Cooked vs. Raw Food Diet: Transcend Food Fads | Dylan Smith #025

Transcend food fads and diets and adhere to the ultimate diet: Natures Diet.

The Dubious Flexibility of Scientific Literature

When engaging in discussions and dispelling myths of particular health trends, I truely intend to create a balanced argument on both sides. I like to present the pros and cons of both sides, the science and the ancient wisdom, then allow the reader to make an informed decision themselves that applies to their unique self.

According to the science, raw food and cooked food, are both beneficial and our ancestors enjoyed both.

Due to the dubious nature of scientific studies, a more holistic insight is required. Thus, it is wise to consider the traditional sciences that have time tested these topics for thousands of years, as in the case of Ayurveda.

Anthropology: What Did Our Ancestors Eat?

The logic that our ancestors only ate raw foods is flawed, with numerous studies suggesting we have been cooking for almost 2 million years.

Cooking with fire predates homosapians. If you trace your way back, you find the species prior, which were still in our genus, they were homo (human), "homo erectus" to name the precise genus, had fire and passed the torch onto homosapians. This was all found through fossil analysis.

What was the benefits of cooking with fire? The study says:

“Reduced digestive effort…and increased supply of food energy.”
Cooking and the Ecology of Human Origins.

In Ayurveda, the discussion isn’t so narrow as to one is bad and one is good.

Many things are taken into account, including The Eight Factors Determining the Utility of Food:

  1. Prakriti - nature of food articles.
  2. Karana - method of processing.
  3. Samyoga - combination of food articles.
  4. Rasi - quantity.
  5. Desa - habitat of the food and where it is being eaten.
  6. Kala - Time - day or night, age of the person and stage of the disease in the individual.
  7. Upayogasamsthā - rules governing the intake of food. One should no speak, laugh, take in hurry, very slow, etc.
  8. Upayoktrn - wholesomeness of the individual who takes it. This includes "OkaSatmya" - What the individuals ancestors ate, what they were brought up eating, and what they are habituated to eat.

The Importance of Agni (Transformation)

As you see above, Processing (Karana) is one of the Eight Factors Determining the Utility of Food.

Processing or cooking foods is vital. It transforms the food. Usually for the good. Cooking in most cases can remove samskaras ("memories") of the food item and transform the qualities of it.

Example: transforming milk with fire

Take milk from stress-induced, unhappy factory farmed cows for example. When you boil the milk diluted with water, to some extent, the stress chemistry of the cows are removed from the milk.

Take it to the next level by adding some black pepper to further transform the milk as these little pungent black fiery spice balls counter the heavy, damp, mucous creating quality of milk.

There are many ways to process or cook food (detailed below). It is vital to purify the substance, enhance its absorbability for humans and nutritional effect.

“Raw foodists, it is clear, do not fare well. They thrive only in rich modern environments where they depend on eating exceptionally high quality foods.... the implication is clear. We are not like other animals. In most circumstances, we need cooked food.”
~ Harvard Professor Richard Wrangham, “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human.”

On the other hand...

Common cooking methods can be used to enhance the nutritional value of vegetables, increasing bio-accessibility of health-promoting constituents.

Cooking has the effect of softening the indigestible cellulose, allowing nutrients to be rereleased that may not be when eaten raw.

Cooked foods is not just about nutrients, they are nurturing for your intestinal wall!

Foods that Have A Higher Nutrient Value When Cooked

Artichokes

Cooking artichokes increase their antioxidant levels (steaming is best).

Studies observed the cooking effect on the artichoke antioxidant profile is probably due to matrix softening and increased extractability of compounds.

Asparagus

Cooked asparagus has more antioxidants than raw. 

This study assessed "significant and more pronounced" changes during cooking process.

Blueberries

Studies show cooked blueberries can have greater antioxidant levels than fresh.

Baking blueberries changes their polyphenol content.

Note that fruit doesn't need to be cooked since the sun cooks it!

Carrots

Cooked carrots are more nutritious than raw. Steaming or baking whole carrots preserves more of the beta-carotene, studies showed.

The human body converts beta carotene into vitamin A (retinol) - beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage

Some studies suggest raw because the heat breaks down the enzyme called tyrosinase, which is a precursor for broccoli to release cancer-fights and ulcer reducing sulforaphanes (which is what elevated broccoli to its superfood status).

Over all, you can’t digest those enzymes.

On the other hand, a perhaps even more health-prompting nutrient, Indole-3-carbinol, is processed only when broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are cooked.

Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to stop pre-cancerous prostate cells from becoming malignant by inhibiting cell growth and supports apoptosis.

Spinach

Raw spinach - chew it and it tastes chalky because it contains oxalic acid - an organic substance that can interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients like calcium and iron.

A study showed it also attaches to quite a few other vital nutrients, and long-term consumption of foods high in oxalic acid can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

Cooking spinach breaks down oxalic acid.

Tomatoes

Studies showed cooked tomatoes have higher lycopene, a potent antioxidant more powerful then vitamin C, and is particularly useful in helping the body repair damaged tissue, and preventing cancer and heart attacks.

