Monday July 1, 2019
The culture of food and nutrition in the United States has changed drastically since the 1950’s. Before processed, easily preserved, easy to heat up and eat food options became the norm, humans were accustomed to eating locally grown, organic foods with little to no toxins.
The way food is prepared, preserved and shipped today has a huge impact on our health and wellness. Convenience has become more important than nutrition. Profits have become more relevant than the physical impacts of the food we consume.
Is Your Food Toxic?
Today’s agricultural industry is more of a well-oiled machine than it is a process for growing healthy food. There are numerous issues concerning how our food is grown and packaged before arriving at a local grocery store.
- Sugars - As a society, we have become addicted to sweet foods. Our taste buds expect a certain level of sweetness in many of our food and drink options and to make food taste better and be more appealing, companies load many of their products with added, and unnecessary, sugar or sugar substitutes. Some of the sugar substitutes have proved to be harmful to humans.
- Preservatives – In the early days, simple salt was used to prolong meats and perishable foods so they could be saved for longer periods of time. Now, many preservatives are manufactured so that by the time you buy food, it has been shelved in some way for months before consumption. The added chemicals, plus the time between when the food was fresh and when it was eaten, are both contributing to health issues experienced by many.
- Hormones – Animal husbandry is a multi-million-dollar industry where animals are raised, beefed up with chemicals and hormones (that aren’t good for humans), and then slaughtered, preserved and sent to grocery chains around the country. This process is designed to sell more meat, not ensure that what you eat will not harm you. High levels of animal hormones can change the way our bodies function and aren’t meant for human consumption.
- Chemical Processing – Processed foods are filled with additional chemicals such as artificial flavors, colorants, texturants and preservatives. This chemical processing is designed to make the food more appealing but these additives are not food and are often harmful to our systems.
- Lack of Nutrients – Much of the processed food we eat, such as canned vegetables, have actually processed out all of the beneficial nutrients. This means that even the food we believe to be healthy, actually has little to no nutritional value.
- Chemical Pest Control – The pesticides and insecticides being used on our foods to grow the biggest crops, are chemicals, not designed to mesh well with the human body.
Eating Without Toxins
What’s a person to do when it comes to picking healthier food? The truth is food, in its original form, never needed to be altered. It was perfect just the way it was. All of the added chemicals, processes, and hormones are the culprits of many of our health issues today. If you are looking to change your food consumption habits, you’ll need to start by investing in natural, organic food sources. Here are some options:
- Purchase meat and dairy with labels that announce that the food is hormone-free and grass-fed. Locally sourced is often an indicator that there are fewer preservatives involved.
- Look for produce that is organic.
- Purchase food and vegetables from local farmers markets or stores that make locally sourced food a priority.
- Grow your own food and herbs with a backyard garden.
- Pay attention to nutrition labels.
- Make your own spices.
Budgeting for Organic Food
Maybe you’re thinking to yourself that making the switch to natural food is a great idea, but you can’t swing the higher cost? I hear you. It is common practice for organic foods to cost more at the grocery store than their processed, or overly-tampered with, counterparts. Here are some tips on easing into eating naturally without breaking the bank:
- Cut back on meat consumption. Let’s face it, meat is expensive. Think about areas where you could substitute meat with a more affordable cut or another protein and buy in bulk to freeze and make it stretch further.
- Buy in bulk. Identify any foods that have a longer shelf life and figure out how to save money by purchasing in bulk. Brown rice, sweet potatoes, beans, onions, dried or canned foods are all designed to last longer.
- Plan for leftovers. You don’t need ingredients for 3 meals a day. Plan to cook a bit more at dinner and have the leftovers for lunch the next day.
- Do your research. Who near you has the best prices? Is there a local farm or farmer’s market (some even deliver seasonal produce!)? Is there a nearby co-op group?
- Eat seasonal. Fruits and veggies cost less when they are in season and come from a local source.
- Grow your own. While certainly more time-consuming, the rewards of growing your own food are pretty amazing.
As a Certified Nutritional Therapist, I understand the dangers and set-backs of the toxins in the food we eat. If you’d like to explore this topic in more detail and find out how to begin eating healthier right now, book a free consultation here.