Five “Health Foods” to Avoid
This morning, if you ate what you considered to be a healthy breakfast such as wheat toast, orange juice, eggs cooked in vegetable oil and a glass of store-bought milk, you’ve just eaten 4 of the following 5 so-called “health” foods that should definitely be avoided. With so many new health claims in the news, you may be confused about what truly is healthy, not to mention the old, traditional claims that are just plain wrong but are so engrained in our society that they’re hard to change.
The following 5 foods are widely known as generally “healthy” foods, but as you’ll soon read, you are much better off without them.
Since 1990, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines have recommended that Americans eat 6 to 11 servings of bread and other grain foods every day, and many consumers dutifully purchase wheat bread as opposed to white bread because they believe it is more nutritious. The American Academy of Pediatrics even says that “whole-wheat bread offers a nutritional advantage over white bread.”
However, wheat bread should not be considered a healthy or even necessary part of the diet. Commercial wheat is often contaminated with mycotoxins and mercury fumigants, and is usually highly heated (baked at 350 to 400 deg. F., temperatures far above boiling – the maximum, body-friendly temperature). Most wheat products have not been soaked overnight before processing to eliminate their naturally occurring enzyme inhibitors, which can stress your digestion and deplete your enzyme reserves.
Negative Effects of Wheat
Due to all these factors, most wheat products, no matter what form you find, such as refined white wheat, wheat, whole wheat, cracked wheat, sprouted wheat, etc., they are all capable of causing these following problems:
- Celiac disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Developmental delay in children
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Intolerance to highly heated wheat products is far more common than most doctors typically recognize.
Although many health experts preach about the benefits of whole grains, wheat and nearly all other grain products have been highly heated which triggers the formation of toxic compounds. When consumed, these trigger a complex immune response in the body, spending the body’s immune supply of leucocytes (i.e. white blood cells). These toxic wheat compounds accelerate aging by forming free radicals and toxic end-chain glycation products that also tax the body’s eliminatory organs (liver, kidney), setting the stage for chronic illness and later, advanced diseases such as cancer. The best strategy is to limit or avoid highly heated wheat products altogether.
Caution for Kapha Types
If your metabolism is predominantly oriented as a “Kapha”, an Ayuvedic constitutional type (about one-third of all people), then highly heated grains can also dramatically help promote overweight, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. However, no matter what constitutional type, if you indulge in eating highly heated grains, you may be heading for any number of diseases. Avoiding most commercial wheat products may almost certainly mean an increased level of health for you.
Commercial Wheat Bread vs. Organic, Sprouted Wheat Bread
However, truly organically grown wheat (which has not been stored in carbon dioxide-gassed containers or fumigated with mercury fumigants at a later time — often the case even with organic wheat) can be a wonderful, healthy food. It can be sprouted (soaked overnight to eliminate its enzyme inhibitors) and then ground into a liquid paste with water and used to make “flat bread” when heated on a skillet (takes only a minute or two to cook each pancake-like bread). You can use virgin coconut oil as an excellent cooking oil (it has a high smoke point and does not turn rancid at normal cooking temperatures). This delicious bread is heart-healthy and can be a great bread staple for the whole family. Flat breads have been used for centuries in many cultures.
Although it takes time to make homemade flat bread, do not be tempted to buy so-called sprouted bread. This type of bread is often made with wheat which has been contaminated (mold, mercury fumigants, pesticides, etc. – even if labeled organic) and has been highly heated (i.e. heated over boiling temperature – 212 deg. F.) to make the bread. Sprouted bread sources are usually best avoided.
Wheat vs. Wheat Grass
Do not confuse highly heated wheat grain products with organic wheat grass. Well grown, organic, non-fumigated wheat grass (which is not a grain, but a sprout – in the category of a vegetable) which has been low-temperature, air-dried has exceptional health benefits due to its content of a wide range of natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more. Please note: literally no American-grown wheat grass or wheat grass juices test free of pesticides. Therefore, we recommend only South American-grown wheat grass as your best source.
Polyunsaturated oils, which include vegetable oils like corn, soy, safflower and canola, are the worst oils you can eat, as generally Americans’ intake of Omega-6 fat from these vegetable oils is far too high.
The Ideal 1:1 Omega Ratio
Experts looking at the dietary ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids suggest that in early human history, the ratio was about 1:1. Currently, most Americans eat a dietary ratio that falls between 20:1 and 50:1. The optimal ratio is most likely closer to the original ratio of 1:1. For most of us, this means we need to greatly reduce the Omega-6 fatty acids (as found in polyunsaturated oils) and increase the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids we consume.
Further, polyunsaturated oils are the worst oils to cook with because they tend to become easily oxidized (rancid) when exposed to heat from cooking. This results in the formation of trans fat, acrylamides, damaging free radicals and a host of other carcinogens.
Virgin Coconut Oil: The Oil of Choice
Unfortunately, the truly healthy oil, unprocessed, virgin coconut oil, is regarded as the ‘dangerous’ oil while vegetables oils are regarded as healthy — when it is really the other way around. Ironically, most sources of coconut oil in the U.S. have been hydrogenated, thus making most coconut oil sources an unhealthy choice. The only coconut oil that is recommended for consumption is the one still in its original, pristine state — extra virgin, unprocessed coconut oil from India (grown in lush soil near the sea).
