When people tell me that they “eat well”, my answer is always that I don’t know what that means. They then go on to tell me they eat lots of fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Upon further discussion, what comes out is the poultry and meat are CAFO, the fish is farmed, the grains are mostly rice and corn and everything is conventionally grown and raised with the added impact of herbicides, pesiticides and, in the case of all meats, the prolific use of antibiotics and other medications… ALL OF WHICH end up in the meat and produce we buy day after day, month after month, year after year.
The thing about eating well like this is that, on the surface it looks like a healthy diet but the insidious truth is that conventional (vs organic) food is produced using chemicals designed to increase harvest and maintain freshness with little or no regard for the effects on our species. In case you missed that science class on species, dogs are canines, cats are felines and humans are homo-sapiens. Our species has evolved over 200,000 years into a body that is a finely-tuned machine that was never meant to ingest glyphosate (a known carcinogen found in Roundup weed killer and ubiquitous in American waterways) and other herbicides and certainly not meant to be fed a diet of antibiotics, pesticides and fungicides used routinely on our food supply – what grows in or on the ground as well as what has a heartbeat. These chemicals and additives harm our health. Period. That is why disease rates are skyrocketing. Our machines are breaking down due to improper maintenance and upkeep. So what’s a person to do? Be empowered to take control of your health. Take a look at your pantry and fridge and begin removing (or commit to never buying again) the following:
1. Artificial Sweeteners – These have been shown to increase obesity as well as destroy the gut lining leading to immune deficiencies
2. Soy Protein – Highly processed with hexane (a petroleum derivative), this soy is genetically engineered with glyphosate; soy is also known to impact estrogen. It is better eaten organic and fermented, such as in miso soup and natto.
3. Conventional Meat – Raised in CAFOs, it is very high in Omega 6 fats, high in heart-hurting LDL cholesterol and it promotes chronic inflammation.
4. Fruit Juice – Instead, just take about 16 teaspoons of sugar in 8 ounces of water. It has the same effect on blood glucose! Better to drink filtered water flavored with fresh fruits or essential oils.
5. Farmed Fish – Another CAFO nightmare, they are fed a diet of medications and chemicals to keep them alive in inhumane conditions. Forget Atlantic Salmon and Tilapia. Don’t buy them. Don’t eat them. Instead, buy or order only WILD CAUGHT Salmon, Cod, Trout and Mahi-mahi. Sardines are also a wonderful source of heart-healthy fat.
6. Margarine – Even the best margarine is high in Omega 6, often made from genetically modified canola oil and soy lecithin. Grass-fed butter (like Kerry brand from Ireland) is a better choice, along with avocado and olive oils (the latter for low-heat cooking only.)
7. Microwave Popcorn – Genetically modified corn with a side of laboratory-created inflammatory ingredients, bad fat and way too much sodium. Organic popcorn is the only way to go. Buy your own popper. Click here for some suggestions on Amazon.
8. Vegetable Oils – Corn, soy, canola and ‘vegetable’ oil are Omega 6 nightmares and should be avoided. Instead, substitute, grass-fed butter, avocado, olive or coconut oils. Olive oil is best served out of the bottle or cooked at lower temps. Avocado oil has a 500 degree smoke point. Don’t skimp on these fats! Your brain and skeletal system will thank you.
9. Conventional Milk – A product of CAFOs, this milk, like the meat from cows, is full of genetically modified organisms, an assortment of antibiotics, other medications for digestive and other issues as well as unhealthy Omega 6 fats.
10. Table Salt – Don’t put a dose of sodium in your body. Instead, opt for pink salt (easily and inexpensively available at Marshalls and Home Goods, as well as most supermarkets and specialty grocers.) Pink salt has an array of micronutrients that include sodium and also traces of magnesium, manganese, potassium and calcium for a balance of micro-nutrients. Of course, if sodium causes you to swell, avoid it in all forms!
Be a Savvy Senior! Read ingredients and be discerning about what you put into the machine that is your body. Give it the proper maintenance and upkeep and you will be rewarded with improved health and well-being. Eat whole, clean (organic when possible) foods grown and harvested with as few chemical interventions as possible. Organic 100% grass-fed beef, pastured eggs (that specific term is meaningful.) Great places to find these are Whole Foods, Wal-Mart (yep!), Target, Aldi’s and local farmer’s markets.
Join me on this journey into 21st century aging.