26 Scientific Studies on Avocado

avocados

Avocados

Native to South America and the Caribbean, the avocado tree produces a fruit that is actually a large egg-shaped berry with a sizable seed at its center. Its use among pre-Incan and other ancient Mesoamerican cultures has been dated to about ten thousand years ago by archaeologists. The Aztecs considered avocado to be a fertility booster.

Though dozens of avocado cultivars are harvested, the Hass cultivar accounts for three-fourths of all avocados consumed. Mexico remains by far the biggest producer. Avocados contain much more potassium than bananas, are high in monounsaturated fats and B vitamins, and have a high fiber content. They have proven health benefits in many areas, particularly in lowering levels of harmful LDL and triglycerides and raising levels of beneficial HDL.

Anti-Inflammatory

AV119, a Natural Sugar from Avocado gratissims, Modulates the LPS-Induced Proinflammatory Response in Human Keratinocytes. Donnarumma G, Paoletti I, Buommino E, Et al. Inflammation. 2010 Oct 9 (Epub ahead of print). Key Finding: “Our data show that AV119, a patented blend of avocado sugars, is able to modulate significantly the proinflammatory response in human keratinocytes, blocking the NF-kB activation in human keratinocytes.”

Atherosclerosis

Hypoglycemia and hypocholesterolemic potential of Persea Americana leaf extracts. Brai BI, Odetola AA, Agomo PU. J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):356-60. Key Finding: “These results suggest that aqueous and methanolic leaf extracts of P. Americana (avocado) lower plasma glucose and influence lipid metabolism in hypercholesterolemic rats with consequent lowering of T-CHOL and LDL-CHOL, and a restoration of HDL-CHOL levels. This could represent a protective mechanism against the development of atherosclerosis.

Cancer (oral; prostate)

Selective induction of apoptosis of human oral cancer cell lines by avocado extracts via a ROS-mediated mechanism. Ding H, Han C, Guo D, Chin YW, Ding Y, Kinghorn AD, D’Ambrosio SM. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(3):348-56. Key Finding: “Avocados have a high content of phytochemicals with potential chemo preventive activity. Previously we reported that phytochemicals extracted from avocado meat selectively induced apoptosis in cancer but not normal, human oral epithelial cell lines. In the present study, we observed that treatment of human oral cancer cell lines containing high levels of reactive oxygen (ROS) with D003 increased ROS levels twofold to threefold and induced apoptosis. These data suggest that perturbing the ROS levels in human oral cancer cell lines may be a key factor in selective apoptosis and molecular targeting for chemoprevention by photochemical.”

Chemoproventive characteristics of avocado fruit. Ding H, Chin YW, Kinghorn AD, D’Ambrosio SM. Semin Cancer Biol. 2007 Oct;17(5):386-94. Key Finding: “Our recent studies indicate that phytochemicals extracted with chloroform from avocado fruits target multiple signaling pathways and increase intracellular reactive oxygen leading to apoptosis. This review summarizes the reported phytochemicals in avocado fruit and discusses their molecular mechanisms and targets. These studies suggest that individual and combinations of phytochemicals from the avocado fruit may offer an advantageous dietary strategy in cancer prevention.”

Inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth by an avocado extract: role of lipid-soluble bioactive substances. Lu QY, Arteaga JR, Zhang Q, Huerta S, Go VL, Heber D. J Nutr Biochem. 2005 Jan;16(1):23-30. Key Finding: “Avocado contains numerous bioactive carotenoids. Because the avocado also contains a significant amount of monounsaturated fat, these bioactive carotenoids are likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream, where in combination with other diet-derived phytochemicals they may contribute to the significant cancer risk reduction associated with a diet of fruits and vegetables.”

An avocado constituent, persenone A, suppresses expression of inducible forms of nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase in macrophages, and hydrogen peroxide generation in mouse skin. Kim OK, Murakami A, Takahashi D, Nakamura Y, Torikai K, Kim HW, Ohigashi H. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2000 Nov;64(11):2504-7. Key Finding: “This study suggests that persenone A, an avocado constituent, is a possible agent to prevent inflammation-associated diseases including cancer.”

