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Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to know whether or not something was healthy to eat or not? There are so many people and organizations and agencies and companies telling us to eat this and not that, or to avoid this and emphasize that, or this is bad and that is good, or… well, you know what I’m talking about!
I remember the first time I heard someone say “Fat isn’t bad, it’s important.” I’d spent years deciphering how to read fat grams and figure daily fat percentages in what was apparently a futile exercise in how to be less healthy rather than more healthy. Now 7 years later and I still meet people every day who think they’re being healthy when they drink skim milk, make egg white omelets or choose fat-free sugar-free yogurt over bacon. (Bacon!) I wish I’d known about these three important questions years ago. It would have made me think more critically not only about what I was eating but also about the dietary misinformation being hyped all the time. But I’m telling you and now you will be equipped to make much better choices than I did for so long!
Why, you ask, would we eat something that WASN’T food? Seriously – people do it ALL. THE. TIME. There are things currently in our food supply that were never meant to be food in the first place. But somehow they made it in there. Things like artificial colors (made from petroleum!), artificial flavorings (and even the natural flavorings aren’t so great – beaver glands anyone?), artificial sweeteners (neurotoxins linked to all kinds of diseases), and chemical preservatives (proven to cause hyperactivity among other things). Azodicarbonamide (banned in Europe for stimulating asthma it gives us miracle bread that stays soft and never molds ever), sodium hexametaphosphate (in your frosted flakes, and also in the cardboard box itself, this one can damage kidneys, heart and decalcify your bones), dimethylpolysiloxane (in your contact lenses and shampoo, but in your chicken nuggets too?!) – those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of additives people eat every day that are not food. Most of them are GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) which is a status our government awards ingredients if less than a certain percentage of people get sick right away. Long term consumption studies? Forget it. GRAS status gets awarded in just a few months. It takes years before people figure out there may be a problem.
Example 1: at least a dozen or more steps and several chemical solvents plus high heat and pressure are needed to take rapeseed and turn it into a bottle of canola oil. Butter can be made in two or three steps depending on whether you want salted or unsalted, cultured or sweet. Children can make butter. Canola oil is highly altered. Butter is something that could happen to cream accidentally if you whipped it too much. Refining foods is generally just a bad idea. Refined white flour, refined sugars, refined salt, refined oils – all the important vitamins, minerals and enzymes are stripped away making these items into something harmful rather than healthful.
GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) is a biggie, too. In the wild you will never see a salmon mate with a tomato. You will never find bacillus thuringiensis cross pollinating with corn. Plants and animals just don’t breed with each other. However you can shoot the DNA from one organism into the cells of another by using a particle accelerator to create a sort of Frankenstein creature. These biotech plants are now in our food supply. Many folks are calling them Frankenfoods. Unfortunately you can’t just turn a package over and read the ingredient list to find GMOs like you can find (and avoid) trans fat or artificial colors. There’s no law requiring the labeling of GMOs yet. Buying organic or looking for the Non-GMO Verified seal are the only ways to be sure.
A recent study showed us that Oreos are more addictive than cocaine. (Did we need a study to tell us this?) We already know white sugar and white flour are addictive. The same is true for MSG (monodsodium glutamate) and aspartame. We can also have cravings and addictions for foods to which we are actually allergic! Gluten and lactose are biggies in that respect. They can act like opium in our blood and brain and cause physical addiction and cravings for people who are actually sensitive to it and shouldn’t be eating it. Oddly enough digestive discomfort is not one of the primary symptoms of gluten or dairy sensitivity. Usually it shows up as headaches or sinus infections or even arthritis or brain fog. If you eliminate the food for a week or two and find your unexplained aches and pains going away, or your mental alertness returning then you’ve probably discovered a food sensitivity.
I hope these three easy questions will help you on your journey to good health. Let me know how you do when you try them out. I think they are an easy way to teach kids how to make good choices too! Share with us how you make good choices. Leave a comment here or on Facebook