Friday, June 25, 2010

So What Can We Eat Anymore?

We've all heard this before at one time or another from the frustrated food shopper; "So what can we eat anymore?", and it is true, with all of the studies and research being done our list of healthy diet no-no's is growing at an unprecedented rate.

There was a time when meat (especially that all too often picked on red meat) was ok to eat, but with heart disease being as common in our society as a three-leaf clover the tables have turned, and it became all about the "dangers" of red meat. First eggs were good for you, then due to the high cholesterol diets commonly found in our society, people stopped eating them or simply just ate the whites, which don't even get me started on the stupidity of that... We all know vegetables and fruit are key to a healthy diet, but now with that pesty word "pesticides" buzzing around, people simply avoid the produce aisle. So instead the masses stick with their old diet standby, that box bag or can of processed whatever, so full of artificial preservatives and chemicals, refined sugars and sodium that these foods alone can and should be banned from food stores.

The truth is though, this dietary funk our society is stuck in is our doing. If you never read The Omnivores Dilemma then I urge you to give it a read, or at least watch Food Inc. You will find that we (society) have done this to ourselves and continue to do so. We are so blinded to the reality of our food industry and what it's become (a conglomerate of wealthy corporations that make all the decisions) that we just continue to plug along as if the westernized diet of processed and fast foods are the norm.

So to answer the question of what we can eat, without spoiling the book (or the movie), is healthy. I realize at first glance this sounds extremely vague and not very thought out, but in fact it's really that easy of a concept. What if you could eat all the fruit and veggies without the fear of pesticides; red meat and eggs (the whole egg) without the fear of a heart attack in your near future; what if you could just simply eat (in moderation of course) and not fear the deadly consequences?

We can and it's called locally grown organic seasonal fruits and vegetables, organic grass-fed beef and free-grazed chickens and eggs, and organic natural *whole grains and *legumes. You may not be able to get this at your local fast food joint or down the freezer aisle of your local grocery store, but fear not your countries local organic farmers are just waiting to serve you!

*Based on what I have recently learned (over the past 6mo or so) regarding grain consumption within modern day factory or industrial farming societies, and its adverse effects on human health ultimately leading to many of the illnesses and diseases affecting Americans in epic proportions, I have changed my stance on the importance of such monocrops (grains and legumes) within a healthy human diet. The human digestive system was not designed nor has it evolved to a point to effectively digest such foods like grains and legumes without the body suffering from its harmful side effects; inflammation and damage to the gut. Since evidence shows inefficient digestion and inflammation are the root cause for nearly all human diseases be it heart disease, diabetes, cancer, crohn's disease, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammatory disorders in all its forms, a healthy diet should promote a healthy gut (fermented foods) and be anti-inflammatory based (grass-fed meats and eggs, wild caught fish, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds) instead of high in foods promoting inflammation such as grains, legumes, and factory farmed meats, poultry, fish, and eggs.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ah to be a kid again

As I was walking by a woman's cubical at work this morning I noticed her son (working as a summer intern) had left a McDonald's coffee coolatta next to a bag of McDonald's something or other, and I thought to myself; Ah to be a kid again...

I said this but probably not for the reason that you're thinking. I sometimes wish I was a kid again, not solely for that youthful naive innocence, or that sheer lack of responsibility and stress, but so I could make better smarter healthier dietary decisions. We've all heard someone say, or said it ourselves, "Ah to be a kid again", but it's often in response to the carefree worry-free dietary choices (i.e. junk food). What we often fail to realize, or simply choose not to see, are the detrimental life threatening effects of a poor diet at this age even though childhood obesity and diabetes are epidemics in this country. We assume that a fast metabolism and more active childhood lifestyle (pre-Nintendo that is) will take care of these mistakes, but the sad hard truth is we pay for them when we are older and with interest.

So the next time we see these unhealthy dietary choices being made by children, let's not wish we were that age again simply so we could take part in these unhealthy decisions, but rather use the knowledge you have today, learned either the hard way or through basic curiosity, and not only keep focused on that healthy path you're on but teach these healthy ways to the younger generation before it's too late.

Eat Healthy! Fresh locally grown organic produce, pastured meets, and natural whole grains and legumes; with a diet like that you can't help but be young again.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Healthy Oil Spill

Oils can be a very healthy part of your diet, whether its olive oil, canola, coconut, avocado, peanut... But there are a few details (or guidelines) you should try and adhere to.

  1. Chooses "organic unrefined first cold pressed" for the most nutritional benefit, and remember that sediment you may see at the bottom of the bottle is the good stuff so give it a shake before you use it.
  2. Never buy oil that comes in a plastic container; studies show that chemicals from the plastic can and will leech into the oil rendering it an unhealthy and even toxic mess. Choose glass bottles (tinted if possible to reduce light exposure) that seal tightly.
  3. Time is of the essence, so make sure the oil is not too old; many oils (the better brands) will print the date in which they were pressed on the label to show you exactly how old they are.
  4. Each oil has a different smoke point which makes certain ones better for a particular uses (frying, broiling, baking, marinating, or simply uncooked) so read the label. An important note to remember here is unrefined oils will have a lower smoke point, so if you buy your olive oil unrefined then choose another oil for higher temps such as avocado, or canola.
Just remember to choose the oil based on what you will use it for; avocado for frying or unrefined olive oil for salads and marinates, coconut or peanut for their unique and distinct flavors, or any of them for their health benefits, and then pour it on!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cancer Risks could be just a Dr.'s Visit Away

Today's headlines say it all...

"Biggest radiation threat is due to medical scans"

"Popular blood pressure pills linked to cancer"

Both of these have become common tools in today's American medical practice, whether it's a popular test used to help diagnose a problem or common prescription intended to save your life, the scary truth is clear; cancer risks may only be a Dr.'s visit away.

