348 South Waverly Rd., Suite 220
Custom Wellness serves the West Michigan and Lakeshore area.
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Author: Connie Kelly
“Real Food.” That phrase alone begs the question: Are there things we are consuming that are not food?
The simple answer? Yes.
So that means we are consuming Fake Foods? Non-foods? We are putting things into our mouths, down our throats, and into our guts, that isn’t even food. And we are expecting our bodies to digest them and know what to do with them and how to handle them. We are unaware that these items are Fake Foods.
How is it, that food manufacturers are given liberty to produce and market non-food items and call them food? How is this safe for the American population?
What is food? What is a non-food? Our bodies were designed to take in naturally occurring plants and animals and water from the earth. The more we alter our food, the more steps we put in place from seed to table, the less the food looks and acts like real food.
Go to your cupboard right now and pull out a box of “food.” Any box or bag will do. Now, find the ingredient list. Force yourself to read these ingredients out loud. Do you recognize all of the ingredients? Can you pronounce all of the ingredients? If you can’t pronounce it, chances are good that it is not a food, but a chemical.
Here are a couple things you need to know about labeling on food packages…
If you see the word “spices”, this word gives the manufacturer license to put anything they want into the product, including chemicals.
If you see the word “all-natural,” it may have ONE naturally occurring ingredient, and it doesn’t have to be a food item to be naturally occurring. Cellulose from tree bark is technically natural occurring. You’ll find this type of cellulose is your shredded cheeses.
If you see the word “enriched”, as in “enriched wheat,” the word enriched is a cover for any number of chemicals. Yes, they may be adding a handful of synthetic vitamins, so that you think it’s healthy. (Not that synthetic vitamins are healthy.) Enriched wheat may contain up to 200 chemicals that they do not have to put on the label. These chemicals are what make your bread soft and light to the touch, and makes it feel a certain way in your mouth. Unless your bread says “un-brominated,” you can be sure that in America, it is bleached through a bromination process. Did you know that many countries in Europe have banned bromination as a means of bleaching bread because they know how harmful it is?
Our health decline in this country owes its beginnings to the processing of our food, the adding of chemicals, the altering of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to the point that our bodies are not recognizing it, and floundering as a result.
Let’s talk GMO’s. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. The genetic material of one organism is inserted into another to produce a desired effect. We are also finding that our own genes are being altered in the process. We are actually turning on genes in our own bodies that would not normally be turned on. Also, the chemical Bt-Toxin is inserted into corn or soy, so that the insect eating the plant experiences its gut to burst open and it therefore dies. The Bt-Toxin is causing similar holes in the human gastrointestinal tract. The result of genetically modified foods is causing inflammation in the gut and widespread throughout the body resulting in leaky gut, allergies, autoimmunity, diabetes, thyroid problems, and infertility. I am theorizing that most chronic diseases in this country are stemming from gut inflammation and an imbalance of the microbiome in the gut.
Much of our immune system is also found in the gut, and these genetically modified foods along with over-consumption of sugar (cookies, cakes, ice cream, breads, pastas), are destroying the balance of the microbiome in our gut. This imbalance affects how we absorb the nutrients from our food, in turn affecting every organ and system in our body.
How do we find real food, then? What is real food? Anything raised humanely or grown organically is going to be better than anything in a box. (And try not to microwave your food. It alters the proteins.) Also, try to look for NON-GMO Project Verified. You can’t ensure that all organic food is non-GMO, but it’s going to be better than conventionally grown.
Then there’s the question of whether to buy organic or whether to buy local. Local is always best because the food is not picked prematurely. It is allowed to ripen, and will therefore contain more vitamins and minerals. If you can find a farmer that is using their own seeds year after year, and not spraying their crops, and they are adding back to the soil what they are taking away (i.e. using cover crops), this is going to be the best option for you. Go to the farmer’s market. There are often one or two local organic farms. Look for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and if you have the means, buy a share for the season. Look for farms that allow their cows to pasture from spring to fall and feed them hay all winter long. These are happy healthy cows, eating grass like they were meant to.
When you are thinking about putting together a meal for yourself and your family, think about incorporating fat, vegetables, fruit, and protein. We need to define these terms, so we are all on the same page.
When I refer to fat, I am talking about healthy fat. You need fat for the brain, for the heart, to make hormones, and to absorb certain vitamins and minerals. Healthy fat includes olive oil (not cooked or used in sautéing), coconut oil (in glass container), avocado, pastured butter.
Vegetables and fruit should include the entire rainbow of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and white. Eat many more vegetables than fruit. And eat fruit away from other foods, either entirely on an empty stomach, or 20-30 minutes before a meal. Fruit is best first thing in the morning to help the liver detox. Your rainbow of colors could look like this:
Red = red bell pepper, beets, apple, tomato (tomato is a fruit by the way), strawberries, raspberries
Orange = squash, sweet potatoes, oranges
Yellow = summer squash, banana, pineapple, lemon
Green = all green leaf-ies like chard and spring lettuces, broccoli, green beans, zucchini
Blue = blueberries
Purple = eggplant, blackberries
White = cauliflower, jicama
Protein could be animal based or plant based depending on what your body does well with. Every body is different, and therefore has different needs. There is no one-size-fits-all for diet. Animal based protein could be chicken, fish, or beef. Plant based could be nuts, seeds, and beans/legumes. If you are going all-out vegetarian, make sure your protein sources are complete. For example, you may need black beans and brown rice together for a complete protein. Do your homework if you are vegetarian or vegan. Make sure your blood type fits the role, and make sure you are supplementing where you may be lacking…for example with B-vitamins and K2. Vegetarian doesn’t mean that you only eat bread, pasta, quinoa, rice, and cereals while forgetting the vegetables. Eat mostly vegetables, make sure your protein is adequate, and remember to include your fats.
Raw food has all the enzymes still intact. Lightly steamed or cooked veggies lose 50% of their vitamins. I try to eat as much raw as possible; preferably at least ½ my diet is raw veg.
If you are using fast food as a crutch when you are crunched for time, then you should watch the documentary called “Supersize Me.” That will open your eyes to what fast food does to the liver.
Every person in the world knows that...
You are what you eat.
So eat real, healthy food. If you build a house and want it to last more than 50 years, you need to use quality materials. It’s the same with the body. If you want it to function vibrantly, you need to put in the right fuel. We take better care of our cars than we do our bodies, and our cars are replaceable.
If you need a helping hand with where to begin, I would love to sit down with you and talk about your diet. Let’s figure it out together!
I’ll leave you with some amazing documentaries on this subject, if you want to learn more:
348 South Waverly Rd., Suite 220