Looking to eat healthy, but tired of all the health warnings out there? It can be exhausting these days trying to eat well, without hearing that something we’re eating might be hurting us. One week we’re told it’s good for us, and the next week we're told it leads to cancer and diabetes. This can get incredibly old and tiresome after awhile, when really, we all just want to eat, feel well, and move on about our day. Luckily, although there are some worthwhile health warnings, there are also some that you can put to rest right now for ease of mind. The following health warnings are some that might sound scary, but are overall not worth your time or worry. Let go of these health scares and just focus on eating whole foods instead of processed. That will get you further than any trend out there will, guaranteed!
The raw food movement took the world by storm, giving us one of the biggest health warnings of our generation, which is that cooked foods are bad for us. For one, cooked foods are not bad for you, and secondly, the science just isn’t there. Sure, cooking food does take away some of the enzymes found in raw foods, but it can also enhance other benefits of the foods, like lycopene content, breaking down hard to digest fibers and starches, and eliminating goitrogens that impair thyroid function in greens like kale, collards, and in veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Your best bet is to eat a balance of raw and cooked foods. Besides, heat is an element of the earth, used since the beginning of time. Cooked food can be calming, warming, and incredibly healing. Just use your oven instead of that microwave to be safe!
This health warning is another I’m tired of hearing. Bananas do not make you fat. Eating too many sugary fruits, and eating them with fat, can make you gain weight, but bananas on their own do not make you fat. The best way to eat them for a lower glycemic approach is while they’re still mostly yellow and pair them with a lean protein like yogurt, or in a protein smoothie to lower their glycemic index. They’re good in oatmeal for this purpose too. Ripe varieties have much more sugar, and can cause a larger rise in your blood sugar levels, but will still not make you fat. Pairing bananas with lots of nut butter or other fats on a regular basis would lead to weight gain, but bananas by themselves are not the enemy. So, peel away, and eat up if you enjoy this simple, healthy fruit!
I remember once when I went to the doctor, he told me I’d get sick and possibly die if I went vegan for too long. I literally laughed at him, and haven’t been back since. Ironically, he also told me I was in great health until he found out I was vegan, and then suddenly, he thought I might need more iron from meat. What? I mean seriously, when will this health myth die? Going vegan does not make you sick, any more than eating meat does. In fact, it’s all about how you do either diet. If you eat vegan, be sure you get in a large variety of nutrients from leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, moderate amounts of nuts, seeds, and a moderate amount of grains. If you eat meat, buy grass fed, organic, and choose the best options you have. A vegan diet will not make you sick any more than eating meat will make you healthy. The difference is all in how you do it, and the choices you make within the realms of either diet.
I have two friends that suffered from skin cancer, so please don't mistake my words here, or my intentions. It is not a good idea to stay outdoors and tan in the sun for exposed periods of time, if you’re worried about cancer. Yet, it seems to me that we are so fearful of the sunlight these days, there is SPF in everything from shampoos to makeup! I know that wearing an SPF is important, but exposing yourself to at least 15 minutes a day of pure quality sunlight, without any fancy SPF products, can give you a natural source of Vitamin D, improve your mood, prevent depression, and even help with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The sunlight is not the enemy, so don’t be afraid to go outside and enjoy a little sunshine! Just put your SPF on after you’ve been outside for awhile, or if you burn easily.
Another health scare out there is iron deficiency anemia, which is said to be caused by a meat-free diet. Trust me, I don’t eat meat, and I’m not only not anemic, but filled with energy and health. I get all my iron from spirulina, which has over 100% of your daily needs, along with 80% of your daily B12 needs, all in one tiny teaspoon. Hemp seeds and chia seeds are also packed with iron, at around 45% of your daily needs per serving. Other fabulous sources are quinoa, with 15% of your daily needs, and raw cacao with 20% of your daily needs. You do not need meat to be free from the worries of anemia. As a bonus, your risks for heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, and digestive problems go down when you go meat-free.
Another health warning I’m tired of hearing about is in regards to fish. We’re now too fearful to even eat fish, for the most part, due to the mercury warnings we hear about. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m now vegan and don’t touch fish anymore, but not because of this health scare. If you choose the right type of fish, from the right source, fish is the best source of animal protein you can eat. It’s great for weight loss, incredible for your brain, and amazing for your heart. You need to choose Marine Stewardship Certified fish, which is labeled with an official seal on packaging that appears as a white and blue circle. It ensures the fish is high quality, which means it’s low in mercury, free of contaminants, and processed in the best manner possible. If you can afford to buy fresh, wild fish, absolutely do so. People all over the world eat fresh fish, and live to be longer than most Americans do.
Several years ago, spinach was contaminated, causing a wide outbreak of salmonella poisoning that affected people everywhere. After this, people began fearing spinach, fearing it was high in salmonella. I worked at a supermarket for awhile a couple years back, and even four years after the scare, people still came up to me asking me if our spinach was contaminated. First of all, spinach does not naturally contain salmonella, nor is it naturally prone to it. What most individuals don’t know, is that the salmonella scare was actually caused by leakage of a dam from a local cattle farm that didn’t dispose of wastes properly from the meat, therefore leading to the salmonella contamination in the spinach fields below. Spinach is completely safe and like all vegetables and leafy greens, just give them a good wash before you eat them. If you see brown or murky spots on your spinach, toss it and buy more. Be sure to also check the dates of when you buy your spinach, and be sure to use it as soon as possible. I freeze most of mine and use it in stocks, soups, smoothies, and stews, so I know it never goes bad before I get around to using it. Freezing can ward off potential bacterial contamination as well.
I’m sure you’ve heard of other health warnings out there that might make you wonder if you need to listen to them or not. Are there any that come to your mind you’d like to ask? What health warning concerns you, or what health scare do you wish would finally disappear?
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