A year or so ago I wrote a few entries here about what I felt you should add to your diet and what to remove from your diet. They remain very popular, with all three receiving almost as many hits each month as the ones about Truvia and Nectresse. (Remove) (Add to diet) (Revisit Add) Fake sweeteners are of course the biggest draw to my site, and generate the most email as well. And I should update that info as well, there has been some new research on the stuff. But for now, here in one all inclusive package, my new and improved updated Top Ten Lists of what to eat and what to avoid.
Top Ten Things to ADD to your Diet.
Number TEN: Whole fruits and vegetables. Do I really need to explain this? Juice that you make fresh at home is okay to a degree, just not instead of any of the whole product. I mean I juice a lot. But mostly wheat grass, ginger, parsley and to make it palatable, apples and carrots. But processed bottled or canned juice is dead and lifeless with NO nutritive value at all other than a bit of hydration despite what the TV ads tell you. But, eat them raw, eat them steamed, eat them stewed, eat them in pudding. WHAT? Whatever, just do what it takes to eat more of them.
Number NINE: FUN STUFF! Things like good natural beer, wine and of course, chocolate. The research is in, and a lot of it was NOT paid for by those industries, it's just good research showing lifetime benefits to eating and drinking these things. Hey, go for it, in moderation, it's all good.
Number EIGHT: WILD Caught Seafood. Yes, it's true, salmon is a fantastic addition with absolutely wondrous Omega 3 fats, high in easily digestible protein as well as a plethora of trace minerals like Iodine. Canned salmon is affordable and wondrous things can be done with it. Wild Gulf Shrimp are exquisite and a treat anytime. Even sardines, mackerel, and anchovies are fantastic additions to your diet because of the fat content and minerals. And of course stay away from high mercury fish and go with sustainable species. The Monterrey Aquarium has a great site to visit to pick GOOD fish over BAD ones. (Seafood Watch)
Number SEVEN: SUPPLEMENTS. Yeah, we don't eat the way Cavemen did a million years ago. Those Paleo people are right about that. But little else. We as proto humans evolved eating lots and lots of plant material along with fruit, nuts and a bit of scavenged meat on occasion. All that green stuff was packed with vitamins and minerals. Our diets today are sad, in fact we in the biz call it the SAD (Standard American Diet) because it is so SAD. In today's world it is pretty hard to eat enough plant material to get your vitamin needs met, therefore supplementation is a pretty good idea. I don't mean those chewy flavored sugar bits in various shapes, that isn't a real source. I mean good quality supplements. And yes, there has been recent controversy about store brands at national chains pretty much being devoid of what the label stated, but go to national brands that are USP Verified. Vitamin C, take a couple GRAMS daily, go with Vitamins D3, E, K, and a general multi would be a good idea as well. Then supplement that with whatever you can afford. I take cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, saw palmetto, ginko and I know it sounds weird, but I also take red clay tablets. And brewers yeast.
Number SIX: OIL, yep oil. Good high quality oils like olive, coconut and nut oils. They are high in Omega 3 oils and excellent sources of saturated fats with the largest percentage of Medium Chain Triglycerides of any fat sources available to you. Good stuff!
Number FIVE: FERMENTED FOOD, western medicine has just recently begun to figure out how important the bacteria living in our digestive tract are to health. Adding new bacteria, different strains and varieties makes for a better immune system for humans. Other cultures consume fermented foods regularly, Americans should as well. Sugar sweetened yogurt is not ideal, but better than nothing. Expand your horizons and go for some new stuff, Kefir, Real Sourkraut, Kimchee, Miso, and start there, never be afraid to experiment with new flavors and textures. Your health will be better for it, and for the most part, so will your taste buds.
Number FOUR: ORGANIC BUTTER & EGGS. The advice from doctors for decades was not to eat these things. Well, guess what, they were wrong. Both are exceptional dietary items and tasty as well. But get real, organic is the only way to go, the commercial factory made stuff is loaded with toxins.
