“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food” – Hippocrates of Cos (400BC)

Of all the themes covered on this website, this is the one that has presented me with the greatest challenge, Trying to find and test which diet is the most conducive to good health is an enormous undertaking, frought with difficulties and uncertainties, but I persevered because I believe it is absolutely fundamental to our health. I was convinced that this is where the key to lasting health (at least on a physical level) lies and was determined to find that key.  “We are what we eat” is a scientific fact because the cells that constitute our bodies are made of the nutrients that we are able to extract from the food and water that we put into our mouths.

Most people are aware of this and this is one of the reasons why we are bombarded from all angles with publicity and “scientific research evidence” suggesting that just about every food that is packaged and sold as a commodity is good for us. Food is, of course, huge business and the big players are only too happy to fund “research” that will demonstrate the health giving properties of their products. As a result we are saturated with information, much of it contradictory and false, which has left most of us very confused as to what constitutes a “normal” healthy diet.

There does appear to be a general consensus among the authorities and medical profession  around certain basic principles so let’s begin by taking a brief look at those: It is recommended that we eat large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables, moderate amounts of fish, white meats, dairy products, nuts, seeds and wholegrain cereals, whilst reducing or avoiding processed food, refined carbohydrates and sugar, saturated fats and fried foods, red meats, alcohol and table salt.

If everyone were to follow these guidelines we would, no doubt, have a considerably healthier population than the present one, but I believe that this is only scratching the surface and that there are many more improvements that we can make which can help to transform our bodies and lives in ways which we might never have imagined. The first modification we might make to the above recommendations is to question the value of animal products in our diets. The China Study by T Colin Campbell PhD and Thomas M. Campell MD provides the results and conclusions of the most complete study of nutrition ever conducted, by a team of North American and Chinese scientists. They were left in no doubt that the consumption of animal protein is a major factor in almost all of the degenerative diseases that we suffer. Although the meat and dairy industries have done a pretty good job in convincing us that their products are necessary for good health,  there are strong arguments for becoming Vegan on health grounds as well as ethical ones (see or

In the 1970’s studies published by the National geographic Society brought to light 3 different cultures around the world whose people regularly live until over 100 with high levels of health and contentment. In 2016 John Robbins produced the book ‘Health at 100’ which collates the evidence from those studies together with more recent ones on another long living culture- the Okinawa, to form conclusions as to the key factors in their success. The most striking feature that all of these cultures share is a low calorie, largely or wholly plant based diet.

Even if you are not totally convinced by these arguments I would at least suggest that eating animal products occasionally rather than as essential ingredients of every meal would bring about some improvements in health.

Given that vegetables and fruits are going to be the main ingredients of our diet, I would also recommend that they be organic whenever possible. If we are able to grow or forage our own food (see Environment theme) then better still, as they are more likely to be fresh and full of nutrients. The demand for organic products has risen in recent decades to the point where they now constitute a threat to the mighty pharmaceutical industry, which has been able to use its power over the media to mask the harmful effects of chemically grown food, whilst discrediting organic products and sowing confusion and scepticism about their benefits (see

To give you an example, whilst sat on a bus one day in Almeria, Spain, I picked up a local newspaper and read a short article about a goat herder who, whilst out with his goats, had been caught in the path of an aeroplane spraying pesticides. The man had turned green and died that day. Why, I asked myself, did this story not become a national or even international scandal?

For me it is a simple question of common sense. Food that has been covered with chemicals designed to kill insects and other plants cannot do anything but harm both to the environment and to the people that eat them. One of the reasons that crops need to be sprayed is that they have been cultivated using chemical nutrients which help them to grow fast and large but means that they are essentially weak and open to diseases and attack because they lack the minerals and other trace elements that they would gain from growing in healthy fertile soils. The difference in quality is apparent in the taste and texture. Organic food is simply miles better!

