GCM 37 | Plant-Based Diet

 

We need food to survive, not just any food but the right kind of foods. Food is so vital that it’s important to know what’s healthy and not healthy. When you’re eating healthy, you’re feeling healthy and you’re feeling good in general. Food educator, raw food chef, and nutrition and lifestyle expert Danielle Arsenault says food is so powerful and it is our slow medicine. She is the founder of Pachavega Living Foods Education, a vegan culinary school specializing in raw food chef training and plant-based culinary arts. Danielle talks about the science behind food and nutrition, how specific foods affect your body, transitioning to a plant-based diet, food sensitivities, fermentation, and why raw food is good for you.

Listen to the podcast here:

The Plant-Based Diet And Hidden Secrets In Nutrition with Danielle Arsenault

I’m excited for another show and before we get started, I want to say thank you to all my audience. If you’re a first-time reader, I want to say thank you. I realized that there are a lot of blogs out there that you could be reading and you’ve taken the time to read our blog. We really appreciate that and if you’ve been following me all along, thank you as well. Thank you for following us and making this show a success. We want to keep doing it because you guys love it. I appreciate it.

In this episode, we have a special guest, Danielle Arsenault. I’m really excited to have her because we’re going to talk about food. We need food to survive. It’s the right kinds of food. Danielle is a raw food chef, an educator and a plant-based nutrition expert with five cookbooks published. She has a TED Talk with over 24,000 views. She has her own vegan culinary art school. She’s a world traveler, a rock climber and an adventurer. She was named one of Canada’s Top Vegan Influencers of 2017. Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome Danielle Arsenault to the Game Changer Mentality show. Welcome, young lady. I’m glad to have you here.

Thank you.

Thank you for being here. I’m glad that we finally got a chance to connect. You were sharing with me that you’re at some type of festival right now?

I’m in Calgary, Alberta just outside the Rocky Mountains in Canada. It is snowing. It’s freezing cold in here, but we’re at the Calgary Chinese Cultural Center and it’s the Calgary Fermentation Festival. It’s a festival where we’re looking at fermentation as a health regimen, a gourmet art, a multicultural adventure and how eating fermented foods in the day-to-day can improve your gut health, digestive health, your skin health and everything. Even your mind because when your digestive system is running properly, your immune system is strong. When you’re feeling good, when you’re feeling healthy, you feel good in general. Talking about food, I believe food is so powerful and it is our medicine. It’s our slow medicine.

Yes, and it’s the right type of food. There are all kinds of foods and we make choices every day about the food that goes into our body and maybe that’s some of the decisions we make that are not the most beneficial decisions. We’re talking about having a game-changer mentality. We have to look at the whole body, the whole person. Your health is really key. It’s going to be a little bit different on the show. We’re going to talk about eating the right foods or the foods that can help us feel better because I believe when you feel good, you do good. If you want to do better, getting to that next level and being more productive, maybe the edge is what we’ve been putting into our bodies. You’re a raw food chef and food educator. Talk to us about the importance of making the right food decisions. I know you are specific to raw foods. Let’s not be shy about diving into why raw foods are the best choice for us.

Everybody knows that food is important and everybody knows what is healthy and what is not healthy. I think we’re at this time in our lives where there’s a gap in education and it’s not that people don’t know. People don’t know how to make healthy food taste good and they don’t really know why. We know that it’s healthy, but do you know why or how healthy and do you know how that affects your body? Do you know how specific foods affect your body? Do you know how specific foods have a negative effect on the body? People are starting to discover the science behind food nutrition, which is quite a new field in the whole scheme of things and there is a lot of contradictory information out there.

The more people are aware of the food that they put in their body, the more they are aware of how their choices impact the planet. Click To Tweet

I think what we’re all craving is how to make it easy and how to make it delicious. I’ve had people come to my courses, traditional Chinese medicine doctors, nutritionists and Red Seal chefs. They’re all coming from different backgrounds wanting the same thing. They want to eat a little bit healthier and they want to know how to make it taste good. When it comes down to it, like I said, convenience. The society that we live in is not set up to eat healthily. If you look at the idea that organic food is more expensive, it should be the opposite. It has less processing. It has less packaging. It has fewer hands involved, so it should be less expensive.

