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What is Healthy Eating?

Updated on January 23, 2016
Ivory Morgan profile image

Ivory is a nutritional enthusiast and enjoys cooking for health. I love using food as medicine.

What is healthy eating?

Well, that is a loaded question nowadays, isn't it? Where do you start. There is the ketogenic diet, vegan diet, paleo diet, vegetarian diet, pescatarian diet, clean eating diet, and raw vegan diet, and many others. How do you choose what is right for you? It's easy! Listen to your body. Your body will communicate exactly what it needs to feel energized and nourished.

The most important first step is acknowledging the response your body has to foods. Begin by removing processed foods from your diet. Start cooking at home. Not from a box! Actually utilizing fresh ingredients and incorporating spices from your cabinet. You should have no need for any canned food that can be stored in a cabinet, meals in a box, or processed snacks.

The next piece of changing your diet is removing unnecessary beverages. Remove everything, but water. This includes milk. In order to see if you have an intolerance to dairy, it must be removed from the diet. You can supplement with a nut milk, such as almond, coconut, or cashew. Cashew is my favorite because it is the thickest consistency and more creamy, like real milk. Removing dairy means removing cheese. I find this to be the hardest of all. Don't worry you can re-introduce it to your diet later. It's only a temporary separation.

Dieting/Lifestyle Preferences

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Meat/Protein

Meat helps with tissue repair and is a long term energy source, unlike carbohydrates which are an immediate energy source. We need those essential amino acids that are missing from most plants! It is important you consume meat that is not highly processed. Avoid deli meats. If you choose to still include them in your diet, use sparingly, or slice your own chicken and turkey thinly for sandwich meat. I still enjoy pepperoni when I make pizza, but I try to avoid it as a staple in my diet and use turkey pepperoni instead. In my opinion, it is best to primarily eat a large variety of meats and cuts.

Bone broths are a wonderful way to gain additional nutrition. It is full of calcium, magnesium, potassium. It has glycine (for stomach acid production), proline and many amino acids not in the meat and collagen from the cartilage and tissues. In addition, flutamine and arginine in bone broth helps reduce inflammation in the body, aiding in injury recovery or inflammatory diseases (Paleo Leap, 2016).

Why I avoid Pork

I try not to eat much pork, if any. It is one of the most consumed meats, but most pork comes from China. Inbreeding is common and Chinese farmers have difficulty purchasing feed for their pigs. They are often given a poor diet and are raised in diseased ridden habitats because farmers can't afford to do better. To create more food for the pigs, farmers harvest 23 crops a year. Farmers can do this with the aid of herbicides like glysophate, known to cause cancer.

Roughly 100 viruses are introduced to the United States from the importing of pigs from China (Why You Should Avoid Pork, 2016). Meat from pigs possesses more toxins than any other meat. This is due how pigs digest food. A pig takes four hours to fully digest a meal. This is very fast, meaning the process in which a pig breaks down food and digests it is more simplified. In result, much of the toxins are not flushed through the body in the form of waste, but rather remain inside the pig. Pigs do not have sweat glands, so toxins are unable to be released as a waste in the form of sweat. Toxins are stored in the meat, but primarily in fatty tissue.

If that's not bad enough, pigs also possess parasites that may not die during the cooking process. The trichinella worm is commonly in pigs stomachs where the larvae of the worm is released into the body. The larvae moves to the different muscles of the body. If this parasite is consumed by a human, the same thing will occur. It is called trichinellosis.

Yes, REAL bacon is so good, but is it worth this? You get out of your body what you put in. Even if you don't get a parasite, you are still flooding your body with toxins, making it stressed. If you work something harder than you should, what happens? It breaks.

I will be making another hub that goes into more detail about meat and eggs.

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Moving On...

Eating healthy is also about eating what you enjoy. Try new foods. You might surprise yourself. There are many times I have hesitantly made a recipe. As I put the first bite to my mouth, I anticipate my disappointment, but am surprised by a delicious flavor. This happened with trying cauliflower pizza for the first time, for instance. Now it's one of my favorites! Don't fall into the trap of only eating raw vegetables and a chunk of meat. Have fun with it! Combine foods to make delicious flavors. You don't have to eat just raw carrots and a chicken breast cooked on a pan in a little coconut oil. Nobody wants to live like that.