Cholesterol (and Hypercholesterolemia)

High-density lipoproteins (HDL) size and composition are modified in the rat by a diet supplemented with “Hass” avocado (Persea Americana Miller). Perez-Mendez O, Garcia Hernandez L. Arch Cardiol Mex. (Spanish). 2007 Jan-Mar;77(1):17-24. Key Finding: “The inclusion of avocado in the diet decreased plasma triglycerides increased HDL-cholesterol plasma levels and modified HDL structure. The latter effect may enhance the antiatherogenic properties of HDL.”

Effects of a vegetarian diet vs. a vegetarian diet enriched with avocado in hypercholesterolemic patients. Carrznza-Madrigal J, Herrera-Abarca JE, Alvizouri-Munoz M, Alvarado-Jimenez MR, Chavez-Carbajal F. Arch Med Res. 1997 Winter;28(4):537-41. Key Finding: “All three diets reduced HDL levels. To obtain beneficial effects on lipid profile with avocado, lower amounts of carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fatty acids are probably needed.”

Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia. Lopez LR, Frati Munari AC, Hernandez Dominguez BC, Cervantes MS, Hernandez Luna MH, Juarez C, Moran LS. Arch Med Res. 1996 Winter;27(4):519-23. Key Finding: “High lipid, high MFA-avocado enriched diet can improve lipid profile in healthy and especially in mild hypercholesterolemic patients, even if hypertriglyceridemia (combined hyperlipidemia) is present.”

Effects of avocado on the level of blood lipids in patients with phenotype II and IV dyslipidemias. Carranza J, Alvizouri M, Alvarado MR, Chavez F, Gomez M, Herrera JE. Arch Inst Cardio Mex. (Spanish). 1995 Jul-Aug;65(4):342-8. Key Finding: “Avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids in diets designed to treat hypercholesterolemia with some advantages over low-fat diets with a greater amount of carbohydrates.”

Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. Unlu NZ, Bohn T, Clinton SK, Schwartz SJ. J Nutr. 2005 Mar;135(3):431-6. Key Finding: “Adding avocado fruit can significantly enhance carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa, which is attributed primarily to the lipids present in avocado.”

Hypertension

Cardiovascular effects of Persea Americana Mill (Lauraceae) (avocado) aqueous leaf extract in experimental animals. Ojewole JA, Kamadyaapa DR, Gondwe MM, Moodley K, Musabayane CT. Cardiovasc J Afr. 2007 Mar-Apr;18(2):69-76. Key Finding: “The findings of this study tend to suggest that P. Americana leaf could be used as a natural supplementary remedy in essential hypertension and certain cases of cardiac dysfunctions.”

Effect of an avocado oil-rich diet over an angiotensin II-induced blood pressure response. Salazar MJ, El Hafidi M, Pastelin G, Ramirez-Ortega MC, Sanchez-Mendoza MA. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Apr 26;98(3):335-8. Key Finding: “Avocado oil-rich diet modifies the fatty acid content in cardiac and renal membranes in a tissue-specific manner. Diet content can be a key factor in vascular responses.”

Osteoarthritis

A potential role for avocado and soybean based nutritional supplements in the management of osteoarthritis: a review. Dinubile NA. Phys Sportsmed. 2010 Jun;38(2):71-81. Key Finding: “Basic scientific research studies and a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available high-quality randomized clinical trials indicate that 300 mg of avocado and soybean unsaponifiables per day (with or without glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate) appears to be beneficial for patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis.”

Symptomatic efficacy of avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) in osteoarthritis (OA) patients: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Christensen R, Bartels EM, Astrup A, Bliddal H. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2008 Apr;16(4):399-408. Key Finding: “Based on the available evidence, patients may be recommended to give avocado/soybean unsaponifiables a chance for e.g., 3 months. Meta-analysis data support better chances of success in patients with knee OA than in those with hip OA.”

Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables in the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis. Angermann P. Ugeskr Laeger (Danish). 2005 Aug 15;167(33):3023-5. Key Finding: “These studies indicate that ASU has an effect on the symptoms of knee and hip osteoarthritis but not on the structural changes caused by osteoarthritis.”

Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) for osteoarthritis—a systematic review. Ernst E. Clin Rheumatol. 2003 Oct;22(4-5):285-8. Key Finding: “The majority of rigorous trial data available to date suggest that avocado/soybean unsaponifiables is effective for the symptomatic treatment of osteoarthritis.”