Unfortunately, when we talk about nutrition education, the more people are aware of the food that they put in their body, they also become more aware of how the choices impact the planet, not just their health and the domesticated animals. When people start to eat healthily, there’s a greater awareness that starts to grow. In my opinion and this has happened to me, so I’m speaking from experience. You become closely connected to the Earth and then you start to appreciate it more. You start to realize, “This planet is sustaining me. I should probably sustain it. I should have that greater respect.” There’s a divorced viewpoint or a division where people are not aware. Things are changing and there are a lot of people who are conscious. Generally in society, there’s a piece missing that should be common knowledge among all. Whole plant-based foods grown as organic as possible, as close to home as possible and in the most caring way as possible.

Everyone should know it, but we don’t. Maybe you can blame advertising and marketing and these big conglomerates and big businesses. You can blame these people, but that’s not my job. My job is to show you how fun, how easy, how exciting and how delicious it is. All the other stuff that I mentioned, how it impacts the environment and how it impacts your health. A lot of stuff is going to happen automatically. You’re getting excited about healthy food because everything about that healthy food is healthy. The practices are healthy and everything’s healthy so you can feel good about it. Whereas the other stuff, we secretly know it’s not healthy. It doesn’t really make us feel good. There are chemicals happening. This idea of pleasure centers. When we eat fried foods, there’s this effect called the Maillard reaction. When sugar and fat come together, they caramelize. It actually alters our brain and it’s a similar action to what happens when a human being would take morphine or heroin. These pleasure centers are open.

It’s not our fault that we love fried chicken or we love donuts or potatoes. It’s like a human animal thing that I’m not going to eat those foods, but sometimes I eat French fries. I probably know that they’re deep-fried in rancid carcinogenic oil that maybe hasn’t been changed for years depending on where I’m getting them. Maybe there are fried chicken pieces in that oil. That’s not the best choice, but I’m also a human being. I’m not perfect all the time and that’s where the hope comes in. This diet and this lifestyle are not about being perfect. It’s about what you do consistently, not about what you do occasionally. There’s hope because some people are like, “I could never go Vegan or I could never do raw,” but you eat apples. You like a salad once in a while. Have you ever had a macaroon? Those are all raw vegan, plant-based foods.

It’s possible to include these kinds of foods into your diet, get the health benefits and then slowly as the awareness changes and as the awareness grows, you will learn. It’s all about a personal journey. Everyone’s on a personal journey. Everyone has their own path. I’m not perfect either, so I can’t tell people that they need to be perfect either. All I can do is share what I know in a positive way that ignites people’s spirit. That gets people excited, that inspires people and that empowers people to control and take control of their health through the food that they eat. It’s a lot simpler than you think.

You don’t know what you don’t know. Coming into the awareness of the different types of food that you need. A lot of us, myself included, I had to consciously expand my knowledge-base of foods and the selection. I’m African-American. I grew up in the South. There are common foods that we would eat growing up and that includes the fried chicken. We had the hogs and chickens and we grew a lot of the foods that we ate. Sill, it was that Southern African-American culture that I grew up on. There were a lot of things that I was just used to eating. As I got older, I realized that although it tastes good, it wasn’t the most beneficial thing for me. I started getting away, but that required me to expand my mind to be open to some other types of foods or other ways of preparing the same foods that were healthy for me.

I think for a lot of people, that is the challenge, especially when you talk about transitioning. I think that’s the reason why a lot of people say, “I can’t go vegan.” You don’t have the knowledge base to understand what is available to you on a vegan diet or a raw diet. Me, personally, I dislike meat. It’s not that I don’t think I can, I like my chicken and my fish. I don’t eat a lot of red meat, but I’m not ready to let that go just yet. It could be more than I need to learn about why I shouldn’t eat those foods, but I will say that I do try to be more organic in my selection of poultry and fish and in all of the things that I eat. It’s to raise awareness, getting an understanding of what’s available when it comes to the different types of foods. We all stick to the same thing a lot of times.

GCM 37 | Plant-Based Diet

Plant-Based Diet: Diet is not about being perfect. It’s about what you do consistently, not about what you do occasionally.

 

It’s like culture and tradition. That stuff is deep. All over the world, I’ve traveled to over 35 countries and you see the traditional foods but also a lot of times, the foods are changing. It’s not grown the same anymore. It’s not raised the same anymore. The hogs that your family had in your backyard is not the same kind of animal that’s created in those factory farms. It’s an animal that’s on a lot of drugs. It’s an animal that’s scared to death. It’s not a good life. There’s quite a difference between how it used to be and how it is now. It’s the awareness piece and the education because grandma will say, “I used to eat it,” but the food is actually different now. The chemical constituents within the food are different.

