Good Better Best:  Our Food

Good Better Best:  Our Food

What do I eat?  Is it good for you?  Bad for you?  How do I know the difference?  This post will help you understand how to sort the foods.  Read on: Good Better Best:  Our Food.

It’s all good food (bad food doesn’t exist).

No food is bad for you.  There, I said it.  Hard to believe anyone would say no food is bad for you.  But, no food is bad for you. 

Let me explain.  If you are starving, a soft drink tastes great and provides needed calories.  A starving person does not have to worry about the grams of sugar or high fructose corn syrup – they just need calories.  We have labels on foods that work now to provoke guilt and negative emotion about what should be a pleasant, mindful, life-giving experience.

Off with the guilt!  It’s eating – not cheating.  It’s just food – not a moral judgement or weakness of character.  While it might not help optimize you, no food is bad for you.

Good to Better

Given that there are no foods that are “bad” for you, are there some that are better?

The answer is yes, of course.  Let’s start with cleaning up the foods.  Foods that are made from clean ingredients – those ingredients that our bodies recognize and utilize – are better for you.   Our bodies may not recognize certain ingredients as they have been synthetically developed in a laboratory – and often in higher quantities than what may occur naturally in foods.  These cleaner foods are better for you, and set you on the path to optimize.  I’ll give some examples below.

Better to Best

Once you get rid of certain ingredients that our bodies do not recognize, how do you optimize even more? 

What is in your food becomes you.  That’s why you feel better when you eat foods that are better or best for you.  Mediocre foods that don’t provide optimal nutrients will produce a mediocre body and health.

The best foods for us are those foods that have antioxidants and electrolytes, and that nourish us.  They are fresh fruits and vegetables (not irradiated) that still have their “live” enzymes.  You’ll know them because they spoil. (Foods that don’t spoil also don’t have antioxidants.)  They are the traditional, natural healthy fats, like cold-press olive oil, unrefined coconut oil and grass fed butter.  Put these foods into your diet as often as possible.

A deeper dive: a comparison of ingredients from two cookie manufacturers:

 

 

To me, there is a big difference in these two brands of shortbread cookie.  The first has four ingredients – wheat, butter, sugar, salt.  Sounds like a recipe to me; I have those ingredients in my home kitchen.  So did my grandmother. 

Let’s look at the second cookie:  wheat, sugar, canola oil, palm oil, corn flour, salt, high fructose corn syrup, baking soda, soy lecithin, cornstarch and artificial flavor.  Well, I have some of those ingredients.  I’m not even sure what the artificial flavor is, or where they get that from.  (For an eye-opening article on artificial flavors, see this). 

Canola oil doesn’t sound too bad until you consider how it was processed – hexane is a common solvent, as an example.  It’s removed later in processing if that helps you feel better.  And do we want to just skip over the bleaching and deodorizing part of processing?  I’m a good cook, but I’m not sure I could create canola oil.  Last I checked, the manufacturing of butter does not require hexane, bleaching or deodorizing – and I can make butter!

Did you know that “canola” is a newly created plant oil?  Canadian scientists took a common plant (rapeseed) that had dangerous and toxic ingredients and modified it to create a new plant oil, and called it “canola”.  So we have NOT been eating canola for thousands or even hundreds of years.  In fact, it was invented in 1978 and we began eating it en masse after that when a good marketing campaign introduced this cheap oil as a heart-healthy alternative to olive oil.  Keep in mind that about 90% of the canola crop is GMO and resistant to herbicides – and we are just figuring out the possible implications of long term intake of GMO crops.

At least I know we have been eating butter for a long, long time – long before we knew about heart disease and heart disease wasn’t the widespread cause of death that we see today.

Fooducate yourself:

For a great resource on how healthy foods are, look at https://www.fooducate.com/  While I don’t agree with everything on the website, it offers a decent guide to foods, especially processed foods.  I’ll share a side story:  I worked with a young woman who ate Hot Pocket’s Ham and Cheese every day for lunch.  The patients had noticed this, and commented.  I used Fooducate’s website (here) to compare ingredients.  Her first statement was one of shock:  “My lunch gets a D!”