Structural effect of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables on joint space loss in osteoarthritis of the hip. Lequesne M, Maheu E, Cadet C, Dreiser RL. Arthritis Rheum. 2002 Feb;47(1):50-8. Key Finding: “Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables significantly reduced the progression of joint space loss as compared with placebo in the subgroup of patients with advanced joint space narrowing.”

Symptoms modifying effect of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) in knee osteoarthritis. A double-blind, prospective, placebo-controlled study. Appelboom T, Schuermans J, Verbruggen G, Henrotin Y, Reginster JY. Scand J Rheumatol. 2001;30(4):242-7. Key Finding: “The efficacy of ASU at a dosage of 300mg/day and 600mg/day was consistently superior to that of placebo at all endpoints, with no differences observed between the two doses.”

Modification of articular cartilage and subchondral bone pathology in an ovine meniscetomy model of osteoarthritis by avocado and soya unsaponifiables (ASU). Cake MA, Read RA, Guillou B, Ghosh P. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2000 Nov;8(6):404-11. Key Finding: “These findings support other studies which have proposed that avocado and soya unsaponifiables may exhibit disease-modifying anti-osteoarthritis activity.”

The possible ‘chondroprotective’ effect of the unsaponifiable constituents of avocado and soya in vivo. Khayyal MT, el-Ghazaly MA. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 1998;24(1):41-50. Key Finding: “An experimental in vivo model for studying cartilage destruction has been used to study the possible chondroprotective effect of the unsaponifiable constituents of avocado, soya and their combination. The unsaponifiables of both avocado and soya significantly reduced the degenerative changes induced by the granuloma tissue on the implanted cartilage in control animals. The effect was even more marked when animals were treated with the combination of the two unsaponifiables at a 1:2 ratio.”

Efficacy and safety of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables in the treatment of symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee and hip. A prospective, multicenter, three-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Blotman F, Maheu E, Wulwik A, Caspard H, Lopez A. Rev Rhum Engl Ed. 1997 Dec;64(12):825-34. Key Finding: “One of the objectives of symptomatic slow-acting drugs for osteoarthritis is to reduce the need for drugs with a less favorable safety profile, mainly analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables reduced the need for these drugs in patients with primary femorotibial or hip osteoarthritis. The functional index showed a significantly greater improvement in the active (avocado/soybean) group.”

Psoriasis

Vitamin B(12) cream containing avocado oil in the therapy of plaque psoriasis. Stucker M, Memmel U, Hoffmann M, Hartung J, Altmeyer P. Dermatology. 2001;203(2):141-7. Key Finding: “The results of this clinical trial provide evidence that the recently developed vitamin B (12) cream containing avocado oil has considerable potential as a well-tolerated, long-term topical therapy of psoriasis.”

The effect of various avocado oils on skin collagen metabolism. Werman MJ, Mokady S, Nimni ME, Neeman I. Connect Tissue Res. 1991;26(1-2):1-10. Key Finding: “The effects of various avocado oils on collagen metabolism in skin were studied in growing rats. Rats fed the unrefined avocado oil extracted with hexane from the intact fruit, its unsaponifiables or the avocado seed oil, showed significant increases in soluble collagen content in skin.”

Schleroderma

Natural remedies for schleroderma. Gaby AR. Altern Med Rev. 2006 Sep;11(3):188-95. Key Finding: Avocado/soybean extract is a promising natural treatment for scleroderma, an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue characterized by fibrosis and thickening of various tissues.

Wounds

Wound healing activity of Persea Americana (avocado) fruit: a preclinical study on rats. Nayak BS, Raju SS, Chalapathia Rao AV. J Wound Care. 2008 Mar;17(3):123-6. Key Finding: “Avocado oil is rich in nutrient waxes, proteins and minerals, as well as vitamins A, D and E. It is an excellent source of enrichment for dry, damaged or chapped skin. This study aimed to evaluate the wound-healing activity of fruit extract of Persea Americana in rats. Rate of wound contraction, epithelialization time, together with the hydroxyproline content and histological observations, supports the use of Persea Americana in the management of wound healing.”