There are many people who believe that consumption of and exposure to pesticides and herbicides is a cause of many of our modern illnesses. I believe that if our immune systems are strong and functioning well we are probably capable of dealing with quiet high levels of toxins, but it is certainly an extra burden that we could do without, and this can be achieved by going organic. Although, mainly because of economies of scale and lack of subsidies for small farmers, they tend to be more expensive, if you are fortunate to have a vegetable box scheme in your area you could have fresh, local organic produce delivered to your door at competitive prices. Our local scheme is Arthur Street Trading – a workers co-op which delivers some of its veg in a solar powered milk float!

Another suggestion I would add to the official recommendations is to underline the perils of salt and sugar. There are other good reasons for not eating processed foods but one of the main ones is that they almost always contain salt and sugar in high quantities. Salt (or at least, Sodium) is needed in our bodies in small amounts but the salt in most of the products we buy has been superheated, stripped of its minerals and loaded with chemical additives which are bi-products of industry. It is possible to buy unprocessed salts or, better still, salty plants such as seaweeds if you can afford them, since the salt is in its natural state and they also contain valuable minerals.

Public enemy number one, however, has to be refined white sugar.Richard Mabey in his fascinating book Fencing Paradise, gives us a brief history of sugar and how we became addicted to it, and it seems it has been bad news for the human race ever since the Europeans discovered it and began the slave trade, through to its leading role in all manner of modern illnesses. Dr Edward Howell in his book Enzyme Nutrition describes sugar as “the greatest scourge that has ever been visited on man in the name of food.” This high calorie dynamite, as he calls it, wreaks havoc in our bodies and, when consumed regularly, causes major imbalances leading to a plethora of illnesses. Other refined carbohydrates such as white pastry and bread have similar, if not quite as spectacular effects. So do your body a big favour and cut out the white stuff!

Having established which are the best foods we can eat ( fresh, organic fruit, vegetables, pulses, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and cold pressed virgin oils) we also need to have a good think about how we choose to eat them. We can use the best quality foods in the world but if we are not digesting them properly they will be of little value to us. This is, unfortunately, the case for many of us, especially in the West. With our abundance of food and fast lifestyles we have developed some damaging habits.

Firstly, as we tend to have the spending power to consume more than we need, it is often difficult for us to know when to stop eating. Regular overeating creates a vicious cycle because it places enormous stress on our stomachs and digestive systems, which eventually become weakened and struggle to extract the nutrients from the food we eat. The body then demands those nutrients and so the problem worsens as it becomes more and more difficult to satisfy our appetites. I often experienced times when my stomach was full to bursting and yet I still felt hungry for more. Buddhists recommend that we never eat more than a small bowl full of food in any one serving . Once you have a problem with overeating, however, it takes an awful lot of will power to limit yourself in this way, especially if, like me, you have developed an addiction to cereals. Fortunately, if you read on you will see that I have found a way to overcome this problem.

Another bad habit has developed alongside our super fast lifestyles. My Mum has told me of her youth when the family said grace before meals and ate in silence. This seems very austere and even anti-social in the modern era, when meal times may be the only opportunities for families to communicate in between their busy lives and the hours spent by the television. However, I believe that this tradition served a practical purpose in allowing us the opportunity to focus on our meals, to chew them properly and to savour the flavour. How many of us wolf our meals down whilst engrossed in conversation or thought, thereby almost missing out on the pleasure of the pre-digestion stage when the saliva in our mouths produced by chewing begins to break down the foodstuffs? It stands to reason that forcing large pieces of food down our throats with little saliva will place more stress on our digestive system than well chewed food coated in saliva. Zen Buddhists follow a practice of chewing each mouthful of food fifty times. I would wager that most of us struggle to reach twenty.

I have now adopted the routine of closing my eyes and taking some deep breaths before eating whilst reminding myself to focus on my food, chew it properly and enjoy the flavour. This has the added benefit of relaxing the stomach, which is also important for digestion. More often than not this doesn’t prevent me from falling back into my old habits (as we know they die hard) but on the occasions when I do manage to maintain my focus, eating becomes a true heavenly delight.

