Day 57: Food: Effects on Mind, Body and Spirit

Sugar, Mind, and Behavior; Breaking the Food Seduction; Case Studies; Juice Feasting and Mental/Physical/Emotional Health; Alzheimer’s Disease; Nutrition and the Brain


Welcome to Day 57!

The information today began from Gabriel Cousens, M.D. in Conscious Eating, in which he introduces you to the powerful effects our food choices can have not only on the body, but on the emotional moods, mind, and spirit. The effect of diet on spiritual receptivity, strength of moral character, clarity of mind, and the enhancement of the spiritualizing energies in the body is something well known in the Judaic-Christian tradition as well as other traditions around the world. Food choices may have either a dulling or enhancing effect on our ability to receive God’s grace. Are you ready to consider how what you are eating may be affecting your mental and spiritual abilities?

Let Food Be Thy Medicine (from “Food: Effects on Mind, Body, and Spirit”)

HIPPOCRATES TAUGHT THIS MESSAGE IN 431 B.C., yet in the late twenti­eth century its meaning is just beginning to influence modern pub­lic and medical opinion in the West. Food can be looked upon as possessing several levels of energy. Particular energies exist within each food that affect our physical functioning, the nature of our thoughts, and even the expansion of our consciousness. The color of the outer coating of a food, the five (Chi­nese) or six tastes (Ayurvedic), their aromas (which I haven’t yet worked out), and the six qualities comprise several systems with which one can tune into these more specific food energies. Foods can also be classified by their shapes, yin or yang energy (Chinese), and the three gunas (mental state characteristics in Ayurveda).

For thousands of years different cultures have been aware that the types of food we eat have subtle effects on the mind. Herodotus, the Greek historian, reported that grain-eating vegetarian cultures surpassed meat-eating cultures in art, science, and spiritual development. It was his view that meat-eating nations tended to be more warlike and more focused on expres­sion of anger and sensual passions. It is said that the ancient Egyptian priest­hood ate specific foods to increase their spiritual sensitivity and awareness. In India today, the Brahmin priests still prepare their own food and eat sep­arately from people of other social classes. They also keep themselves on a vegetarian diet that is aimed at enhancing the subtle spiritual qualities of the mind. The implication of this practice is that the dietary patterns of a Social group affect the spiritual consciousness of that group. The logical extension of this is that the type of diet a whole nation follows may affect the mental state of that nation. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of biogenic gar­dening, the Waldorf School, and Anthroposophical medicine, felt that the spiritual progress of humanity as a whole would be enhanced by a pro­gressive increase in a vegetarian eating pattern. Conversely, he felt that overemphasis on a flesh-eating diet would exert a negative influence regard­ing an interest in spiritual life.

Fasting [Juice Feasting] and Mental/Physical/Emotional Health (Dr. Gabriel Cousens, M.D.)

FASTING IS PERHAPS THE SIMPLEST and most remarkable self-healing approach related to our food intake for rebalancing and clearing the body and mind and elevating the spirit. I call it the elixir of fasting. It is one of the greatest health benefits. Although classically defined as complete abstinence from food and water, in a larger context it means to abstain from that which is toxic to body, mind, and spirit. Fasting is the elixir of spiritual nutrition. I base this statement on my own experiences of fasting two to four times per year for seven to ten days’ duration each, my experience of one forty-day spiritual fast, a 21-day water fast, and my observation of the awesome body, mind, and spirit transformations of many people on my biannual, seven-day spiritual fasting retreats offered since 1988. Within four days of fasting, par­ticipants on the retreats have shared that their concentration improves, cre­ative thinking expands, depression lifts, insomnia stops, anxieties fade, and the mind becomes more tranquil. It is my hypothesis that when the body’s toxins have cleared from brain cells, mind-brain function greatly improves. I have also observed that a natural joy begins to make its appearance.

