Let’s all have a healthier New Year! How to start? Cut these ten foods out of your diet. If you can’t cut them out completely at least cut back!
Canned Foods: I admit my pantry does contain canned food. It’s convenient and in the winter it is hard to find fresh produce so we sometimes resort to canned foods. However canned foods also contain BPA – a toxic chemical linked to neurological effects, diabetes, heart disease and a increased risk of breast and prostate cancers. Acidic foods, such as tomatoes cause the BPA to leach into your foods. Best alternative is to stick to fresh produce, can your own harvest or switch to frozen foods. Replace your canned broth with home canned broth.
Processed Meats: Most deli meats are made with meats treated with sodium nitrate, which your body converts to nitrosamines, which are cancer causing chemicals. If you are going to eat meat avoid processed meats and go for local and sustainable raised meat.
Margarine: Healthy fats are essential to your diet. Margarine and other butter imposters are loaded trans fats, free radicals, emulsifiers and preservatives, which can all lead to health problems. Good old-fashioned butter, when made from grass fed cows is a healthy option.
Vegetable oils: vegetable oils are made in a factory usually from genetically modified crops, which have been heavily treated with pesticides. Unlike butter or coconut oil, just pressing or separating naturally can’t extract these vegetable oils. They must be chemically removed, deodorized, and altered. These are some of the most chemically altered foods in our diets. The oils you choose to cook with must be stable enough to resist chemical changes when heated to high temperatures, or you run the risk of damaging your health. Whenever I cook, I use either butter or coconut oil. Coconut oil is practically 100% saturated, which means it is stable at high temperatures. It also is very beneficial to the health of your body.
Microwave Popcorn: Honestly, you shouldn’t eat anything that’s been put in a microwave, but especially microwave popcorn! The bags of microwave popcorn contain chemicals called perfluoroalkyls, which keep the grease from leaking through the wrappers. These ‘gender bending’ chemicals disrupt the endocrine system and are carcinogenic. Opt for the old fashioned route of stovetop or air-popped popcorn.
Non-Organic Produce: I’ve read plenty of articles about the ‘safest non-organic’ produce to eat. Sure, the thick skin of the fruit or vegetable may ‘protect’ the edible portion inside, but what about the fact that the chemicals are sprayed on the plants, leach into the groundwater and are absorbed into the plant by the roots? Produce that has been treated with toxic chemicals affects the planet as a whole regardless of the thickness of the skin of the product. Do yourself, and the rest of us a favor, buy local and organic whenever possible.
Table Salt: Did you know that processed salt is 98% sodium chloride and the remaining 2% consists of dangerous chemicals like ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate in addition to fluoride? Natural salt, like sea salt for example, is only 84% sodium chloride with the remaining 16% consisting of trace minerals like silicon, phosphorous and vanadium. Salt is essential to your health in it’s natural form.
Soy Products: Soy is one of the leading genetically modified (GM) foods on the planet today (along with corn). GM soy has been shown to cause damage to the female reproductive system and is toxic to the placenta. Soy can be found in practically everything from protein bars to bottled fruit drinks to soups and sauces to baked goods and even breakfast cereals! It’s important to read labels as soy is hidden in many processed foods. The only soy which can promote health is organic fermented soy products.
Artificial Sweeteners: Without going into too much scientific detail, aspartame forms methanol in the body. Methanol is carried into the brain and bone marrow, where it’s converted into formaldehyde, which damages DNA. All animals, except humans, can harmlessly break down methanol into formic acid. This is why animal testing is incorrect in regards to the safety of artificial sweeteners and humans. If you need to sweeten something go for natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or stevia.
Sugar: As a continuation of the point above, sugar suppresses the immune system, leads to weight gain and leaches precious minerals from your body. Sugar is actually an anti-nutrient, meaning that it leaches nutrients from your body! Because certain nutrients are removed from sugar in the refining process, your body cannot process it. So, it leaches minerals from your body to attach to the refined sugar molecules in order to move the sugar through your body. Also, because it’s an anti-nutrient, sugar also causes calcium to be lost in the urine, which in turn is replaced by calcium from the bones, leading to osteoporosis Stay away from processed foods and drinks in order to stay away from sugar, and stick to the natural sweeteners.
So let’s all make a few changes to what is found in our pantries and plan to enjoy a healthier new year. Cook from scratch whenever possible, eat whole un-refined and fresh foods and know where your food is coming from.
As Michael Pollan stated beautifully: “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”