Other studies show vitamin C decreased when being cooked. 

Reported Benefit of Raw Food: Cleansing

Yes it is true, raw roods can be cleansing since they have more fibre.

This is why people get good bowel motions - it is going straight out.
They think this is a good thing, but actually, they are not absorbing nourishment.

This can be of benefit for when the body is sick and toxic, like in the case of cancer - as the fibre can scrub the intestines.

But once you are cleansed, raw food is not sustainable.

In the beginning, when lots of raw vegetables or "green juices" are eaten, the system starts to digest the ama (toxins and blockages) because you are not getting enough nourishment, so it is like fasting. Catabolic activity happens. The problems start when the ama is finished and then the body starts to eat the dhatus (healthy  tissues).

Raw Food Will Cause Weight Loss, But You're Losing Healthy Tissues!

Definitely people will loose weight on a raw diet. Due to catabolic action where tissues are broken down, including fat tissue. However, it also depletes other tissues, like bone, bone marrow, and reproductive tissue.

In ‘Catching Fire’, Professor Richard Wrangham wrote:
“Recent studies indicate that low bone mass in the backs and hips of raw foodists was caused by their raw diet.”

There are healthier ways to loose weight: Balance agni and activate healthy tissue metabolism.

Not only will the healthy tissues become depleted, but the digestive fire becomes compromised. And it takes a lot of attentiveness from someone recovering from raw food diet damage.

Overall with cancer, the more vegetables you eat, the better. Plant based diet is key.

In the condition of inflammatory bowels, the very first recommendation is stop eating raw food. While they are cleansing, they are very rough on the intestinal wall. Cleansing is not a suitable diet in this case of sensitive gut.

Reported Benefit of Raw Food: More Energy

Again, this is true but also false. 

Raw food takes about 80% more energy to digest than cooked food. Plus it also provides the body with less energy following digestion. 

So how is it that raw food makes you feel more energetic?
Because it certainly does, in the short term at least. 

You get a short term hit of energy due to the catabolic effect. But then, (few months to a few years later) you are left depleted.

This is why the raw food diet doesn't last to long with people.

Vata Aggravating & Catabolic Effect

Raw food has the qualities of Dry, Light, Cold and Rough.
The vata dosha (bioenergy responsible for movement) also has those qualities.
Thus, according to the natural law of “like increases like,” eating raw foods increase the vata dosha.

Vata is responsible for catabolism - cell reduction.

The Raw Food Diet Has Never Been Time Tested

When a cell breaks down, it is like a star exploding – it releases a lot of energy!

So, if you’ve ever been on a raw food, smoothie or juice diet, for a short period of time you may very well have felt on top of the world!

But this feeling won’t last forever and neither should your raw food diet.

Excess catabolism occurs, where healthy tissues become depleted. Then the Ojas (immunity, vitality, essence of your tissues), also gets reduced.

This is why many of the people I see who have tried raw diets feel great in the short term, and get inflicted with fatigue down the track. You may have experienced this.

People do not stay on the raw vegan diet for long.

Even 10 years is very rare for someone to be on a raw food diet, but those who have been, even that isn’t a long period of time!

Never as a human species have we done this.

Historically the diets of humans last centuries, not 10 years! And they never dipped in and out of fads. They maintained the same diet for generations.

They adhered to the ultimate diet. Natures diet.

Reported Benefit: Reduced Risk of Disease

Not a precise point to argument since people on raw food diets tend to stop eating processed food or a regular western ‘convenience/fast food’ diet.

This processed and unnatural diet is well recognised as the main cause of some of the most common chronic diseases in Western society.

They also eat more fruits and veggies and less meat.

They also tend to be people who care about their health, so tend to make other life-style changes - like sleeping better, meditation, exercise, healthy relationships, less alcohol and smoking etc. - that turn out to benefit their health.

The Wisdom of Ayurveda

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I really do try to make the argument balanced. But I just couldn't do that for raw foods.

The reality is, when you acknowledge the time-tested, rich science of Ayurveda, raw food only has a small place in the human diet.

For those who want optimal health and to cure and prevent disease, should primarily cook their food.

The famous Ayurvedic sage, Caraka Samhita, has 10 rules for eating raw food. They are in order of importance, and yep you guessed it, cooking food is included. In fact, it is number one most important for food to be wholesome.

10 Rules For Taking Food:

  1. Food Should be Warm/Cooked:

Reasoning for this from thousands of years ago:

  • It is delicious.
  • After intake it provokes the factors (enzymes) in the abdomen and helps digestion;
  • It gets digested quickly;
  • Helps digestion, fluids and nutrients move downwards (vata anulomana);
  • Maintains detachment of sticky, undigestible, toxic substances (kapha).

And the other 9 rules for food intake:

2. Food Should be Unctuousness (Snigdha)
3. Food taken in Proper Quantity.
4. Intake After Digestion of Previous Meal.
5. Intake of Food Having No Contradictory Potencies (Incompatible food combinations)
6. Intake in Proper Place (Calm environment) and With All Accessories.
7. Intake, Not in Hurry.
8. Intake, Not Too Slow.
9. Intake with Concentration, Self-Confidence and with due regard to his own self.

