.

    5) Eating higher on the food chain (meat, poultry, fish, and dairy) exposes one to significantly more environmental carcinogenic and neurotoxic substances which may strongly suggest that not only meat, but these toxins, increase inflammation and chronic disease associated with a flesh centered diet such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s (now seen as significantly related to environmental toxin exposure), diabetes, and heart disease, thus decreasing general health, wellbeing, and longevity in modern times. Unfortunately, to prove this with absolute scientific certainty may take thirty years or longer, as it did to prove smoking causes lung cancer. I suggest that the risk/benefit ratio encourages us to move to a safer and healthier diet now, as many may not make it another 30 years on the typical American meat-centered diet. Just like 40 years ago, I advised people to stop smoking before it was proven. As far back as 1990, in my book Conscious Eating, I site research suggesting that animal flesh (being at the top of the food chain) contained approximately 15 times more toxins than vegetables. Root vegetables had 4 times more than leafy vegetables. Milk had about 5-6 times more toxins than leafy vegetables. This information in our rapidly increasing polluted environment becomes particularly significant in choosing the best diet for health. For example when looking at the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, statistics showed a 900% increase in perinatal mortality in the Boston area for three months after the nuclear incident. This was traced to radioactive I-131 released from the Chernobyl accident. Breastfeeding mothers were drinking cow’s milk (organic or otherwise) tainted by the I-131 landing on the grass the cows grazed on throughout the Boston area, and were passing this on to their nursing infants. Unfortunately, there have been many such incidents, secretly impacting our health and wellbeing.

    6) The “idyllic, pure, primal, feral, meat-centered, food dream” is an impossible reality except for an elite fraction of the population, and it still doesn’t solve the issue of concentrated environmental toxins and the environment destruction the meat industry reeks. (The 416-page report aptly titled Livestock’s Long Shadow published by the Livestock, Environment, and Development Initiative [LEAD] presents on this topic.) In short, a meat-centered diet is a certain threat to global ecology.

    7) Finally, according to our consciousness, do we make our choices. This includes our desires for food. According to the Bhagavad Gita chapter 17, verses 7-8: “The way one eats, performs religious rituals, disciplines one’s self and gives charity depends on the predominance of a particular guna (mental, emotional, and spiritual tendency). Foods, which increase longevity, mental clarity, strength and health (in modern times – a plant-source-only diet) and are pleasing to taste and look at are loved by sattvic people (spiritual, peaceful people). Bitter, sour, salty, hot, pungent, astringent, and burning foods that give pain and regret and cause health problems are sought after by rajasic people (people with executive and warrior proclivities, but lacking in spiritual interests). Leftovers, putrid and inadequately cooked food from which the energy has gone and is unfit as an offering is preferred by tamasic people (people who have no interest in morals, ethics, or spirituality).” A specific quality of person is drawn toward spiritual life, and hence to spiritual food supporting that lifestyle. Likewise a specific quality of person is drawn toward mundane secular life, having no major interest in morals, ethics, or spirituality. Hence, they are drawn to certain foods supporting that particular lifestyle. What we eat is both the cause and result of our level of consciousness. It is important to recognize this issue as part of the discussion, and not have one’s ego insist that everyone needs to eat the same, as we see with those aggressively promoting the “feral diet”.

    This letter is to support those people who of spiritual inclination or those who now feel ready to embrace such an inclination. Although these people are a small minority, it is a growing minority, who are part of the eventual tidal wave of increasing consciousness to heal the planet and humanity and bring us to the next paradigm of peace on all levels on the planet. The real issue here is not meat-eating verses plant-source-only; it is an issue of acknowledging people right to accurate, intelligent information on food choices, and choosing a diet that best suits their life purpose. Both meat-centered and plant-source-only diets are applicable to individuals based on the orientation of their consciousness. Those who are drawn to the new paradigm should not be subject to misinformation that creates fear for those who may be on the edge of stepping into their evolutionary potential for themselves and the planet, through an organic, plant-source-only, 80% live-food diet.

    Thank you for your thoughtful work in general, and in the future may you be more sensitive to these deeper issues.

    Blessings to your health and spirit,

    Gabriel Cousens, M.D. M.D.(H), Diplomat Ayurveda , Diplomat Board of American Holistic Health


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