Saturday, May 1, 2010

Product Review: The RAVE diet and Healing Cancer From the Inside Out and an Update

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had ordered both books: "The RAVE diet" and "Healing Cancer From the Inside Out" with their accompanying videos. Just so that everyone is clear. I purchased these items and have received nothing from the author or publisher. The views expressed below are mine.

The concept behind each book is actually very simple. By feeding your body abundant amounts of healthy food you will reach your ideal weight and prevent and/or reverse disease. Both books advocate a whole foods plant based diet without oil. RAVE stands for the items you will be eliminating from your diet. These are as follows:

R = No refined food

A = No animal products

V = No vegetable oils

E = No excuses and exercise

Since I have given you the basics of the plan why should you buy the book? I find that completely understanding the reasons why things are harmful and unhealthy makes it easier to stick to such a restrictive plan. Make no mistake this is a restrictive plan and is not for everyone. These books do a nice job of explaining the science, in layman’s terms. Additionally the author cites his sources so you can follow the information trail if you desire. Even as much as I read about nutrition I learned a few things reading the books.

Honestly cancer is the only reason we made these dramatic changes almost overnight. If it were a matter of weight rather than life or death I can’t honestly say that I would have been able to commit to something this dramatic. However I do believe something like this is necessary to get control of addictions to unhealthy foods. In my case my favorite foods were pasta, olive oil and cheese. Those foods made daily appearances at my house. I used to joke that it was in my Italian DNA. But once I understood why they were harmful it was much easier to avoid them. I now believe that these foods are truly harmful for many reasons. In my case by seeing foods as toxic/harmful I am better able to control my desires for them.

I read the Healing Cancer book first and finished the Rave Diet this morning. Since both books are very similar and in some cases identical I will review them as one. Here are my thoughts on the books, good and bad:


1. The author writes in a clear and friendly style that is easy to read. His style makes you feel as though you are listening to a friend talk. It also makes both books a quick read.

2. His diet is no doubt uber healthy (there is little variation between the two books). I would say it is a combination of the programs espoused by Dr’s Esselstyn, Fuhrman, McDougall and Ornish. There is no doubt in my mind that if you follow this diet you will get both healthier and slimmer.

3. The Rave Diet book contains a short list of tips to accelerate weight loss on this plan. While they seem obvious sometimes you need a little nudge in the right direction. I thought they were a good reminder and something I will turn too if my weight goes in the wrong direction.

4. He generally cites scholarly sources, which I appreciate. Each chapter on average has 100 footnotes. I will soon be in research heaven following the trail back to many of the studies. Although, there were some references to MSNBC and similar sources which made me cringe.

5. Each book contains enough recipes to get you started on this program. I particularly liked this advice on quick meals. The quick meals suggestions will get used often at this house.

6. If you know someone that is concerned about cancer that book is very inspirational in terms of the people that have been able to make an impact on their health by changing their lifestyle. The parts of the book on conventional cancer treatments were a little disturbing. Being a part of the healthcare community for a long time I can identify with some of his arguments. However some of them seem like conspiracy theories to me. I tend to rail against all such theories. Not that the author isn't right; but this is a hot button for me.

7. Each book and DVD combo is very reasonably priced and shipped very promptly.


1. There is a lot of overlap between the two books. Since I read Healing Cancer first I felt as though the RAVE diet was an almost unnecessary read. I would suggest you buy one book or the other depending on your concern.

2. The diet will be too strict for most people. I think the idea of eliminating tofu and nut milks may lose quite a few people. Not that I don’t think both items are best used sparingly. However, I think it is odd that he seems less concerned with whole wheat flour products than tofu or nut milk. Overall our current diet is very close to the one he is advocating if that gives you insight into the book.


I think the author did a great job coalescing dietary advice and studies from many different sources into one resource. The amount of research that went into developing this book is very apparent. If you are looking for dramatic change either in terms of weight or health either of these books are worth reading. Either of these books is worth buying for the citations alone. I can see myself using these as a resource often.