Reference: Caraka Samhita, Vimana Sthana.

The Eight Factors Determining the Utility of Food

Let's look at more ancient wisdom.

We saw the eight qualities earlier on in this article, lets go more into the second factor, and view the ancient ways of processing substances (that are still practiced today):

Karana - Processing the Substances:

  • Karana (processing) results in the transformation.
  • Transformation of the attributes is effected by:
  • Dilution
  • Application of heat,
  • Cleansing,
  • Churning - e.g. Curd by nature aggravates oedema; when churned, even with the fat content of it remaining intact, it alleviates oedema.
  • Storing,
  • Maturing,
  • Flavouring - e.g. sweet smelling drugs like utpala (Nymphae alba/White water lily) in water. 
  • Impregnating - drugs like amalaki in juices.
  • Preservation - Ingredients of Duralabhasava are required to be kept in a jar smeared with ghee for 15 days before use (Chikitsa 15:154).
  • Container - e.g. TriphalaRasayana is to be prepared in a new iron container smeared with the paste of amalaki (Chikitsa 1:3:43)(22-II)

Vegetables That Can Be Eaten Raw (Plants in Salad Form)

There is some balance in Ayurveda after all!

Ayurveda does mention certain vegetables that can be eaten raw. However, if these vegetables are cooked, that is ideal and easier to digest.

Ardraka (Green Ginger)

Tender Radish

  • When taste is not well manifested and tender, it  alleviates vitiated dosas, is light (laghu) and stimulates digestion.
  • When overgrown, it provokes these dosas.

Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)

Leafy greens - Ajwain, Arjaka (Ocimum gratissimum / Clove Basil / African Basil), Sigru (Moringa oleifera), Saleya (Tringonella foenum-graceum / Fenugreek) , Mrstaka (Brassica nigra / Black Mustard) - Leaves of these vegetables are cordial and palatable.

Bhustrna (Cymbopogon citratus / Lemon Grass).

Dhanyaka (Coriandrum sativum / Coriander)

Palandu (Allium cepa / Onion)

Lasuna (Allium sativum / Garlic) - Can provide its fantastic health benefits when raw.

Source: Caraka Samhita, Vimana Sthana.

Other vegetables okay to eat raw:

  • Beetroot
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Mint
  • and vegetables with strong pitta characteristics can be eaten raw in limited quantity. Grated is best and at lunch or as snack if agni (digestive fire) is good.

What About Fruit?

Fruit is cooked by nature, by the sun. So when it ripens that is cooked.

What About Nuts?

Nuts you can take raw, but better to cook them - either soaking them, peeling some nuts like almonds, or activating.

Some Tips on Cooking

  • Don’t damage foods with high heat and over-cooking. Lightly steaming, lightly cooking is fine and will enhance health of the intestinal skin. 
  • Unless it is soups or stews - they capture the nutrients.
  • Blanch salads and leafy greens.
  • Use pure Clay Pots since they retain the nutrients profoundly.
  • Retain the water.
  • Use some quality oil always when cooking.
  • Eating a little raw food is completely fine. Your diet should be predominately cooked food.

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References

  • "Caraka Samhita," Vimana Sthana.
  • "Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human", Richard Wrangham.
  • "Are Raw Food Diets Healthy?," Nadia Marshall.

Grapes (Draksa) – The Best Among Fruits

grapes, the best fruit according to ayurveda

Grapes are the best among all the fruits and the most wholesome according to Ayurveda.*

Health Benefits

Builds Physical & Mental Strength + Aphrodisiac

The sweet taste (rasa) and post-digestive effect (vipaka) nourish the physiology with strength. Whether it be:

  • building tissues and energy for the emaciated and depleted,
  • a juicy aphrodisiac, or
  • providing mental strength to brush off negativity and mistaken intellect and rise above anxiety or depression.

I like to use Draksadi Kashayam formula - a decoction with grapes + other herbs to boost mental strength in clients.

Drakshadi Aristam can help with alcoholics and since it is a herbalised wine, it may be used as an alternative to regular wine.

Tonify The Essence of Body Tissues (Rasa Dhatu)

Grapes are like white plasma (rasa) and therefore, according to Ayurveda and the principle of “like increases like”, grapes tonify and nourish rasa dhatu (plasma, extracellular fluid and lymph + more tissue substances that can't be translated into western medical terms).

Reduces Pitta Dosha

Grapes cool you down, thus great for

  • pitta,
  • heated conditions,
  • fever,
  • jaundice,
  • eye health (eyes are a site of metabolism/Pitta),
  • bleeding diseases
  • burning sensations (deha)
  • and is fantastic to quench thirst.

Anti-Oxidant & Blood Health

The rich phytochemical anthocyanin gives (especially red) grapes the ability to eradicate harmful free radicals from cells that can cause oxidative stress, leading to all kinds of chronic illnesses.

This makes it a great blood cleanser and blood builder (balances rakta dhatu).

The antioxidant polyphenolic generates anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-cancer activities.

