While many of us overlook what goes into our mouths these days, there are certain ingredients that are important to avoid. Our food supply is laden with chemicals, pesticides, altered foods, mercury, MSG, GMO's, BPA's...the list goes on and on. And the recent VON article that reported that Costa Rica is number one in the use of agrochemical is reason alone to watch what we are ingesting.
Food that is packaged, canned or bought commercially almost certainly contains chemical preservatives or pesticides. While a small amount of these chemicals won't necessarily cause harm, when eaten every day and in increasing amounts, these additives accumulate in our bodies over time and have lasting negative impacts. The take away lesson: focus on eating simple foods and ditch the foods and additives listed below.
Margarine and Refined Oils: Read ingredient labels and educate yourself. The list of words you can't pronounce on the label most likely are toxic additives. Instead, opt for whole food versus manufactured or processed food. For example, eat butter versus margarine. Butter that comes from cows in Costa Rica is lauded for the high vitamin A content and the Omega 3's. Costa Rican cows typically graze on nutrient dense chlorophyll filled grass in open pastures. If you are vegan or vegetarian or want to avoid butter, opt for 100 percent extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Stay away from soybean oil and other hydrogenated oils. These oils contain high levels of trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, contributing to the risk of heart disease.
Zero fat or low fat foods: Here's why: when choosing the full fat version of food, you will be more satisfied with less and you will most likely eat less sugar and fillers and fewer artificial ingredients. Dairy foods such as yogurt and ice cream that have the full fat content cue your brain and stomach to register a full feeling more quickly, therefore reducing the risk of overeating. Dr. Oz reported in a recent article that low fat milk was partly responsible for the expanding diabetes epidemic because of the rise in blood sugar that occurs with the unbalanced lactose/fat ratio. Low fat or zero fat yogurt is packed with sugar, gelatin and other artificial ingredients which also reduce the probiotic content. Final word: opt for full fat cheese, yogurt and ice cream made with as few ingredients as possible and make sure to eat less.
Artificial Sweeteners in drinks such as soda and "sugar-free" foods: Avoid all soda/pop/soft drinks. The 3 strikes against these non-nutritive drinks: sugar or artificial sweeteners, carbonation and PCB from the cans. There is absolutely nothing positive about carbonated beverages. The sugar content is off the charts, artificial sweeteners are toxic to our brain cells and are a leading cause of obesity, carbonation depletes calcium and nutrients from our bones, and the BPAs in canned food and drinks are disease promoting. BPA is a hormone-mimicking toxin that also has recently been found to impact our DNA and to kill off female ovarian cells which may increase the risk of Down Syndrome and fertility problems.
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): beware of this "flavor enhancer" aka neurotoxin that lurks in restaurant food, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, chips and other foods. It commonly causes headaches and may cause: nausea weakness, wheezing, edema, changes in heart rate, burning sensations and even difficulty breathing. Look for ingredients that are disguised MSG such as autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed vegetable protein.