Healthy Living
Dr. Steve Blake - Promoting A Natural Way of Life      
Greetings, joyful viewers, and welcome to this week’s edition of Healthy Living, the first in a two-part series featuring the nutrition and wellness advice of Dr. Steve Blake, a vegan naturopath, herbalist, neuromuscular therapist, and Doctor of Holistic Health.

Dr. Blake is the author of the books “Vitamins and Minerals Demystified,” “Healing Medicine” and “Understanding Dietary Fats and Oils,” the creator of health-related software, such as “Diet Doctor,” a nutritional analysis program and “Herb Doctors,” an electronic compilation of herbal remedies for various health conditions as well as the founder of the College of World Health in Maui, Hawaii, USA. He encourages a natural approach to health with a plant-based diet as its cornerstone.

It’s estimated that every cell in our body is attacked 10,000 times a day by free radicals, and we have 100 trillion estimated number of cells in our bodies, so that’s really quite a lot. Luckily our bodies have two different types of defenses against free radicals.

One is the vegetables and fruits that we eat are loaded with antioxidant vitamins, and also with antioxidant bioflavonoids and other polyphenols inside the plants. Our other system of antioxidant protection involves our internal systems that are designed to scavenge these free radicals and to neutralize them and stop any damaging chain reactions that could happen.

Many of us have heard that free radicals, or atoms and molecules with unpaired electrons that can cause cell damage, are related to the aging process. Dr. Blake says free radicals are also connected to heart disease and stroke – which according to the World Health Organization are the leading causes of death worldwide.

Free radicals do cause heart disease and stroke most directly. Heart disease and stroke as you know are caused by atherosclerosis, the clogging of the arteries. And this at the beginning stage can happen from ages two to eight years old when the sides of the arteries are initially damaged and form fatty streaks. This process continues throughout life, and as we become older we become more susceptible to the end product of our atherosclerosis which is either a heart attack or a stroke.

Now when we want to circulate cholesterol in the bloodstream, which is very useful for our bodies, for instance we make steroid hormones like testosterone out of this, when our liver wants to package this cholesterol for circulation in the blood, our liver puts on antioxidant protection in a form of vitamin E.

When accompanied by this antioxidant, Low-Density Lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol can be beneficial to us. However insufficient amounts of vitamins E and C in the body leads to LDLs becoming oxidized by free radicals, thus injuring us.

LDL will stick to and damage the inside of our arteries leading to atherosclerosis, which leads to heart attack and stroke. And for this purpose lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are very good to take every day. In their raw form is always best.

What about taking a synthetic vitamin E supplement to avoid harm from free radicals? Is this the equivalent to eating vitamin E rich foods for protection?

Synthetic vitamin E contains eight different isomers. Isomers are similar molecules but different shapes. This isomer is not an antioxidant but is present in synthetic vitamin E. So let’s say that your liver grabs some of these and puts them on the LDLs to circulate – no protection at all.

Animal products are tremendously dangerous to our health for countless reasons with antioxidant loss being just one.

Meat at a meal may replace the vegetables that we should be eating to get our antioxidants. So, one of the damaging parts of meat is the reduction in antioxidants in a meal. And of course the big problem is the saturated fats in these animal products.

And the saturated fats then harden our cell membranes; make them less flexible and permeable, so that we have fewer LDL receptors to get this bad cholesterol out of the bloodstream and into our cells where it belongs, so that it doesn’t keep circulating in the bloodstream and cause heart attacks and strokes.

So one thing that’s important is that we supply ourselves with enough vitamin E through nuts and seeds, one serving per day would be perfect, and that we supply ourselves with abundant vitamin C and also vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. And for this purpose lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are very good to take every day. In their raw form is always best.

Our body can also make antioxidants to neutralize free radicals. We asked Dr. Blake to speak about how this process works.

Our bodies need to neutralize the free radicals that are formed in normal production. For instance when we make energy, there is something called the electron transport chain. That’s a pretty fancy name isn’t it? And in this electron transport chain sometimes we have free radicals form.

These are powerful superoxide free radicals. And our bodies wisely have developed an enzyme, a very powerful enzyme, called superoxide dismutase and this breaks up and neutralizes the superoxide into a less toxic compound that can be further neutralized.

