We all want to know that the food we eat
80 90% of the time is helping us increase our health, drop unwanted body fat and feel better. (The extra 10% buffer zone allows us to adapt to those things that we know are going to slip in from time to time.)
But what if some of the 90% was actually making you LESS healthy, MORE fat and decreasing your ability to feel your best?
Many of the so called "healthy foods" that we've been told to eat can actually be detrimental to our forward progress. Here is a solid list of some common foods that could be holding you back.
1) Processed Meats
This includes everything from deli turkey and ham to hot dogs and smoked meats. These meats contain large amounts of sodium nitrates which are used in speeding the preservation of these products. The problem isn't necessarily nitrates but their by-product when broken down, nitrosamines, which are compounds linked to everything from COPD (chronic obstructed pulmonary disorder) as well as colon, pancreatic and gastric cancers.
What does this mean? No more bacon or smoke meats?
I occasionally eat these foods, but definitely do not go out of my way to consume them on the regular. When I do enjoy them I stick as much as possible to local and organic sources, but not because they are less in nitrates, but because they are generally lower in accumulated toxins. Being that most preserved meats are the fattier cuts, and all animals store their toxins in their fat, you can see why this can be so important.
What if I'm out at a restaurant that doesn't serve local and organic?
If I am out and find them on my plate (which happens) I make sure I have a large amount of naturally occurring antioxidants in the way of fruits and vegetables as damage control OR I forgo them all together.
2) Canned Foods
Did this one catch you off guard? I know what you're thinking, how are canned foods bad for me?
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is common in the lining of most canned items on the market today. More likely than not you've heard of this chemical used in plastics, but did you know it can wreak havoc on your endocrine system by mimicking the body's own hormones? Here are a few studies done on the negative effects of BPA.
- Permanent changes in female mice genital tract with in utero exposure to BPA
- 50% decrease in testosterone in rats exposed to BPA during preganancy.
- In nonhuman primates, continuous administration of BPA interfered in the formation of spine synapses in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.
These are only a few studies of many done on BPA. It seems obvious that we should limit our exposure as much as possible.
The good new is many common items that were once limited to a can are now being produced in glass jars which are easily reused around the kitchen for storage among other things or can be recycled, ALL without BPA.
Here are a few options for some of the foods common in my rotation that I've found to be great substitutes for canned goods.
Wilderness Family Naturals- comes in the 8oz BPA free tetra packaging.
Or you can make your own from dried coconut. It's extremely easy and economical.
Most tomato sauces can be purchased in a glass container. There are quite a few good brands out there. I personally prefer Muir Glen.
All of these can be found at your local natural foods market, such as Whole Foods.
I used to eat a ton of canned beans. Now I actually prefer soaking my own overnight in a solution of whey or lemon juice. Simply cover the dried beans with water and add a few tablespoons of either and allow to sit over-night. This keeps you BPA free as well as reducing the anti nutrient phytic acid present on the outside of the legume.
For those not wanting to soak and cook their own, there are now companies using tetra packaging or you can support those using BPA free lining in their cans.
3) Artificial Sweeteners
There was a time when I killed this stuff about 10-12 years ago. I was definitely a fan of the little blue packet, equal. Unfortunately as time went on I noticed serious side effects with its use including nausea, dizzy spells and disorientation. After much research and looking into possible causes I finally narrowed it down to artificial sweeteners even though my consumption was FAR below the recommended levels.
Here are a few studies on the detriments of Splenda (sucralose), Sweet'n Low (saccharin) and Equal (NutraSweet).
- Splenda alters gut microflora
- Inadequate testing of Acesulfame-K (found in sucralose) and toxicity
- Artificial sweeteners linked to weight gain
What about 'natural' sweeteners like Stevia and Truvia?
For me, the jury is still out. Yes stevia is a naturally occurring herb, but the way most consume it is not how it's typically found in nature. First off, it doesn't grow white leaves (which is the color most powders are) and come loaded with maltodextrin (rice or corn) like many on the market do. If it's in liquid form, many are loaded with excipients that act as carriers and emulsifiers. Here is a picture I took of two stevia products side by side. One is straight stevia leaf (on the right), the other is the typical store bought with maltodextrin. You'll notice real stevia powder is green and I almost bet, if you've been using the white one which can be bitter, you will not like the taste of the real deal.
Bottom line, stevia is most likely best if it's green like the plant and in limited quantities.
4) Hydrogenated Oils
Quick, run to your cupboard and see if any of your packaged goods have any of these, partially hydrogenated cottonseed, palm, soybean oils on the label. If it does you might be best served throwing it out. Why? These are better known as trans-fats and can bring havoc to your internal chemistry, including and not limited to.
This is serious stuff! In fact, chemically this food like substance is closer chemically to a plastic than a food, which is why we call it a PHOOD, it's FAKE. Don't be fooled by this imitation.
Why is it in our foods?
Trans fats help to increase both profits and the shelf life of many store bought packaged goods (which we should limit anyway). It's a cheap source for companies wanting to cut cost on pricey oils.
Where to look for trans fats?
- Nut butters (your typical peanut butter has trans fat if it's not natural)
- Store bought packaged goods including ice creams, snack cakes, candies and more
- Restaurants (it's hard to find a restaurant that actually knows about or uses good oil)
These are sneaky foods that often times go unrecognized and as you can see are detrimental to our health. By becoming more aware of what is in our food supply your chance of forward momentum toward better health and longetivity goes way up, and that's what it's all about.
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