What I Learned in 2012

I’d like to start off the new year by looking back at the old.  Here’s a little Cliff Notes to what I learned reading, living and experimenting with food and health in 2012.

Diet.  Read the papers, and you can find an article on pretty much any food stating that it’s good for you, and another stating that it’s bad.  What to do?  Simple.  I’ve tested pretty much all foods on my body over these past few years, and I find there’s a hierarchy of what foods are better for you.  I’ve based these on foods’ results on my weight, my regularity, the feeling in my stomach following a meal, and even on, if you believe me, eyesight.  I’ve also taken into consideration, albeit to a lesser degree, undisputed scientific consensuses (though there are very few of these) on foods’ effects on cancer, heart disease and happiness (yes, those studies are out there).

Your mother was right: Eat your fruits and vegetables.

Your mother was right: Eat your fruits and vegetables.

My conclusion is, the best foods you can eat are raw fruits and vegetables.  It doesn’t matter which ones.  Don’t worry about looking for particular vitamins or minerals, or “superfoods” or foods that promise to “improve digestion,” “foster heart health” or “support immunity.”  Just look for (1) a fruit or vegetable that’s (2) raw.

I think that if people recognized the true difference raw fruits and vegetables have on your body, they would be much less of a tough sell.

Second, behind raw fruits and vegetables, is lightly cooked fruits and vegetables.  No, they don’t have to be completely raw to get any benefit.  The more raw the better, but a little cooking is better than none.

Third, fully cooked fruits and vegetables, and meat that’s properly raised.  “Properly raised” means that the animal ate what the animal would eat in nature.  A cow, for instance, would eat grass, and not corn.  A chicken would graze on bugs and grass and whatever else it can peck at, not just soybeans, corn and rendered animal products.  Very little of the meat in grocery stores or restaurants today meet these criteria.

Fourth is processed foods and improperly raised meat.  Processing itself is not necessarily harmful, in my opinion, though I recognize this opinion goes against current food trends.  It’s certain ingredients added in processing, and others removed, that make the food so bad.  I don’t mind blending fruits and vegetables together.  (That’s processing.)  I do mind removing all the fiber, vitamins and minerals and just leaving the sugar.  (Then you’re eating empty calories, depriving your body of what it needs, leaving it perpetually hungry and undernourished.)

I also mind adding ingredients that are demonstrably harmful to us.  Vegetable oils that were extracted with chemicals and then “refined” with high heat are not the best things for us to put in our bodies.  They tend to be heavily inflammatory, causing problems ranging from aches and pains to arthritis to a hospitable environment for cancer cells and heart disease.  See vegetable oils (other than extra virgin or expeller pressed oil) in the ingredients list?  Know what you’re doing to your body if you consume it.

Improperly raised meats are similar.  They tend to be highly inflammatory, and there are fewer conditions more dangerous in the long run for your body than hyper-inflammation.  This is why omega-3 supplements, which tend to reduce improper inflammation, have grown so popular.

Finally, added sugar and other refined carbohydrates round out the list.  I would avoid these at nearly all costs.  These should be foods should be consumed as rarely as possible and in as low doses as possible.  There is nothing worse you can put in your body than white bread, white pasta, (very likely) white rice or added sugar.  If the word “flour” is included in the ingredients list and isn’t followed by “whole” or “whole grain,” don’t eat it, or eat it very, very sparingly.  That goes even if one of the ingredients is whole grain flour but another ingredient is flour that isn’t whole grain.

To be continued in the following post . . . .

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One Response to What I Learned in 2012

  1. litebrite says:

    It seems to me a good way to eat meat that is, as you call it, “properly raised meat” is to eat Kosher. Not only is it healthier for humans, but it is also better for the animals.
    I am considering eating Kosher meats.
    Your blog posts always inspire me to eat healthier, thanks!

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