Hopefully you’ve made a few changes over recent weeks and months… If you’ve been following along with our No-Sugar Challenge, you’ve probably made some big changes. The main thing we talked about in the first post about making some small changes was just being aware of what you are eating and then avoiding some really bad food additives like MSG, hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. Another thing we talked about was upgrading produce on the dirty dozen list to organic.
Today, we’re going to talk about some steps you can implement to take your whole food journey to the next level.
First, consider upgrading your eggs. Factory farmed eggs are necessary to avoid for a number of reasons. Chickens fed a typical diet of corn and other grains are not going to produce healthful eggs. Conventional eggs are greatly lacking in nutrients when compared with those from pastured, grass and bug fed chickens. Eggs from free-range chickens have been shown to contain more vitamins A and E and beta carotene, as well as 21 times more omega-3s! Before I even knew the importance of eating free-range eggs, I could see the difference between the yolk of a store-bought egg and the yolk of eggs my family received from my in-laws, who raise chickens to run around their property and eat all the bugs and grass they want. Healthy yolks should be thick and orange, and the eggs are even healthy to eat raw! Factory-farmed, grain-fed egg yolks will have a weak, runny, light yellow yolk. I would not use these eggs raw because they likely come from unhealthy chickens.
So, where should you get your eggs from? You will likely find organic, cage free eggs at the store. However, you will most likely find that these eggs are “vegetarian” fed, which simply means they are not allowed to free-range and eat grass and bugs. This is not your best option, and at $4 or more per dozen, they are usually a lot pricier than their more conventional counterparts. If you have a large, health-focused grocer nearby, you may be able to find grass-fed, pastured, or free-range eggs. This is not an option in the smaller town where I live. I have found a much better solution! I get eggs from a local family who let their chickens run around outside. The bonus? They charge even less than most of the conventional eggs at the store. It’s a win-win for us! And even better than that- we are now raising our own hens in a backyard mobile coop. Just in the last few days, one of them has started laying! Soon, we will have all of the eggs our family will eat from our own four chickens in our backyard!
The second thing I want you to take into consideration in changing your eating habits to represent a whole-foods diet, is what type of oil you are cooking your foods in. Conventional oils like vegetable oil and even canola oil, both of which are touted as healthy alternatives to butter, are bad for your health. Plain and simple. Vegetable oil is made from soy beans, which by now you may know are most likely genetically modified. You may also know that soy is bad for you in general, unless it is organic and fermented. Canola oil, pushed as a health food, is also genetically modified. Did you know that canola isn’t even a plant? Canola oil is actually made from rapeseed; canola is just the name given to it due it having been grown originally in Canada.
Instead, only oils that start out as a solid should be used for cooking: real butter, palm oil and coconut oil. These can all be used for frying foods stove top or in recipes as an even exchange for liquid oils. Many times, in an attempt to eat healthier, people will use olive oil in their cooking. I used to as well, until I learned that olive oil, although a good and healthy oil, should not be used when cooking, but rather for very low heat or cold foods, like salad dressings. This is due to the low smoking point of olive oil, at which point the oil is no longer healthy to consume. Remember: when choosing oils, organic is always best, as some oils, particularly olive oils, have been found to be impure. Aside from organic, or if organic is not possible, try to find the least processed oils you can: those that have not been heated or bleached. Extra virgin, unrefined oils are the best choice.
Finally, begin to add fats back into your diet if you are on the “low-fat” bandwagon. As I mentioned, real butter is good for you. Coconut oil, high in saturated fat, is good for you. Eggs, cholesterol- filled yolks and all, are good for you! These foods, believe it or not, are heart healthy. Here is a page that highlights the nutritional values of eating these very necessary and healthy fats. Please read it and allow yourself to be open to the idea that everything you have ever learned about fat may be wrong!
If you currently drink low- or no-fat milk, switch to whole milk (or eliminate milk altogether if you aren’t able to get raw milk). In fact, stay away from anything labelled “low-fat” or “fat-free.” These are gimmicks that we have been led to believe are better for us, when in fact, the absence of fat in our diets is leading to the absence of nutrients. Not only are most of the nutrients removed from a food when the fat is removed, but the absence of fat makes it difficult for our bodies to absorb the fat-soluble nutrients in the rest of our food.
So, where are you on your Whole Food Health Journey? Let us know how it’s going in the comments below!