We are made up of 75% water and so it also stands to reason that we should make sure of replenishing what we lose. F.Batmanghelidj MD in his book Your Body’s Many Cries For Water puts the case for lack of water being the main cause of many of our health problems and recommends that we drink a minimum of 2 litres or 3-4 pints per day. As we need water to aid digestion he suggests it is best to drink before and between meals since it is possible that drinking during or immediately after meals may dilute our digestive juices and thereby hinder digestion. Also we can sometimes confuse thirst with hunger so if we make sure we are well hydrated before a meal we are less likely to over eat. It goes without saying that all sugary drinks be avoided at all costs. Even fruit juices are of dubious value unless freshly squeezed. The problems with alcohol, tea and coffee are well known but there is now an enormous range of delicious herbal teas and coffee substitutes to be enjoyed. For most of my life tea without sugar was unpalatable, but after learning of my candida problem I made the effort and now the opposite is true- I find sweet teas horrible! Some sources claim that our drinking water may contain arsenic, fluoride, chlorine and other harmful substances and that some mineral waters are also of dubious quality. To be on the safe side some sort of filter is probably advisable if you can afford it. At you can find filtering systems to suit a range of budgets.

Other than pure water and herbal teas, for the most refreshing, delicious and health giving drinks look no further than home made smoothies and fresh juices. Jason Vale in The Juice Master gives a good introduction to all the exciting possibilities.

So we’ve looked at how we might broadly improve our eating and drinking habits, but I’ve left the most important improvement; the one that has brought the most significant changes to my life, until last. The methods I have covered helped me to recover from serious illness and lead an active and busy life free from minor irritations such as aches, pains and colds, but I was convinced that this was only the beginning and that if I could find the optimum diet I could achieve so much more.

As I explained in the “Medicine” section, I am convinced that the main cause of my Leukemia was a seriously damaged digestive system. Chinese medicine as well as the pioneering work of people such as Dr Bernard Jensen and Dr Edward Howell would support this as they assert that most, if not all, degenerative illness begins in the digestive system. Although our digestive organs are capable of withstanding an incredible bombardment during years of poor eating habits and damaging foods, this mistreatment will, sooner or later, take its toll. Most of us are familiar with symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, stomach pains, constipation and diarrhoea. These are all early warning signs which, if they  persist, signal that all is not well down below and that trouble is on the way. It is very likely that poorly digested foodstuffs are causing putrefaction in the gut, leading to the spread of unhealthy bacteria which will eventually effect other organs of the body and weaken our immune systems, thereby leaving us susceptible to a broad range of diseases. Most of us seem to get away with it at least until our forties, when we begin to feel aches and pains and other symptoms of ageing. It is no coincidence that around this time our supply of nutritional enzymes begins to wane and it becomes more difficult to digest our food effectively. The more unhealthy our diets and lifestyles are the more quickly our enzyme supplies become depleted.

I now believe, that the supreme antidote to ill health and ageing is raw food. As Dr Howell points out in “Enzyme Nutrition”, the only species on the planet which eat cooked food are humans and domesticated animals. These are the only species to suffer from a wide range of diseases. Eskimos, despite consuming huge quantities of fat in their diets did not suffer from any of the multiple diseases associated with fat consumption until they adopted the modern practice of cooking. Peoples such as the Hunzas of Pakistan live to an average age of 130 on a diet consisting largely of raw food. (Find out more about the Hunzas in an article which encapsulates beautifully the arguments of this website.) Although the amazing health and longevity of the Hunzas is, undoubtedly, due to many factors, it seems that what sets them apart from everyone else is their diet. .

A great pioneer of raw eating was Anne Wigmore who transformed her own health and that of many others at her Hippocrates Health Institute in the U.S. Her books “The Hippocrates Diet”, “The Sprout Book” and “The Wheatgrass Book” will help explain the sound logic behind raw eating as well as the basic techniques and recipes. Others have since developed the ideas further and there are now a wide range of delicious recipes to be found in books such as The Raw Energy Bible by Leslie Kenton, Eat Smart Eat Raw by Kate Wood and The Raw Food Gourmet by Gabrielle Chavez.

