Successful Veganism

by Gabriel Cousens, M.D., M.D.(H)

This eWellness letter is an article discussing the safety and importance of vegan live foods. It is unique in that it is an honest discussion of some of the potential individual issues of fear, ignorance and rigidity unscientific idealism in the live foods movement today, that potentially get in the way of being really healthy on the vegan live food diet lifestyle. It is an article of support to help people become successful and face the fear-based arguments that one may come up against on a vegan live food diet.

Many of these issues arise because of lack of education on live foods and listening to proclaimed experts who often have a few years in living the live food lifestyle or lack much of a medical background, or are ego fixated to a particular idealistic theory rather than being open to scientific inquiry.

From this mess arises the legitimate skeptic who because of his or her failure on the live food diet and lifestyle begins to focus primarily on the problems and not the solutions. My work in the past thirty five years is to constantly see the issues and look for the solutions so people can be successful. My books Spiritual Nutrition and the Rainbow Diet, Conscious Eating, Depression Free for Life and Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine plus the work on B12 insufficiency, as well as my forth coming book Spiritual Nutrition — the six foundations for spiritual life and the awakening of kundalini — have given my clients practically a 100% success rate on an organic, vegan, individualized to your constitution, high mineral, low glycemic, well hydrated diet and balanced lifestyle. It is from this context that this article is a reply to the fear filled, but valid concerns of the skeptic.

The skeptics have touched on some important issues in the raw food movement. I acknowledge the skeptics courage to speak up and challenge the trend of unscientific idealism and ignorance that has led to a certain amount of difficulty in the success of the live food movement. The skeptics’ position also reflects the issues of fear and ignorance. Over the last thirty-five years of clinical experience, seeing thousands of people on vegan and lives food diets, my work has been to figure out specifically how to make a live food diet safe and successful.

We must understand that the main reason for eating live food for small spiritually advanced groups has been a focus on divine union, not longevity. Examples of these groups are the Essenes, the ancient Rishis in India, advanced Taoists, and the Mormons whose inner circle and spiritual leader Joseph Smith were live foodists. For these people their healthy diet and longevity is really by-product of a spiritual path. At this point, I’ve established basic successful live food approaches in Conscious Eating, The Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine and Spiritual nutrition and the rainbow diet, that support spiritual life and general physical and mental well being. It is my experience with thousands of people, not just a few anecdotes, that we can be essentially 100% successful on a live food vegan diet, which is the most spiritually powerful and healing for the planet.

The key principle to the live food vegan life style is individualizing the diet. To be successful one must individualize the diet according to one’s constitution: some people need a higher protein source input, some need a lower protein source input, some need higher fat, and some need lower fat. Everyone needs a certain amount of short, medium and long chain Omega 3 fatty acids, in the form of purslane, hempseed, alpanizon flos algae and golden yellow algae, which are now clearly attainable on a live food diet. The second principle is that a live, vegan, highly mineralized, high hydration, low-glycemic, organic, diet with B12 supplementation is successful for 99-100% of the population. Those two principles cover the whole thing.

The physical and mental suffering that skeptics unfortunately experienced are classic symptoms of B12 deficiency. Based on my research, B12 deficiency is the main problem facing vegans, in general, as well as live fooders. A B12 deficiency can lead to a number of chronic diseases and difficulties including heart, nervous system, brain, as well as chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression. One aspect is that B12 raises the homocysteine, a lack of which makes one more susceptible to heart attacks and nervous system disorders. I have pointed out these issues in my last two e-wellness letters. This is the final key of knowledge that makes a live food diet very workable and safe.

Unfortunately in our live food movement and in the vegan movement we have unscientific idealists who believe you shouldn’t have supplementation. They are the ones the skeptics are complaining about. The ones who would rather die than give up their theories of how it should be. The symptoms that the skeptics had and that other people have suffered in the live food movement are classical B12 deficiency symptoms. One of the most famous B12 deficiency cases is seen with Johnny Lovewisdom. He was on a hard-core fruitarian diet and created a fruitarian community in South America. It was a total disaster. Johnny Lovewisdom suffered many of the same symptoms that the skeptics did. I examined this B12 issue in many articles and I explore it in greater detail in my new book “Spiritual Nutrition.” Even though I have been bitterly attacked by vegan and Natural Hygiene idealists for suggesting that we should do something as “unholy” as take a supplement, it is clear to me that that is the solution to being vegan at this time in history if we do not want to be lacto-vegetarians.

