As hard as we may try to purchase quality foods, it may become confusing. Do we buy organic that has traveled thousands of miles or do we buy non-organic local? In a perfect world we would have access to local, organic foods but that is not always the case. One thing to consider is the list on ewg.com that lists the foods with the most/least pesticide exposure. You can also go to your local farmers' market and speak with the vendors about your concerns. While organic food is safer, it can lose a great deal of its nutrient value if it has traveled from afar. On the other hand, a food may be locally grown responsibly but cannot be technically considered organic due to USDA regulations. DO THE BEST YOU CAN!!!
Grocery shopping is hard enough to squeeze in without having to decipher the ingredients in the label. This should not only be an issue for those with food sensitivities but also for those who are committed to putting healthy nutrients into their bodies. For those dealing with celiac disease, alpha-gal, or diabetes, ingredients such as barley malt, pregelatinized starch, gelatin, and maltodextrin can be dangerous. These hard-to-pronounce ingredients are not only unfamiliar but inherent in highly processed foods which have been stripped of their nutrient value. Whole foods, prepared properly, will be a much healthier choice. And, you will know exactly what you've eaten!
Our bodies love water but not necessarily tap water! The Environmental Working Group has reported that there can be up to 300 chemicals and pollutants in our drinking water, including some well water. So, where do you start when considering a water filter? First, go to your water companies website and access their report for the level of contaminants in your drinking water. Once you are aware of what you are trying to filter out it can be easier.Taking your budget and volume of use into consideration, research distillation, reverse osmosis, pitchers with filters, or solid block carbon filters. All of these improve the water quality but here some cons:
Last month we talked about the effect microwave cooking can have on our health. This month I would like to address how it may or may not effect the quality of our food. Again, this is another subject that is controversial. Some claim that the loss of nutrients will occur if food is heated, microwave or otherwise. However, The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture in 2003 reported that broccoli "zapped" in the microwave with a little water lost up to 97 percent of its beneficial antioxidants. By comparison, steamed broccoli lost 11 percent or fewer of its antioxidants. Mineral levels remained intact. As for raw meat cooked in the microwave, this can expose us to risks of bacteria including salmonella, listeria, and E. coli. Microwaves heat unevenly and instructions on packages do not account for microwaves with different voltage, leaving portions of raw meat under cooked and containing dangerous bacteria. Given the potential danger of microwave cooking, I think we would be best served to give up "5 o'clock survival cooking." Why not treat our meals with the respect they deserve? We are great at creating seasonal traditions but not so good at daily traditions. Taking time to plan, create, and eat our meals is an invaluable tradition!
As with all things food related, the studies are confusing. Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic field (EMF) and are emitted when the oven is in use. The level of EMFs allowed to escape the unit is regulated by the FDA and considered to be a safe amount. However, some opponents of microwaves believe this level is significant enough to damage our health, especially to pregnant women, children, and those with compromised immune systems. All of that being said, we all have busy lives and sometimes microwaving is just a necessity. So how do we protect ourselves from the EMFs? Plan ahead and don't use them to defrost, don't stand in front of them when cooking, and use glass instead of plastics or paper containers that leach toxins, Stay tuned for more about microwave cooking and the effects is has on your food!
Both! So we have to consider why and when we drink it, what we add to it, and medical conditions. Coffee has been shown to have lots of benefits including reduced risk of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, cirrhosis of the liver, and colorectal cancer. But as with many things, there is a flip side. If you are drinking coffee to keep you going instead of getting the rest you need, you may end up burning out your adrenal glands. If you have a heart condition, anxiety, or are pregnant, coffee may not be good for you. If decaf is an option with these conditions, be sure it is naturally decaffeinated and the methylene chloride method is not used. Either way...don't mess up the benefits by loading it down with cream and sugar.
Calories in, calories out. We've all heard it. But the truth of the matter is, this isn't the way to manage our health. Focusing on the quality of our food has a much more positive impact. Our bodies use calories for different things such as metabolism, tissue repair, brain health, or to store as fat. Healthy foods balance our hormones which has a trickle-down effect and allows our body to self-regulate. So, pay more attention to the quality rather than quantity when choosing what you eat!
As with so many of our endeavors we don't realize how many pieces there are. Before we know it we're neglecting something that brings joy to us. So was the case with my blog. I enjoyed communicating little nuggets that could help people move forward in their journey to improve their health.
This also applies to your healthy lifestyle changes. We learn them, implement them, and then things come up that push them aside. So, like my blog, when we realize we've neglected something that gives us joy and positively impacts our lives, we simply start again.
I look forward to talking to y'all by resuming my blog the beginning of September! Until then, do the next right thing!!!
MARCH 2017 – Are eggs as bad for our cholesterol as we are led to believe? Not in 70% of us and the other 30% (folks with genetic disorders) it only raises it slightly.
Eggs have many benefits and contain most of the nutrients our bodies require. They actually turn LDL cholesterol from small, dense LDL to large, dense LDL which is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. Antioxidants that lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts can also be found in eggs. They also rate high on the satiety index, keeping you feeling full for longer with less calories. Pastured eggs, which are becoming easier to find from your local farms, generally have a higher nutrient value and are fresher than what we can purchase in the store.
Eggs are a fast and inexpensive way to have a healthy meal so don’t limit them to breakfast. Tired when you come home from work…make an omelet filled with some leftover meat or vegetables. Having hard-boiled eggs on hand gives you something to make a sandwich or salad with and they are also portable.
Let’s debunk the myth, once and for all, that eggs aren’t healthy. Put them back on your menu for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and enjoy the healthy benefits!
FEBRUARY 2017 – What is the easiest way to fall short of your goals? Absence of planning. Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
And I believe this is true. Without a plan, we spin our wheels and end up doing things that are not the best choices health-wise, money-wise, or time-wise. It is hard for us to be proactive while life is so busy. If we would only realize that we are not spending more time, just more time in the planning stage.
Sit down with a cup of tea and make a meal plan for the week. Then create a grocery list (OurGroceries is a free app that is simple to use on any smartphone). If you use a smartphone app your list is always with you. Choose a day when you will be home for several hours and get food prepared that will carry you for the next several days. Make extra that can be frozen so you can have instant meals.
See my point? More time is spent planning but less time preparing meals each day.
Join me next month for more ways to simplify your life and make healthier choices. Until then…be well.
Janice Silk is a Nutrition Consultant that believes small changes can bring about big results.