Have you ever found yourself eating the same foods, repeatedly over the course of a week, month or all year round? Do you tend to prefer the same few choices every morning for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner? I used to eat O's with milk for breakfast, a bagel with cream cheese for mid-morning snack, a cheese burger and fries or corned beef sandwich with chips and a soda for lunch, and chicken or beef for dinner with very little variation and the same 3-4 vegetables along with mac & cheese helper. Oh, and I would order a pizza or make spaghetti when I had a limited amount of time to prepare a meal. I hugged a big bowl of buttered popcorn while watching a movie several nights a week. I consumed a lot of wheat, soy, sugar, dairy, hydrogenated oils and corn in many different forms, as well as numerous chemicals in processed foods. What I ended up with was an intolerance to all the foods I consumed repeatedly, on a regular basis; wheat, dairy, corn, soy, oils, nuts, beef, eggs, etc. This caused me to wonder.
While studying other cultures, and the American Indian in particular, I noticed something. They lived off the land and what ever was in season is what they ate. As the seasons changed, this naturally created variety in their diet, just as it did for the wildlife that lived around them. This gave their body a break from being exposed to the same substances all the time. I realized that God made seasons for a reason.
Plants contain some very powerful phytochemicals that protect them from being consumed by predators and insects, or to protect them from the elements. These phytochemicals act on the body and often perform a beneficial roll in our nutrition. However, too much of a good thing isn't so good, because they can accumulate in the body faster than the liver can detoxify them. The dose makes the poison. The liver requires time to detoxify the chemicals we ingest. When the body doesn't get variety, the compounds build up in our systems and cause intolerances. Of course, I had to learn this the hard way! I didn't understand the warning signs and eventually it made me sick. The end result for me was Leaky Gut, Celiac Disease, Lactose Intolerance, multiple food allergies, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, IBS and Colitis.
A good example of this is sulfur, which is a phytonutrient that causes that stinging-sharp, almost hot taste of a radish. It is the sulfur compounds that defend plants against predatory insects. Sulfur is a very necessary mineral that is needed by the body and is found in every living cell. Most of the sulfur is consumed in the form of proteins. Sulfur is needed to form the amino acids methionine, cysteine and taurine. These sulfur-based amino acids are recycled for making proteins required for growth, maintaining tissue, and forming enzymes. Sulfur is the driving force for energy to cells. It plays a major role in forming the tissues that hold skin and organs together, and the cartilage that cushions joints. Sulfur can also be found in beta-keratin, an essential protein found in nails, skin, and hair. It assists in the digestion and absorption of fat, as it is needed to make bile acids. Sulfur plays a role in bone mineralization, including teeth. Sulfur compounds are vital to the creation of insulin (a hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates blood glucose levels). Therefore sulfur is necessary in the regulation of blood sugar. It elicits the flow of blood.
Other benefits of sulfur are its cancer prevention properties, contained in the phytonutrients called isothiocyanates, of which there are two. 1) Sulforaphane is able to increase the livers ability to detoxify a wide variety of harmful compounds from the body, including carcinogens and free-radicals. It protects against cell mutations, by removing the toxins from the body that would cause cells to mutate. 2) Indol-3-carbinol helps to deactivate a potent estrogen metabolite that causes tumors to grow in breast cells. It also suppresses the movement of cancer cells to other parts of the body.
A shortage of sulfur in the diet can result in asthma, arthritis, and nerve and bone disorders. These are similar results to having a protein deficiency. On the other hand, digesting too much food containing sulfur produces gas and other unpleasant symptoms. Without sulfur the body will die, but consuming too much of these sulfur containing foods can be a big problem, because it is highly irritating to the lining of the intestines in particular. Many other chemicals also irritate the GI tract, like Tannin.
Cruciferous vegetables are high in sulfur content. This includes leeks, all storage onions, shallots, spring onions, chives, garlic, rutabaga, turnips, radish, mustard greens, kale, collards, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and water cress. High sulfur fruits include coconut, papaya, pineapple, banana and watermelon. Cheeses, tea and coffee, whey proteins, gluten grains, chocolate, cream, horseradish, sour cream, soy milk, soy cheese and tofu also have high sulfur content, as well as chicken, nuts and seeds, duck, red meats, eggs, legumes (esp. red beans), carob, milk products, parmesan cheese and seafood (scallops, crab, lobster). I over consumed every food on the list. What does over consumption look like?
