Healthy eating is no mystery, it’s all about eating real, fresh, unprocessed, food. In our modern world of convenience, far removed from farm fresh, home cooked heart meals, many unhealthy foods are accepted as the norm, despite evidence of their detrimental health effects. If you want to overcome digestive issues, increase nutrient density, reduce inflammation improve energy and fuel your body to live your best life, try removing or reducing these key health hurters from your kitchen.
1. Vegetable Oils
If you have vegetable oils like corn, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, canola, rice bran, soy, grapeseed, or any oil that has been industrially processed - throw it out NOW! It’s the processing steps that damage these oils, rendering them chemically unstable and prone to oxidisation and decay. The danger of eating something that is prone to oxidation, is that it then compromises our bodies own fatty acids, gobbles up anti-oxidants, and create a cascade of free radical damage, inflammation, and metabolic chaos. When you eat toxic vegetable oil, it becomes you meaning every tissue in your body is exposed to accelerated oxidation and aging. Your health issues or weight gain won’t disappear while you are eating vegetable oils. Better options are olive oil (ensure it's 100% pure and not cut with a vegetable oil!), better, coconut oil, ghee or lard. Read more here in our blog 'Vegetable Oils, Liquid Death.'
In cased you missed the memo: saturated fat isn't bad for you! If you still have margarine in your house, piff it in the bin now and swap to the healthier, natural alternative - BUTTER! The whole low fat, healthy heart hypothesis was based on faulty science and it is now known that eating good amounts of healthy fats is important for your health, and yes for your heart! The only people who need to be concerned about eating too much fat are those with familial hypercholesterolemia which is a genetic disorder. Read more here about how the low fat diet myth came about, and why eating healthy fats will increase vitality, and reduce your waistline!
3. Plastic Storage & Cling Wrap
Cooking in plastics, drinking from plastics, or storing foods in plastic ware, is a sure fire way to disrupt your hormone levels, increase weight gain, and load your body with xenoestrogen hormones disrupting chemicals. These man made chemicals leak into your foods and beverages, disrupt detoxification, interfere with hormone balance, increase inflammation, and create a cascade of problems throughout the body. Glass storage is the best, and if you must use plastic ensure it is BPA Free. Avoid cling wrap with recyclable food storage, (kmart has great glass storage), or switching to a reusable food wrapping solution like this. By avoiding cling wrap you will be improving your health, the environment and your food quality.
4. Breakfast Cereals
These highly processed and refined foods are so low in nutrients (that's why they have to add fortified nutrients to them), and high in carbohydrates, that you are often better off eating the box. The worst way to start your day off is with a high carbohydrate, inflammatory, breakfast cereal that will leave you hungry and hour later, and set you up for blood sugar spikes and crashes all day long. Traditional Breakfast cereals are highly processed, full of preservatives, thickeners and health damaging ingredients. Additionally most cereals are from gluten based grains, and coupled with dairy milk, two of the least well tolerated foods on earth for the majority of the population. Start your day right by swapping out breakfast cereals for a healthy porridge, berry, coconut and nut mix, or even better avocado on gluten free toast, with bacon and eggs!
5. Unfiltered Tap Water
Isn't tap water good for you because it's laced with fluoride which is good for your teeth? Not a chance! Tap water is full of chemicals like fluoride, chlorine, pharmaceudical drugs, heavy metals, environmental contaminants, pollutants and more. While it may be deemed 'safe for consumption', the interactions of these chemicals even at low doses is not safe. Fluoride is a known thyroid disruptor and endocrine, and heavy metals are bad news! Just google the dangers of tap water if you don't believe us! Even if all you can afford is a cheaper countertop filter, get one to pull whatever chemicals out of your water. More expensive options are under the sink filters which are a great idea if you intend to stay in your house long term, and reverse ozmosis filters are the best solution if you remineralise the water. An alternative that we use is fresh spring water, that costs nothing except a long drive to the top of Mt Donna Buang in Warburton.
6. Microwaves and BBQs
While they may been convenient ways to cook, microwaves nuke the nutrients in our food, denaturing proteins and reducing nutrient density. Microwaves also create extremely high levels of electromagnetic fields (EMF) in your kitchen which are correlated with a number of diseases and inflammatory states. The traditional Aussie BBQ is another kitchen staple that can have devastating effects on health. If the meat is burnt, blackened or charred from BBQ cooking, the fats in the meat become oxidised and damaged, the proteins in the meat are denatured, and the fats become oxidised, negatively impacting digestion, hormone health, blood sugar levels, and increasing inflammation. Worst of char grilled meat produces carcinogenic substances, and high levels of neurotransmitter glutamate, which is correlated with migraines, diabetes, depression, increased pain, neurological disorders. If you have to use a BBQ, avoid blackening meat, and especially avoid cooking with vegetable oils. Best cooking methods are steaming, baking, simmering, boiling, poaching, slow cooking or lightly grilled.
7. Artificial Sweeteners & Sugar Substitutes
If a processed food says sugar free alarm bells should ring in your head to check for artificial sweeteners, and avoid them like the plague. Sugar sweeteners come in 4 categories, artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners, sugar alcohols and dietary supplements. Some of these are better than others, the worst ones to avoid are aspartame (nutrasweet), sucralose (splenda), high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, acesulfame potassium (often found in 'diet' soda.) Artificial sweeteners can cause insulin resistance and weight gain, often more than sugar itself. Be wary of natural sweeteners like honey or agave syrup which are high in fructose. Fructose is detrimental to the body in high amounts, leaving a trail of unwanted side affects like weight gain, insulin resistance, and increasing your risk of non alcoholic fatty liver disease, and heart disease. Best options for sweeteners are xylitol or stevia.
8. Refined Flour products: cookies, candy, flour, gluten free treats,
These products contain cheap, oxidised, vegetable oils, inflammatory grains, preservatives, thickeners and additives. There is nothing natural, or nutritious about these products, and they are a recipe for weight gain, blood sugar problems, inflammation, hormone disruption, heart disease, neurological issues and so much more. Inflammation is at the root of all disease, and you can't find anything more inf;inflammatory than processed carbohydrate based junk foods. Don't get tricked into buying products for the 'health food' isle at the supermarket, most of it is just as full of junk ingredients. If in doubt for good snacks and treats, you can't go past good quality dark chocolate! Check out our healthy snacks page for ideas on packaged snacks that won't break your body.
9. Soy Milk & Soy Products
Soy is not the health food you might believe it to be. It’s estimated that we are consuming 1,000 times more soy oil (a known neurotoxin and hormone disrupter) than we were in the 1900s. Soy is mostly genetically modified, and it's a cheap crop so it's in most of the foods you are eating, if you are eating a highly processed standard Australian diet. Soy mimics estrogen in the body, inhibits thyroid function, increases risks of cancer, and is full of unstable polyunsatured fats which are vulnerable to oxidation when processed. Read more on 'Why Soy Is a Con Job.'
10. Table Salt
Standard table salt has been processed to remove natural minerals, and has added chemicals, moisture absorbents, and iodine. Throw out your standard, cheap white table salt and switch it up for celtic sea salt, or pink Himalayan salt for an added both of minerals and electrolytes into your day. Many clients with high stress, high training load, low blood pressure, or chronic illness benefit from increasing intake of good quality salt. Reducing salt for health purposes is another great health misnomer, and if you have been told to reduce sodium intake, have a read here on 'Shaking Up The Salt Myth.'
Thanks for reading and we hope you can switch up some of the kitchen kryptonite, for more health building options. Please reach out if you have questions, and check out our Easy 6 Week Nutrition Upgrade for a basic crash course in optimising your nutrition intake.