As early as 1917, Drs. Satterlee and Eldridge presented 518 cases at an American Med­ical Association conference that had mental symptoms which were cured by removing the intestinal toxemia. They reported symptoms of intestinal toxemia which are familiar to many people: mental sluggishness, dullness, and stupidity; loss of concentration and/or memory; mental incoordina­tion, irritability, lack of confidence, and excessive and useless worry; exag­gerated introspection, hypochondrias, and phobias; depression and melancholy; obsessions and delusions; and hallucinations, suicidal ten­dencies, delirium, and stupor. Senility symptoms are also common with intestinal toxemia.

Fasting [and Juice Feasting] is one of the best and quickest treatments for bowel toxicity. I have found in my research that the urinary indican was “markedly decreased” even after a seven-day fast. Phenols, another class of bowel toxins, have also been decreased significantly by fasting. The fasting process allows the bow­els to rest and the inflammation to subside. If there are no proteins on which to feed, the putrefactive bacteria will also diminish.

Breaking the Food Seduction

So why is it that we go after some foods in tough times, or just to relax? Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D. of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, and author of Breaking the Food Seduction, did an excellent presentation at the Vegsource Convention in 2003 on this very question. Dr. Barnard discusses the science behind food additions. Willpower is not to blame: chocolate, cheese, meat, and sugar release opiate-like substances. Dr. Barnard also discusses how industry, aided by government, exploits these natural cravings, pushing us to eat more and more unhealthy foods. A plant-based (vegan) diet is the solution to avoid many of these problems. This video seen at right is one of our favorites, and starts out with “How to Magnetize a Baby.”

Sugar, Mind, and Behavior (Dr. Gabriel Cousens)

The American Fast-Food Diet: In assessing the American fast-food diet, which is eaten by hundreds of millions in this country, it becomes obvious that this is a strong tamasic diet that also has stimulating rajasic overtones. This type of diet, along with its accompanying drug use, contributes to the fact that Americans rank 21st in life expectancy and number one in murders among the industrialized nations. According to federal statistics, the US has more than 20,000 murders per year, which is more deaths per year in peacetime than averaged in Vietnam during the war. Our society has become very violent.

Case Study: Mrs. Barbara Reed, Probation Officer

The link between a tamasic-type diet and social violence has been supported by consistent research findings on teenage offenders. When teenagers’ diets were changed from their typical high white sugar, fast-food, tamasic-type diet, a marked decrease in the teens’ acting-out, violent behavior occurred. For example, Mrs. Barbara Reed, a probation officer in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, found that when she switched offenders from what was essentially a tamasic diet of fast foods, et cetera, to a diet higher in fruits and vegetables, every one of the 252 teenagers in her case load stayed out of court as long as they maintained themselves on a healthy diet.

Study: Juvenile Delinquent White Sugar Consumption

A two-year, scientifically precise study with 267 subjects by Steven Schoenthaler, Ph.D., published in the Journal of Biosocial Research, showed that while the average American eats approximately 125 pounds of white sugar per year, juvenile delinquents in custody averaged about 300 pounds per year. When this sugar intake was significantly reduced, junk food was reduced, and fruits and vegetables were increased, there was a 48% decrease in antisocial behavior of all types, including violent crimes, crimes against property, and runaways. This was true for all ages and races. This amazing result was achieved simply by changing the diet with no cost to the taxpayer.


Please enjoy the excellent information today on this important topic for ourselves and the world. We can cultivate personal peace with dietary choices and body/mind awareness as foundations for social and global peace.

See you in The Green Room!


Nutrition and Behavior. Dr. Russell Blaylock's 2006 lecture at Belhaven College In this informative video, neurosurgeon and author, Dr. Russell Blaylock explains one of the most important connections between nutrition and our health- how nutrition affects our behavior. Citing a series of important studies on both juveniles and adults, he shows that good nutrition can powerfully enhance our memory, mood, and behavior in a socially desirable way.

