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Why Eating Healthy is So Hard
Eating healthy is simple right? That is what I thought at first. My new year's resolution was to eat healthy every day. With cancer on both sides of my family, I know that prevention is important so I started reading books and articles about how to prevent long term illness by eating healthy. Through all of my reading, I learned facts about food that I thought were the key to living longer and feeling better. I was on a new track and feeling great about my new healthy food choices.
How to Make Turmeric Powder
Shockingly, every time I learned something new about how to eat healthy, I would later learn how the new healthy food habit could also be dangerous. Here is one example:
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory. Many diseases begin with inflammation in the body. So naturally, I began putting turmeric in my daily meals. This was easy enough; I liked the taste and it was an inexpensive spice. According to Dr. Axe, a certified doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist, "a few of the most recent research studies published within the past few months show that curcumin (the active ingredient of turmeric) can: Increase lifespan, Protect the liver oxidative stress, Kill fungus more effectively than ginger, clove and oregano, Induce tumor cell death in the deepest parts of individual cells, Kill bladder cancer cells, Destroy lung cancer cells, Lower blood cholesterol levels, Protect against cognitive/memory defects from heavy ion irradiation."
Wonderful sounding isn't it? Then I find out that many of the turmeric spices sold today may possibly contain high levels of lead which can negatively impact the brain, liver, kidneys, and reproductive system.. This is after I had been pouring it onto my food for a couple of weeks! It turns out the only way to be sure it does not contain lead, besides testing it which requires chemist skills, is to buy it fresh or dried. Fortunately, one of the 3 grocery stores near my house does carry fresh turmeric and it is very inexpensive. I have also ordered the pill form so that I can take it when I do not have the fresh turmeric on hand.
Because it has a huge impact on my health, the best healthy food habit change I made was my decision to begin eating all fresh foods. By that I mean no more packaged canned or boxed foods (at least not if I can help it). Fresh vegetables and fruits have such high nutritious value and many of the boxed and canned foods contain ingredients that may be harmful to our long-term health. According to Reader's Digest, "Unfortunately, most processed foods are laden with sweeteners, salts, artificial flavors, factory-created fats, colorings, chemicals that alter texture, and preservatives. But the trouble is not just what’s been added, but what’s been taken away. Processed foods are often stripped of nutrients designed by nature to protect your heart, such as soluble fiber, antioxidants, and “good” fats. Combine that with additives, and you have a recipe for disaster."
So, after spending weeks making fruit concoctions, veggie smoothies, and incredibly delicious salads, I read all about the contamination these fresh foods I had been buying might contain. It seems that it may not be safe to eat fruit and vegetables bought from my local grocery store. According to The Washington Post, "there is a wealth of information establishing just how many chemicals we consume, starting with the Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Data Program, which tests thousands of food samples a year, tracking specific residue levels... "It's easy to have a dozen exposures [to different pesticides] in the course of a day," says RiSichard Wiles, senior vice president for policy at the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based environmental advocacy group." These tests were based on samples of fresh and frozen fruit.
I began washing all of my fresh foods before eating them but then read that it doesn't help but so much as all of the contaminates cannot be removed as some are absorbed by the food...My next step was to eat all organic fruits and vegetables. This is much more expensive but worthwhile right?
Natural Sugar Substitute
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I thought eliminating sugar would be a great illness-prevention food changing habit. After all, among many reasons why sugar is bad for you, the one I am concerned about involves the relationship between sugar and cancer. According to BeatCancer.org, "Cancer cells love sugar! That is why refined carbohydrates like white sugar, white flour, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and soft drinks are extremely dangerous for anyone trying to prevent or reverse cancer. Sugar essentially feeds tumors and encourages cancer growth."
Naturally given this information, I have diligently avoided sugar. The main culprit is my morning coffee which has to have a sweetener of some sort, and cream of course, or I just can't drink it...and I have to have my coffee. Luckily, there are numerous sugar substitutes out there that are perfectly safe or they wouldn't be for sale, right? Wrong!
I had been using Sweet and Low for well over a month when I read this:
According to FitDay.com, Saccharin is contained in:
- Brand names include Sweet and Low®, Sweet Twin®, Sweet'N Low®, and Necta Sweet®
- ~200-700x sweeter than table sugar
- ADI: is 15 (mg/kg bw/d), or about 250 packets per day
"There has been some studies with rats that suffered from bladder cancer when consuming saccharin. Although this has not appeared in human studies, the concern is still there. If something causes cancer in rats, long-term effects on humans are a serious issue. Saccharin is also part of sulfonamides, which can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Commonly reported reactions to saccharin use in some individuals include headaches, diarrhea, skin issues and headaches."
Since learning about the dangers of artificial sweeteners, I have been on the search for natural sweeteners to use as a sugar substitute for my beloved coffee. So far, I haven't found an ingredient that leaves me completely satisfied. The best thing I have found so far is date syrup. It has wonderful health benefits (as far as I know - but that could change as I read more and more..)
Accepting the Task
These are just a few of the road bumps I have encountered along my journey of trying hard to eat healthy. I never could have imagined the obstacles that I would face while trying to do something that seemed so simple. I have come to accept that I have to be an investigator, researcher, analyst, and more, just to even strive to eat healthy.
This hub is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.