Tag Archives: GMO

Food For Thought

For the few of you who subscribe to this blog, let me apologize for letting it go dormant for a month. No excuses except I’ve been busy working out, eating right, doing yardwork… basically living life!

In my time away from blogging, I have been watching some documentaries on NetFlix about food, nutrition, weight loss, health, etc. Let me state that I watch these documentaries with an open, inquisitive mind. I do not blindly accept the ideas postulated as gospel truth, but I am open to considering the possibilities.

Food Matters – very interesting conjecture about how eating healthy, raw, and superfoods is the answer to most medical problems instead of looking for another pill to pop. A few ideas that resonated with me: starting every morning with water before anything else (including my daily coffee), eating at least a 51% raw food diet to eliminate toxicity, and high dosage vitamin B or C therapy as a means to treat certain conditions. Previous to watching this documentary, I was not familiary with Max Gerson who promoted the Gerson Therapy and founded the Gerson Institute – fascinating man with revolutionary ideas!

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead – the story of 2 men who directly confronted their unhealthy lifestyles and morbid obesity by adopting a diet of strictly juicing fresh fruits and vegetables. No consumption of anything else besides their daily juice. While adhering to such a strict diet is certainly not for everyone, their ability to stick with it as well as their resulting weight loss and health improvement were nothing short of phenomenal. Amazing that these men spoke to so many people throughout the documentary and presented them with the truth that eating nutritious food can extend and improve quality of life, yet their message was largely ignored. So many people are willing to live lives that ignore or defy this simple truth.

Hungry for Change – documentary that focuses on what exactly goes into the popular food products sold at most grocery stores. Really made me stop and think about sugar consumption and how much sugar we consume today compared to just 100 years ago. Certainly opened my eyes to examining food labels more closely. Don’t trust the trendy slogans on the food packaging!

For me, this is a continuation in my quest to learn more about nutrition, food products, ingredients, super foods and how all of this correlates to the society we live in that allows genetic modification of food, relies on drugs and medications to deal with problems most likely caused by the foods we eat, and places a much lower emphasis on nutrition in comparison to the other ‘important’ things of life.

Next up for me, I am considering joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) this summer. For me, it seems to be a fantastic way to regularly get fresh fruits and vegetables that are grown in a way that I believe in. Not only will I have greater trust in the produce I am eating (and getting great benefit from it), I will be locally supporting farms that believe in the growth and harvesting of organic, hormone-free, GMO-free fruits and vegetables. Certainly, risks are involved with such a decision, which is why I am going to research this idea further. Local Harvest is a great resource for explaining the pros and cons of such a decision.

If you have seen any of the listed documentaries or have others to share or have an opinion about CSA’s, I would love to get your input. Please comment!

Understanding Ingredients and Buying Local

As I mentioned in previous posts, I could not have cared less about the healthiness of the food that I ate. Quantity certainly trumped quality.

When I was going through a self-discovery phase early last year and examining the foods that I ate, I realized that I didn’t really know most of what I was consuming. Sure, I got chicken from the store, but how was the chicken raised and fed? I didn’t know, and I didn’t care. I certainly liked the taste of something as unnutritional as Pop Tarts, but they tasted good to me so I ate them. I don’t want to bore you with what I ate compared to what I eat now…

I started to examine the ingredients found in the food products that I ate. In fact, I was that guy standing in the grocery store looking at the back of a food product and googling it on my Android (sorry, Apple fans). I still do that on occasion. I also watched a lot of documentaries about food on NetFlix – obviously, I digested this information with a grain of salt (pun intended), but the fact of the matter was, I was eating a lot of things that were either genetically modified, produced in an inhumane or unhealthy way, or was just generally unhealthy.

Of course it was eye-opening to truly understand how bad things like fructose (or high fructose corn syrup), ‘natural’ and artificial flavorings, nitrates, grain-fed cows producing milk and beef, MSG and other seemingly innocuous ingredients are for you. I became determined to do my best to start understanding ingredient levels, learn what is truly good for human consumption, and slowly migrate away from the bad foods. It is clear to me (remember this is my opinion) that most major food producing companies are only interested in profit to the point of adding ingredients to food products that serve to addict and create regular, repeat purchases even at the detriment to the health of the consumer.

It is kind of crazy to think about because I doubt that our predecessors had to worry about how their food was produced, packaged, genetically modified, etc. Regardless, it’s a fact of life that we do, and for all the bad companies mass producing relatively unhealthy food products for the masses, there are just as many (sometimes the same companies) producing ‘healthy’ alternative food products that turn out to not be so healthy when you truly dig into the ingredients. There is so much information and angles to consider with this topic that 1 blog post certainly can’t even begin to scratch the surface.

All that to say this – know what you eat. I heard a good rule of thumb – don’t eat foods with ingredients that you cannot pronounce. No, I haven’t built a bunker and started a life of isolation away from society, but I am fortunate to live in a state (the good old northwest suburbs of Philly) where there are still (for now) many farms that are committed to values such as non-GMO, organic, grassfed, free range, etc. I am able to buy dairy products such as cheese, raw milk (that’s another deep dive discussion), and eggs that come from farms within 45 minutes from my house. I have started to make it a point to buy free-range, grassfed beef or free-range chicken.

I haven’t made any radical changes in my life – and my checkbook certainly hasn’t grown by leaps and bounds. Generally speaking, here’s a list of what I try to adhere to:

  • I know what I eat
  • I avoid high consumption of fructose and attempt to avoid high fructose corn syrup entirely
  • I buy local as often as I can, especially dairy and meats (support local products and know where they come from) – I don’t want the hormones, nitrates, or anything like that
  • I am ok with eating smaller portions since I know that the food product is better for me
  • Obviously, horribly unhealthy tings like soda are no go (diet soda is even worse – it amazes me how many people drink it)
  • I started eating lots of healthy greens (my mother would be so proud) – you have to be careful with salad dressings – Bragg makes a good salad dressing that is low in calories
  • I have made slow, incremental changes to the ingredients I add to my coffee (goodbye flavored creamer)
  • Limit my intake of breads, grains, and corn
  • Eat Greek yogurt every day (I do not swear off dairy completely like some people do)
  • For the most part, avoid fruit juices (the only juice I let my kids drink is unfiltered, pasteurized organic apple juice)
  • Do a meal list every week and stick to it – it will help you better plan your grocery shopping and eating more healthy
  • Don’t be afraid to be different from a lot of your friends
  • There are other things that I can’t think of at the moment, but the important thing is, always continue to learn (I might change my mind about a food product or ingredient that I previously thought was healthy or unhealthy) – (1. learn from others, 2. try new foods and recipes, 3. research food types and various ingredients, 4. understand how the different food products are produced and where they come from, etc.)

Well, that’s enough for now – even for a guy, I can talk a blue streak. If there’s anything that I’ve learned in the last year or so, you can’t really take this topic too seriously. Here’s to a healthy 2013 eating food the way it was meant to be produced and consumed!

Comment to agree, disagree, or add to the discussion!