If only I got a quarter for every time I heard someone say, “I eat healthy!” when diet it brought up in a conversation. Truth is, we were raised with a lot of dietary falsehoods engrained into us, but it’s not Mom’s fault! She honestly was following the latest health research available, and that research told her the same thing we are hearing now: that her mom fed her unhealthy foods! There are still gaps in the nutrition info available from the “latest studies”. The answers aren’t all in one place, and there isn’t a one size fits all list of foods to eat and not to eat. Therefore, we must use a variety of resources and find what works for us individually. In this series entitles “I Eat Healthy”, I will layout a road map to navigate nutrition truths and fallacies, and hopefully clear up a lot of confusion regarding what defines healthy food. Here’s a place to start!
If you want a really simple way to check how the food you eat rates on the Nutritious Foods scale, use this “Guide to Food Selection” from ‘Nourishing Traditions’ by Sally Fallon. This book is an AMAZING resource, and one I believe everyone should have in the kitchen, well dog-eared and highlighted and covered with sticky notes. I challenge you to print out this list and highlight all the foods you eat right now, and discover in which of the 3 categories your diet truly lies. (FYI, I don’t receive any compensation by promoting this book; I just love it. Everything in parenthesis are my additions.)
1. NOURISHING TRADITIONAL FOODS
- PROTEINS: Fresh, pasture-raised meats including beef, lamb, game, chicken, turkey, duck, other fowl; organ meats from pasteurized animals; seafood of all types from deep sea waters; fresh shellfish in season; fish eggs; fresh eggs from pastured poultry; organic fermented soy products in small amounts.
- FATS: Fresh butter and cream from pasture-fed cows, preferably raw and cultures; lard and beef, lamb, goose and duck fat from pastured animals; extra virgin olive oil; unrefined flax seed oil in small amounts; coconut oil and palm oil.
- DAIRY: Raw, whole milk and cultured dairy products, such as yogurt piima milk, kefir and raw these, from traditional breeds of pasture-fed cows and goats.
- CARBOHYDRATES: Organic whole grain products properly treated for the removal of phytates, such as sourdough and sprouted grain bread and soaked or sprouted cereal grains; soaked and fermented legumes including lentils, beans, and chickpeas; sprouted or soaked seeds and nuts; fresh fruits and vegetables, both raw and cooked; fermented vegetables.
- BEVERAGES: Filtered, high-mineral water, lax-fermented drinks made from grain or fruit; meat stocks and vegetable broths.
- CONDIMENTS: Unrefined sea salt; raw vinegar; spices in moderation; fresh herbs; naturally fermented soy sauce and fish sauce.
2. COMPROMISE FOODS
- PROTEIN: Pork, fish from shallow waters, commercially raised beef, lamb, turkey and chicken; barbecued or smoked meats;traditionally made, additive-free sausage; additive-free bacon; battery eggs (from caged chickens); tofu in very small amounts.
- FATS: Unrefined peanut and sesame oils.
- DAIRY: Raw, whole, uncultured milk form conventional dairies; pasturized, cultured milk products; pasteurized cheeses; melted cheeses.
- CARBOHYDRATES: Whole grains not treated for phytates, such as quick-rise breads and pasta; unbleached white flour; canned legumes; thin-skinned fruits and vegetables imported from long distances; canned tomato products; well-cooked, unsprayed seaweeds; natural sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup, Rapadura, and date sugar.
- BEVERAGES: Wine or unpasteurized beer in moderation with meals; diluted fruit juices; herb teas.
- CONDIMENTS: Commercial salt; pasteurized vinegar; canned condiments without MSG (AKA artificial flavors).
3. NEW FANGLED FOODS
- PROTEIN: Processed meats containing additives and preservatives, such as luncheon meat, salami and bacon; hydrolyzed protein and protein isolates; soy milk.
- FATS: All highly processed vegetable oils, margarine, tub spreads and vegetable shortenings; fat substitutes; foods fried in vegetable oils; low fat products.
- DAIRY: Pasteurized, homogenized commercial milk; ultra pasteurized cream and milk; processed cheeses; reduced fat dairy products.
- CARBOHYDRATES: Bleached and “fortified” white flour products; commercial dry cereals; granolas; refined sugar in all forms, such as dextrose, fructose and high fructose corn syrup; irradiated and genetically modified grains, fruits and vegetables; most canned products; chocolate.
- BEVERAGES: Soda pop; distilled or pasteurized alcohol products; full strength fruit juices; commercial rice and oat milks; coffee, tea and cocoa.
- CONDIMENTS: Commercial baking powder; MSG; artificial flavors, additives and colors; chemically produced preservatives; aspartame (and now under new names of neotame and sucrose).
WHEW! Well,if it makes you feel any better, I also do not find the bulk of my list in the Nourishing Traditional Foods list. I’m comfortably in Compromise Foods. Money, time, and know-how (in that order) are my hang ups. Maybe they’re yours, too? Don’t just give up and throw away the list you just made. Watch for the next article as I begin to define the stuff in that list that you’ve maybe even never heard of and discuss practical ways to incorporate Nutritious Traditional Foods into your family’s eating habits!