“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ~Hippocrates
We know the statistics. We spend more as a nation on healthcare (or disease care) than any country in the world yet we’re one of the unhealthiest nations in the world. We want desperately to be healthy but all those drug commercials on TV tell us it’s okay to be sick and there’s a pill for whatever ails you.
It all starts with what we put in our mouths. I love this quote from Ann Wigmore and it’s become my food philosophy:
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”
As I get older, I’m determined to do whatever I can to avoid drugs and surgery. I believe vibrant health is possible but it takes work.
I heard Marilu Henner say this recently and it struck me deeply. She said,
“Being healthy is hard. Being sick is hard. Choose your hard!”
It’s true, if you’re going to pursue a healthy lifestyle, what you eat is going to be key and eating healthy in a world filled with fake foods, additives, genetically modified ingredients and chemicals is hard! It takes work. But it takes a lot more work to be sick. I’m choosing my hard and I hope you’ll join me!
Here are my standards:
- My recipes in 2015 will be Gluten Free. Gluten is the sticky protein found in wheat, barley and rye and certain oat products. True Celiac disease affects 1 in 133 people but as many as 1 in 5 are believed to be gluten-intolerant, including me. Some of the symptoms include bloating, weight gain (wheat belly), joint pain, fatigue, thyroid issues, behavioral issues in children and anxiety. The wheat we consume today has been hybridized and is not what it was even 20 years ago. It’s much lower in nutrients than ancient wheat and much higher in gluten. Have you ever wondered why people have so many problems with wheat today yet who ever heard of anyone with a wheat sensitivity back in the 60’s or 70’s? Some of my older recipes use wheat flour but I almost exclusively use sprouted spelt flour for those or now, a gluten free mix.
- My recipes will utilize healthy fats. Eating fat doesn’t make you fat!!! In fact, eating good fats helps your body burn fat and lose weight! My recipes will use real, organic butter (grass fed like Kerry Gold), extra-virgin organic coconut oil, Ghee (which is basically clarified butter and is the perfect replacement for harmful oils), and organic extra-virgin olive oil. I never cook with olive oil because it will oxidize and create harmful free radicals if heated over 250 degrees. I don’t use any other bottled oils to cook with and never margarine or Crisco.
- My recipes will only use healthy non-refined sweeteners. I love and use coconut palm sugar for most of my baked goods because it tastes great and is low on the glycemic index. Raw, local honey is a wonderful sweetener along with pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B and organic. Honey has lots of nutrients, is anti-microbial and won’t ferment in the digestive tract like other sweeteners. I recommend raw, local honey whenever possible. Stevia, the liquid form not the little packets, is another safe sweetener as well. It’s the only safe non-calorie sweetener I’d recommend. I completely avoid aspartame and Sucralose and all those pink, yellow or blue packets in restaurants!
- I will completely avoid GMO’s. Genetically modified foods are foods that have had their genes altered with other life forms including pesticides, bacteria and viruses. GMO foods are able to both handle and produce their own pesticides. I don’t want to consume pesticides in ANY form so I avoid GMO foods completely. The most common GMO foods to avoid are: corn, soybeans, canola, zucchini, summer squash, alfalfa, papaya, and sugar beets.
- I recommend using organic ingredients as much as your budget will allow. Most of the groceries I buy are organic because I want to avoid consuming pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, and fungicides. Also, I want to avoid hormones, antibiotics and vaccines and the only way to do that is to avoid conventionally produced meat and dairy. As much as your budget will allow I recommend you use grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, pastured eggs and poultry, grass-fed dairy, and wild game. It’s an investment to eat this way, an investment in your health. But honestly, I would much rather support the farm not the pharmacy!
Here’s the list for this year’s Dirty Dozen, the most contaminated produce to try to consume organic:
- Apples, bell peppers, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, green leafy vegetables, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries.
The Clean 15 is a list of produce that does not have to be organic in order to be safe. The list includes:
- Asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cantaloupe, corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, mushrooms, onions, papaya, pineapple, sweet peas, sweet potatoes.
I hope you’ll join me on this journey of health through good ingredients and delicious recipes. So, let’s let our food be powerful medicine and choose health!