The Vegan Bodybuilder

Interview with Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder and President of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness

Growing up in Oregon, I lived on a farm and had many farm animals as pets. I always had a love and appreciation for animals, and from an early age, I was concerned about their well-being. However, it wasn’t until December 8, 1995, that I decided to give up consuming meat. My older sister, Tanya, was organizing Animal Rights Week at my high school. I decided out of respect for her (a vegan since about the age of 15) that I would become a vegetarian for the week. I attended lectures, listened to speakers, read literature about animal cruelty, and watched videos about factory farms and animal testing. That week of becoming vegetarian has lasted for the past twelve years and continues today as I go on my 13th year of following a pure plant-based (vegan) diet.

Ten months after becoming vegetarian, I became vegan. Ironically, two years after giving up animal products, it was Me who organized the Animal Rights Week at my high school in Corvallis, Oregon. I also became active in an environmental awareness group at school called Students for Peace through Global Responsibilities (SPGR). I was active in promoting veganism for a long time, and I still am through my fitness company. I have been able to promote vegan bodybuilding on a worldwide stage through articles in major magazines, TV appearances, my vegan fitness documentary, and my through my five websites.

I love being vegan and knowing that I am having a positive impact on the environment and society. I have more energy than most people I know, and I very rarely suffer from any illnesses or fatigue. I eat a vast array of natural and organic foods that keep my bodyfat percentage low, protein intake high, energy levels high, keep my bones strong, and allow me to put on quality muscle. I believe that an animal-free diet is one of the best things you can do for your health, and the well-being of our environment.

What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian?

Vegans abstain from all animal products, anything derived from an animal and veganism is often a moral or ethical decision. Veganism is not just a dietary preference, but a compassionate and cruelty-free lifestyle (or as cruelty-free as possible). Vegetarians avoid eating meat and vegetarianism is often a health choice for most people, rather than a moral or ethical choice. Vegetarians often use leather and other animal by-products, and are not as concerned with issues such as animal testing. For most vegetarians, becoming vegetarian is a food preference. Vegetarians who want to eliminate animal products from their lifestyle, go vegan.

How much protein does someone need a day to have a body like yours?

A common standard is to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight for athletes, and 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight for bodybuilders and other athletes interested in bulking up and adding mass. Eating consistently throughout the day makes it easy to consume that amount of protein if a variety of foods are consumed. Most people get more protein than they need but I do believe strength athletes require more protein daily than the average person.

How do you get your protein without meat?

I pay special attention to protein and my main protein sources come from hemp, rice, pea, soy, tempeh, nuts, beans, lentils, grains and a variety of powders and bars including complete meal replacements, adding up to 100-300 grams per day. A normal day for me totals around 180 grams of protein from a variety of sources. Tofu, a soy product, typically has 10-20 grams of protein per serving. Soy also has a Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) of 1.0, which is the highest protein rating for a food to have, and it scores higher than beef protein. Hemp is one of the best sources of protein, period. It is a complete protein meaning it contains all essential amino acids, it is alkalizing, rich in chlorophyll, naturally contains essential fatty acids, is packed full of nutrients, and is grown from the most sustainable methods, making it arguably the best resource. We often hear about protein combinations to make a complete protein. This is an accumulation of essential amino acids. Combining sources such as hemp, rice, and pea provides a powerful amino acid profile for enhanced biomechanical efficiency, assimilation and absorption. Taking in large quantities of protein can be taxing on the liver and kidneys so it is important to drink a lot of water when you’re on a high protein diet. Drinking water helps your body’s organs process large amounts of protein. In addition to the high protein foods, I also eat a significant amount of fruits and green vegetables, and I eat raw and organic foods whenever possible. Raw sources of protein can be found in nuts, seeds, seaweed, broccoli, spinach, kale, and other veggies and are some of the most potent and most beneficial sources of protein available on the planet.

