Posted by: kathryngraves | October 23, 2015

Starting Over Part 2

Last time I told you I’m starting over with healthy eating. I gave general groups of foods that I either eat or don’t, but didn’t explain why or go into specifics. Today I want to get down to the nitty-gritty. I’ll even tell you what’s in my pantry!

Clean Eating. The way I eat is called Clean Eating. Most processed (that means packaged) foods are cleared out of the pantry. All canned foods go away. Can linings contain BPA that leeches into food. BPA is an endocrine disruptor. Endocrine is another word for hormone, and hormone disruption is responsible for most breast cancer.

A word on soy. Almost all processed foods contain soy lecithin. There is debate about the value of soy in our diets, but I will just say that my oncologist told me to be cautious about eating too much soy because it is a phyto-estrogen. Out-of-control estrogen is the hormone culprit in breast cancer. Read the label on everything you buy in the grocery store. Even at the health food store, it can be difficult to find bread or chocolate bars (yes I eat chocolate!) made without soy.

Preservatives. Checking the labels on frozen vegetables can be shocking. So many of them now include sauces and can be microwaved right in the bag, dumped into  a bowl, and served. But many of the ingredients in those sauces are preservatives. Preservatives are a known carcinogen. Anything added “to preserve freshness” needs to be avoided. And the plastic bag, when heated, releases BPA into the food. Frozen vegetables and fruits can be healthy, just make sure there isn’t anything but the real food included and that you cook it in a glass dish or add it to something on the stove.

Fats. I eat a lot of fat. Grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and olive oil are my favorites. Avocado goes in my salad every day at lunch. There is now research demonstrating that eating reasonable amounts of fat does not make the body produce excess fat. One new study followed women on the Mediterranean Diet. Participants were randomly assigned to supplement with either tree nuts or with olive oil. Those who ate more olive oil lowered their risk of breast cancer by 68 percent more than those who were given a low-fat diet in the control group. (JAMA Internal Medicine, Sept. 2015)

It seem the news on olive oil just keeps getting more and more positive. I drench my salad in flavored olive oil and add organic apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar to make a tasty dressing. Just be sure your olive oil is extra virgin and from a reliable source. You should be able to sip it and have it absorb into your mouth with no oily residue. Any residue indicates filler with cheaper oils.

There is also new research showing that soybean oil is as fattening as sugar. The first caution with this oil should be the “soy” part of the word. Try reading labels for this oil. Almost all commercial dressings include it as the main ingredient. You might be surprised how many other so-called foods include it, too.

Carbs. Lower carbohydrate consumption has been linked to heart health and cancer prevention. Whole grains are better than refined grains, but overall need to be a small portion of our daily eating plan. I personally don’t avoid starchy vegetables because I don’t eat bread, cereal or pasta. I need those carbs for energy. Sweet potatoes are high in all kinds of good vitamins and minerals. Carrots are good for you, too. Corn is the one I avoid because it is usually genetically modified. That includes corn oil. We just don’t know yet what kind of effect GMO foods have on our health, so I prefer not to take chances.

Spices. I have a spice cabinet full of all kinds of spices and dried herbs because they are what make all these fresh foods taste amazing. Fresh herbs would be better, but dead herbs are useless and that’s what I’d have if I tried to grow them!

I’ll post recipes here sometimes, and you can find clean eating recipes elsewhere on-line. Once you start looking, you’ll find all kinds of resources for how to turn real foods into delicious dishes. You and your family will never realize anything is missing because healthy fats and protein will keep you full and healthy snacks will taste good once you’ve been away from sugar for a couple of weeks.

Beautiful health. And you will know that you’ve taken a huge step toward health and wellness. Healthy people are beautiful people!

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A little bird told me…

Hint: Butternut squash is in season right now, but it can be difficult to cut open and cube. Put a whole one in the crock pot on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours. It will be tender, slice right open, and the seeds will scoop out easily. Add butter and real maple syrup to the scored halves for a delicious, nutritious side dish!

Hint, Hint: If you’d like to receive a chart of sample Clean Eating  pantry staples and refrigerator and freezer contents, become a follower of this blog. I’ll email it to you.

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