Now there are three forms of SOD in the body. Superoxide dismutase is abbreviated SOD. The form that protects our mitochondria, the little energy factories in our bodies, this form needs the mineral manganese in order to function.

And I was interested when I analyzed diets to find that some diets, such as some of the Atkins diets can be low in manganese. This is very dangerous because this would allow free radicals to damage our energy-producing cells and that could leave you fat, tired and hungry.

Now there’re two other very important nutrients, zinc is one of them and copper is another. These minerals are co-factors in the other two types of superoxide dismutase that protects for instance the bloodstream and also the lungs. So these are the minerals that we need to have in order to make superoxide dismutase: manganese, zinc and copper.

When SOD neutralizes a superoxide free radical, it then becomes hydrogen peroxide. And hydrogen peroxide is also a dangerous free radical. So hydrogen peroxide needs to be further degraded. Now this one is degraded with glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme that needs selenium.

Now whole brown sesame seeds are an excellent source of selenium. Most nuts and seeds are good sources of all of these necessary minerals, so the glutathione peroxidase then neutralizes the free radicals into water, which is certainly not dangerous at all.

“Diet Doctor” is a computer program which allows one to input all foods consumed during the course of the day and then receive an instant analysis of nutritional intake, including antioxidant levels.

Yes, I have developed over many years a software program that analyzes diets, and I use that to check the antioxidant status of the diets of different people. And one way to do this is to look at standard diets, like the Zone diet or the Atkins diet or the Mediterranean diet, and see how much antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are taken in with these diets.

So I’ve found, for instance, that the standard American diet has very low antioxidants in general, vitamin E is quite low and vitamin C and beta-carotene are too low. But the diets that really look good for antioxidants were the vegan diets, especially the whole food vegan diet and raw food vegan diet.

These diets seem to be abundant in antioxidants, and perhaps this is why they’re so useful in helping people recover from both heart disease and from cancer, that they provide the antioxidants that our bodies need to quench all the free radicals and in a timely manner so that damage doesn’t result. There are many doctors who use a very low fat vegan diet to especially cure heart disease, and this is an excellent idea.

But these diets, while abundant in beta-carotene and vitamin C, seem to be consistently low in vitamin E. This is a concern, and of course they’re low in vitamin E because they have very few oils, and vitamin E is found in oils. Now to correct this, one could add just a few nuts and seeds to these diets, and then they would look a lot better on the vitamin E status.

For those intrigued by the antioxidant-rich raw vegan diet and wish to try it, Dr. Blake has some useful tips on selecting the most nourishing foods.

Most raw food vegan diets are excellent in all of the vitamins except for B12 which is missing, and needs to be taken, I think, by everyone, whether they’re raw food vegan American or any nationality or food type. Outside of B12, most of the vitamins are very well covered in the raw food vegan diet. Minerals, too, are well covered, with the possible exception of calcium. It may be necessary to take extra food with extra calcium.

Beans are a very good source of calcium. Now it’s hard for a raw food vegan to get enough calcium out of beans because the dried beans need cooking or soaking and sprouting. So I recommend that raw food vegans go ahead and sprout beans, and have sprouted beans at least once a day. Now protein is usually not a problem. I’ve found that raw food diets provide abundant protein.

Now in a raw food vegan diet the fats, while high, running maybe 40 or 45 percent of the calories, don’t have very many saturated fats. The saturated fats generally run more like seven percent of the calories, which is excellent. This is a very good amount that will keep away heart disease and strokes.

If the person is a woman under 50, or perhaps any of the children or pregnant woman need extra iron, that needs to be supplied. That can be supplied from the diet, but the best way would be to analyze a diet occasionally and see if you’re getting enough, and then if you’re a little low on one thing or another, raise it up by eating a little more of the foods that contain that.

Dr. Blake we are heartened that you are introducing so many people to the vegan lifestyle which is truly a path to happiness and well-being. Your sound nutritional guidance is also sincerely appreciated.

