by: Kevin Gianni
Kevin: Dr. Rick Dina, it's great to have you on the program.
Rick: I'm happy to be here. Thank you.
Kevin: So, for those people who don't know who you are and what you represent why don't you talk a little bit about your background and where you come from.
Rick: OK, well I, like a lot of people, grew up in the standard American way eating a regular, crummy diet and like a lot of kids, drinking beer and doing other things that weren't so healthy. I finally got sick of that and in 1986 started studying raw food nutrition, excuse me, started studying sports nutrition, trying to get myself a little bit healthier. I was a freshman in college at that time. Then from there went on to learn about natural hygiene and after that Viktora Kulvinskas, Anne Wigmore, Hippocrates approach. So really I've been a raw food vegan since 1987. So 21 years now. I've figured a few things out in that time.
It's made a tremendous difference in my health and well-being. I've been a chiropractor since 1997. So I've been in chiropractic practice for the last ten years. I incorporate nutrition into my practice as well as my wife and I now, for the last couple of years…basically at this point we teach raw food nutrition.
After I got out of chiropractic school I spent four years at a place called TrueNorth Health
Education Center, which is a water-fasting facility here in Northern California. During the time there I got to witness people recovering from high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, debilitating autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, by just having people drink water. Not giving them any supplements, any nutrients, not doing any kind of radical therapies, just allowing their body to rest and heal. I just got an enormous amount of clinical experience seeing what can happen when you really let the body heal itself. So that was a great experience.
After that I went and taught at a place called Bastyr University. They train naturopathic doctors. My wife actually was going to school there. Then we moved back to California and we've been in our own practice for the last five years doing chiropractic and teaching raw food nutrition.
Kevin: Your course is called The Science of Raw Food Nutrition.
Kevin: I think, in my own opinion, that sometimes the science gets muddied and that people misunderstand it. It's hard to get to the mainstream without having something very solid behind it. So what do you think are some of the biggest issues with the science and why did you delve into it to such an extent?
Rick: Great question. Part of that is because I'm just kind of nerdy and I like that stuff. I like reading about scientific things and seeing how it all fits together and being analytical in that way. You're right, there's so much confusion out there. Part of initially why I wanted to delve into it was because I was trying to educate myself about how all this stuff works. Initially of course, the first thing that comes up is, "Where do you get your protein?" Then you hear the other things, "What about iron and B12?" And, "If you become a vegetarian you're going to be anemic. You need to eat fish for your Omega-3 fats," and all that kind of stuff. Really out of trying to educate myself and make sense out of it I started to delve into the science.
Unfortunately there's a lot of confusion out there and there's a lot of things that tend to steer people in the wrong direction toward health whereas if they knew the facts they'd actually go back in the right direction. Another key thing with that is the whole understanding of blood sugar. People are afraid of carbohydrates, they're afraid of fresh fruit because of the carbs in there and they think that's going to make them diabetic. But as it turns out some of the different diet programs that actually help people reverse diabetes are actually very high in healthy carbohydrates and much lower in fat and moderate in protein.
Kevin: You mentioned about five things; you mentioned iron, B12, protein, carbohydrates and nitrosamines, these five things. These are huge issues in the raw food community. Can we go through each five of those?
Rick: Yeah, let's go through them. Absolutely.
Rick: Why don't we start with blood sugar regulation because that's a really interesting one and it also gets into some other topics of what they call within the scientific literature "cooked food toxins."
Rick: It's a little complicated but we'll try to tie some things together there.. OK, well first of all we all hear that carbs are bad for us. Whether it's a mango or a banana or brown rice or a Snickers bar or jellybeans, whatever, it's all carbohydrates. That's a huge mistake. Some carbohydrates make your blood sugar rise gradually and go back down gradually and others make it spike up very quickly. So not all carbohydrates are the same.
Secondarily, the big issue with blood sugar regulation doesn't really have that much to do with carbohydrates. It has to do with when people eat unhealthy fats, saturated animal fats, processed hydrogenated oils. Those fats actually become part of our cell membranes. So with fat we literally are what we eat.
Now when we talk about blood sugar we've got glucose, or sugar, in the blood and what that has to do is it has to get into our cells. Glucose is our primary source of fuel, so like gasoline it's kind of reactive. So when you get high levels of that in your bloodstream it actually reacts with other things. It reacts with LDL cholesterol and actually damages it. Damaged LDL cholesterol contributes to cardiovascular disease. It can actually interact with the lining of our arterial walls and cause things called cross-links where glucose actually glues the collagen strands of the protein of our arterial walls together and when you form these cross-links then your arteries aren't as flexible as they're supposed to be. So when your heart pumps the top number of the blood pressure is how much pressure the blood is exerting against the wall of your arteries. When your arteries are flexible and they give a little bit that's good. When too much glucose has created cross-links within the lining of your arteries and your arteries are stiffer, when your heart pumps then the arteries don't give and your blood pressure goes up. So we don't want too much glucose in the bloodstream. That's part of why when people with diabetes have high levels of glucose they have dramatically increased risks for cardiovascular disease, even more than the average population, which is too high for lots of reasons..
So anyway, your body doesn't want too much glucose in the blood but it does want to get it into the cells because glucose is the main source of fuel, the preferred source of fuel, for pretty much all of our cells. So to go from the blood into the cells you've got to go through the cell membrane. The cell membrane separates the outside of the cell from the inside of the cell. That cell membrane, getting back to fat, is made largely out of fat and it's made out of the fat that we eat. Now when we eat too many unhealthy fats, like the Standard American Diet is made out of, domesticated animals and processed foods, our cell membranes have the wrong kind of fats in there. Each particular fatty acid has different physical and electrical characteristics. So when we have too much unhealthy fat and not enough healthy fat our cell membranes can't work properly and that causes insulin. Insulin is the hormone that brings glucose from the blood into the cells; insulin can't work right when we've got the wrong mix of fats in our cell membranes. As a result of that the glucose stays in the blood and it doesn't go into the cells. Then we get all those reactions in the bloodstream that increase our risk for cardiovascular disease.
So when we clean up fat, when we eat healthful fats like Omega-3 fats that we can talk about in a little bit, and we get rid of the animal fats and the processed junk food fats, insulin works properly and then no matter what you eat the glucose is going to much more easily get into the cells, which means it's not stuck in the blood. And the blood sugar levels are going to drop.
To use a non-raw food example the Pritikin Longevity Center did a study a number of years ago, and they continue to do this all the time. But one that happened to make it into the scientific literature, where they took 60 people with Type II or adult onset diabetes and they put them on a diet with 80% of the calories from carbohydrates, 10% from protein and 10% from fat, so clearly a high-carb diet. But they weren't giving them Snickers bars and jellybeans they were giving people fruits and vegetables and brown rice and potatoes and whole, natural, high-fiber plant foods. Their diabetes reduced dramatically in their 26-day program. Most of the people got off of their insulin. Most of the people got off of their medications. Their blood sugar level went from an average of 195 to 145, a number of improvements. Dr. John MacDougal and other people have done similar studies that find the same thing. So even on a higher carbohydrate diet than they were eating before their blood sugar actually went down because they got rid of the fat, they made the cell membranes work right and insulin could get the glucose from the blood stream into the cells. So that's really good news.
So when people eat a lot of fruits and vegetables they don't have to worry about their
carbohydrates because their cell membranes are working properly and their blood sugar stays under control like it should. So hopefully that helps clear up that one big misconception because I've heard a lot of people say, "Well I can't eat fruit because my blood sugar's going to go crazy." It doesn't work that way because fruit doesn't have the unhealthy fat that causes insulin resistance.
Alpha Lipoic Acid