Back to Basics: The Truth About Food

When our daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in March of 2009, I began to intensely research the food we consume. I have my own theory as to why cancer is on the rise (of course, I’m no scientist or doctor… although they don’t even seem to have an opinion on this matter), & food is very high on the list! Around WW11, our country began a major shift in how food was grown, manufactured, & distributed among the population. We went from having our own gardens (where we knew how the crop was being grown), getting meat & dairy from our own chickens, cows, pigs, etc., or dealing with a neighborhood butcher, making our own bread, & NEVER buying boxed or canned goods because there was simple no option. (& I’m not even including the “new” beverages we now consume)… to relying FULLY on the government to distribute our food to our local grocery stores where we now purchase ALL of our food. This is a dangerous thing. Is it really necessary that I explain why having the government monopolize on ANYTHING is dangerous?! They are greedy! They will cut corners in order to mass produce & cut cost wherever they can… which is exactly what they have done!… & it has poisoned the food that used to make our bodies healthy daily & several times a day!

The Truth About: Sugar

* Unnatural sugars/sweeteners come in many forms. Foods that include this types of sugars cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which are the root of many health problems, namingly diabetes. Many people aren’t aware that sugar & especially spikes in sugar levels, actually FEED cancer cells. We all have cancer cells in our body, but when we treat our body right, these cells don’t become dangerous or start to invade/take over healthy cells.

Unnatural:

* white, refined sugar. Moderation is the key here.

* high fructose corn syrup. I could almost write a book on the toxicity of this sweetener. It is used as an inexpensive sweetener & also a preservative. It is found in tons of stuff because of its preservative use… things you wouldn’t even relate a “sweetness” to. First of all, it is derived from a corn plant that is genetically modified in a lab in order to produce a massive crop. (remember, greed!) If you know anything about DNA & the potential effects of altering DNA in ANYTHING, you can imagine the negative effects. Our DNA tells us who we are… what if that were tampered with… we would go haywire & forget what our body’s responsibility is. The same goes for a seed. All I can say is, check ALL labels & avoid this as much as possible… it’s everywhere.

* Splenda, Equal, & other “low calorie” sugars- these are filled with chemicals, particularly, a chemical called “aspartame”. Aspartame is found in diet or sugar-free products, including sodas. Yes, I’m telling you that you are better off to drink a regular soda than a diet one… you may be retaining more calories, but you are putting less harmful chemicals into your body. It just makes sense… how else do you think it’s possible to make something taste sweet without sugar?!

Natural:

(natural sweeteners maintain blood sugar levels & obviously don’t have the chemicals)

*Agave Nectar- this is probably the best of all of the options. The general public is finally becoming more educated about this sweetener, so you can now find it in your local grocery store. This sweetener completely maintains blood sugar levels which isn’t true for all sweeteners (even the natural ones). It tastes & looks just like honey & now you can google (or sometimes even the bottles will come with) ways to use this as a substitute for baking with sugar. (Such as, the oven has to be at a little lower temp & there is a comparable measurement for how much agave to use vs. sugar).

* Local Honey- Local honey has MANY benefits. If you’ve ever heard about how the world would cease to exist if bees went extinct, there are good reasons! Honey bees in particular, pollinate locally. So when you consume the honey from local bee hives, it serves as a sort of regular, natural vaccine for the immune system & allergy defenses. The recommended dose to receive the full benefits is about a teaspoon a day (this being especially true for people with allergies). There are many ways to incorporate this into daily foods. (ex: on top of multi-grain cheerios- it sweetens the cereal & gives the daily serving of honey… killing 2 birds with 1 stone, include it in homemade snacks, even if the recipe doesn’t necessarily call for it. I include it in homemade, healthy krispy treats, homemade granola bars, etc. Use as a dipping sauce for chicken, etc.)

* Pure cane sugar- this is the least beneficial, but at least isn’t bleached or refined.

* Try to consume sugar in the most natural form, such as in fruit!

The Truth About: grains vs.bleached whites

Unnatural:

* white flour- this is bleached. It is hard for our bodies to process white flour/pasta. It contains 0% of the nutrients are body needs from grains, yet we have completely substituted it for multi & whole grain.

* white pasta- same reason

* white rice-

Natural:

* Multi grain bread- multi grain is actually more beneficial than whole grain. Multi-grain provides a variety of the grains our body needs. Just be sure the bread doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup which is not only widely used in breads (including brown breads), but is usually the very first ingredient on the label. Bad, very bad. (Arnold’s is a brand that advertises no HFS & is incredible quality! I never thought I would be able to eat multi-grain or whole wheat bread, but you really can’t tell the difference.)

