In my work as a personal chef, I am often surprised by the amount of processed ingredients in people’s homes. I love my clients. They value healthy, homemade meals, and that’s why they spend the big bucks to have me cook for them. But unless you spend all of your time figuring out how to choose healthy ingredients, chances are you have no idea what to buy.
There is a severe disconnect between us and the food we buy; a spot where we buy ingredients without considering what they are, how they’re made, and what havoc they wreck on the body.
Most people have some form of refined sugar, refined flour, ‘cage-free’ eggs, vegetable oil, organic or hormone free milk, processed honey and fat free products in their home. This is how we eat in America.
We buy into the marketing of food because we don’t know the difference.
It’s unrealistic to believe you’ll never eat a piece of bread from crappy hybridized wheat, or a tortilla chip fried in rancid vegetable oil, or a piece of antibiotic feed lot beef again.
But if you can learn to replace the not so good ingredients with healthier, and equally delicious substitutions, you’re doing two things:
Becoming healthier, and voting with your dollars. In the age of Monsanto, unethical animal practices, and undecipherable ingredient lists, this is MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.
Here’s a list of foods that suck. I’ll do a blog post on each elaborating why I believe they’re not great for you. For now, I’m listing what’s bad, and the alternatives you can use.
The bad: Industrial Seed Oils
Canola, rapeseed, corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed oil.
All canola in the US is genetically modified. Industrial seed oils are highly processed – heated, bleached, and deodorized. They’re unstable fats and oxidize quickly. And their ratios of omega 6 to 3 is out of whack, and too much omega 6 leads to inflammation.
Olive, Sesame, Coconut, Flax, Ghee
The bad: Modern Wheat
Wheat itself is not the devil. The problem is that the industrialization of wheat has created a super wheat strain that our bodies can’t digest, hence the recent upsurge of gluten intolerance. Modern wheat is associated with hundreds of diseases.
Einkorn flour, which is heirloom wheat flour that has not been hybridized
The bad: Mass Factory Bred Animals
If you’ve ever seen and smelled the difference between a pastured chicken vs a feed lot chicken, you know the latter is fatty, smelly, yellow-ish and sickly looking. The pastured chicken is lean, smells clean, is an appropriate flesh color and looks 100% different than the latter.
Do you want to eat fattened, sickly animals that been treated with antibiotics and hormones and have had crappy lives? If you’re eating in most restaurants and shopping at mass supermarkets, this is what you’re getting.
Labeling of meat is deceptive marketing tool. Just because something registers as antibiotic or hormone free doesn’t mean it hasn’t been bred in a feedlot, fed horrible foods, and treated inhumanely.
PASTURE raised animals
The bad: Eggs that are not pasture raised
Ever found yourself at the grocery store trying to figure out which brand to buy, only to throw your hands up and just pick a random brand that looks good?
The marketing of eggs is tough to weed through.
Eggs from chickens that have been bred in a feedlot and fed genetically modified corn and soy or some variation of this issue. These are typically hidden by clever marketing tactics with buzzwords that make you believe the chicken laying these eggs are healthy.
Eggs from chickens that grow up on pastures, with plenty of sunshine, bugs, oyster shells and veggies are what you should be eating.
If you’re having trouble picking, you can be sure that the ones that are $8/dozen are the right ones to buy.
I know that price is hard to afford for some.
But the buzz words ‘cage-free, vegetarian fed, soy free, free-range’ are all marketing that doesn’t care about the welfare of the animal or whether they eat what nature intended.
The bad: Refined Sugar
Refined sugar has been stripped of all its nutrients. It’s a pure carbohydrate that drains and leaches the body of nutrients. It’s hard to digest and eliminate. I’m guessing you don’t want to give up sugar, so TRY to get the healthy kinds when you can.
Try coconut palm sugar, raw honey, grade b maple syrup, or stevia
It’s impossible to achieve 100% perfection all of the time. But taking *one* small step in the right direction – whether it’s splurging for pasture raised eggs, or refusing to buy cheap industrial oils, the choices you make have an impact.