Carbohydrates are Bad...

Your body needs macronutrients for energy. Carbohydrates are macronutrients. The amount of carbohydrates needed varies person to person based on activity level and personal chemistry (aka everybody's body has different varying degrees of biological needs.) Carbohydrates provide the body with a primary source of energy and is converted into glucose immediately. The entire body can use energy in the form of glucose. When you have too many carbohydrates, your body stores it as fatty tissue around your muscles and organs, instead of utilizing it.

It's the kind of carbohydrates that count. As I mentioned before, fresh food. I eat my carbohydrates in the form of vegetables. The only grain I allow in my diet is rice, in small amounts (about once a week, sometimes less). This is because my body cannot adequately process other grains and I can easily soak rice before consuming to remove phytic acid. I immediately notices the effects in my body if I introduce other grains. If you are eating good carbohydrates, like non starchy vegetables, it is almost impossible to eat too many carbohydrates if you are pairing them properly with protein and fat. In my opinion, you should fill your plate with a variety of vegetables every meal. Be careful with starchy vegetables. It is best to remove them from the diet and later re-introduce them to determine how they impact your body. Some people notice an intolerance to starchy vegetables such as potatoes. All those delicious vegetables will help to balance your digestive system with the addition of a good fiber source. In addition, your water intake will significantly increase from this natural water source due to vegetables primarily being water.

Many people find they do not like the taste of vegetables at first. Your palate is used to the processed artificial flavors and will crave the addictive substances. Don't worry, this will subside and you will begin to start tasting how delicious vegetables really are. Remember, your spice cabinet is your best friend! It helps to enhance those natural flavors.

Refined Sugar

No. You can't have it. Remove it from your house. No added sugars. You can use honey or maple syrup as a substitute. Almond extract also works great. Sugar is the leading cause of disease. Sugar helps to breed cancer by imbalancing the Ph levels in your body, making it more acidic rather than alkaline. An alkaline body is a cancer free body. An acidic body is a breeding ground for cancer.

It is always best to ingest sugar from natural sources such as fruit, honey or maple syrup. Artificial sweeteners are overly processed, unnatural and very difficult for the body to process, so avoid these. There are many case studies proving the dangers of sugar. For the purposes of this hub, I will not be going in depth on sugar and its impacts and will be creating another hub for this topic alone. Below are some studies you can look into as well as a Buzzfeed video showing how weening off of sugar and living sugar free can impact the body.

Diet of Sugar and Fructose Impairs Brain Function

R. Agrawal, F. Gomez-Pinilla. ’Metabolic syndrome’ in the brain: deficiency in omega-3 fatty acid exacerbates dysfunctions in insulin receptor signaling and cognition. The Journal of Physiology, 2012; 590 (10): 2485 DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.230078

Corn Syrup and Obesity

Bray, George et al. Consumption of high fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Vol. 79, no. 4, p. 537-543, April 2004.

Soda and Sugary Beverages linked with Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, V. S. Malik, B. M. Popkin, G. A. Bray, J.-P. Despres, W. C. Willett, F. B. Hu. Sugar Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-analysis.Diabetes Care, 2010

How Fructose Causes Obesity and Diabetes

Takuji Ishimoto, Miguel A. Lanaspa, MyPhuong T. Le, Gabriela E. Garcia, Christine P. Diggle, Paul S. MacLean, Matthew R. Jackman, ArunaAsipu, Carlos A. Roncal-Jimenez, Tomoki Kosugi, Christopher J. Rivard, Shoichi Maruyama, Bernardo Rodriguez-Iturbe, Laura G. Sánchez-Lozada, David T. Bonthron, Yuri Y. Sautin, and Richard J. Johnson. Opposing effects of fructokinase C and A isoforms on fructose-induced metabolic syndrome in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 27, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1119908109

These studies and more were located at Global Research Centre for Research on Globalization

30 Days Without Sugar

Fruit

Fruit is delicious. Who doesn't love that sweet taste. There are a few things to remember about fruit. If you are trying to kick sugar habit, fruit can be your enemy. Some fruits, like bananas, are extremely high in sugar and can cause insulin spikes. Some people are more susceptible than others to this. Start with low sugar fruits. If you notice fruit doesn't impact sugar cravings, then you are fortunate. It is still important to be aware of how much fruit you are ingesting. It is not smart to eat fruit all day because you don't like vegetables. That is not a healthy solution.

