Happy New Year! I hope everyone has a wonderful year. In the past, I would always vow to lose weight and eat healthier. Of course I had no idea what healthy eating was, and never made any long term changes. I’m going to list some tips to improve your health. It may seem a little overwhelming at first, so try to make one change a week or even a month.
The first step you need to take is to clean out your pantry and your refrigerator. Take everything out of your pantry and check to see if you find these following ingredients:
1. HFCS. High fructose corn syrup is in almost everything today, breads, condiments, snack foods. Items you think that wouldn’t even contain high fructose corn syrup such as whole-wheat bread, Nutri-grain bars, and cereals such as Raisin Bran, and Special K. Why should you avoid high fructose corn syrup? High fructose corn syrup is a sugar substitute that is a mixture of fructose and corn syrup. It’s highly processed, and it’s most likely made from genetically modified corn. How safe do you think a product is when a company spends a large amount of money trying to convince consumers that it is safe? Reminds me of the cigarette industry and how doctors once recommended smoking. If a company has to make commercials advertising how safe their product is, you should use your skepticism to your benefit.
2. Sugar substitutes. This is the Splenda, the Equal, the Sweet n Low. What are the ingredients in these franken-sugars? For Sweet’N Low it’s: nutritive dextrose, 3.6% soluble saccharin, cream or tarter, and calcium silicate. For Equal it’s Dextrose with maltodextrin, aspartame. For Splenda it’s Dextrose, Maltodextrin, and Sucralose. Studies have shown that artificial sugars trick the body into craving more calories. For further information on how sugar substitutes affect the body there’s a documentary called Aspartame: Sweet Misery A Poisoned World
3. Frankenfoods. If a third grader can’t pronounce it or or your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize an ingredient, do you really want to put it in your body? Examples: Artificial colors such as: Blue No. 1, Citrus Red No 2, FD&C Blue No. 1. Benzoate Preservatives which are listed as BHT, BHA, and TBHQ, Olestra, Shortening, Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils. The fake chicken nuggets, and the imitation cheese. If it’s not an ingredient that you would keep in your pantry, then you shouldn’t be purchasing products made with those ingredients.
4. Trans Fats. What exactly are trans-fats? Trans fats are produced by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil via hydrogenation. The process turn oils into a solid making them less likely to spoil. How do you know if a food contains trans fats? It will list partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, or it will say shortening. If a label says fully or completely hydrogenated that means its not a trans-fat, if it says hydrogenated, it probably contains some trans-fat. If a food states that it’s trans-fat free, you should still read the ingredients. Companies are allowed to put a small amount of trans-fat into foods and label them as trans-fat free, so be aware. According to Dr. Mary Enig the consumption of trans-fatty acids from partially hydrogenated vegetable fats and oils have many adverse affects on health such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, immunity, reproduction and lactation, and obesity.
5. Avoid Low-fat, Lite, or Non-Fat foods. From 1910 to 1970 the amount of traditional animal fat consumed in the American diet went from 83% to 62%, and butter consumption went from 18 pounds per person a year to 4 pounds per person a year. Yet obesity levels haven’t improved. During the same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils such as margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400%, and the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60%. Dr. Walter Willett, Harvard School of Public Health’s chairman of the department of nutrition, has claimed that “Fat is not the problem” To read more about fat check out the article: Harvard School of Public Health: “Fat is not the problem” Low fat dairy products such as skim milk are deficient in Vitamin A and D. This occurs because these vitamins are fat-soluble vitamins, so by removing the fat, your also removing the vitamins. Then synthetic vitamin D is added back in. Ask yourself this, do you think vitamins found naturally or created in a lab or easier to absorb? Another issue with low fat milk is that dried milk powder is usually added to low fat milk. Due to the spray drying process the dried milk powder usually contains oxidized or damaged cholesterol.
6. Genetically Modified foods. The United States produces 68% of the worlds genetically modified crops. The most common genetically modified foods are soybeans, rape, sweet corn and cotton seed oil. According to the USDA 93% of soybeans are genetically modified, 70% of corn, and 78% of cotton is genetically modified. The biotech industry, which happens to be supported by the US government, doesn’t want foods containing GMO’s to be labeled. If the manufacturer doesn’t want you to know what’s in your food, you should wonder why. For more information on why to avoid Genetically Modified foods, check this article.
7. Grains. “The story of grains goes part and parcel with the story of bread, neither of which the human machine is designed to function optimally on.”-Paul Chek Human beings digestive systems were not designed to consume grains, it’s estimated that 40% of people have some form of gluten sensitivity. In my opinion there is no such thing as healthy grains, but I know most people aren’t willing to give up grains, to me the least offensive type of bread is sourdough since the fermentation process breaks down the phytic acid. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of phosphorus, calcium, zinc, magnesium and iron in the grain. If you are looking to achieve optimal health though throw out the bread, cereal, crackers, cookies, pastries, and snack bars while you are at it.
Within the next couple days I will post another blog about what you should look for when you go grocery shopping.