For me the process of discovery as well as recovery has been slow and very gradual. It has been very much a part of my spiritual journey as at each stage, just when I thought I had found the right balance, something would happen to take me a step further, until eventually, I have developed what i call the JHESUS C DIET- Joyful, Healthy, Sustainable and Compassionate:

  • Joyful, because for me the food I now eat is delicious and makes every meal time a real treat! I also believe it helps me to have clarity of thought and to remain positive.
  • Healthy because i feel sure that it provides me with all the nourishment I need to live a long and happy life.
  • Sustainable because it only includes foods that can be locally grown and contribute to the regeneration of abundance on our planet.
  • Compassionate because they are life giving foods rather than life taking ones.

My journey began almost immediately after my treatment for leukemia, when I discovered that the fungus candida had been eating away at me for so long that it had now morphed into an alien that almost completely controlled my body. With the help of a herbalist, various liver and kidney cleanses, some anti- candida supplements and, most importantly, my first major dietary changes, many of my symptoms disappeared quite quickly.

Others remained, however, and i began to explore other options. I had cut out all sugars apart from fruit sugars, conventional breads and pastries, milk and cheeses, in conjunction with my already organic diet of plant foods with the occasional eggs and fish.

I grew to increasingly enjoy my salads and becoming ever more inventive with them, as well as discovering the delights of green smoothies. I began making my own sourdough rye and spelt breads and entered the fascinating world of fermented foods via the book “Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Elix Katz. My love for cheeses could easily be satisfied by making non-dairy ones as well as  yogurts, kefir, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, and a whole host of pickled vegetables and fruits. Not only that, but fermenting is an excellent way of preserving surplus produce and of predigesting foods which are otherwise difficult for us to break down. Unlike cooked foods, this method preserves and even enhances their nutritive properties.

Still, however, I was severely low on energy, anaemic and had failed to put back on any of the weight i had lost when ill. Together with an increasing appetite for smoothies, salads and fermented foods I started to come across stories of people who had made amazing recoveries from long term illnesses by following a raw vegan diet. By this time I wasn’t far off anyway so decided to take the plunge and cut out all cooked foods.

My first attempt lasted around five months. Despite eliminating the anaemia and almost all my other symptoms, with no outward signs of illness, i felt even more exhausted and weak and had lost even more weight. I returned to some cooked foods with the predictable result that my digestive problems worsened and obliged me to continue searching for the answers. I tried food combining, juicing, protein supplements and even (briefly) eating meat, but none of them made much difference.

It was clear that all the fresh organic greens and vegetables were providing me with cleansing and plenty of minerals and vitamins to keep me illness free, but I seemed to be struggling to digest any of the energy and body building carbohydrates, proteins and fats, whether raw or cooked. The turning point was probably when I started to develop my own special energy and builder blends. I discovered that two common legumes on these shores: broad beans and peas, can be digested quite easily when dried and milled. I began combining them with milled seeds, herbs and other natural flavourings to provide tasty supplements to my meals. I could now prepare huge salads and other raw vegetable dishes and sprinkle on one of my blends to give me simple, delicious and complete meals which leave me feeling satisfied without over eating.

Another important step was the realisation that in my first attempt at raw veganism I had fallen into the common trap of acquiring too many of my calories from fats. When I started to measure what proportions of my diet consisted of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, I was shocked to see how easy it is to make this mistake, with any sort of diet, since fats are much higher in calories than other foods. Debate rages in the raw food movement, as in other circles, between proponents of the ‘ low fat’ schools and those of the ‘paleo’ or ‘low carb’ schools. Many people have achieved great results by following Dr Douglas Graham’s recommendations for an ’80:10:10’ diet (80% of calories from carbohydrates, 10% protein and 10% fat) , which consists almost entirely of fruit and vegetables with as little as a small handful of nuts and seeds or half an avocado each day to meet fat requirements. Others have thrived on the ‘Paleo’ diet which recommends roughly a 40:20:40 ratio similar to that of our hunter/gatherer ancestors.

Having tried both and measuring my calorie intake over a period of weeks I reached the conclusion that my optimum ratio is 53:12:35. It may be that each of us has a different optimal ratio depending on many factors such as our physique, the type of exercise, the climate we live in and the levels of activity of our brains, but I suspect that most of us would fall somewhere between the two parameters. I also suspect that many in the West would fall some way outside of these parameters with their current diets, and would recommend taking up some calorie counting for a while until you have worked out your own optimum ratio.