There are a lot of genetically modified foods now, which we don’t really know what’s going to happen when we’re swapping genes with other foods and animals. We’re experimenting with our health and we’re experimenting with our future. Reproductive issues coming from the dioxins in the animal industry. This is a byproduct of chlorine bleach essentially, which is abundant in the animal industry because if you knew what happened, you would know that it needed to be cleaned really well. It’s getting into the food and it’s messing with people’s ability to reproduce. For me, that’s the scariest thing. We’re messing with the human race. Why would we do that and it’s all for taste?

It’s driven a lot by money.

It is, but when it comes down to personal choice, usually the personal choice is the taste. The reason that it’s in our lives so abundantly, it’s from other influences for sure. A lot of times, I hear people so many times, “I can’t give up cheese.” If you knew everything that was involved with that and all of it, if you knew the truth, I’d say half the people that love cheese would stop eating cheese immediately and the others would probably seriously consider. If you could discover a plant-based cheese, like the cashew cheese that I’m sampling at the Fermentation Festival, it’s like, “I could give up cheese because this replaces that fatty, that creamy, that salty, that sour, that cheese flavor that I love so much.” All of a sudden, it’s not such a hard impact on the environment. You’re not enslaving an animal for your taste.

There are more responsible ways but everybody’s on their path and some things convinced some people and some things don’t convince other people. The only way that people will change is to become educated, to find out what’s the truth and then figure out how that truth fits into their lives. How they want to live their lives according to that truth. Some people decide to ignore the truth, some people don’t want to know the truth and some people want to know the full truth. Some people know the full truth and still make the other choice. Some people, when they know the truth, they act according to the truth.

I’ve been doing this for several years now. I knew right away from the beginning, if you try to convince someone or you bully someone, they’re just going to go, “I’m not interested,” and they’re going to walk away. It’s about empowering people and it’s about showing them the truth without having a hidden agenda. Besides showing them like, “I care about you and I want your health to be good. I want the environment to be good. I care that you feel good. I think I know some things that could maybe help you, but I’m going to show you them and then it’s up to you if you want to choose to do that.”

Eating vegan or plant-based foods, that’s really what you’re advocating here and that’s your expertise is the plant-based foods. Why do you think that is so important?

Make sure you're eating a variety. The bigger variety, the more nutrients you are going to take in. Click To Tweet

There are so many things. Let’s go with the positive route. Plants are full of fiber. Animal products have zero fiber. Meat doesn’t have any fiber. Dairy has no fiber at all. Many North Americans are fiber-deficient. This is causing so many problems just besides the fact that it’s going to be hard to go to the bathroom. If you’re not eliminating properly, that stuff in your body can harden and it can cause so many problems. It can start to putrefy. It can start to get reabsorbed into the bloodstream. You can have autoimmune conditions all from not having enough fiber. Plants are nature’s fiber. The more plants you eat, the more fiber you have, the more regular you’ll pee, the more you can eliminate the toxins from your body naturally and easily, the healthier you’ll be because you’re not absorbing the toxins.

From that perspective, it’s super important. A lot of the animal products and even if you’re getting vegetables that are non-organic, trying to find plant-based food that isn’t sprayed with toxic chemicals, pounds and pounds and pounds of toxic chemicals. Glyphosate and like things like that. There’s so much news out now. That stuff is like a neurotoxin. It messes with the nervous system, with brain development. The science is out there. This is proven and there’s been a lot of press lately. I highly recommend taking a look into some of that, glyphosate side-effects to the human reproduction system and the brain.

The animal industry itself, there are a lot of antibiotics and hormones. The only way a cow can make milk is if it’s pregnant, just like a human. Then what happens to the baby of the cow? The baby gets taken away so that humans can drink the milk and not the baby. The male cow becomes veal. Those cows are not treated very well. They don’t want to develop muscle, so they’re not allowed to move. Essentially, these cows don’t move their whole lives because if they develop muscle, then they’re not tender like veal is supposed to be. Then we’ve got the cows. They develop an emotional bond with their child. Their child gets taken away, their calf gets taken away. They’re not happy. They cry and things like that. They’re forcibly impregnated. That’s dairy.

There are legal amounts of pus and feces in cheese and dairy. They know that poop is in your cheese and they allow it. That’s why raw milk, for example, is usually illegal because they need to pasteurize it because of E. coli potential contamination. Cheese is fermented, so when you ferment it, it actually kills the food poisoning bacteria. You can have poop in your cheese but not get sick from it because the fermentation process will render that bacteria to not make you sick. I usually don’t go there because I’m trying to go to be positive.

