Friday, November 11, 2011

The Kindness Chronicles: Well, what do I eat now?

Food. It should all just be edible and delicious and good for us, right? That would be nice. I would love it if ice cream was equally as good, if not better for me, than say kale or zucchini. Life might be just near perfect. Since it's not, and since toxic chemicals and substances are running around pretending to be food all the time, I figured I would give you a list of what's what in the world of health food.

In one of my last food posts I went over Monsanto, the GMO's, and all the evil things lurking out there under your noses. I'm sure you were wondering what the heck you were going to do since it appears nothing is safe. Do not fear, my friends. There are options and solutions.

First, let's start simple. Let's say this whole health food thing is brand new to you. There's so much to it, I know, so the first step would be this: add more fruits and veggies to your meals. That's it! You don't have to go organic or anything, just add more in and get used to that. Start re-thinking the traditional food ideas. Anything can be eaten anytime - remember that. I ate a spinach and salmon salad for breakfast almost every day for a year or two and it was awesome. Awesome.

We label certain foods to be eaten at certain times of the day...but why? Because someone made up a "This is a breakfast food" rule? You can eat anything you want any time you want. My mom swears by the rule of eating your sweet treat in the morning because then you work it off all day long. Makes sense, right? Instead of eating dessert at night when you'll be sitting around doing nothing, eat it early on and get a'movin!  Not that I'm highly recommending eating cake at 6am. I'm just proving a point. Break free of the standards and be daring! Eat a salad for breakfast. Eat a veggie omelette for dinner. Switch it up! Starting your day off with veggies propels like you nothing you have ever known. Trust me.

Another thing to overcome would be the fear that health foods taste awful. They don't. They're amazing and delicious and better than you can possibly imagine. There are a million and a half wonderful recipes out there for every type of vegetable imaginable that are mouth wateringly yummy. You just have to be willing to experiment.

After you have mastered the art of eating more veggies and less processed foods, move on to better veggies and fruits. Buying all organic is expensive. Buying all farmers market items can be difficult. If you can't do that stick to one of these rules or a combo of both (whatever works for you):

1. Avoid the Dirty Dozen
Every year a new list comes out of the most chemically toxic fruits and veggies. The list is made to help you decide which foods you need to use caution with and it also helps to determine which foods you should buy organically. These are the top 12 that are sprayed with more pesticides than the rest for 2011:
- Apples
- Celery
- Strawberries
- Peaches
- Spinach
- Nectarines
- Imported Grapes
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Potatoes
- Domestic Blueberries
- Lettuce
- Kale/Collard Greens

2. Check the Distance
This technique simply means check the little sticker on your food to see where it was shipped in from. When I asked my teacher if I should buy every single thing organic, she said no. What I need when I eat are the nutrients from the food I'm eating. Food travels roughly 2500 miles to get to us at the grocery stores and in that time it loses a significant amount of its nutrients. For example, if you live in New York and the food was shipped to you from California, it's gone quite a distance. However, if you live in Arizona and the food is from California then it's really just next door, thus more nutrients remain in the food. Getting a pear from halfway around the world is great but it's not so great if there's no benefit once you take a bite out of it. Just something to think about.

On top of all of that here is some information you need to know, and should know, but probably don't because of the sneaky sneaksters who don't tell any of us about this so that they can become rich while killing us slowly.

1. Nitrates 
These are tricky little devils that show up in dried fruit and packaged meats and various other places. These babies cause cancer, headaches, migraines, and other things, due to the chemicals they contain. The synthetic compound is required by the FDA for all cured meats, however, many companies have gone to a natural nitrate cure which is fine. These safe foods, oddly enough, will be labeled "nitrate free" even though they have some form of a preservative in them.

Confusing? Yes. All because the FDA requires it. Here's the trick: No traditional grocery store has nitrate free lunch meat, so stick to your local health food store. The packages will clearly state that they are nitrate free and no nitrates will be listed on the ingredients. The same goes for dried fruit and trail mixes. Nitrate free is the safest way to go. We'll cover this again below, that's how important it is.

