Real World Science and Research on the Plant Based Diet : Renegade Health Interview

Wednesday Aug 15 | BY |
| Comments (28)

I love seeing real world research on diets.

The reason why is because suddenly the health and nutritional theories start to lose their credibility.

What arises is usually good, prudent health advice that can help you feel better, or stay healthier for longer.

In today’s interview, I speak with Ann and Paul Malkmus of Hallelujah Acres. They have a huge ministry in North Carolina (which Annmarie and I have visited) and they have been watching and researching the health needs of their community for years.

What this means, is that they have data that could be valuable to you and your diet. What’s even more interesting is that things for them have changed, as they’ve studied their diet principles more deeply — and for a longer period of time.

In this interview, they share some of the pitfalls of a full plant-based diet and how you can overcome them.

Here’s where you can listen to Part 1 (My written comments follow)…

Paul and Ann Malkmus

Click the play button to start the call:


Here are my written comments from this interview…

1. The main principle of the Hallelujah (HAcres) diet…

Is juicing. They feel juicing is one of the main factors in a healthy diet. They teach a primarily raw diet with sprouted foods that includes some cooked foods (they also have added fish oil into their education.)

This approach has adapted over the years, but the juicing has remained the constant throughout.

2. I love research…

Since they have a large ministry in North Carolina, the HAcres team has had the ability to observe their diet in practice — in the real world — for years.

To take it to the next level, they have asked a researcher to come in and study some of their ideals to see if they were actually working or not.

Around 1999-2000, they tested a large portion of their members and found low levels of B12 — not all deficient — but 55-56% of them were had levels that were not optimal.

What they found further is that nutritional yeast or probiotics or bacteria rich food didn’t bring the levels up.

B12 supplementation was needed.

This says those eating a plant based diet should cover their bases with a B12 supplement. It’s likely that those not eating a plant based diet may want to do the same.

3. Add minerals back into distilled water.

Over the years, they found that drinking distilled water was OK, but it may be helpful to add minerals back into the water. I’d argue that they may want to just add green juice into the water (or herbal tea), but I’m not completely sure what their research found.

Reverse osmosis and distilled water are the best to drink — since they contain less toxins.

4. They found poor conversion from flax oil to DHA.

In the past, HAcres recommended flax oil for essential fatty acids. Over time, they noticed that the conversion of the EFA’s in flax was not being done efficiently inside the body.

They now recommend taking a high quality fish oil to supplement for DHA and EPA.

This is important to hear, since they were not so set in their ways to continue something that wasn’t working on a vegan principle. They observed, studied and adjusted.

I would be interested to see study with algae based DHA, the good news is that we’ll have some details on this in the next 6 months after we launch something we’ve been working on for a while.

5. D3, great for bone density, but results are better with resistance exercise.

By surveying their members, they also found that vitamin D3 was good for increasing bone density, but when combined with exercise the results were significantly better.

So if you want better bone density, you might want to exercise more.

6. Carrot juice is safe to drink and it doesn’t spike the blood sugar like some people say.

The also did an interesting research study on carrot juice and blood sugar spikes. You can read more about it here.

Simply, they found that drinking carrot juice did not put diabetics or anyone else into a blood sugar crisis — unlike what some health “experts” promoted.

This is good news, since I love carrot juice and don’t love high blood sugar!

Your question of the day: What is something that you learned about your health by years of observation?

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. SarahB says:

    I have learned that sugars don’t always react in the body the way you might expect them to. (This goes along with your carrot juice statement). Although I would have expected maple sugar to spike blood sugar levels, I have not found this to be the case with Grade B maple sugar. Cannot logically explain why it doesn’t. I have also found that stevia and xylitol have spiked insulin levels in some sensitive people. Cannot explain that either except to hypothesize that perhaps the sweet taste is enough to do this in some sensitive people? Testing is always a good idea. (In this case, with a glucometer to see how foods affect YOU).