Bodybuilders have pretty much always relied on meat as their primary source of protein and protein is widely considered the most important aspect of bodybuilding nutrition. Most people think bodybuilders must consume large amounts of meat to gain muscle and get bigger and stronger. Too many people confuse protein with meat; they think meat is the only source. There are plenty of muscular vegetarian and vegan bodybuilders who prove you can get just as big and strong on a plant-based diet. It is indeed possible and quite easy to do. You can view dozens of vegan athlete profiles on www.veganbodybuilding.com.

What other kinds of food do you eat?

The bulk of my diet consists of fruits in the morning; protein sources such as nuts, protein drinks and bars for snacks; green vegetables, beans, tofu, and other protein and calorie-rich foods for lunch, and a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and grains for dinner. A typical meal for dinner may include a lentil soup with chopped veggies, steamed or raw broccoli, tofu, and brown rice. Potatoes, tempeh, beans, and nuts are also staples of my diet and are often consumed around dinnertime. I typically just drink water before and after meals, but for dinner I may include soymilk, almond milk, or natural fruit juice. I also eat a lot of sandwiches and burritos because they are so heavy and packed full of calories and protein which areimportant for me as a bodybuilder.

Fruits are by far my favorite foods. I prefer to eat more raw foods but also enjoy the warmth of cooked foods. I lean towards organic foods and have learned a lot about whole food nutrition from my Professional Vegan athlete friends and co-stars in my documentary Vegan Fitness Built Naturally, Brendan Brazier and Tonya Kay.
What supplements do you take?

When I am on the run and don’t have time to prepare a meal, I take a complete plant-based whole food meal replacement called Vega. Formulated by Brendan Brazier, a professional Ironman triathlete and fellow vegan, Vega is a quick and easy way for me to get quality nutrition. It contains many of my favorite foods, including hemp, pea, flax, rice, chlorella and maca. I especially like the fact that it contains five sources of quality protein, ensuring a balanced array of essential amino acids. I also snack on Vega raw energy bars before and after workouts for an extra boost. Even when I’m not on the run, I keep these foods around because they are some optimal sources of nutrition.

As mentioned above, keep in mind that a high protein diet can be taxing on the liver and kidneys so it’s important to drink a lot of water (I personally drink over a gallon a day when possible) to help the body’s organs process the large amounts of protein. The great thing about plant protein is that it appears to be much easier to digest and assimilate than animal protein, making the body’s job easier and providing a greater nutritional yield. I also recommend eating smaller meals more frequently to ensure your muscles will always be fueled and nourished, providing the best opportunity for recovery, growth, and achieving your desired results.

How often and long do you train?

Everywhere you look you will find different ways to train—different training principles, and techniques used to accomplish the same goals. Everyone has their own style, but I will go over some of the styles that are most common in bodybuilding and fitness, and my own personal approach to training. The routines are different, depending on what your goals are. For example, bodybuilding for mass will require you to lift heavier weights with fewer repetitions and longer rest periods between sets.

The first thing you need to do is establish what your goals are, what you want to accomplish through your fitness training.

Based on what you come up with, you will decide how many days you want to train per week.

I will use bodybuilding since it is what I do and it determines how I train. I lift weights fives times a week, working a different muscle group each day. In a calendar week, my training schedule might look like this: Monday-chest, Tuesday-back, Wednesday-rest, Thursday-arms, Friday-legs, Saturday-shoulders, Sunday-rest. Working with weights five days a week is effective and gives you an opportunity to rest after two or three consecutive days of heavy training. It is also easier than four days per week, because in five days, you cover all the major muscle groups on a different day and don’t have to combine two muscle groups like shoulders and arms, for example, in the same day.

Many pro bodybuilders workout with weights six days a week, but it is not something that I would recommend for a natural bodybuilder. Your body needs rest and recovery time. I wouldn’t even workout with weights more than four days in a row. Pros can get away with it because they have been bodybuilding for 10-15 years and know how their body will react to their training. They are usually also using drugs that help their muscles recover and grow faster than someone who is not using any anabolic bodybuilding drugs. I personally have tried lifting weights six days per week, and although I achieved some great results, I suffered three injuries and was often fatigued from overtraining. Therefore, weight training five days a week with two rest days worked very well for me, and I continue to train that way, as I think it is the most effective approach to natural bodybuilding.