Phytonutrients, those don’t exist in animal products. All the different colors of the rainbow, each color represents a different antioxidant. The dark purple that you’ll find in red cabbage or blueberries, that purple color is called anthocyanin. These are antioxidants that help keep cells younger longer. The more antioxidants you eat, the younger you’ll look. The fewer wrinkles you’ll have, the brighter your skin and that kind of stuff. Anthocyanins are not found in animal products. There are a lot of these vitamins and minerals. Clearly, people ask about the protein question all the time. I’m just going to say straight up, protein comes from plants. The original source of protein is plant matter. If you asked the gorilla, the elephant, the oxen, the strongest animals on the planet where their protein comes from, they’re going to say, “The grass.” Protein is a collection of amino acids and all amino acids are plant-based.

What happens is these animals eat the amino acids from plants. They get the protein, they synthesize the protein and then it becomes protein. We bypass. It’s like we’re eating the middleman instead of eating the source of it all. It’s the same with fish. A lot of people drink fish oil for omega. Where did the fish get the omegas from? Seaweed. The original source of Omega-3 fatty acid is seaweed. You’re going through the middleman, which because it’s higher up on the food chain, it’s got more toxins. The bigger the fish, the more the toxins. Wild salmon has lots of toxins. Tuna has a lot of toxins. Sardines have very low amounts of toxins. If you’re going to eat fish responsibly, you should be eating sardines. It’s going to have fewer toxins.

For me, where do I get my Omega-3 fatty acids? Seaweed, marine phytoplankton, Dulse, Nori, Wakame and Hijiki. There are so many different kinds as well which you can experiment with. People always ask, “Where do you get your protein?” The answer is from all the food that I eat, every single thing. Make sure you’re eating a variety. The bigger the variety, the more nutrients you are going to take in. The more amino acids, it will create a complete protein. That’s what your body does. It will bring those amino acids together to create a complete protein. Then that’s going to help heal your body and things like that.

GCM 37 | Plant-Based Diet

Plant-Based Diet: We’re supposed to be eating every three hours. The idea of breakfast, lunch, and dinner came from the industrial revolution when people were going to work.

 

Let me ask you this question because I’ve seen a lot of studies, a lot of advertisements and articles that you have to eat these many plants. It’s like some ridiculous amount of plants in order to get the nutrients that you really need. Then behind it, they would say there’s no possible way that the human being can consume that much in a day to get the daily values that you would need. What are your thoughts?

First of all, I wonder who wrote that article. Is it the Dairy Board? Where did it come from?

They are everywhere.

I agree you do need to eat more food. This idea of breakfast, lunch and dinner came from the Industrial Revolution when people were going to work. It’s like you eat in the morning, you have breakfast. You go to work, you work your ass off until you have a break. Then you eat lunch and then you work your ass off and you come home and you eat dinner. Are we human beings supposed to eat that way or was that just the Industrial Revolution? Maybe we are supposed to be eating more, maybe we are supposed to actually look at your body and how we process fats and carbohydrates. A lot of times the energy stores are two to three hours. Two hours if you’re doing a race the glycogen stores in your system.

We’re supposed to be eating every three hours. We actually are supposed to be eating more food. The reason that we eat these heavy meals or a lot of cooked food, a lot of times what happens with that is it’s really hard for your body to digest. You’re totally going to be fuller longer. Is that a good thing? Maybe not. It depends. If you have a weakened immune system, if you’re an athlete, it’s a totally different situation. If you’re an athlete and you burn energy like crazy, you can eat a heavy meal and it’s all good. If you have a weakened immune system, if you’re struggling with any type of condition, it could be a rash, cancer, digestive disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia or it could be heart disease, anything, if you have a condition and you’re eating super hard to digest food and lots of cooked food which take lots of enzymes from the body, you don’t have the energy to put it to parts of the body that need it most.

Essentially, the energy’s going to digestion not to healing the body. That’s where raw food comes in. One of the things that you really have to take into consideration with raw foods are some people will say, “It’s much harder for the body to digest.” It’s not true, although if you’re not chewing properly and you’re swallowing big pieces of broccoli, it’s so much harder to digest because the body’s like, “What does that big piece of thing?” It’s going to break it down from a solid piece of matter to a nutrient. That’s a huge process. A lot of people will say, “I can’t eat raw vegetables. I can’t eat raw foods.” Most people don’t chew enough, including myself sometimes. I have to remind myself to chew more and I end up swallowing these big pieces of food that are going to cause my body to be like, “Why did you do that?” What I recommend people starting on if they want to eat more raw foods is do more soups. The easiest thing to do is a smoothie.

