Jenn and I talk every single day and a large portion of our conversations, believe it or not, are health, animal, or food-related. We’re both learning and growing in this lifestyle and we love helping others find their way as well. One issue that we recognize as a huge problem today is the food system that we have in this country. You really don’t know what you’re getting in that box of pre-made powdered pasta roni mixture, your cereal, energy bars, that Lean Cuisine, or a can of soup. Even most of the condiments and jams that you buy today are basically high fructose corn-syrup and faux tomato ketchup or blackberry jelly! Our society is run on corn sugar and chemicals. Next time you go to the grocery store, pick any aisle and look at ingredients on the boxes and jars of foods you normally buy. Chances are, there will be about 10-50 ingredients listed and you won’t understand what any of the words even mean, and yet you’re supposed to eat it. Your body won’t even recognize it as food and neither should you because it isn’t food. It is chemicals disguised as food; chemicals so powerful that you’re addicted and you crave them and you don’t even realize it. This issue is actually very upsetting to us as we see relatives and friends eating these “food-like” things, getting sick all the time not knowing why, when the answer is staring them smack in their face-from their plate yelling “Hi! Eat Me!”
Our point here is that health is simple, not complicated. Just eat real food. By real food we mean food that is as close to its original, whole form as it can be. We know this isn’t always possible 100% of the time for everyone, but we know for a fact it’s possible most of the time. Health is a choice and you vote with every single spoon and fork full of food that you’re putting into your mouth. For or against yourself. It’s that simple.
So, since my sister and I were discussing this topic, we were thinking that it would be helpful to let you know a few food-related items/ingredients that we try our best to avoid (besides animal products of course) and why we avoid them. We truly encourage you to do your own research on each and every one of the listed items below so you can make informed decisions for yourself on what you put into your own body. You’ll thank yourself later!
1. High Fructose Corn Syrup This is a highly processed and refined sugar that comes from corn-so it’s super cheap and is put into everything from cereal to sodas to yogurt to breads-you name it. It is an inflammatory and is directly linked to Diabetes and obesity among many other ailments. It is NOT your friend. Like all refined sugars, it’s highly-addictive and your body will crave more and more. One of the only ways to avoid it is to be aware of it, read all labels, and to cut back on the processed foods. I went to the grocery store and snapped 2 pictures of seemingly harmless items most people have in their cabinets-Heinz Ketchup and Aunt Jemima Syrup. I highlighted what every consumer should be wary of.
2. Aspartame/Saccharin/Other Artificial Sweetners Going by several names such as NutraSweet, Equal, EqualMeasure, and Spoonful, we have been avoiding these little devils for many many years now. I remember when we were kids, our mom would beg her friends and family to avoid these fake sugars because of studies she read on it causing short term memory loss and holes in the brains of lab rats. People thought she was crazy to think it was harmful, but now, the world is waking up-as it usually does-late in the game. At least people are beginning to realize it though. “Some of the ninety-two aspartame side effects listed by the FDA include memory loss, nerve cell damage, migraines, reproductive disorders, mental confusion, brain lesions, blindness, joint pain, Alzheimer’s, bloating, nervous system disorders, hair loss, food cravings, and weight gain…When ingested, one of aspartame’s ingredients, methyl alcohol, converts into formaldehyde, a deadly neurotoxin. (Skinny Bitch pg. 34-35) You can find aspartame in thousands of foods, drinks, diet sodas, almost all gum, and vitamins. Oh and also, in the end, artificial sweeteners actually cause your body to store more fat!
3. White flour/Most breads The only breads we buy for our own homes are by Alvarado St. Bakery (here)and Food For Life (here) including Ezekiel Bread. These breads and tortillas are made of live sprouted whole grains and are much better for you as they are a nutrient-rich food due to the live sprouts. They are more easily digestable for your body and contain a higher protein and fiber content than regular breads. There are 3 components to all grains: the germ, the bran, and the endosperm. During the process of milling these grains for white breads, on the other hand, 2 important parts of a grain are removed-the germ and the bran-which is where the nutrients and fiber are located. White breads only use the endosperm of the grain-which is mostly carbohydrate and has little nutrient density. If we are eating out at a restaurant, we choose multi-grain or wheat breads-but even those make us feel sluggish now that our body has adjusted to a better live option. We aren’t 100% perfect with this-but on a day-to-day basis we are really good about it.
