February 1st, 2005Dr. Christopher and the Mucusless Diet
(NOTE: This article is from the old Herbal Legacy Newsletter)
by Lindsay Wolsey, MH
It seems like we’ve had a lot of people lately attributing things to Dr. Christopher that he didn’t necessarily teach. For example, we’ve had people asking us about Dr. Christopher and food combining. Dr. Christopher said that you shouldn’t need a Pittsburgh Attorney to help you put a meal together. Dr. Christopher certainly never worried about this—in fact, if you asked him, he would tell you to “Ask any gorilla what he eats.” Gorillas are big and strong, and they certainly don’t worry if you can have carrots and lettuce and peanuts all together. They’re not going to look at a chart and say “Well, I just had peanuts, so I’d better not eat any cashews for four hours.” Dr. Christopher did say that sometimes you need to eat fruit by itself—because some people are so toxic it that eating more than one type of fruit at once will throw them into a cleanse. And in the Regenerative Diet book, he does talk about a mono diet as a type of cleansing—but this is not a lifelong change, and only lasts for a few weeks at a time. People who are not toxic should have no problem eating several types of fruit together. In fact, my favorite way to have fruit is mixed in a smoothie.
No Meat? Another situation that comes up quite frequently is the misunderstanding that the Mucusless diet is a Vegan or vegetarian diet. It’s not. Not that Dr. Christopher had anything against vegetarians—in fact, at our Master Herbalist Certification Seminar we serve all vegetarian food—but the Mucusless diet does mention having a little fish or young chicken once a week. It’s not a requirement—but it’s not forbidden. It also says a little. Not a pound, not 8 ounces with every meal, but a little once a week. The Mucusless diet is also not Vegan—not only due to the fish, but also due to Dr. Christopher’s use of honey.
Raw. The Mucusless diet is not a raw diet. It incorporates a lot of raw foods—in fact, Dr. Christopher mentions in the Regenerative Diet book to cook one food and base the meal around that—meaning surround it with live and fresh foods. We know many raw foodists who are in great shape—and in fantastic health! We also know other raw foodists who look like walking corpses. David Christopher says that the bare minimum of raw food in a diet should be 50%. That’s the bare minimum, not the optimum amount. He also says that should vary throughout the year—during the spring and summer and fall when we can get fresher food, our percentage of raw food should go up. We emphasize enzyme-rich foods, and you cannot get enzymes from dead foods.
Dr. Christopher said that no two individuals are alike, and no one diet is going to fix everyone—that some judgment is needed while tweaking the diet to the individual. We experience that every year at our Master Herbalist Certification Seminar. The majority of our students get by quite well with the lunches we provide—but we always have some who get thrown into a cleansing crisis because the food is so fresh, and not what they’re used to! We even have sandwiches a couple of days, and it’s still too fresh! We have to walk a fine line at the seminar—because people who don’t eat all raw get very sick if that’s all they have for a week.
Dairy. The Mucusless Diet prohibits dairy, because dairy causes mucus. This includes milk, cheese, sour cream (sob), cream cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream, butter, most yogurts, and so on. You would not believe how many phone calls we get from people who wonder why they are congested, why they have asthma, allergies, etc., and when we ask them if they have dairy, they say no! And then they admit to eating ice cream four times a week. My neighbor consistently asks me what to do for her 2 year olds earaches. I have given her garlic oil and mullein and lobelia oil, explained how to apply it, and have repeatedly explained that if she would stop giving her daughter so much milk the earaches would stop. Not only that, her daughter’s nose would stop running. Does she listen to me? No, of course not, and the next month rolls around and there’s another earache to deal with. No dairy means no dairy, period. (Yes, I still struggle with putting sour cream on my baked potatoes. The non-dairy soy and tofu-based products just don’t taste the same.) Milk and cheese tend to generate excessive mucus in the intestines, sinus and lungs. This translates to poor absorption, which means fatigue, constipation, and other problems. There is good news, however—butter is almost entirely mucus free. Just don’t use it in excessive amounts.
Flour. Flour, when baked and heated at high temperatures, changes to a mucus forming substance. This is no longer a food—there is no life remaining.
So, What Can I Eat?
When you read the 3-Day Cleanse and Mucusless diet booklet, it’s easy to get discouraged and wonder, what I am supposed to eat? All of the foods I love are forbidden! And you know that whatever you’re picking up at McDonald’s or Wendy’s definitely does not fit on the Mucusless Diet, Low-Carb or not. But when you look at the big picture, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits are encouraged.
Vegetables. This means avocados and potatoes and cauliflower and broccoli and carrots and celery. Who doesn’t love to eat squash and zucchini in the summer (besides my mom)? And I know plenty of people (not me) who love a fresh tomato (technically a fruit). And don’t forget about asparagus—a key ingredient in Asparagus Soup (yes, it does call for butter, but butter is the least of the dairy evils). Fresh salsa, made from onions, peppers, garlic, and yes, tomatoes, has to be one of the most delicious concoctions ever created. My dad has been known to sneak raw turnips into the movie theater. You can eat your vegetables raw, lightly steamed, or even baked once in a while–no one likes a raw potato. And contrary to what Homer Simpson would tell you, you can win friends with salad. So load up on the romaine, green leaf, and red leaf lettuce.
Fruit. Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, oranges, pears. What about pineapples, kiwis, lemons? There is a whole list of fruits. Put some lemon juice or lime juice in your water or tea. My favorite smoothie is Orange Banana Strawberry. You take fresh or frozen strawberries, depending on the season, and frozen bananas, and orange juice, blend it all up, and voila, you have an excellent smoothie.
Nuts. Cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, macadamia, pine nuts, pistachios, peanuts, to name a few. You can even make your own nut butters using a Champion Juicer and some nuts. Wendy and I can’t agree on if you need to add some oil to the nut butter—Emeril says use vegetable oil. I confess—I buy mine already made up. You can also make Nut Roast. And don’t forget about Cashew Cheese. That should help if you need something to put on top of your baked potato.
Seeds. Sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, flax. Raw, sprouted, seasoned or plain. Put them in your salad, soak them and blend them with spices into dips. There are a ton of recipes for sunflower seed dips on the Internet—raw foodists use them a lot. I’m partial to a Southwestern Style Dip. You can even make flax seed crackers to go with your dip.
Legumes. Kidney beans, navy beans, garbanzos (Hummus, anyone?). Don’t forget pintos, and black beans, and peas. Fresh green beans, right off the vine. There are so many different ways to eat them, and they are so good for you!
Grains. This is where a lot of people run into trouble with the Mucusless Diet—does anyone really want to eat sprouted grains? We get a lot of phone calls to The School asking us how to low-heat the grains, so apparently some people are trying it. It appears the easiest way to low-heat grains is the thermos method. Take a thermos bottle, fill it in the early afternoon or evening one-third full of grain, then finish filling the thermos bottle with boiling water. Turn the thermos over two or three times to mix the grain and water. The next morning the grain is ready for consumption.
This is an area where I do have a weakness—I love bread. Even whole grain bread is not quite in the Mucusless Diet, but it is part of a transitional diet. So, we’re talking barley, rye, oats—maybe some Easy Breakfast?
Conclusion. It’s hard to eat healthy 100% of the time, but almost everyone could do a little better. I certainly could, especially after all that holiday food. After writing up this article I started craving some steamed yellow squash with zucchini and fresh thyme.