by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© May 2014, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
One often hears on television: “Eat your fruits and vegetables”. This implies that vegetables and fruits are similar in many ways. In my clinical experience, however, nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, cooked vegetables, in large quantities, are vital for deep healing today. In contrast, eating fruit – any fruit at all, often – is damaging for one’s health today. I know this is a controversial idea, so let us explore it in more depth.
WHAT IS A VEGETABLE, AND WHY EAT THEM?
Vegetables are the roots, stems, leaves and flowers of edible plants. All human beings and most animals have eaten them for thousands of years. They contain so many vital minerals, vitamins, amino acids, prebiotics, fibers, and other things we need for our health that nothing can substitute for them. I find that people who will not eat a lot of vegetables are never healthy for long, no matter how good they may look or feel today.
In fact, all of us need to eat more of them. I suggest that 70-75% of the diet should be cooked vegetables. This works out to about 3 cups of cooked vegetables three times daily. You can steam them, roast them, stir fry them, bake them or make them in a crock pot.
The Vita-Mix. An unusual cooking method, if you are a busy person, is to buy a Vita-Mix. This is a very high-powered blender. You place raw vegetables in it, and use a minimum of water. First, it chops up the vegetables. Then it cooks them in 5 minutes or so, by spinning them at very high speed. It produces a hot puree that is very nutritious. In my view, this is much easier to digest than raw green drinks, shakes or smoothies. The latter are usually awful food combinations that are hard on digestion.
FURTHER CLASSIFICATION OF VEGETABLES
Vegetables are further classified as:
1. Roots. I suggest eating at least TWO COOKED ROOTS EVERY DAY. The reasons for cooking them are described below. Roots are the most yang of the vegetables because they grow underground. This may not seem important, but it is vital today and explained in a paragraph below. Roots such as carrots are also very rich in an unusual form of calcium, and contain dozens of phytonutrients that are needed today for our nutrition, for detoxification of heavy metals and toxic chemicals, and for many other purposes.
Among the common root vegetables are carrots, which are one of the best. Others are onions, turnips, parsnips, black radish, red radish, daikon radish, rutabaga and celery root.
2. Cruciferous vegetables. I suggest eating at least TWO COOKED CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES EVERY DAY. This family of delicious vegetables have been shown to have extraordinary properties to help prevent cancer and other common diseases. They includes cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and a few others.
3. Green leafy vegetables. I suggest TWO LARGE SERVINGS OF COOKED GREENS EACH DAY. They are very rich in magnesium, folic acid, and many vitamins and minerals that cannot be obtained elsewhere, no matter how many vitamin pills or green drinks you swallow. They include spinach, kale, arugula, mustard greens, collard greens, bok choy, Chinese cabbage and others.
4. Other vegetables. There are other vegetables to explore, such as squashes (butternut, spaghetti, and acorn squashes, in particular), celery, asparagus, rhubarb, mushrooms and others. I don’t recommend these as highly, but a little provides variety and an array of tastes and smells. They are either too yin or slightly toxic.
WHY COOK YOUR VEGETABLES?
Cooking has many advantages:
1. Cooking makes food more yang. This is an aspect of nutrition and diet that most doctors and nutritionists overlook. However, I find it quite important. The bodies are all too yin today, and correcting this imbalance is wonderful for healing. This is explained in books by Michio Kushi on macrobiotics. The Chinese understanding of yin and yang I find less useful, clinically.
If one wishes to make the body more yang, which is helpful today, one must cook most food. Raw food is much more yin. Adding heat and often salt to food by cooking makes all food much more yang.
2. Cooking make the minerals and other phytonutrients in many foods much more bioavailable.
This is a matter of observation. Those who live on a lot of raw salads, for example, demineralize their bodies. Humans simply cannot digest raw vegetable fibers very well. We are not like cows and horses, who are built to digest grasses.
Most people are mineral-deficient, so any way to increase mineral absorption and utilization is important. This is why eating sea salt and kelp capsules are helpful as well. All food today is lower in vital minerals than 100 years ago because the food is hybridized, mainly. The hybrids are designed to produce larger crops and resist pests, but not to produce more mineral-rich crops.
3. Cooked food tends to be much cleaner, no matter what anyone claims to the contrary. It is rather easy to pick up parasitic infections and others from raw salads and other raw food, especially in restaurants, for example. cooking destroys most parasite eggs and other pathogens.
Isn’t cooked food “dead”? Cooking does not kill the food. It destroys a few vitamins, especially if food is overcooked. However, it balances the food, as is taught in macrobiotics. Vegetables should be cooked until they are soft, and not crunchy.
What about salads? I do not recommend salads. They are too yin because they are raw. Also, we cannot absorb enough of the many minerals they contain. And in restaurants, they are often not clean and can cause parasitic and other nasty infections.
What about vegetable juices? Ten to twelve ounces of vegetable juice daily in an adult, and less in a child, is excellent and will improve anyone’s nutrition. More than this, however, causes the body to become too yin because ALL juices tend to be very yin. This is because they are raw, liquidy and broken apart.
I suggest having about 10 ounces of carrot juice daily, provided you tolerate the sweetness. You can add a few spinach leaves or a Swiss chard leaf if you wish. If it is too sweet, drink half of it and put the rest in the refrigerator to drink later in the day.
What about shakes and smoothies. I prefer a cooked vegetable puree made in a Vita-Mix blender, as described earlier in this article.