source: Lindsay Johnson, Hippocrates Health Institute

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Analysis of more than 1.5 million people finds meat consumption raises mortality rates

Death rates higher when red and processed meats are eaten daily, according to Mayo Clinic reviewers

American Osteopathic Association

A review of large-scale studies involving more than 1.5 million people found all-cause mortality is higher for those who eat meat, particularly red or processed meat, on a daily basis. Conducted by physicians from Mayo Clinic in Arizona, “Is Meat Killing Us?” was published today in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

The authors analyzed six studies that evaluated the effects of meat and vegetarian diets on mortality with a goal of giving primary care physicians evidence-based guidance about whether they should discourage patients from eating meat. Their recommendation: physicians should advise patients to limit animal products when possible and consume more plants than meat.

“This data reinforces what we have known for so long – your diet has great potential to harm or heal,” said Brookshield Laurent, DO, assistant professor of family medicine and clinical sciences at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. “This clinical-based evidence can assist physicians in counseling patients about the important role diet plays, leading to improved preventive care, a key consideration in the osteopathic philosophy of medicine.”

While findings for U.S. and European populations differed somewhat, the data found the steepest rise in mortality at the smallest increases of intake of total red meat. That 2014 study followed more than one million people over 5.5 to 28 years and considered the association of processed meat (such as bacon, sausage, salami, hot dogs and ham), as well as unprocessed red meat (including uncured, unsalted beef, pork, lamb or game).

A 2014 meta-analysis examined associations with mortality from cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease. In that study of more than 1.5 million people, researchers found only processed meat significantly increase the risk for all-cause mortality.

Combined, the findings of these studies are statistically significant in their similarity, the reviewers noted. Further, a 2003 review of more than 500,000 participants found a decreased risk of 25 percent to nearly 50 percent of all-cause mortality for very low meat intake compared with higher meat intake.

They also found a 3.6-year increase in life expectancy for those on a vegetarian diet for more than 17 years, as compared to short-term vegetarians.

Open access to the full review is available until July 1, 2016: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2517494

About The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) is the official scientific publication of the American Osteopathic Association. Edited by Robert Orenstein, DO, it is the premier scholarly peer-reviewed publication of the osteopathic medical profession. The JAOA’s mission is to advance medicine through the publication of peer-reviewed osteopathic research.

The Benefits of Raw/Living Food Nutrition

The Benefits of Raw/Living Food Nutrition

By Tom Fisher RN, BA

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Raw and Living Foods help to provide: More Energy

When we eat raw and living foods that are easier for our bodies to digest, assimilate, and eliminate, we have more energy left over. This enables our body to cleanse, heal, and repair itself so we feel healthy, vital, and energized.

Fiber

• Fiber is the indigestible portion of plant foods. Fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, and seeds contain an abundance of dietary fiber.
• Fiber acts as a pre-biotic agent. This helps to populate beneficial bacteria in the gut for supporting immune and gastro-intestinal function.
• Fiber helps to regulate blood sugar by allowing the carbohydrates in food to be released into the bloodstream more gradually.
• Fiber helps to lower cholesterol.
• Fiber also keeps everything moving through the intestines, which prevents constipation.

Two main categories of fiber

• Soluble
-This type of fiber actually binds to cholesterol in the intestines and flushes it out of the body
• Insoluble
– Is good for regularity
– Insoluble fiber helps “bulk up” the stool and prevent constipation

Vitamins and Minerals

Raw and living foods are very high in various vitamins and minerals. Sprouted foods have a very high nutrient-per-calorie ratio, which help us feel satisfied on fewer calories. This is in addition to having a high water and fiber content.

We all know many of the other benefits of vitamins and minerals.
• Vitamins and minerals found in raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are in a whole food complex with cofactors.
– They are abundant and absorbable
– They are synergistic in their effects

Alkaline Minerals

• Fruits and vegetables contain beneficial alkaline minerals such as:
– Magnesium
– Calcium
• Most of the byproducts of metabolism in our bodies are acidic.
• Consuming alkaline foods helps counteract this acidity.
• Without minerals, vitamins have no function.
• Research indicates that calcium from our bones is often used to counteract this acidity, so eating foods that have an alkalizing effect may contribute to the maintenance of bone health.

