Is This Food Good or Bad?

by Leisa on October 16, 2010

This is the question I get asked most often at the retreats, and there is no one set answer to most queries.

One of the understandings I have developed over the years, after talking with thousands of people about their health, is that the overwhelming majority of people want to be healthy, but without becoming a raw vegan extremist. So finding the balance that allows good health without taking away lifestyle completely, is what they are looking for.

The philosophy that I have come to over the years, when it comes to healing and maintaining health, is one that encompasses a whole foods lifestyle – and eliminates anything that is processed. Once you are in the realm of whole, real foods as found in nature, then you can experiment within that realm, to find what suits you best. Which means that you may incorporate some cooked foods such as brown rice, or add in some raw dairy or some fish – as long as it isn’t processed you are not going to go too far wrong.

I do believe though, that for healing chronic disease, that a period of time that incorporates strict raw vegan cleansing, is essential to the healing process.

At the retreats when we are exploring every aspect of food, questions come up such as “is xxxxx food good or bad?” And my answer is – look at that food or drink within the context of your whole diet, rather than at that one food individually. If you are not suffering from illness, and 80-90% of your diet is from beautiful organic whole foods, then is a cup of organic brewed coffee on Sunday morning good or bad? From a purist point of view the answer may be bad – but in realistic sense, in the context of the whole diet, that Sunday morning coffee is not going to have as great a negative influence, as it would if the majority of the diet was from processed junk foods.

So when examining a food or drink don’t only ask – is it good or bad? – look at the overall diet and whether this food or drink plays a big role, or a very minor one. It is the context of the whole diet, and what you are doing most of the time that makes the difference. Please don’t take this the wrong way – even small elements that are very harmful can undermine a good diet, but what I am talking about here are elements that are reasonably neutral – not necessarily beneficial – but not processed toxic garbage either, that are under question.

All in all, your body will soon tell you if what you are eating is beneficial for it, or not.



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5 commentsAdd comment

Jen October 18, 2010 at 7:00 am

Hi Leisa,

Maybe you can help, as a recent green juicer, I am confused by the conflicting info re raw silverbeet and spinach and their oxalic acid content? Can you shed some light on if one can juice too much of these greens if used every day in either part of a green juice or steamed, or just collapsed as I call it, leaves left whole or just ripped once lid on for a couple of mins only….Thank you, Jen

Diana October 28, 2010 at 8:19 pm

I eat pretty healthy but I also understand that once in a while having something no so healthy is OK. I totally agree with this article thanks for the info! Best Wishes!

Sheena Furnace November 10, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Great article, thanks! I completely agree with what you’re saying. I call it bioindividuality, the concept that everyone’s body is different. We all react differently to one food or another and differently than someone else. There are no foods on the planet that I would personally or professionally say “No” to 100% of the time. I believe in a) listening to your body’s cues and seeing what foods and lifestyle choices work best for YOUR body and living according do those messages and b) following the 90/10 rule, or even the 80/20 rule: eating and living healthfully 80-90% of the time and then 10-20% of the time, doing what you want. Having a piece of birthday cake or a piece of pizza every so often will not derail your best efforts, in fact, I believe allowing yourself to be bad every once in awhile can help to keep you on the right track the rest of the time. In my health coaching practice, I help my clients to strike the right balance for themselves and they’re usually very successful! Thanks!

Sheena Furnace, CHHC

Leisa January 2, 2011 at 5:03 am

Hi Jen,
Great question! The general consensus is that the oxalic acid is not an issue in raw foods, but binds with calcium more readily when it is heated. With raw greens though, it is always recommended to rotate them, so you woudln’t just have the one green every day anyway, so that will help minimise or reduce any problems with excess oxalic acid. You would have to eat a lot for it to become a problem.

Leisa January 2, 2011 at 5:05 am

Dear Sheena,
Absolutely – I think yoru approach and what I’ve spoken about works very, very well, and takes the stress, obsession and guilt out of eating. There’s not just one true path to health, and being consistant with the majority of your diet is WAY more important than those smaller things that may not be considered perfect.
Keep up the great work you’re doing!

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