By now I was well on the road back to raw veganism, with the only exception being my bread- now made from carrots, beetroots and dried beans and cooked in the oven for one and a half hours at 100 degrees C. Many raw foodists advocate dehydrating for bread and a whole load of other recipes but I have found this unnecessary.

My blends helped me, not only to ensure a good balance of nutrients, but also to realise that I could thrive on a vegan diet with foods that can be easily grown in this country. The only exceptions I make are with carob, dates, coconut, avocados and lemons. I believe that the negative impacts to the environment of their transportation are compensated for by the fact that they are all tree fruits which will play a leading role in the sustainable agriculture of the future in their countries of origin.

This leads me nicely on to the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle for my JHesus C Diet. The Spiritual journey which has run parallel to my nutrition journey, has taught me to respect all life forms as sacred. We do not exist independently of the whole. Every time we deliberately destroy a life this impacts negatively on the whole and, therefore, on ourselves. I believe that we were designed to thrive on foods that nature provides for us in abundance, without having to kill any life form. Thus our optimal diet consists of fruits, seeds, and green leaves, with any uprooting and killing of plants, insects or animals unnecessary and mistaken. We can enjoy the benefits of root crops such as carrots and beetroot by replanting their tops and letting them grow again many times over. In the ‘Environment’ section you can read about other more progressive methods of gardening and farming which will enable us to recreate abundance and heal ourselves and the Earth without having to dig and destroy.

So there you have it. After seven, often painful, years of trial. error, wrong turnings desperation and discovery, I finally arrived at my optimal diet. It was only then that true healing began in earnest and I still had to be patient and wait for my body to adapt, repair and regain its full vitality. Hopefully, you will be inspired to take a shorter and less difficult route by learning from my mistakes, but nevertheless, it will undoubtedly require some determination, will power and patience.

In brief, my JHESUS C Diet consists of:

  • Only organic plant foods (about 90% raw and 10% baked at low temperature)
  • A wide range of locally grown greens, herbs and vegetable fruits (e.g squashes, tomatoes, cucumbers), make up the bulk of the diet.
  • Moderate amounts of locally grown fruits with small amounts of dried fruits when these aren’t available.
  • Dried, milled beans and peas for carbohydrates, proteins and fibre. ( I find grains problematic, apart from corn, but you may be ok with them)
  • Nuts, seeds, avocados and coconut in small amounts provide proteins and healthy fats.
  • Plenty of fermented foods for extra nutrition and flavouring.

If you would  like more details of the diet or think that there might be anything else I can help you with  I would be happy to send you details or talk to you over the phone. Click here.

If the changes I am proposing are a radical departure from your present diet you are probably thinking of all sorts of reasons why you wouldn’t want to change. This is understandable as the thought of giving up many of the things we love (and are quite possibly addicted to) is not very attractive. I was a good example of someone to whom a raw food diet held very little appeal. In the past I would eat small amounts of fruit and salads mainly because I was told they were good for me rather than for pleasure. However, as I began to include more of them in my diet and discover new combinations and flavourings, I gradually came to love them until they became essential and something I couldn’t imagine doing without. Even then the step up to becoming fully raw and giving up my favourite cooked foods seemed like a step too far. Once again, however, I have been pleasantly surprised and discovered new taste sensations which have more than made up for what is missing.  The effort has been well worth it. Although I am still a relative novice in the raw food world, already I have experienced the following changes:

  1. Deep sleep and not having to get up for the loo in the night!
  2. Formerly dry skin on feet is now as smooth as a baby’s bottom!
  3. Unpleasant body odours have vanished- so my partner tells me!
  4. More clarity of thought and better focus in my meditations
  5. More energy. On my runs I sometimes sprint and feel like an eighteen year old!
  6. My formerly troublesome relationship with food has changed. Rather than being constantly hungry and over eating, I can now eat sensible portions and be satisfied until the next meal.