4. Soft drinks We did not grow up obsessed with drinking soft drinks as kids. Sure, they were around and we would have a Coke here and there, but 90% of the time, we followed in our mother’s footsteps, drinking water with lemon and, occasionally, tea. We think that actually played a huge role in our not becoming interested in carbonated drinks, despite our friends drinking them on either sides of us at the lunch tables at school. To this day, we avoid them. Our mom explained to us that sodas were empty calories and weren’t good for us-especially diet sodas-containing artificial sweeteners. Plus we both agree that we always felt bloated after having just a few sips of a soft drink! Not to mention how bad they are for your teeth…so much sugary syrup! Did you know that a typical 12oz Coke has around 10 teaspoons of sugar in it? That is crazy town! So yea-this one is such an easy no-no for us. Here are just a few of the fun things that diet sodas are doing to your body: HERE
5. Fried foods We grew up in New Orleans and this town can do up some fried foods, let me tell ya! We’ve got fried oyster poboys, fried shrimp, fried onion mum, fried fish-you name it and people fry it and love it. While fried foods do taste good, we admit, we avoid it 99.9% of the time. Loaded up with calories and fat, fried foods can contain trans fats-which put you at a higher risk of heart disease. Like a car, your body needs fuel that is clean and will help it run smoothly, not clog it up with greasy crap!
6. Super processed foods First of all, never believe anything you read on the outside of a box. It’s an advertising ploy to get you to buy it and eat it, believing you’re doing yourself a favor. “Low-fat!”, “Gluten-Free!”, “Zero Calories!” “Sugar-Free!” “All Natural!” While some of this may be true-there’s usually some other component in the mixture that off-sets the lack of a bad ingredient with another equal or worse ingredient. For instance, sugar-free soda is even worse than regular soda. See #4 on this list as to why. Anyways, super-processed foods also mean that the ingredients that were alive and good are now dead and have been broken down to components that your body won’t even recognize as food-and therefore your body will utilize so much of its energy trying to break it down inside of you to figure it all out. So we avoid most processed foods with over 5 ingredients and/or with ingredients we don’t understand.
7. MSG aka Monosodium Glutamate Basically, MSG is a cheap flavor enhancer. It also is toxic. Suprise! Big Agro-Biz puts toxins in our food! It causes migraines and affects your neurotransmitters. You’re probably affected by it but don’t realize it because it’s in so many things you probably eat all the time. Here is a list of aliases that MSG goes by on labels: MSG Aliases. Meats and processed foods contain it and guess what?! There are no regulations on how much companies can put into your food. Scary thought, right? Read more about it here.
8. Coffee Yes-we know what you’re thinking: “Are they CrAzY? I couldn’t live without my coffee!” We know the topic of coffee is much debated. People feel extremely passionate about their coffee-we get it. We used to drink coffee too. The issue that we each had was that it would cause our stomachs ache every single time we drank it. We read The Ph Miracle and in it Dr. Robert Young explains how coffee has an extremely acidic PH level-which isn’t good at all for our body-the same way that animal products and sugars have a super acidic PH level. The more food and drink products you consume with acidic PH levels, the more your body pulls calcium reserves from your bones to neutralize the acids-thus leaving you with weaker bones. So, coffee, believe it or not, was a simple thing for us to nix once we learned about that. But this, along with everything else on this list is a personal choice. We will have mocha coffee flavored vegan ice cream from time to time though on a special occasion or a small cup every now and then. But generally, we have been avoiding coffee for about a year now. Hot or Iced Chai tea with soy/almond milk has become our latest fav!
9. Non-Organic Corn and Soy This article from Natural News basically says it all for us: “More than 90 percent of all soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified (GM) for herbicide resistance and are consequently sprayed with massive quantities of those toxic chemicals. Fully 85 percent of all corn grown in the country is also genetically engineered, either for herbicide resistance or to produce pesticides within its tissues. Since farmers sell their corn and soy to large distributors who mix the product together for processing, this essentially means that 100 percent of non-organic corn and soy products on the US market are GM.” So that, in a nutshell, is why we avoid non-organic corn and soy products.
10. Fast Food It isn’t real food and contains all of the above that we avoid. Plain and simple. 🙂
We hope this post helps you all identify the areas in your diet that can be improved upon so you can be on your way to a happier, healthier you!
Are there any ingredients or food items that you tend to avoid in the name of better health?
We’d love to know as we’re constantly learning more and more from you guys!