I got into a heated discussion with some of my clients after one of my bootcamps last week. The topic of "discussion" was healthy food OR what one perceives to be healthy food.
Big business does a great job of running genius marketing campaigns telling you what you should eat and what you shouldn't eat. As a result, we've relied less on logic and more on commercialism to decide what we put in our bodies.
It makes you wonder if the goal of some of these food companies is to really provide us with the best quality nutrition (probably not) or to just push mass amounts of FOOD PRODUCT on us by telling us we need it so that we can pad the wallets of their share holders (most likely).
The next time I see a commercial that says that some boxed, preservative-laden, high-fructose-corn-syrup cereal has "7 Essential Nutrients" and is "part of a daily healthy diet", I think I'm going to puke!
In saying that, I've outlined below the 3 Foods that us Dads should NEVER, EVER consume. EVER. (Oh yeah, and DON'T feed your kids this stuff either!)
1. Soy. Soy is a phyto-estrogen ("phyto" meaning plant based) and can be found in pretty much EVERYTHING - hot dogs, breakfast cereal, processed cheese, cookies. In ancient Japan, soy was used as fertilizer before big business got a hold of the stuff and started turning it into food products. Now it's found everywhere and, next to coffee, is the most sprayed and chemically treated crop.
The problem with soy is that if consumed excessively, strapping virile men like you and I start to turn ESTROGENIC - both from the natural estrogen from the bean itself and from the reaction that our bodies go through when we consume the food products with all the chemicals it's been treated with.
And when I say ESTROGENIC, I mean Man-Boobs and Belly Fat and a prescription for little blue pills because certain things don't function properly.
Now I don't know about you, but with a wife and 4 daughters there's already enough estrogen in my house and I don't need any more.
Let me make a point here to emphasize that this isn't a knock against vegetarianism. Quite the contrary, I've recently been learning the benefits of consuming a plant-based protein diet and supplementing with animal protein here and there. However, many vegetarians believe that soy is one of the ONLY ways to get protein in their diets. Not true, as there are many legumes, vegetables & nuts that contain adequate amounts of protein for our diet.
Also, there has been some speculation as to HOW MUCH PROTEIN we actually really need...long story short...WE DON'T NEED AS MUCH AS SUPPLEMENT COMPANIES & BODYBUILDING MAGAZINES LEAD US TO BELIEVE (surprise, surprise).
2. Commercially raised meat. If you've been reading my blog, you probably know how and why I feel this way already, so let's look to Dr. Johnny Bowden, Author of "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth", and see what he has to say....
"The hormones in factory-farmed (feedlot) meat can have all sorts of effects on the body, none of them fully understood and almost certainly none of them good. And it's not just the hormones. These miserably treated animals are shot full of antibiotics and fed an unnatural diet of grain, which makes them sick and tilts the balance of their fat towards inflammatory omega-6's."
OK, I understand that with the state of the economy more people than less are struggling financially and when regular meat goes on sale at your local supermarket you probably stock-up because it's cheap. Just remember, it's cheap for a reason.
Cheap meat = cheap (low quality, mass produced) meat.
Cows were meant to graze in a pasture and eat grass, not be cooped up in a barn and fed saw dust and grain fillers to fatten them up. Even beef that claims to be organic usually means that the cows were fed some type of organic grain/feed. When choosing your beef, choose GRASS-FED CATTLE.
Same goes for chicken & their eggs. Chicken were also meant to run around and get some exercise and lay their eggs wherever they darn-well please. When buying chicken or eggs, FREE RANGE is best.
For fish, go for the WILD/CAUGHT variety and not farmed fish that get fed grains and anti-biotics and live in closed tanks no larger than the size of my bathtub with 5000 other fish.
3. NON-organic Coffee. (You know I HAD to have coffee in here somewhere). As mentioned above, coffee is THE MOST COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED SPRAYED CROP in the world. The coffee industry is a booming business and the pressure is on for farmers to produce, produce, produce!!! But at what cost? Our health?
It's reality that 3 out of 5 North Amercians drink coffee daily. So for me to tell you to give up your daily cup of joe wouldn't be very realistic. Heck, I enjoy my daily double espresso more than most people.
Try to get your coffee ORGANIC from a specialty shop where the baristas (the cool folks behind the bar who make the drinks) actually CARE about what they do. Have you ever tasted the difference between freshly pulled coffee that comes right from the bean and coffee from the corner store that's been sitting on a burner for 1/2 an hour? You can actually taste hints of caramel or blueberries in finely pulled espresso by people who know what they're doing.
Buy ORGANIC coffee beans yourself and brew your own coffee at home. Everyone is trying to save money these days, so buying a 1/2lb bag of good organic coffee beans and then grinding them and brewing them at home will actually save you about $25-$35 a week if you usually indulge in a Venti-1/2 caf-no foam-2 raw sugar-latte at the local big chain coffee place.
My point to all of this is that we should be demanding better, high-QUALITY, REAL FOOD for ourselves and our families. I'm not saying that we shouldn't indulge here and there and be so anal about what we eat that we end up driving ourselves crazy...BUT, I just think that our primary focus should be on eating REAL FOOD the way Mother Nature intended...no preservative, no pesticides, no anti-biotics, no crap.
P.S. Are there any foods that you feel strongly about that I should have put on this list? Weigh-in, leave a comment and let me know please!