Anti-Inflammatory

Messaging molecules (such as interleukin) and pro-inflammatory enzymes (like cyclo-oxygenase) that advance inflammation can be defused by grape intake.

Helps Elimination

It’s unctuousness (snigdha) and liquidity (dravam) helps the elimination of urine and faeces and has a laxative action.

Pacifies Vata Dosha & Respiratory Health

Being tantalisingly sweet and unctuous, it also pacifies vata but not necessarily in the alimentary tract, as it can put out the agni (digestive fire) and is a little hard to digest being so sweet (heaviest taste) and cooling.

It’s secondary taste being bitter also helps respiratory issues like dyspnoea (swasa), hoarse voice, chest injury, tuberculosis and can help mitigate the effects from intoxication and delusion (coma). 

Various Types of Grapes

Unripe fruits are sour so become harder to digest and actually aggravate pitta and rakta (the blood).

Seedless grapes (Abija draksa) or grapes with very small seeds are harder to digest and possibly are genetically modified, however they mitigate kapha.

Dried grapes (raisins, sultanas) have a similar effect, are easier to digest but have a higher sugar level so caution with people with high blood sugar. They contain a concentrated source of iron and is an important fruit for anaemic people along with figs, dates, papaya, kiwi and pomegranate.

Additional Health Profile & Benefits

  • Grapes are rich in micronutrient minerals like copper and manganese, an essential co-factor of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.
  • Grapes contain the essential hormone and antioxidant melatonin.
  • Grapes contains about 191 mg of the electrolyte potassium per 100 grams.
  • Grapes actually have a low glycemic index and help balance blood sugar.

Grape Juice

For you pitta people, consider fasting on FRESH grape OR pomegranate juice, one day a week, fortnight or month regularly (on the same day cyclically).

Only Buy Organic!

Grapes are a food that is sprayed heavily with chemicals and pesticides.

This is one of the fruits that you need to stretch a little and only buy organic.


References:
* Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbhata and Bhavaprakasa
Dr. Mercola

Does your experience of grapes match the view that Ayurveda has of them? Comment below 👇


Do You Really Think The Sun Causes Skin Cancer?

The dominant belief today is that UV light causes melanoma (associated with skin cancer).

Melanoma incidence has risen 23 times from 1935-2012, but dermatologists can’t put their finger on what is causing the current surge.

The ironic thing is, skin cancer rates are getting higher while people are getting exponentially less sun and using more sunscreen.

Let us find out why the surge in melanoma is occurring and learn from society’s lifestyle habits so that we can take control of our health and avoid falling into the category of chronic disease.

This article aims to break the highly misunderstood belief that the sun is a dangerous carcinogen and expose the TRUTH. It is a big step for those to correct their intellect because the majority have been brainwashed to not be able to think clinically and not question authority.

I invite you to learn for your self. Use logic and explore the science. Radical action is required to break social conditioning and learn the truth with an open mind to supersede a fallacy that is so strongly embedded in the poor brains of the majority. That same majority are getting inflicted with chronic disease (including melanoma). Check out the science and statistics then decide for yourself.

How the Theory that the Sun Causes Cancer Arose

The studies that showed UV (Ultraviolet) radiation causes skin cancer were done on nocturnal animals who lived their lives in a toxic nnEMF (non-native electro-magnetic field) environment, under artificial blue light on artificial grounds.

We are the only species that have taken ourselves away from water and natural materials. Every other species constantly and regularly touches water and/or earth.

So when you take a nocturnal animal, such as a rat, away from nature, keep them in an artificial environment inundated with blue light and nnEMF, all while altering their innate circadian rhythms, what do you think causes cancer here?

Other studies came from a petri dish of naked unprotected cells.

Don’t Compare The Studies on Animal Skin to Human Skin

All plants and animals know how much sunlight they need exactly.

Plants close or turn away their leaves in accordance with their molecular light harvesting zones.

Animals seek the shade when the sun is enough, plus they are protected by fur.

Humans lost their fury skin. So we had to develop a completely new concept of skin. No other creature on this planet has complex skin structure like humans.

You need to be very careful when comparing studies done on animals to human biology. You cannot compare our skin to animals!

The Sun and herbs, two key elements in ayurveda

Red Sunburn is Not Good But Pink Skin is a Healthy Reaction

I want to make it clear that getting burnt so that you are red and your skin peels is not good and can put your health at risk.
On the dimmer side of the spectrum, skin becoming pink from the sun is a healthy reaction.

The Beneficial Pathology of Sunlight Causing Pink Skin

  • Sunlight gives nitric oxide, which is a vassal dilator.
  • This brings Red Blood Cells (RBCs) to the surface from the skin (“dermal pooling”).
  • These RBCs comprise of haemoglobin and porphyrins that come to the surface to absorb UV spectrum to charge up with energy and enhance movement (healthy vata function), so they can perform their essential tasks of oxygenating the whole body and circulating life-force (prana).
  • Blood is trying to absorb UV light. UV is not the enemy.
  • Blood is a magnetohydrodynamic fluid that links the sun to your mitochondria.
  • This is why your skin becomes pink, in order to capture sunlight for these vital bodily functions.

