Real Food: The return to nourishing food

by Jim Montrose Gourmet Vegetarian Chef & Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counsellor (website).

The time is right for a return to nourishing food, to real food; food that is wholesome, builds, restores, carries lower toxic loads and assist detoxification. Foods that also give us comfort and are enjoyable while nourishing and fuelling ourselves for 120 to 140 years of active ecstatic life.

The Origins

In working with patients who are  labelled with a chronic illness we have used the Gerson diet and detoxification therapy (read more).  Dr. Max Gerson found a cure for most modern chronic illness that utilizes natural real foods that avoided toxins and cooking methods that denatured the food. In trying it ourselves we recognized the great potential it has for rejuvenation and longevity and use a modified form to promote health and healing in the essentially healthy but stressed patient looking for optimum vitality and longevity. We find that it solves two problems facing everyone today: 1) It counters the lack of nutrients, due to modern growing techniques, in our food supply and 2) helps  detoxify the body of the growing toxic loads in our food and environment.  Please note if you have a chronic illness the real food diet proposed here may not be optimum, consider the strict Gerson protocol and consult your Gerson health care professional (in South Africa: Dr. Rivene).

The New Paradigm

“If its not in nature’s wrapper its not real.” The new paradigm is 1) simply real natural whole foods, a cooked potato from the ground, a banana in its skin, carrots straight from the garden, and so on. Stressing local organic (when possible) produce in season we eat a variety of natural whole foods:

And 2) prepared in healthy ways to preserve the nutrients and minimize the chemical changes that destroy nutrients and damage our health:

These ingredients are specifically:

Juices (50%)

Raw Salad and Vegetables (20%)

Soups that detoxify and nourish (20%)

Slow Cooked potatoes, casseroles, stews and entrees prepared with little salt and little oil (10%)

We avoid processed foods, frozen, canned, heavily cooked and spiced, dehydrated, fast/high heat cooking techniques that chemically change the food, GMO, low nutrient produce, etc.

Selecting Our Foods

We want to select the freshest most vibrant food obtainable. Fresh from the garden or grower is ideal, especially when it is grown organically or bio-dynamically. Selecting food that is grown closest to where you live will have the most nutrients and suffer the least amount of degradation from time, dehydration and breakdown. If it looks good, smells good and is attractive from a visual and etheric standpoint (you find yourself attracted to it) that is what you want. Picking at the height of ripeness and consuming shortly thereafter in season adds to the nutritiousness and taste.

Don’t believe the argument that its still got the same minerals, vitamins and vital ingredients whether it is fresh or days old. You can tell by its taste and more sensitive testing methods show the vitality and prana (life force of the food) is impaired.

Cooking/Preparation Techniques to Maximize Vitality

With the new Real food approach we emphasize the following preparation methods to gather the most valuable nutrients from our food and avoid poisoning ourselves with our preparation and storage practices:

The main key is to eat a high percent of readily digestable food which takes the primary form of juices. Our juices consist of fruit juices, vegetable juices (carrot, carrot-apple, carrot-beet), green juices (greens like swiss chard, watercress, arugula or rocket, dahnia, lettuce with apple, red cabbage, green pepper) and other mixed vegetable combinations.

We accompany the juices with raw salads and vegetables and a smaller percentage of cooked foods and root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams (sweet potato jewel). The cooked foods need particular attention to retain nutrients and avoid chemical reactions that alter the food. We cook at the lowest possible heat and avoid high temperature, high vibration cooking methods like steaming, quick frying, microwaving, grilling and so forth that create toxins and modifications to food cellular structures. We cook without oil and no (or low) salt.

I recommend four different techniques for cooking using stainless steel, glass or enamelled iron pots and pans.

  1. Tomato and Onion – in this method we layer the bottom of our pan with thinly sliced onions and then thinly sliced layers of tomatoes to keep our food from sticking and burning. We cook at the lowest possible heat until done (usually an hour or more).
  2. Apple – similar to the previous method and good when we want to impart a sweet taste to the vegetables (works great with squash like butternut and pumpkin). Cover the bottom of the pan with thinly sliced apples and cook at the lowest heat until done.
  3. Cooking/stewing in soup – in this method we cook the vegetables at very low heat in a little of the Hippocrates soup to soften and stew the vegetables. I find this works will with cabbages, brussel sprouts, potatoes au gratin style without milk and fats, etc.
  4. Baking at low oven temperatures.

A healthy diet does require some oil and we use a small amount of healthy plant based oils in the fresh uncooked state. Add the oil to your salads and foods once they are cooked. Cooking with oils no matter what type of oil does create changes and toxins in the oil. The best oils are extra virgin cold pressed olive, flax, sunflower and avocado oils. I do not recommend canola which is a laboratory modified form of the rape seed (which in natural form is highly poisonous). I also occasionally use sesame oil for flavouring and as a massage oil. Cocunut oil is also good for flavouring and skin care and if you must cook with oil; it has a higher heat resistance than many alternatives.

All food should be prepared fresh and eaten that day. The soup may be refrigerated for up to two days and the required amount heated for each meal .

A Real Food Day

So what do we eat during a real food day? Let’s look at a typical day:

Morning waking:              warm lemon and water to complete the evenings detoxification

Breakfast:                           Fresh squeezed fruit juice (citrus, watermelon, apple, etc.) (500 ml)

Fresh fruit salad

Oatmeal soaked overnight and cooked slowly

Lunch                                    Large fresh squeezed Green Drink (500ml)

Fresh salad with raw vegetables

Hippocrates Soup

Slow roasted potato

Vegetable Entree

Dinner                                  Large Carrot or Carrot and Apple (500 ml)

Fresh salad with raw vegetables

Hippocrates Soup

Slow roasted potato

Vegetable Entree

Snacks                                  Fruit

Extra Juices


Avoid:   Breads (especially wheat), processed foods, white sugar, sodas, pastries, etc.

Join us next month Real Food: Part 2 for some sample recipes for juices, soup, entrees and other general tips. To learn more about real foods and the energetic aspects of our food be sure to read the free article on “Real Foods” on our website in the resource section ( ) and check out the ayurvedic options.

Until then -great eating, Jim

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© Copyright - Dr Zaida Rivene

From the N2 (Cape Town towards George) Take the first Swellendam exit (left). This is the R60. Proceed (1km+) through the 4 way stop and continue approximately 2-3 km and look for a sign for the Hermitage. Make a hard right (270 degrees). After the turn continue about 200 meters and turn left at first road (dirt). Proceed 300 meters and turn left into Red Roan Ranch and go to bottom of hill (the main house).

(Coming from George to Cape Town) Take the third exit (R60) right. Proceed (1km+) through the 4 way stop and continue approximately 2-3 km and look for a sign for the Hermitage. Make a hard right (270 degrees). After the turn continue about 200 meters and turn left at first road (dirt).  Proceed 300 meters and turn left into Red Roan Ranch and go to bottom of hill (the main house).

GPS:  S34 degrees 01.367 minutes, E020 degrees 25.193 minutes. Note most GPS units (Garmin, etc.) have the wrong coordinates for Red Roan Ranch.

Call if you have trouble 071 959 0786 or 083 290 1283