Robb Wolf explains Why Quitting Junk Food Is Hard. (The Joe Rogan Experience #935)

Among many things, Palate Fatigue is an important takeaway from this discussion. Make sure to ADD SALT to your Juices and have non-caffeinated tea on your Juice Feast for Palate Variability :)

Breaking The Food Seduction by Dr. Neal Barnard
Neal Barnard MD discusses the science behind food additions. Willpower is not to blame: chocolate, cheese, and sugar release opiate-like substances. Dr. Barnard also discusses how industry, aided by government, exploits these natural cravings, pushing us to eat more and more unhealthy foods. Neal Barnard is the founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

Theme Music: “The Needle and the Damage Done” by Neil Young (Live, Unplugged)

Humor: Nutrigrain Ad: I Feel Greeeeat! (Not an endorsement of these bars… but this is how the food industry wants us to think we will feel on their processed foods!)


Elimination of MSG Stops Chronic Migraines.

Bestselling veg author John Robbins of Baskin-Robbins fame describes why he changed his diet. From the documentary Processed People. More info at

Humor: Lettuce Skit: Saturday Night Live (SNL)

Today’s Downloads

Food Effects Cover.png

food - effects on mind, body, and spirit

by Gabriel Cousens, M.D.

This information introduces you to the powerful effects our food choices can have not only on the body, but on the emotional moods, mind, and spirit. The effect of diet on spiritual receptivity, strength of moral character, clarity of mind, and the enhancement of the spiritualizing energies in the body is something well known in the Judaic-Christian tradition as well as other traditions around the world. Food choices may have either a dulling or enhancing effect on our ability to receive God’s grace. Are you ready to consider how what you are eating may be affecting your mind and spiritual sensitivity?

Alz Cover.png

Alzheimer’s disease

by David Rainoshek, M.A.

Alzheimer’s is being called “Type-3 Diabetes.” Why? Because diabetes is typified by low blood sugar to critical tissues, which has often been created by excess processed sugar and processed fats in the diet. Type-2 Diabetes is also a disease of stagnation and thickening or scarring of tissues. Recent research has shown that Alzheimer’s Disease is actually a low blood sugar condition to the brain, preceded by a processed diet and sedentary lifestyle.

Fortunately, there are numerous practices that can be brought to bear to reduce Alzheimer’s risk and even reverse the condition once the underlying causes have set the wheels in motion. Don’t miss this file. The information and research contained within is valuable for everyone of any age and dietary approach.

ALC Cover.png

nutrition and the brain: acetyl L-Carnitine

by David Rainoshek, M.A.

This amino acid is a master brain protectoragainst Alzheimer’s and Dementia… by slowing brain aging and optimizing brain function.

As we age, acetyl-L-carnitine levels in our brains go down, and for optimal brain function, supplements of acetyl-L-carnitine become mandatory. Particularly for those over forty, acetyl-L-carnitine may be the preferred form of carnitine.

The research on acetyl-L-carnitine is nothing short of extraordinary. Learn all about it in this file!

Online Articles

Impact of Food on Mood by Lynn Berry

Research has found that certain foods trigger particular brain chemicals which impact on our emotions for as long as two to three hours. Thus our diet can contribute to feeling positive or negative. Knowing what foods trigger which brain…

Great Books

By Dr. Neal Barnard, MD

Why is it so hard to resist the temptation of chocolate? Because chocolate triggers the release of natural opiates in the brain. It’s a drug “strong enough to keep us coming back for more,” according to nutritional researcher Neal Barnard, M.D., president and founder of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. Cheese also releases mild opiates during digestion–no wonder we crave it. In Breaking the Food Seduction, Barnard helps you understand and overcome your food cravings. He explains which foods “hook” us the most and why, and what to do to break free when you want to decrease the calories and fat that accompany these seductive foods. Cheese, for example, is about 70 percent saturated fat and has more cholesterol, ounce for ounce, than a steak.