Real Risk Factors For Skin Cancer

Artificial Blue Light

Melanoma incidence has risen 23 times from 1935-2012

This is in accordance with a gorge on artificial light while burying the sun from our life.

  • In the last 100 years, the USA workforce has shifted from 75% outside to 75% inside.
  • Vitamin D3 rates are at historic lows.
  • Outdoor workers have a lower incidence of melanoma than indoor workers.
  • Melanoma rates are higher in those living away from the equator.

In summary, skin cancer rates are getting higher while people are getting exponentially less sun.

It just doesn’t make sense that the sun is what causing this epidemic of skin cancer.

Let's look more into why swapping fake blue light for natural sunlight is a prevailing cause of skin cancer:

Blue Light Destroys Melatonin

Melatonin is an absolutely essential hormone:

  • Maintains Immunity
  • The Body’s Most Powerful Antioxidant
  • Energy Levels and Mitochondrial Health
  • Maintains Circadian Rhythms
  • Regulates All Other Hormones
  • Better Sleep
  • Cognitive Health and Brain Health
  • Weight Loss
  • Healthy Bones and Joint Health
  • Healthy Microbiome
  • Blood Sugar and Metabolic Health

Read more about Melatonin via my article: Melatonin: Benefits and How to Optimise It.

  • All modern indoor (blue) lighting subtract out UV and Infrared light. This worsens problematic (uneven) modern skin pigmentation.
  • Red light has been shown to lower the risk of melanogenesis (skin pigmentation process). Unfortunately, red light has also been subtracted from modern man-made light, further increasing the blue light hazard for uneven skin pigmentation.

Exposing your skin to artificial light means you are absorbing an altered, unnatural spectrum of light that is unharmonious to the skin's photosynthesis processes. This stresses the cells and causes impaired skin physiology, potentially leading to skin cancer.

Cancer is uncontrolled growth and uncoupled growth of cells. Constant blue light is putting stimuli for grow, grow, grow. Along with this is a lack of stable energy which should have been obtained from the sun.

Different light frequencies effect on the skin:

  • UVA (320–400 nm) can induce IPD (immediate pigment darkening) during the first minutes of exposure, which is a transient form of pigmentation and fades away within a few hours. PPD (persistent pigment darkening) appears within hours of higher doses of UVA exposure and persist up to several days or weeks.
  • Visible light (Blue light) (400–700 nm) lies outside of the spectral range of what photo-biologists define as deleterious (harmful) radiation. VL can have a significant impact on producing “uneven pigmentation in skin” (melasma), which is the main factor for photo-ageing. This becomes worse and more uneven if the skin lacks UV. All modern indoor (blue) lighting subtract out UV and IR light, worsening the problematic (uneven) modern skin pigmentation.
  • Red light has been shown to lower the risk of melanogenesis (imbalanced skin pigmentation process) but this colour light has also been subtracted from modern man-made light further increasing the blue light hazard for skin pigmentation. 

Note that skin pigmentation is an important human phenotypic trait whose regulation, in spite of recent advances, has not yet been fully understood. Traditionally skin pigmentation is believed as the most important photo-protective factor, since melanin, besides functioning as a broadband UV absorbent, has antioxidant and radical scavenging properties. 

Inflamed Gut

Inflammation via the gut affects the vagus nerve which opens the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and makes the brain lose control of the immune system. This deactivates the immune system and leads to cancer by increasing ubiquitin markings and turning on the inflammatory cascade and the growth cascades that all lead to cancer.

Studies show a link between Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Skin Cancer.

UV Intoxication

Very heavy ultra-violet exposure and sunburn can cause skin cancer.

Genetic Predisposition Regarding Skin Type

This is approximately less than 5% of the population.

Hormonal Predisposition

Including Hormones Replacement Therapies.

Ingredients of Skin Care Products

In Ayurveda, we administer herbs through the skin (through medicated oils and pastes) to access deep body tissues more efficiently than even administering herbs internally. Modern science calls this "trans-dermal technology." Chemicals of skin care products can also penetrat the skin and deeper tissues. Rule of thumb: “Only put it on your skin if you can eat it.”

Intake of Photosensitising Drugs and Other Medications

(e.g. Viagra, Tetracycline)

Environmental Pollutants

A contributing factor to impaired skin physiology, particularly sei-conductors on the skin.

Electromagnetic Radiation

From wireless devices like phones, cellphone towers, wifi routers, laptops and computers smart TVs etc. (EMF).

  • Calcium efflux (leaking of calcium ions) is a principal membrane reaction to EMF exposure. This lowers sulfate levels in all cells, but especially the skin and surface arterioles where the sun hits us.
  • Calcium efflux in the central nervous system also alters blood chemistry.
  • This chronic effluxing of calcium seriously disturbs calcium levels, Parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels and Vitamin D homeostasis in the skin.
  • Calcium efflux also alters the synthesising function of certain enzymes and other biological functions. For the science geeks: Endothelial NOS (eNOS) sulfate production stimulated by nitric oxide in the presence of UVB and IR light is altered when calcium efflux occurs.

