Organic, free range, pesticide free, etc., etc. These terms are all the rage as of late and while you might think you are eating healthy, do you really know what you are getting in your food?
Every food available today has at least one frightening or dire thing attached to it. It is estimated that we consume 13-20 assorted pesticides, insecticides, and fumigants on any given day. With stats like these its easy to be scared of even so called healthy foods such as apples and broccoli.
Here are some facts you should know about the most commonly ingested foods:
Probiotics in yogurt are shown to play a positive role in digestive health. But with most companies not listing the amount of probiotics, it is hard to know what you are ingesting. Add an enormous amount of sugar per serving and all positive health effects have been negated. Now for the truly awful part. FD&C no. 40 a very popular food coloring is derived from coal tar. The natural option (pink,purple and red hues) are made from carmine also known as ground up beetles. Yes the beetles feed on red berries then have their egg and abdomen extracted and their shells ground up. Companies are not required to list this on the package.
Bread can vary widely in nutritional value. Look at labels for hidden fats such as hydrogenated vegetable oil, vegetable oil shortening, and trans fats. Also frequently added is sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup and caramel coloring. Do not be fooled by claims that grains and seeds have been added to your loaf of bread, it may be white bread with a sprinkling of seeds on the top. White flour is sold as “enriched wheat flour”. Whole grain bread must contain the following three components of the grain: the bran, the germ and the endosperm. Make sure your bread says 100% whole grain, otherwise it just is white flour. The final check is the amount of fiber. A whole grain slice must contain at least 3 grams of fiber.
The most popular fruit is full of phytonutrients that function as antioxidants, and reduce your risk of lung cancer, diabetes, and asthma. One apple provides the same amount of antioxidant activity as 1500 mgs of vitamin c. Never peel an apple, even though the skin can host a massive amount of chemicals. Wash thoroughly with an organic based food wash and a vegetable brush. The reason for the wash? Well to remove the host of chemicals such as iprodione, vinclozolin, captan, chlorpyrifos, wax, and shellac. Yes shellac, the same compound your grandfather used to coat the hard wood floors with. It is used in supermarket apples to give them their shine. Mmmmm, mmmm, good. Shellac is also made from beetles.
What a great way to make veggies more palatable. A good dressing can introduce heart healthy fats to your diet. Unfortunately commercial dressings are a collection of sugars, huge amounts of calories and fats, and basically a lot of crap. Read the ingredient list because the dressing you use can be the difference between having a healthy salad and one laden with MSG, artificial flavorings, sodium, sugar, trans fats, mayo, etc. Fat free dressings are not what they seem, as they use sugar to compensate for flavor lost, and they usually have more sugars and calories. Natural flavoring is another misleading phrase used by food manufacturers to garner a free pass in order to avoid listing what is really in their product. Example a vinaigrette can contain tomato extract, but not list any tomatoes on the ingredient list. It is all good unless you have an allergy to tomatoes. Xanthan gum is another substance used in most bottled dressings. It is derived from a bacteria and used to stabilize oils and thicken liquids. Stick with vinaigrettes and be choosy, or even better make your own dressing with olive oil and vinegar.
Sure they are an easy way to get protein and we all have purchased them at one time or another. The sodium content of one slice can be up to 700 mgs, more than half of your recommended daily intake. Also found in processed meats are nitrites and nitrates. We have all heard of nitrites and nitrates but do we know what they are? They are a preservative that is commonly used in meats to ward off bacteria growth and give meat a healthy redish hue. Alone they are not cancer causing, but once they combine with certain amine proteins in the stomach, they form the carcinogen nitrosamine. Again read the packaging. While it may only have 80 or 100 calories per serving the sodium per slice is a killer.
Calcium, and protein are the predominant health benefits of eating cheese, other than the fact it is delicious. A low fat cheese can help you lose weight by helping reduce the fat cells ability to store fat. A recent study showed that men who ate 3 portions of dairy per day on a restricted calorie diet lost 61% more fat and 81% more abdominal fat than those with the same restricted calorie diet but with no dairy products. Unfortunately the manufacturers must ruin all good things by adding fillers and additives. One common ingredient used to keep shredded cheese from clumping is sawdust. Yummy. Buy cheese and shred it yourself, at least you will keep the nasty fillers out of your diet.
I love red meat and would eat it daily if I could. Lean beef is high in vitamins, protein, iron, and other essential vitamins. It gets a bad rap when it comes to heart health, but truth be told beef can boost your heart health. A lot of the problems with red meat come from the enormous amounts of antibiotics that are given to cows in today’s cattle industry. 90% of cattle in this country are on recombinant bovine growth hormone, in order to be brought to market earlier. Also administered are large amounts of trenbolone, testosterone propionate, estradiol, and progesterone (all steroids). To counter any effects of certain disorders brought on by the growth hormone and steroids massive amounts of antibiotics are administered. Most of these compounds are cooked out but when possible get organic free range meats. The other problem is that 4 meat packers control 85% of the beef market. This makes unsafe, cost cutting measures difficult to get rid of. In the 50’s Americans used to eat a lot more red meat and were much leaner than today. It is widely believed that was due to the high levels of Alpha Linoleic Acid that is present in cattle raised in a natural environment, and eating what cows eat naturally; grass. By contrast today’s cattle are raised in tiny pastures and fed corn which increases their chance of contracting e-coli.
Ahh good old yardbird. A delicious flight-less bird that is versatile and packed with protein, B vitamins, selenium, and helps optimize blood sugar through its positive effect on insulin. According to the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, regular consumption of chicken provides protection against alzheimer’s disease and age related cognitive decline. Fifty years ago it took 70 days to raise a chicken to slaughter; now it takes 45. The manipulation of feeding has resulted in bigger breasted chickens, and the massive use of antibiotics has raised concerns that the drugs could lead to drug resistant bacteria that would ultimately cause illness in humans. I dont think there are many of us who have not seen the deplorable conditions that chickens live in while being fed unhealthy substances, animal byproducts, and chemicals by these massive farming operations. Free range chickens are no better, as the only qualification to be labeled as free range is that producers must demonstrate that the poultry has been allowed to access the outside. Now chickens are not the smartest bird in the world, and just giving them the opportunity to go out does not mean they will. Look for pasture raised on the label to be certain the birds have had continuous access to pasture throughout their life cycle and are about as natural as you will get in today’s commercial livestock industry.
In closing I just want to ensure that you start reading food labels. Be informed and educated about what you are really putting in your body. A Ferrari cannot operate at its optimum level on cheap fuel. It needs the good stuff, just as your body does.
If you need us to help you with your eating plan give us a call at (650) 716-8516.
To your health
One 2 One Fitness