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  • Writer's pictureKeenan Eriksson

Cleaning Up Your Nutrition: The Foods Sabotaging Your Health

In the last two decades, nutrition advice has gone through some major changes. In the U.S. especially, the idea of the healthiest diet has flipped from high grain, carbohydrate-focused eating to low-carb, healthy-fat oriented eating. At the end of the day, the reason for these changes may have less to do with carbs and fats, and more to do with food processing and contamination.

You see, diets such as the paleo diet: which cuts out all grains, legumes (beans and peanuts for example) and dairy, have become wildly successful and popular in the past two decades. People have reversed diabetes with these diets, as well as stopped debilitating chronic disease. The Paleo diet believes that humans never evolved to consume grains, and that we were healthier before the agricultural age.

As time has passed though, we’ve come to realize that there is no one-size-fits-all, and there is substantial evidence that grain consumption may actually be health after-all. More and more, health coaches, doctors, and nutritionists are realizing that it may not be the types of foods we eat that is hurting us, but what we have done to our foods.

You see, in the 1980s, a fertilizer called roundup began use by the company Monsanto. Inside roundup is an antibiotic called glyphosate. Back then, we thought antibiotics were the cure to everything, but in the past 5 years, we’ve realized that they actually cause us significant damage. This is because of the gut biome. Healthy humans have 30,000 different strains of bacteria living inside our bodies that keep us healthy, digest our food, and create the neurotransmitters that affect our mood. In the U.S. due to high antibiotic use and over-use of the fertilizer glyphosate, the average american has much fewer than 10,000 strains of bacteria in their guts, and this has been linked to cancer, autism, and chronic diseases.

What I’m getting at is that the reason why diets that drop grains are making people healthy is because we eat jacked-up grains. Many people find that they cannot tolerate gluten (the infamous protein in wheat) here in the U.S. but when they eat bread or wheat products in Europe, they do fine. This is because the wheat used in most parts of Europe is often sprayed with less or no pesticides, and it is not genetically modified. You can read more about glyphosate and a specific product that combats it here.

The next big problem is cow-based dairy. Many cows are pumped with antibiotics, and it hurts their health the same way it hurts ours. Cow’s milk also contains a protein called casein, which looks very similar to gluten. Many people react poorly to dairy, not because the dairy is dangerous, but because their body has already learned to have a bad reaction to gluten, and when it sees dairy protein, it reacts to it as if it were gluten. One easy fix is to consume goat dairy products as a replacement. Goat dairy is often higher in nutritional value, and is much more compatible with the human body.

Processed sugars are the next cut-out. Honestly, processed sugar should probably be either illegal or excessively taxed. In a natural environment, fruit is a rare treat, and the closest thing we get to processed sugar. However, even in fruits, fibers in the fruit prevent the sugar you just ate from immediately hitting your bloodstream. With processed sugars, there is no such safeguard, and you get hit by drug-like sugar highs and true come-down sugar lows. Meanwhile, your hormone system just got bombarded and over-stressed trying to figure out what is going on. The sudden spike in blood sugar caused high amounts of oxidative stress and inflammation, and to protect you in the future, your body made you less sensitive to the hormone insulin. This is the process by which people become diabetic.

Last: Vegetable oils. Vegetable oils may be the most nefarious item in our diets. They were originally viewed as waste products left over from processing food. Then, someone had the bright idea to re-purpose vegetable oils as preservatives and started adding them to almost everything we eat. The problem is that these junk oils have no nutritional value, and cause high amounts of oxidative stress and damage to our bodies. On top of that, they block our bodies from utilizing healthy Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. Ever wonder why fish oil supplements are so good for us? It’s because they balance out against these unhealthy vegetable oils. However, like I just said, if you’re consuming these vegetable oils, they’ll block other healthy fats, including fish oils.

This is where things get eye-opening. Vegetable oils are probably the worst offender, and best thing to cut out. However you’ll quickly notice, they are in almost everything that has been packaged or processed, and restaurants cook almost exclusively in unhealthy vegetable oils. Most vegetable oils used in packaged foods and restaurant cooking are highly oxidized, inflammatory waste products that have been re-purposed

My point is this: eating healthy is not a small thing. The reality is, what is considered “normal” eating, is actually incredibly unhealthy. We as a society and world left the reservation long ago. Fortunately, more and more people are starting to care about their nutrition and the health of the nation: either because so many people are getting sick or because we’re finally realizing how important it is to take care of ourselves. This has led to and will continue to promote easier access to healthy food. If you want to live a good long life, you really do need to become a bit of a green hippy. Buy organic to avoid pesticides. Cook most of your food, as pre-made meals are usually rife with added sugars and unhealthy vegetable oils. When you eat, you should wonder sometimes how similar your dietary habits are to a caveman, and your food should consist of mainly green vegetables, healthy fats, no cow dairy and few or no grains, and occasional healthy meats.

It can take a while to get used to eating clean, but in this day and age, getting away from all the processed crap in our diets will make you an outlier. This year in 2018 is the first year since the early 1900s when life expectancy went down, and there are real reasons for that. Hopefully we as a society react to that and start doing things differently, but until then, it’s on us as individuals to change our own lives and habits. Besides, when everyone else is sick, they’ll need people who are healthy to take charge and help make a change. Will you be one of the sick and in need? Or one of the healthy leaders?

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FDA Compliance Statement: The information presented on Keenan Eriksson Fitness has not been reviewed by the FDA or any other medical body and is not intended to cure, treat, or prevent any illness or disease. Consult a doctor before using any of the content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition. Content on this website is for educational purposes only.

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