Phytonutrients

• Raw and living foods are very high in phytonutrients. Phytonutrients contain protective, disease-preventing compounds that interact with other plant nutrients to produce a synergy that can help fight many diseases. Some phytonutrients are lycopene, beta-carotene, and chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is the green coloring in plants
– Helps to build blood
– Has antioxidant properties
– Has antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory benefits.

• Carotenoids
– A group of phytonutrients that have yellow, orange, and red pigments
– Act as antioxidants in the body
– Yellow pigments – lutein and zeaxanthin
* They help to support optimal vision.
* The body utilizes these pigments to protect the back of the eyeball from the damaging rays of the sun (the macula).
* These two pigments work together synergistically to confer this protection.
* Are best obtained from yellow and green vegetables like summer squash and leafy greens.

Antioxidants

Raw and living foods contain antioxidants which reduce free radical damage and help us age gracefully. Many phytonutrients also act as antioxidants. Antioxidants counteract the damaging effects of “free radicals.”

Alkalinity

Raw and living foods help to maintain the proper alkaline pH in the bloodstream, which is very beneficial to the body in a number of ways, such as supporting energy.

Calorie Density

• Calorie density is defined as the amount of calories in a given weight or volume of food.
• Filling our stomach helps activate stretch receptors which is one of the primary mechanisms that helps us feel satisfied.
• Three primary factors that determine calorie density
– Water content
– Fat content
– Fiber content
• Water is by far the most significant determinant of calorie density, and raw and living foods have excellent water content.
• It is interesting to note that despite the high fat content, rich and creamy avocadoes still have less than half of the calorie density of brown rice cakes, indicating how water content plays a bigger role in calorie density than fat content does.
• The fiber content of a food contributes to the calorie density as well, but not as much as fat and not nearly as much as water.
– Including lots of water and fiber rich raw and living foods in one’s diet makes it easy to feel full and satisfied without eating excess calories.

Plant Fats

• Higher fat raw plant foods, such as avocadoes and nuts and seeds, contain relatively healthy, unsaturated fats.
• These high fat plant foods contain plenty of their own fiber, which binds to excess cholesterol.
• Essential fatty acids:
– Two types of fats that the body cannot make, so they need to be obtained from diet. These are called essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Alpha linolenic acid – Omega 3. Omega 3 fats reduce inflammation.
* Linoleic acid – Omega 6.  Omega 6 fats generally promote inflammation.
– Ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats is between 1 to 1 and 4 to 1.
– When we consume in excess of four times the amount of omega 6 fats compared to omega 3 fats, we tend to create excess inflammation.
– Omega 6 fats
* The average American consumes 20 times more omega 6 fats than omega 3 fats.
* Omega 6 fats are largely found in animal products and processed foods.
– Omega 3 fats
* Omega 3 fats are abundant in leafy green vegetables, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and certain types of algae.
* Smaller amounts of omega 3 fats can be found in fruits and non-green vegetables.
• The standard American diet (SAD) diet contains an over-abundance of omega 6 fats from:
– Processed foods.
– Commercially produced animal products.
– Not enough fruits, vegetables.
* They contain the omega 3 fats that reduce inflammation.
• A diet based on raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and especially a diet that has an abundance of greens and includes some flax or chia seeds, supplies adequate amounts of omega 3 fats. This is without the excess of omega 6 fats, which is seen in typical modern human diets.
• Healthy fats and blood sugar regulation:
– Glucose – blood sugar
– Insulin escorts glucose out of blood and into cells
– Insulin resistance – insulin is unable to do its job properly and blood sugar remains too high
– Insulin resistance – is the hallmark of type II diabetes, also known as adult onset diabetes.

An excess of saturated fats, trans fats, and omega 6 fats, along with decreased amounts of omega 3 fats, make major contributions to insulin resistance.
Numerous studies have shown that diets that include more whole natural plant foods, instead of processed foods, can have a significant impact on insulin resistance and blood sugar levels.

Cholesterol comes from two places: animal foods and your body.
– Low fat and high fiber whole natural plant foods, such as raw and living foods, cause the liver to produce less cholesterol to make bile that emulsifies fat in the foods.
• Fresh raw and living foods also contain an abundance of fiber to bind to any excess cholesterol, thus keeping cholesterol at an appropriate level.