The DVDs that I purchased with the books are good to have. I was able to get my husband to watch the “Eating” DVD and he enjoyed most of it. The last 20 minutes is devoted to environmentalism and animal rights which was unexpected to both of us. People that are looking to change their diets for health reasons may lose interest during that portion of the DVD. There are also a number of animal images that I would have preferred not to see. For that reason I would not recommend that you allow children to watch the “Eating” video. Some images were disturbing and horrific. That aside, the videos contained a lot of good information. I can see playing these for friends that are interested in making lifestyle changes.


Dan’s throat is still sore and irritated. I am hoping by tonight we will have some visible improvement. For breakfast this morning we had oatmeal with mixed berries, cinnamon and well ground flaxseed. Lunch today is probably going to mashed potatoes topped with something soft so that it is easy for him to eat. Dinner is completely up in the air. If he thinks tomatoes won’t be too acidic I may make gazpacho this evening.

Last night we had a very simple dinner of cooked millet that I topped with julienned spinach, fresh cherry tomatoes, avocado, chickpeas and black sesame seeds. I thought it would be soft enough for Dan to eat but he still found it difficult to swallow. For dessert we had strawberry soft serve which was also difficult for him. Feeding someone with a raw irritated throat is difficult. But I am determined to keep his food healthy. There will be no dairy milk shakes in this house. If anyone has any ideas on soft bland food I would love suggestions. This not how I normally cook, so it is a bit of struggle for me to come up with recipe ideas given all the limitations. But we do what we have to so I am sure I will come up with some good things.

Given Dan’s potential strep my parents will not be coming for dinner this weekend. With their age they don’t need to be exposed to this either. So far I don’t have any signs of catching this. Finger crossed that it stays that way.

For now I am going to run and get back to cleaning and disinfecting the house. I want to get ahead of this as quickly as we can. I hope you are all having the same gorgeous weather that we are enjoying. We have all the windows open and the little felines are soaking up the sun and breezes. Talk to you all again soon.


  1. Pureed potato soup, split pea soup, smoothie with lots of banana and mild fruits like pear or peach . . .

  2. Hi, Ali...

    I got online to retrieve your Indian Spiced Red Lentils and Rice recipe for tonight's dinner, and saw your plea for soft, bland foods Dan might eat comfortably. One thing that came to mind is quinoa flakes. (You may have already tried them.. kind of like cream of wheat, only creamier and more nutritious). I thought of vegan rice pudding but remembered Dan isn't much for rice on his best days!

    Do you remember a while back when Comfrey Cottages and I were talking about decocting slippery elm to give to my dogs and her cats for their tummy troubles? Slippery elm coats and soothes and helps to heal irritations (hence its presence in those throat lozenges you bought)... you might want to get some, grind it up in a coffee grinder, and decoct a batch. You drink it like a tea, hot, warm or cold. It smells a bit like maple syrup and has a pleasant, very mild flavor, but frankly its consistency makes it a bit like drinking a mug of mule snot. Not that I ever have - mule snot isn't vegan. ;-) But it's really viscous and, well... slippery! Still, if he drank some of that, especially before eating, it might really help his comfort level.

  3. Cindy,

    Thanks very much for the suggestions. I had not thought of potato soup but that is brilliant. Split pea is great too. My hubby is starting to make faces when I say smoothies but I will be making more of those if I need to. I really appreciate your sharing the ideas with me.

    thanks again!

  4. La,

    I have seen the quinoa flakes but haven't purchased them. Thanks for the tip. I love your rice pudding idea. I can make something similar with barley or amaranth. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Darn, I wish I had thought of slippery elm when I was at the health food store. They do sell the dried version. I may have to run out and get some of that today or tomorrow. If I do, expect an email since this is out of my comfort zone. ;-) Thanks so much for sharing. I just read your comment to Dan and now he is going to get another lozenge as soon as he finishes gargling with salt water. What power you have. LOL!