However, while I agree with the skeptic on the points mentioned, I object to his comments when he is associating live foods with death. This is a classic media fear technique. For example, there was a recent news report about the deaths of three high school wrestlers who died after putting on rubber suits and riding stationary bikes in a sauna to lose weight. Their deaths were linked to creatine, which has an amazing safety record, rather than to dehydration. This kind of logic results in false conclusions and unrealistic fear. Paavo Airola, a lacto-vegetarian died at age 69. Can we, with integrity, say he died because he was a lacto-vegetarian and took supplements?

People on any diet can bring imbalance to their bodies such as the deaths from the high protein diets reported in the news a few years ago. People die from B12 deficiency (pernicious anemia), acute viral myocarditis, the flu, etc. It is also definitely possible to activate “food trips” and anorexia on any sort of diet. This is not the fault of the diet. It is the responsibility of the individual and of those who create fear and simplified conclusions. Making unsubstantiated guilt by associations amplifies ignorance and fear. Even meat-eaters die from anorexia. My one contact (although I never saw him in person) with such a death was a hard-core macrobiotic advocate who refused to change his diet. These unfortunate and inexcusable deaths should be associated with idealists and extremists, not with a thoughtful, common sense live food diet. It is the extremists who have created an ego-self-righteous environment where people hurt themselves and suppress reality as the skeptics point out.

The issue of supplementation is very interesting. As far back as 1936 the U.S. Congress said that 99% of the population are deficient in minerals.. In my extensive clinical experience, I have not seen anyone, meat-eater or vegan, who does not have some deficiency in minerals and doesn’t need some supplementation. There is no diet in the world that doesn’t have deficiencies because of the excess environmental and emotional stresses people face today beyond anything we have known in history. My solution is the same as other healthy leaders in the live food movement such as David Wolfe and Viktoras Kulvinskas. The answer is the use of super nutrition and of some supplementation.

The skeptic focuses exclusively on the unhealthy extremist spectrum of the live food movement. We can instead acknowledge the thousands of healthy people like myself (I have been on live foods for 25 years), David Wolfe. David and I compiled a list over-forty, incredibly healthy people who have been on a live food for twenty years or more. Why has the skeptic chosen to ignore Dr. Gerson’s work of fifty cured cases of cancer written in the 1950s and Dr. Szekeley report of 123,000 people healed on live foods in his Mexico clinic from 1940-1970? Why has the skeptic focused on the so-called live food “experts” who neither “walk their talk” nor even know how to “walk their talk” while ignoring the legitimate information from people who are successful? My books Conscious Eating and Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine and the “Conscious Eating” courses at the Tree of Life make practical success at live foods realistic and attainable over time if one puts in the appropriate self-effort. Obviously I agree with the important issues Nazariah has raised of fear, ignorance, false idealism, extremism, and confusing a health crisis with a passing healing or detox crisis, but am offering more life affirming and sustaining solutions.

The issue of protein that the skeptics bring up is a theory that was developed by Frances Moore Lapp who developed the concept of protein combining. This concept the skeptic recites is physiologically unsound and inaccurate. I believe that as early as 1981 Frances Moore Lapp herself agreed that her concept of protein combining was totally inaccurate. Paavo Airola in his book Are You Confused points out and cites ten studies where people are able to live for extended periods of time on 20 grams of protein per day” that is less than two tablespoons of spirulina. Vegans and live fooders are able to get inordinate amounts of healthy protein from protein concentrated food, besides nuts and seeds, from sources such as spirulina, chlorella, bee pollen and hemp seed protein concentrates. There are people who need very high amounts of protein according to their constitution. These people do quite successfully when they use these concentrated protein foods. They absolutely do not need dairy, fish or chicken for protein. In fact, recent research has shown that vegetarian protein is superior to flesh-based protein because vegetarian protein has certain elements that seem to decrease insulin resistance.

