Sample from the Spring 2009 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine.
An Interview with David Wolfe
One of the world’s leading authorities on nutrition answers our questions about how increasing alkalinity, eating superfoods (raw organic foods that have health benefits because they are known to be dense in nutrients and antioxidants) and raw foods can enhance our health and Yoga practice.
Integral Yoga Magazine (IYM): How are alkalinity and Yoga linked?
David Wolfe (DW): The alkaline minerals allow us to be flexible. This is the reason that yogis promoted eating a plant-based diet—for more alkalinity. It keeps us pliable and allows our reflexes to be sharper and more on point. Alkalinity helps our bodies to be calmer, which in turn enables us to have a calmer, deeper and more peaceful meditation. From a nutritional perspective, green leafy vegetables are the most available source of alkaline minerals—calcium, magnesium and silicon, which are bone-builders, detoxifiers and neutralizers. The American diet is a root, seed and muscle diet and mostly in their cooked forms. That’s the imbalance. Carnivores need to eat bones because meat is acid-forming and bones are alkaline-forming. If you are vegetarian and eat roots and seeds, you need leaves to get the alkalinity balance. Civilization has tried to cheat the alkalinity law by using dairy products. Mother’s milk is super alkaline, but cow’s milk in its current industrialized form is indigestible and can lead to an overly acidic system. So overall, it’s all about minerals. Leafy greens are the best source of alkalinity; they also help the body reverse past acidity and build up reserves for the future.
IYM: What about protein?
DW: The best source of protein is superfood protein. I did studies on goji berries and found they contain 13 to 14 percent protein. Compare this to chicken that has no lean protein. Just by cooking it, you lose 50 percent of the protein right away and the remaining amount is coagulated and may not be available. Ironically, we get the best, most absorbable uncooked protein through the most powerful, raw, superfood plants like blue green algae, spirulina, maca, and hemp.
IYM: You have a list of the top superfoods and it includes medicinal mushrooms. Why mushrooms?
DW: It all comes back to minerals, which are the basis of soil and plant health and ultimately our health. There are more types of minerals (atoms) in the environment than we know of based on conventional understanding and The Periodic Table of the Elements. High-energy, high-spin atoms (not included in The Periodic Table) are concentrated in certain places in the biosphere. Those places include trees, especially old trees. The organisms that re-concentrate the high-spin minerals are the tree mushrooms. Some trees live with mushrooms symbiotically like chaga mushrooms and birch trees. Chaga, in Siberian shamanism, is the king of mushrooms. I spent a lot of time studying them. They (along with other medicinal mushrooms) contain compounds known as polysaccharides—medicinal long chain sugars that contain the high-spin atoms—that can intelligently direct our immune system. I believe this “intelligence factor” runs back to the high-spin mineral compounds in the mushrooms.
I would suggest starting with easy to use mushroom powders that are encapsulated and available from the local health food store. Begin with reishi mushrooms and if that’s working well, switch to a mushroom formula containing multiple mushrooms (reishi, maitake, shiitake, cordyceps etc.). Start with one to two capsules then you can work up to taking more. I believe we can knock out any flu in three hours with what we have available to us today. We now understand how to ramp up our immune system for anything. Medicinal mushrooms are a key to doing this.
IYM: Goji berries are high on your superfood list.
DW: The goji berry is the number one food-herb in Chinese medicine. The goji berry genus is lyceum, which means, “school of learning.” The Taoist mythology is that by eating goji, it teaches you all the aspects of the Chinese medicinal system. What a concept! This is the inspirational metaphysical side of superfoods. Superfoods are some of the most powerful nutritive substances on the earth…
Read the rest of this article in the Spring 2009 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine.