Part One: Orientation
1. Why I Can Help You
2. Who This Book Is For and How to Use It
3. Purpose and Structure of This Book
4. The Secret To Self-Help
5. Maintaining Healthy Dietary Patterns is a Big Step Towards Self-Mastery
6. You’re a Pig!
7. Starting a New Diet Creates Hope
8. Get Excited About Starting Your Journey
9. This Book Will Help You—I Guarantee It
10. What Kind of Eater Are You?
11. What Is Self-Improvement?
12. We Must Be Honest With Ourselves
13. This Is a Challenging, Worthwhile Journey You Will Succeed At
14. Distraction and Lack of Good Habits
15. Practice, Not Perfection
Part Two: The Primary Work
16. Create a Journal and Always Write in It
17. Who Else Journaled Throughout History? You’re Not a Dweeb for Writing
18. Important Writing Assignments
19. The Power of the Task List
20. The Importance of Saying the Right Words and Taking the Right Actions
21. Celebrate the Beginning of This New Journey
22. Your Dietary Changes Will Help Stop War and Starvation
23. Comparing Food Addiction to Other Common Addictions
24. Expand Your Consciousness—Everyone’s Doing It
25. Become Fully Aware of Your Childhood Experiences—Stop Denying
26. Consciousness Expanding Lifestyle Practices
27. The Pursuit of Mental Health is the Pursuit of Consciousness
28. Move Past Traumatic Experiences by Writing About Them
Part Three: The Psychology Work
29. Losing Weight is Not Just for Vanity—It’s for Our Peace of Mind
30. The Psychological Program
31. Smash Denial: Admit That You Have a Problem
32. Behavior Patterns Trigger Poor Dietary Choices
33. The Relationship Between Physical Exercise and Happiness
34. Stop Saying Unkind Things to Yourself
35. About Childhood Trauma
36. Addressing Childhood Trauma and Emotional Issues
37. Identify Difficult Emotional Checkpoints That Lead to Negative Behavior
38. Feel Your Feelings
39. Bodily Processing of Emotions
40. Repressing Emotions Can Make Us Physically and Emotionally Sick
41. Therapy Is Important
42. A Story Illustration
43. Peoples’ Motivations for Going on Diets
44. The Error of Seeking Dietary Advice
45. Mealtimes and Misconceptions
46. Food Cravings
47. Sweet Tooth
48. What the Heck Are We Really Craving?
49. How to See the Supermarket Experience
50. Cravings and Emotional Food Attachments
Part Four: The Dietary Change Work
51. Eliminate Processed Food From Your Diet
52. Toxic Food Processing
53. Diet Plan Considerations
54. Food Disorder Syndromes
55. Addictive Food Types
56. Supermarket Food Issues
57. Nutrition: An Overview
58. What Is Food?
59. Plant-Based: The Optimal Diet for Humans
60. Fear of Not Getting Enough Protein in Your Diet
61. Change Your Dietary Perspective
62. Food Is Fuel, Not Medicine
63. What Is Not Food?
64. Understand Nutritional Needs and Principles: Misconceptions Regarding Nutrition
69. Vitamins and Minerals
70. Seasonal Foods
71. You Are What You Eat—Eats
72. Consider Vegetarianism
73. The Primary Food Sources: Humans Versus Other Animals
74. The Plant-Based Diet
75. Good Plant Foods and Where To Find Them
76. I Am Obsessed With Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Sprouts, and Seeds
77. Water and Hydration
78. Fall in Love With Salad
79. Fall in Love With Juices and Smoothies
80. Development in Human Diet Patterns
81. Cow’s Milk and Chicken Eggs
82. Don’t Let Pious Vegans Judge You
83. Ethical Considerations
84. Alcohol, Tobacco, Inhaling Smoke From Cannabis, and Other Drugs
85. What About Coffee?
86. Cacao (Chocolate) and Maca
87. Other Hippie Weirdo Products
88. USDA Organic Certified Produce
Part 5: Advanced Work Into Action
89. Vital Force
90. Getting Rid of Food Contraband
91. Late Night Safety Measures to Protect Against Emotional Eating
92. Set Eating Times for Each Meal. Create Repetition and a Pattern
93. Avoiding Fad Diets
94. Ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine Diets
95. About the Term “Biohack”
96. Fasting and Juice Cleanses
97. Intermittent Fasting: Create Longer Periods of Daily Abstinence Before Eating
98. Details Regarding Fasting Practices
99. My Experience With Cravings
100. Exercise More and More, Get It In
101. The Mindset of Exercise
102. Suggested Exercise Types
103. Walking Is the Most Important Exercise
Part 6: Essential Mindfulness, Meditation, Prayer, and Service
104. Relax Before Meals and Focus During Mealtimes
105. Visualize Your Body as You Want It to Be
106. Meditation: An Introduction
107. For the Most Distracted People in the World
108. Don’t Forget Prayer, Even if You’re an Atheist
109. Positive and Negative Thoughts
111. How to Meditate
112. Meditation Is a Long-Term Practice
113. Apology Accepted
114. Helping Others and Being of Service
Part 7: Integrating and Incorporating This Program Into Your Life
115. Make a Daily Ritual of Returning to Your Shrine to Recommit to Your Recovery
116. This Program Is a New Power
117. Taking Ownership and Dietary Transition
118. A Final Pitch on Veganism and Avoiding Processed Food
119. Food Industry Issues
120. Energy of Food
122. Elimination and Irregularity
123. Dietary Issues and Irregularity
124. Suggested Remedies for Irregularity
125. Keeping a Scale in the House
126. Your Relationship With Food and Lifestyle Choices Moving Forward
127. Get Into Therapy
128. Bond With Nature
129. Sleep Is an Integral Part of Weight Loss and an Overall Sense of Well-Being
130. Supplements in General
131. Probiotic Supplements
132. A Glimpse Into My Personal Story
133. A Cup of Tea
134. Therapy and Determination
135. Summary and Recap
136. My Top 30 Positive Health and Lifestyle Changes/Behaviors
137. Maintenance: We Need Daily Tune-Ups
139. Self-Acceptance: When You Have It, You Know You Are Getting Well
140. Recovering From Mistakes and Relapses
141. Inspiration to Continue Getting Better
Foreword by Jeffrey I. Mechanick, M.D.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, July 2020
“Diet”: A noun, a verb, or a way of life? We are engulfed with the pressures of life, our families, friends, work, play, politics, and cosmic questions we fall back on when truly on the spot. But where does our health fit in? “Health”: This is, in fact, the key to all of the answers, since our physical well-being fashions our emotional well-being, attitudes, and approaches. Health is our ticket for success and self-esteem.
Transforming the idea and target of health into real action is yet another critical question. There are many options, as there are many different flavors of people. Now, the true question is, how does one get motivated to be healthy? If reaching a level of human performance that can approach, touch, and even grab a wild dream has appeal, then reading The goodsugar Diet™ by Marcus Antebi is a worthwhile endeavor. Marcus has already proven to be a successful innovator in health and nutrition through his founding of Juice Press and is now extending his philosophy of living in this book.
Here’s what lies ahead. Marcus offers a perspective that will resonate; a message that is conversational, but has the raw physics of power and energy that motivate change. From a medical standpoint, it is a person’s “activation for change” that is the first step toward improvement and a more healthy lifestyle.
There are clear tactics to achieve this change outlined in the pages that follow: keeping a journal; creating a “to do” list; introspection and reflecting on your personal history; and simply being nice to yourself. The fuel that impels the reader is the rapid exploration of terrain, the quick starts, bumps and jerks, and the hurdles that define a roller coaster experience through the burgeoning field of healthy eating patterns. This is a holistic maneuver that culminates in a final “aha,” where being healthy is realistic, easy, happy and fun.
So, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the ride.
Jeffrey I. Mechanick, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.N., E.C.N.U., M.A.C.E.
Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of The Marie-Josee and Henry R. Kravis Center for Clinical Cardiovascular Health at Mount Sinai Heart
Director, Metabolic Support, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York
Part One: Orientation
1. Why I Can Help You
My name is Marcus Antebi. I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1969, and I am grateful because I’ve had a rich and full life that I plan to continue for the next 50+ years.
I survived 13 years of skydiving and retired with over 2,300 jumps. I survived competitive Muay Thai fighting. I started a juice company called Juice Press in 2010, and when I exited we had 85 stores.
The thing that makes me qualified to write this book is the most noteworthy thing that I’ve done in my life: I’ve been clean and sober since 1985 when I overcame my addiction to marijuana. I tried all kinds of drugs, and by the time I was 15 1/2 years old I was done. I went to an inpatient rehabilitation facility for 90 days.
Some thought that inpatient treatment seemed a little bit dramatic for marijuana addiction, but I found it necessary. I’m glad that I requested that level of treatment, and it served to get me on a path of lifetime recovery.
I also became passionate about recovery in the process of growing up watching my father and sister struggle with their weight and the role of food in their lives. Doing so left a painful impression on me—I felt powerless to ease their suffering. I was very close to my father and I spent years trying to understand his childhood and how his trauma was associated with his diet and lifestyle patterns. I believe I developed a complex from my father’s problems. I wanted to save my family from their addictions and suffering, but I wasn’t able to. So, I am converting all of my pent-up energy, emotions, and knowledge of the subject matter into this project and a number of similar efforts. I find that writing out and organizing information focused on self-help topics is very satisfying and therapeutic to me.
At Juice Press I needed to be a prolific writer of many kinds of self-help and commerce-related documents for customers and team members. Now I’m excited to move on to books.
My mentor is a great man named Fred Bisci. At the time of this writing he is 90 years young and has been 100% raw vegan for approximately 55 years. He had a nutritional practice for many years and has a remarkably deep level of understanding of diet and the human body. I am a devoted vegan myself.
I’ve been practicing yoga since 1997. More than any other type of physical exercise, practicing yoga has been the thing that has helped me learn how to concentrate and focus; that is something that was always very difficult for me. This focus has helped me keep positive and avoid my tendency towards addiction.
That’s essentially my story. I don’t have university degrees or formal education; my college education took place on the streets and in the process of being wholeheartedly devoted to living and instructing others in healthy lifestyle practices over a 35-year period.
Writing about health and wellness is something that I have become very passionate about. I stepped down from Juice Press in order to focus primarily on this book and getting this important plan out to you.
My current health and wellness company, goodsugar™, is a platform for helping us improve and maintain our health. I’m not seeking to just sell products. In my life and in my companies, social and environmental responsibility is still of paramount importance. I want to help people get on the right path to a lifestyle that incorporates good physical and mental health, respect for our planet, and service to others.
I sincerely hope that my writing will be encouraging and beneficial to you as you seek to make yourself a better person and our world a better place.
2. Who This Book Is For and How to Use It
This book is for anyone who wants to be truly healthy and happy. It will offer you many weight loss tips, and some of those tips will help you to lose weight fairly quickly. What it will not offer you is a quick fad diet enabling you to lose a few pounds over a weekend. Instead, this book will encourage you to make all-encompassing lifestyle changes. Such changes will enable you to not only lose weight, but to keep the weight off, change your body chemistry for the better, and engage in a positive journey to attain excellent mental, physical, and emotional health and wellness.
Toxic diets and bad eating habits are prevalent in all countries, regardless of the races, creeds, and religions practiced by those countries’ inhabitants. The United States can no longer take the National Blue Ribbon Award for “Country With The Worst Diet.” Worldwide, we have strayed far away from what is ideal for us, while what is ideal for us is still debated.
This problem emerged around the same time that kingdoms with large cities did. People shifted to singular, skyward-facing gods instead of regarding earthly locations and earthly abundance as sacred. We slowly converted from hunter-gatherers who had deep connections with all aspects of the land to large populations of malnourished dependents.
From this emerged large-scale agriculture, large-scale warfare, pandemics, superstition, science, modern-day commerce, the FDA, and the place where humanity is now with rampant obesity and food-related illnesses!
Our problems with food today are interwoven with mistakes passed on from generation to generation over a long period of time. But you can help change this situation for the better!
As individuals like you become more aware and positively shift your eating patterns, you are changing the entire world. This is how consciousness works: Your awareness and consciousness become part of a collective consciousness.
The fundamental components of existence are air, water, FOOD, shelter, warmth, human contact, safety, habits and routines, dignity, love, enjoyment, stillness, and connection with the cosmos and divine consciousness. Today, most people are divorced from the third most fundamental component of their existence, FOOD.
This book is about food. However, all of our absolute necessities are bound together by the same thread. The thread is mechanically linked to the laws of the Universe. Whether you read this as a spiritual statement or as an intellectual one (as I intended it to be) does not matter as long as you receive the message.
I have learned that the correct path to relearning food and dietary patterns must be a holistic, all-encompassing one that entails surrender. It’s necessary to surrender yourself in order to master yourself. Surrender to your healing. Surrender to pain. Surrender to your amazing power to recover and grow. Surrender to compassionate words. Surrender and lead yourself toward self-realization right now! Surrendering may be a gradual process that takes time, or you may be able to do so in an instant—it could take one second or it could take your entire life.
There’s absolutely nothing better that you could be doing than living your life in the best way possible right now. If you can’t do that, it may be that you're stuck in something that’s difficult to deal with. We all get stuck. Some more so than others. But the ones who are the most stuck then recover to become some of the most amazing healers and creators of all time.
Let’s not be sad and let’s not feel alone. We are not alone. Plus, it seems that every single human that ever existed struggled. There’s nothing wrong with you and there’s nothing wrong with me. We are just working on things and figuring sh*t out. So take a deep breath and thank someone or something that you love that we are here and that we will be for a long enough time.
Do you really need anyone's help in dealing with food and dietary issues? The answer is almost certainly yes. Maybe you have 200 pounds to lose, or maybe just three to five pounds of excess weight that keeps you from being totally in love with your body. We’re all on a similar journey to better health in general and weight control in particular, and we can all benefit from the input of others to some degree.
Having spent more than a decade in the health and wellness food industry, I have determined who can benefit most from this particular book. This book is best suited for people whose diets have made them feel like they’ve “hit bottom''—people who are more than ready to make critical lifestyle changes.
I don’t offer cheats, fast tips, or shortcuts. If you’ve been a consumer of diet products, then you realize that eventually all of those things fail us.
At this point, hopefully, you are ready to do the repair work that’s both necessary and effective. You will have to take your own journey to understand your all-encompassing relationship with food and with all of the substances that you put into your body.
If you’re ready to do this work, understand that it will take time. But with time, you will gain greater self-awareness, more depth, healing, and you will grow to feel good about your entire life. When your diet is part of an all-encompassing lifestyle change, you will reach more of your overall goals. You will be on your path to a happy and healthy life.
There’s quite a bit of content in this book. Each section is numbered, and the various sections can be read in any order over any amount of time. I recommend that you take this book with you everywhere you go and read from it constantly. Even if all you can handle is one minute at a time or half a section at a time, keep the book with you. Keep it by your bedside. Randomly open it to any page at any time and read; it is all useful, helpful and life-affirming.
During the early years of my recovery, I had many books similar to this. I kept them next to my bedside and in my backpack. I’d continually read portions of them at different times, and I gleaned through the various books until their messages sank in.
Generally speaking, it’s very difficult for a person who is confused about their overall life and the circumstances around them to take in new things. If you’re in such a situation, you’ll find it helpful to surround yourself with things that help you learn. This book will help you learn, so keep it close.
3. Purpose and Structure of This Book
The purpose of this book is to help anyone interested in weight loss, weight control and good health make a number of dietary changes for the better. The first such change is to abstain from processed foods. Next, I want to help readers make all of the other tweaks to diet and overall lifestyle that I know will cause them to function and feel better: Functioning and feeling better are critical in sustaining long term weight and health goals. Finally, my goal is to help readers look deeper into their emotions and thought patterns in order to develop a greater sense of peace. I am hoping to help you find your way back to your path of self-realization. The first step is to change the patterns in our lives that lead to suffering and distraction.
I have divided this book into seven parts: (1) Orientation; (2) The Primary Work; (3) The Psychology Work; (4) The Dietary Change Work; (5) Advanced Work Into Action; (6) Essential Mindfulness, Meditation, Prayer, and Service; and (7) Integrating and Incorporating This Program Into Your Life.
Each subpart of the book is numbered as a section (from 1 to 141). The numerical order of these subparts does not necessarily reflect their value in importance from highest to lowest. Each subpart is a critical component of this comprehensive program.
This book was not created as a highly commercialized diet program with unrealistic or impossible promises of success. It’s not at all along the same lines as the old Thigh Master® TV commercials. Thigh Master® was much easier than anything I know of in the health industry.
This program is a true self-help guide. The emphasis is on ‘self,’ meaning that you have to do all of the work. This program has no contraptions, no 14-day promises, and no miracle pills. Only your correct decisions and efforts over the long term will deliver lasting results for you.
Having said that, I must be truthful and say that almost any popularized diet that requires that you abstain from processed food, no matter how ineffective the rest of the program may be, will work to help you lose weight and feel better. While that may be enough for some. But many studies and my experience observing others have shown me that if no other steps are taken, the weight comes right back after a short period of time.
Even diets that seem to be sustainable for a few months or years are not worth the superficial benefit of a tight and toned body if those diets are toxic to our chemistry. They can be toxic because they require that we exaggerate the macronutrients to one degree or another. They may also require that we eat far too much animal protein in particular than what the natural parameters of the human body are set to function best at.
Tightness and good tone may be indicators of only one aspect of health; we can have six-pack abs and still be on a collision course with illness and disease.
This program focuses on all-encompassing lifestyle and diet choices. The program in this book is comprehensive and it will require a great deal of attention, focus and concentration on the things we are about to look at. It will also require time on the reader’s part to absorb all of the comprehensive content. It will take longer than “The 7 Minute Abs” program takes, but it will offer a great deal more.
If any person follows this program step by step, they will get better. I know this to be true from my own life experiences as well as from my interactions with others, including extensive consultations with nutritionists and medical doctors.
The website www.goodsugar.life will complement this book. It will offer many more suggestions relating to dietary choices and lifestyle practices.
Be patient as you embark on this journey. Make changes at a pace that is suitable to your comfort level. If you’re consistent and focused as you do so, you will experience impressive results. Even if you are drowning in your distractions right now, just holding this book and striving to read each page is going to make you better.
There are many things that prevent us from reaching a true emotional and physical bottom regarding our weight loss and negative dietary patterns. Sometimes being fantastically wealthy or being well-off in other ways can make us so comfortable that we don’t ever really hit an emotional bottom. We get close, but we’ve got enough distractions around us to keep us from really hitting that bottom and saying, “I’m done, I’m fed up, I’ve got to do something now!” And sometimes even when we hit bottom we do not know what to do next. We might drift for a while at the bottom and then resume our old bad habits.
We may have enablers in our lives who make it really easy for us to continue our unhealthy behavior. Perhaps they cook for us a certain way, or maybe they keep the house filled with junk food. If you haven’t reached the bottom, it’s going to be difficult for you to breeze through this comprehensive program. The reason this is so is that the program requires long-term concentration and focus, dedication, motivation, character development, personal growth and building higher levels of self-esteem.
If you have resistance to being uncomfortable, as most of us do, then making a change, getting up, doing the necessary work, and reading a book like this will require a push from someone like me. I will push you gently. Please allow me to be your guide. You can do everything in this book, and you will!
This book could easily be 5,000 pages long because there’s always something helpful pertaining to weight loss, general health, self-improvement, and being happy that could be added. The book isn’t a novel with stories of lovers rolling around on the beach. There’s no intriguing mystery here, and there's no surprising, twisted ending. This book consists of straightforward direction. It condenses and summarizes my lifelong experiences in health and wellness, dietary and otherwise, with a focus on things that have worked for myself and countless others.
You will find this book to be quite different from most books that speak of diet and nutrition. This is so because I’ve found it necessary to cover quite a number of things and to focus on three issues in particular.
One issue is the shortcomings of certain popular diet programs. Another is the necessity of incorporating all-encompassing holistic lifestyle practices into weight control and health improvement efforts. The third issue pertains to the use of sound psychological and metaphysical principles when approaching lifestyle changes of any kind.
There’s certainly a lot of content in this program to unpack and assimilate. This program was not designed to deliver mind-blowing results in 14 days. Making substantial improvements in diet and lifestyle takes time and continuous effort. Popular diets are very successful because of the way that they package their programs. They make users believe that there’s an incredibly simple way to lose weight and then live happily ever after, even if the users don’t make many changes to their long-term dietary practices and lifestyle patterns.
Psychology is of critical importance in long-term sustainable weight loss, weight control, and healthy living, but some of us are intimidated by books on psychology. This is so for a couple of reasons. At times the material that’s covered in those types of books seems pedantic and dry, and as such not particularly interesting to read. And another issue is that the material is sometimes presented in a way that doesn’t give readers sufficient guidance on how to apply the valuable insights and principles to their daily lives.
Spiritual books often bring us comfort—they can be inspiring and encouraging. But the subject matter is often not contextual enough for those who wish to apply spiritual principles to their specific dietary needs and struggles. Although spirituality looms large in dietary change efforts, the current pantheon of books about diet and lifestyle do not address such changes to a sufficient enough degree in a spiritual context.
I’ve needed a book such as this my entire life. I needed it 35 years ago when I was a very uneducated eater intoxicating myself daily with food. Even with the changes I have made, I still need this book today. I wrote this book to give back what I learned in the hope that others will find it useful. I practice all of these principles in my daily life, and I have been sober regarding my eating behaviors for 25 years, and 35 years with regard to drugs and alcohol.
To elaborate a bit on diet plans that sound absurdly simple, they almost never work past the short term. This is the case because they don’t specify all of the work that the dieter needs to do. They usually focus almost entirely on food. They almost never address behavior and don’t provide steps to deal with deeply-rooted emotions that trigger bad dietary habits. It’s unpopular to tell dieters that difficult psychological work on their part is a necessary component of permanent weight loss. For that reason, diet programs that emphasize hard work and sometimes painful introspection don’t sell well.
Many, perhaps most people aren’t interested in diving deep and getting their weight control problems fixed once and for all, or they are unable to see the connection between psychology and weight loss. Popular diet programs don’t often get to the heart of our issues with food. One has to overcome a lifetime of bad habits, developed to anesthetize their pain, in order to create healthy habits around food. We have anxiety, lack of focus, lack of discipline, and lack of knowledge, all of which work against us in weight control and healthy living.
It may seem harsh that I am saying these things right off the bat. But I want to help you. And I know how stubborn we all can be, because I’m the same way. I often go in and out of my own denial. Denial about old and new feelings. Denial about a problem, its cause, and then resistance to doing the work to improve. This kind of work requires a daily pledge, from now until the day we leave the body. We must take an interest in our health improvement and the actions required to achieve it!
Throughout this book, sometimes I’ll speak to you with a lot of compassion. Other times I’ll present you with disturbing information about you and the things you eat that will probably make you upset. Everybody, including myself, needs a wake-up call when they’re doing something that puts them at risk.
I will repeat this over and over again: Many weight loss programs seem simple on the surface. But, again, much more often than not, they don’t work. You’re usually trained like a circus animal to perform tricks on your body. The methodologies that fad diets employ consist of what are popularly termed “biohacks.” These diets work to a degree, but they are not the winning solution to the good health, long-term weight loss, and weight control that you desperately need.
The winning solution consists of the steps outlined in this book. I know this from personal experience. I am asking you to make the program described in this book your top priority for several months. After reading this book in its entirety and making an honest, concerted effort to put its information into practice, keep going back to it. You will find things that you may have missed in earlier readings, and you will find things that are particularly applicable to things going in your life at that point in time as you progress on your journey.
As you do so, not only will you lose weight and keep it off, but your attention span will improve, you will become more focused, and your overall physical and mental health will improve tremendously. The more you hear the invaluable messages presented in this book, the more they will stick.
This book details a comprehensive weight loss and lifestyle improvement program that can be implemented by anyone. This first edition covers quite a bit of ground, addressing a wide variety of interrelated topics. I will make every effort to make whatever stylistic corrections are warranted in future editions. But I am asking you to seriously consider the book’s content and make the commitment to do the work.
4. The Secret To Self-Help
There are two epic secrets to improving one’s life. One of them is to train yourself to take baby steps in everything that you do in connection with self-help. For example, if a book is really thick and it’s promising to teach you how to liberate yourself from pain and suffering, you might keep that book on your shelf for 10 years because its size intimidates you. Think about the irony in that.
A book that promises to relieve us from our suffering sits untouched for years—we would rather suffer than make small efforts towards improvement. Why is that? It’s because we are afraid of a shift in reality, or because we don’t know how to take the first step and so we become paralyzed, or it may simply be that we never grew out of being lazy. It makes no difference what the causes of inaction are: We need to solve the problem, and the way to solve this problem is to take steps—really, really small steps—and take them every day.
Every time something becomes too big of a step, break it down into smaller steps. Read one page in this book every day. Just one page is all you need, and you’ll be drifting into the path of wellness. Not because I am a guru, or that my words are great, but because you are taking action.
The next secret to learning great lessons is to teach them. That is the essence of 12-step recovery, which we can borrow from. The 12th step in recovery is about being of service and helping others. The reason why this is put into action in a self-help program is because if a person is busy trying to show others how to help themselves, they’re teaching themself that same lesson. Therefore, anything that you are struggling with, find someone struggling with the same thing to a greater degree, and help them. There is always someone out there who can benefit from your kindness and compassion. (More about this later.)
Back to taking baby steps. If we’re having trouble starting an activity that seems too difficult, we’re likely not aware of how to break it down into smaller tasks that are easier to accomplish. Maybe we have to break that task down into five or ten smaller steps.
I will use my early experience with meditation as an example. I first thought that meditation was a waste of time because I could not connect with the universe and creation and become fully enlightened the first time I tried it. I could not approach meditation because I could not imagine myself sitting and wrestling with boredom for an hour. The idea of meditation seemed pointless because I did not feel any benefits right from the start. Instead of relaxing me, it made me more stressed out than before.
But then I realized that if I approached meditation the way I approached building a retail store—incrementally, step-by-step—I could accomplish something. In building, I was patient with the process. Each day we would finish a little bit more and then move on to the next thing. We couldn’t start electrical work until we framed the walls. We couldn’t build a cabinet until the floor was complete.
I can approach meditation in the same manner. I can sit for 2 minutes and say, “I am meditating,” over and over again. I can declare to myself right now, while I am writing this, “I am in a single-minded focus and I am meditating. Instead of thinking about joining the cosmic conversation, which I think is a complex accomplishment, I just need to practice a still mind, with one thought, not ten, and this is my foundation.”
When we approach a difficult task with patience, visualizing the smaller tasks first, putting the big picture aside for a moment, the task becomes more approachable. How did I write a book this dense? I started with the title. I opened the document and started writing page one. I made a commitment to write only one page per day. If I missed a few days, I made up for it when I resumed writing. I maintained the simple task of writing one page per day. Then one day I looked at my book draft and I had written hundreds of pages. The momentum was there.
At that point I was inspired to organize all the topics, and I did so. The next task was to find an editor. The task after that was to find a person who could lay out the book for submission to the printer. I worked on the book by taking on these and other small steps and putting aside any anxiety regarding completion of the finished product.
I made the small steps important. I trusted in this process. Absorb and understand this, and work at improving your life in the same way. Avoid the painful attachment of not being at the “finish line.” Be at the starting gate. Then be in your next step. Be content to be working on something. Be in the process. This may take some time to absorb and incorporate. The first step was to read this. The next step may be to think about it. The step after that will be reading it again. Little by little, complete your steps and don’t worry if you don’t get as far along as you’d like as fast as you like. You’re going to accomplish your goal, and don’t worry if it takes a good while to do so.
5. Maintaining Healthy Dietary Patterns is a Big Step Towards Self-Mastery
There are a number of concepts that anyone wanting to achieve long-term weight loss and a healthy lifestyle must understand. Some of those concepts may seem esoteric or metaphysical in nature, but understanding them is crucial. A number of positive behavioral changes will be crucial as well. These changes include meditation, writing assignments, dietary improvements, exercise, and prayer, to name a few.
The first concept to consider is that we actually have a relationship with food and that that relationship is likely dysfunctional. We need to mend and improve our relationship with this activity that provides us with energy and ultimately with life. In the process of doing so, we need to understand what we are doing that is out of alignment with our nature. We also need to understand what things have gone wrong with respect to what humans now consider food, how we treat animals for our food, and how food is manufactured, marketed, and distributed throughout the world. This awareness is crucial to being able to complete and sustain a comprehensive recovery.
This understanding is essential because humanity’s overall concepts around food are absolute madness. Fixing the world is not your problem. However, escaping the proverbial asylum is. It’s a problem easy to solve by simply becoming aware of the suffering humanity causes itself and other creatures. Then, stop participating in it. Easier said than done! Humanity’s deeply ingrained false assumptions about diet have made us sick as a species and have adversely impacted our world drastically in many, many ways. A couple of examples are outrageous amounts of single-use plastics used to wrap low-nutrient, toxic foods that are adrift in our once pristine oceans and a tremendous number of swollen landfills spanning the globe.
You are now on a journey to break free from the system that we all were indoctrinated into and to develop new ways of thinking. These new ways tie into your overall success with your desire to change your diet and lifestyle patterns. Following is a brief summary of some of the false notions about food that currently prevail on our planet:
- Food should come from a factory.
- Animal protein is a solution to the world’s hunger problem.
- Animals were placed here to be enslaved by us and their bodies can be used for whatever purpose we see fit, and no amount of cruelty to them is too great.
- Protein is a solution for every physical problem we encounter.
- Fruit is bad for us and not an essential part of our daily food intake.
- Vegetables are a side dish.
- Processed food is so convenient that even though it’s a scourge on mankind and on the planet, its manufacture and use is acceptable.
- Drugs and surgery are there for us to continue unhealthy lifestyle patterns because they can fix us right up.
- Food is a device we can use to repress feelings such as anxiety.
So much has gone wrong that it’s hard to decide where to begin in describing the problems. These problems are interconnected. Governmental regulating bodies allow food corporations to package and label toxic food. Supermarkets and other stores sell such food without consciousness of the damage their industry causes. People, even those who are well-meaning, raise their children by feeding them things that produce lifelong cravings for addictive and destructive foods. Other problems include issues pertaining to the human psyche, the relationship that we in the modern world have with our planet, and the unique obstacles that each individual encounters while on a path towards self-improvement.
You have to ask yourself: What is the level of my individual desire for self-mastery? It should go beyond just the desire for weight loss. We all should want to reach our higher power. We all should want to be the best that we can be.
To succeed in doing so, we must learn more about true human nature—that which goes beyond ourselves. Exploring our own human nature enables us to better understand our deficiencies as individuals and as a species. One such deficiency—perhaps the foremost one—is that of our child-rearing practices. If other species reared their offspring in ways similar to the ways that we do, they would become extinct.
It is my strong opinion that everything that becomes broken in the human mind happens during the formative years of our life. I link the damage done to our children to everything terrible that happens to humanity, to its creatures, and to the world.
If we were focused on rearing our children and teaching our peers ways of living that were applicable to our potential for higher consciousness, things in the world would be quite different. We would teach self-worth, self-love, self-esteem, the need for a harmonious relationship with the planet, proper relationships with food, the need for exercise, and the necessity of frequent meditation. These things would be revered as the tools that would enable us to survive and flourish.
We human beings need continuous step-by-step training—from the day we are born until the day we die. We should never stop learning. We should never stop practicing at life.
The most critical time of training is that which takes place during the first 20 years of our lives. This foundational training is crucial—it’s the Boot Camp of Life. This training doesn’t guarantee that we won’t have a variety of struggles, but it should prepare us to deal with those struggles as they arise. I repeat what myriads of others have said: Our training has gotten far away from what is right.
The possibilities of what we could create are limitless, but many things that we create do not serve our best interests. One example: We don’t need fast food restaurants that serve nothing but incredibly unhealthy, toxic garbage. Such places are a blight on humanity.
We can certainly revel in the advancements (scientific and otherwise) that we’ve made. But it is a huge mistake to see everything that looks like progress as actually being progress. We have a tendency to marvel at our technological advancements without considering the short- and long-term consequences of them. If that wasn’t the case, then we wouldn’t have pharmaceutical medications with negative side effects that far outweighed those medications’ benefits. And there are countless other tragic examples of products and technologies that are harmful to us.