  5. I really love quinoa flakes, they're very tasty... quick and easy too, I just zap mine in the microwave.

    I should have thought to mention slippery elm before you went out yesterday, sorry! It's easy to decoct... the link I shared tells how to decoct a tea too, but feel free to send me an email if you need to! Comfrey Cottages can probably answer any questions about it too, if I'm not around.

    I fear my power over Dan is limited. If it were total and absolute, Dan would obey instantly when I said, "Get well this instant, young man, and go build Alicia a treehouse!" ;-)

    Tell him he's a good boy and I hope he feels much better soon!

  6. La,

    I have added both the quinoa flakes and slippery elm to my health food list. I know Dan will love the quinoa flakes. The slippery elm will be popular with him if it works. ;-) He is quite the trooper.

    I am going to reread the link regarding preparation. You know me, I like to stay in my comfort zone. LOL. But I will try. ;-)

    BTW, Dan enjoyed the subtle pup reference in the get well message. Thanks for the smile.

    thanks again,

  7. Honest, the slippery elm decoction is easy. Good heavens, girl, I can do it, and I've been known to burn water! You, on the other hand, are a maestro in the kitchen! Fear not. :-)

    Dan caught that, eh? ;-) In my earlier comment I thought about linking to the "slippery elm for dogs" page, but thought I'd better not push my luck. LOL

  8. La,

    I know I am being ridiculous. You don't believe me but I really hate coming out of my comfort zone. I am sure it will be fine though.

    You burn water, hardly. But I will play along. ;-)

    Dan thinks you are a riot, and so do I. ;-)


  9. Hate to hear Dan's throat is still so sore. Hope he gets better soon. Dinner looks great. Sometimes simple is just the best though. Hope you're having a good day!

  10. Heather,

    You can visually see that his throat is raw. It is ugly. The docs immediate reaction yesterday was, "Ow, that has got to hurt." That is when I knew it wasn't good.

    Dinner was good, but I should have made a mild sauce to help it slide down his throat. I didn't think of that until this morning. I will get the hang of this just about the time I don't the info any more. Isn't that always the way things work.

    Nothing much but cleaning is happening here today. But the weather is gorgeous. It is supposed to reach 90 today. If he felt better it would have been a perfect day for a bike ride. Oh well, maybe next week. I hope you are having a good day.

    talk to you soon,

  11. How about a cool creamy cucumber soup with cilantro? That might feel good on his throat. Thanks for the book review. I had not heard of these.

  12. Megan,

    Cold cucumber soup is a fabulous idea. Thanks so much for sharing it. I had thought of cold melon soup but I have cucumbers too so this will come in handy.

    I had not heard of the books before either. I saw them mentioned somewhere, I think it was the discussion boards for the e-Cornell course. I ordered them immediately. They are definitely healthy.

    thanks again,

  13. Sorry to hear Dan's throat is still bothering him--darn. Smoothies, soups, pudding (either made with nuts or tofu or almond/soy milk), well cooked brown rice/quinoa/etc., beans pureed, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed any root veggie lol, oatmeal...I hope some of that was helpful!

    Feel better soon, Dan!

  14. Courtney,

    Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. I will definitely be using these. I really appreciate you sharing all those ideas.

    thank you so much!

  15. I just read through your last 2 posts and this one and am so sorry about Dan's throat! I think you're wise to wait for the culture results before deciding about antibiotics. (And a quick question: when you have your minced garlic, do you have it with anything else to help get it down? I've eaten it when sick with the flu, and even then, found it hard to swallow!).

    Re: soft foods, you could try my beet mousse or smoothie--the mousse uses coconut milk, but it is delish and a great way to get the detoxifying power of beets (as is the smoothie). Your PB smoothie sounded great, too.