Ideally, do not add protein powders and other ingredients to the cooked vegetable puree. One could add some ground turkey, ground beef or ground lamb near the end to make it a complete meal. The protein powders, no matter how nutritious, are all quite yin, so they are not quite as good as whole foods such as chicken or lamb.
WHAT ARE FRUITS?
Fruits are the expanded ovaries of plants. This may sound strange, but plants have ovaries, just as animals and people do. The ovaries are the site of seed production. Instead of producing eggs, as human ovaries do, plants produce seeds, which are somewhat similar in structure to animal eggs. Plants, however, have no way to spread their species, as animals and humans can do, because plants are fixed to one location.
To spread their species throughout the earth, plants place their seeds or eggs inside of tasty, sugary treats called fruits. Birds and animals eat these. Most seeds are hard and indigestible. Therefore, they are not damaged when animals eat them, and they pass through the animal body unharmed. In this way, birds and animals do the job of spreading the seeds of plants.
Some vegetables are really fruits. A way to identify fruits is they usually have seeds inside, while true vegetables do not contain seeds. For example, the following “vegetables” are really fruits: tomatoes, eggplant, all peppers, okra, squashes, string beans, white and red potatoes, cucumbers, peas, string beans and perhaps a few others.
With the exception of peas, string beans, and winter squashes, I suggest avoiding or eating less of these foods because they are much more yin than true vegetables.
SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH EATING FRUIT
This section incorporates our own research findings and that of many others who have worked with those who currently or in the past have eaten a lot of fruit. Common symptoms associated with fruit-eating include:
1. Attention deficit disorders, autism, cancers and other problems in children. Eating fruit is particularly harmful for fast oxidizers, which includes most young children.
2. Irritable bowel syndrome, parasites, diarrhea and colitis. The digestive system is harmed greatly by eating a lot of fruit. Fruit-eating definitely feeds yeasts and other harmful pathogens in the intestines. The digestive tract becomes more yin, fragile and “leaky”. Fruit acids, toxic metals and pesticide residues in fruit all irritate the digestive system. Fruit requires pesticides in many areas to grow it at all. Organically grown fruit is a little better, but may be sprayed with “natural pesticides” that are toxic, as well.
3. Cardiovascular problems. Fruit can weaken this system and can cause a shortened lifespan, among other disorders and problems. Fructose affects copper metabolism, which may be the reason for its negative effects on the cardiovascular system.
4. Pain syndromes. Stopping all fruit and returning to a diet with plenty of cooked, and not raw vegetables often stops joint pain and other types of pain within a few weeks. Causes for the pain may be a zinc deficiency, deficiency of sulfur-containing amino acids, the effects of sugar, the effects of the fruit acids, or some combination of all of these.
5. Diabetic symptoms. Fruit is very low in zinc, manganese and B-complex vitamins. These are needed to process sugars, which are high in most fruits. The result are symptoms such as pain syndromes and peripheral neuropathy, which may cause tingling, burning or numbness in the feet. Other symptoms may include frequent urination, fatigue, depression and others.
6. Weight gain. Many people believe that eating fruit will cause weight loss, and they are seriously disappointed. Fruit is not a low-calorie food. Also, eating sugar in any form causes weight gain by many mechanisms, such as increasing insulin production, impairing the activity of the thyroid and adrenal glands, causing some water retention, and perhaps others, as well.
7. Parasitic infections. This occurs because eating fruit makes the digestive tract much more yin, which makes it much more habitable by parasites, which are “cold” infective organisms. Other reasons may be that fruit may carry some parasitic organisms if it is not washed properly and is eaten raw. Also, a damaged and somewhat delicate digestive tract does not kill some parasites that are found in all foods and water supplies.
8. Pesticide poisoning. This occurs because most fruit is sprayed heavily, even if it is advertised as being organically grown. Even natural pesticides that must be used on fruit can build up in the body in a toxic fashion, affecting the liver and kidneys, in particular.
9. Toxic metal poisoning. Those who eat a lot of fruit seem to be particularly prone to the accumulation of mercury and copper, perhaps because fruit lacks the balancing element of zinc. High-fruit diets also lack sulfur-containing amino acids that are needed for liver detoxification of the metals and of many toxic chemicals as well. Fruit also contains a toxic form of potassium and perhaps phosphorus that is found in all N-P-K or superphosphate fertilizers.
10. Thyroid disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Fruit seems to make this worse, in my experience. It might have to do with a copper imbalance, mercury toxicity or something else.
11. Mental and emotional symptoms. These are very common and include anxiety, depression, irritability, and even panic attacks. We know this because when a person who is eating a lot of fruit and having any of these symptoms stops eating fruit, often these symptoms vanish within a few days to a few weeks.
12. Anger and belligerence. Another interesting symptom that occurs is the development of a stubborn, and often belligerent and angry nature. This could be due to a zinc deficiency or perhaps a B-vitamin deficiency of some type. It may be due to a more yin condition, which makes a person more fearful and anxious.
13. Loss of mental acuity. This symptom, also called brain fog, is very common in those who eat a lot of fruit. It is often due to yeast overgrowth in the brain. Low iodine may also play a role, or perhaps low levels of some of the B-complex vitamins. Taking supplements of these nutrients may help. Often, however, a person needs a complete nutritional balancing program to reverse the brain fog.
14. Yin disease. Another symptom that is really a composite of many of those above, I refer to as yin disease. This is a general feeling of malaise or weakness, often coupled with some of the symptoms mentioned above.