How Sunscreen May Contribute to Skin Cancer

It’s not only the chemicals in sunscreens that produce free radicals that promote skin cancer (see graph below).

Even with some natural sunscreens, when you target to block specific frequencies of the light spectrum and alter wavelengths, the end result is an altered spectrum of light hitting your skin. Not a FULL spectrum holistic light.

You can’t take out one part of the spectrum and think you’re doing it better than nature.

This stresses the cells and causes impaired skin physiology leading to skin cancer.

Note that if you can't help but be in the sun all day unprotected by clothes (best option), sunscreen can provide some protection.

Sunscreens to Use

If you are going to use sunscreen, use one that “shimmers” and doesn’t absorb into the body (causing the free radical damage).

The higher the SPF the higher risk of cancer and reduces vitamin D synthesis.

I recommend applying cold-pressed coconut oil while out in the sun. Coconut oil is sulfur-based which help absorb Vitamin D3 plus it protects. Also doing self-abhyanga will improve your skin physiology to reflect excess sunlight and absorb and transduce beneficial rays for good use.

How to Protect Yourself from Sun Burn

Shade and Clothing

Fundamental innate solution. The best protection

Improve your Skin Physiology and Tolerance to Sun

Strategically allow for sunlight to change the anatomical structure of your skin with gradual sun exposure + self-abhyanga. A thickening of the skin will occur as there is increase in melanocytes and keratinocytes and melanin pigment. This is the build-up of natural sun protection on the epidermis. Like building “Light Calluses” on your skin.

Expose Yourself to Late Afternoon Sun

If you want to build up your tolerance to the sun and expose your skin to the sun in a safer way, choose afternoon/evening sun closer to sunset. This time of sun exposure is safer according to Ayurveda and now modern science (see graph below). This especially applies for hot climates.

Note that the morning sun is also important as it provides specific beneficial rays (UVA-IRA light).

"Exposure to evening sun gives longevity."
~ Ancient Ayurvedic Slohka (saying)

Conclusions

Moderate and diligent sun exposure has positive effects and health benefits for most humans. The sun is crucial for optimal health.

(Maybe) 5%* of the population really shouldn’t expose themselves to sunlight due to their individual risk profile.

If you don’t get adequate access to sunlight you’ll need to go on more holidays or bathe in full-spectrum artificial light.

In regards to skin cancer, it all comes down to proper skin physiology and overall health.

Optimise your skin physiology with proper diet, healthy environment, self-abhyanga and good sunlight.

Optimise your health and immune system through the various practices which I share on my website.

Article coming soon on “Why The Sun is Crucial for Optimal Health”

Bibliography:

*Alexander Wunch
Dr. Jack Kruse

Related Listening & Reading


Melatonin: The Critical Hormone & How to Optimise It

Woman sunbathing, a very effective way of increasing melatonin

Melatonin is an essential hormone that provides a multitude of benefits throughout the human body.

Mistakenly it has been dubbed the hormone of sleep, but more accurately it is the "hormone of darkness," since it trains our circadian rhythms to the day and night cycles, a critical cycle to be aligned with for optimal health.

Since the 2017 Nobel Prize was won for "Circadian Medicine," volumes of research are now showing melatonin is important for many things other than sleep and jet lag.

Benefits of Melatonin

Maintains Immunity

Low melatonin = weak immune system which makes you susceptible to cancer. Melatonin is the best anti-cancer hormone because it is vital for optimal immune function.

The Body’s Most Potent Antioxidant

As declared by numerous studies. Melatonin scavenges for free radicals, stimulates genes to turn on other antioxidant systems, has access to any and every cell in the body and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.

The process:

  • During sleep, all your brain cells shrink from 40-60%, creating room in the brain for melatonin to flood in and bind to all the oxidative stress and free radicals.
  • It then sweeps this oxidative stress (that ages us) out through cerebrospinal fluid, down into the circulatory system, for the liver and kidneys to process and eliminate out of the body.
  • Melatonin also floods through the lymphatics and detoxifies different organs throughout the night.

Energy Levels and Mitochondrial Health

Mitochondria are the energy generators for every cell. Melatonin makes life easier and more efficient for these energy generators.

  • When melatonin is removed from your brain, you loose DHA in cell membranes.
  • DHA is the only lipid that can turn sunlight into DC electric current and visa versa.
  • The DC electric circulates through your body to provide you with energy.
  • DC current also counters inflammation (DC current is a negative charge and inflammation is a positive charge).
  • Note that stress also reduces DHA. Studiess here.

Maintains Circadian Rhythms and Regulates All Other Hormones

Since all the hormones are connected like a web. Especially reproductive hormones and hormones related to metabolism an appetite.

Better Sleep, Cognitive Health, Brain Health, Weight Loss

Numerous studies show this (3),(4),(5).

Melatonin is a direct antagonist to cortisol. When melatonin is up, cortisol (stress) goes down.

Healthy Bones and Joint Health

Studies showed melatonin helps in the treatment of bone pathologies such as the osteoporosis and the adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). It aslo may prevent bone degradation and promote bone formation.