The amount of time you spend in the gym is an important factor. There are many myths out there about bodybuilders training eight hours a day to look the way they do. That is complete nonsense and a ludicrous idea. If more were better, we would be in the gym 16-hours per day, but that is not the case. Sixty to ninety minutes in the gym is a perfect amount of time to spend weight training. Any more than that can be counter productive. Fitness activities like running, soccer, and basketball, are okay to do for a longer period. With weight training, you put a lot of stress on your muscles and joints. After an hour or so, they become fatigued and can inhibit further progress.

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How do you train?

Before I get to the gym, I already have a plan of attack that includes what muscle group I will be working and a specific routine I wear athletic pants and a sweatshirt to stay warm and lower the risk of injury. I always begin with a 10-minute warm-up. For the first five minutes I usually use a stair-stepper to begin sweating or I do a variety of other warm-up exercises that get my muscles ready for the workout. The next five minutes are spent on warm-up exercises for the muscle group I will work. The sets are light and consist of around 20 repetitions followed by stretching the muscle I will be focusing on. Once I am warmed up, stretched, and ready to go, I begin with my working sets. My workouts change each time. I will not do the same chest exercises or same number of reps, or same weight, week after week. Sometimes I use mostly barbells, other times mostly dumbbells, and other times machines and cables. On top of that, there are flat, incline, decline, supersets, drop sets, pyramids, and other variations to target the same muscle group.

I train with lots of intensity and rest 30-90 seconds between sets depending on the exercises. I usually train alone, but I enjoy training with a partner, too.

What kind of exercises would you recommend to people who do not compete, but do want to look and feel their best?

I suggest people do a full-body workout or focus on full-body training, incorporating resistant weight training as well as cardiovascular training into their program. The key is to take action and make it happen. Be accountable and be consistent with the exercise program and adaptation and improvement will take place and lead to success. Ease into it and start with just a few days a week, leading up to five days a week of weight training.
What is your favorite exercise?

I have a bunch of “favorite” exercises. Some of my favorites include: flat bench press, decline bench press, deadlifts, leg presses, machine bicep curls, squats, and any exercise involving training the back. I think the “Big Three” are keys to success: squats, bench press, and deadlifts. If because of injuries you cannot do those exercises, find ones that train the same muscles such as machine chest press or dumbbell press instead of bench press; leg press and lunges instead of squats; or good mornings, hyperextensions, or a variety of rows instead of deadlifts.

What is your least favorite exercise?

I don’t really have least favorite exercises. I used to say lunges, but they aren’t too bad. I guess I’d have to say cardiovascular exercises. I prefer training with weights over doing cardio.

Do you usually cook for yourself, or have someone else cook for you?

I’ve been vegan for over a decade, but I don’t cook! I’ve never been into cooking, although I used to do some baking back in high school. My roommate prepares a lot of food so I often eat what he is having. Living in Portland, OR I’m spoiled with dozens of vegan-friendly restaurants that I frequent as well. When I do prepare some of my own food it is usually very basic and includes preparing potatoes, yams, rice, or making my own sandwiches.

What is your favorite vegetable?

Broccoli, potatoes, and spinach are my favorite vegetables, but I like many of them.

What is your least favorite vegetable?

I don’t really have a least favorite. I’m not a huge fan of iceberg lettuce.

How have you done in body building competitions?

I have competed in seven bodybuilding competitions as of the winter of 2008.

