If extended raw fruit eating isn't realistic long-term, what is a good maintenance diet? What foods can I eat that won't damage my body to the levels that Dairy and Meat would? In other words, what foods are not so toxic to my body that I can eat them everyday without much blowback? Another way to look at this is asking what foods would produce the least amount of mucus and acidify the body and bring about pain?
Ultimately, only cooked fruits and vegetables would be the least mucus forming foods you can enjoy the rest of your days when not going raw. The more you implement foods from other categories is when we start running into problems.
These foods are the safest cooked options that produce the least amount of mucus and damage to the body:
Cooked Fruits. Steaming apples, baking bananas, cooking plantains, homemade applesauce, homemade jams, etc.
Cooked Veggies (with no oil). Steaming, boiling or baking vegetables like zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, beets, carrots, tender greens, green beans, and celery. Nori, dulse, kelp and other sea vegetables are also included.
Honey (raw and organic)
Sweet potatoes and other tubers either steamed, boiled or baked
Organic coconut palm sugar and organic cane sugar
Organic corn on the cobb and select organic corn products (e.g. Polenta)
Organic Pseudo-grains like quinoa, millet and amaranth
Some notes on this list:
Higher heating methods like baking will ultimately change the chemistry of a food more than lower heating cooking methods like steaming and boiling. The less cooking, the better for the foods you eat. Please try not to bake everything you decide to cook, and if you do decide to bake, try to bake at lower temperatures. Please avoid using oil to cook your fruits and vegetables if possible. Using a coconut, olive, or avocado oil spray on vegetables or sweet potatoes in an air fryer would be a good compromise as you use less oil overall compared to drizzling oil from a bottle.
If you had to cook one type of food, let it be your fruits. It stands to reason that the true food for man, namely fruits, berries and melons, would still be powerful and beneficial even in a cooked state. You can bake bananas or plantains, stew some fruits, make a homemade apple sauce, or even grill or broil some fruit.
Avoid cooked nightshades like tomatoes and eggplant. If cooked tomatoes can leach the aluminum off of a frying pan, what do you think it will do to your bowel wall? Keep your tomatoes raw at all costs. Go for yellow or orange tomatoes if you can. Skip the ketchup that not only has cooked tomatoes but is also filled with vinegar.
Avoid cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens and bok choy. We already have enough sulfur issues within our bowels. If you have to have them, please control your portion sizes.
Organic corn on the cobb, organic corn tortillas, organic polenta and organic popcorn are non-gmo and can be enjoyed occasionally. No one digests corn properly and it will produce mucus, but it does taste good. I see corn as better than grains but inferior to sweet potatoes and carrots. If you eat any corn, make sure it is organic so that it is gmo free.
Organic russet, gold, and red potatoes are more sticky, acidic, and congesting than sweet potatoes, but they're better than grains like wheat and oats. Steamed potatoes are better than baked ones. Try not to use oil when baking them in an air fryer.
Grains & Pseudo-Grains
I'm not including any grains on this maintenance foods list. If you must have a grain, you can go to the pseudo-grains like quinoa, millet or amaranth. While these grain-like seeds are more alkaline than traditional grains, they are very heavy on digestion. Quinoa is very abrasive on the GI tract. If you have any digestive problems whatsoever, you will feel the scratching and pain from these tiny seeds on the bowel wall. Eat too much quinoa and you will experience pain. The fact that we have to cook quinoa to be able to digest it should be reason enough to only have it occasionally in small portions. Millet is more expensive and less widely available in stores than quinoa so that's also a factor to consider. I've only been able to find millet at Whole Foods and Albertsons/Vons (Bob's Red Mill brand). Amaranth is also very rare to find but can be spotted at Whole Foods.
Brown rice, white rice and oats are also very sticky, congesting and have an acid blowback. These grains are fine every so often at a restaurant or on the weekends if you're not suffering too much, but I would focus more on sweet potatoes and carrots for your starchy element and stay clear from all grains if you can. I speak from experience: the mucus and digestive blowback from white and brown rice is clear. Yes, rice and rolled oats are extremely cheap and easy to store, find and prepare. They have fed millions of people over the years (as has ramen noodles and eggs), but the acidosis from rice and oats must be stressed. Just because generations of people survived on meat & potatoes, or ramen noodles with eggs, or rice and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, doesn't mean you will tolerate it as much as they could, much less heal your body on such foods.
