You may remember my article from last week entitled “10 Foods You Should Always Eat,” and today my dear friend, I want to let you in on the 10 foods I think you should never, ever, under any circumstances, allow to enter your beautiful vessel.
Now, you may disagree with some of my choices, and that is fine. I very much encourage you to do your own research to see what resonates with you. I also do not want you to feel blame/shame/guilt when reading this. You are not a bad person for eating any of the foods on this list. This is purely to help you feel more educated about your food choices, so you feel like an informed shopper.
This list comes from my 10 years in the filed of nutrition, health and wellness, and is indented to help you feel your very best every day. It is OK if this list pisses you off a little, just go in with an open mind and see how it lands!
1. Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils
Hydrogenated vegetable oils are more science experiment than they are food, in my opinion. The process of adding a hydrogen molecule to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils requires a laundry list of chemicals, heavy metals, heat and processes that render the oil pretty well unrecognizable and toxic to your cells.
Hydrogenated vegetable oils do not go bad on the shelf – and the fact that they do not naturally break down means that your body is going to have a hard time breaking them down. Do not be fooled – these foods are NOT heart healthy. Avoid them at all costs.
Substitutes: Eating oils like coconut oils, cacao butter, extra virgin olive oil (from Greece or Italy, to make sure it does not have other oils added to it) and even grass-fed organic butter are better for your body because they are recognizable as food.
2. Processed Vegetable Oils
Mono and poly unsaturated fats like corn, canola and ‘vegetable’ oils have carbon molecules that do not have a hydrogen atom attached to them. This makes them readily available to react with other molecules in the environment like free radicals, light, heat and air. These oils are basically rancid by the time they hit the shelves because they are so vulnerable to being broken down — the process of extracting them from plants and getting them into the bottle is basically impossible without causing damage. These oils are chemically deodorized and treated so that they do not smell/look rancid, but they are.
Substitutes: Go for naturally saturated oils like coconut and cacao butter, or use whole food forms of fat like nuts, seeds, nut and seed butters, avocado and olives. Trust me, you will get used to a liquid oil free life!
3. Conventional Dairy Products
Conventional dairy cows are artificially impregnated for years at a time, in order to get them to produce milk – they are mammals like humans, meaning they only produce milk when they have a calf to feed. They are pumped full of hormones, antibiotics and other medications to keep milk supply up and to help fight off illnesses and infections that they’re vulnerable to due to their conditions.
Conventional dairy is also very acidic for the body, due to the processing it goes through to be made ‘safe’ for consumption. This acidic nature of the milk means that it actually robs calcium and other alkaline minerals from your body, because your body must stay alkaline. When you ingest acidic foods your body draws on the alkaline stores in your bones and teeth to neutralize the acid – causing a net loss in calcium for your body. All in all, milk does not do a body good in its current state.
Substitutes: Go for plant based milks like almond and coconut, organic goat milks and even organic cows’ milk – just be sure to go to the farm and know exactly how the diary cows are being fed and treated.
4. White Flour
White flour is absolutely nutritionally devoid – even if it has been enriched. The processing of white flour means that the germ and the bran have been removed, and all that is left is the endosperm. The nutrient-rich oils are located in the bran, and most vitamins and minerals are located in the germ. When these two things are processed out, you are essentially left with nothing but starch.
This starch is then bleached, and this further reduces its nutritional status. In the end, you have a substance that turns into paper Mache in your body, which is highly acidic and provides your body with no nutrition. The synthetic vitamins that are added back into enriched flour are not utilized by your body as efficiently as the natural vitamins and minerals that would have been in the plant had it not been processed at all.
Substitutes: Whole grains! Go for whole wheat, spelt, rye and oat. You may even want to experiment with sprouted grain products, and gluten-free products – just be sure your gluten-free products are not also fully processed and filled with refined grains.
5. ‘Low fat’ Processed Foods
Whenever you see the words ‘low fat’ or ‘fat free’ on processed or packaged foods (this does NOT include naturally low fat foods like fruits and veggies) you can assume that the foods in question contain a plethora of chemicals, additives, and preservatives and have been through several stages of processing. These foods are essentially unrecognizable as food by your body, and will not help to give you a slimmer waistline. What they will do is force your body to work over time to process the chemicals and search for what little nutrition may be left inside that item. At the end of the day, these products are just not worthy of your body.
