You are what you eat. Growing up I thought this old adage was strange. In my imagination I saw adults walking around as hamburgers and tubs of French Fries.
Now that I am older and have watched the world around me I have to agree…that yes, what we eat is the foundation of our health.
Wikipedia defines food as: “Any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals.” (Emphasis mine)
A lot of what is offered currently at the grocery store is not wholesome and nutritious but a replica filled with artificial colors, preservatives, flavors and “enhancers” that have a myriad of negative health consequences. The products have been so altered from their original state that I question whether they should even be marketed as food.
What you can do
Educate yourself. There are many great documentaries available for those who want to learn more about the truth of America’s food industry.
Label reading is vital. You want to eat ingredients that can be easily pronounced. Also, look for organic, whole grain, natural (that can be tricky as companies sneak “natural” on unhealthy choices!)
Organic is the best choice if available and fits in your budget, and not just for produce. Think dairy, cereal, bread and more. Pesticides have been found in urine tests and can cause everything from neurological damage to Alzheimer’s and depression. But, I would rather you eat a non-organic salad than no salad at all.
Look for the non-GMO logo which stands for Genetically Modified Organism. This truly is important as there have not been long term studies on the safety of GMOs. Every Health Care Provider in natural medicine I have talked to agrees. Corn and soy were some of the first items to be modified by man and more are hitting the market as you read this.
Visit Sprouts, Whole Foods or Natural Grocers and look at what is offered. Then when you visit our local grocery stores the healthier brands will stand out.
As a rule of thumb we look for food in its most natural unadulterated form. Real butter vs. Margarine? Butter takes the win as well as coconut and olive oil. They are your friends. Our bodies absolutely need healthy fats.
When purchasing produce fresh is always best whether you visit a farmer’s market or a farm. There are also CSA’s available in Oklahoma (Community Supported Agriculture) where you can support local farmers and get fresh victuals at least once a month. Some local farms even deliver. The grocery store’s produce sometimes isn’t the freshest but it is convenient and more organic choices are popping up. Frozen is next in line and canned is last due to it being processed and the aluminum can it’s stored in.
Meat selections are important…look for grass fed beef, chicken and other meats labeled “no hormones.” It is important to shop for meat that has been raised and slaughtered humanely. I have already mentioned nitrates in processed meats in a previous article.
It is recommended to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. This ensures you are purchasing items that need refrigeration (that is good!) and skipping the processed, made to look like food. Sorry, Velveeta cheese.
Soda Pop is one of the worst things we can consume. This acidic drink contributes to weight gain, tooth decay, heart disease, diabetes and more. Diet soda is NOT a healthy choice.
When looking for a recipe online a tip that helps me is to search for real food recipes such as “real food hash brown casserole”. This will omit most processed ingredients and ensure your family is receiving a nourishing meal.
Will this way of shopping and eating be more expensive? Yes! But, look at it as an investment…an investment in your health and the health of future generations. It very well could save time, money and prevent disease in the future. After all, our kids and grandkids are watching us.