So. Much. Food. And Nothing To Eat.
It’s hard to find good food nowadays. This is a strange thought to have, when we are surrounded by plentiful food all the time. Good food, though- that’s a stickier problem.
We live in a processed food hell largely driven by slick marketing schemes and loaded with horrid chemicals. How on earth do you pick and chose? Can you fight or balance out the preservative carcinogens in your diet by eating fresh, organic foods?
And worst of all, how do you feed your family responsibly- especially if you’re on a budget, or have dietary restrictions?
You can go hungry trying to make a decision, especially if all your options seem less than perfect. I don’t know anyone with a personal chief, dietician, and shopper to wrestle with their details.
With a little attention, though, you can make your own diet a lot better. You’ll feel better physically and mentally for the changes- and the commitment will continue to be its own reward.
There are no guarantees in this life. But given a little time you can help stack the deck in your favor if you make a few reasonable changes.
Toxic relationships can be damaging on so many levels. This is our top 10 lists of foods you should break up with right now- for your sake and the sake of your family’s health.
1. Soda, Diet or Conventionally Sweetened
Dear God, what is it about us Americans and our sugar obsession? It’s already terrible enough that each one of us consumes about 150 lbs of sugar every year. The forms we choose it in are just about the worst imaginable.
Excessive refined sugar- like that found in many sodas- has been linked to obesity, type II diabetes, liver problems, and inflammation issues just to name a few.
A typical can of cola contains about 8 teaspoons of refined white sugar, and still doesn’t do anything to relieve either your sense of hunger or thirst.
Think that the diet options are better for you? Not so much. Depending on the choice you make, your zero calorie option can carry the weight of excess liver strain, decreased fertility, or affect your thyroid function.
Artificial stabilizers, flavors, and colors may enhance the presentation and taste of processed foods. They also come with a hefty price tag as far as your health is concerned.
2. Microwave Popcorn
This looks like a no-brainer, healthy, and fiber-rich snack. The reality is rather less rosy. The problem here has two sources: the popcorn, and the bag.
Firstly, that rich artificial butter flavor is loaded with trans fats (heart disease) and diacetyl (respiratory issues- did you know that ‘Popcorn Lung’ is actually a legitimate disease?).
Secondly, that paper bag had to be chemically treated to be both fire retardant and resist oil leakage. Paper of this sort is treated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been implicated as a carcinogen by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
3. Stick Margarine
Again, margarine shows up on a list of ‘bad’ things. Part of this, I think, was it’s temporary popularity as a healthier alternative to butter. Recent studies have debunked this.
While butter isn’t a super health food by any means, margarine is loaded with those trans fats (also known as hydrogenated oils) that have contributed to our national upswing in heart disease.
4. Canned Pasta Meals
Fast, easy, and marketed in attractive cans meant to be eye catching and hunger provoking. Sounds perfect, right? But canned pasta is one of the worst offenders for containing glutamic acid- the problem component of MSG.
This has been documented to cause migraines, nausea, altered heart rate, and difficulty breathing. Top this off with a day’s worth of sodium and you have a pretty toxic cocktail in a can.
5. Canned Soups and Instant Ramen
Soup might be the ultimate comfort food. It’s cheap and there’s a variety out there for you no matter what your tastes run to, or how limited your budget. And again, the flavor enhancer MSG shows up with a high dose of salt.
Headaches and hypertension risk all in one convenient package! Instant ramen noodles are just as bad if not worse. The combination of empty calories, sodium, and fat contribute to metabolic syndrome.
If they come in a convenient styrofoam cup, these noodle meals will also contain bisphenol-A (BPA). This chemical not only disrupts proper hormone production, it may also be a carcinogen.
6. Sugary Breakfast Cereals
We’re established that too much sugar is not a good thing. This is especially true first thing in the morning- making sugary breakfast cereals a prime target for elimination.
The combination of sugar and refined carbs is particularly unhealthy first thing in the morning, when your body most needs a healthy start.
Cereals like this cause blood sugar levels to spike and crash abruptly, making you feel listless and exhausted partway through the morning.
The preservatives added- BHT and BHA- are also bad news. Both have been banned in multiple countries spanning the globe because they are thought to be carcinogenic.
Nitrates. Salt. Trans fat.
None of these are good.
Animal protein- lean, preferably organic- animal protein is fine. Just avoid the processed versions as much as possible.
8. Energy Drinks
You’d be better off just trying to figure out how to get a better night’s sleep than indulging in these. These chemically-fortified drinks are heaped with both sucrose and glucose, with an unhealthily high dose of caffeine thrown into the mix.
9. Food Dyes: Yellow #5, Yellow #6
These dyes are found in a shockingly large number of products, from candy to boullion cubes. No matter where you find them, they’re a huge problem.
Both these dyes have been repeatedly proven to cause and exacerbate ADHD in children. Both are illegal in Norway and Sweden for just that reason.
10. Yeast Breads
Yeast breads are an epicenter of bleached white flour, refined white sugar, and salt. They are so processed that nutrients have to be re-added to the flour to give it any nutritional value at all.
These white foods are all suspect in the growing trend of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes in America- and should be avoided if at all possible.
Additionally, white flour is made that way through a bleaching process that involves chlorine dioxide- bleach- which also has strong links to cancer.
There are a lot of problem foods out there, with the greatest problem being the ease with which we can incorporate them into our daily lives. But when you stop and think about it, many really healthy foods are fairly easy to start including in your diet.
Apples. Cucumbers. Unsalted nuts.
There are a lot of really tasty, convenient, and healthy options out there. All you have to do is take the first step and make a change for the better. It could save you a lot of time and trouble in the future.