Quick Start

Here are some key concepts that really drive home the importance of knowing where your food comes from AND caring.  These are the simplified version of the many facts I have uncovered in years of research and my course studies.   

Every Body is not created equal
Your “required balance” can be very different from that of even a close relative. Genetics play a role in all aspects of your health.  The more you know about the body you are feeding, the more likely your quest for health will be a successful journey.

Denatured
The term “denatured” for my purposes, refers to how long a food has been removed from nature (picked etc..) OR how processed a food is, altering it from its “natural” state. 

The longer a natural food takes to go from plant to consumption, the lower the nutritive value as food is perishable.  Source locally where possible to receive the most benefit from your calories. 

The further a food is from its natural state, the less nutrition it will offer your body.  The phrase, “Did it have a mother, drop from a tree, or grow out of the ground” sums it up.

Fat makes you fat
Yes, and no. Too much fat makes you fat as it is very dense in calories.    Moderate amounts of “healthy” fats manage blood sugar levels and fuel your brain (including your nervous system), cells, and hormone production.  Deprivation of fat or a focus on the absence of healthy sourced saturated fats, will likely lead to weight gain, lack of energy, and digestive issues.   Learn to source your fat strategically.

Don’t be afraid of the word carbohydrate
Be afraid of the concept, refined carbohydrate.  Two very different impacts on your body.

Minimize all sweets
Artificial sweeteners are lower in calories, but have alternate side effects.  Chemical sweeteners will sabotage your long-term efforts for health and energy.  All the refined cane and vegetable syrups (i.e. corn etc) are included in this category! How does that corn turn to syrup?

Refined carbohydrates and addictive additives are the primary ingredients in processed foods
Poor health and obesity are the result.  Look at minimizing your exposure to both by reading labels or skipping those packaged foods altogether.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates do not store as a useable substance within your body for very long
Burn those calories right back out or store them as fat! (Check out the sugar content on those fat free labels)

It is approved by the FDA, it is safe for me to consume
I say do your homework and read how FDA approvals come about, who monitors them, and the number of times more facts are uncovered to overturn previously “approved” food sources.  Also check regulations in other parts of the world.  There are processes and products approved in the United States that are banned in other countries based on the perceived or real health risks.  I would also advise understanding who runs the FDA and their resume’ of previous employers/interest group associations….hmmmm.

Organic IS that important in many categories
For all meat, for specific fruits and vegetables. Why? Avoid the hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics.  Organic adds enhanced flavor and nutritive value.  Chemicals add food allergies and chronic disease.

Balance
My theme is mix it up a little.  Variety in everything from grains and fats to dairy or dairy like items.  Your body will thrive on multiple healthy whole food inputs offering it a range of nutrients!

If you don’t recognize it on the label of ingredients, likely your body won’t understand what it is either. Best choice, PUT IT BACK!  If your body doesn’t recognize it, more than likely it will get stored as fat or as a toxin in your existing fat cells or joint tissue.  It doesn’t just flow on through, much of it forms unnatural bonds.

 My List of Avoids
Don’t be fooled by “Natural”
Whether this is referring to how an animal was raised or the flavor added to a packaged snack, it is painfully vague.  If it is truly a natural flavor, it should have the ingredient which offers the flavor listed under “ingredients”.  If it is a chemical additive that offers flavor enhancing of some sort, the label will read “natural flavors”  Really?  What are they?  No disclosure equates to an additive in the land of flavor and should spark a question in your mind pertaining to potential health risks.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) - Very common in processed foods as a flavor enhancer.  With over 40 different versions of it used in processed foods, it can be hard to be sure you are not exposed.  It is a known allergen for many people with reactions that range from stomach cramps and diarrhea to convulsions.  Some experts offer data to substantiate the neurological damage it can offer young developing brains.  My vote, AVOID.

Dangerous Additives
There are currently over 3000 additives approved for use in processed food.   Some of them though approved, have been shown to be unsafe for consumption. Categorized as safe, cut back, caution and avoid, you can find the complete list at www.cspinet.org (Center for Science in the Public Interest)   Click on the food safety tab, select additives. It is quite lengthy and includes many names you will recognize that likely live in your cupboards. 

Carbonated Beverages
Not a fan at all.  They mess with your digestive system making it far less efficient, contribute to weight gain, serve as a diuretic depleting your body of water and essential minerals such as calcium, and typically become a habit.  Remove these, including and especially, the sugar free versions. 

Nitrates/Nitrites
Mostly in processed meats. (i.e. flavored ham, lunch meat, hot dogs, bacon, sausage)  You CAN find the same meats without them, you just need to do some label reading.  These are KNOWN TO CAUSE CANCER. 

Refined Carbohydrates
Yep, white and even most “whole wheat” flours. Your body hates them.  They metabolize RAPIDLY to sugar.  Eat that bagel and get ready for a quick surge (sugar), and then a nap.  They also contribute to inflammation, impeded digestion, and can contribute to calcium/bone loss.

Hormones or Antibiotic Content
You eat what your food source has eaten or absorbed from their treated food. These are chemical residues of a highly active nature.  Catch is, you don’t know for sure how they will act with your chemical make-up.  Does your immune system really need something else to worry about?

GM or GMOs
Genetic modification is the process of inserting genes into the DNA of food crops or animals. The result is called a genetically modified organism.

GMOs can be engineered with genes from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.  A food that 20 years ago digested and metabolized, in a GMO form, may not (hence the large number of food allergies).   According to the Center for Food Safety, these are some of the most genetically modified products.

•  Corn: Corn oil, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, corn meal


•  Soy: soy protein, soy lecithin, soy oil, soy sauce, soy isolates


•  Canola: canola oil

•  Cotton: cottonseed oil

Websites to learn more: Institute for Responsible Technology, centerforfoodsafety.org (CFS), truefoodnow.org, fairandsquare.coop

Soy
Based on the GMO content and the estrogen elevating nature of soy, I avoid it.  There are non-GMO soy products.  Seek non-GMO is you are a big Soy fan.   Note: many estrogen hormone replacement therapies are plant based soy derivatives.

Cholesterol Free
Maybe, maybe not.  The average person eats well under 20% of the cholesterol produced in their body.  Your biggest issue with cholesterol is not how much you eat, it is what type of food you eat that leads your body to make it.  You internally manufacture most of your cholesterol.  DON’T take a pill for the symptom, change the process permanently by eating real food with real fat!  Blocking cholesterol production with medication has serious long-term health implications including neurological issues like depression and mood changes.  Your brain and hormones rely on healthy cholesterol!!