Juice Feasting™ | The Preparation Course
The Spectrum of Diet: Integral Transformative Nutrition
An Introduction by David Rainoshek, M.A.
What follows is my brief synopsis of The Spectrum of Diet, which I have been teaching and developing for clients and students over the last decade. What you are about to see began to take form in 2006, when I began studying Ken Wilber’s work while finishing my M.A. in Vegan/Live Food Nutrition with Dr. Gabriel Cousens, M.D., working as his Research Assistant on There is a Cure for Diabetes.
After many years of nutritional practice, research, writing, and coaching, I have arrived at an overall map of the various ways we eat. I call it The Spectrum of Diet: Integral Transformative Nutrition, which is an Integral approach to Diet, Nutrition, and Health.
In our modern era, most of us are dietarily confused, caught between a dizzying carnival of make-believe mythic cereal-box and fast-food characters, reductionistic-science flavorist-created Excitotoxin-laden foods superstimulating our biochemistry, ad-agency sexed up electric kool-aid commercialization, conflicting scientific studies professing the importance of food and lifestyle – no, genes! – on our health. We live in a wasteland of food and nutritional/medical/holistic health approaches, in bad need of a good map, a vehicle (better than the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile) to navigate the territory, with directions more fundamental, and all-inclusive…
THE SPECTRUM OF DIET (TM)
Inspired by the Integral Approach of Ken Wilber and the Integral Institute, and using my expertise (both personally and professionally) across the Spectrum of Diet, from Junk Food (I used to pour sugar in my Coca-Cola) all the way to Raw/Live Plant-Based Nutrition and an Integral Dietetic, I have used Ken’s Integral Approach as a guiding means to develop The Spectrum of Diet: Integral Transformative Nutrition. For a good overview of Ken’s work, visit www.IntegralLife.com and www.KenWilber.com.
When you count all the foods, diets, and advocates out there, what you find are dizzying thousands of possible dietary permutations—many of which give you a piece of the puzzle, but don’t offer much help in putting their own suggestions into a larger dietary perspective.
One is left without a map of the territory, and is therefore often lost in a dietary wasteland for decades, still no better suited in understanding how far up the Spectrum one needs to go—or can go—to transform their health challenge, and in short create increasing order and depth as a holon (an organized whole of integrated, lower-order wholes).
Every dietary methodology in existence will fit predominantly into one stage, or level of the Spectrum of Diet.
While many diets and practitioners will advocate higher levels or condone “moderation” at lower levels, we should think in terms of the center of gravity of a diet or practitioner.
As we will discover, when it comes to prevention of disease, and particularly reversal of our health challenges, the conventional understanding of moderation and its’ attractive appearance of intelligent balance is anything but prudence and wisdom, and more like arrested development, reductionism, quadrant absolutism…
Even integrative nutritional approaches generally lack an understanding of personal interior and collective interior developmental states and stages (such as one’s stages of cognitive, moral, interpersonal, values, or worldview development and a culture’s development of collective worldviews).
A GROWTH HIERARCHY
The Spectrum of Diet can be functionally used as a growth hierarchy of dietary development, essentially based on a continuum from low life-force foods to high life-force foods, or shallow food heaps and holons to Deep Food holons (or Deep Foods, as I call them), with benefits that arise internally and externally for individuals and groups, including the individual-interior, exterior-physical, cultural, and social).
For our discussion here, this hierarchy is suited to westernized cultures who have progressed—ha-ha!—far enough to have seen the near simultaneous arising of both ends of the spectrum, Twinkees to Spirulina, Junk Food to and Raw/Live Plant-Based and finally Juice Feasting (which is more of a periodic Life Practice).
A CRITICAL METHODOLOGY
The Spectrum of Diet, once established, becomes a critical methodology for assessing the nutritional approach of practitioners or even activists (social or cultural) aiming to heal specific conditions (individual, collective, ecological, etc).
Every practitioner or advocate will find their center of gravity somewhere on the Spectrum of Diet, and that can help us identify where they are doing well, and where they may be partial vis-à-vis goals of health in any quadrant, line, level, state, and type.
INTERVIEW: KEVIN GIANNI INTERVIEWS DAVID RAINOSHEK on THE SPECTRUM of DIET (2011)
After Kevin Gianni’s admirable Great Health Debate in 2011, I contacted my colleague Kevin to share my insights and experiences with the raw food diet over the past 10 years or so. With so many knowledgeable - yet seemingly divergent - nutritional perspectives and practices offered during the Great Health Debate, I thought it might be helpful for a conversation on how to bring it all together for everyone.
We chatted on the phone for a while, set up and interview, and this was my first public explanation of The Spectrum of Diet including a stage beyond Raw/Live Vegan, that of practicing an Integrated or Integral Approach to Food and Nutrition.
What Kevin and I recorded was a 2 hour interview, which you can enjoy and download below to get a more conversational presentation of The Spectrum of Diet.
