Deep down….waaaaay deep down…..we all know that we don’t eat as healthy as we should. When it comes to eating right, there are controversial subjects, un-proven theories, flat out lies, areas we don’t know about and things that require too much work for us to comply with or are too expensive. So perhaps tackling the entire gamut of nutrition is not a wise venue. Instead, I thought going over some basic switches that can be applied to your meals to increase their nutritional value would be a better path. Again, trying to do all of them could be overwhelming, but if you address one or two each week, you will increase the health benefit of you and your family’s diet.
1. Sugar– White sugar has no health benefit and requires nutrients from your body to digest it and counteract the effects of it. Raw honey is actually sweet AND good for you. Real maple syrup or molasses are also better choices. If only sugar will do, use organic cane sugar and please don’t even consider artificial sweeteners (some of these are carcinogenic or neurotoxins).
2. Fat– This is a quick switch from skim milk or nonfat yogurt to whole milk or whole milk yogurt. Skim or non-fat milk products do not help in keeping your figure trim, either. In fact, skim milk used to be fed to animals to stimulate their appetite.
Avoid vegetable oil, margarine, Crisco and other fake oil. Vegetable oil is high in Omega 6’s (this includes your canola’s and soybean oils, too). Omega 6’s are highly over consumed in our American diets and if you have any weight issues, thyroid issues, arthritic issues or any inflammatory processes….this will add to them. Use what has been tried and true, such as butter, lard or coconut oil. These oils do not turn unhealthy when heated like olive oil does. Olive oil is amazingly healthy but does not take the heat of cooking well. Use it in salads or mix it with butter to cook.
3. Eggs– Eat the whole egg, the yolk is full of nutrients. Instead of an egg white omelets, eat the whole egg and use real eggs, not egg substitutes. The highest quality egg you can afford is worth the money spent. Grass fed free range eggs ARE superior in nutritional value to genetically modified soy and man made by product fed eggs. In this case, you do get what you pay for.
4. Fake Additives– Avoid artificial food coloring and flavoring. Obviously, don’t add any to your cooking, but look at the ingredients in what you are eating to avoid artificial colorings and flavorings. Unless it’s a blueberry, blue colored food is never healthy. Making your own bullion base from the bones of your meat is far better than using bullion.
5. White Flour– There are so many issues with white flour, it could be its own article. First of all, the whole refining process that prevents spoilage is loaded with toxins and strips the grain of all of its nutritional benefits. Then the enriching of white flour adds genetically modified nutrients. They also add fungicides and pesticides to the grains. Yuck. Buying organic unbleached and un-enriched four or sprouted grains is an easy switch. It is a bit pricey, but it is much healthier. On the cheap version, starting your own sourdough can help your body digest the flour. (Either make your own or get a real starter of fermented sourdough).
6. Use real sea salt. Not the bleached and heated stuff. Salt is another one that real salt is wonderful for you, as the processed salt is heated and denatured rendering it an unusable entity to your body.
7. Avoid Pesticides and Herbicides– Avoid the “Dirty Dozen” which are the foods most heavily laced with herbicides and pesticides. They are: Apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers, peaches, potatoes, spinach, red peppers, and kale. If you eat from the dirty dozen, pay for quality and get organic when you can. I am strongly against herbicides but am not horribly against pesticides. I really do not want bugs in my food. Choose from the “Clean Fifteen” which are the fruits and vegetables lowest in herbicides and pesticides. They are: Asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, mushrooms, onions, papaya, pineapples sweet peas and sweet potatoes.
There are vast amounts of material and ideas when it comes to eating right. Choose one and try to apply it. As the old saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”