This is new research I find fascinating. Up until now, such famous institutes such as the Max Planck Institute in Germany, as well as the various nutritional organizations and journals in the United States have all agreed that vegetarian protein is equal to a meat-based protein. The American Dietetic Association says that pure vegetarian diet contains twice the protein required for daily need. The well-known British journal Lancet says that vegetarian protein is no longer considered second class. The Max Planck Institute reports that vegetarian proteins are superior, if not equal to meat protein. The Journal of Clinical Nutrition says we only need 2.5% of our total calories as protein. When even the conventional journals honor vegetarian protein as complete, why suggest fish which is filled with mercury, PCBs, etc., which have been associated with a variety of problems as I point out in detail in Conscious Eating and Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine? The other area to discuss is milk and dairy. It is clearly true that the Essenes, as far as I and other researchers can tell, were live food lacto-vegetarians. However in the context of the issues we face today 2000 years later this fact is not relevant. The issue of environmental pollution makes it unwise to have dairy in any form. The use of dairy and fish (dairy for B12 supplementation and fish and meat for protein supplementation) is unnecessary, risky, and highly detrimental. In Conscious Eating and Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine, I discuss the neurotoxin and cancer dangers from pesticides and herbicides, and genetically engineered food.

Why is this? Cooked dairy available in stores is unhealthy because of hormones, antibiotics, genetically engineered BgH, pesticides, herbicides and it is pasteurized and homogenized. The issue of pollution is intense. Cows concentrate pollution and carry 5.5 times higher pollutants than vegetables. The breast milk of mothers who are vegan has 1% the pesticides and herbicides of non-vegans. The Chernobyl disaster points to the dangers of eating dairy which no amount of fermenting can remove. Three months after Chernobyl, peri-natal mortality in the Boston area increased 900%. This was traced to the fact that concerned pregnant mothers were drinking a lot of milk (this includes goats and organic cows as well). These animals were eating a lot of grass, which they do obviously. Unfortunately the grass contained fallout from Chernobyl. This radioactive I131 was poisoning the fetuses and children. This dairy came from animals whose bodies had concentrated the radioactive toxins from the environment.

Studies from Denmark show that milk from leukemic cows increased the rate of children with leukemia. Another study showed that 100% of monkeys who drank milk from leukemic cows got leukemia after one year. The cows were passing on disease vectors in their milk. According to Robert Cohen at, milk ranges from 633 million pus cells per liter in Florida to 236 million pus cells per liter in Montana.

Now we have to look at the most important disease from ingesting animals and animal products. We call it Mad Cow Disease. It is both hidden and not so hidden. According to the Friends of the Earth Journal and also personal communications, several autopsy studies in the U.S. show, that between 3 and 13% of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are actually suffering from Creutzfeldt Jakobs Disease (CJD). This is the human form of Mad Cow Disease. This is a pretty serious statement. We deny that it actually exists in the U.S. and the government is doing very little to stop it except to avoid reporting it. The danger is alarming. It only takes one gram of diseased cow tissue–we’re not talking about the nervous system or brain, which has the highest amount of the prions–but just one gram of diseased tissue to infect a cow. Just one gram! And there are many loopholes to the controls in the present system. For example, farmers are allowed to feed calves cattle blood as a substitute for milk despite the finding that blood can transmit the disease.

How can we continue to believe that U.S. beef is safe when more than forty countries have banned import of American beef. This is significant. There is an implication, according to the Friends of the Earth, that as many as 120,000 cases of Creutzfeldt Jakobs Disease (CJD), Mad Cow Disease, in the U.S. that are excluded from the statistics. Getting accurate statistics is difficult because the U.S. Center for Disease Control still refuses to make CJD a reportable disease. It is a fact that our fish, deer and elk now have Mad Cow Disease. It is spreading throughout the United States and our organic cows are not even safe from it. This is what we do know: Anyone who consumes dairy is at high-risk.

As if this danger of Mad Cow Disease were not enough, there are many other problems involved with dairy. Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine, research in the Fungal/Mycotoxin Etiology of Human Disease vol. 2, 1994 cites milk as having 5 million pathogenic organisms per cup, eggs 37 million per egg, and fish and chicken 337 million ounce. The average American diet is 750 million to 1 billion pathogenic organisms per meal while the average vegan diet is 500 pathogenic organisms per meal. This is a difference of up to 2 million times more per meal. Ignorance and fear does not do well with facts, but here they are. One interesting anecdote is that two of my live food clients who had perfect blood on the dark field test showed up with blood filled with many pathogenic microorganisms. I asked them both what they were doing that was different. Both said they were drinking organic goat’s milk from a range fed goat. To complete the spontaneous experiment I asked them to stop the goats milk. Three weeks later, both of their blood on the dark field was perfect.