Be it MRI CAT or CT scans, imaging has become far too overused with far too little research done on the negative effects due to radiation exposure, or should I say far too little attention paid by our medical community... These eye-opening facts may be hard to swallow but they're not new, as a matter of fact these dangers have been known for years and highly warned against by non-medical non-mainstream natural healers.

So why are they ordered so frequently by Dr.'s?

My guess is just like pharmaceutical companies pushing cancer causing drugs, marketing them as miracle "fix for what ails you", it's all about money power and influence. The money to push their product (drug or machine) and persuade the medical community, and the power to keep the government watchdogs at bay...

So what can you do? Be aware! Educate yourself and don't be afraid to question those who appear to have your best interest at heart.

Better yet look to Nature's Medicine Cabinet for a healthier you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Start an Organic Garden

So you've probably heard, from me or from others, that organic produce is a must and that seasonal organic produce is even better. I mean how fresh can those organic pears from Argentina be anyway?

This of course is where "Locally Grown" organic produce comes into play; when it's organic seasonal and grown locally you know it's pretty darn fresh, but can we still do better that?

The answer is yes, it's called your back yard. OK, we all don't have tons of land in which to grow big lush gardens, but that's alright. Your garden can be as big or small as you want it to be, even if that means a few potted organic tomato and pepper plants... it's a start.

You can't get fresher produce than walking out your back door and picking it right before you cook!

Big or small though, make sure your garden is organic. That means buy organic seeds (or plants), and when you replant them into whatever area (yard or larger pot) that will ultimately become their home, make sure you use organic potting soil; and never ever spray them to kill bugs!

So grow some organic veggies and reap the benefits!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Snack Healthy

Most people have some sort of sweet tooth, be for something chocolaty or simply for something well sweet. Cravings harmless by nature, but in today's world of chemically infused processed foods there's no longer anything natural about what it is we're craving; and it's the satisfying of these cravings, the unhealthy choices we make, that we end up paying for, for the rest of our lives. It's human nature to be enticed by something sweet or even salty; these qualities do not occur in abundance naturally (without human interference that is), so we're hard wired to take advantage of it when we come across food fulfilling these cravings.

The problem thought started at the same time the "human intervention" reached mass production; when sweet and salty became a dime a dozen, in fact cheaper and more abundant then healthy food. There is more sodium in one serving size of most processed foods (junk food or the so called healthy choices) then our bodies need in an entire day, and with the invention of high fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners sugar is as readily available as water in this country. That is only half the problem though, because it's the quality of these salts and sugars that pack such an unhealthy punch. These are overly processed refined salts and sugars that have absolutely no nutritional value.

Simple sugars are not in way "brain food"... yes the brain fuel is glucose, but complex sugars and whole food sources are what the body wants!

Thankfully there are now snacks available that are actually healthy! These products, mainly found in health food stores, are labeled as "raw" snacks (chips, cookies, bars, etc.) and made with ingredients such as organic sprouted grains, raw honey, dates, coconut... they are extremely tasty and very healthy! So if it's your sweet tooth that needs attention, then satisfy the craving with something that can actually benefit your health.

This is just one of the companies that make these healthy treats; GoRaw.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Soapbox

I'm not one to publicly get on the soapbox and give unsolicited advice to any and all who will listen, which is why I have this blog. This is my soapbox, here for all to read if they choose... no strings, no ties. I am always willing to give advise or talk about what I know and what I've learned to any and all who ask and care to listen, but public debates and or tirades are not my style.

I've learned a lot in a relatively short time, slowly but steadily changing my views and unhealthy ways when it comes to health diet and lifestyle, from the more misguided mainstream way to the healthier more enlightened and eye-opening natural organic way. It started more or less about 4 years ago when I read Kevin Trudeau's "Natural Cures " They don't want you to know about"... it was eye-opening to say the least, and as a matter of fact it was so shocking in an accusing conspiracy kind of way that I was only able to initially "buy into" some of it. It not only caused the start of my transition into a more organic healthy lifestyle, but it caused me to constantly question where the loyalty of the pharmaceutical and food manufacturing companies lied.

Over the next few years I slowly transitioned further as I educated myself with more reading (see my list of informative books) as well as with the diagnosis of my food allergies (soy in particular) that unintentionally yet drastically made one of the biggest impacts on my diet. Unfortunately soy is found in nearly all overly processed prepackaged foods, and THANKFULLY soy is found in nearly all overly processed prepackaged foods! I've said it before... my soy allergy was and is a blessing in disguise!

The next major eye opener on my road to "healthy" was a book by Michael Pollan "The Omnivore's Dilemma". It not only reemphasized the need to be skeptical with the large corporations running our food industry, but to remain aware and to continually educated on the subject. It drove home the importance of Organic Free-Grazed and Grass-Fed meets and eggs and locally grown organic produce of any kind. It helped me realize that although organic is extremely important, it is the true definition of the word that should be understood and practiced and not simply the generic use of the word. I now see that it's inevitable that as organic foods becomes more and more popular and "in demand" by the public that it too can become tainted as the large corporations that currently poison our food supply jump on board driven solely by greed.

If you're not a "reader" and would rather a visual to drive this home then rent the movie "Food Inc", it's not quite as informative but touches on most of the same topics and even includes interviews with Michael Pollan.

The truth is I've come a long way in a short time, but by no means do I feel like I know it all... I'm always learning new things, many eye-opening but all helpful and informative. This lifestyle I've chosen and that my wife and I continue to follow is a passion of mine, a religion if you will, and because without the personal stories and detailed facts I've learned from others I wouldn't know what I know now, I will continue to use this blog as my soapbox for all to read.

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