Instead of doing yogurt, ice cream and fruit, the main ingredient is going to be spinach, banana, different fruits and different vegetables. Throw in a carrot. You’re not even going to taste and you’re going to get all the bioflavonoids. You’re going to get the provitamin A. You’re going to help your eyesight out, you’re going to get that carrot in there and you also blended it into super small pieces so the body recognizes it. One thing I didn’t even say yet is this idea of chewing. Digestion starts in our mouth. When we’re chewing food, we’re mixing our saliva with the food. The saliva contains amylase, which is a salivary enzyme. That enzyme starts to break down carbohydrates as soon as they’re in your mouth. If you take a drink of smoothies, soup or whatever and you chug it and you bypass that first mixing, you’re doing yourself a disservice because you’re missing part of the digestive process. Again, it’s going to be harder for your body to digest if you miss that step.

You're doing yourself a disservice if you're missing part of the digestive process. Click To Tweet

What I recommend people do if they want to eat more raw foods is try some amazing soup recipes. I’ve got some great super delicious raw soup recipes that are warm soups, they’re just not scalding hot and they’re not cooked, but they’re warm so they’re warming and they’re so delicious, but you got to mix it with your saliva before you swallow. Essentially, you’re taking a sip of your coffee or whatever, swirling it around and then swallowing so you don’t bypass that really important process. I get that a lot. It’s like, “I tried raw food, I can’t do it.” I was like, “Why can’t you do it?” Maybe some people have sensitivities to particular foods, but usually, food sensitivity is a sign of a weakened immune system and a weakened digestive system, but not always. There are people that are born with severe allergies, so I don’t recommend it. Try it again. Everyone’s on their journey and we have to choose what works for us. A lot of food sensitivities can be diminished if not completely eradicated by doing things like sprouting. Nuts, for example, soaking the nuts.

I had a student that came through my course and she has been allergic to nuts her entire life. As an adult, she never ate nuts. I was talking about nuts and I said, “A lot of times people eat raw nuts.” Raw almond, for example, is coated with the brown skin. That brown skin is an anti-nutrient. It’s an enzyme inhibitor because it’s protecting the almonds from going rancid, from going bad, from going off, from sprouting and from growing. It’s protecting it like a seed does. All seeds are protecting themselves until they’re ready to be created into a plant. The almond is protecting itself. You’re not supposed to eat the almond skin. Almond skin is an anti-nutrient. It makes it really hard for us to digest the almond. People who are like, “I’m eating healthy and I’m eating raw almonds and apples.” That’s bad. That’s actually hard for your body.

What do you suggest? That we peel the almonds?

Sprouted almonds. You can buy them sprouted now or this is what I do typically is I’ll come home, open my bag of almonds, pour them in a bowl, fill them with water and leave it overnight. The next day you’ll see there will be brown, sludgy water. Why would you want to eat that? You’d rinse that out. You rinse it really well. You leave them and soak another time. You’ll find it again, it will get sludgy brown. Rinse them again and at that point, you’ve released the enzyme inhibitors from the skin. At that point, the skin is just fiber, dead matter. You can remove it if you want, but it’s a pain in the butt to do that. At this point, you either make them into something like put them in a blender or food processor, pâté or a cake.

You can put them in the freezer. You can keep in the fridge, but maybe only for a week. You can dehydrate them back into dried almonds and you’ve got crispy, fresh almonds ready to eat any time. They’ve already been pre-sprouted and they’re healthier. There’s more nutrition. If you think about a seed, what is a seed but a baby plant? As soon as it starts to grow, it grows in nutrition. It brings it from the soil, from the air, from the water. It becomes more powerful, more potent. You just can quadruple the nutrition content in your almond. You got rid of the enzyme inhibitors, you’ve made the almonds healthier. Now, you’re eating healthy.

I’ve never thought about sprouting almonds. I eat almonds all the time. I even have them in my oatmeal every day.

People think almonds are healthy and in theory, they are. Also, almonds are super water heavy crop. If you’re getting a lot of almonds from California, maybe we shouldn’t eat that many almonds. That’s when the variety has another benefit. Not only are we getting a variety of nutrition, but we’re also impacting each little area a little less. Instead of tofu, soybeans, Edamame, soy sauce, soy crisps, soy milk, that’s a lot of soy. Where’s it growing? It’s grown in the Amazon. They’re destroying the Amazon to plant organic soy. That’s where education comes in. You are trying to educate yourself, “Where does this food come from? What was required to get it to me? What is my impact on this food choice?”