There are so many problems with dairy that Indian yogis that come from India will not even drink the milk of the United States because they get sick from it. Ayurveda recognizes that poorly prepared dairy products from badly treated cows increases mucus and toxins in the system, clogs the nadis and turns milk into a poison. In ancient times milk was rasa and was very healthy but today’s milk is ama or toxin. Cows are generally mistreated; cows are given estrogens and antibiotics that come into the system. Mentally the dairy industry has turned the cow into a machine. It used to be that the cow was allowed to give milk to its calf first — only the leftover milk was taken for humans. The dairy industry removes calves from their mothers and slaughters the calf. The cow suffers because she knows that her calf is going to be killed and the stress causes toxins to be secreted in their milk. Cows are mistreated in many ways: confined to pens, milked by machines, produced through artificial insemination and genetically redesigned to produce more milk that is healthy for them. They swallow hormones, antibiotics, fish and sheep parts and who knows what else. Most of the milk today then, besides being pasteurized and homogenized, which further weakens its life force, is a degenerated food filled with fear, the pain of death and enslavement, with very little energy in it, very little love and very little nourishment. Milk taken from an organically treated cow is still going to have concentrated pesticides and herbicides and has the risk to being exposed to the mad cow disease because it is a cross-species disease.

The last question that comes up is the question of longevity. Studies vary. I am not familiar with the studies that the skeptics cite. However, I am familiar with the fact that there are two principles here that are very important. One is that we need to have different diets for different constitutions. For example, a life-expectancy study done on 5000 people showed that people with blood type A who regularly ate flesh, dairy or eggs usually died at the age of 61 of heart disease or cancer. People with blood type A who lived on a basic vegan diet usually lived about sixteen years longer. Longevity and constitution create a significant variable.

Although human longevity studies are very difficult we know one thing for certain the less you eat the longer you live. This second principle, which is far more important, is seen in cross-cultural studies and recent studies since 1930 on all levels of life including mammals. This is the only thing we can actually say about general longevity principles with any accuracy. It has been established in all species, that when calories are cut in half, the longevity of that species significantly increases. Why is this one point important? Because when you eat live foods, you naturally, easily, and without a sense of restriction, achieve what now the top researchers of longevity are talking about: calorie restriction. Why is this? When you cook food, you destroy 50% of the protein and 70-80% of the vitamins and minerals, and close to 100% of the phytonutrients. The result is that you need to eat at least twice as much cooked food to get the equal amount of nourishment as on live foods. When you are on live foods and you are eating adequately you naturally eat half as much to get equivalent nutrition from food. You therefore achieve the concept of calorie-restriction that the leading researchers are talking about today. I repeat: calorie restriction is the only thing in the last eighty years that has been consistently able to make any difference in longevity. It is irrelevant whether you are a meat-eater or a vegan. This is the only thing we know. I discuss this in detail in Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine.

In closing I want to sincerely thank the skeptics for their courage to speak out. I pray that people will let go of ideologies and start to look at what is the most effective diet. After more than 35 years of research, looking for the best diet for spiritual life and general well being, I conclude that the most appropriate diet for survival, well being, and spiritual life in a highly toxic world is a personalized live food organic vegan diet, that is low-glycemic, highly mineralized, and well hydrated. This conclusion is based on thousands upon thousands who have lived successfully on a live food diet. It is also the diet that creates the least amount of pain and suffering to the animal kingdom, the least amount of chronic disease, and least ecological damage.

My work has been to not only find the best diet, but also to support people to achieve this diet successfully. People need to take responsibility and follow a more scientific way, rather than in an ideological way. The live foods way is like a powerful horse, if you don’t bother to learn how to ride, you can fall off. My message is “pay attention.” It is possible to be fully successful on a live food diet for almost everyone. At the Tree of Life we have a variety of Conscious Eating courses, apprenticeships in live food preparation and vegan farming and a master’s program in live food vegan nutrition. Education is the best antidote to fear and ignorance. As I wrote in Spiritual Nutrition and the Rainbow Diet back in 1986, the art and science of spiritual nutrition requires the process of self-study (trial and error) and artful intelligence. I encourage all of you to become conscious and successful live food practitioners and not succumb to ignorance and fear. I do not feel that the live food diet was the historical diet of the masses. It was the diet of the inner spiritual circles of the Essenes, the Taoists, the Mormons, and yogis. In these times, however, it is the diet for the healing and transformation of the planet! It is the diet that can save the ecology! And it is the most powerful spiritually transforming and awakening diet on the planet for everyone. Because of our advanced food technologies, transportation abilities, and consciousness, this is the first time in history that the vegan Divine guidance of Genesis 1:29 can be put into practice for the world community. Live food veganism is the diet of the Now.