Fruit juice is not fruit. It is empty calories. A good alternative is water with sliced fruit in it.

What Really Happens When You Eat Fat.

Fat

All Fat is not bad. It matters where you get your fat. Fat from coconuts and avocados verses fat from meal at McDonald's are two very different things. Fat helps our bodies to absorb vitamins A, D, E, K and carotenoids. It is essential for brain functioning and normal growth and development. It is not true that saturated fat causes heart disease. In 2010 an evaluation was done of 21 studies on the link between saturate fat and heart disease. The studies lasted up to 14 years. In total there were 350,000 test subjects. The results showed that saturated fat was not associated with increasing the risk for coronary heart disease.

We are told cholesterol is broken into two types, HDL and LDL. However, there are two types of LDL cholesterol, type A and type B. Type A is make of large floating particles, whereas B has small dense particles. LDL type B particles are related to heart disease. The typical LDL measurement by the local doctor does not detect the LDL type B particles, only type A. Therefore reducing your LDL cholesterol measurement at the doctor's office, as previously thought, does not really prevent you from being susceptible to heart disease (Hu, Krauss, Siri-Tarino & Sun, 2009). So how can you reduce LDL type B? Reducing bad carbohydrates. A high carbohydrate diet (meaning poor carbohydrate sources) increases LDL type B cholesterol.

So that means we can eat saturated fat from good sources! A few examples are coconut oil, avocados, nuts, olives. Saturated fats help the liver to waste fat cells and aids white blood cells. Free testosterone levels increase (testosterone unattached to any proteins). Free testosterone is responsible for tissue repair and sexual function. Increasing fat intake can help promote weight loss as well, but only if from the proper sources. Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides, which metabolize by going to the liver immediately and are converted into ketone bodies for energy. This is different from other fats. Eating coconut oil can help suppress appetite. Good fats are very filling and make you feel energized. Please remember portions are important, but do not exclude fat from your diet. I eat a high fat diet and it has given me much more energy.

Nuts are great for insuring you get enough fats. Be sure to be aware of portion control. Remember, peanuts are not nuts. They are legumes. You may need to be careful with nuts for the same reason as some people need to be careful with grains. Phytate is in all nuts, seeds, legumes and grains and when soaked, the phytic acid created, is removed. It binds minerals in the digestive tract so they are unable to be absorbed by the body. If you buy nuts, just insure they were previously soaked for easier digestion and nutrient absorption. The same goes for any other grain you choose to consume.

The nutritionist below explains how helpful fat is below.

GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms)

Always choose organic. GMO's, cross pollinating and cross breeding are two very different things. Monsanto and others who profit from GMO's want us to believe there is no difference between GMO's and cross pollinating or cross breeding. Genetically modifying involves manipulating or modifying genetic material and then transferring that genetic material from one plant to another. This creates genetic material that has never existed, causing combinations or organisms that have not occurred in nature or through methods such as cross breeding and cross pollination. Cross pollination is the transfer of pollen from sexually compatible plants. This fertilizes another plant. It is a natural process that occurs. Cross breeding is selecting a specific plant for its traits and transferring its pollen to another plant to create a plant that possesses positive attributes of both parents.

Genetic material is often inserted in different locations within the DNA of plants making each plant's mutation differ. This makes it impossible for genetic engineers to determine any adverse outcomes of potential mutations. To determine what plants will be used commercially, the only factor is whether or not the plant possesses the strongest amount of the desired traits the genetic engineer wanted. The plant must also look strong so it can reproduce. There is no testing to determine if the plants produce any substances or chemical reactions that can be harmful to the body. There is also no testing done on the degrading of nutritional components within the plants. Any testing done on the plants are only done by the companies who seek to profit and are inadequate at best because of this. Voluntary self-regulation is not regulation.