Number THREE: PRODUCTS FROM THE SEA: Seaweed specifically although really any wild caught fish are included here. The reason, iodine. This important nutrient is lacking in modern western processed food cultures. And the worst part is that the similar element bromine is becoming commonplace in our environment and in our bodies bromine is used in place of iodine when it is present. And we get a lot of bromine from processed foods, plastics, fire retardants, asthma meds, insecticides, pool chemicals and additives to our food. The stuff is toxic, and we need to increase our iodine intake in order for our bodies to function correctly with all that bromine. Read about it here, (Bromine Dominance)
Number TWO: WHOLE GRAINS: Yeah, even wheat. Adding whole grains to your diet will not make you fat, in fact just the opposite is true. Even though current fads are low carb no grains for weight loss, those things are touted by self professed gurus that want you to buy THEIR books, diet plans and other crap. Science is with me here, well, and the facts are that three fourths of the world exists on a grain based diet and yet these gurus refuse to accept that their lack of obesity is a benefit of that diet. However, whole grains doesn't mean Cheerios and Raisin Bran. Whole grains means just that, no store bought bread loaded with crappy sugar and toxins, no processed anything, just real whole grains, soaked, sprouted, fermented, steamed and/or cooked WHOLE. Well, ground or whole. But not processed through the commercial system of stripping off the nutrients and fiber. Some one some where that's way way smarter than I am once said that if food is advertised on TV than we should avoid it. That's pretty sound advice in today's world.
Wheat, Teff, Rye, Barley, Oats, Quinoa, Millet, Amaranth, and let's throw in all the legumes as well.
Number ONE: BROWN RICE: God's most perfect food. Real unpolished rice with all the bran all the nutrients left intact in all the various flavors and colors, from Imperial Black to Red to Green to Brown in over six thousand varieties, it will sustain your life like no other substance on earth. If you eat brown rice at least five times a week you will not have dry skin, dandruff, constipation or most bowel problems. It is indeed a miracle food. And one of the most versatile things for a great chef to work with and present in a million ways.
TOP TEN THINGS TO REMOVE FROM YOUR DIET
Number TEN: FARM RAISED FISH, Farmed Atlantic salmon is not the same thing. It has been outlawed in most of Europe, Russia and even in the country that owns most of the salmon farms. It is loaded with toxic chemicals and has very little Omega 3. Farmed trout, shrimp, catfish and especially tilapia are primarily raised in China and southeast Asia, fed human and animal waste and processed in horrific unsanitary conditions.
Number NINE: PROCESSED FOODS -Again, if it's advertised, then it probably shouldn't be eaten by humans. At least anyone in anyway interested in being healthy. There are several concerns, first is that the MODERN processing methods remove most of the nutrients, in order to get humans addicted they add MSG, salt, sugar or artificial sweeteners, and lastly they add a multitude of preservatives, conditioners and chemicals that have functions that we can only guess as to their true purpose. We do know for a FACT that most of the big food companies reformulate their crap without many of the artificial additives when for sale in Europe because the stuff is outlawed there. Anyway, it can be difficult at times, I'm aware of that, but try, read labels, avoid the crap with ingredients you can't pronounce, buy from small independent organic companies. Yes, you can buy real mac and cheese that's acceptable. Bread from small artisan bakers and whenever possible, take time to make real food. And let's not forget to forgo sugar as well. We all have, or should have seen all the new data on how fructose and sucrose are metabolized and what it does to our bodies. It ain't pretty.
Number EIGHT: PROCESSED OILS, not good oils like coconut and olive, but all the rest of the stuff that is just destroyed by modern agrigiant food companies in their attempt to make products that will last on store shelves for years. That process strips away any nutrients and destroys ANY health benefits by converting all the fats to BAD ones. I know, that isn't what they advertise, but in reality, they test the raw stuff and publish those stats. And of course for me, Canola is the worst offender. If you read about it, the feds allow up to 2% of Erucic Acid. This is a cumulative poison, your body doesn't break it down and instead it destroys internal organs and brain tissue. They all downplay that aspect of the stuff, however the data is all there, and it is indeed scary. Oils to avoid at all costs, Vegetable (generic) Cottonseed, Corn, Soy, Canola, Chinese Peanut, and oils to think twice about unless they are organic expeller pressed, Safflower, Sunflower, Grape Seed.
