Wednesday, July 29, 2009
What I Learned at the Raw Foods Weekend
Steve and I hosted a Raw Food gathering at ClearPoint. Our friends, Glen Colello and Lisa Storch organized it. Through them we met Gina and Stephen Law (raw chocolate makers supreme), Del Orloske (botanist and wild foods forager) and Daniel Vitalis (wild elixir and spring water specialist). This morning as the new information was swirling about in my head I thought to myself- I should tell my friends! They would want to know this stuff too! Hence this write-up. On with it, then…
For the past four days I have been eating as much raw cacao chocolates as I am capable of eating. And I’m telling you what- Holy cow! I feel good! Raw cacao is the bean that chocolate bars are made of. At the Hershey’s factory, cacao beans are heated until the cacao butter runs out of the bean and the coco powder is dried into a powder cake. Then milk powder, white sugar, oil, and preservatives are added into it. Unfortunately, the heat involved in this process leaches out antioxidants and burns up enzymes that would be there in the fresh state. Fortunately, raw cacao contains everything that Montezuma loved hundreds of years ago. The Mayans and Aztecs called chocolate yollotl extli or heart blood. Raw cacao is exceptionally high in magnesium, which is required for the electrical processes in our body, like the heartbeat. Raw cacao is available in health food stores. It improves mood, suppresses appetite, and has the highest antioxidant content of any food on the planet. I just really like it- I like the way I feel and I like eating food that Montezuma ate. I know he had excellent taste- I've seen his headdress.
BACTERIA AND SKIN
It’s estimated that our bodies are made of somewhere between 100 and 300 trillion human cells. We are composed of four times as many non-human organisms. Some of those organisms are bacteria. I just learned that bathing with antibacterial soap eliminates the thin layer of slightly acidic oils our body produces to house some of its helpful bacteria.
When I was studying the classics, one hygienic practice of the Athenian Olympic athletes struck me. They bathed themselves in oil. Literally. They slathered themselves in olive oil, which bound to their own skin oils. Taking a small scraper to their entire skin surface, they skimmed off excess skin cells. I tried this once in the bathtub, but I couldn’t get all the oil off and felt pretty greasy afterward. I forgot oil doesn’t mix with water! This morning’s technique was more effective. I went into the outdoor shower stall, and using a skin brush on my dry skin, brushed all my skin in little circles toward my heart. Dry exfoliation works well I find. So then I turned on the water, soaped up only in the few pertinent places, and rinsed off in cool water. Then I dried off in the sun and rubbed a thin layer of coconut oil all over myself, and toweled off again to remove any excess oil. My skin feels awesome right now, so I’ll repeat this bathing approach.
A while back I was complaining to my college housemate Steve that my face kept breaking out. At the time he worked at a dermatologist’s office and he said, “Well, yeah. You keep washing it.” I looked at him puzzled… But- isn’t washing my face what will keep it clean? He said, “Man, I can’t even tell you how many girls come into the office with horrible skin because they keep washing all the oils off of their face.” That fascinated me. Again this weekend Daniel Vitalis emphasized how important our natural skin oils are for housing helpful acid-loving bacteria that keep less beneficial bacteria in check. A good way to clean oil is with oil, not chemical solvents that dissolve oil, and especially not with an antibacterial solution.
Isn’t amazing that information in our computers is stored on silicon chips? And isn’t it amazing that water is full of silica? What kind of information has been downloaded into water and its silicon structures? The spring waters that bubble to the surface from aquifers have been underground for an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 years. That water is fully alive in the sense that if a jar of fresh spring water is brought into bright sunlight, tiny plants will grow in it. Stuff will not grow in it if it filtered through a UV light. Stuff will also not grow in it if it is treated with chlorine, which is a kind of antibiotic that a lot of people drink in their city water and affects human brain function. There’s chlorine filters for sale at Home Depot for around $50. Steve and I are now on the trail of finding the spring that is bubbling up somewhere around us. If you want to find a spring near you perhaps check out FindaSpring.com.
Thankfully plants have been cultivated so that there’s such a thing as agriculture and foods we can eat like lettuce, tomatoes, pineapple, rice, ect. When a plant is bred for food sustenance it generally evolves to be higher in water content and sweetness than its original wild beginning. Within the hybridization process, bitterness is lost. That bitterness signals the presence of alkaloids, or the medicinal properties of the plant. Pharmaceutical are highly processed doses of naturally occurring alkaloids. The food we grow on farms is full of nutritive calories, vitamins, and great water content, but does not contain the medicinal properties of wild plants with intact alkaloids. That's why I'm learning about wild plants and their medicine.
This weekend I also learned about dear Suzette! She came up from Florida to be with us this weekend. She's the same Suzette that comments on this blog! 'Twas a treat!