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), Corn Syrup, and all the other tricky names they come up with to fool you
Remember those commercials that were on for a while, where one woman argued with another one over how HFCS was just corn? That is the biggest bunch of bull ever. The food companies were so ticked off that everyone was avoiding their products due to the corn syrup fear that they spent millions on these commercials to fool you. Don't fall for it. No matter what they want to call it, it is NOT the corn you eat at a BBQ. It's a compound that your body doesn't recognize making it incredibly hard to digest and eliminate, leading to storage of chemicals in your body that then lead to all kinds of diseases. It's like putting toothpaste in your gas tank. Your car would freak out and that's what your body is doing.

Consider this as well: HFCS is actually known to make you hungrier. To set off the triggers in your body that tell you to feed it, making you want to eat all the time. Considering just how many products it's in that people consume - soup, yogurt, cereal, bread -  people are getting huge doses of it without even realizing what they're doing to themselves. Plus, on the financial end for the companies, it's brilliant. The hungrier you are the more you have to buy from them. It's a never ending cycle of hunger, purchase of foods, repeat. Ditch this stuff entirely and not only will you be saving your own life but you'll be saving your money.

3. The First Five
This is the rule to ingredients. The first five items on the ingredient list are what the item is mostly made up of. Everything else is a fraction of what the first five are. If sugar is in the first five then know that you are getting one heck of a dose of it in whatever you're eating.

The key here is this - the shorter the list, the better. Better yet, something that doesn't have an ingredient list is the best you can get, like an apple. This is just another reason why avoiding or limiting processed foods is ideal.

4. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are an American thing. Go to a baseball game, eat a hot dog, right? It's tradition! My grampa and I used to get one every Sunday. It was a nice thing we did together and I have great memories about it, however, this is not a tradition I will be continuing now that I know what I know. And why do I care so much about hot dogs out of every other type of nitrate-filled packaged meat? One reason: Children. They are the ones that consume more hot dogs than anyone else. Beanie Weenies anyone? I have many adorable little nephews and nieces and I want them to be well, so here's the deal:

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods states that there is "...evidence linking consumption of nitrates to a significantly increased risk of the major childhood cancers, including leukemias, lymphomas, and brain cancers" and that "Children who eat 12 hot dogs per month have nearly ten times the risk of developing leukemia as children who do not eat hot dogs. Children who eat hot dogs once a week double their chances of developing brain tumors; eating them twice a week triples the risk".

Scary, I know, but parents - don't beat yourselves up. You can't know these things unless someone tells you and the food companies don't tell you these things. They just don't. You can find safe, all natural sausages and hot dog comparable foods at your local health store. The kids don't have to miss out on the tradition of this, you just need a different product.

Now for the good food news...

1. Grass Fed Beef
First let me explain the difference between grain and grass fed.

Cows do not naturally buy themselves a bag of grain and eat it. No. They eat grass. Feeding a cow grains is like feeding a person crickets. Yeah, we can eat it. But are we supposed to? No. Is it going to benefit us to eat that all day, every day? No. Will it cause us problems if we do? YES. Same with the cows.

Giving a cow grains means you are giving them a diet of soy, some hay, and other fillers to fatten them up. So, if you are what you eat then you're eating a lot of soy and fillers. And what if you're allergic to soy? Well then you're eating it without even realizing it. See my point here? On top of that, grain fed cows are proven to contain excess levels of omega 6 and 9 (which we don't need extra of) and food borne illnesses live inside them. Ick!

Grass fed are the opposite. They are full of omega 3's (which we do need a lot of) and food borne illnesses are typically non-existent in grass fed cows. Plus...they're immune to Mad Cow Disease! FACT.

On top of all of tastes better. Whenever we have people over for BBQ's they think we've found some amazing seasoning and want to know where to buy it. We use nothing. It's just the flavor of the beef.

Buy it from your local farmers, if you can. It's good to support the people that help keep this diminishing traditional method alive. Otherwise, get it at your local health food store.

2. Veganaise
Pronounced Vegan-A's, however I like to actually call it Veg-uh-knees. Far more fun. Anyway... this is your alternative to junk filled mayonnaise. It's natural, you have a variety to choose from, and I actually think it tastes much better.

3. Perfect Foods Bars
Good for you? Check! Delicious? Check! Protein bars beware, these babies are taking over. Not only are they all natural but they even have veggies in them. Only down side is they need to be refrigerated.

4. Ezekial 5.7.9 breads
While these are not gluten or wheat free they are better for you than "normal" bread since the grains are sprouted. This is the old school way of baking but since sprouting takes time, and the world is in a hurry, we by-passed this important step to produce bread faster. Sprouting makes the grains digestible which equals a happier belly for you.