  2. Monica says:

    All great info, Kevin, EXCEPT the part about water. Distilled water and RO water are both ‘hungry’ water meaning they pull minerals out of the body. I learned this the hard way! I had serious bone loss in my 30s and nearly lost all my teeth, among other problems, very VERY serious! AND, both are very acidic and oxidizing! Drinking acidic, oxidizing water is like taking 2 steps forward (with diet) then taking 2 steps back. You eat living foods – why drink dead water? I almost died from drinking distilled water for 15 years. I thought I would be smart and start with the cleanest water then add minerals back in…but it didn’t work. I’ve been a vegetarian for 30 years (vegan and high raw for some of those years but not always) and have been juicing and taking superfoods daily – probably what saved my life – but the distilled water almost killed me. I tried all sorts of supplements and variations on diet as well as many other therapies but nothing worked until I started drinking Kangen Water. Yes I know you said you felt ‘weird’ from it (or was that Roger? sorry, one of you said that) but the fact is that many people have gotten phenomenal results with it, many (like me) believing it saved our lives. Unless you have a freshly melted glacier in your back yard, you’re not getting living water. Kangen Water uses technology to return water to its ‘state’ of origin, ie. similar to what you’d find in a freshly melted glacier. Once the water runs downstream and is bottled, the state changes, just as an apple turns brown. I wish the raw foods gurus wouldn’t dismiss it so readily. Maybe raw vegans don’t need it but for those of us who are transitioning to raw vegan, it can be an important piece of the puzzle. At the very least, I think it’s very dangerous to tell people to drink distilled or RO water. CLEAN is only half the equation! The other half is the STATE of the water – acidic vs alkaline, antioxidant/oxidizing and large molecular clusters vs microclustered. You have great info but I invite you to get educated on this very important topic. PLEASE don’t do what that nutritionist did to me 30 years ago…she told me to drink distilled and I listened to her because she was an ‘expert’ and paid dearly for her well-intentioned but bad advice. PLEASE realize that there may be lots of your readers who might have serious problems from these DEAD waters (like I did) and your advice could be responsible because they trust you. Yes distilled and RO are clean but they are DEAD. They are very VERY dangerous to drink!

  3. Jean Hart says:

    Good report, Kevin!
    I would strongly agree that adding minerals back to RO and distilled water is a must. I’ve used RO for years, but always add 3-4 drops of concentrated sea minerals to each glass that I drink.
    At one point I worked for a small, upcoming supplement company. The formulator refused to use flax oil, saying that once it heats to body temp (98+), the oil goes bad, so I’ve avoided flax. He used macademia nut oil, while I just take a good fish oil. However, I’ve taken algae based omega 3 oil & tested well with it.
    Blessings, Jean H.

  4. Sayward says:

    How does one return minerals to water? What are the products people are using?

  5. Candice says:

    I’ve learned to keep evaluating and paying attention to results. What worked for me a few years ago may not work as well for me now.

  6. Eric Rivkin says:

    I believe its true about RO and distilled water – dead and dangerous. Water source quality is more important than we’ve been led to believe. From personal experience, I feel the best water is in watery foods such as coconut water, watery fruits and veggies. I never feel thirsty and if I need a drink of water, I have natural springs on my property at Jewel of the Sun here in Costa Rica, that have a ppm of Total dissolved solids of 30 to 80, which some say is an ideal range. Whats more, the water is energized by earth, sun, rainwater, and air elements. This water feels rejuveneting and cleansing, and other visitors reported the same, no matter what diet they were on

  7. Claudia says:

    This is great, especially the carrot juice part. I love carrot juice but since I have diabetes I had been staying away from it. I look forward to drinking again (still in moderation). I’m still concerned about juicing in general because of many juice combinations raise blood sugar. I suppose if I just juice vegetables I should have no problems.

  8. Caroline says:

    Take your LIFE to the Max and check out these real world thoughts. I have spent the last 4 years totally submerged in perhaps the most Progressive Real World Science and Research Instituter on the planet earth. Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach Florida. Hippocrates teachings will be in-line with most of this Post with the exception of a few items:

    Carrots: to much sugar.

    Fish oil: Totally Out of the question. Fish Oil is carcinogenic, that is right cancerous. Once ingested Fish Oil turns into a lipid peroxide winch is cancer causing. Beware of this peace of our posted message. The Best Plant based Omega 3 on the planet earth is Mila.

    The best minerals found will be wheatgrass, and sprouts ( all variety ) so add these impeccable plant based foods to your diet.

    Ps….soon to be released book by Dr Clement: Killer Fish will expose all.

    Cheers, Cea from WPB

  9. Monica says:

    Eric, you are so lucky to have natural springs on your property!!! Wow, that is definitely the way to go if you can get it fresh from the spring! But most of us aren’t so lucky. For those without a spring or freshly melted glacier in their back yards, thankfully there is now a technology to duplicate such water, that is alkaline, antioxidant (electrically charged) and micro-clustered for better hydration. Bottled spring water is oxidizing…it has lost its healthy properties just like a fresh vegetable loses its lifeforce once it’s canned. Also, bottled water has the chemicals from the plastic.

    When I drank distilled water I put ionic trace minerals back in. It didn’t help. After I learned about water pH I tested the water from my distiller. It turns acidic VERY quickly because it has no minerals. Cancer thrives in acidic environment! I couldn’t figure out why I was so acidic, for so many years, despite being veg and juicing. I had to add a ton of Celtic seasalt to the distilled water to get it even up to neutral pH. Too salty to drink! And of course it was still oxidizing (positive number on the ORP meter). I shudder to think of those years I thought I was doing something healthy and yet was destroying my health and that of my family.

