Hello and thank you for joining me! Last week we discussed Spring Cleaning for the pantry and fridge and discussed eliminating items with 14 different ingredients.
One reason why it’s important to make these changes is to decrease the impact of chemical and biological stress in the body. Our bodies and hormones are very sensitive and low-level chronic stress can cause long-term damage and make it harder for us to recover from illnesses. Making a few of these changes that feel comfortable to you this Spring will help reduce stress inside the body, providing you with a clearer mind and less fatigue.
Let’s discuss the alternatives so we can get a fresh start this Spring. To make it easier to break down on your shopping list, I divided these up into three catagories: Sugars, Additives, and Oils.
- Sugar and (High Fructose) Corn Syrup, Sucralose, and Aspartame:
- Substitute fruits with a low glycemic index (especially berries, cherries, apples, and pears) for dessert.
- Eat bread that’s really chewy and grainy instead of white breads or very fine breads,
- Chose sprucing up your water with fruit and herbs and drinking herbal tea instead of soda or other drinks. It’s also cheaper and the possibilities are endless.
- Read labels and avoid buying anything with added sugar or corn syrup or the artificial sweeteners, like aspartame.
- Low-Fat or Fat-Free Products: Always check labels to find out how much sugar has been added to make the food taste better. There are about 15 different names of sugars, so checking the grams of sugar per serving will help a lot if you’re new to labels. Science shows healthy fat is really important for brain development, so taking the fat out can be a double whammy on our health if they’re adding in sugar and we’re not getting the fats our brains need. Eating a low-fat diet isn’t one size-fits-all fats!
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and Table Salt/Sodium Chloride: MSG is found in many restaurants, so find out ahead of time if they use this ingredient and avoid that place. It will help you honor your fullness when you’re eating out. Many sauces and premixed seasonings contain MSG so be on the lookout for this ingredient when selecting your seasonings. It’s best to use sea, Himalayan, or Kosher salt. See how salt is made at:
- Soy/Soy Lecithin: Soy Lecithin is in a lot of chocolate and packaged foods. So read labels and chose the foods without added soy. It’s such a popular filler, you will be very surprised at how much of it we’re eating when you start seeing it everywhere.
- The best way to eat soy is whole AND organic soy products.
- You can use Tamari Sauce to avoid soy and it tastes the same, that’s best for people with any thyroid challenges.
- Reach for non-sweetened nut milks instead of soy milk if you have a thyroid imbalance.
- Potassium Sorbate, Polysorbate 80, Artificial Flavors, Artificial Coloring: Choosing whole, organic foods (like vegetables and fruits) reduces the risks of us having any of these man-made ingredients in our foods. Humans are amazing at science, and often make amazing things because we can, without asking if we should. Just because something exists, doesn’t mean we should eat it! Most whole foods are found on the perimeter of the grocery stores.
- Hydrogenated or Fractionated Oils AND Canola oil/Vegetable oil: Be mindful in selecting oils. Many oils break down and transform when heated to high temperatures and we can’t process them in their new forms.When cooking oils are exposed to heat in the presence of air, they break down into toxic by-products called polar compounds that have been linked to the development of serious health problems including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Oils are also extracted from the plant using chemicals and many of the crops they are made from are heavily treated with pesticides.
We should reduce or eliminate fried foods, and we can also sauté in a safe, non-stick pan with no oil. However, many recipes call for oil and it’s good for our brains!
What are the healthy oils we should choose instead to maintain the health benefits?
- Medium-Chain Triglycerides are processed very well by the body! The best source for that is coconut oil. You can get a light variety and it doesn’t have much taste and is tolerant to high heat.
- Extra-Virgin Olive oil: Best raw but also good for cooking.
- Avocado oil is next runner up!
Bonus Tip! Shopping like this doesn’t have to be expensive and many more discount grocery stores are adding produce aisles and organic/natural food sections and choices! For example, Grocery Outlet carries an avocado/olive oil blend.