Enzymes

Raw and living foods are high in food-based enzymes.
• Enzymes are protein molecules that initiate biochemical reactions in all living things, plants and animals alike.
• Research indicates that plant enzymes are found within plant cells and are released when plant cell walls are broken down either by chewing, juicing, or blending.
• If plants are heated above 115°F the enzymes may denature or break down.
• Chewing raw plant foods well is important for releasing enzymes from plant cells.
• This gives the body a “head start” in digestion, creating less work and taking less energy, so you may feel lighter and more energetic than you would if you ate heated foods without active enzymes.

Increasing raw and living foods in your diet helps to provide:

• More energy
• Feeling lighter
• Greater overall well-being
• An abundance of nutrients
• Weight normalization over time
• Avoidance of hunger and deprivation
– It’s not just another diet, but a healthful, delicious, and – most importantly – sustainable way of changing your eating habits that you can happily maintain for a lifetime!

Source: http://hippocratesinst.org

The Change to Vegetarianism

The Change to Vegetarianism
– by Gabriel Cousens, MD

heartThere are many ways to become a vegetarian. This section outlines the changes and steps one often takes. The reader is given guidance regarding how to move from the present diet to lactovegetarian to vegan to a live-food, vegetarian diet. Enjoy the walk, take your time, and be gentle with yourself. Vegetarianism is about peace, and the first place to start is to be peaceful with yourself during the transition. Once you have made the major change to vegetarian, the individual diet that suits your own lifestyle and health needs will gradually emerge. Those who move too fast do not always last.

It is important to condition your body, mind, and spirit. Perhaps part of you has even wanted to give up reading the rest of the book because you do not feel ready to become a conscious eater. That may just be your flesh-eating and culturally ingrained old habits fighting back as your intuition, intellect, and spirit are working to guide you to the highest level of conscious eating you can attain. Don’t let your resistances control you.

Before moving forward in this section, I suggest you focus on yourself for a few moments. See yourself as strong and healthy, free of pain or sickness, with a pure spirit and God-like mind. Now close your eyes and breathe in radiant health and exhale all negativity and sickness. Do this seven times. Now, see the new you as a – conscious eater. Take as long as you need to pray or meditate until such a vision of your Divine potential appears. Feel the experience of this vision in your body as you are filled with health, spiritual power, and sensitivity. Experience the emotions and thoughts associated with the new you as a conscious eater.

Reasons for Transitioning to a Vegan Diet

1. A vegan diet, developed in a conscious, gradual, and scientific way, is an overwhelmingly superior diet for health, vitality, endurance, and general well-being.

2. Vegan food tends to create a calmer, more centered, and clearer emotional and mental state.

3. A vegan diet is a distinct aid for enhancing spiritual life and awareness. Throughout history, almost all major spiritual paths have acknowledged this awareness, including Genesis 1:29, the first dietary commandment and the first direct teaching to be vegan in the Bible.

4. A vegan diet enhances the flow of the spiritualizing force in the body. A flesh-centered diet acts as a sludge to the purifying movement of this holy force in all the basic elements of the body, mind, and spirit.

5. A vegan diet brings one into ecological harmony with all of creation. In comparison with a flesh-centered diet, it is vastly superior in its ability to conserve land, water, and energy, and to enhance the quality of both human and animal life. It brings us into harmony with the biological cycles of the biosphere, such as the natural oxygen/carbon dioxide cycle of our breath and that of the plant kingdom.

6. A vegan diet connects one with the solar, lunar, and stellar forces of the universe. It allows one to extract energy from Mother Nature through the balancing principle of the rainbow diet.

7. A vegan diet minimizes the violence and exploitation of our animal friends on the planet. In this nonviolent space, it allows compassion for all life to blossom. A vegan diet would help bring planetary peace on every level.

8. A vegan diet minimizes the hoarding, wasting, and inefficient use of natural resources and energy for producing food. It minimizes the wasting of the food itself, particularly in the form of grain fed to livestock. Because of this, a vegan way of life would make it possible (if the social and political aspects of our society were ready) to curtail the million deaths per year due to starvation. It would also help end the disease and misery of millions more suffering from malnutrition. The abundance of food created by the worldwide adoption of a vegan diet would prove that starvation on the planet is caused more by a scarcity of justice than of food.

