Outstanding readers, it’s time for another edition of Dr. C’s food rules for eating healthfully! We asked Dr. Cannizzaro to compile a list of his top tips. Occasionally, we bring out the list of tips and prepare a handful of them for you with a short explanation. We hope you enjoy his nuggets of wisdom as much as we do!
Eating Healthfully – Rule #1: Regard nontraditional foods with skepticism.
There’s a saying that goes, “If your grandmother didn’t eat it, it’s not food!” If you’re in your 20s, we’re talking about your great-grandmother. The best foods for your health were routinely eaten before we began manufacturing foods in factories. Slick marketing and consumer ignorance allowed cheaper, nontraditional products to enter the Standard American Diet (SAD).
For example, margarine is typically made from industrial seed oils that are processed with petroleum-based solvents, are high in trans fats and oxidize easily. Oxidation-caused toxins create free radicals in your body, which cause inflammation, which leads to heart disease! Therefore, we can see right through the claims that margarine is healthier for your heart.
Similarly, plant-based meat substitutes contain many chemicals and preliminary research has shown that they are missing key nutrients. If you’d like to eat less meat, just eat less meat. Skip the chemicals!
Eating Healthfully – Rule #2: Eat animals that have eaten well.
Another old saying, “You are what you eat!” applies here. Animals raised traditionally are “slow-grown” which yields meats that are more expensive, but healthier. Many farms that raise their animals with traditional methods are a family affair, going back generations. Typically, no antibiotics are administered to the animals, and they are fed a healthy diet along with whatever they may eat in nature. For example, chickens eat bugs, seeds and plants in their natural environment. Traditionally raised “free range” chickens are free to forage outside.
Meat from animals that have been raised by traditional means as opposed to crowded CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) has been proven to contain more nutrition. Grass-fed beef has been found to contain more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which acts as an antioxidant. Research has shown that CLA may protect against heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Grass-fed beef also contains more omega-3 healthy fats (two to five times more!) with a healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.
Grass-fed beef contains more antioxidants in general, including vitamin E, glutathione, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase. The mineral content (zinc, iron, phosphorus, sodium and potassium) of grass-fed beef is more abundant. The nutritional advantages of meat from grass-fed animals extends to other red meats including lamb and bison as well.
Eating Healthfully – Rule #3: Eat well-grown food from healthy soil.
Just as with nontraditional foods and meats, industrialization and the mismanagement of farmland has led to nutrient-deficient fruits and vegetables. On a conventional farm, traditional practices such as crop rotation and integration of grazing animals with agriculture are no longer followed. The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides further degrades the health of the soil. Conventional agriculture practices contribute to environmental damage like erosion, the destruction of honeybee and butterfly populations and pollution of the soil and nearby water sources.
Corn, soy and wheat are the main crops grown on U.S. farms, and they are also prime ingredients in unhealthy processed foods (like boxed cereals and cookies) along with industrial seed oils mentioned above. So, you can eat healthier by avoiding processed foods and sticking with whole foods raised responsibly!
For example, sustainable farming methods used by organic farmers yield more nutritious fruits and vegetables and do significantly less damage to the environment. In fact, a farm with integrated agriculture and grazing animals can be net carbon positive, which means it will not contribute to climate change. Choosing foods raised by sustainable farms at the grocery store or your local farmer’s market or co-op is voting with your wallet.
You can also grow your own fresh vegetables with a Tower Garden by Juice Plus+! Using hydroponics and aeroponics—the same technology NASA uses—Tower Garden grows plants with only water and nutrients rather than dirt. Research has found aeroponic systems grow plants three times faster and produce 30% greater yields on average. That means you’ll be enjoying abundant, nutritious harvests just weeks after planting (or even earlier if you start with seedlings).
Healthy Eating Habits Support Your Body’s Innate Healing Processes
As we pointed out above, “modernization” has contributed to our poor health. Each step away from nature stresses our bodies. If you study just one system of the body in action, like the immune system, or simply observing how a cut heals, you’ll quickly appreciate the complexity and perfection of your body. Most of your body’s efforts towards balance and wellness take place unconsciously! So, when you can make conscious choices to help your body along, it all adds up, especially the decision to follow a healthy eating plan!
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