Barnard offers seven steps to breaking your food cravings, devoting a chapter to each one, with anecdotes and plenty of clear, sound, practical tips. Then he presents guidelines for healthy eating using “the New Four Food Groups”–vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains–with a three-week menu plan and 113 healthful, vegan recipes. Highly recommended for people who want to understand their food cravings and finally get rid of them. –Joan Price –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

By Mireille Guiliano

Stylish, convincing, wise, funny, and just in time: the ultimate non-diet book, which could radically change the way you think and live – now with more recipes.French women don’t get fat, even though they enjoy bread and pastry, wine, and regular three-course meals. Unlocking the simple secrets of this “French paradox” – how they enjoy food while staying slim and healthy – Mireille Guiliano gives us a charming, inspiring take on health and eating for our times.For anyone who has slipped out of her Zone, missed the flight to South Beach, or accidentally let a carb pass her lips, here is a positive way to stay trim, a culture’s most precious secrets recast for the twenty-first century. A life of wine, bread – even chocolate – without girth or guilt? Pourquoi pas?

By Gabriel Cousens, MD

Not all depressions are alike. And despite the attention given to Prozac and other drugs, there quite literally is no magic pill. Instead, writes Dr. Gabriel Cousens, someone who suffers from depression needs a customized, individual program, one that attacks the personal, biochemical roots of the problem.

In Depression-Free for Life, Dr. Cousens shows how to heal depression safely by synergistically rebalancing what he calls “the natural drugs of the brain,” using a five-step program of mood-boosting substances, vitamin and mineral supplements, and a mood-enhancing diet and lifestyle. Grounded in cutting-edge science, yet accessible and safe, this book shows how to regain your optimism and energy through balancing your own biochemistry.

By Gary Null, PhD

Now, at a time when the effects of nutrition on mental health are becoming increasingly recognized and accepted by the general public, comes a completely revised tome from an early advocate of the subject: The Food-Mood Connection, by bestselling health and nutrition expert Gary Null, who was affectionately dubbed “the new Mister Natural” by Time magazine.

Drawing from up-to-the-minute research and patient testimonials, Null reveals how alternative, nutrition-based approaches can effectively treat many mental disorders, chronic conditions, and a variety of commonly misdiagnosed organic conditions. With participation from more than sixty-five alternative practitioners, this edition includes new chapters, protocols for health, updates on topics ranging from alcoholism and depression to food allergies and PMS, plus revised supplementary sections on Prozac and autism.

By Gary Null

Gary Null has guided and inspired entire generations of Americans to adopt healthier living habits, proving that being older doesn’t mean you have to look, feel, or accept the “inevitable” toll of years. In this revolutionary book, Null shows how to keep your brain fit and functional as you age.

With a wellness plan rooted in extensive research, scientific data, and hundreds of studies, Gary Null has developed a strategy that not only protects your brain, but helps to counter the common mental effects of aging, including anxiety, depression, memory loss, and insomnia, as well as more serious conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Whether you’re a baby boomer or a senior citizen, Null shows you steps you can take to stay mentally sharp.

By Greg Critser

According to Critser, almost half of all Americans use a prescription drug daily; one in six take three or more. What are the possible consequences of the staggering recent growth in the use of such drugs? Journalist Critser (Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World) lays out the cautionary facts in exquisite detail.

The saga of big pharma gives new meaning to the term “slippery slope”: none of it could have happened, he says, absent Reaganite deregulatory fervor, which led to the taking of several bold risks, most of which were perceived in the 1980s, even by drug makers, to be “downright dangerous”—including direct-to-consumer promotion (DTC) and the advent of off-label marketing—drug manufacturers encouraging doctors to prescribe medications for maladies for which the FDA has not approved their use.

Some of this territory about our growing dependence on prescription drugs and the impact of DTC advertising was covered last year by Marcia Angell and others, yet it’s a story worth heeding again in the wake of the recent furor over Vioxx. Critser’s account is solid, thorough and told with vigor.

Media, Films, & Documentaries

Foods for Protecting the Body & Mind | A Presentation | Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D.

