A Golden Glow, Eating Mostly Raw and Loads to Read & Watch.

Untitled 2Last night Eating Without Meat of the Lowcountry hosted the fabulous Carla Golden from Carla Golden Wellness.  What a large turnout! For a while, we were standing room only!…..then we got more chairs.  I learned that the ship does not run as smoothly without the wonderful Cheryl.  I was so busy helping to get things set up that I did not take a single picture of the food—which as usual, was plentiful.  Something else that was quite evident, is that there is a lot of knowledge contained within our gatherings. One person may ask a question, but many will typically have an informed answer/opinion. If you are looking for a community of people with an interest in healthy meat-free eating, then Eating Without Meat of the Lowcountry is the group to hang out with. So, on to Carla Golden. She really cast a lovely Golden glow over the crowd. Carla is a wife, mother, blogger, life coach, massage therapist and so much more. She spoke to the gathering tonight about Eating Smartly on a Vegan Diet. Like most of us, her road to health and healing has been paved with potholes and missteps, but she has found her way. Reading her story you understand, that if she can find health and wholeness with all that she’s been through, anyone can. Read about her “Not-So-Sexy Road to Wellness” here.  During her talk, Carla mentioned three books that changed her relationship with food.


Many people are familiar with writer Michael Pollan. His book best selling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a compelling look at our food system.  You will not look at corn, soy, processed food, agriculture or factory farms the same after reading this book. There is also a young readers version of this book which you can read about here.  He is also an articulate and engaging speaker. The video below is from a 2008 presentation at UC Davis on The Omnivore’s Dilemma.


The World Peace Diet was previously an Amazon #1 bestseller. It is written by an former Zen monk named Will Tuttle. I have not read this book, but in flipping through its pages, I was at times reminded of the  mindfulness teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh as in the following passage that embodies the interconnectedness of life:

What is so simple as eating an apple? And yet, what could be more sacred or profound? When we eat an apple we are not just eating an apple as a separate thing. The apple enters us, dissolves within us, contributes to us, and becomes us. And each apple is a manifestation of so much more! We are eating of the rain and the clouds and of all the trees that have gone before to bring this tree into manifestation, and of the tears, sweat, bodies, and breaths of countless generations of animals, plants, and people that have become the rain and soil and wind that feed the apple tree.

When we look into one apple, we see the entire universe.

From Amazon:

Food is our most intimate and telling connection both with the living natural order and with our living cultural heritage. By eating the plants and animals of our earth, we literally incorporate them. It is also through this act of eating that we partake of our culture’s values and paradigms at the most primal levels. It is becoming increasingly obvious, however, that the choices we make about our food are leading to environmental degradation, enormous human health problems, and unimaginable cruelty toward our fellow creatures.
Incorporating systems theory, teachings from mythology and religions, and the human sciences, The World Peace Diet presents the outlines of a more empowering understanding of our world, based on a comprehension of the far-reaching implications of our food choices and the worldview those choices reflect and mandate. The author offers a set of universal principles for all people of conscience, from any religious tradition, that they can follow to reconnect with what we are eating, what was required to get it on our plate, and what happens after it leaves our plates.
The World Peace Diet suggests how we as a species might move our consciousness forward so that we can be more free, more intelligent, more loving, and happier in the choices we make.

Here he is speaking to Google:


The third book is the 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Douglas Graham–who holds doctorates in Chiropractic and Natural Health. If you do any kind of research on him, you will quickly find out that he is a character. I have no idea how old he is, but he is very fit and it seems that a lot of people who follow his method are very much committed to fitness/sport–including endurance activities such as running marathons. doug-graham-3The 80/10/10 diet is a low-fat, raw, vegan diet. At least Eighty percent of the diet consists of carbs in the form of raw fruit, no more than 10% of the diet is protein  in the form of vegetables and no more than 10% fat from nuts and seeds. People who follow this diet strictly are also known as fruitarians. The amount of fruit consumed in a day can seem mind boggling. Another component of this diet is “mono meals”. A mono meal is having a single fruit as a meal, for example, 12 bananas.  You can read a short interview with Dr. Graham here where he talks a little bit about his background and how he come up with the concept. The video below by Rawfully Kristina shows a typical meal for her on the 80/10/10 diet.