Stick to sweet potatoes or even regular potatoes as your daily starch if you absolutely needed to have a starch in your cooked maintenance diet.
Regarding honey, many accuse our honey harvesting practices as causing colony collapse disorder and the cause of the sheer disappearance of the bee population. Is that necessarily accurate? Do you think glyphosate, concrete jungles, smog, oil spills, acid rain, runoff, animal farming, and grain production have anything to do with the destruction of the bee population as well? Organizations like PETA also accuse honey harvesting methods as abusive to bees and label honey as an "animal" product (despite bees being insects), and therefore not vegan. Is that accurate? It does appear that our consumption of honey is truly destructive to bees, or at least not helping the preservation of their ecosystem.
However, I try to think as a clinician or as a healer when it comes to any and all foods. If honey allows you to eat more fruit, enjoy more smoothies, and find some happiness in something sweet then eat all the honey you can. While we must have concern for the bee population, we also must consider how man is rapidly destroying the planet by focusing its production to meat and grains rather than fruits and vegetables. Should we be eating so much honey? No, as our focus should be on fruits, berries and melons. Support local bee keepers who operate sustainably, plant more trees, create bee baths, build bee condos, and only buy organic produce whenever possible. Only consume raw and organic honey that is from the United States. Live in harmony with the planet and enjoy some honey as a gift and use it along your health journey.
If you're an athlete or are very active and you need a cheap source of carbs to supplement your lifestyle and you don't want to go to fruits or tubers solely for your energy, then you can supplement with organic coconut palm or cane sugar. They're pH neutral so they won't damage the teeth, they're available everywhere, and they're cheap. Will coconut sugar and cane sugar cause some congestion and mucus production by the body? Yes, because the sugar is super cooked in the process unlike the sucrose you would naturally get in raw fruit. The cooking process will change the chemistry of the sugar and as a result it will produce more mucus in the body, but the blowback is low compared to grains, potatoes and nuts/seeds.
Isolated sugar is an option that doesn't requiring cooking or resorting to grains, and for that it deserves to be mentioned. You can simply add the sugar to water and drink it. Add sugar to some lemon juice or coconut water for some lemonade or an elevated coconut water drink. You can add coconut and cane sugar to low-quality fruit to make it palatable. You can even add the sugar to smoothies if you truly wanted a sweeter treat. A lot of parents have to resort to putting honey or sugar on their children's fruit, and that is fine if it helps the kids eat more fruit. Don't be afraid of sugar, it's not the devil it is made out to be. It's just inferior to getting your sugar raw and packed together with the other constituents in a fruit.
How to Save Money on a Maintenance Diet
Regarding the most cost effective maintenance foods, sweet potatoes are on the 2023 "Clean 15" list and do not need to be purchased organic, unlike regular potatoes. You can get 2 pounds of orange sweet potatoes for $2.29 at Trader Joes. Aldi has conventional sweet potatoes for under $4 for 3 pounds. You can get 5 pounds of organic sweet potatoes for $6 at both Sprouts and Grocery Outlet. The orange sweet potatoes do not taste as good as the white and purple ones, but those varieties cost more and are more rare to find.
Quinoa is extremely cheap to get organic at most grocery stores. Millet will cost a dollar or two more per pound. Neither option will break the bank. You can get giant 8 pound bags of quinoa at Costco and Sam's Club for under $10.
You can get a 1 pound tub of organic and triple washed spinach at any grocery store for about 5 dollars. You can add them raw on the bottom of a plate and throw on some cooked millet/quinoa or veggies to let the heat naturally cook them down. You can also throw them into a soup or stew at the end of cooking for added flavor and texture.
Every grocery store also sells their specific brand of frozen vegetables that you could steam or boil (or worst case scenario, microwave). Aldi has the cheapest prices on their store brand frozen veggies at $1 for a bag of green beans, green peas, or mixed veggies (corn, carrots, peas, and green beans). Grab as much as your freezer can hold and use them for a cheap source of veggies for any dish.
You can get large 4 pound bags of organic baby carrots that are pre-washed at Costco and Sam's club for under $5. They are fantastic dipped in some homemade salsa, guacamole or cooked in a soup. Their smaller size means less prep work in the kitchen cutting and chopping. You can get regular carrots for around $1 a pound. Carrots are on the "Clean 15" list as well, meaning you don't have to get them organic either just like sweet potatoes. Carrots would make a great base for any soup, stew, or chili.