Healthy Microbiome

Our gut bacteria are regulated by our circadian clock and are sensitive to melatonin. Melatonin, which is secreted into the gastrointestinal lumen expresses circadian patterns of swarming and motility. Studies suggest the human circadian system may regulate its microbiome through the entrainment of bacterial clocks.

Blood Sugar, Metabolic Health and Cravings

Studies showed that Melatonin regulates insulin secretion and protects against reactive oxygen species which are a threat to pancreatic β-cells (the cells that do the job of storing and releasing insulin).

β-cells are very susceptible to oxidative stress because they possess only low-antioxidative capacity.

Low melatonin levels will cause high insulin levels and high dopamine levels which causes stress (cortisol) along with an increase in cravings, addictions and metabolic disorders.

Strong cravings for carbohydrates in the summer is a natural circadian response to prepare for the famine or lack of food during the darkness of winter. (1)

When we light our homes with artifical blue light for an extra 5-6 hours after sunset, we are sending the “endless summer” message to our cellular biological clocks that it is time to crave carbs in preparation for the famine of winter. This carb craving can last for 365 days a year.(2)

More Than Meets the Eye: Skin Receptors for Melatonin

It is not just your eyes that initiate melatonin production, there are receptors in your skin.

Melatonin is mostly produced after the retinal ganglion cells in our eyes perceive light. Interestingly however, there are also photo-pigments on the skin all over the body can detect different types of light and sync peripheral rhythms with the light and dark cycle.

Neuroxin is a UVA receptor present in our skin and eye that gets stimulated by light. This receptor was only found in 2009.

This is why even blind people can still have a diurnal rhythm in sync with the light/dark cycle.

Artifical Blue Light Disrupting Melatonin

Artifical blue light destroys melatonin.

Not only does it lower melatonin, but when we are watching our computers or TV at night, or checking our emails at or before sunrise, our dirunal clock becomes confused and all the hormones become disturbed (think of our hormal system like a web, all connected).

As we learnt before, it is not only our eyes!

The skin receptors also get stimulated by artifical blue light. Surface photo-chemistry influences the tissues underneath. These spectrums can penetrate all the way to the fat tissue layer and cause free radicals, energy problems, and more.

Your thyroid only sits about half a cm under you skin. So the blue light is penetrating to the thyroid. People with hashimotos beware. Perhaps the most important remedy for low thyroid is nasya + watch the sunrise + get sunshine on your neck and protect your neck from fake blue light.

Ways to Optimise Melatonin

Here are some methods you can implement to naturally increase melatonin:

Get Sunshine

Watch the sunrise and the sunset without sunglasses, glasses or contact lenses (as these alter a holistic light spectrum by blocking specific frequencies).

Sunbathe with as much bare skin as possible. Soak up the sun in moderation. Slowly build your skin tolerance to the sun.

Proper Sleep

Melatonin is the hormone of darkness. It will build while you are asleep. Be in bed before 10 pm, and wake up with the sun.

The latest Nobel Prize proved ancient wisdom by showing maximum melatonin production is between 10pm - 2am, which Ayurveda has been saying for thousands of years is the "Pitta time," where your body metabolises food, nutrients and hormones.

The catch is you need to be asleep for the production!

No Artificial Light at Night

Artificial light at night, even if it is ambient blocks the production of melatonin needed to get to sleep and stay asleep. Use candles or revolutionize back to incandescent light bulbs for night time.

Begin reducing blue and artificial light exposure starting at sunset, or 2-3 hours before bed. Make sure there are no lights on at night while you sleep. If necessary, use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block ambient light. Ensure you still get up at sunrise.

Go camping for a couple or few days without artifical light of electronic devices. That will do wonders.

Reduce LED Lights and Screens at Night

Don't look at your phone first thing when you wake up. Do your morning routine before touching that thing.

Reduce TV and computers at night time and 2 hours before bed. We are not biologically wired at all to be exposed to such high light temperatures while the sun is not up.

Use filters on your computer, make your phone screen "most warm" 24/7 and use blue light blocking glasses.

Nasya (Nasal Drops)

Nasya is the practice of sniffing herbal oil up your nose to your pineal gland to detox the pineal gland and activate it's functions of jobs like initiating melatonin secretion.

Learn more about Nasya here.

Melatonin Rich Foods

  • Goji berries (very high source).
  • Cherries, espeically tart cherries. Tart cherry juice has been studied to help sleep.
  • Walnuts and almonds.
  • Flaxseeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Fenugreek and mustard seeds
  • Raspberries
  • Bed Time Milk Elixir - Whether its milk from mother, cow or goat, studies show it boost melatonin.

(3)

Reduce Coffee - Logic will tell you that caffeine as a stimulant will inhibit melatonin production—and it does.  Studies suggest that at night the caffeine will block melatonin production. This supersedes the constituents in coffee that actually help boost melatonin levels.

Always eat in season since all food absorbs light and you will consume the appropriate dose of electrons and meltatonin.

Supplements

I recommend you only consider supplementation after you have tried all the natural interventions above.

Those who work night shifts or very long hours, people who fly frequently and people who still struggle with sleep should consider this.

