“When is food not “real” food at all? For most people the bulk of the food they eat is filled with chemicals, preservatives, and additives, which have no nutritional value, and to put it simply, are not foods at all..”
Marilu Henner, The Total Health Makeover
Take the first step towards good health in 2013 !! Be aware of what you’re eating. Read labels, avoid chemicals and choose whole foods as often as possible !
If you’re participating in the new class in the member’s area you already know that the focus of the class is “The Whole Package” Jan and Kyra are looking at the entire Total Health makeover Plan in light of a vegan lifestyle. We’re sharing an excerpt of Day 1 here. In this section they are talking about the effects of chemicals.
This is just a small part of yesterday’s post which included information and how-to videos on the whole food of the day, also a vegan challenge a new recipe forum, and lively discussion.
It’s not too late to join in and become a part of this class. http://www.marilu.com/becomemember.php
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The first step in Marilu Henner’s Total Health Makeover (the green book) is “Eliminate Dangerous Chemicals, Additives, and Preservatives.” This is SO vegan! When Marilu wrote the Green Book, the average consumer was eating 140-150 pounds of food additives a year – ugh. We hate to imagine what it is now. You’ve heard “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it” and this is really true. Become a label reader, or better yet, buy food that you can see all the ingredients without a label, like kale, apples, carrots, you get the idea. Organic is best – not a guarantee, but certainly closer to chemical-free than produce that was grown with chemical fertilizers and sprayed with major pest control chemicals. Learn what some of the things on labels actually mean. If you have a smart phone, try looking up a few things while you are in the grocery store. You might lose your appetite — remember the red dye used at high profile fast food joints that is made with South American beetles? Avoid BHA, BHT, MSG, Nitrates, Nitrites, any artificial flavor or color, rBGH (aka Bovine Growth Hormone – do you really want to eat that?) and artificial sweeteners. (Read Chapter 4 in the green book for details.) Our best advice is stay away from all meat, processed foods, white stuff like rice, flour, sugar (because it has been bleached!), household chemicals, cleaning products, unnatural surfaces (vinyl, laminates, carpet), and always drink filtered water! Resign from the “Chemistry Set” and join the “Clean Team!”
“The average consumer eats about 140-150 pounds of food additives in a year. ”
Marilu Henner, Total Health Makeover
Learn to read labels. Certainly there are chemicals, additives and preservatives in many of the foods you eat. They improve the appearance and lengthen the shelf life of many products, but they add nothing to the nutritional value. A great many of them can be detrimental to your health.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid any product with an ingredient whose name you can’t pronounce or an ingredient list that says “continued on the next package.” If it’s not recognizable as food, chances are it’s just merchandise.
Leave it on the shelf and head to the produce aisle.
Sodium has it’s place in ensuring proper nerve and muscle function but many Americans are consuming far too much salt, increasing their risk for osteoporosis, kidney stones, gastric ulcers and high blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic Food and Nutrition Center.
The salt shaker is NOT the culprit here. 80% of salt consumed comes from packaged foods and restaurant meals.
Reading labels and cooking whole foods at home are two of the most effective ways to take control of how much salt you’re getting in your daily diet. Don’t be passive about your health.
Unless your breakfast cereal is loaded with marshmallows and neon colored cartoon characters the words “healthy”, or “natural” are probably featured prominently on the packaging. Know what these terms mean….and what they don’t.
Healthy is a relative term and if challenged a manufacturer can argue that the ingredients are comparatively healthy.
Many people believe that “natural” means “clean” but a cereal that’s labeled natural can contain genetically modified ingredients (GMO’s) and pesticides. This is especially common in products made with corn and soy.
Some products that were previously labeled “organic”, or “made with organic ingredients” (meaning at least 70% of the ingredients are organic) have changed their formulas. If you’ve been buying a product for some time you may want to revisit the label. Brand recognition is great but don’t assume that it remains organic, dairy free or gluten free. Whatever your priorities are in choosing a product it’s wise to check the ingredients periodically to see if it still conforms to your standards.
Labeling something “natural” or “low fat” does not mean that it’s healthy (truly healthy, not comparatively healthy) , that it’s processed without pesticides or fumigants, or that it doesn’t contain dairy, sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
There are some great products on the market and you don’t need to feel guilty about reaching for an easy breakfast or snack from time to time…provided you do your homework beforehand and find out what’s going in that package.
Reading labels is a practice you can never give up. Even when you’ve found a product you love (love!), the manufacturer can change the ingredients at any time, and the only notice they have to give is that ingredient label.
One of the ingredients you may see on a label – particularly for any food marketed as “high fiber” (and especially when you know it’s not made almost completely from whole grain and vegetables) – is cellulose, which also comes to us as cellulose gum, powdered cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, etc.
Cellulose is virgin wood pulp that has been processed and manufactured to different lengths for functionality, though use of it and its variant forms is deemed safe for human consumption, according to the FDA, which regulates most food industry products. The government agency sets no limit on the amount of cellulose that can be used in food products meant for human consumption.
~ Food Freedom
Cellulose also extends the shelf life of foods. Think about it: wood pulp doesn’t rot as fast as food. (Not very appetizing, though.)
It’s also less expensive than actual food products as a binder or filler, which is no doubt the real reason food manufacturers use it. That still doesn’t make it good for humans to eat.
Check here for a list of foods that contain a lot of cellulose. And keep reading labels. You never know when they’re going to change.
Perhaps the most disgraceful aspect of our agricultural system — I say this as an Oregon farmboy who once raised sheep, cattle and hogs — is the way antibiotics are recklessly stuffed into healthy animals to make them grow faster.
The Food and Drug Administration reported recently that 80 percent of antibiotics in the United States go to livestock, not humans. And 90 percent of the livestock antibiotics are administered in their food or water, typically to healthy animals to keep them from getting sick when they are confined in squalid and crowded conditions.
The single state of North Carolina uses more antibiotics for livestock than the entire United States uses for humans.
This cavalier use of low-level antibiotics creates a perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant pathogens. The upshot is that ailments can become pretty much untreatable.
~ Nicholas D. Kristof, When Food Kills, June 11, 2011
Read more – it’s not long.
If you buy conventional (non-organic) produce, thoroughly wash it under cold running water, then scrub potatoes, peel carrots, stem strawberries, and so on. Washing reduces the amount of pesticide residue on produce by half, according to one study, and where residue remained, levels declined significantly after washing.
You don’t need a special product to wash your produce. Running water is good. If you’re concerned about not getting into the leaves, fill a sink with cold water, add a splash of distilled vinegar, and soak the produce for 5 minutes. Then rinse and spin greens dry, or pat dry with towels.
Peel any produce with a waxy finish that you can’t otherwise remove. Things like parsnips and (regular) cucumbers are almost always coated with wax.
The following lists are provided from the USDA and Environmental Working Group.
HIGHEST PESTICIDE RESIDUE * Apples, Bell & hot peppers, Carrots, Celery, Cherries, Grapes (imported), Green Beans, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Potatoes, Red Raspberries, Spinach, Strawberries
MODERATE PESTICIDE RESIDUE * Apricots, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Collard Greens, Cucumbers, Grapes (domestic), Honeydew Melons, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Oranges, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnip Greens, Winter Squash
LEAST PESTICIDE RESIDUE * Apple Juice, Asparagus, Avocados, Bananas, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kiwi, Mangoes, Onions, Orange Juice, Papayas, Pineapple, Plums, Sweet Corn, Sweet Peas, Tangerines, Watermelon