General Principles for Food
If we get fixated on all the foods that we should not be eating, it can discourage and cause us to quit trying. I want to encourage you to focus on all of the healthy foods you can eat that taste wonderful. Also, remember my 95% rule. If you eat correctly 95% of the time you get an A in my class.
For some people, unhealthy trigger foods can start them on a path to failure. Kevin, who lost 170 pounds, identified French fries as the food that triggered him to get off track and eat other bad foods. Identify any food that cause you to stumble and avoid them. (Details are in the addiction section in the 7 Systems Plan course)
We will start with #7 and work up to #1. Let’s make some simple changes to improve your health!
7. Canned Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a wonderful food and I encourage you to eat them in any form. I use tomato paste, tomato sauces and fresh tomatoes regularly. So why not canned tomatoes?
Many people don’t know that plastics are often used to line the inside of a can to prevent it from deteriorating. BPA is one of the plastics that is frequently used. Because tomatoes are acidic, it can degrade the plastic and allow it to enter the food.
Shockingly, the average American eats a credit card worth of plastic every week!
I encourage you to avoid all plastics, but especially BPA. Sadly, BPA is now in almost every American. These plastics are extremely detrimental to our health and are one of the reasons that sperm count in American men has decreased by 50% over my lifetime.
Most plastic containers will have a symbol on the bottom. The symbols 3 and 7 are the worst and should be avoided.
Alternative: Fresh Tomatoes
Fresh and organic is always the best alternative for produce. I understand this is not always possible, so glass jars are a good alternative.
I purchase tomato sauces, tomato paste and tomatoes in jars from Thrive Market, my favorite go to stores for online shopping.
6. Non-organic Produce
Non-organic produce can be loaded with glyphosate. This is a pesticide used on produce to make it easier to mass produce fruits, vegetables, and grains. It is toxic to the body and damages the lining of our gut, resulting in leaky gut. Glyphosate consumption has been linked to cancer, neuro-degenerative disease, and many other health problems. It is present in almost every person in America. Sadly, I believe it is impossible to completely avoid, but we do need to drastically decrease our exposure.
Alternative: Organic Produce
Going all organic is absolutely the best option but is not always possible. Some foods, the “clean 15,” are OK to eat without being organic. On the other hand, some foods, the “dirty dozen,” contain many more toxins and should only be eaten organic. Buy organic for the dirty dozen and confidently purchase the clean 15 conventionally.
5. French Fries
It is alarming today that Americans’ principal source of vegetables are French fries. On average, Americans consume 30 pounds of French fries per year, and someone else is eating my 30 pounds! They are a double hazard because of their high glycemic index (sugar content) and bad fat content. They are a highly addictive food and can trigger eating other harmful foods.
Get a Side Salad
One of my goals on the 7 Systems Plan is to help you eat more vegetables. Almost every restaurant will accommodate you and allow substitutions. You can’t go wrong by adding a salad to a meal; just use caution with the salad dressing you order.
Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries have a lower glycemic index, and if you cook them at home, you avoid the unhealthy fats used in restaurants.
4. Processed Meat
On the 7 Systems Plan, we encourage people to eat less meat and use more plant alternatives.
Some meats are perfectly acceptable, while others are not. Highly processed meat, like deli meats, cured meats and conventionally raised meats should be avoided.
Conventionally raised chicken is especially concerning. It is high in omega-6 and antibiotics, making it something you should limit or avoid completely. If you have to use conventionally raised meat, I believe beef is a better option than poultry.
Pasture-raised or Wild-caught
Wild-caught fish that are high in omega-3 and low in mercury are at the top of my meat list. The salmon we use is Thrive Market Wild Pink Salmon.
Pasture-raised beef and poultry have much higher omega-3 and lower omega-6 content. I know it costs more, but remember, we are eating less. Think the size of your palm, not half of your plate.
3. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, Splenda, Acesulfame K, and sucralose should be completely avoided. Studies show that just using one packet of Splenda can kill off half your good gut bacteria.