Evidence has shown that GMO's can be toxic, less nutritious, an allergenic, not regulated, to not reduce pesticide use or increase crop yield and hurt farmers (see Monsanto hub for more info on this). There are many other issues caused by GMO's as well, but we would be here all day if I went through them all! Please take some time and reach through this wonderful examination done by John Fagan, PhD, Michael Antoniou, PhD and Claire Robinson, MPhil: GMO Myths and Truths.

The Non-GMO project works to help consumers stay informed and is lobbying for label requirements for GMO's in products. It is our right as consumers to make informed decisions.

According to the Non-GMO Project the following crops are high risk for containing GMO's:

  • Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
  • Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
  • Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
  • Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
  • Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)

Current Monitored crops

  • Beta vulgaris (e.g., chard, table beets)
  • Brassica napa (e.g., rutabaga, Siberian kale)
  • Brassica rapa (e.g., bok choy, mizuna, Chinese cabbage, turnip, rapini, tatsoi)
  • Cucurbita (acorn squash, delicata squash, patty pan)
  • Flax
  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Potato

(Non-GMO Project, 2016)

In addition there are ingredients that are created from GMO crops. Below is directly from Non-GMO Project's website.

"Common Ingredients Derived from GMO Risk Crops
Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Ethanol, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products. (Non-GMO Project, 2016)."

Document from the Lawsuit of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity Against the FDA

These comments were made by FDA microbiologist Dr. Louis Pribyl at the FDA released the policy to allow GMOs into the food supply.

This document is one of many that were released as a result of a lawsuit brought against the FDA by the Alliance for Bio-Integrity (http://www.biointegrity.org/).
This document is one of many that were released as a result of a lawsuit brought against the FDA by the Alliance for Bio-Integrity (http://www.biointegrity.org/). | Source

So just remember go organic! You want natural food made in nature not a lab!

The Organic Effect

In Conclusion...

Simple is better. Always buy organic. There are many stores that now sell affordable organic options. In my opinion Trader Joe's is by far the most affordable grocery store with great company ethics.

If there is anything on the label you cannot pronounce, or is not an ingredient you could grow yourself, don't eat it. Listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs. Start by removing everything but the simple basics from your diet and slowly introduce items back into your diet one type of food at a time. There are also many phone apps that can help with determining if you have an allergy to certain foods. Tests can be conducted at the doctor as well. However, this is not the most affordable option for everyone.

It is best to go 30-60 days without the foods you removed from your diet to fully cleanse your body of the products. If you have been heavily eating processed foods, you will feel withdrawal from the artificial ingredients and especially the sugar. Sugar is extremely addictive. It will take you roughly 30 days to break the sugar addiction and it sucks at first, but you will thank yourself later.

You should always incorporate exercise as well to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you have not exercised in the past, getting involved in an exercise class is a great way to introduce exercise to your life and meet people who are making the same changes as you.

In result, you will be healthier, happier and full of energy. Don't forget this is not a diet. It is a lifestyle change!

Sources

Hu, Frank B., Krauss, Ronald M., Siri-Tarino, Patty W. & Sun, Qi. (2009) Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract

Why You Should Avoid Pork. (2016) Dr. Axe Food is Medicine. Retrieved from http://draxe.com/why-you-should-avoid-pork/

Eat This :Bone Broth. (2016) Paleo Leap. Retrieved from http://paleoleap.com/eat-this-bone-broth/

The Empire of the Pig. (2014) The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/news/christmas-specials/21636507-chinas-insatiable-appetite-pork-symbol-countrys-rise-it-also

Null, Dr. Gary. (2014) Sugar: killing us sweetly. staggering health consequences of sugar on health of americans. Global Research Centre for Research on Globalization. Retrieved from http://www.globalresearch.ca/sugar-killing-us-sweetly/5367250

English, Nick. (2013) Everyone Was wrong: Saturated Fat Can Be Good for You. Greatist. Retrieved from http://greatist.com/health/saturated-fat-healthy

Fagan, PhD, Antoniou, PhD & Robinson, MPhil. (2014) GMO Myths and Truths (2nd Ed.)(V2) Earth Open Source. Retrieved from http://www.nongmoproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/GMO-Myths-and-Truths-edition2.pdf

What is GMO? (2016) Non-GMO Project. Retrieved from http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/what-is-gmo/

© 2016 Healthy Habits

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