I entered my first contest in 2001 and have competed ever since. I typically compete just once or twice a year and sometimes take a full year off from competing. In the seven contests, I have placed 1st, 2nd a couple of times, 3rd, and 4th on two occasions. I won the 2005 INBA Northwestern USA Natural Bodybuilding Overall Novice Championship and was runner-up at the 2005 INBA World Natural Bodybuilding Championships. I’ve competed in California, Oregon, and Washington. Currently, I plan on taking a break and may not return to the stage until 2010.I’m working on a National Speaking Tour and more documentary projects that are keeping me busy. I’m still training though, and I’m bigger than ever right now.
Do you and have you ever used steroids?

I have never used steroids and have never been interested in taking them. I believe they are dangerous and should be avoided.

Robert Cheeke is the Founder and President of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness and is available for speaking presentations around the world. www.veganbodybuilding.com

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An Apple a Day…

Apples come in all sizes and flavors and all shades of yellow, green, and red. We choose from three or four varieties at the grocery store, ten to twelve at the farmers market. A shame really, as there are 7,500 varieties grown worldwide, 2,500 of them in the United States alone.

The wild ancestor of today’s domestic apples originated in Kazakhstan and can still be found in the mountains of Central Asia. The only apple native to America is the crabapple. We can thank the colonists in the early 1600s for bringing apple trees to North America.

Apples are in season in North America from late summer to early winter. They are now available year round because they keep well in cold storage and we import apples from the Southern Hemisphere.

If you peel your apples, you miss out on many of the benefits of this incredibly healthy food. Unpeeled apples are high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble and they contain pectin, flavonoids, phenols, and vitamin C. They promote regularity, lower cholesterol levels, remove heavy metal toxins from the body, reduce risk of heart disease, help prevent free radical damage, and bolster the immune system. Studies also link apples with decreased risk of cancer, asthma, and Type 2 diabetes.

Choose firm, unbruised apples. Fully ripened fruits have the most antioxidants. Whole apples are much better for you than juice, and juicing yourself is better than store bought since laws in most states now require pasteurization, killing off nutrients and enzymes. If you do choose to buy your juice, don’t buy it clear; buy it cloudy for a higher flavonoid content. You’ll neutralize more free radicals. Do buy organic. Conventional apples are one of a dozen fruits and vegetables shown to carry the most

Although we are sharing recipes to cook this versatile fruit, we recommend you eat one raw apple every day to reap its full health benefits. Remember that old saying?




What Really is a Healthy Diet?

The typical American diet is rich in calories, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sugar, artificial sweeteners, MSG, and trans fats. Let’s not forget pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. The media bombards us with information about a healthy diet, much of it contradictory, much of it complicated, and most of it wrong. So how should we eat?

Eliminating toxins, additives, and sugar is a no-brainer. But once that step is taken and organic foods are chosen, what is the next step? Whether you’re a meat-eater, a vegan, or a vegetarian, the key is balance. The right balance.

Alkalinity

For optimum health our bodies require a slightly alkaline PH, right about 7.365. A diet high in meats and grains, the typical Western diet, is acid producing. Chronic acidification wreaks havoc with all cellular activities and functions. Many naturopaths believe it to be the root cause of chronic or “incurable” diseases. So how do we maintain our PH balance short of memorizing the list of acidifying and alkaline foods? The simple way is to use the 80/20 principle; 80% of your diet should consist of fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables. That may sound extreme, and for some people and their lifestyles it may be difficult, but the closer one comes to this ratio the healthier one will be. And for many people there is not another lifestyle change they could make that would have as big an impact on your health.

In addition, most of us need to be conscious about increasing our consumption of the following:

Fiber

Fiber has many benefits. It feeds healthybacteria, which aids in digestion. It also helps slow the rate sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, keeping blood sugar levels stable. Fiber also helps with regularity; it speeds up digestion as it scours your colon like a scrub brush.

Enzymes

Enzymes are responsible for nearly every facet of life and health. Without enzymes, food is not digested and nutrients are not absorbed. Enzyme rich, fresh, raw foods are easy for the body to digest. Processed and cooked foods have little or no enzymes. If enzymes are not present in the food we eat, the body creates them. But some doctors believe our bodies can create only a finite amount of enzymes in our lifetimes. So once again, a diet high in fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables, adhering to the 80/20 principle, will increase your consumption of natural enzymes.

