My Wellness Drawer

Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

If you pack your child’s lunch in a plastic container, or often purchase ready-to-eat food packaged items for your young one, you may be exposing them to two potentially toxic everyday chemicals: DEHP (Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate) and BPA (bisphenol A). DEHP, a phthalate, is used as a “plasticizer” for everything from plastic bottles to plastic containers. BPA is a man-made synthetic compound used to make plastics — particularly hard plastic bottles — and has been in commercial use since 1957. Canadian and European Union regulators have banned BPA from use in baby bottles; in the U.S., public worry over the compound has led to it essentially being phased out of use in recent years.

Red tupperware

While the long-term health effects of these two environmental toxic chemicals on humans is still currently under review by researchers in the U.S., two recent studies published in the same issue of the journal Pediatrics, suggest that exposure to DEHP and BPA could potentially increase your child’s risk for serious diseases including obesity and type 2 diabetes.

If you pack your child’s lunch in a plastic container, or often purchase ready-to-eat food packaged items for your young one, you may be exposing them to two potentially toxic everyday chemicals: DEHP (Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate) and BPA (bisphenol A). DEHP, a phthalate, is used as a “plasticizer” for everything from plastic bottles to plastic containers. BPA is a man-made synthetic compound used to make plastics — particularly hard plastic bottles — and has been in commercial use since 1957. Canadian and European Union regulators have banned BPA from use in baby bottles; in the U.S., public worry over the compound has led to it essentially being phased out of use in recent years.

While the long-term health effects of these two environmental toxic chemicals on humans is still currently under review by researchers in the U.S., two recent studies published in the same issue of the journal Pediatrics, suggest that exposure to DEHP and BPA could potentially increase your child’s risk for serious diseases including obesity and type 2 diabetes.

read more

Fruit and vegetable are complete food created by nature and are very rich in natural ingredients. Their joyous colours (green, red, yellow, orange, purple, and white) come from different pigments – each with nutritional value and health benefits. When you shop for your food be adventurous and experiment with colours, or look at the table below and pick the colours that ‘suit’ you best.

food colours minerals

(Kale, Spinach, Melon, Kiwifruit, Green peas, Broccoli, Cabbage, Leafy Greens, Lettuce, Asparagus, Celery, Green Grapes, Green Onion…)Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, fibre, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Ingredients found in these vegetables reduce cancer risk, purify blood simulating blood transfusion, reduce harmful LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, also normalize digestion time of food, support eyesight and put the immune system in full activity.

(Red Raspberries, Watermelon, Strawberries, Cranberries, Red Apples, Beets, Red Beans, Sweet Cherries, Fresh Tomato, Kidney Beans, Red Cabbage)

Fruit and vegetable with red colour contain ingredients as lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin and hesperidin. These ingredients act preventively against the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, reduce the growth of existing tumours and LDL cholesterol. Fight free radicals and in cases of arthritis provide support in joint mobility.

Blue and Purple
(Dried Plums, Grapes, Pomegranates, Purple Cabbage, Purple Grapes, Purple peppers, Raisins, Eggplant, Black Currant, Blackberries, Blueberries…)

Fruit and vegetable with this color contain ingredients like lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid and quercetin. These ingredients help maintaining healthy vision, reduce LDL cholesterol, maintain the highest level of defense of the immune system, help normal digestion, improve absorbing calcium  and other minerals, fight inflammation, inhibit growth of existing tumors but also have anti-cancer affect in digestive tract and limit the activity of cancer cells.

Orange and yellow
(Oranges, Lemons, Grapefruit, Carrots, Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, Peaches, Papayas, Yellow Apples, Sweet Corn, Yellow Peppers, Golden Kiwifruit…)

Fruit with these two colours contain beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, vitamin C and potassium. These ingredients reduce eye problems in aging, risk of prostate cancer, lower the blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, stimulate formation of collagen, provides healthy and mobile joints as well. Due to the large amount of powerful antioxidants, they also deal with free radicals and premature aging successfully, maintain alkaline state of the body, and also support successful combination of calcium and magnesium in the health “construction” of bones and teeth.

(Bananas, Ginger, Garlic, Mushrooms, Onions, White Corn, White Peaches, Potatoes, Jicama, Parsnips…)

These fruit and vegetables contain ingredients like beta-glucans EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), SDG (Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) and lignin which provide powerful immune system support. These ingredients also activate the natural destroyers for all substances dangerous for our body, B and T-cells, reduce the risk of colon cancer (the most common cancer in men), breast cancer and prostate. They help balancing levels of various hormones and more important, reduce the risk of hormone-related tumours.

Linda Bonvie 

May 30, 2013

Of all the food additives and strange-sounding ingredients readers have asked us about here at Food Identity Theft, the oddest of all has to be mycoprotein, sold under the brand name Quorn.

Mycoprotein is not a mushroom, but a type of microscopic mold-fungi called Fusarium venenatum that is fermented in a giant tank, fed with oxygenated water, glucose and other ingredients, and then further heavily processed into a variety of “food-like” substances such as fake chicken and meat.

If you just look at the Quorn packaging or web site you would think that mycoprotein is the greatest culinary creation since flour from grain, a “natural” meatless way to “eat healthier” that was first discovered in the 1960s during a search for novel sources of protein to feed the world.

