I believe that food should be eaten in the form as close to it's natural state as possible; no refined foods, artificial sweeteners, color or preservatives, no chemically or lab created foods, or Frankenfoods as I like to call them. Here is a run down of my real food philosophy.
I eat 90% organic. I want as little toxic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides as possible in my food. I believe that these things are poison to the body and cause cancer, disease, aging, etc. I know it takes a big commitment to eat organic. It is more expensive, but I believe it is worth it. You either pay now for organic foods or you pay later in medical bills. I choose to pay now and live a long healthy life full of life and vitality.
If you just cannot afford all organic produce, at least buy these 12 fruits and vegetables organic. These are called The Dirty Dozen:
- Bell Peppers
These foods have a high absorption rate and are full or pesticides and chemicals. Other produce not on this list should be purchased organic whenever possible.
Take a moment and picture a cow grazing in it's natural environment. Do you see it? So content, grazing in a field of corn.......wait....what?! You probably envisioned a cow grazing in a field of grass. That is right. The food industry seems to have forgotten that cows eat grass, not corn, or soy, or other grains foreign to their environment. Yet, that is exactly what most cows are fed today. I won't even go into the horrible practices of most feed lost.
When a cow eats grain it's body composition changes. Did you also know that Grass-fed Beef has the right ratio of Omega 3 vs Omega 6; 1: 20 or 1 Omega-3 for every 20 Omega-6. Grain-fed Beef has closer to a 1:3 ratio, which means that you are getting way too many Omega-6 fats. Omega 6 fats cause inflammation and oxidation in the body (i.e. heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, aging, etc). I choose to only eat grass-fed and finished beef. It is fairly expensive and if I cannot get it on sale, I eat vegetarian. :)
Free-Roaming, Free-Range Chickens and Eggs
Same deal as the beef: chickens need to be in their natural environment. Being cooped up in a small pen with many other birds and fed foods foreign to their environment. Chickens to be allowed to roam free, to eat bugs, and grubs and clean up after cows (they do they, you know!). Eggs from these chicken are ideal, and also have a better Omega ratio.
Raw Dairy from Grass-fed Cows
Unfortunately, I cannot eat dairy at the moment. I have developed a rash that seems to be triggered by eating gluten and dairy. When, and if, I can start eating dairy again, it will be raw dairy from grass-fed and finished cows.
The FDA would have us believe that pasteurization of milk protects us from deadly bacteria contained in raw milk. The fact is that if cows are raised as nature intended (free-range and grass-fed), there is no need to process the milk they produce. Commercial cows are raised in feed lots and they stand in manure all day. Breeding methods produce cows with abnormally large pituitary glands so they produce three times more milk than normal. These cows need lots of antibiotics to keep them well. Those antibiotics wind up in the milk you and your family drink.
Pasteurization transforms the physical structure of the proteins in milk and alters the shape of the amino acids into foreign protein that your body cannot handle. Pasteurization also kills the friendly bacteria naturally found in milk and reduces the nutrient and mineral content, including Vitamin C, Vitamin D, calcium and iodine. Naturally occurring enzymes that help you digest lactose are also destroyed. Many people that are lactose intolerant can consume raw dairy products without issue because the beneficial bacteria and enzymes are still present.
Our body needs fats, especially the brain. Our brain is made up of mostly saturated fats. When we deprive ourselves of fats, the brain cannot function properly. I realize that for years the general public has been brain washed into believing that fats are bad for us, especially saturated fats. However, this is false, and more and more research has been coming out proving that we need good fats to be healthy and live a long life. In fact recent studies show suggest that no/low fat diets have contributed to near epidemic proportions of diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
How did the myth that fats are bad for us begin? In the 50’s a Dr. Keyes developed the “lipid hypothesis” – the theory that saturated fat and cholesterol in our food, raises cholesterol levels in our blood, leading to heart disease. The theory was flawed and has been proven over and over again to be incorrect, but the lipid hypothesis is still quoted today as mainstream medical truth.
A contemporary of Keyes, Dr. Dudley White, the most famous cardiologist of his day and President Eisenhower’s physician, noted that heart disease had increased as the consumption of liquid vegetable oils increased and the consumption of eggs and traditional fats like butter and lard decreased. Between 1900 and 1950 the use of margarine quadrupled, vegetable oils more than tripled, while egg and other traditional fat consumption declined by half. After World War II, manufacturers began hydrogenating these vegetable oils (trans fats) to be used as a substitute for the more expensive palm and coconut oil and animal fats in baking goods.