6. You’re a Pig!
We are not felines, canines, or grassland grazers. Therefore, we cannot sustain eating in the same way that those animals do. Did you know that humans are omnivorous creatures, with a diet more similar to that of pigs than to the diet of any other animal? Humans and pigs consume the widest variety of bioavailable matter, both natural and unnatural.
But we differ from pigs in a certain way: Unlike humans, pigs will always instinctively make the better food choice when given the option.
No other animal will make the dietary mistakes that we make! We make lifestyle choices (dietary and otherwise) based on emotions, addictions, and the need to fulfill cravings. Those choices are often not what’s best for our biological needs.
We are also misinformed. The food industry and our society support ridiculous ideas about nutrition and medicine. Many medicines prevent us from suffering many of the horrible consequences of our poor eating habits. Therefore, we collectively fail to learn the lessons that those consequences should teach us.
Additionally, most people are depleted of their vital energy force because of poor food choices. Vital force, an enhancement to the immune system, is the energy supply that is left over after all of your daily activities, including digestion of food. When you have more energy than is needed to carry out daily activities and are a biologically cleaner organism (which results from making wise lifestyle choices), you acquire this energy reserve. That reserve is helpful to your immune system.
So what is the ideal diet for humans? Should we be eating bananas all day like our ape cousins do? Should we be ravenous meat-eaters like the big cats? Or are we designed to graze like cattle? None of the above.
We are actually similar to pigs, bears, and piranhas. We are omnivores. However, we have longer digestive transit times than most other animals. That’s why flesh foods are not ideal for us: Flesh foods easily ferment or rot in our digestive system because they stay there too long. Eating anything and everything is possible, but not optimal for longevity.
Indigenous tribes and rural Japanese fishermen are healthier than most other people because they eat smaller portions of food obtained from pristine environments. Their intensely rich spiritual worldviews also play a major role in their success (dietary and otherwise) and long life spans. But we do not live in the same conditions that they do.
We live with pollution, stress, and tainted food supplies. What's worse, nearly everything we eat is processed. In the modern diet, our systems are burdened with processed foods that require enormous force to digest.
That's why we need to assist our natural bodily cleansing and detoxing processes with full fasts, juice fasts, colonics, meditation, writing, talking to others, religious or spiritual practices, and other measures. There are many ways to cleanse and many aspects of our being that continually need cleansing or detoxing. This is called healing, and we do it every moment of every day.
The ultimate way to cleanse as it pertains to diet is to first leave out processed foods. Doing so will allow the mechanisms of the body to take over and do what they were designed to do: Heal!
You can assist in the healing process by doing juice cleanses of durations ranging from 6 hours to 30 days—whatever you can mentally handle. Also, incorporate more raw foods, smoothies, and pure unadulterated supplements into your everyday diet. (This will be covered in detail in Part Four: The Dietary Change Work.)
Modern science is behind in the area of nutrition, and is sometimes mistaken regarding other health-related matters: Keep in mind the example of scientists and doctors who believed that smoking was not particularly unhealthy back in the 1950s.
It is not the goal of this program to convert people into vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, etc. You’ve got to decide where you want your calories and nutrients to come from. Having said that, the problem I have with most nutrition books and diets is that they pander to what they believe the reader will follow and respond to positively, rather than just presenting fact-based scientific data.
One such fact is that no human ever became ill from an iron deficiency, anemia, or a similar malady from abstaining from flesh foods such as red meat, chicken and fish. If a person converts to a plant-based diet and later has deficiencies, 100% of the time it is because they are not getting enough calories from a broad spectrum of produce.
Moreover, just because a person converts to a vegetarian or vegan diet does not mean they discontinued other major dietary mistakes such as eating processed food, which can contribute in an enormous way to various ailments and other health-related problems.
So, while I am not trying to convert people to a plant-based lifestyle, I feel that I do need to defend it because there is so much misinformation being perpetuated about one of the most rational conclusions to draw from evidence-based observations: Plant-based diets are great. Like most things in this world, the devil is in the details. If you execute a plant-based diet poorly, you will have poor results. If you do not get the small details right in any diet, there may not be a wide margin for error for you.
Depending on your overall chemistry, you may get away with murder in your diet. While some suffer greatly when they make the tiniest dietary mistake, others do not. Everyone has a different mindset. Everyone has a different threshold for discomfort. And everyone has deep-rooted beliefs regarding what they’re supposed to be eating.
Sometimes those beliefs are rooted in misinformation or incorrect data. One such example is as follows: A doctor may advise a patient to eat more red meat in order to get more iron. That piece of advice was based on information that was incorrectly believed by the medical community at a certain point in time.
There was a time when people believed that red meat was the best source of iron, that cow’s milk was the best source of calcium, and that fish oil was the best source of omega vitamins. And people still think that protein is a solution to every physical problem. It’s not.
It’s crazy to think I lived in an era during which the best scientific minds could not put two and two together and write a comprehensive book on ending food addiction, obesity, food-related illnesses, and food-related suffering of other types. There’s simply not enough great knowledge out there yet for the truth seeker to rely on fully.
THE goodsugar DIET™ is a precise, focused and detailed approach to eating and living that will positively impact your body chemistry. The main premise of this dietary approach is to eliminate mistakes and rely on plants for most or all of your dietary needs, beginning with getting enough calories. If you follow the concepts in this program you will almost certainly succeed in your weight loss and weight control goals.
The factors beyond this diet’s control of your success are your genetic makeup, your overall emotional state of being, and environmental situations that you may be exposed to (e.g., water and air pollution). Your health will improve immediately for every mistake that you leave out of your diet. It bears repeating that your limitations for improvement will be equal to the types of mistakes that you leave in your diet and your overall lifestyle, and any problems that stem from environmental and genetic factors.
