Let’s Get Back to Nature
The eating plan most synergistic with feeling good and performing at our personal best is reminiscent of Paleolithic (cave man) nutrition eaten by our ancestors. They ate nutrient dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, essential fats and virtually no refined, overly processed fats or simple carbohydrates. For thousands of years humans ate very simply: if it grew from the ground, fell from the trees, swam or ran across our path, we ate it.
Considering the fact that it took thousands of years for our digestive systems to adapt to the addition of small amounts of grains and dairy products, there is no way our bodies could have adapted to the additives, preservatives, colorings and flavorings that now dominate our food choices. Even natural products like sugar have taken a very unnatural turn. Recent government research shows that in 1999 sugar consumption averaged 160 pounds per person per year! That is a far cry from our once sugar-free, hunter/gatherer days. Our bodies have not had a chance to catch up with the dietary changes we have made and the results are disastrous. The rates of heart attacks, type II diabetes, obesity, strokes, hypertension and gastrointestinal disorders in this country just keep climbing. Fortunately for us, all of these conditions can be greatly improved by positive dietary changes.
- Omega-3 eggs are laid by chickens that have been fed flaxseeds, such as Eggland Best.
- The eggs actually contain more omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy essential fat, and less saturated fat than those laid by grain/corn fed chickens. Free Range/Organic/Grass-Fed
- Organic refers to the lack of chemicals present in the growing of a plant or raising of an animal.
- Free range animal meats contain a better ratio of good to bad fats compared to traditionally raised animals that are kept in small pens and fed grains to fatten them up faster. Grass contains omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory effects, whereas grains contain more omega-6 fatty acids, which have a pro-inflammatory effect.
- Non-organic meats contain certain amounts of antibiotics and bovine growth hormone. Hormone-free animal foods and dairy are recommended if you have access to them and can spare the greater expense.
- Non-organic fruits and vegetables may contain pesticide chemicals. Always wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
Processed Foods, in their most Natural Form
- When choosing a packaged food, choose those that are minimally processed with the most natural ingredients.
- Whole grains are always the best option.
- Natural peanut butter is a great source of essential fatty acids, while processed peanut butter is a source of sugar and hydrogenated oil.
- Whole/ground flax seeds are a source of omega 3 fatty acid, while flaxseed oil is directly linked to prostate cancer in men.
- Farm-raised fish, labeled “Atlantic,” have lower essential fatty acid content than their “Wild”/”Ocean” Fish counterparts. They are also lower in protein and higher in saturated fat. Most “Atlantic Fish” will have food coloring added.
- Fat-free dairy products are usually supplemented with sugar to make them palatable.
- Instant rice and instant oatmeal have higher glycemic indexes than their slow-cooking counter parts.
Come back next week for nutritional guidelines to live by, increasing your metabolism and energy level!