    I too am glad to hear about the carrot juice being ‘ok.’ I just can’t believe foods like carrots and fruits could be ‘bad.’

  10. Deborah says:

    Great to hear about the carrot juice.

    I, too, stongly believe RO and Distilled waters are both dead waters and harmful to the body. Even though they are pure (from a particle standpoint) they are not pure from an energetic standpoint. Waters mandate (when it is structured dynamically)is to protect ALL life from that which is harmful to life. It does this by energetically neutralizing the harmful energetic properties in water eventually becoming saturated with those energies and unable to continue neutralizing further toxic energies. Energetic toxins in your water can be just as damaging as the physical toxins but not many people address this. Think Emoto and Hidden messages in Water….

  11. John Michael says:

    This from my a company that sells vortex water machines in Denmark called Clean-Water:

    “What is good quality water?
    In order to maintain its quality, water needs to behave like it does in a natural stream, dancing and cavorting in spirals and vortices, or in the ground, constantly moving sinuously in capillaries or circulating with its storage chambers. In a youthful stream water is most active, and it has the best opportunity to self-purify, thanks to the particular properties of the vortex, which is to access energies of a higher dimension that can cancel out degenerate energies carried by pollutants.

    We treat our water supplies very badly, storing it in reservoirs where it overheats, shattering its natural structure in turbines and generators, making it run through straight pipes that destroys its energy. Worst of all, we allow it to become contaminated with pathogenic bacteria so we have to add chlorine; we allow agricultural chemicals, organic toxins, industrial and hospital wastes like hormones to pollute our water.

    Domestic water supplies may be recycled as many as 20 times – particularly in cities – efforts being made to remove physical pollutants, but none to remove the energy vibrations, the memory of the water’s history of misuse. Bottled spring water is not necessarily problem free. They vary a lot in quality, but the main problem is when they come in the soft plastic bottles, you don’t know how long or at what temperature they’ve been stored. The water inevitably will absorb chemicals from the plastic. If you buy spring water, make sure it’s in glass bottles!”

    I live in Chiang Mai, Thailand and my naturopath of 20 years lives in Austin, Texas and I do “quantum healing” over the phone with him twice per month and last night in our session he muscle tested the efficacy of the vortex enlivened water at 99% which of course delighted me. I drink about a quart first thing in the AM and then continue up to 3PM and then drink very little so I can sleep the night without getting up to pee pee.

    Also, I love the report on carrot juice and I never believed the “too much sugar” BS anyway and consume lots with beets and a little ginger and lime!

  12. Nichole says:

    Very interesting interview Kevo. I really resonated with the information about EFA and getting quality fish oil. I was strict raw vegan 3 years and began to develop inflammation. My recovery periods after exercise got longer and I just got to the point where I could not exercise as long. I stayed whole food vegan but incorporated fish oil, vitamin d, and b complex. It has really helped. I am now on immune building program too. I think chronic stress is overlooked in many cases and the supplements works when combined with a stress management protocol.

    I have always wondered about HAcres. I like how they connect the spiritual component to the diet. It explains the lifestyle and brings it into context. Good interview.

  13. clady says:

    hmmm…. seems strange that people who so emphasize raw and natural would advocate for fish oil. It is so concentrated and processed that no natural people group has ever eaten it. Natural would be to take the PUFA’s – the mother oils, and let your body decide what it needs. There are many steps in the conversion to DHA and fish oil may not be the answer… could be some co-factors/enzymes that are needed. And I would not bother with any oil for that at all….. I know they are hugely touted these days but 30+ yrs ago I was very sick and developed arthritis. My nutritionist – who was almost 90 back then – put me on flax, chia and sesame seeds – mix equal amounts together, then take 2 TBSP a day (on salad, banana etc)…. no grinding, roasting, nuthin’…. just natural seeds. And viola — within 6 wks the arthritis was gone, never to recur.

    It’s nice they make it in an oil if you are doing the Budwig diet but otherwise it isn’t necessary to take in oil form…. and so much easier to travel with. Yes, I know they seem to travel the digestive tract without being digested but the body gets what it wants from them.

    In all our attempts to improve our health, we need to not throw out the common sense eating our grandparents did – you put real butter on your mashed potatoes and combining the fat w/ the starch you don’t have sugar spikes…. amazing isn’t it?

  14. zyxomma says:

    A glass of carrot juice raises the blood sugar the same amount as 2 slices of whole wheat bread? According to Dr. Davis (Wheat Belly), that’s also the same amount as 2 teaspoons of sugar!