Number SEVEN: CAFO RAISED MEATS, if you are unfamiliar with the term CAFO, it is short for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. This concept appeared in the early fifties as a method of reducing labor costs in the production of feed animals as well as those used for milk and egg production. It involves overcrowding of animals into confined spaces, and dealing with the consequences of animals living in their own wastes as they arise. And the sad part is that those consequences arise, grow and become ever more detrimental to human health at an alarming rate. CAFO meat, milk and eggs are contaminated with bacteria of numerous varieties and with the overuse of antibiotics are now resistant. This isn't just me, nearly 70% of food recalls by the FDA are for bacterial contamination traced back to CAFO facilities. CAFO animals are REGULARLY fed not just antibiotics but arsenic, processed wastes of other CAFO animals, grains that have pesticide residues that are over 200 times what is deemed safe for human consumption and they are also injected with a multitude of chemicals to make them produce more milk or grow more muscle. We have no idea what the long term consequences of consumption of CAFO meats, milk and eggs does to a human system. But since long term diseases are on the rise it might be one factor.
Number SIX: COMMERCIAL BREAD. Any bread that contains Bleached and Bromated flour, or has Azodicarbonamide listed in the ingredients is a POISON. These ingredients are illegal to use in most of the WORLD. In America, they make bread softer and whiter. (The AZO) Those are the big three, but realistically if you read the ingredients on ANY commercial bread there are a bunch of things listed that are hard to pronounce and shouldn't be there. MOST, if not all, are cumulative toxins and added for the purpose of added shelf life, softness, speed of production or who knows why, but they aren't there for your benefit. Avoid them. Or just for fun, look them up on the EPA database to see just how toxic they are.
Number FIVE: GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD, Just because the manufacturer says they are safe doesn't mean they are. There have been a lot of things they made in the past that slowly killed the populace, we just don't know about GMOs. The one thing we do know is that the amounts of residues of pesticides and herbicides is several magnitudes higher than on traditional crops and that is where the problems are that we can currently see. Avoid all of them.
Number FOUR: HFCS, AGAVE, & ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. I sort of lump them all together for this list. High Fructose Corn Syrup is bad on many levels, the Mercury contamination is just one of the ones that scares the bejeesus out of me. Agave is pretty much HFCS but made from succulents of any number of species and the big problem is that nearly all of it is made in Mexico and I think of their food production in just about the same way as China. Artificial sweeteners, well, I write about them all the time, and if you don't know why they are bad, you live in a cave.
Number THREE: SOY & ANYTHING IN PLASTIC. What? Yeah, soy is right along with the endocrine disruptors that are given off by plastics when heated. And if bottled in plastic, it was hot when bottled. If you buy food that must be reheated or cooked and it's in plastic, don't eat it. Take out in styrofoam is adding some nasty chemicals to the food when it's put in there when hot. And soy does the same thing, they all interfere with the normal functions of our systems and all should be avoided. And realistically, have you looked at any of the info about the 20 some billion TONS of plastic wastes in the ocean? It's just being a good world citizen when you reduce your plastic use.
Number TWO: FAST FOOD. There is nothing good about ANY of it. Plus all that money going into the registers of fast food joints perpetuates the cyclical chain of degradation of our economy, our health, our environment as well as promoting industries that place profit above considerations for long term sustainable systems. When money goes into the pockets of corporate giants and Wall Street do-nothings then a system of exploitive production along with horrific corruption are the end result. Yeah, lots of people bitch and whine about how bad our economy is and how corrupt our leaders are, but none realize that feeding the money machine at the local fast food joint and consuming cheaply made loaded with additives foods is just one step in the perpetuation of the object of their disapproval. If you wonder why all the better paying semi-skilled jobs in manufacturing have disappeared it's not just because of cheap labor over seas, it's because without SOME source of income within the economy, it will fail. Minimum wage fast food jobs are the answer to keep this economy moving. We all need to break the cycle and make our own food and of course, get educated as much as possible.
Number ONE: ANYTHING FROM CHINA. America is pretty bad, but China has surpassed us as well as Vietnam, India and even Malaysia as the MOST polluted country on Earth. Eating anything produced in China is unsafe and only serves to perpetuate the system that allows the abuse of the Earth for profit.
So, these are my updated lists. It's a sad thing that I have to have these, but the fact is that so many corporate leaders have no long term vision of their actions. And none believe themselves to be responsible for the health of the consumers that they serve. The thought process for ALL of the leaders of the agricorporations is that because all of us do it, then no one can single any specific corporation as the cause of their illnesses or loss of life. The fact is that they ALL DO IT! In unity there is protection from liability. They do it because they can. It's up to each of us to turn the tide and seek out purveyors of good wholesome foods. If we spend out money wisely, perhaps we as humans may live to see another epoch of time.