Assess whether you need a time-release or immeditate melatonin. Get quality supplements here.

Although you can get melatonin from foods and man-made pills, sunlight is the most dominant synchroniser of melatonin production. Get more sun.

References

  1. T.S Wiley. Lights Out, Sleep, Sugar and Survival. Atria Books, New York. 2000
  2. https://nutritionfacts.org/2014/04/03/foods-with-natural-melatonin/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4352910/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3001215/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3742260/https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12640-012-9337-4

Credits:

  1. Dr. John Douillard, Lifespa.com
  2. 1cm^3 contains by Alexander Wunsch
  3. Melatonin Graph: Sandhills Neurologists
  4. Old-Clock photo - Fabrizio Verrecchia
  5. City Lights - Mike Wilson
  6. City Lights Disney - Denys Nevozhai
How do you naturally increase melatonin? Comment 👇

Amla Pickle (Recipe)

amla pickle dish

Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry)

This amla recipe can be adjusted to make lemon pickle by replacing the amla with chopped-up lemons

Amla is the common name for the fruit of the Amalaki plant (Embilica officinalis). This is not only considered by many to be Ayurvreda's most potent fruit, but Amalaki is also one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda.

Tridoshic Fruit

One of the marvels of Amalaki is that it contains all 6 tastes except salt. Thus this fruit mitigate:

  • vata by its sour taste
  • pitta by its sweet taste and cold virya (energy) and
  • kapha by the dry quality and astringent taste.

Benefits of Amla

  • Rasayana - Rejuvenator that promotes longevity. Rasa (the essence of properly digested food) is being spread (ayana) to nourish all the rasavaha srotas: 10 dhaminis (arteries) and heart, as well as the udakava srotas: Talu (soft pallet) and kloma (pancreas/thyroid).
  • Good for the lungs and immunity.
  • Digestion - assists bowels and reduces inflammation in the GIT as it supports healthy intestinal "inner" skin. This accordingly improves health and lustre of the "outer" skin.
  • Diabetes.
  • Fantastic aphrodisiac and rejuvenator.
  • Amalaki’s prabhava (special effect) is having a sattvic effect that raises the quality of consciousness and the overall wellbeing of the body.

Vitamin C Powerhouse

According to the studies, the average Amla fruit (22.5gm) contains 121mg of vitamin C.
The average orange (130 grams) has about 70mg of vitamin C.

So one little Amla berry is packed with more vitamin C than the orange, which a 5.8 times bigger fruit!

Amalaki has 10 TIMES the amount of vitamin C than an orange when we measure equal weights of both fruits.

Dylan Smith harvesting amalaki

Research suggests this all-natural vitamin C content contributes to the potent antioxidant capabilities of Amalaki.

This is far from mega doses of vitamin C that people are taking. But what is compelling is the ability of Amalaki to take a small amount of vitamin C and use it to activate an entire matrix of chemicals that deliver a multitude of health benefits.

Read more benefits and information on Amalaki here.

Amla Pickle Recipe

Note this recipe can simply be adjusted to make Lemon Pickle by replacing Amlas with chopped-up lemons.

Fresh Amla is hard to get outside of Asia.

Ingredients

  1. Finely chopped Amla fruit - 1 kg
    (or if making lemon pickle, slightly peel the outer layer off then chop 1kg lemon).
  2. Rock salt - 100 gm.
  3. Sea salt - 200 gm.
  4. Turmeric powder - 25 gm.
  5. Dry roasted ground fenugreek powder - 2 tsp.
    Dry roast until it is very good smell and brownish red colour. Then grind to powder.
  6. Dry roasted ground cumin powder - 5 tsp at least.
  7. Lime Juice - 1 tbsp.

Spices to add it at the end:

  1. ghee
  2. mustard seeds - 1 tsp.
  3. cumin seeds - 2 tsp.
  4. fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp.
  5. garlic - 3 cloves finely chopped.
  6. curry leaves - 8 leaves chopped.
  7. dry chilli - 2/3 chopped (optional).

Method

Day 1

  1. Finely chop Amla fruit (approximately into 6 pieces per fruit) and remove the seeds until you have 1kg.
  2. Add 25 gm turmeric power and mix well.
  3. Add 5tsp roasted cumin powder + 2 tsp roasted fenugreek powder.
  4. Leave in a bowl loosely covered with a lid closed for 3 days (72 hours). Mix well at least a few times a day.

Day 4

  1. Add 100 gms rock salt + 200 gms sea salt. Mix well.
  2. Leave in a bowl with the lid closed for 3 days (72 hours). Mix well at least a few times a day.

(A lot of salt preserves and cooks the pickle).

Day 6:

  1. Now the pickle is just about ready but requires one last step.
  2. In a pan, heat ghee then fry in the ghee:
    • mustard seeds till they pop.
    • Then cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds till they pop.
    • garlic, curry leaves and dry chilli until the garlic becomes golden colour.

Store the pickle in a glass jar and it is ready to be used.

This pickle gets better with age when stored in a glass jar.

Have you tried this amla pickle recipe? How did that go? Comment 👇