Consider for a moment that you want to plan a menu for dinner or a party. What will you serve? You pull out your cook books and look for recipes. Thoughts go more toward what combinations of ingredients taste good when served together. A cookie or cake recipe may contain gluten flour, eggs, milk and chocolate or carob, all containing high amounts of sulfur. A fruit and vegetable tray often includes raw vegetables such as radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, cheese sauce or a sour cream dip containing horseradish, cheeses, pineapple, banana and watermelon. The meal may be lobster with butter, chicken or red meat with a few side dishes like macaroni & cheese, a "dark leafy green vegetable", Brussels sprouts or broccoli sautéed in butter with garlic and onion. I want you to see just how easy it is to over consume sulfur vegetables in one meal. Add to that the tea or coffee consumed and ice cream for dessert. What else was eaten during that day? It all has a cumulative effect. Is it any wonder that the body succumbs and violently protests?
I am careful not to serve two high sulfur vegetables together, like kale and turnips, or other high sulfur foods. A better choice would be green beans and turnips or kale and carrots.
The growing seasons don't dictate our diet like they once did just 200 years ago, and before. We are able to have produce shipped to us from all over the world and we can consume the same fresh fruits and vegetables all year long. The chemical age has complicated things even further. Processing also makes foods available in the off season, but they contain their own brand of chemicals. Included within the packaging of processed foods is a long list of sometimes unlisted ingredients. This may include acidifiers, anti-browning/caking/foaming/maturing/staling/suspending agents, artificial flavor/color/sweeteners, binders, bleaching/clarifying/firming/flavoring/foaming agents, buffers, crystallization inhibitors, dough conditioners, hydrogenated oils, emulsifiers, fillers, flavor carriers/enhancers, solvents, coating/glaze/shellac, leavening, extenders, tenderizer, texturizer, thickener, neutralizer, preservatives, propellant gas, salt substitutes, sequestrant, softener, stabilizer, stimulant and yeast. All of these substances must be eliminated from the body by the liver, in addition to the chemicals that assault our bodies from the environment.
The end result of the daily bombarding of all of these chemicals on the human body include, skin rashes, cancer, asthma, emphysema, heart problems, high blood pressure, central nervous system problems, birth defects, gastrointestinal distress, pregnancy complications, liver problems, memory problems, kidney damage, developmental problems in children, headaches, fatigue, depression, mouth ulcers, heart disease, hardening of the arteries, elevated cholesterol levels, coma, death, learning and visual disorders, behavior problems, reproductive disorders, nutrient malabsorption, brain damage, nausea, weakened immune system, emotional stress, hyperactivity in children, diarrhea, infertility, growth problems, nervous system disorders, miscarriages, hair loss, hay fever, vomiting, blood sugar problems, tooth decay, indigestion, vitamin/mineral deficiency, gout, fluid retention/bloating, thyroid disorders, tumors, hallucinations, etc.
Let me pick on commercially prepared and packaged meats for a moment. They contain nitrates to prevent botulism. Nitrates form powerful cancer causing agents in the stomach and can cause death. Nitrates are considered dangerous by the FDA, but they have not been banned because they prevent botulism. Nitrates are also found in baked goods, cheese, dried fruit, jelly and syrup. Think, how much of this do you consume daily or weekly?
I can't exclude my "favorite"! Aspartame is an artificial sweetener found in many processed foods. It may cause brain damage, nervous system disturbances, menstrual difficulties and affect brain development in unborn fetus.
I watch the birds, deer and other creatures that live and thrive around me on the mountain where I live. They eat a variety daily and over the course of the few months I am able to observe their activity. Many birds migrate, so they get to eat foods that grow in other parts of the world. Deer migrate to where food is plentiful, which varies their diet. Also, the animals in nature do not over-eat and get daily exercise. We can learn a great deal by observing the natural processes around us and gain the wisdom that is found there.
For breakfast, I rotate 4 non-gluten grains. Lunch includes one of 4 fish, chicken, turkey or eggs on a rotating basis. Snacks are a choice of whole fruits. Dinner is made up of a variety of salad greens, nuts and seeds. Always on a rotating basis, so that I do not over-consume the same chemicals. Also, I get nutrients from a variety of sources, and I don't become intolerant of any one thing. This will prevent food allergies and illness in the future.
If your child eats a peanutbutter and jelly sandwich on wheat for lunch frequently, they could potentially develop allergies to peanuts, gluten and mold (which contain afla-toxins). If they eat a kids cereal for breakfast and cheese curls or crackers as a snack, understand what is on the label and what each ingredient does. A pregnant mother consuming processed foods could potentially give their unborn baby a head start toward adverse reactions to foods and other health problems.