Antioxidents

Free radicals, atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons, have been linked to aging and disease. They damage healthy cell membranes and DNA. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Again, a diet high in fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables is a diet rich in antioxidants.

Beneficial Bacteria

A normal, healthy gut is home to 400-500 beneficial bacteria, all working in harmony. Remember enzymes? Beneficial bacteria produce critical enzymes and control yeast. They help us digest our food and absorb nutrients. Just one dose of an antibiotic can decimate entire species of beneficial bacteria and wreak havoc with this delicate ecological balance.

Probiotics can help restore the natural balance. Many suggest taking them (or eating them) on a daily basis, and certainly this suggestion has merit to anyone coming to an organic lifestyle from a lifetime of poor nutrition and antibiotic use. But again, adhering to a good, balanced diet and the 80/20 principle of eating 80% fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables will feed beneficial bacteria and aid in maintaining proper balance.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids, omega-6s and omega-3s, cannot be manufactured by our bodies. They must come from our diet. Our bodies need both omega-6s and omega 3s for a variety of metabolic processes including healing. The ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s should be nearly equal, but the typical American diet is high in omega 6s and low in omega 3s, with a ratio closer to 17:1. And we suffer for it—with inflammation, aching, poor healing and chronic illnesses such as lupus, fibromyalgia, and heart disease. To decrease omega 6s, avoid processed foods and conventional poultry, beef, and dairy and choose organic meats—grass fed beef, free range poultry, etc. To increase omega-3s, eat fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and unrefined whole grains (it is best to soak or sprout nuts and seeds to release enzyme inhibitors and change acidic nuts to alkaline). Flaxseed, cod liver oil, or other omega-3 rich oils can be added to our diet, but we must be sure they are fresh and not overly refined.

We will go into more depth about all aspects of a healthy diet and the dangers of additives, GMOs, and conventional farming in upcoming issues. In the meantime, eat healthy. Eat smart. Go organic.




Supplements Everyone Needs

There are two supplements we recommend you take every day, regardless of who you are and what diet you choose. Obviously, a good multivitamin/mineral is a must, but you also need a fatty acid supplement.

Multivitamins and minerals

Ideally you want to get your vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. But it’s next to impossible for some and completely impossible for others in this day and age. A good multivitamin/mineral supplement is an absolute must for anyone who wants to reach optimum health regardless of their diet.

Thorne Basic Nutrients

Dr. Timothy Kelly recommends Thorne Research vitamins and mineral combinations. They offer a multi vitamin-mineral combination, Basic Nutrients ($30) I and II. Formula I is without copper and iron (recommended); formula II includes them. Another good choice is Basic Immune Nutrients, which combines Basic Nutrients with nutrients that have been found to enhance the functioning of the immune system. A third excellent choice from Thorne is Extra Nutrients. This comprehensive multi vitamin-mineral formula provides the added benefit of reduced glutathione, coenzyme Q10, and hesperidin methyl chalcone. For patients exposed to increased oxidant or free-radical stress, this formula maximizes antioxidant support.

Total Nutrition powder

Dr. Ian Shillington N.D. sells his own formula, Total Nutrition Powder ($48), a balanced blend of whole foods specially formulated to supply natural food source vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential trace elements.

These are nature’s nutrients, not manmade synthetic vitamins. All ingredients are from rich, whole food sources, which are organically grown or wild crafted. You can buy Total Nutrition Powder at our online store, read through his main site, www.academyofnaturalhealing.com, where Dr. Shillington shares his recipe for those who want to make their own Total Nutrition Powder.

Buried Treasure VM-100

Another good choice, available at most health food stores and Whole Foods, is Buried Treasure’s VM-100 ($30). VM-100 is a liquid vitamin/mineral with a full range of B vitamins and it’s also an excellent source of vitamin C.

