The other day I was perusing the grocery store ads on my lunch hour. I'm not sure why I did it because it usually just makes me angry. If you read most media about healthy eating they focus on just a few things. Low Fat, Low Sodium, Low Calorie and Sugar Free. But most healthy eaters know that if you follow that advice you will NOT be healthy. Here's why...
What They Say - Eat Low Fat
What Healthy People Know - Eat Natural Forms of Fat
Fat, even saturated fat is needed by the body for various functions. Fat keeps your joints lubricated, your hormones in balance, your food cravings in check, your metabolism normal, and your skin moisturized among many other things. Without fat we are depressed, grumpy, crave sweets and by eating them... get fat. Two hundred years ago people ate lard and butter on everything and few people were obese. Today, low fat food items are everywhere and heart disease, obesity and cancer rates haven't slowed down a bit. Healthy people know that highly processed vegetable oils and partially hydrogenated oils contribute to disease while cold pressed oils and fats from pasture raised animals restore health. So don't listen to "Them", eat butter and be healthy.
What They Say - Eat Low Sodium
What Healthy People Know - Use Sea Salt to taste
Salt is extremely important. Historically people would go to great lengths to obtain salt. It was a form of money. And if you were worth your weight in salt, you would have some! But heavily processed table salt has most of the goodness refined out of it. Natural sea salt from mineral rich sources are good for the body. The glial cells in the brain require salt to function properly. And salting to taste with Celtic Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan salt will never contribute to high blood pressure. Natural salt has naturally occurring iodine while table salt has a form of iodine that is difficult for the body to utilize. Healthy people eat sea salt to taste. "They" don't.
What They Say - Eat Fewer Calories
What Healthy People Know - Calories are not all created equal
For me it is all about empty calories versus nutrient dense foods. If I compared 1,000 calories worth of sugar to 1,000 calories worth of spinach, which do you think would be healthier? The point is to get as many nutrients per calorie as possible. What's the most nutrient dense food? Liver. I know, yuck right? But you would have to eat a whole lot of vegetables to get the same amount of nutrients that you would in a small piece of pasture raised chicken liver. The more nutrients you eat in one meal the more satisfied your body will be and the healthier you will feel. Healthy people eat liver and forget about calories.
What They Say - Sugar Free is Great
What Healthy People Know - Avoid all forms of sugar and sugar replacements.
Our body is hard-wired to enjoy sweet foods because in nature things that are sweet are rich in important vitamins and antioxidants. But today sugar is everywhere. We are tricking our body into thinking it is getting something good and nutritious but the fact is we are only destroying our health. So, sugar-free is better, right? Wrong! Sugar replacements like aspartame trick the body too. Aspartame is a very dangerous neuro-toxin and should never be consumed by children or pregnant women. How about high-fructose corn syrup, the cheap sugar? Sure it's made from corn but it certainly isn't healthy. And you can forget about agave. It uses the same processing techniques to turn a starch into something that tastes sweet. What do healthy people use to sweeten their food? Fruit, honey, a little real maple syrup on occasion and stevia. But most importantly healthy people know that desserts should be reserved for special occasions, when we deserve them. Not in every meal or even every day. Once a week make a special treat but the rest of the day enjoy the natural sweetness of real food.
If you want to be healthy don't listen to "Their" advice. It's their job to make you eat as much as possible... not to provide healthy food. For more information on how to improve your health naturally call us at 616-242-1355 to make an appointment.
Dr. Kathryn Doran-Fisher, ND
Kathryn Doran-Fisher is a Traditional Naturopath, Certified GAPS Practitioner and owner of Elder & Sage.