It’s not infrequent that I get asked, ‘I eat ________. Is that bad for me?’ My response is nearly the same regardless of the real food or junk item mentioned. My philosophy has always been, no food should dawn the title of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and no person should be labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on the food items they choose to eat. Having said that, there are certain foods that quite literally give life or contain a whole host of nutrients, and then there is what could better be known as ‘junk’ with little trace of actual food (that is, nutrients).
A better question than, ‘Is this food bad for me?’ would be simply, ‘Is this food?’ Secondly, ‘Is this food better than any other food I could have chosen in this situation?’ My goal in working with patients isn’t to tell them which foods might be better choices than others, but rather coach them to figure it out on their own, and to recognize and feel the difference once it’s in their bodies. One question I generally always have them ask themselves is ‘Could a Farmer somewhere in the world grow this?’If the answer is yes, eat it! It’s a real food with real nutrients (not ingredients) that your body will know how to use. If you have to open a bag, box, or can to get to the food, this doesn’t make it bad, but it certainly should raise some questions.
(Photo cred: http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/54/a0/9c/54a09c5eb37e7726c4e2fa93ec27e434.jpg)
Flip it over and read the ingredients list on the back. Could a farmer grow, raise, harvest or forage for the ingredients listed, or was a degree in industrial chemistry required to develop the recipe? Empower yourself with knowledge by knowing how to decipher a food label (see below). Also worth browsing over is this (non-exhaustive) list of food additives. Many of which that are probably better off avoided.
Bonus tip: Take this beyond the things you consume by mouth. While we can and expose ourselves to toxins through foods, we also have the potential to absorb quite a bit through our skin and airways. You are what you eat. You aren’t what you don’t eat, and you are also what you breath, smell, touch and even think! A few of my basic principles to a healthy life… Eat whole, real food. Use simple ingredients to clean your home, self and pets with. Think and share positive thoughts.
Tell us how you simplify. What ingredients are not allowed in your home and why? What smart swaps have you and your family made?