What Is A Healthy Food? Top 3 Tips to Identify a HEALTHY Food
What Is Healthy Food?
Seems like it should be simple, right?
Foods high in vitamins and minerals, low in sugar, and unprocessed seems to be a good place to start.
Or what about the idea of just simple, whole foods being healthy — you know, anything that comes in its natural unadulterated state – like carrots, broccoli, bananas? Maybe healthy food means it's Organic? Non-GMO? Gluten-Free?
Well, what is it? Which of these qualities makes a food healthy?
The answer is D. All of the above.
Healthy Food — It's more complicated than you think
Once upon a time, the term ‘healthy food' didn't exist. Food grew from the ground and in its natural, raw state we ate it. Today however, we live in a vastly different world. A world where most of us never even see the origin of our food. Recent studies indicate that a majority of kids don't even know where it is their food comes from. (1) (2)
Today, the majority of ‘food' consumed in the West comes packaged and processed. These packaged, processed items, claim to be food, but truth is their contents are anything but. The ingredients in these items have been manufactured in a lab, they are loaded with fillers, flavorings, colorings, preservatives. This is not just exclusive to the junk food, I'm talking even the ‘healthy foods' folks.
Let's do an experiment together, shall we?
I invite you to go to your pantry, purse, drawer or wherever it is you stash your favorite snack (even better if it's one of your go to healthy foods). Take a moment to turn it over and look at the ingredients.
What do you see?
Chances are you'll see a number of things, most which resemble anything but food. The first few ingredients might be oats, dates, blueberries, whole wheat etc. But eventually you'll get to the mysterious syrups, hydrogenated oils and ingredients that are hard enough just to pronounce, have your body assimilate. Imagine your body trying to break these unnatural ingredients down to use for fuel.
My friends, these ingredients are not food.
They are chemical compounds concocted in a lab to ensure these foods last a long time. To make sure they are convenient, and the majority are designed and manufactured with profit in mind.
News flash: real food isn't meant to last forever.
Real food, whole food, healthy food molds, rots, and goes back into the earth within a number of days if not eaten. Real food is healthy food.
Where Healthy Food Gets Tricky
The industry is clever, you see, they've made a great game of maximizing their profits. In fact, that they have done such a good job that they are now able to disguise real food as healthy food… when actually, it's not.
Ever heard of the term GMO?
GMO stands for genetically modified food. A GMO is what looks like a nice, whole, healthy food (let's say corn for instance) but it's actually not. It's been genetically engineered in a lab to express different gene traits. Not to make it healthier, but rather, so it becomes better source of income for the producers. Studies indicate these foods have negative effects such as increasing toxicity levels in the body, as well as having damaging effects on the immune system and negatively impacting various organs. (For more on the toxins found in our food and environment you can refer to a previous blog labled “Why Detox Is Important.”) (3) (4)
GMO crops are sprayed with toxic chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers which contain heavy metals and other poisons designed to kill microorganisms which are actually needed in order to keep our internal and external ecosystems balanced.
These chemicals we then we consume. This not only creates problems for our own health, while also negatively impacting the health of the soil by killing microorganisms that are essential to our ecosystem's ability to survive and thrive.
Even if you wash your veggies (as you always should) these toxins flow off into the water system and eventually end up penetrating the soil thereby creating a toxic environment that extends far beyond each crop's reach.
Now that we’ve drawn light on some of the shadows in the food industry, here is how to identify a healthy food.
Top 3 Tips to Identify a Healthy Food
1.) Ask the question: Is it whole?
The healthiest of foods should be in their natural raw, unadulterated state. This means it has undergone the LEAST amount of processing possible. Whole fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and meats are examples of whole foods. Whole foods maintain their beneficial fiber content which is crucial to maintaining healthy gut flora necessary for immune function.
2.) Avoid Packaged & Processed
Even so called “health food bars” often have a lot of sugar and have gone through some sort of processing — the more processed a food is, the harder it is to digest. There are typically preservatives, flavor enhancers and other mystery ingredients that can tax the digestive system and detox organs. Not all packaged food is bad. Rule of thumb: if you are going to buy packaged, make sure it contains 5 ingredients or less, and that you KNOW what every ingredient is. If you don't know what it is, or can't pronounce it, give it up.
3.) Remove GMO’s From Your Diet, Choose Organic As Much As Possible
The top two most common GMO’s are corn and soy. As listed above, GMO’s are good news for companies’ pockets and bad news for your body. Unless it’s organic, try to avoid these two as much as possible. For a list of the top 10 GMO’s click here. Going ORGANIC is the best way to ensure you are not getting GMO’s and that the amount of pesticides and herbicides you are ingesting is as small as possible.
At The End of The Day — The Golden Rule of Identifying Healthy Food is, “Eat As Close To The Source As Possible”.
*If you are ready to take the next steps and enhance your health with various diet and lifestyle changes but aren't sure where to start, you can schedule a strategy session with me here.
Love & Light,