What we put into our bodies is as important as what we put on it or what surrounds it, and just as the level of chemicals in our environment has risen dramatically in recent years so has the potential levels in the foods and liquids we consume.
Your body uses the food and liquids you eat and drink for its energy, building materials and all those processes that help maintain healthy function. Poor quality, highly processed or chemical laden nutrition is only going to hinder this, putting the body under additional strain as it struggles to detox that which it should be using to build and repair! Therefore any actions you take to improve your diet need also to include efforts to reduce its chemical content as much as possible,
At the most basic level you should be aiming for a low acidic good healthy diet. And remember the 80/20 rule – if you get this right 80% of the time the other 20% doesn’t matter too much!
Just as a reminder – for a healthy, low acidic diet:
- Ensure you eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fresh fruit – but don’t overdo the fruit as this can create acidity. Remember: everything in moderation.
- Drink moderate amounts of tea, coffee and alcohol. Aim for no more than 2-3 cups of tea or coffee a day. Replace that extra cup with a herbal tea or better still a glass of water.
- Avoid processed food, refined carbohydrates and sugar as much as possible.
- Drink plenty of water
And some specifics ….
In addition to improving the structure of your diet it is important to also improve the content of the food you eat, in particular with regards to its chemical content. Choosing fresh, cooking from scratch and using organic produce as much as possible will help with this but below are some additional aspects to consider:
Grains – choose whole unprocessed grains, Sprouting grains portend have higher nutritional value and can be easier to digest. Soaking grains will also increase nutritional value.
Red Meat – choose organic and/or grass fed and only eat once a week. Don’t char or burn the meat and minimise consumption of processed cured or smoked meat products.
Poultry – always buy organic or free range to reduce exposure to antibiotics and hormones, and purchase whole birds if possible as this involves less processing.
Fish & Seafood – choose wild where possible as commercially produced or farmed fish and seafood may contain pesticides, antibiotics and parasites. Avoid large fish such as shark, tuna and swordfish due to the potential for a higher accumulation of mercury and pollutants. Use tinned fish sparingly as again this could have high levels of pollutants and avoid fried fish and shellfish due to the possibility of a higher level of processing. Always buy fresh and from a trusted source.
Fruit & Vegetables – buy organic as much as possible especially for broccoli, asparagus, green beans, lettuce, spinach, cucumber, celery and peppers which are particularly prone to high levels of pesticides. Apply the same rules to bananas, grapes, melon, peaches, strawberries and raspberries. Avoid canned, preserved, salted, sweetened or processed fruit and vegetables as these often contain preservatives and have a lower nutritional value.
Nuts & Seeds – avoid roasted, salted or otherwise processed nuts and seeds. Avoid peanuts as these contain a substance called aflatoxin – a mound toxin.
Fats & Oils – choose cold pressed oils. Do not use vegetable oils for cooking as heating changes the chemical structure and creates free radicals.
Diary – always buy organic as toxins will dissolve and accumulate in fat so ensuring the highest quality possible is essential. Avoid margarines and other butter substitutes as they often contain harmful hydrogenated or trans fats.
Herbs, Spices, Seasonings And Sweeteners – avoid commercial table salt as many have added chemicals – use natural salt instead. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Be aware that many dressings and condiments are high in sugar and additives so should be limited. Dried herbs are irradiated so choose organic or use fresh herbs.
Beverages – limit carbonated and caffeinated drinks as both can contain chemicals. Choose water (see below for notes on water) or good quality herbal teas instead. Avoid beverages stored in plastic as chemicals from the packaging can leach into the liquid..
A Special Note About Water.
Water is an essential element for good health – you can’t survive without it – and as our bodies are anywhere between 50.& 70% water depending on who you speak to, ensuring that we are consuming a good supply is extremely important. The health benefits of drinking more water are certainly severely impaired if the water itself is a source of chemicals and pollutants. We have discussed the benefits of remaining well hydrated elsewhere (click here to revisit this section) but ensuring the quality of your water is also important.
To ensure a good supply of healthy water try to drink only from a filtered source to remove fluoride, chlorine and bromine, arsenic, lead and hormone disrupting chemicals.
But beware! Not all filters are suitable. Britas and similar filters whilst better than nothing are not really thorough enough for your everyday supply. Choose your filter from carefully and consider having a permanent filter system fitted to your home supply.