Substitutes: Again, go for whole foods. If you feel like reducing your fat intake, start eating more naturally lower fat foods like whole fruits and veggies. Or simply eat naturally occurring fats like nuts, seeds, avocado and coconut because your body will recognize these fats and use them to create a healthy body.
Aspartame is a known neurotoxin. This means it literally poisons your brain when you consume it. When it breaks down through heat it becomes ever more toxic, and most items that contain aspartame have been heated through cooking or improper storage. It is hidden in a wide range of foods – especially anything labeled ‘sugar free.’ Aspartame can bio-accumulate in your body and cause damage over time. The long and short of it is, never eat aspartame.
Substitutes: Natural sweeteners! Go for foods that are naturally sweetened with fruit, maple syrup, dates, and coconut sugar.
7. Processed Deli Meats/Hot Dogs
Processed meats are not really meat. They are meat in the sense that they contain meat as an ingredient, but they are also loaded with things that are NOT meat. The sodium levels of deli and other processed meat products are sky high, and this is not a good thing for your heart. They are also packed full of chemicals that wreak havoc on your health. Nitrates are chief among the crazy chemicals hiding in those deli slices and they are known carcinogens. Bottom line is if you are going to eat meat, go for 100% meat – not a hodge podge of meat, meat-like ingredients and ingredients that are nothing like meat at all.
Substitutes: Go for the real stuff! If you include meat in your diet look for organic, grass/natural diet fed, GMO-free fed animals that were treated with love and respect.
8. Soda Pop
To me, soda is liquid poison. It’s comprised mostly of chemicals that have been composed in a lab and is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, which we know is an empty calorie – meaning it provides calories with no nutrition. The sugar content of soda, with its lack of fiber that would normally slow the release of sugars into your bloodstream – will cause a massive spike in your blood sugar levels. This forces your liver and pancreas to work very hard to move those sugars from your bloodstream into your cells.
You will then experience a strong blood sugar dip, which can give you headaches, make you feel dizzy or nauseated and will make you crave another concentrated hit of sugar.
Soda is very acidic, which will mean that your body has to draw on the alkaline mineral stores in your bones and teeth in order to preserve the slightly alkaline PH of your blood. And sugar-free sodas are no better – the artificial sugars found in calorie-free sodas actually stimulate your brain to seek sugar, which means that you will end up eating more over the course of the day than you would have if you just had a normal soda with normal sugar.
Substitutes: Go for kombucha, a naturally fermented tea drink if you are craving something fizzy. Tea, fresh juices and water will also help to hydrate your body.
9. Deep Fried Foods
Oil that is heated to the temperatures needed for frying are essentially rancid oils. The high heat alters their chemical structure and denatures them. Combine this with the protein coagulation and nutrient denaturing of the actual food being fried, and you have a food-like substance that actually robs nutrients from your body instead of providing them. Fried foods honestly should never, ever be consumed. Fried foods contain fats known as Trans Fatty Acids, which we now understand are the fats that are most dangerous for your health. These fats are oxidized fat that literally cause cellular damage, and are the fats that lead to heart disease.
Substitutes: Bake your potato chips and potato fries. Bake, poach, steam or broil your meats. Pan fry rather than deep frying. Use stable fats like coconut oil if you are going to be cooking in high heat. Just don’t deep fry.
10. Genetically Modified Corn
Three things you need to know: 1) Corn is actually a grain, not a vegetable. 2) Humans do not actually have the digestive enzymes needed to fully break corn down, which means that it mostly passes through your digestive system unchanged. 3) GMO corn has been altered on a cellular level to contain pesticides – which means those chemicals are not only on the surface, but are a part of the genetic make up of the corn.
All this is very bad news for your body. Combine that with the fact that GMO corn is hidden in pretty much all processed foods and you may currently be eating a diet that is made mostly of GMO corn products. For example most buns at fast food restaurants are composed of 70-80% CORN! Not even wheat! I encourage you to read your labels and see just how much corn you are currently eating – now knowing that it really provides little to no nutrition to your body.
Substitute: Eat unprocessed bread/grain products, and go for real veggies when looking for a side on your plate.