SHORT SYNOPSIS OF MAIN POINTS on THE SPECTRUM of DIET
In this short synopsis of the Spectrum of Diet, I will be using some ideas from the work of American philosopher and writer Ken Wilber. If you have not read the work of Ken Wilber, there are terms and conceptions used below that may need some unpacking for you. I highly suggest reading Ken Wilber’s book A Theory of Everything to get an excellent background on the Integral perspectives I am applying to what follows.
Okay, here we go:
The developmental line of nutrition in westernized societies unfolds as a stages progression, involving a shift in values from self care to universal care; or from me to us to all of us. Seeing nutrition as a line of development is a very, very useful orientation. One could argue, however, that with the prevalence of infant formula use such as Similac, and parents feeding their kids Coca-Cola that we are almost starting at the Junk Food level).
Each stage of the Spectrum of Diet involves including and transcending, with the subject of one stage becoming the object of the subject of the next, and playing out the four factors for vertical transformation, Fulfillment, Dissonance, Insight, and Opening.
Looked at from the perspective of The Great Nest of Spirit (matter to body to mind to soul to spirit), food is lower, and thus more fundamental to higher growth and development up the Great Nest. If nutritional development is not taken into account, it can act as a stage pathology that will prevent higher growth.
The predominant orientation to diet and nutrition is translative (make me happy with whatever food I want) as opposed to transformative (help me develop my health, AQAL).
Health is more importantly an ability instead of a state. Health is the ability of a Holon to maintain and restore order, and not merely a state of apparent wellness.
A food or dietary approach that honors the most depth in each quadrant (interior, exterior, individual, and collective), and considers the development of other developmental lines and their stages, states, and types are Deep Foods. See these 4 quadrants below:
We can also speak of diet and nutrition in terms of Depth and Span: Caloric Span and Nutrient Depth. The western diet has pathological Caloric Span, and insufficient Nutrient Depth. The higher we move up the Spectrum of Diet, the more appropriate the Caloric Span is, and the deeper the Nutrient Depth can be.
Flatland nutrition is the predominant methodology in the western world – and is RH reductionism (see the two right-hand quadrants in the image at left) that arose with orange modernity (or scientific materialism focused on or held as more real physical externals rather than immaterial internals of individuals and groups).
Foods that themselves are deep holons, and maintained as such through growth, delivery, and preparation will maintain order of the human holon.
The Law of Complexity and Consciousness is definitely in play when it comes to food and its effects on human development – including stages of consciousness.
The Law of Complexity and Consciousness was coined by Teilhard de Chardin to signify the way evolutionary unfoldings occur in the Kosmos. As the organized complexity of any holon increases, the amount of consciousness behind the development of that holon, and the behavior of the consciousness grows to higher levels of being and knowing. For example a single cell is wonderful, but a group of cells forming your liver is more wonderful, and more significant than your liver is the human being using it for even higher-level capacities and expressions). So, the “deeper” your food is, the more consciousness is contained within, and the greater mind it develops when eaten.
There exist potential stage pathologies, dietary shadows, and disowned dietary voices at every level of the Spectrum of Diet.
Boomeritis Diet and Nutrition is rampant. (Read Ken Wilber’s book Boomeritis for more on that topic). Basically, Boomeritis is a high capacity for knowledge and awareness combined with a rampant narcissism (self-love in ignorance of the needs of others). In other words, there is a lot of healthy eating going on out there for self alone… and yet many of us are focused on Eating as An Act of Love for all beings.
Every non-pathological nutritional practitioner speaks the truth from level of the Spectrum of Diet from which they are speaking.
The Spectrum of Diet, because of its approach using Integral Methodological Pluralism (basically, honoring a multitude of truth-claims and perspectives), serves as both a developmental sequence and a Critical Methodology including every dietary approach ever practiced in the western world, helping us understand the multiplicity of dietary methodologies, their place in the Spectrum of Diet, and thus where they are right, partial, and confused.
When it comes to masculine and feminine types, masculine freedom eats what it wants (leading to more opportunist male eaters and very hard-won nutritional discoveries among men), and feminine fullness can find itself fused with food (leading to more eating disorders among women and more conscious eating among women).
The mainstream media and thus much of society do not know the difference between prerational dietary madness (such as the bulimic vegan) and postrational dietary excellence (such as an informed Plant-Based or Integrated eater). We need a developmental and Integrated approach to dietetics that explains both health and pathologies of diet at every level of the Spectrum of Diet.
There are means to encourage and accelerate nutritional development through stages, without creating stages pathologies, and part of that involves The Spectrum of Diet’s proper placement in ILP.
The Spectrum of Diet has benefits at every stage:
Junk Food / Enjoyment
Fast Food/ Efficiency
Standard American / Communion
Whole Foods / Nutrition
Vegetarian / Kindness
Vegan / Compassion & Empathy
Raw-Live Plant-Based / Vibrance and Life
Integrated / Inclusiveness, Re-Integration, Understanding
As we move up the Spectrum, it is important to include each of the positive aspects (listed above) from our prior dietary practices. Your life is not one of dietary indiscretions – everything you have ever done has meaning and purpose that you can put to good service for yourself and others now and for the rest of your life!
For more on the Spectrum of Diet, be on the lookout for the book on this incredibly important topic from David Rainoshek!