Making commitment to stop eating unhealthy processed fake foods can be a eating plan for life. Natural, real food is not only delicious and straightforward, but eating it can help counteract and prevent the chronic inflammation that is a root cause of many serious diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s and many cancers.
The first step is getting the bad unhealthy food out of your house and keeping it out.
Your refrigerator and pantry is probably teeming with less-than-healthy foods. If so, make a clean sweep and replace them with wholesome healthy choices:
“LOW FAT” foods. Don't let the "low-fat" claim on the label lure you. Most low-fat foods make up for the cut by adding in sugar and partially hydrogenated oils—or trans fats—which are detrimental to your health.
Replace any peanut butter or spreads that contains Hydrogenated oil or added soybean oil and added sugars. Replace with natural peanut butter. The ingredients should be peanuts and a little salt. Almond butter is also a great option along with other healthy natural but butters.
Jams & jellies should not contain artificially sweeteners, corn syrup and a bunch of added sugar. Jam & preserves (contain actual whole fruit) are better than jellies which are made from fruit juice.
Non-dairy & dairy creamers with unhealthy fats, artificial additives or sugars, regular margarines or spreads that contain “partially hydrogenated oil,” yogurt with added sugar, sugary fruit or artificial sweeteners, and American or processed cheeses including “cheese food.”
Organic, hormone-free whole milk & cream
Grass Fed Butter
Organic unsweetened soy, almond, rice or oat milks (look for products that do not contain the thickening agent carrageenan, and that are calcium-fortified)
Plain, full-fat organic yogurt (add your own organically grown fruit)
Small amounts of natural, hard cheeses.
Most pantries hold a confusing mix of healthful and unhealthful food items, but cleaning out the questionable ones and replacing those with better choices isn’t really all that difficult.
Toss out any cereals and breads as the vast majority are refined, presweetened or made with highly processed and refined flours, and replace them with organic, high-fiber cereals, steel-cut oats and whole-grain breads that, in whole or part, consist of intact or cracked grains. When looking at the nutrition facts, these are the ones with the most fiber and least sugar grams.
Replace instant soups (which can be very high in sodium), rice or noodle mixes (often high in sodium and undesirable fats) with whole grains such as brown rice or bulgur wheat, dried beans, peas and lentils.
Discard instant drink mixes such as iced tea, instant coffee and sugary hot chocolate mixes and replace with high quality green, white or oolong tea.
Add some spices, especially turmeric and ginger. They are important and flavorful parts of the anti-inflammatory diet.
Herbs are best when used fresh, but dried herbs, such as basil, sage, thyme, and rosemary, can keep their healthful characteristics and aroma very well.
Next time you go to the grocery store, focus on the perimeter, where fresh, whole foods tend to live. Then, choose these options:
1. Produce Section: Choose fresh, whole organic produce whenever possible. Vegetables and fruits from all parts of the color spectrum should make up most of your grocery items.
2. Jarred/Packaged Foods: Choose no- or low-sodium jarred and packaged foods.
3. Grains, Breads, Cereals And Legumes: Choose products made of whole, intact grains, not white or whole wheat-flour products. The higher the fiber grams, the better. Stock up on healthy, inexpensive staples like dried beans and lentils.
4. Dairy, Refrigerator Case And Frozen Foods: Avoid anything with carrageenan (which may be irritating to the digestive tract), choose organic, full fat, hormone-free dairy products without added sugar. Choose frozen foods that are organic. Avoid frozen meals that are high in sodium, and instead opt for healthier protein sources such as frozen edamame, omega-3 enriched eggs and fresh organic tofu.
5. Meat/Seafood/Fish: Choose fresh or frozen to widen your selection, and focus on seafood. When buying salmon, always opt for wild-caught Alaskan varieties.
6. Healthy Fats: Choose unsalted or low-salt varieties of nuts and seeds that are raw or dry roasted (store seeds in the freezer for freshness) and when it comes to oils always choose a high quality extra virgin olive oil or organic, cold-expeller-pressed canola oil for cooking and baking.