A general rule of thumb for SAFE food is ask yourself these questions …
Did this come from a plant or was it made in a plant?
Can I easily understand the list of ingredients?
Does it have an ingredient label?
Are the claims made on the packaging credible?
Can I easily understand where it was sourced from and/or can I get this item from a local source?
From origin to grave, what is the life-cycle of this food product and its packaging?
Some very smart marketers who want to sell you manufactured food in a box, have convinced the american public that cooking is hard and a chore – As in, “don’t slave over the stove all day, you deserve to buy….”
We could not disagree with them more and want to help you see through their false sense of reward. We hope to give you the tools to open your mind and see how wonderful preparing and sharing food can be. Learning how to feed yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Food, food, glorious food!
We encourage you to prepare, cook and eat food that is close to its original form and from organic and/or pasture raised sources.
We believe that one persons food can be another persons poison and so there is no one right approach that will work for every individual. Its never too late to get in touch with your body and provide it the fuel it needs.
We highly recommend you source ingredients that are in season, locally produced and are organic if possible.
Here is a wonderful interactive FOOD MAP that will show you your local ingredients by month and location in the United States. If budget is a concern check out this handy GOOD FOOD ON A TIGHT BUDGET GUIDE. Best practice is to search online and find farmers or a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s) that is in your area.
SAFE FOOD INGREDIENTS
Vegetables – In this new agricultural world all vegetables are not created equal. Large agribusinesses are genetically modifying and patenting seeds to produce large scale mono-crops. Some vegetables, while nutrient dense can be heavily sprayed with toxic chemicals and simply washing them isn’t enough to remove the herbicides or pesticides. Its is still advisable to select these over prepackaged food items, which contain all of these same chemicals, plus others used in manufacturing. See Avoid | Food Ingredients
Fruits – The same which is true for vegetables is true for fruits. Many fruits have great nutritional properties and it’s very important to become aware of which fruits are in season in your local area. Typically they are high in sugar content. From an evolutionary standpoint, it was perfect for humans to consume large amounts of fruit before winter to pack on lifesaving pounds over the barren winter months. Natural sugars found in whole fruit is an overall better selection than processed sugars found in packaged and processed foods. When used selectively and mindfully, fruits are a great addition to any diet and can provide many vitamins and fiber missing from other sources.
Grains and seeds – There are many grains and seeds you may know, but yet still many more to discover: Whole Rye, Quinoa, Oats, Barley, Millet, Brown Rice, Buckwheat, Spelt, Corn, Amaranth, Bulgur, Farro, Freekeh, Kamut, Teff, and Wheat Berry, to name a few. In moderation, when incorporated into a diet, they can provide health benefits. For many there may be sensitivities, allergic, GI and/or cognitive issues result from the consumption of grains.
Organic or grass fed meat – A good rule of thumb is when you consume animal products is to use the palm rule: Select a piece of meat that is about the size of the palm of your hand or smaller. Understandably, meat consumption is not for everyone, but if your body performs well with animal protein then it can be a beneficial food. Choosing organic, grass feed and sustainably raised is important for you and the environment. To understand labeling claims and get what you pay for read this: Sustainable Table.
Fish and seafood – Can be a great source of Omega 3’s and a very healthy addition to ones diet. There are five main concerns with fish consumption:
1.) Bacteria in uncooked or under-cooked fish, 2.) Mercury levels, 3.) Polluted waters in factory farming, 4.) Genetically modified fish, 5.) Mystery fish
Mostly the issues surrounding these concerns will arise when there is not a direct connection to where the fish is sourced and/or excessive regular fish consumption. Certain fish sources have higher contamination levels than others.
Eggs – Most often we think of chickens when it comes to eggs, but there are many other birds who produce these dietary gems: Ducks, Quail, Pheasant, Geese, to name a few. Eggs can be reactive to digest for some, but for others they can provide a well-balanced dietary bonus. Eggs can be used many different ways and do not have to be confined to a morning meal. They are rich in protein, good fats and vitamins.
Nuts – What we think of as nuts can often be seeds or edible fruits. Typically they are high in fat and/or protein content and can sometimes be turned into oil. They are very nutritious with various vitamins and minerals and can be incorporated into culinary dishes or enjoyed on their own.
Fats and oils – Seemingly the low-fat craze is over and we have done much needed research in the field of fats and oils. The verdict is in: Fats do not make you fat or cause heart disease. There is a difference in the quality of oils and the quality of fats we consume and they behave in different ways in our bodies. Some have great nutritional value, like olive oil and coconut oil, while others help with the function of our brain and cellular metabolism. Its important not to lump the entire group under “fats”, but seek to understand the benefit of each. Choosing an organic high-quality brand is also important as the oil industry is rife with fraud.
Water – Are you drinking enough? It is estimated that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Fatigue, excessive appetite and headache are just few symptoms, while it can lead to more serious medical conditions from respiratory and circulation problems to headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure and kidney disease. Water is truly the life blood of our world and yet we are so quick to misuse or contaminate it. Becoming aware of what is in your water and where your bottled water comes from is becoming more and more important. If you are still trying to figure out bottle vs tap, you are not alone, as more and more studies show that bottled water has less oversight than our tap water. Investing in a good water filter is always a safe bet.
Juice – In its fresh pressed form, is a great way to get a quick delivery system of vitamins and minerals. Often times fruit juice can contain high amounts of sugar. A glass of mass manufactured OJ can contain as much sugar as the same amount of sugar soda. As with all food choices, its important to have it fresh and from organic sources. It’s important to remember that the whole food versions of these fruits and vegetables have much needed fiber and nutrients that are missed out on when one only turns to juice as a form of daily intake for fruits and vegetables. Finding a healthy balance is key. For those recovering from a major illness or surgery, where consuming whole foods is not possible, having fresh organic pressed juice can speed the road to recovery.
Dairy – Dairy is not an essential part of a healthy diet, but for those who enjoy dairy (such as cheese, milk or cream) it can be a wonderful addition to dishes or enjoyed on its own. Always choose high-quality or organic dairy products. Many of the manufactured grated cheeses are more cellulose fiber than real cheese, so buyer beware. The milk and dairy counsel has some strong lobbyists in Washington DC and have helped to shape the Food Pyramid and My Plate dietary recommendations. While they recommend 2-3 servings a day, this idea has been proven to do more harm than good. Harvard School for Public Health has created a pyramid, that based on evidence limits the amount of dairy, as it can cause bones to become more brittle and not stronger as marketed by the dairy industry. In addition to adverse other health effects, many people are lactose intolerant, which if left unattended to can cause a variety of gastrointestinal issues.
I want to know more!
Environmental Working Group released a list of 12 ingredients you will want to become familiar with and look for on your product labels. There are always choices, so make sure you become familiar with ingredient decks and look for these common processed food ingredients – Click here to find out more.
If you want to see exactly what is in the food products you are or have been purchasing, along with a score to measure its toxicity, you may find this tool very helpful. Click here to learn more about individual products you like to buy.
Local Harvest – FIND A CSA Locate farmers markets, family farms, CSAs, farm stands, and u-pick produce in your neighborhood.
Slow Food USA – links the pleasures of the table with a commitment to protect the community, culture and environment. SIGN THE MANIFESTO
Solution Center – FIND A HEALTH COACH – Search our directory of professionals who can help you on your path and guide you towards healthy meal plans