Beyond Health Multi Vitamin Formula

The top of the line, arguably best, and certainly most expensive is the Multi Vitamin Formula available at BeyondHealth.com ($90). Raymond Francis designed and developed his own line of supplements and you can trust that in this case, you get what you pay for. His website is very informative and well worth your time.

Fatty Acid
Supplements

Fatty acids in the proper balance are needed for many metabolic functions and our bodies cannot produce them. We recommend a fatty acid supplement with a blend of omega-3s, omega 6s, and omega 9s:Udo’s DHA Oil Blend. Dr. Shillington, Raymond Francis, and many other alternative health care practitioners recommend Udo’s Choice Oil with DHA, available at most health food stores. In the past we recommended UDO’s oil and a high quality fish oil Like Carlson or Nordic Naturals in order to get DHA, but now you can get all of the fatty acids you need from one source. Vegans need not worry, Udo’s Oil DHA formula is still 100% vegan.

Other Supplements YouMay Need

PMS

Udo’s Oil and Buried Trasure VM-100 are an absolute must for any women with PMS. The B vitamins in the VM-100 are essential for controlling emotions and you need a variety of Omega 3’s, 6’s, and 9’s to process those B vitamins. Men or women, if you suffer from mood swings of any kind, you could benefit from these two supplements.

Candida (Fungus and/or Yeast)

Anyone coming off of antibiotics, struggling with chronic yeast infections or Candidaovergrowth (usually a result of antibiotic use or excessive alcohol consumption), or eating a typical American diet high in refined sugar, flour, and other refined foods, needs to supply the colon with beneficial bacteria. Forget yogurt, kefir, and most of those probiotics you find at your local health food stores. Virtually all of them are an absolute waste of money.

Little if any of the healthy bacteria makes it through your acidic stomach and into your gut where you need them. Probiotic strains need to be alive when they reach the intestine to be beneficial. A high quality probiotic such as Bio-K Plus is available in diary or soy-based formulas as well as capsules, though we recommend the non-capsule formulas for better absorption.

In addition we recommend Thorne Research SF-722, a castor bean oil abstract that does as good if not better than anything we’ve ever used to kill yeast.

Chronic Acidity

For chronic acidity or acute acidity due to a night out on the town drinking or eating an abundance of acidic foods, you will benefit from Body Balance + Formula by Dr. Shillington. This formula contains black walnut hull tincture, organic blackstrap molasses, and organic apple cider vinegar.

“The average person should take two tablespoons a day. If you’re suffering from arthritis, osteoporosis, or migraines, start off with three (one before each meal) for one month, then cut back to two tablespoons (one in the morning, and one at night, or two in the morning), which is the maintenance dosage. This formula works and has saved many an expensive trip to the Medico. With the quality of the food on our planet being so terrible, Body Balance + should be a daily supplement for everyone, including children,” says Dr. Shillington.




Your Health – Your Responsibility

The idea of personal responsibility in regards to health is not fashionable. And yet, responsibility is probably the greatest issue that needs to be faced when it comes to attaining a state of excellence in any aspect of life—including personal health.

Too often, people are willing to be victims. They are overly agreeable when it comes to leaving their physical, mental, and even spiritual health up to others. They are awfully eager to place their wellbeing and that of their families in the hands of conventional medical doctors, psychiatrists, and the government.

It may seem completely unreasonable to claim that you are absolutely, 100% responsible for the condition you are in, but it has been my experience that any other way of looking at this issue leads to failure, illness, and death. How can one be responsible when there is so much conflicting information regarding health and healing? By learning all you can about health and filtering out the untruths as they apply to you and your family. The key here is to look and decide for yourself. You have to decide what works for you. When my friends and clients are spinning around looking for answers, I like to ask them what they were doing when they felt their best. More often than not, they tell me they were eating well, exercising, and enjoyed what they were doing in their lives. Well? What does this tell you? When they go back to doing these things, they once again are successful, become even more educated, and do some serious cleansing. Wow! Then they really see results! And believe me, if these people are ever told by a medical doctor that they have a serious disease, they already know how to handle it. Many wouldn’t dream of letting an M.D. touch them or a family member.