GCM 37 | Plant-Based Diet

Plant-Based Diet: Instead of having synthetic vitamin, use whole foods that have nutrition that you are lacking of or have a deficiency in.

 

How many people were involved in getting this to me? Did I buy it from the farmer at a farmer’s market or did I buy it from that person who bought it from that person who bought it from that person to that person who grew it over there who grew up from there? That’s all part of the process. Again, people will say, “It’s overwhelming.” A little bit at a time. We’re not perfect. Little small permanent changes are going to make all the difference compared to trying to radically change everything and being like, “That’s too hard. I’m going to go back to normal.”

What will you suggest I’m going to start? I’m not going peel all these almonds. I may put them on a bowl and do that. Even that, you have to start thinking ahead and we all have busy days. If this is the case with the almonds, I can imagine there are so much more that I don’t know. Where do you recommend someone starts?

It’s like any habit. Anything that you do, any routine that you do, anything you do, at some point you didn’t do it and then you started doing it. It’s the same thing. Maybe you start with the almonds, maybe you start with a green smoothie. The green smoothie thing has been said a lot. I’m working on a television series right now. It’s called Heal and Ignite Across Canada. It’s a traveling adventure series that meets with different experts and we discover how plant-based whole foods can heal the body and ignite the spirit. We go on outdoor adventures like rock climbing and kayaking and all kinds of crazy stuff and show how a plant-based lifestyle is extremely rewarding. We’ve got tons of energy. It’s positive. It’s inspiring.

I asked these experts on the show, “What’s your one piece of advice?” Our first episode was all about transitioning into more of a healthier lifestyle. What’s your one piece of advice? Every single one, green smoothie. How do you get more vegetables into your diet? Throw it in the smoothie. Make that smoothie taste good. Throw in medicinal mushrooms coming from China using as an ancient medicine, not magic mushrooms, as some people think. Reishi and Chaga. Other kinds of superfoods that can be used in moderation to enhance. Instead of having a synthetic vitamin, you’re using whole food that has the nutrition that maybe you are lacking or you have a deficiency in and you’re using a whole food to help up the nutrition versus synthetic vitamins. Synthetic vitamins have their place just as modern medicine has their place, but I’m in the business of prevention through food.

I own a Vitamix and I’ll throw something in there and make smoothies. I do that all the time. I’m getting older and I look at what changes do I need to make in my diet? We all know that after you turn 30 for men, your testosterone level starts to drop. Your body starts changing. We’re all getting older. I’m not getting any younger. I live a pretty healthy lifestyle now, but I look at what are some other things that I can do to slow down the aging process, get rid of the free radicals and maintain body and muscle mass and things like that. I’m really interested in eating properly and the things that I can do as a man.

As far as testosterone, any guy at the age of 40, even 35 years old, the testosterone starts to drop naturally. Instead of taking synthetic testosterone, you can take pine pollen. Pine pollen is bioidentical to testosterone. It’s actually been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to reverse and enhance a testosterone deficiency. As far as the women go on the other side, there’s another thing called Maca. It’s a food that’s been used in Incan times as a currency. It was their superfood and it enhanced their hormone production. It enhances libido. As you get older, it basically brought youth and vitality to the entire system of the body. These are things that you can take in small doses.

The reason I say small doses and moderation, as human beings, we tend to think like, “This thing is good. I’m going to overdose on it. Maca is great, I’m going to take a tablespoon a day.” I’m like, “No.” It’s powerful for a reason. It’s powerful so you will need a little bit. Again, asking those questions, where does it come from? What is my impact? Because as something becomes popular, it can have a propensity to become exploited. If you look at chocolate and cacao all over the world, there are small companies, fair trade, equitable, farm to farm. Then there’s Hershey’s, Nestle and Cadbury which are using slave trade still off the coast of Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, the Ivory Coast. These places are using really sketchy processes to get cacao and there’s a lot of unfair labor and stuff like that.

