1) POPCORN (The Microwave Kind)
I know, I know…it’s supposed to be healthier for us, right? Wrong! Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), found in the bags, are linked to infertility. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer (according to UCLA.) Manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.
Do what we do – buy regular kernels and place a cup full of them in a pot with 2 tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil – cover. When the kernels start to “pop,’ shake the covered pot to prevent scorching. Season with parmesean, herbs, whatever!
2) APPLES (The Conventional Kind)
If there were a contest held of fruits “most doused in pesticides”, apples would win. Why? They are individually grafted (descended from a single tree) so that each variety maintains its distinctive flavor. As such, apples don’t develop resistance to pests and are sprayed very frequently. They say that it’s not harmful to us, but it’s just common sense to minimize exposure by avoiding the most doused produce – apples. Is it a coincidence that apple farmers, using these same pesticides, have higher rates of many cancers? The same pesticides have also been linked to Parkinson’s Disease.
Buy Organic Apples – PERIOD!
3) POTATOES (The Un-Organic Kind)
This is a biggie, I know! In fact, this is one that I have to work on starting my next SuperMarket run. Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes (the nation’s most popular starch) they’re treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they’re dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting. Many potato growers say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals. Now that’s something to really think about.
BUY Organic Potatoes (I’m starting this weekend) – I just found out that they’re about $2 more for a 5lb bag.
4) TOMATOES (The Ones in Cans)
It’s not necessarily the tomato that’s the problem, it’s the can! The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A (a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.) Unfortunately, acidity, a prominent characteristic of tomatoes, causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people’s body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that’s a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young.
BUY Organic Tomatoes or Tomatoes in Jars (glass has no linings made of resin), Coluccio is a good brand – I get those in winter months when fresh tomatoes are not at optimal peaks.
5) MILK (Produced with Artificial Hormones)
Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk – eew! It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers. The obesity issue in America is becoming linked to these artificial hormones in foods and dairy.
WE drink almond milk exclusively now – it tastes great, it’s non-dairy, and it has the look and feel of regular whole milk – without soy, cholesterol free, lactose free, and a 1/3 less calories than milk.
6) SALMON (The “Farmed” Kind)
Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, corn, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers (what the HELL is that??) As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity, but some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks. There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals. Don’t be fooled by labels called “ORGANIC” with seafoods – There are no regulations for “organic” as of yet for seafoods (they’re working on it) but you’ll see “Organic Salmon” in a lot of stores (these fisheries later state that “organic” refers to the farmed-salmon’s diet. So let me get this right, this salmon was fed organic corn??)
BUY WILD ALASKAN SALMON when you can or just do without. Again, be careful – now some of these fisheries are touting the label FRESH ATLANTIC – if you see that, know that it’s farm-raised and not wild Alaskan at all.
7) BEEF (The Corn-fed Kind)
We know that cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. But more money for cattle farmers (and lower prices at the grocery store) means a lot less nutrition for us. A recent comprehensive study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. (We need to respect the fact that cows are herbivores, and that does not mean feeding them corn and chicken manure – eeewww!!)
BUY Grass-Fed Beef – trust me, you’ll know if it’s grass-fed because it pays a premium for the label. Yes, it’s more expensive, but worth it (you should be eating beef only once a week anyway, so you can buy less.)
8 ) DRIED FRUITS (Such as Raisins, Cranberries, Apricots, Etc.)
Commercially grown dried raisins are treated with sulfur dioxide gas during processing. They may also be treated with sulfites to extend their shelf life. Sulfur-containing compounds are often added to dried foods like raisins as preservatives to help prevent oxidation and bleaching of colors. The sulfites used to help preserve dried raisins cause adverse reactions in an estimated one out of every 100 people, who turn out to be sulfite sensitive. Sulfite reactions can be particularly acute in people who suffer from asthma. The Federal Food and Drug Administration estimates that 5 percent of asthmatics may suffer a reaction when exposed to sulfites.
RAISINS that are classified as “organic” do not contain sulfites since federal regulations prohibit the use of these preservatives in organically grown or produced foods. Therefore, concern about sulfite exposure is yet another reason to purchase organic raisins.
Clean eating means choosing fruits, vegetables, and meats that are raised, grown, and sold with minimal processing. Often they’re organic, and rarely (if ever) should they contain additives. But in some cases, the methods of today’s food producers are neither clean nor sustainable. The result is damage to our health, the environment, or both. 8 Foods You Should Never Eat should be used as a guide. If you incorporate at least some of these tips, you should improve your eating habits significantly.
CHOOSE YOUR FOODS WISELY!!