I want to point out that Carla does not eat 100% by the 80/10/10 principles. As mentioned, these are the books that have simply (or maybe not so simply) informed her food journey.  She is very candid about what and how she eats and even keeps her food diary online.


There was one more book she mentioned:  Michael Pollan’s Food Rules.  Most people are familiar with this little gem of a book with simple, straight forward rules for eating wisely. Since the original was published, he has also come out with an illustrated and expanded version. For even more food rules submitted to Michael Pollan by the public, click here.

With all this talk of rules and fruit, percentages and peace….it can get more confusing before reaching clarity. I always say let your body be your guide. Eat what makes your body, mind and spirt hum. Eat what makes you feel vibrant, alive and nourished. Michael Pollan and I definitely agree on something and it is this:

eat-food-michael-pollan-quote-715And for Carla, this is for you:  FoodRules3_1200

“May we all eat well and flourish!”


What to Eat?!

According to Marion Nestle, from 1958 until 1992, the USDA’s food guide was a rectangle illustrating four food groups: dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables, and grains. In 1992, , the USDA released its highly controversial Food Guide Pyramid. It was controversial because the food industry objected that the Pyramid made it look as if you were supposed to eat more foods from the bottom of the pyramid than from the top (which, of course, was its point).  Nutritionists, she explained, objected that it encouraged eating too many servings of grains and, therefore, encouraged obesity. In 2005, the USDA replaced it with the MyPyramid. The food industry liked this one because it did not indicate hierarchies in food choices.

Food Pyramid, 1992

My Pyramid, 2005


My Plate

In June, the USDA unveiled My Plate.  The pyramid was replaced with a graphical representation of a plate divided into four colored sections, for fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein.  Beside the plate is a smaller circle for dairy.  direct challenge to the USDA’s My Plate, Harvard released their Healthy Eating Plate in September. “We gave MyPlate a makeover to provide consumers with an easy to use but specific guide to healthy eating based on the best science available,” says Dr. Anthony Komaroff, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Editor in Chief of Harvard Health Publications.

The Healthy Eating Plate recommends:

  • Make half your meal vegetables and fruits. Go for variety. And keep in mind that potatoes and french fries don’t count.
  • Choose whole grains whenever you can. Limit refined grains, like white rice and white bread, because the body rapidly turns them into blood sugar.
  • Pick the healthiest sources of protein, such as fish, poultry, beans, and nuts; cut back on red meat; avoid bacon, cold cuts, and other processed meats.
  • Healthy oils (like olive and canola oil) are good for you. Don’t be afraid to use them for cooking, on salad, and at the table.
  • Drink water, tea, or coffee. Milk and dairy are not must-have foods—limit them to 1-2 servings/day. Go easy on juice. Avoid sugary drinks.
  • And stay active!

Harvard's Healthy Eating Plate

According to P.J. Skerrett, Editor of the Harvard Heart Letter, MyPlate was modified because it offered little—or inaccurate—advice.

 “It says nothing about the quality of carbohydrates (grains). White bread and white rice raises blood sugar in a flash—whole grains are better for long-term health. It makes no distinction between healthy sources of protein such as beans, fish, and poultry, and less healthy sources, such as red and processed meat.

In addition, MyPlate recommends milk or dairy at every meal, even though there is little evidence that high dairy intake protects against osteoporosis and substantial evidence that consuming a lot of milk and dairy foods can be harmful. It says nothing about healthy oils, which are good for the heart, arteries, and the rest of the body. And it is shockingly silent on sugary drinks, which provide far too many empty calories.”

So, what I am wondering is this:  how many people choose what to eat based on the USDA food guides?  Whether it is a box, a pyramid or a plate, do you change your food choices based on the recommendations of the USDA or do you perform  your own research?  If the USDA Food Pyramid was changed to this:  Would you make different choices?  Michael Pollan published a book of “Food Rules” to help people make better decisions about food. They include such sage advice as:

  • Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food
  • Avoid foods that have some form of sugar or sweetener listed among the top three ingredients
  • Stop eating before you’re full and try to eat only to 67 to 80 per cent capacity
  • Don’t get your “fuel” from the same place your car does
  • Do all your eating at a table, not at a desk, while working, watching television or driving
  • Eat food cooked by humans, not corporations
  • Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk
  • Wherever possible buy fresh food at farmers’ markets

Are these rules a better gauge of what is healthy?  What do you think?  What are we to eat?