In recent years, soy has emerged as a ‘near perfect’ food, with supporters claiming it can provide an ideal source of protein, lower cholesterol, protect against cancer and heart disease, reduce menopause symptoms, and prevent osteoporosis, among other things.
The Confusion of Whole Soy vs. Fermented Soy
However, the research has confused the effects of whole soy vs. naturally fermented soy. For centuries in many traditional cultures, naturally fermented soy products such as tofu, miso and tempeh, have been a mainstay in the food supply and have benefited the populations with increased health and longevity due to their immune-boosting probiotic levels (promoting digestive and intestinal health) and their highly bioavailable phytonutrients such as fermented isoflavones, proven protectors against chronic diseases such as cancer. Whole soy (which has not been fermented) simply does not have these beneficial effects – nor did the ancient cultures consume whole soy in an unfermented form.
Hormone-Balancing Effects of Fermented Isoflavones
Fermented soy (the only desirable form of soy) contains highly bioavailable isoflavones and phytoestrogens that can support healthy estrogen levels. Fermented isoflavones promote healthy menstrual cycles as well as provide dramatically beneficial support during and after menopause, often eliminating the need for synthetic estrogens.
Negative Effects of Unfermented Soy
Numerous studies have found that consumption of whole soy (unfermented)
is associated with many health problems, including:
- Increase the risk of breast cancer in women, brain damage in both men and women, and abnormalities in infants
- Contribute to thyroid disorders, especially in women
- Promote kidney stones
- Weaken the immune system
- Cause severe, potentially fatal food allergies
Unfermented soy products, such as soy drinks, soy ice cream and other soy products readily available in health food stores are best avoided. Unfermented whole soy is particularly problematic for infants, and soy infant formulas should be avoided. It is very difficult to digest, causes colic (intestinal gas) as well as other health dysfunctions.
Despite the widespread notion that milk is healthy, drinking pasteurized milk (as sold in most grocery stores) is frequently associated with a worsening of health.
Raw Milk and Cream
On the other hand, raw milk (unpasteurized) can be a wonderful health food, especially when made into homemade keifer. Raw cream (not pasteurized) is also an excellent, healthy food, eaten as is or when combined with raw milk to make kiefer. However, beware of your source of raw milk or raw cream. Raw dairy products from unhealthy cows or if left out of refrigeration for long periods of time, can grow unwanted pathogenic organisms which can then infect the consumer.
For all three constitution types (according to Ayurveda), homemade keifer can be an excellent, healthy source of protein, fat and probiotics. However, if you have a Kapha constitution (one of the 3 Ayurvedic constitutions), you may need smaller amounts of keifer to avoid weight gain. If you are a Pitta type, drinking small amounts of raw cream (with its high fat content and rich source of immune-promoting compounds) regularly can be an excellent, health-balancing food. Pasteurized milk or cream does not have these benefits and is best avoided.
Toxic Effects of Pasteurization
The pasteurization process creates many problems in milk. As Sally Fallon of the Weston Price Foundation states:
“Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.
Calves fed pasteurized milk die before maturity. Raw milk sours naturally, but pasteurized milk turns putrid and processors must remove slime and pus from pasteurized milk by a process of centrifugal clarification. Inspection of dairy herds for disease is not required for pasteurized milk.”
Unfortunately, raw milk is not commercially available. You will need to seek out a local dairy farmer in your area as a supplier. Sally Fallon has compiled a website that provides further information about this important food source, including where you can purchase raw milk.
Orange Juice (and All Fruit Juice)
Fruit juice has about 8 full teaspoons of sugar per 8-ounce glass. This sugar is a fruit sugar called fructose, which in concentrated quantities, can cause a major increase in insulin levels in the body. If consumed on a regular basis, this may contribute to insulin resistance and overweight.
Further, many commercial orange juices are contaminated with mold from damaged fruit when they are processed. Secondly, most commercial oranges are heavily sprayed with pesticides. When oranges are processed, they are squeezed with the rind still on the orange (where the pesticide sprays are), so the juice may contain high pesticide residues. If you drink commercial orange juice regularly, you will be exposed to these mold toxins and pesticide residues. In addition, some commercial orange juices add refined sugar to their products, often not listed on the label. Refined sugar consumption contributes to insulin resistance, immune system impairment, overweight as well as most chronic diseases.
Eat Fruit in its Whole Form
This doesn’t mean that you must avoid fruit, just fruit juice. When the fruit is intact and whole, its fiber moderates the release of fructose into the bloodstream, thus moderating insulin release. A temporary compromise might be to obtain organic fruit, such as oranges, squeeze it to liberate its juice, then dilute it 50/50 with purified water or sparkling water. This helps to slow down the release of insulin when consumed.
Blended Fruit Drinks
If consuming fruit in its whole form is too boring for you, a wonderfully delicious and super healthy way to have a liquid whole fruit drink is to obtain a TurboBlend, a type of heavy-duty kitchen blender. This device will liquefy a whole fruit or combination of fruits within seconds to yield a thick, flavor-rich smoothie with all its fiber intact.
However, if you are overweight, have high blood pressure or high blood sugar, it may be wise to avoid eating most fruits (especially fruit juice) until you have these problems under control. If you do not know your body type, you can complete a Tridosha questionnaire to determine your body type.