Example: Cheese crackers / curls / puffs / mac & cheese
disodium phosphate -can contribute to kidney problems, high blood pressure, fluid retention.
monosodium glutamate / aka“natural” flavor -MSG; may cause headaches, itching, nausea, brain and nervous system disorders, reproductive disorders, high blood pressure, pregnant or lactating mothers, infants and small children should avoid, allergic reactions common. An excitotoxin, which can result in sudden, unexplained heart attack.
corn syrup-blood pressure problems, depression, fatigue, B-vitamin deficiency, hyperactivity, tooth decay, periodontal disease, indigestion.
maltodextrin-corn based, a sugar; see sucrose. Can cause intestinal inflammation.
disodium inosinate -can aggravate gout; may be soy or yeast based; not thoroughly tested.
disodium guanylate -can aggravate gout; may be soy or yeast based; not thoroughly tested.
caramel color -suspected carcinogen; may cause inflammation of the tongue, scalp lesions, dandruff, hair loss.
mannitol -small amounts may cause gastrointestinal distress; may cause nausea, kidney problems; sugar, seaweed or corn based; not thoroughly tested.
sorbitol -may cause gastrointestinal distress, especially in infants and children; may be corn based (GMO).
dextrose -corn based; blood pressure problems, depression, fatigue, B-vitamin deficiency, hyperactivity, tooth decay, periodontal disease, indigestion.
maltodextrin -a sugar, may be corn based; see sucrose.
sucrose -associated with blood sugar problems, depression, fatigue, B-vitamin deficiency, hyperactivity, tooth decay, periodontal disease, indigestion.
saccharin -carcinogenic; FDA has tried to ban since 1977.
maltose -may be corn, soy, wheat based.
fructose -may be corn based; may cause gastrointestinal distress, elevated cholesterol; may cause allergic reactions.
asesufame-K -"Sunsette"; may cause cancer, elevated cholesterol in lab animals.
cyclamates -carcinogenic; banned; manufacturers petitioning FDA to rescind ban.
hydrogenated starch hydrolysate -may cause gastrointestinal distress.
polydextrose -may be corn based; may cause gastrointestinal distress.
xylitol -may be carcinogenic.
"I use SweetLeaf Stevia. It contains no artificial ingredients and is the very best tasting stevia product on the market today."JVW
Example: Kids Cereal and cookies
BHA or Butylated hydroxyanisole -can cause liver and kidney damage, behavioral problems, infertility, weakened immune system, birth defects, cancer, should be avoided by infants, young children, pregnant women and those sensitive to aspirin. Unsafe or very poorly tested.
partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil / coconut oil - believed to be a precursor of hardening of the arteries, associated with heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, atherosclerosis, elevated cholesterol.
blue 1 - may cause itching, low blood pressure, may be carcinogenic. Unsafe or very poorly tested.
red 40 - may cause reproductive disorders, developmental problems; not adequately tested.
yellow 5 - may cause hay fever, gastrointestinal upset, skin rashes; avoid if aspirin sensitive.
red 3 - causes thyroid tumors in lab animals. FDA recommends banning use. Unsafe or very poorly tested.
blue 2 - may cause itching, low blood pressure, brain tumors in lab animals. Unsafe or very poorly tested.
carnauba wax - not adequately tested.
ammonium phosphate - may cause mouth ulcers, nausea, kidney, liver problems; can inhibit mineral absorption; kidney damage, osteoporosis.
artificial flavor - may cause reproductive disorders, developmental problems; not adequately tested.
caramel color - suspected carcinogen; may cause inflammation of the tongue, scalp lesions, dandruff, hair loss.
cocoa - contains caffeine; may be processed with alkali.
"I can't help but think, looking at the examples above, if it wouldn't be better to eat the box and throw the 'food' away?" JVW
I don't know if you noticed it, but when I looked at all the labels in the grocery store, I realized that there isn't much difference between them. Even if all of the food additives, preservatives and other chemicals that are used in the manufacture of processed foods were safe individually, processed foods rarely if ever contain only "one". Testing for safety has been done on individual additives, but not for combinations. They may in fact be even more harmful in certain combinations, so what could the effects be, give the thousands of possible combinations? Is it any wonder why people develop food intolerances and allergies?
Consuming the same ingredients over and over again on a regular basis will inevitably result in nutritional imbalances and deficiencies, even when those foods are not from a box, bag or can.
Children's vitamins contain the following ingredients, but parents think they are doing something good for their child by giving them these. They must not know and understand what these ingredients do, or they wouldn't think of giving such things to their child. Glucose Syrup, Sucrose, Gelatin, Water; Less than 2%: Artificial Flavors, Ascorbic Acid, Bees Wax, Carnauba Wax, FD&C Blue #1, FD&C Red#40, FD&C Yellow #6, Coconut or palm oil, synthetic vitamins and synthetic minerals. Contains: Wheat, Tree Nuts (coconut).
The single most important thing you do every day is provide the nutrition you and your loved ones need to live long, productive and healthy lives. I want to help you do that. If you have any questions, please contact me - Johnna
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