We live in a toxic world…the toxic food that we eat, the water that we drink, the air that we breathe, and the negative thoughts that we commonly think all add to the toxic burden that our bodies have to deal with on a daily basis. A great quote I recently ran across says it nicely… “Our bodies do not need help healing, they just don’t need interference.”
The following list of Top 10 Toxic Foods provides dietary guidelines to integrate into your lifestyle for overall improved health, brain function, detoxification, hormone regulation, and weight-loss. I do not believe that there is one specific diet that is right for every person; however, making these shifts in eating habits decreases inflammation in the body, which is at the root of most modern disease. Avoiding these toxic foods will jumpstart the healing of any health condition at the cellular level.
AVOID these foods for radically better health:
1. Grains (Even Whole Grains!) – Did you know that eating two slices of whole grain bread raises blood sugar just as much as drinking a 12 ounce can of soda? Grain products such as bread, pasta, and crackers quickly turn into sugar in the body and promote inflammation at the cellular level. When cellular function is compromised due to chronic systemic inflammation, cells cannot communicate well with each other and vital hormones become unbalanced causing weight gain and a host of other ailments.
Grains also contain anti-nutrients, the plant’s innate self-defense mechanisms, which make grains very difficult for humans to digest and assimilate. Eating exclusively “whole” grains does not solve the problem either. Although whole grains contain some fiber, vitamins and minerals, they are very high in a sugar called amylose. Amylose drives cellular inflammation by spiking blood sugar, which is the same reaction that occurs after consuming non-whole processed grains. Perhaps most importantly, the majority of grains today are genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The genetic modification of grains causes the denaturing of proteins and carbohydrates to the point that the body no longer recognizes them as foods. The immune system then creates an inflammatory reaction in response to these denatured foods, which creates an ideal environment in the body for illness to arise. Grains are not the healthy food that people think they are, and should be avoided for optimal health.
3. Refined Sugar
If you want to age faster than anyone in your neighborhood, simply raise your blood sugar by eating plenty of refined sugar. Refined sugar unnaturally spikes and elevates levels of glucose and the hormones insulin and leptin. Prolonged spiking and elevation of insulin and leptin lead to insulin and leptin resistance, which means that the cells cannot hear what the hormones are telling them to do in order to function normally. This hormone resistance not only leads to premature aging, but to diabetes, heart disease, ADD, ADHD, high cholesterol, cancers, and the inability to lose weight. Consumption of refined sugar also lowers function of the immune system, and promotes systemic yeast overgrowth (called Candida), which has nasty side effects like thrush, vaginitis, fatigue, digestive issues, skin outbreaks, and more. Sugar is also an anti-nutrient, comparable to grains, and interferes with the absorption of other important nutrients. Sugar robs the body of its precious nutrient stores, and offers insignificant amounts of vitamins and minerals. Refined sugar is very toxic, and consuming it regularly will no doubt put you on the fast track to looking older than your age, and what’s worse, getting sick. To add sweetness to your diet, use stevia, which is an incredibly sweet herb native to Paraguay. The sweeteners steviosid and rebaudiosid A, extracted from the stevia plants, are 300 times sweeter than regular sugar, so you don’t need to use very much, and are not metabolized and contain no calories. Stevia is a great alternative to nasty, harmful refined white sugar.
5. Conventional Meat
There is an important distinction to understand between conventional meat and organic, grass-fed meat: the difference lies in the meat’s fatty acid ratio. Scientists now believe that a meat’s ratio of fatty acids, like omega 3 and omega 6, is more important than the measure of the singular fatty acids themselves. For example, cows were designed to eat grass. When fed an unnatural diet of grain, instead of grass, changes occur in the cow’s fatty acid ratio and denature the good fats into bad fats. Conventionally raised meat has fatty acid ratios which are greatly disproportionate to those of organic, grass-fed meat. When conventional meat is consumed by humans, the unbalanced fatty acid ratio contributes to a myriad of health problems, such as hormonal issues, skin conditions, Type 2 diabetes, and slower brain development and ADHD in children. Plus, hundreds of current studies link conventionally produced meats to cancer and heart disease. The bio-accumulation of commercial pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones in meats is alarming, and far higher than those found in commercial vegetables. And those feed lot operations are just plain sad. When shopping, try to stick to 100% grass-fed, organic meats, and support local farmers when possible. The meat tastes much better than conventional meat, and when purchasing quality meat you’re voting against the inhumane animal feeding operations that are wrecking the health of America.
7. Chemically Produced Coffee
Stop and take note of how you feel after finishing your morning cup of joe. Do you feel energized? Is your brain super-charged? Are you ready to take on the world? If you’re feeling less than stellar, reconsidering your coffee bean choice could make all the difference in how you jump-start each day. Coffee beans are typically grown in countries that do not regulate the use of chemicals and pesticides, which coat the beans that we grind and drink daily. And most coffee sold in stores is at least eight weeks old and already stale, which greatly decreases the coffee’s beneficial free-radical fighting anti-oxidants. What’s worse, coffee beans are often covered in toxic mold, called mycotoxins, which may cause a variety of serious issues like kidney disease, brain damage and hypertension. If you must drink coffee, please make sure the coffee you are buying is USDA certified organic, mold free, and high in anti-oxidants.
9. Mercury-Filled Fish
Due to the massive contamination of our oceans, many fish are filled with toxic levels of the heavy metal mercury. And pregnant women are not the only ones who should be concerned about eating toxic fish. Mercury poisoning is no joke, and has been attributed to causing a myriad of health concerns such as neurologic conditions, anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, weight loss resistance, fatigue, etc. Avoiding certain fish can help to greatly lessen your mercury exposure. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the fish with the highest levels of mercury are Mackerel (King), Marlin, Orange Roughy, Shark, Swordfish, Tilefish, and Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi). Steer clear of these most mercury-toxic fish whenever possible. Also, beware of levels of the radioactive chemical cesium that have been detected in Pacific Ocean caught fish due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Smaller fish, like sardines and anchovies, tend to be less toxic. Know where your seafood is coming from, and stay educated.