Mind, Body, Spirit Series: Featuring clinical researcher, author, and health advocate Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D. Dr. Barnard is the founding president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and an adjunct associate professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He is the author of fifteen books, including best-selling titles Power Foods for the Brain, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, and Dr. Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes. This conversation was recorded Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado. The Murdock Mind, Body, Spirit Series reflects the founding principles of the Aspen Institute – a commitment to nurturing the ‘whole’ individual – by bringing a range of experts, innovators, and leaders to Aspen to discuss their research and share the latest revelations about the link between mindfulness, physical activity, and emotional well-being.

Addiction | Dr. Russell Blaylock

Whether it be alcoholism, drug addiction or gambling, problems with addiction can be found throughout the world and it is an unfortunate aspect of the human condition. On this episode, Dr. Russell Blaylock shows that no matter what the addiction may be the biological mechanisms behind these various conditions are essentially the same.

Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World | Documentary on Aspartame

Narrator Cori Brackett had a strange cause-and-effect experience with the diet cokes she was drinking and quickly found herself disabled and diagnosed with MS.

Slowly able to walk and speak again, she believes her illness is linked to aspartame. She is a co-owner of a video/film production company. After 7000 miles, and 25 hours of footage, "Sweet Misery" will reveal one of the most pervasive, insidious forms of corporate negligence since tobacco.

I Am Active

This Is Why Working Out Makes You Happy (It's Not Endorphins) | Thomas DeLauer

This Is Why Working Out Makes You Happy (It's Not Endorphins) - Thomas DeLauer. If I could feel like I feel at the end of a workout all the time, I don't think there's anything that I wouldn't be able to do.

And I know that you know the feeling. I'm going to talk today about what actually makes you physically feel good and mentally feel good during and after a workout. And I've got a little bit of a teaser for you. It's not endorphins. Let's talk about what makes you feel good in the brain when you're working out, and if you know this, you're going to start to learn how you can maximize and how you can capitalize on it.

First and foremost, it's not endorphins. Believe it or not, people always associate that runner's high or that exercise high with endorphins, and a lot of studies have measured endorphins and we do know that endorphins elevate during a workout or during activity. But here's the thing, endorphins don't cross the blood-brain barrier. They can help your body feel good, they can even help your organs function better, they can even better different catecholamines, they can help different actions within the body and they can help loosen you up, so they're not a bad thing at all; they're really good. But the blood-brain barrier, so they're not affecting your mood.

So what exactly is going on? Well, it's something completely different and it's a whole different world, and it's called anandamide. You see, anandamide is a neurotransmitter/endocannabinoid and what that means is that it acts on the body in a completely different way. You see, what endocannabinoid is just like the name implies. It works on the cannabinoid receptors in the body. We're talking things like cannabis, we're talking things like cannabidiol oil, the way that those make you feel? That's the way that endocannabinoids work, and that's why when you're working out or when you're running and you're getting that runner's high, you're having that feeling. That feeling of bliss, that feeling of where there's no pain.

And the whole idea behind that is that's exactly what endocannabinoids do and that's exactly what certain neurotransmitters do, is they block pain. In fact, the word anandamide comes from the Sanskrit word bliss. We're literally talking about bliss, where you don't feel pain, you don't feel that stress. It's really remarkable what exercise does in the way of anandamide, and here's how it actually works in the body.

Anandamide increases something known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Now, I talk about this a lot. I think there's probably 10 or 12 videos where I mention BDNF, but in this particular case, we're going to talk about it from a slightly different angle. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is brain fertilizer. It's what helps grow new brain cells, but not only does it trigger the brain stem cells to produce new cells, it also protects the existing brain cells, which is exactly what we're feeling when we're getting that high, when we're working out.

You see, a massive influx of calcium that is a response to stress whenever we're working out is what's triggering this. That massive increase in stress and that massive increase in calcium activates what are called transcription factors, and these transcription factors trigger the release of particular neurotransmitters that trigger more BDNF. All that has to do with this chain reaction, and when we have more BDNF, we have more neurons, which means we have more response to different things. We're more in touch with ourselves, we feel more alive, we feel more alert.

But the cool thing is the protective process. What ends up happening is that BDNF protects the old neurons. It keeps them from dying, but it also makes them more resilient.