9. A vegan diet is considerably less expensive than a flesh-centered diet, and would be even more so if the meat industry in the US were not significantly subsidized by the government.

10. A shift to a vegan way of life is part of a major planetary shift in consciousness. It is the dietary blueprint for the Golden Age we are entering.

The process of becoming a vegan is one of self-discovery and self- transformation. Because food is more primary than sex, whatever changes we do make have a deep impact on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level. With each change of habit, a little more consciousness is liberated. Part of the self-discovery process is that as we change, old thought forms must be brought up, examined, and ultimately discarded.

A rapid shift to a vegan diet may precipitate a physical detoxification. For this and the reasons above, the number-one rule for making the transition to veganism is to move slowly and gently. If we are to be at peace with ourselves, each step in the process must be one that feels harmonious. Most people can deal with change if it is gradual. If the change comes too quickly, it then becomes a shock to the system. Usually, the complete transition takes several years. In the overall picture, how long the process takes doesn’t matter. What matters is that one has chosen to move along the evolutionary continuum toward health, harmony, and peace. At each step of the way one creates more peace and does less damage to others and oneself. By moving slowly, one avoids the pitfall of overreacting on a physical, emotional, and psychological level to the attitudinal changes that are made in the transition to veganism. In this way, one avoids becoming discouraged. In order to work with these changes in a beneficial way, it is important for one to develop some understanding of how they unfold.

Perspectives on Dietary Change
Changing one’s dietary pattern is not a search for a perfect diet because the only thing that is perfect is beyond the body-mind complex. The only thing that is perfect is the Truth of God, in all, as All. We are already imbedded in this perfection except that most of us are not aware of this reality. A healthy diet is an aid in clearing our consciousness and body so that we can be more receptive to the experience of this absolute level of truth. Diet is not the key to spiritual life, but it is a positive helping factor that assists in opening the door to communion with the Divine. Besides enhancing our communion with the Divine, an appropriate diet can help us reach stages of health in which we can fully enjoy life and live more youthfully, longer. This conscious eating approach is the reflection of, and contributor to, our state of internal balance and external harmony with ourselves, our society, and our planet. It is part of the unfolding process of being in tune with the primary natural laws of the universe. A healthy diet is most appropriately developed not as a mechanical process separate from our life, but in a full spiritual context of right livelihood, good company, loving our neighbors as our true selves, meditation and/or prayer, and starting each thought, word, and action with love. It is through this perspective that we are best able to develop an individualized diet that reflects the highest state of awareness and is completely appropriate to maximal function in the world.

Four Transition Stages
There are several major stages of dietary transition. Each stage may take as little as one season in a yearly cycle. The concept of “transitioning” allows one to be receptive to the continued progress of one’s evolutionary growth, no matter what the time frame.
Stage one is a transition from all bioacidic foods to natural, whole, organic foods. This means letting go of all processed, irradiated, chemicalized, pesticide-ridden and fungicide-containing, adulterated, fast, and junk foods and other sorts of “Hostess Twinkie”-type foods. In this stage we also begin to give up red meats.
The second stage is letting go of all flesh foods, such as poultry and fish. It also includes not eating eggs.
Stage three is a vegetarian diet with the inclusion of dairy at the beginning and then moving to an 80% live-food intake by the end.
Stage four is vegan without dairy and may be as much as 95‒100% live foods by the end. Not eating flesh or any dairy products is not technically defined as a vegan because to be a true vegan means the absolute avoidance of any animal products in the total lifestyle. This includes the avoidance of leather clothing, honey, and gelatin capsules.

For many people converting to a major lifestyle change. Without an understanding of the subtleties of the process it is easy to become confused and discouraged. This chapter speaks to those physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual issues. I also put vegetarianism in perspective spiritually by making the point that although a vegetarian diet helps the spiritual process, one cannot eat one’s way to God. As you read this chapter, try to see where you experience your own resistances. Are you ready to let go of these resistances? Are you ready to adopt a diet that will most likely make you more sensitive to the presence of God in your life?

For more useful information about the change to vegetarianism, please read Conscious Eating by Dr. Gabriel Cousens. On sale for the month of March – 10% off!

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