Get the knowledge you need to be healthy now! This information will serve you well, should you, a friend, or a family member be told they have a serious, incurable disease. A time of crisis isn’t the optimum time to start learning about the body, how it works, and how best to fight disease. Knowing ahead of time what you need to do and how to get started is the best “life insurance” policy available. There is no substitute for personal knowledge.

Many people complain to me that organic foods are expensive. I think ignorance, illness, and going to conventional medical doctors is much more costly. So, I recommend spending your money on education, organic food, cleansing, and exercising instead. This allows you to be in a position of full responsibility for your life. It is the best investment you can make toward living a long, healthy, and productive life. You owe it to yourself and to your loved ones.




Digestion

The first step to good digestion is to chew your food very well. If your mouth doesn’t do its job, your stomach and your small intestine cannot fully absorb nutrients. Poor chewing is a common reason why so many people suffer from nutritional deficiencies. They just don’t get what they need out of their food. Don’t drink fluids when you eat. Liquids dilute stomach acids needed to dissolve protein. Don’t eat too much.

Cup your hands together. This is the optimum amount you should eat at one time. The 80/20 principle applies to digestion. Never fill your stomach more than 80% full of food. Don’t eat spoiled food such as aged meat. Limit processed food, or better yet, eliminate it from your diet. Don’t overcook your meat. Meat cooked well done is harder to digest. Don’t lie down after eating. Don’t take antacids. They neutralize stomach acid and stop digestion. Food sits in the stomach and colon and rots.

Many naturopathic practitioners recommend a teaspoon to a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to aid in digestion, but some people’s stomachs are a bit too sensitive and they may not be able to handle it. I recommend hydrochloride lactose-free pepsin, a digestive enzyme especially useful for digesting proteins. And of course, I recommend Thorne as the best manufacturer for this supplement. It will help acidify your stomach during digestion and add much needed enzymes to your food.

Combine your food properly. Don’t eat protein with starches. Eat meat with vegetables; eat grains or potatoes with vegetables. Eat fruit alone.

Eat an alkaline diet. Acidic diets indirectly inhibit proper digestion. By acidic, I don’t mean citrus fruits. Carbs like pasta and rice, meats, and processed foods, are all acidic to the body. An acidic diet places a heavy burden on the body and creates an environment loved by cancer, bacteria, and viruses.

No matter how healthy your diet, if you do not digest your food well, you will not get the nutrition your body needs.
Digest Your Protein

Poor digestion causes innumerable health aliments. Common problems associated with poor digestion include arthritis, acid indigestion, and high cholesterol.

One of the most common causes of osteoarthritis is a lack of protein in the joints (lubrication in the joints is made up of proteins). Your joints have 30 times more protein than muscle and tissue. If you don’t properly digest the protein you consume, your body will steal the proteins from your joints, its richest source, to meet the needs of the rest of your body.

After years and years of eating too fast and not chewing your food, of drinking fluids during or after your meals, you are more likely to develop arthritis. You’re starving yourself slowly, depriving your body of the proteins and the nutrients it needs.

There are many factors to good health. But remember, proper digestion is an essential factor, the foundation of your health.
The Way We Used To Eat

Sixty trillion cells make up your body and each cell requires nutrition. Food cravings were meant to be our body’s way of telling us what it needs. For instance, thirst is a sign that our body needs water—not milk, juice, soda, coffee, or tea. Craving something sweet is a cry for fruit, not candy bars, jellybeans, or ice cream.

We’ve corrupted the link between taste and our natural ability to know what our body needs by living on processed foods, a diet loaded with sugar, salt, trans fats, and MSG. We used to eat our food fresh and raw, picked from the ground or plucked from the tree. Even meat was eaten raw until we discovered fire. We ate fewer grains and we ate them seasonally. Proper digestion wasn’t complicated.