For more details on Dr. Steve Blake, please visit
Books and software by Dr. Blake are available at the same website

Please join us next Monday on Healthy Living for the conclusion of our two-part series, where we’ll learn about the fantastic healing properties of herbs from Dr. Blake. Thank you trusted viewers for your company today on our program. Coming up next is Science and Spirituality, after Noteworthy News. May Heaven bless all with everlasting vibrancy and vitality.
Now some herbs like echinacea are very helpful in energizing our own immune systems. They should be taken only occasionally when we need them in order to boost our immune defenses, say if we’re coming down with a cold.

Greetings, cheerful viewers, and welcome to Healthy Living, for the conclusion of a two-part series featuring the nutrition and wellness advice of Dr. Steve Blake, a vegan naturopath, herbalist, neuromuscular therapist, and Doctor of Holistic Health.

Dr. Blake is the author of the books “Vitamins and Minerals Demystified,” “Healing Medicine” and “Understanding Dietary Fats and Oils,” the creator of health-related software, such as “Diet Doctor,” a nutritional analysis program and “Herb Doctors,” an electronic compilation of herbal remedies for various health conditions as well as the founder of the College of World Health in Maui, Hawaii, USA. He encourages a natural approach to health with a plant-based diet as its cornerstone.

This week Dr. Blake shares with us his deep knowledge of medicinal herbs. He is certified as a Master Herbalist and has conducted extensive research in this field for many years.

There are so many herbs throughout the world, and for 27 years, I have been putting information on these herbs into this database, the “Herb Doctors,” I now have 54 countries represented. I just added the medicinal plants of South Korea, and the medicinal plants of (Au Lac) Vietnam, to my database. I have drawn from hundreds of books and my goal is to see where these great herb doctors agree.

I have currently 1,311 natural remedies listed in the “Herb Doctors.” It has 168,000 footnoted facts from around the world, comparing these herbs and how they’re used, how their dosage is applied and all of the other facts, their actions.

For instance, if a problem is insomnia, one of the most agreed upon remedies is passionflower, passiflora incarnata. There are perhaps 300 different herbs used all over the world for insomnia, but it's interesting to see which ones most of the doctors agree upon in different cultures, in different continents, because this means it's more likely to help us.

One of the popular members of the onion family is ginger. Besides being used in many cuisines to enhance the flavor of dishes, it also has many different medicinal applications.

Some of the other herbs that are widely used are ginger, which is used in Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. It's used throughout the West as a culinary spice, and it's certainly a very powerful heating and anti-nausea plant. The root of zingiber officinale (ginger) is used throughout the world and is a wonderful, for instance, cold remedy.

If a person has congestion in their chest, and they chop the fresh ginger root and slowly simmer it for half an hour, you get a very powerful liquid that will warm and break up congestion in the chest; just try it and see.

Chamomile is a member of the daisy family and grows in Europe, North Africa and Asia. Many are familiar with the famous beverage chamomile tea, but may not be aware of how the herb can benefit our health.

Now, I know that there are many people who say that herbs don't work or aren't powerful, but I think they're just not using them right. For instance, chamomile. Yes, if you put one bag of very old chamomile tea into a cup of water, it's not going to have much effect.

But if you take the fresh dried flowers, and put a quarter cup of those flowers in a cup of boiling water and steep it for a few minutes, you get a very powerful tonic for the stomach that will relax your stomach and relax your nerves, and there's nothing magic about it, it's a very lovely, peaceful feeling that you get from drinking this tea.

Using nature as our “pharmacy” is a concept that is unfamiliar to some. We asked Dr. Blake to explain the difference between using herbs and conventional medications for medical conditions.

Well, one of the big differences between herbs and modern medicines is the cost. For instance, you can get a tranquilizing pill, or a bottle of them, and this will cost you a certain amount of money. But that chamomile tea, if prepared properly, costs very little money at all, so that's one thing.

Another thing is the side effects. The side effects of modern drugs are well known, well studied, and cause millions of deaths every year, and more millions of terrible side effects. This may be necessary when the drugs are necessary and applied properly. But many of these side effects are not necessary, and many of the uses of modern drugs may not be needed, and herbs could substitute.

For instance, in convalescence, many times a person has a long period of convalescence, where herbal medicines will help them mend a little bit better than drugs will. Also in chronic conditions such as arthritis, it might be smarter to substitute using herbs for arthritis than powerful pain medications, because the herbs have a chance of helping the body heal the arthritis and stop the process of damage, whereas the drugs will generally only hide the pain, while the damage to the joints continues on.