    What I’ve learned about my health from decades of observation is that I need some exercise every day (lymphasizing is best, but I also love to dance wildly), that I not only need to remineralize my water but to magnetize it (for micro-clusters) and bless it, and that, as a vegan, I must supplement B12.

    Health and peace.

  15. Veronica says:

    I have learned that sugar is the worst thing you can do for your body even fruits if not in season and couple times a day…

  16. Vego says:

    I believe that carrot juice is cool if juiced with greens. I don’t think fish oil is a good idea for omega 3 and dha. They didn’t mention walnuts.

  17. Barbara says:

    The reports have been out for awhile about poor conversion of flax to DHA, besides eating walnuts I can’t remember the other source is it savi seeds or blue green algae?? (For the most whole food version.)

    B12 is in many reports shown to be deficient at sometimes higher rates in omnivores due to poor quality meats these days. I either heard this from you or Integrative Nutrition lectures. Bottomline everyone needs to have their B12 level checked along with vitamin D because most live in many areas without the strong sun for long enough durations & don’t have enough vita D, they can’t make enough.

    Not that I’d take this, for omegas Krill is said to be much better than fish oils and have no or the slightest bit of mercury where fish oil has /can have mercury. I now take a vegan omega blend since they are coming out on the market more. I personally took Vega efa oil for a numer of years and switched as a test.

    It is always good to use data, I believe there is enough data to show you can use vegan omegas still too. Remember we are all different and as vegans or omnivores eat differently in these food choice/lifestyle category labels..

  18. Jayvanthy says:

    I have been a vegetarian all of 61 years. I have generally been a healthy person although I held a high pressure job as one of the top 3 executives of a Bank for 10 years.

    The Hindu Way of Living followed by me is my secret. Hinduism has done for over 5 millineum what one of your readers said about HAcres… ” They have incorporated spiritual component into their diet”.

    Ayurved, Yoga (All the Angs, not just the Poses ), Living in conjunction with Nature .. Nature which is revered in the form of a Goddess, are all part of this secret. Every living creature is an embodiment of that Super Power & is therefore revered & is not killed for commercial purposes. So why kill for the sake of my tastebuds ?

    B12 and D3 deficiency are minor problems faced after Menopause…All this while living in a highly polluted Metropolis of India!

  19. Selina says:

    Thank you for this! Very interesting!

    I’m looking forward to more information on algae based DHA/EPA supplement and also I wonder if you could look into Vitashine vegan D3 supplement?

  20. Selina says:

    Sorry, I just have to add that I cannot begin to comprehend how someone could have thought that distilled water would be healthy to drink. You are basically only diluting yourself with distilled water and it could be dangerous. Water should always have minerals in it, that is how it’s meant to be.

  21. Alex says:

    Very impressed by the Hacres research – thanks for the link.

    The info about adding some oil was very useful and I think we need to use G.I. information very very carefully.


  22. Alex says:

    The comments on distilled water got me thinking…

    Question – why is distilled water like the junk white bread at the supermarket?

    Answer – coz both have had the nutrients taken out!

  23. Anna says:

    About “4. They found poor conversion from flax oil to DHA.”:
    I understand this is the reason Dr Johanna Budwig combined it with quark/cottage cheese – it changes and becomes digestible and then has great healing properties.

  24. Oleander says:

    I never used distilled water to drink, only in the radiators of my cars. We do not have fleuride in our tap water, so happy to use that.

    Re juicing, prefer to eat all of the fruit and vegetables. More healthy and saves time washing out all the bits in the machine!

    A simple life is best. More time to do the things I want. Seems to work well for me and our 33 year old mare!

  25. OMAR says:

    I concur, do not tell the public to drink distilled water, it is very dangerous. Dr. Mercola covered this, look up his article on it.

  26. Leigh says:

    Will you please confirm I am understanding the carrot juice study correctly.

    It appears to indicate that if drink carrot juice with small amount of oil, it lowers the blood sugar levels/glycemic index. If this is true, wouldn’t this completely debunk Dr. Graham’s theory from his book that it is the fat that causes the sugar not to properly be matabolized, thus causing problems with high blood sugar?

    I would love to hear your thoughts.

  27. Ken says:

    All I know is that the food that is here on this earth is from the Our God and Father through Our Lord Jesus Christ and that He is the Healer of all people. He is the One who heals and nobody gives Him credit for it. He is the One who made the food for all of us to be able to enjoy it. He provides for us. He is the Healer. We don’t heal ourselves, we can’t heal ourselves. Impossible. I hear this all the time and we always take credit for it. So give the glory to God and know that He is the One who does this for us because without HIM we have no food.

  28. JC says:

    My wife and I have been drinking distilled water for almost 30 years without any problems. We are both vegetarians and are around 60 years old and are much more healthy then most people our age. Scientist in the field of nutrition say people get their minerals mainly from food not from water.

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