In 1950, when Keyes published his theory, it was in response to a steep rise in heart disease. As Dr. White noted, this was a direct correlation to the increase in Omega 6 fats and the decrease in Omega 3 fats in Americans’ diets. Dr. Keyes theory was that by eating traditional foods like meat, eggs, butter and cheese, and avoiding vegetable oil-based foods, especially trans fats, you could decrease the risk of heart disease.
So what are good fats?
- Raw Nuts and Seeds
- Raw Dairy Products
- Free-range/Pastured Whole Eggs
- Raw Coconut Products
- Extra-Virgin First Cold Cold Pressed Olive Oil
- Extra-Virgin First Cold Pressed Nut Oils
- Wild-caught Fish (not more than 2 times per week)
Good Complex Carbohydrates
Your body uses carbs for most of its energy, both for normal body functions (such as heartbeat, breathing, digestion, and brain activity) and for exercise. A good supply of carbs is necessary if your goal is to be healthy and fit.
Complex carbs are full of fiber which will keep you fuller longer. They consist of; fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Whole grains are an important source of complex carbs. What is a “whole” grain? A kernel of grain is made up of three edible parts, the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. There are vital nutrients in each of the three edible parts. In order to be a whole grain, a kernel must have all three parts intact. When looking for whole grains in breads and packaged foods, it must say "whole" before the grain (i.e. whole wheat).
Eating whole, instead of refined grains, significantly lowers cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The overconsumption of sugar is not only feeding the obesity epidemic, it is driving it. It has been proven over and over again that sugar increases your insulin levels which leads to high blood pressure and cholesterol, weight gain, heart disease, premature aging, and of course, diabetes.
I am not saying that you can never have anything sweet again, but if you are trying to lose weight, reverse diabetes or heart disease you should avoid sweeteners altogether. If your goal is optimal health you should use sweeteners in moderation. There are three types of sweeteners:
Refined Sugar – Refined sugar has been shown to be more addictive than cocaine. Can you believe that? Refined sugar is more addictive than cocaine, one of the most harmful and addictive substances currently known. Not only is it addicting but it also lowers your immune function and promotes yeast/candida overgrowth, both of which are contributing factors to cancer. A weak immune system impairs your health and leads to disease.
High sugar consumption can also lead to adrenal exhaustion, common symptoms of which include feeling mentally and emotionally stressed, sugar and salt cravings, moodiness, and feeling weak and lethargic.
What are refined sugars? If it lists sugar in the ingredients, that is white, processed, refined sugar. Anything that ends in a “lose” (glucose, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, lactose, etc.) or a “tol” (maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, sorbitol, etc.) are refined and processed sugars. Others include corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, etc. etc. etc. There are too many refined sugars to name. The easiest way to avoid refined sugars is to avoid packaged and prepared foods.
Artificial Sweeteners – Artificial sweeteners are made in a lab…Frankenfoods. They are all highly chemically addicting and cause depression and anxiety. Aspartame (NutriSweet), Sucralose (Splenda), Acesulfame Potassium (Ace K), Saccharine (Sweet N Low)…all chemically manufactured in a lab. Airline pilots are banned from drinking or eating anything with aspartame. You know why? Because it increases the risk of headaches, seizures, heart palpitations, depression, slurred speech, loss of memory, loss of sensation in lower legs, loss of equilibrium, vertigo, anxiety attacks, chronic fatigue, vision loss, etc. I could go on for hours about the side effects of artificial sweeteners and how they negatively affect your health. They are “artificial”, not from nature, or as nature intended it.
Natural Sweeteners – I consider a natural sweetener something that is as close to its natural state as possible. Even natural sweeteners should be used in moderation. The following sweeteners are minimally processed, without chemicals and excessive heat.
- Organic Raw Honey – The essential word here is “raw”. Most honey you get at the grocery store is highly processed, heated and filtered. All naturally occurring nutrients are removed and it basically acts like corn syrup or white sugar in your system. If it isn’t raw, don’t bother.
- Organic Raw Dark Agave – The same as with honey, “raw” agave is what you are looking for.
- Organic Coconut Palm Sugar – Evaporated sap from the coconut palm flower. Besides stevia, coconut palm sugar has the lowest glycemic index of any sweetener. It has a deep, dark brown sugar taste and is perfect for baking.
- Organic Stevia – Green stevia powder is made by grinding the dehydrated leaves and is the most natural. Most stevia products on the market are a white powder or clear liquid. These products are more processed and therefore not as desirable. If the green color is a concern use another sweetener or white stevia powder.