Another interesting thing about herbs versus drugs is that people like herbs. When people take an herb and it helps them with their condition, they become grateful to the herb, they become happy with it, and learn all about it and recommend it to their friends. People rarely get attached to drugs, especially if they have nasty side effects.

Now, I know that our goal in the West usually is the “pill effect.” In other words, if people have, say high blood cholesterol, they would prefer to take a pill whether it’s red rice yeast or it's a statin drug, which both have similar effects. They still would rather to take the pill than change their diet. A whole food vegan diet will cure high blood cholesterol in almost every case and quickly too. But people prefer to eat the food they’re used to, and take the pill.

Statin drugs are used to lower cholesterol levels with the goal of lessening the chances of a heart attack. For the past decade they have been the top-selling drug in the United States. Dr. Blake believes that people should consider the downsides of these medicines and the alternatives available to reduce cholesterol levels.

Well, recent evidence has shown that statin drugs, that they damage the muscles very severely in a small number of people. Well, they decided to take a look at everyone taking statins in a test, not just the people with the strong side effects, and look at their muscles to see if their muscles are being damaged in all of the people taking statins. Unfortunately they did find that that is true, that there is some muscle damage from statin drugs in just about all people.

Remember: people who are taking statins generally are 50, 60, 70 years old. And falling is a major issue at these ages, especially with the prevalence of osteoporosis. So that if a person gets a weak muscle and falls, they could break their hip, and that could be very much the end of their life, or at least the end of a pleasant life where they can get around. So this is to be avoided and statin drugs only need to be taken by people who refuse to change their diets.

If people are willing to change their diet and exercise, then statin drugs are needed in only a very, very small number of cases. I would encourage people to take this advice and rather than take the statins, go ahead and change your lifestyle. Now statins interrupt the ability of our bodies to create cholesterol. Most of our cholesterol is made inside our bodies, not taken from food, so that if we take statin drugs, we make less cholesterol.

We also make less of a very important internal antioxidant called Coenzyme Q10. This is the only internally made fat soluble antioxidant. It’s very, very important. It’s found in all the cells and if our bodies cannot make this properly, this has terrible consequences for our health. This is one of the reasons why statin drugs are dangerous. It’s because they stop the production of both cholesterol and a very desirable internally made antioxidant called Coenzyme Q10 or Co-Q10.

Chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes afflict millions around the world. On the whole Dr. Blake feels that herbs are not necessarily the answer to these types of conditions.

Using herbs for chronic conditions is a little bit of a pill approach, a little bit more of a pill approach than I would recommend. All of these conditions, especially something like diabetes, it’s proven that by changing the diet and getting more exercise, type 2 diabetes can be reversed in most cases. So also, high cholesterol and the danger of heart disease can be reversed by lifestyle changes.

The lifestyle change generally is to eat a whole vegan diet. If this is done, then herbs may not be necessary. I look at herbs as a small balancing force where lifestyle cannot make all of the changes needed or as a temporary help in helping people with disease problems until their lifestyle changes can catch up with them and make them vibrantly healthy and alive, activating their own immune system so they can do it.

Here are some final thought from Dr. Blake on health and healing.

The best way to boost your health and to fight disease is to change your lifestyle so that we get more exercise, we eat better, cleaner, more whole, more raw foods, and that is really the path to health, and drugs rarely are healing medicine.

Try and comprise at least half of your diet in fresh whole foods that are raw, such as fruits, fresh fruits. I’m talking about apples, not apple pie here, and vegetables, some raw, some cooked but as much raw as possible so that you get the vital nutrients that you need and that energy and vitality and young good looks that we all strive for.

Many thanks Dr. Blake for your introduction to the therapeutic properties of herbs and explaining how to fuel our bodies for a lifetime of wellness and happiness. We salute you for promoting the vegan diet which is truly the foundation of good health.

For more details on Dr. Steve Blake, please visit
Books and software by Dr. Blake are available at the same website

Optimistic viewers, thank you for joining us today on Healthy Living. Coming up next is Science and Spirituality, after Noteworthy News. May we all take time to reflect on the many blessings in our lives.

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