There is a heated debate about food additives, genetically modified organisms (GMO) crops, high fructose corn syrup and other modifications to our foods. A generation ago, almost no one was gluten intolerant yet now we see all kinds of health issues related to wheat, nuts and other foods. Have you noticed and increase in many illnesses related to sugar substitutes like aspartame and other chemicals? How about the increase in diabetes, colon cancer and dental problems.
There is a big disconnect between our food sources and the grocery store shelves. Meat comes from factory farms and feed lots where the animals are locked in small pens or cages and given all kinds of growth hormones and antibiotics to speed up production and combat diseases that occur in close quarters. Factory farms are finding ways to speed up growth, picking and packing while creating produce that is actually devoid of the nutrients our bodies need. We, therefore put on weight because we eat calorie dense foods rather than lower calorie, nutrient dense foods.
Here in Southern California we have an abundance of locally grown, healthy produce. Whether it says organic or not, many of our farm stands don’t use chemicals or modified seeds in their fields and gardens. It is possible to eat a healthy, local and beneficial diet on a reasonable budget. While a plant based diet has been shown to provide the best health benefits, it is also possible to find locally raised, hormone free meat and poultry. Plant based diets are becoming more desirable for increasing health and energy and are a great way to lose unwanted weight. Avoiding processed food is a giant step towards maintaining good health. Processed foods like crackers, chips, and even foods that are labeled as healthy are still full of chemicals and lack the real nutrition our bodies need.
Shopping only in the produce and grain aisle will help provide an easy way to start a healthy diet and keep within a reasonable food budget. Start by researching on the internet for great recipes that use only plant based ingredients. There are many great recipe books for vegan recipes as well. If you are not interested in a plant based diet, at least use minimally processed organic meats and products. Then, start shopping for produce, dried beans and whole grains. If it comes in a box, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. Dried beans, lentils, brown rice, quinoa and millet are easy to make, very filling, very cheap to buy and will store for a long time. Don’t try to replace regular foods with fake versions, they still contain processes and chemicals we don’t need and tend to be expensive. (i.e. veggie butter or cheese or fake meats)
There are wonderful sites on the internet to help keep your incentive up. “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” is a great documentary as well as “Forks over Knives” and “PCRM” (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) contain science based information on eating a healthy diet.