Ever since I became a vegetarian 7 years ago I have been working on eating healthier.
- At first I was eating everything except meat (including dairy)
- Then I became a vegan 6 months later, so I gave up dairy, etc.
- When I moved to L.A. I learned about raw foods, and gave that a try, but I couldn't keep it up permanently
- It's pretty common knowledge that salt should be used sparingly
- Various people suggested I avoid processed foods, so I try to make my own meals or eat at restaurants with fresh food.
- I met a guy who was macrobiotic and didn't really get the concept until I started eating at Seed and became friends with macro chef Christy Morgan.
- After reading the book Sugar Blues I tried to eat less sugar, but haven't been very successful
- Several people have said that soy is bad in excess, so I try to avoid that as much as possible
- Movies like Food Inc. inspired me to avoid corn too
- Recently I discovered that eating too much garlic and onion isn't the greatest because they are meant to be used for medicinal purposes when we're sick, so over consumption weakens their effect when we need them
- The movie Forks Over Knives implied that oil was bad for you, and then T. Colin Campbell said it himself at his talk.
- There's a great new blog by a women who's avoiding products connected to Monsanto/GMOs
I could probably go on, but the point is that there are so many things to avoid, I often feel stumped when it comes to eating. So what do you eat when you shouldn't eat:
- animal products (including honey)
- processed foods
- perhaps even cooked foods?!?
Because of all this information I find myself doing circles around the grocery store, afraid to pick up anything! Then I stand in the produce section, motionless, with no clue what to make with any of the options. I often leave with only a few products (some of which have ingredients from the "bad list") and wonder why I never have anything to eat in my home! This can seriously drive you crazy. But, as you know if you read my site, I eat a lot of foods that are on the "bad list"...
The lessons I've learned:
- set aside time to plan recipes/read cookbooks before grocery shopping
- food can still taste good without the "bad ingredients"
- it's not the end of the world if I divulge in a bad of potato chips or a "bad" meal at a restaurant every once in a while
I think it is this very reason that so many people are intimidated by healthy eating - it is a major commitment. The good news is, once you get the hang of it it's much easier, and completely worth it. Eating healthy has major benefits, and the foods on the "bad list" are there for a reason - they've been linked to health problems. So take the time to educate yourself and take baby steps, but don't be afraid.
For example, tonight I looked in my fridge and all I had was bok choy. I decided to try it without oil, salt, or garlic. After rinsing it off I tossed it in the wok and fried it with a bit of water. I was quite surprised by the taste - not too bad! In fact, bok choy has a pretty great flavor alone, and I didn't miss the additives. The best part is, I had no guilt! : )
Ironically I saw this episode of The Simpsons after writing this - pretty spot on.
What are your thoughts on this? Is this extreme, or do you strive to do the same? What are your favorite recipes and cookbooks that don't have ingredients from "the bad list"?
Here are some responses from Twitter & Facebook:
- Maryl Celiz: Salt is great for the body - ONLY WHEN IT'S HIMALAYAN/CELTIC SEA SALT. The rest is poison. Soy and corn are only "bad" because they're our top GMO crops in the USA. Solution: Always buy them organic. Processed sugar is bad and too much of it at all is not great. But fruit, maple sugar and agave can sweeten ur day just fine. Garlic/onions are the main flavor-givers in many cuisines, no such thing as over-consumption. Use them, they keep u healthy!! Oil in its natural state (not heated) is not only great for u, its necessary for brain and other functions. Algaes are essential to good plant-based health. Grab some Nori and make some sushi!
- Gabrielle Smith: "Eating for maximum nutritional value and completeness, with no artificial ingredients, and little to no processing, i.e. fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts. Whole foods. Plant foods. My best resource is years of reading, and knowing what I really "ought" to eat."
Please read the comment below too - they are excellent!