Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bo Rinaldi

I was listening to an interview on The Aware Show the other day, with Bo Rinaldi, who has been vegan for 50 years or so. It was great. The guy is very down to earth and engaging, and really knows his stuff. He's the chef who co-founded Vegan Fusion with Mark Reinfeld, and Mark is the one I'll be taking cooking classes from in April. It appears that the interview is no longer available to listen to online. Dang! I really wanted to share it with you here. But since I can't, I'll share the two things I heard that really made sit up and listen.

The first was about gluten. Although Bo is not a nutritionist, and is the first to say he's no expert (yeah, right), he talked at length about gluten in our modern diet, and went so far as to say he thinks almost everyone is gluten-sensitive to some degree, because of the way wheat has been modified over and over again, and the amount of it in our diets. While some people get really really sick if they eat gluten of any kind, others just feel kind of... icky.

I think I fall into the second group, so I paid attention, and even made notes. I notice that when I eat a lot of bread I get sort of... rumbly in the tumbly. There are already so many things I don't eat. Then again, there are so many things I do eat that make me feel almost super-human, so I decided to try going gluten-free for a while and see what happens.

The main gluten bad guys are wheat, oats, rye, and barley. Sheesh... I love all of them. The good non-gluten guys are quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, and millet. OK. I use a lot of quinoa and rice, but need to explore the other two. It's been about a week now with no gluten, and not only is my rumbling much diminished, I have more energy, and I think I've lost a little weight. This pleases me. What can I say? It's nice when clothes that were marginal suddenly actually fit. It's not the most important thing, but it's not nothin' either.

I think I'll stick with my self-experiment a little longer and see how it goes. It's actually no big deal. I can live without bread, and I know that cooked whole grains are way better for me anyway. I also buy good brown rice tortillas for things like wraps, burritos, and even pizzas, so there's a "bread thing" if I need it. And I found organic sprouted corn tortillas that just make me want to eat tacos every day. I'll keep you posted as I go along.

The other thing Bo (see, I liked him so much, I feel on a first name basis with him) talked about that really yanked my ear to the speaker was the connection between cancer and sugar. I've known for years that sugar is not food, and I feel so much better when I stay away from it. Things like cupcakes are a rare treat, and a bite or two of good dark chocolate at night is about the extent of my sugar eating most days. But I had no idea that sugar and cancer are kind of magnetically drawn to each other, and that in the absence of sugar, some cancers will just give up and go away.

Bo talked about his mother, who is in her 80s, and was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer. She was under the care of doctors, but was also smart enough to listen to her son when he suggested that she go on a strict vegan diet, and eliminate all sugars, including fruits and alcohol. She had a little watermelon each day as a treat, but otherwise she stuck to it, while she prepared to go through chemotherapy.

Here's the good part. When she went to her doc for the pre-treatment appointment, the cancer was completely gone. Can extreme diet really do this? I don't know, and I'm glad I've never had to test this theory on myself. It's worth researching, I think, just in case, and of course I totally intend to stay well, which is one of the many things we can do to keep ourselves healthy. Positive thinking can be as powerful as positive diet and lifestyle.

A few years ago a doctor told me I had high blood pressure, and I could either take pills, or try "extreme diet." I opted for the diet, and despite a "family history" of high blood pressure, mine came right down, and has stayed there. It makes more sense than ever to eat to stay well, rather than to cure illness. And if I come across access to that great Bo Rinaldi interview, you can bet I'll share it with you before it gets away again.


Teri said...

I agree with using food as our medicine. In some extreme cases, people need some medicines. But I think we should all try diet modification first. Do you think all oats have gluten? I have read that some are ok to eat when going gluten free.

Kim Miles said...

I have heard of gluten free oats, but haven't looked into that. I wonder how they would take the gluten out... by genetically engineering them? Worth finding out!

Anonymous said...

Brown Rice tortillas you say. I have such an adverse reaction to all things corn I have erased the tortilla word (and Mexican cuisine) from my brain. (Not particularly fond of the spice or the cumin, either.) I'm going to check those out at our newly opened Sunflower. I love anything brown rice. Yippie. Norine