5. C20 Coconut Water
No surprise here, right? Me and my love for all things coconut. It's all natural, low in calories, makes you feel like a million bucks after you drink it, and great for athletes. It's even used in IV's when traditional methods are out of reach. I've tried other brands but this one remains my favorite by far.
6. Sea Vegetables
Quite possibly the most secretly magical food ever. They pack 10-20 times the amount of nutrients as regular veggies and when you eat sea vegetables they enable your body to release metal toxins that build up. There's an all natural gel like substance in them that binds with heavy metals to pull them out of your body as you eliminate food. No other food can do this as well as sea vegetables, not even close. If you can't handle eating seaweed, although I do think it tastes great, get some Kelp or Dulse seasonings and sprinkle it in when cooking. You won't taste anything but you'll get all the benefits. I use it in BBQ sauce, omelettes, etc.

7. Canned Coconut Milk
Antiviral? Check. Antibacterial? Check. Antimicrobial? Check.

What does this all mean? No other food is quite as good at killing the bad things in your body. Plus, it's delicious and can be used as a dairy substitute. The canned kind is all natural while the coconut milk in cartons is made specifically to be more like a cow milk substitute for cereals. The canned stuff is the one you want for the anti-everything qualities as it is all natural, nothing added to it.

8. Almond Butter for the Road
Peanut butter is great but when it comes down to nutrition, almond butter wins every time. And now you can take it with you wherever you go thanks to some guy named Justin who made convenient and delicious little packs of it. There are various varieties ranging from all natural to honey or maple flavored. I take them with me when I travel. It's a good source of protein and pairs excellently with an apple or banana. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

A Little Food Spiel For You
My last recommendation is this: Think about what you're eating. Think about what you want your life to look like, how good you want to feel. I like dessert just as much as (probably even more than) the next person, so I understand.

I suggest the 80/20 rule. It's easy and flexible. With it, 80% of the time you eat healthy, 20% of the time you eat whatever the heck you want. Keep in mind the 20% will still affect you and how you feel based on what you decide to eat, like if you ate an entire package of Oreo cookies you most likely will not feel good at all. And everything about how you feel - emotionally, physically, mentally - can be linked back to what you eat.

When it comes to health and well being possibly the most important question you can ask yourself is this:

What do we all have in common, above everything else, that could possibly affect all of us?


It's the thing we need to survive. The thing that brings families together, is shared over celebrations and despair, and makes us all go crazy thinking about it. It's something we simply cannot live without. Not one single person can avoid food.

Way, way back when we didn't have grocery stores, what did we eat? Only what we could kill or grow. Period. If it didn't walk, swim, or grow out of the ground, it wasn't going in our mouths. Now we march into grocery stores and buy things we like to think of as "food". Food that comes in convenient boxes with pretty colors and the magical triple combo: salt, sugar, fat. Put those three things together, whether they be natural or not, and it will make anything taste good. Anything, including things that were never food to begin with.

Consider this next time you're grocery shopping:

How many things can you pronounce on the packages you buy?
Do you know what any of them mean and if you did would you still eat them?
Who is actually going to benefit from eating this? You or the company selling it to you?

And my favorite...

As advanced as we are in the world, why haven't we found a cure for everything?

It's actually pretty simple once you get to the basics of it. We can't cure what we tend to repeat. If we use all the medicine in the world but still eat junk food, we're only putting a band-aid on the problem. You can't avoid what you don't know but you can make a change any moment you choose once you are informed.

Every day holds the possibility of a new start.

It's up to you how you treat your body, how you care for it, and in turn, how it will take care of you as you grow older.

I saw this article, below, recently. It's pretty informative and I recommend looking over it. The list is fairly long, therefore alarming, however, as I said before, it's good to be informed.

What's really in food? Article from Natural News

Questions, comments, concerns? Holler at me. 

Update---> I still believe GMO's are evil and should be avoided at all costs. However, with times being the way they are and people losing their jobs left and right, there have to be alternate options. If you can grow your own food, excellent! If not, just get back on your feet, take care of yourself, and then you can start avoiding the GMO's full time again.

Related Posts from The Kindness Chronicles
Healing Foods
Diet is a Four Letter Word
The Truth That LIES Before Your Eyes: Monsanto and the FDA

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