You have the power to change your health for the better. Take that power and own it. Click To Tweet

You can have a product that is a good thing health-wise, but what’s the backstory? For me, I do eat super foods that come from other countries but I’m not eating them excessively. Most of the time they’re supplemental and then I’m eating as much as I can. It’s freezing here in Canada. I’m in my van and there is not a lot of stuff growing. I’m going to get stuff from somewhere else. How can I make the best choice possible? That’s why I can’t ever say that you have to do a certain thing and be a certain way because I can’t even do it. Ideally, I’m eating 100% organic. I’m eating my own garden food. I’m growing, but it’s not possible for us in this day unless we’re living in a very extreme lifestyle, which is very different from everybody else. You got to find a balance that works for you. I travel a lot. Ideally, I’m making my own Kombucha. I’m doing my own juicing and all this, but I don’t even have house plants because I travel so much that when I come back and they’re dead.

I know that’s a big challenge because for those of us that don’t travel a lot of time, we find it difficult to even maintain that lifestyle and get the things that we need and we’re resident. We don’t even travel. I can imagine that that’s very challenging for you.

I have sympathy for people because it’s not always easy, but there’s a way. Even in the hardest way, there’s a way. People have excuses because of their values and their priorities. Sometimes the excuse is that I don’t have time. It’s not a priority and therefore, I’m not going to make the time. If you ask someone who has cancer. “Organics is expensive.” Ask someone who has to spend $40,000 a month for chemotherapy. Where do they get the money? They find the money because it’s important. That’s the same thing. You don’t ever want to get to that place where you’re forced to make a radical decision. We want to prevent it. I was listening to a podcast. It was talking about how every single one of us has cancer in our body. What is cancer besides the mutated cells? A cell that doesn’t recognize it’s supposed to die. There’s this process called apoptosis where it’s basically programmed cell death or programmed cell suicide. This is how our body’s so intelligent.

When a cell grows abnormally within itself, there’s the trigger that says, “You’re growing abnormally, you have to die now,” and it will kill itself because it’s growing abnormally. A cancer cell doesn’t have that trigger, so it just continues to grow abnormally. We have all this in our body, but by the food that we eat, the environment that we’re around and the strength of our immune system, usually those cells will die and kill themselves. We’re constantly managing little bits of cancer all throughout our lives. It becomes an issue when we’re not feeding ourselves properly. When we’re bogged down with toxins, when we eat too much processed foods or cooked foods or food that take a lot of energy for our body. Then again, there’s no energy to go to that cell and say, “You’re growing way too big. You’re supposed to die.” Certain foods do that. For example, coming up in Canada is going to be the legalization of cannabis throughout the country and it’s all over the states too.

Cannabidiols and our endocannabinoid system and all of this new news coming out and it’s showing that certain foods and certain plants have the ability to make those cancer cells kill themselves. For example, they were using cannabis. I’m not talking about marijuana. I’m talking about hemp as a non-psychoactive plant in its whole form. In some tests that cancer cell gets killed. These are the tests that are happening. That’s with that. There are all kinds of things with different food, with fermentation. It’s called an anti-angiogenesis. This cancer cell gets a blood supply and starts to grow, certain foods like green tea, blueberries, licorice, lavender, peppermint and ginger will actually cut that blood supply off. That tumor will die and shrink. They call these foods anti-cancer foods. Broccoli is an anticancer food because it does that. It kills the cancer cell. When cancer cells are this big, the broccoli might not help.

This is where food is a slow medicine. It’s preventative, but when you have a severe disease, that’s where modern medicine is useful. That’s where modern medicine does its best. It’s going to attack a crazy extreme thing with something else extreme. Let’s burn the body with radiation. Let’s cut it out with surgery, let’s poison it with chemotherapy because it’s so extreme so we need this extreme. You never want to get to the extreme because food is not extreme. Food is slow and food is soft. Our bodies are designed to detoxify themselves and our bodies are designed to keep ourselves healthy. We just got to keep helping them along with the food that we eat.

You started talking about supplementation and I really want to get into that. I got to get you back on the show. Not only just identifying the right foods to eat, but there’s also a certain level of supplementation I think that is required, non-synthetic though. It’s getting the education on what those are and where to find them. This has been great though, Danielle. This is awesome. Where can people find? You have a wealth of knowledge and I’m hoping some of this information is on your website. Where can people find you if they want it to connect with you?

GCM 37 | Plant-Based Diet

Plant-Based Diet: Our bodies are designed to detoxify themselves and to keep ourselves healthy. We just got to keep helping them with the food that we eat.

 

My website is Pachavega.com. You can come to learn from me. I teach raw food chef certification courses around the world and I teach them in Costa Rica, in Canmore, Alberta, the Rocky Mountains and Cape Cod, Massachusetts in Nauset Beach. These courses aren’t just for people who want to become a raw food chef, they’re for people who want to make these small permanent changes in their lifestyle, who want to improve their health and to help their families and those they love. Who wants to get excited about making food in the kitchen? Who wants to see how easy it is to take care of their health by implementing these little things that aren’t super difficult? That’s really inspiring and amazing. If you want to learn from me, you can come to my classes live.

