Archive for the ‘Health Benefits’ Category

We are all very big milk drinkers in our house (4 – 5 gallons a week)…and to be honest I don’t think we could live without it! The good news is after switching to a more optimal milk source and type of milk we certainly do not have to give it up. I used to buy the standard store-brand skim (for the adults) and 2% (for the kids) from our local supermarket. I even switched to the organic variety earlier this year. Organic is certainly better than conventional, but I felt there were still some additional factors that continued to be overlooked.

My biggest concern about the milk we were drinking was if it came from cows that were being fed grass. I did a post awhile back entitled “You are what you eat eats too”, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to milk. Cows are actually designed by evolution to eat grass, and a large majority of factory-farmed cows are instead taught to survive on corn (a super cheap grain). In some instances the corn makes the animals sick, which is part of the reason why they have to be administered so many antibiotics. (more…)

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I don’t know what it is about our society, but most of us have been taught (and are teaching our children) to “clean our plate”. As it turns out this might actually be really bad advice. One of the more surprising things I learned from Michael Pollan’s book is that other (much healthier) cultures simply stop eating when they receive an internal cue that they are starting to feel full (about eighty percent full, to be more specific). On the other hand, according to Pollan, we Americans eat until we “receive some visual [or external] cue from the environment that it’s time to stop: the bowl or package is empty, the plate is clean, or the TV show is over.” Wow, what a novel idea to instead stop eating the moment you no longer feel hungry!

My husband and I have been trying to carry out this advice ever since we read the book a few months ago and, I must report that for some reason this is very HARD to do! Imagine you are eating and enjoying a delicious meal. There are two bites left, but you start to feel full…what do you do? (more…)

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Despite the fact that we absolutely prefer and always try to buy organic…I really want to get one thing straight here. Just because something is organic does not automatically mean it is healthy and that you should eat it! There are still highly processed foods out there that just happen to be made with organic ingredients. Here are some examples:

  • Organic ice cream sandwiches (the one pictured contains organic corn syrup and organic sugar in addition to white flour)
  • Organic flavored yogurt (also full of organic sugar)
  • Organic cookies
  • Organic crackers made with white flour
  • Organic chips and pretzels
  • Organic white bread

Thinking about something being organic vs. highly processed is like comparing apples to oranges. It is important to first ensure an item is not highly processed and then also try to find the organic version if possible. So now that we have covered the pre-made stuff you might buy, here is some more food for thought… (more…)

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After a few months of blogging on The Food Illusion I have decided it is time to do something big, something bold, and something that will get as many people as possible to not only read about eating real foods, but to also make a first-hand commitment to this important change. Therefore, my family and I are launching:

Today we began our own personal 100 Days of Real Food pledge. I will be posting regular blog updates on 100daysofrealfood.com to chronicle our journey of eating real food in a processed food world (in addition to my regular posts on The Food Illusion). We are also inviting readers to join in by taking the 10 Days of Real Food pledge. If we can do it for 100 days then absolutely anyone can do it for 10 days!

The new 100 Days of Real Food blog has all of the resources you need to get started with your own 10-day pledge including the following pages: (more…)

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If you have been working hard to cut out processed foods and start eating organically and/or locally grown foods, does that mean you can still eat meat? The answer is…sometimes. According to Michael Pollan:

There are literally scores of studies demonstrating that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of dying from all the Western diseases. In countries where people eat a pound or more of fruits and vegetables a day, the rate of cancer is half what it is in the United States. We also know that vegetarians are less susceptible to most of the Western diseases, and as a consequence live longer than the rest of us.

So becoming a vegetarian doesn’t exactly fit into your lifestyle? Not to worry, because you can still reap the same health benefits as a vegetarian if (more…)

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I recently gave my 5-year-old a little pop quiz about eggs, and I am proud to say she passed with flying colors. Why don’t you give it a shot too? Okay, see the picture of the raw eggs on the right. Which one is different? I hope you picked the same one that she did…the one that is obviously more yellow and less orange in color than the rest (on the right-hand side of the bowl). Believe it or not, all of these eggs are organic. The yellow one that is different (and coincidentally not as nutritious) just happens to be an organic egg from the grocery store instead of one from the farmer’s market like the other three. (more…)

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I have decided that there is so much information to absorb when learning how to avoid processed foods that on occasion it might be helpful if I sum up all the previous blog posts. So in case you didn’t have a chance to read some of the posts or you just plain forgot what they said…this little cheat sheet is for you!

  • Processed foods are an “illusion” or something that appears to be healthy (claiming to be low fat, low carb, vitamin fortified, no trans fat, contains omega-3s, lowers your cholesterol, etc.) when processed foods are in fact the very thing that is making a lot of Americans unhealthy, fat and sick with chronic diseases including cancer.
  • The healthiest flour and bread should say “whole-wheat” only. It should not include any plain “wheat” (which is still from the wheat plant, but just not the whole kernel & therefore highly processed) or “enriched wheat” either.
  • Produce from your local grocery store chain travels on average 1500 miles from the farm to your plate. Consider shopping at local farmers’ markets or growing your own fruits and veggies to experience a wide variety of more nutritious alternatives that don’t leave a big carbon footprint. (more…)

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