Artificial sweeteners also can have neurotoxic effects. They have been shown to increase the likelihood of mood disorders, overstimulation of neuron cells in the brain, and probability of brain-related cancers.
Many people use these because they think they will help them lose weight since they contain zero calories. Studies show just the opposite because of the effect on your gut microbiome.
Alternative: Natural Sweeteners
All sweeteners need to be used sparingly. Follow the 7 Systems Plan and it will be easier and easier to enjoy real food and not need extra sugar.
If you do use sweeteners at times, Stevia is my favorite sugar substitute. Other healthier options are organic coconut palm sugar or organic raw honey. They also should be used sparingly as they will still cause a rise in blood sugar.
Swerve (Erythritol) is also a good alternative. They have zero calories and do not harm your gut bacteria. You can order them from Thrive Market.
2. Soft Drinks and High-fructose Corn Syrup
Patients make tremendous benefits by simply eliminating soft drinks from their diet. On average, Americans consume 45 gallons of soda per year! There is absolutely no way to keep your Systems functioning correctly consuming this much sugar. This is one of the reasons 50% of all Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic.
High fructose corn syrup is the worst of the worst of all sugars. It must be metabolized in the liver, unlike other sugars. Because of this, it can cause liver damage and contribute to fatty liver disease.
Because it is cheap, you will find it in almost all processed foods. I encourage you to read the labels and avoid it at all costs.
Drink more water! On the 7 Systems Plan, you’ll consume half your weight in ounces of water per day. Most Americans come nowhere close to this, but every system in your body needs water to function correctly. A lack of water contributes to many diseases and weight gain.
Studies show that coffee has many health benefits, including weight loss. Limit your consumption to about 2 cups per day and enjoy. I strongly encourage you to drink your coffee black. Make sure you get organic, medium roast coffee and grind the beans yourself for maximum freshness.
Tea, especially green tea, can and have all the health benefits of coffee and even more.
And now for what I believe is the worst of the worst.
Vegetable and Seed Oils
Vegetable oil has moved up my list to take over the number one spot on foods to avoid. It is virtually impossible to maintain a healthy omega-3/omega-6 ratio if you consume these oils regularly. They spread inflammation throughout your body, causing damage in each of your 7 Systems. We will discuss this more in future newsletters.
Every cell in your body is surrounded by a membrane made of fatty acids. Omega-3 makes the healthiest and most functional cell membrane. Omega-6 makes a weak cell membrane that does not function optimally. This decreases the ability of the cell to let nutrients in, get toxins out and respond to hormones, impairing your health. The brain is also significantly affected by high intakes of vegetable oils.
Unfortunately, these vegetable oils are in almost all processed foods. Be sure to read the label and discontinue products that have corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, cotton seed oil, canola oil and peanut oil.
One reason I encourage you to limit eating meals out is that most restaurant food is very high in these unhealthy oils.
Of all the oils you can use for recipes and cooking, olive oil is at the top of my list. Please keep in mind that not all oils are the same. Some actually contain mostly canola oil. Sadly, oils are poorly regulated.
Always buy olive oil in a colored glass bottle. Also, use a reputable brand like Bragg organic extra virgin olive oil from Thrive Market. Never use cheap olive oil. Keep in mind that even olive oil can go rancid, so make sure you store it in a cool, dark place.
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
This oil contains healthy fats and is safe for cooking up to 350°F which is its smoke point. Unlike olive oil, coconut oil is remarkably stable and has a long shelf life.
It contains healthy fats that also have antibacterial and anti-yeast properties to support your gut microbiome. I use Dr. Bronner’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil from Thrive Market.
Avocado oil has a mild flavor and can be used for homemade salad dressings and recipes when you do not want an overpowering taste. Because it has the highest smoke point of all oils, it is perfect for sautéing. I like Primal Kitchen Pure Avocado Oil from Thrive Market.
Butter has been demonized for years as margarine came into vogue. Do not fall for this; butter is a much healthier alternative. It contains saturated fat which, when used in limited quantities, is good for you. Use grass-fed butter sparingly to add delicious flavor.
For your health,
<< Previous Article