7. Starting a New Diet Creates Hope
The feeling of hope changes our chemistry in a positive and empowering way. Take a moment to feel hopeful and use that feeling, if you can find it, to catapult yourself in a new direction. Every time you sit to read this book, start with closing your eyes, and taking a deep breath in while thinking and feeling the word “hope.”
It can be scary to try to overcome an addiction or change a habit that doesn’t serve you well. Deciding to embark on a program of radical change may seem overwhelming. This is so not only because it is overwhelming, but also because you know how deeply connected you are to that addiction or well-worn behavior pattern.
There are two types of addictions. One type is physical and the other type is purely psychological. Physical addictions include drugs, alcohol, adrenaline, and even food. Psychological addictions include a wide variety of things, some as simple as obsessively looking at your phone. All psychological addictions have a direct impact on the physical body: They can make us feel elevated, depleted, or both.
I have a life concept that I am asking you to believe in. Believing it will empower you to completely overcome your addiction. The concept is this: No matter what type of addiction you have, you can overcome it if you take the right steps.
In order to fix your problem, you must break down the steps that will lead you towards fixing that problem. If you do not know what those steps are, then you can use someone else’s step-by-step system. Mine ‘looks like’ what I am about to describe, but yours may be different.
The first step is to surrender. You must admit that you have a problem. You must verbalize it (say it out loud), write it down on paper in some detail, and share what you’ve written with someone you trust. I repeat—you must admit that you have a problem. If you don’t acknowledge that you have a problem, you will have no hope of overcoming it.
The next step is moving ourselves into a state of quiet and stillness. Some consider such talk to be esoteric, hippie, mumbo-jumbo, but it isn’t. Give it a shot—you have nothing to lose.
- Sit quietly in nature and spend 45 minutes concentrating on your breathing. To some people, the idea of sitting still for 45 minutes seems impossible, so break that down into smaller increments if you need to. Try sitting for three minutes, and then when three minutes becomes easy, try to sit for five, and so on. Even if you only sit quietly for three minutes you will get a benefit.
- Visualize yourself unhooking yourself from your addiction, habit, or compulsive behavior pattern.
- See yourself in your thoughts, free from the nightmare of addiction of any kind: See yourself as being truly free. This is the new behavior pattern starting!
The more frequently you can practice sitting still and quiet, even if it’s in your closet, the more powerful and positive the impact will be. When I do so, I might be ridiculed by people who say, “Look, there’s Marcus sitting in the closet, visualizing himself giving up a habit.” But I don’t care about public opinion (or private opinion, for that matter). I care about improving myself by systematically discarding my bad habits.
Some consider yoga to be ridiculous. Yoga requires that you do headstands and hold a posture for three minutes to effectuate change. But if you are serious about self-improvement, you must think outside of the box, and if need be try techniques that seem ‘new agey’ and weird. Doing things that seem odd or uncomfortable is preferable to sitting at home suffering and wondering how to make yourself better.
When you’ve become willing to surrender, after you’ve sat and visualized yourself free from your addiction, the next step is to get out a journal and start writing. Write about how you quit, how you’re going to quit, how you may struggle, and/or your connection to the addiction—just write, write, and then write some more. You can use a computer or a pad of paper, whichever you prefer. Writing was and is a big part of my personal recovery and problem-solving actions. (I will cover this more in Part Two: The Primary Work.)
Most of us have addictions buried very deep in our subconscious minds that we don’t tap into. One of mine was movement. I needed to be constantly moving in order to feel at peace. I was terrible with stillness unless I was sleeping, and even then I wasn’t still. I was also addicted to changes of scenery. I needed my visuals to change frequently: I got bored or frustrated if I saw or encountered the same things every day. My constant movement created unnecessary chaos. I was actually addicted to chaos.
As I got older I learned how to create balance. I learned that I didn't really need for the scenery to change. Instead, I could change the state of my restless mind. I could bring my mind to wherever I wanted it to be. I learned that I could become happy while looking at a brick wall every day if I had no other choice.
Coming to such a state of mind is not easy. But I am at the point now where I can do things that I need to do, such as shop and go to work, and enjoy the changes of scenery rather than be addicted to them. My practices of meditation helped me a great deal with that particular struggle. And I want to stress that meditation will help you a lot in your journey to overcome whatever addictions or obsessions you may be struggling with too.
It is my fervent desire that some of the things that I will suggest in this book—in addition to the crucial entities of admission, surrender, and calming of the mind—will help you attain great physical and mental health, and much hope, happiness, and inner peace.
The various steps that you will need to take will be described in the remainder of this book. They will help you to control your weight and discontinue your unhealthy eating patterns. The steps need not be followed in a precise sequence. But I very strongly recommend that you do each and every one of them and review them all frequently.
As meditation is particularly important, I’d like to conclude this short section by describing a simple meditation exercise appropriate for beginners:
Sit quietly for five minutes, three days per week. Visualize yourself in a better place. Visualize yourself being free from whatever unpleasantness your obsession or addiction may have brought into your life. Visualize any unpleasantness in your life as being something that will change. Sit or lay down and do quick breathing exercises with long inhalations, focusing on the word hope and its core Google Dictionary definition: Hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”
As stated on hopegrows.net, a website I thought was pretty good at defining this, “To have hope is to want an outcome that makes your life better in some way. It not only can help make a tough present situation more bearable but also can eventually improve our lives because envisioning a better future motivates you to take the steps to make it happen.”