I’ve also got an online school where you can take the basic course online through videos, handing in different assignments, making the food in your own homes. You can do it right from home with your kid’s home or whatever. If you’re in Calgary, Alberta area, you could hire me to come to your house. I also do catering, weddings, small party catering, yoga retreats and workshops. All the yoga instructors out there, a lot of times they hire me. We do collaborations where we’re doing a yoga retreat with raw food. I’ve got cookbooks for them or for free online, one of them is Heal and Ignite you can pay for on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca or anywhere you buy books. There are lots of ways to reach out to me. Come and take my course, that’s the best way. We get to hang out in Costa Rica.

I definitely want to get your cookbooks because I think that’s a start. Because I’m sure you’ve got some things to go and experiment with it in your own kitchen. That will be awesome. I will definitely get one of that.

Thank you so much for having me.

Thank you for coming on the show. I wish we had more time to keep talking about this. When we talk about being a game-changer or being successful, this part is sometimes overlooked. To me, this is part of your foundation. Making sure that you’re eating healthy and that you’re taking care of your body. If you take care of your body, the body will take care of you. It would allow you to do the things you want to do and do it feeling good. Sometimes we are dragging ourselves to where we have to go. We don’t have the energy because we’re not putting the right things. I’ve learned so much. Sprouted almonds is a takeaway that I have. What was that thing you said about the testosterone?

Pine pollen. You can get it in health food stores or online. Actually, a really good one for Americans is ThriveMarket.com. It’s super great because they don’t have a storefront so they pass the savings onto the customer. In Canada, OMFoods.com or RealRawFood.com. They’re excellent resources for that kind of stuff.

Thank you for that. Are you affiliated with any of those at all?

No. That’s where I get my stuff from and it’s like the ethics and their values are aligned with mine. I’m happy to support them.

Thank you so much for your time. This has been wonderful. There you have it, another successful episode of the show with Danielle Arsenault. What a wealth of knowledge. You have some very good information now to change the game in the kitchen. Develop a greater mentality around the foods that we eat which will allow us to be game-changers in our community and our families. Think about putting the right things into your body, into your kid’s body and to your family’s body and the difference that it can make in our lives. We talked about preventive medicine. Natural, from the Earth. The food that we eat. I really enjoyed this show. Thank you so much, Danielle. Do you have any last words for the audience?

You have the power to change your health for the better. You can take that power and own it and it’s not as hard as you think it is. It’s a lot easier and it’s all about those small permanent changes and about what you do consistently, not occasionally. You can do it and there’s a support network out there if you want to do it.

You can reach out to Danielle. Reach out to her, connect with her and learn from her. Take her course.

You can find me on Instagram @Pachavega. I just passed 10,000 followers so that’s really exciting.

Take care of yourselves and as we always say on the show, greatness is your birthright. We’ll see you next time.

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About Danielle Arsenault

GCM 37 | Plant-Based DietDanielle Arsenault, founder of Pachavega Living Foods Education digs in her toolbox of skills and passions, to hone in on fresh, gourmet, raw foods as a way to entertain, educate and inspire. She offers Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching, Private Catering and is the creator of Pachavega’s Basic and Advanced Raw Food Chef Certification Courses and co-founder of Live Pure Culinary Institute. She has also co-authored 4 vegan, gluten-free and seasonal cookbooks released with Jessica Perlaza under the name the “Kitchens of Pinch and Dash”. With a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and an Education degree in the Masters of Teaching Program from the University of Calgary, she is a passionate Holistic Educator and wears many hats. Keeping busy as an avid rock climber, cave guide, Sea Shepherd volunteer chef, fluent Spanish speaker and adventure seeker she has traveled to over 35 countries. Danielle is also a singer/songwriter and under her musical pseudonym, Mustache Fable, she released her debut ukulele-infused album in 2012. As a professor at Pacific Rim College in Victoria, BC in 2014, she taught Holistic Nutrition Cooking, Superfoods, and Whole Foods Preparation and continues to further her study in the science behind nutrition. In early 2017 she will release her 5th cookbook, “Heal and Ignite; 55 Raw, Plant-based, Whole-Food Recipes to Heal Your Body and Ignite Your Spirit”. Currently, she resides in Canmore, Alberta.

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