*Whole wheat/multi-grain pasta (rich in omega-3)- I will talk about Omega-3 later as I discuss what has been omitted in our dairy products, but since you can now buy pasta rich in omega-3, this is obviously the healthier option. (for now, Barilla is the only brand that carries these pastas… & it’s all I buy!) Again, you can’t tell the difference between these & regular white pasta. I switched over abruptly one day & no one in my family had any clue.

The Truth About: produce from your local grocery store

We don’t think much about the plethora of produce to pick from all year round in the produce section of our grocery store. I mean, it’s fresh, right?! wrong!

Try to buy from your local Farmer’s Market for your produce. The least important reason is that they are sprayed with less pesticides. The most important reason:  If a particular piece of produce isn’t something that is grown locally, you can assume that it is imported (most of the time from a different part of the world), & the effects of that are many. It is picked very early (while still green). A fruit/vegetable that is picked before it ripens DOESN’T contain it’s nutrients. Not to mention that they are artificially ripened with ethylene gas. & once a piece of fruit/vegetable is picked (when it is picked at the right time), it starts to lose its nutrients 7 days later. So, the produce that you are getting from your grocery store is not only picked early & chemically altered, but has gone through a lengthy traveling process in which it has lost all of it’s benefits. A tomato is no longer really a tomato… more like a notional tomato.

Grocery stores know no seasons as far as produce is concerned. Probably why the common theme of canning has diminished over the last few decades. Learn how to can & utilize it during the summer when produce is plentiful. That way you can rely on your canned items during the winter.

Canning brings me to another topic: Canned foods in the grocery store. Okay… this stuff is just bad! The silver can that it’s packaged in is full of chemicals which are not so harmful unless heated. Guess what they use to seal the can once the food is inside… yep, heat. Just like you do when you can items at home in those lovely, chemical free glass jars. So that heat activates chemicals that seep into the food inside. Then there is the issue of sodium inside of the food. Let’s just say it’s way too much! & the preservatives… ooooh the preservatives.

The Truth About: Organics

Buying organic is so necessary! It took a lot of research for me to fully buy into this, but it’s true. There are a few key things to remember when choosing what is most necessary to purchase in organic & what things you can “risk” it on if you don’t. (Our family is on a budget & has to make the wisest decision with our money while food shopping. So I had to figure out what was negotiable & what was absolutely non-negotiable when going the organic route). So here it is:

ALL meat & dairy products should be purchased organically. Why? Because this food derives from an animal that is feeding off of something. That means that what this particular animal eats, we essentially eat also, as what it is consumed is inside of what we later consume. To hear or watch the reality of what cows, chicken, etc. are eating on these mass farms is nothing less that disturbing. They are fed the least expensive, least nutritious trash. Then given shots of hormones & other junk to beef them up & compensate for the lack of REAL fat & muscle that would have been built naturally with a proper feed.

When deciding on whether to buy organic fruits & veggies, consider this: If it’s a thin skin fruit/veg, buy organic. If it’s a thick skin fruit/veg, you can probably get away with going the cheaper route. Why? Because pesticide easily seep into the inside of a thin skin fruit/veg, but a thick skin fruit/veg is protected by it’s very shell. Example: organic-apples. regular: bananas.

* Important FYI- labels can be misleading. Know that if a label advertises “natural” or “all natural”, it is not necessarily organic or natural at all. There are no true guidelines or regulations on the use of this term. It can be used freely without having to prove that they are using anything “organic” or “natural” at all. Make sure the package says “organic”.

The Truth About: Oils

hydrogenated oils are everywhere! & the worst part is that sometime in the 70’s we were mulled into believing that they are somehow very beneficial for you. Hydrogenated oils are in things like frozen dinners & even margarine (use real butter!).

The Truth About: Artificial Colors

When I tell you the truth about these bad boys, your common sense tool is going to kick in immediately & like me you’re going to think, “duh!” Those multi-colored goldfish, fruit loops, & box mac&cheese are just a few of things on the top of my list of no-no’s in my house. There shouldn’t even be a such thing as purple food. It’s just common sense.

First let me state that artificial colors, additives, & preservatives have been directly linked to hyperactivity in children. Hmmm… well, isn’t that a coincidence since : * Diagnosed cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder increased almost 4 percent every year from 2000 to 2010 making it the number one mental health concern in children. Yet, we would rather medicate our children than to find the root of this incline.

Artificial colors cause long-term irritability, restlessness, & sleep problems! Check every label for these boogers & avoid them completely! They are chemicals & they cause adverse reactions in the brain. There are countless studies to support this. I’ll just give you one:

Published in the Australian Pediatric Journal, the study concerned some 200 children in Melbourne, out of a group of about 800 referred to the Royal Children’s Hospital there for suspected hyperactivity. For 6 weeks, the 200 children were given a synthetic-color-free diet, & the parents of 150 of them reported “significant behavioral improvements”. As in the other experiments, parents also noticed “deterioration” of behavior after the kids started eating synthetically colored foods again.

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