A hot ham and cheese sandwich should have a few ingredients – ham, cheese, maybe milk for a sauce, some seasoning and then “pocket” should be flour, salt, water, etc.  Try this from Hot Pocket’s own website:

UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), WATER, FULLY COOKED HICKORY HAM AND WATER PRODUCT, 25% OF WEIGHT IS ADDED INGREDIENTS, GROUND AND FORMED, NATURAL HICKORY SMOKE FLAVOR ADDED (CURED WITH WATER, SUGAR, SALT, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, DEHYDRATED PORK BROTH, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, CARRAGEENAN, NATURAL HICKORY SMOKE FLAVOR, SODIUM ERYTHORBATE, SODIUM NITRITE), REDUCED FAT CHEDDAR CHEESE (PASTEURIZED PART SKIM MILK, SKIM MILK, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH*, CULTURES, SALT, FLAVORS*, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE*, ANNATTO, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, ENZYMES, *INGREDIENTS NOT IN REGULAR CHEDDAR CHEESE), IMITATION CHEDDAR CHEESE (WATER, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, CASEIN, SOYBEAN OIL, WHEY, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SALT, SODIUM ALUMINUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, LACTIC ACID, SODIUM CITRATE, NATURAL FLAVOR, ANNATTO [COLOR]), SEASONING (WHEY, CHEDDAR/BLUE CHEESES [PASTEURIZED MILK, CHEESE CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES], BUTTERMILK, NATURAL FLAVOR, MALTODEXTRIN, COCONUT OIL, DISODIUM PHOSPHATE, CULTURED WHOLE MILK, CITRIC ACID, LACTIC ACID, EXTRACTIVES OF ANNATTO AND TURMERIC), PALM OIL, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, SEASONING (BREAD CRUMBS [BLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR, DEXTROSE, YEAST, SALT], SEASONING [CHEDDAR AND BLUE CHEESES {MILK, CHEESE CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES}, WHEY, SALT, DEXTROSE, DRIED ONION, NATURAL FLAVOR, SOYBEAN OIL, GARLIC POWDER, CITRIC ACID, LACTIC ACID, SPICE, EXTRACTIVES OF PAPRIKA AND ANNATTO]), SUGAR, SEASONING (WHEY, SOYBEAN OIL, MALTODEXTRIN, CHEDDAR/BLUE CHEESES [MILK, CHEESE CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES], NONFAT MILK, SALT, NATURAL FLAVORS, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, DISODIUM PHOSPHATE, CULTURED MILK, CITRIC ACID, EXTRACTIVES OF ANNATTO, PAPRIKA, AND TURMERIC [COLOR]), FRACTIONATED PALM OIL, SALT, YEAST, DOUGH CONDITIONER (CALCIUM SULFATE, SALT, L- CYSTEINE HYDROCHLORIDE, GARLIC POWDER, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, ENZYMES), DOUGH CONDITIONER (DISTILLED MONOGLYCERIDES WITH ASCORBIC ACID AND CITRIC ACID [ANTIOXIDANTS]), EGG YOLKS, LACTIC ACID, WHEY, SOY FLOUR, EGG WHITES, SOYBEAN OIL

I don’t know about you, but a “hickory ham and water product” doesn’t sound appetizing, nor does “imitation cheddar cheese”.  Some of the other ingredients I have in my home, but many to be honest I would not know where to even buy the item.

Put it into action

What’s the action plan?  Go from good to better, then reach for best.  Plan to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet – with the fiber when possible.  Buy the healthy fats.  Make smoothies.  Change your recipes.  You can tuck in fresh tomatoes, spinach, and antioxidant-rich herbs into a spaghetti sauce, or all types of fresh enzyme- rich goodies into a salad or slaw.   And have fun!  Food should be a delightful experience – it heals us.   It gives us life and energy.  Bring on the best!

 

Future posts will include food lists to help you understand where the foods generally fit.  Stay tuned!

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>