    Thanks for the book reviews--I would be interested to read one, at least, just to see what they have to say in more detail. Cooking without any oils would be hard for me, but I can see the rationale.

  16. Ricki,

    We both take a clove of garlic every morning, and evening (when I remember). I smash it and let it stand for 10 minutes so the allicin can develop. Then I chop it as fine as I can with my chef knife. It is close to paste. We put it on a spoon and gulp it down with a water chaser just before the meal (so it doesn't upset our stomach). It always helps to shorten a cold. Once I read that it also inhibits the growth of all cancer cell lines it was tested again it became a daily thing at our house. I hope that helps.

    Thanks for suggesting your beet mousse and smoothie. I picked up two bunches of beets yesterday. If he is being coopeartive I will definitely use your idea. Thanks for suggesting it!

    I thought cooking without oil would be impossible too. But once you get used to it (about 2 weeks) it really is easy. Food tastes so much cleaner now. But the thing no one tells you is that the kitchen is also easier to clean. Without the fine spatter of grease my kitchen stays clean for months. I love that part! I might have made the change just for that! LOL.

    thanks again!

  17. I make a callaloo soup of a ton of baby spinach,onions,green onions, sweet potatoes, garlic, sea salt, unsweetened coconut milk (not the canned cream of coconut) and the best jerk seasoning.
    I saute on the stove top in a stock pot, a small amount of olive oil (or veg broth) everything but the spinach and coconut milk. After wilting, I dump in heaping amounts of the spinach and the milk.
    After cooking down a bit, puree with a stick blender.
    This is a bright green gem of a soup! Secret is in the jerk seasoning.
    You could use your Vita Mix, but the one pot dish seems easier in this case.

  18. Teresa,

    Your soup sounds absolutely wonderful. I don't think the jerk seasoning would be the best idea now since his throat so raw black pepper bothered him yesterday. I have only had hot jerk seasoning is there a mild version?

    I will definitely give this a try when Dan is feeling better because it sounds great. Thanks for the idea. :-)


  19. I hope Dan is starting to feel better. Thanks for the in depth review of the books!!

  20. Janet,

    You are welcome. If you have any questions I didn't answer let me know.

    Dan's fever broke last night. I feel like I can exhale now. :-)

    thanks again,

  21. Alicia,
    There are mild jerk spice mixtures...I like mine on the hot side. When I am not feeling well, the heat gets everything flowing - good for allergies and sinus ;)
    I will happy to give you more details about the soup.
    My husband, from Madras, believes it is too hot! But - it has 2 lbs of baby spinach and a few sweet potatoes, onions, ginger, garlic and coconut milk.
    It is blended and creamy,so it feels like an indulgence.
    Good with rice, black beans and plantains too.
    I think it is a healthy soup!
    Hope that Dan feels better fast.

  22. Alicia,

    Thanks for the book review -- but can I ask what his "beef" (as it were) is with nut milks? I know about the dangers of the commercial ones, but is there something wrong with making almond milk yourself?

    fyi: I grew up in Appalachia (though I was born in and my parents are from the midwest) but mountain people swear by slippery elm either as a decoction or poultice for sore throats.



  23. Teresa,

    If you hubby is from Madras and he thinks it is too hot I can only imagine. My girlfriend from Madras puts hot pepper flakes on everything. ;-)

    The soup sounds wonderful. As soon as Dan is better I am making something similar. I love hot stuff, but apparently not quite as much as you do. LOL.

    Thanks for sharing!

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Claude,

    The author considers soy and nut milks refined foods. He also considers tofu a refined food. Oddly he is fine with sprouted soy beans and nuts. I tend to agree with you that if you make your own I have difficulty seeing a problem with either.

    Dan doesn't think the slippery elm lozenges are helping him. But I will be buying the tea when I get back to the healthfood store. It was also recommended in "Life Over Cancer" for sore throats so I think it is worth trying.

    talk to you later,


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