Connect Back To Food
Depending on who you listen to, the advice on a healthy diet varies greatly these days. Some say eat fat-free, others steer you towards a plant-based diet, while others tell you to eat high protein – low carb, or everything raw. There is so much confusion and misinformation that it’s starting to look a lot like rocket science!
Healthy nutrition does not have to be extreme, complicated, depriving, or bland. We have overanalyzed it and, in the process, have gone so far from the good old fashioned common sense that we’ve completely lost our way. Balance is key when it comes to the three macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates); they are found in all foods in nature in just the right amounts for a reason.
Our disconnect from food is vast, and we simply need to come back to what our great-great-great-grandparents knew (you can keep adding more “great” if you want, you get the idea). It worked. They didn’t have gyms and Fitbits, didn’t have apps to count their calories, and government agencies with special interest to tell them what and how much to eat. They didn’t have to schedule exercise – their way of living naturally provided plenty of it. In my humble opinion, what is happening now is pure madness, and we’ve got to stop it. Enough is enough!
Thanks to mega-companies that have a monopoly on our food supply, our health is suffering. It’s a perfect business model for them to make huge profits at our expense. They own the food supply, the news outlets, and the drugs. First, they provide and promote nutrient-depleted food (most of it made in a food lab), which makes us sick, and then they swoop in to “solve” the problem with their fancy, expensive drugs. What could be better? Unfortunately for us, we become their customers for life. Till death do us part.
We are what we eat. It’s simple. So let me get to the point. It is crucial to eat food in its most natural state, food that does not require an ingredient list – that’s the most important rule. It has to come from clean sources and organic as much as possible. Think SOUL food – Seasonal, Organic, Unprocessed, Local. I think that sums it up for now nicely, without going into too much detail.
The Evil Trio
Now, back to the evil trio, I promised to tell you about. Vegetable oils, processed sugar, and food additives – these three nutrition bandits are found in all processed foods and in most pantries, where they sit quietly pretending to be healthy (such as brown organic sugar or canola oil with a heart-healthy stamp on it). If you eliminate these three food-like substances from your diet and do nothing else, your health will improve dramatically within a short period. There’s just no other way for it to go.
So why am I pointing my finger at these three? Some might be more obvious than the others, but let’s start with…
Without a doubt, sugar’s addictive qualities are as powerful as cocaine, but it is available freely everywhere for young and old alike. The amount of sugar we consume on a daily basis has never been higher in the history of humankind. Our bodies are simply not designed to process and handle this quantity of it. Evolution does not happen that fast!
It is currently around 130 pounds of sugar per person per year, as compared to about 20 pounds back in the 1850s!(1) And it is not without dire consequences – we are paying a high price with our health. No wonder about half the population of the USA is struggling with some kind of chronic condition. We’ve all become addicts to this white powder. Don’t believe me? Just try eliminating it for a few days and see how it goes. It’s possible but challenging.
Sugar is not the empty innocent calories that we were led to believe by scientists some 60 years ago. The same scientists paid by the sugar industry a nice sum of money to publish such rubbish science.(2) This was their way to shift the blame on fat for all the health issues, especially saturated animal fat.
The result: obesity epidemic, diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, digestive issues, NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), depression, infertility, cancer, chronic fatigue, oral diseases, our children are sicker than ever before! It damages us at a cellular level and makes us age and die faster. Who wants that?
Next – Food Additives
I think this one is pretty self-explanatory, but allow me to elaborate a little. Food additives do not add anything beneficial, but they add many problems for your body to deal with, such as allergic reactions, migraines, asthma, cardiovascular disease, hyperactivity, depression, immune reactions, and many more.
When I talk about food additives, of course, I’m talking about all the artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners, MSG (significant migraine trigger), HFCS, preservatives, and the latest and greatest – natural flavors.
Natural favors are not so natural after all, and under those two innocent-looking words on the ingredient list can hide anywhere from 50 to 100 different mystery ingredients.(3) They add no nutritional benefit and are used purely to flavor the processed food. They are not much different from artificial flavors, but it makes consumers feel better. It’s a pure marketing genius.
Consuming artificial or natural flavors, we are letting our brains experience some strange, intense flavors not found in nature. This creates a craving to experience it again and again, hence making them addictive.
Real food with real flavors found in nature becomes too bland for our exhausted taste buds, and we can’t enjoy and benefit from it. Natural flavors could also harbor many different allergens and cause issues on that front too. So, if you focus on SOUL foods, you won’t have to deal with food additives and their side effects.
And Last But Not Least – Vegetable Oils
It says vegetable, so it must be healthy, right? Well, it’s a nice title for sure, but we should really call them industrial seed oils because that’s what they are. Trying to get the oils out of tiny seeds is a long process that involves chemical solvents to remove the oil from seeds, high pressure, degumming, neutralizing, bleaching, deodorizing, winterizing, filtering, heating, stabilizing.(4)
Does this sound like something that humans or any animal should consume? I don’t think so.
These are polyunsaturated oils, which means they are very unstable and, in this process, get damaged many times over by light, oxygen, and heat. So, before they are even bottled into those clear, plastic bottles, they are already rancid oils loaded with free radicals. While they make their way to and sit on a supermarket shelf, they deteriorate further. Then we buy them and take them home and heat them once again while cooking, damaging them even more. The results are disastrous to our health on every level.
Back in the day, these oils were made for industrial uses, such as lubricating equipment and machinery, but now we eat them. How can that be?
Two reasons: It’s cheap and it’s profitable. Oh, and American Heart Association recommends them for heart health (that’s a whole other subject).(5) These oils are one of the main reasons for widespread chronic inflammation, which, in turn, is the cause of so many debilitating diseases people are suffering from unnecessarily today.
Every cell in the human body needs fats to stay alive, it’s the raw building materials. When those damaged fats flood the system, they cause rapid cell damage and death. It’s like running a gasoline car on diesel. How long will it last before it stops and dies?
What do you use instead of vegetable oils, you might ask? Well, the stable saturated fats, of course! More on these wrongly vilified fats catch me in another blog post because these superstars definitely deserve their own post to shine.
1. Walton, Alice G. (AUG 30, 2012). How Much Sugar Are Americans Eating? [Infographic]. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/08/30/how-much-sugar-are-americans-eating-infographic/#621fd9f04ee7
2. Bailey, Melissa (Sept. 12, 2016). Sugar industry secretly paid for favorable Harvard research. Retrieved from: https://www.statnews.com/2016/09/12/sugar-industry-harvard-research/
3. Josephson, Meg (Jun. 24, 2016). What it really means when you see ‘natural flavors’ on a food label. Retrieved from: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-natural-flavors-really-means-2016-6
4. Vegetable oil refining. Retrieved from: http://www.dsengineers.com/en/sectors-of-activities/edible-oils-meal/edible-oil-production/vegetable-oil-refining.html
5. American Heart Association (4/12/2016). Healthy cooking oils. Retrieved from: https://recipes.heart.org/Articles/1013/Healthy-Cooking-Oils