But there’s more to the mycoprotein/Quorn story than that.

Great Britain’s answer to Olestra?

First served up to consumers in the United Kingdom in 1985, after being tested to “determine if it was fit for human consumption,” according to the company, Quorn mycoprotein made it ‘across the pond’ to the U.S. around 2001. By the following year it had reached the attention of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which called it possibly “…the FDA’s worst blunder since Olestra,” (a fat substitute that caused, among other things, a condition dubbed “anal leakage”).

In 2002 CSPI was urging the Food and Drug Administration to take Quorn products off the market and set up a web site,, which has collected almost two thousand adverse reaction reports from consumers ranging from hives, vomiting and diarrhea to life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

“Here we have brand-new foods made with an ingredient never before eaten in the United States,”
CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson said at the time. But “(i)nstead of undergoing careful reviews, this fungus food was waved into the American food supply with only a cursory governmental review.”

While this may look like your typical fast-food nugget, these are made from mycoprotein, a microscopic mold-fungi called Fusarium venenatum.

And, in fact, the FDA “waved in” mycoproteins in 2002 as a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) ingredient, even while the manufacturer’s 1986 petition to have the mold declared a “food additive” by the agency was still under evaluation (where it remains to this day).

Not giving up, CSPI filed a class-action lawsuit in Connecticut against the company in 2009 on behalf of a consumer who was made ill by Quorn’s Chik’n Patties, and was quoted as saying, “I felt like the soles of my feet were going to come out of my mouth, I was vomiting so hard.” The case was dismissed, with the judge noting that the “possibility of FDA action preempts state laws.”

But despite yet another request by CSPI in 2011 to the FDA to take the product off the market, or, at the very least, include a warning on the Quorn packaging to the effect that “this product might cause severe diarrhea or vomiting, or a life-threating anaphylactic reaction…” Quorn products have remained on  store shelves with a low-key notice on the back of the package saying, “mycoprotein is high in protein and fiber. This may cause intolerance in some people.”

How do you spell ‘queasy’?

Quorn, a subsidiary of the UK company Marlow Foods (which until 2003 was part of  pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca), says on its web site that merely one in 100,000, or  perhaps one in 200,000 “will react badly to the protein in Quorn products,” and that by “contrast…one in 50 and one in 200 people” will react badly to soy, nuts, shellfish, dairy and eggs.

But CSPI says that’s not the case, and that way back in 1977, an unpublished study “conducted by Quorn’s developer found that 10 percent of 200 test subjects who ate the fungus experienced nausea, vomiting, or other gastrointestinal symptoms…” and that “CSPI found that almost five percent of Quorn eaters experienced adverse reactions. That was a higher percentage of people than those who reported allergies to shellfish, milk, peanuts or other common food allergens,” the group said.

Another mycoprotein issue — and a problem in scores of other processed foods — is the presence of undeclared processed free glutamic acid (MSG), a result of the protein fermentation process. Manufactured glutamic acid is the substance responsible for triggering the numerous adverse reactions often associated with monosodum glutamate, ranging from skin rashes and asthma attacks to mood swings, upset stomach, migraines, heart irregularities and seizures.

CSPI advises that consumers have numerous meat substitutes available that are made with “real food ingredients,” saying in its 2011 letter to the FDA that “We believe, and we suspect that any reasonable person would believe, that any novel food ingredient that causes hives, anaphylactic reactions, or vomiting so violent that blood vessels burst, cannot, indeed must not, be considered by the FDA to be ‘generally recognized as safe…”

All of which makes us wonder whether what’s needed here (as in similar cases) is simply another FDA designation called GRAR — “generally recognized as risky.”

– See more at:


QUORN, the biggest-selling meat alternative in Britain, can cause dangerous allergic reactions, including asthma, scientists have warned.

Researchers found it can trigger severe symptoms in those with an allergy to moulds.

One man given the vegetarian food in a controlled experiment had a strong asthma attack, swelling of the tongue and throat and other symptoms.

More than 600 people, 80 per cent of them from Britain, have reported feeling unwell, mostly with stomach problems, after eating Quorn.

As the food is widely sold across Britain, Europe and the U.S., this figure is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg. …



COMMITTEE ON TOXICITY OF CHEMICALS IN FOOD CONSUMER PRODUCTS AND THE ENVIRONMENT has limited the amount of salmon that should be eaten due to its toxic content (follow this link – table on page 11)


Here is some more information – enough to raise big concerns:


Ireland Against Salmon Farms

Ireland against Salmon Farms

Manipulation and Confusion of the Consumer

Salmon Farmers have used the word Organic salmon on the packaging to manipulate and confuse consumers into buying their toxic farmed salmon.

The purpose of organic labels is to give consumers confidence that they can choose a product that has a significantly lower ecological footprint than that of conventional products. And, for many it may also be considered the healthier choice – a product free from harmful chemical residues that can be associated with intensive agriculture. Sadly, when it comes to organic farmed salmon this is not the case. It may come as a surprise to consumers to learn the farmed salmon organic label is instead masking a myriad of environmental impacts.

“What comes to mind when you think about certified organic food? Perhaps you think of food that is better for us and the planet. Food that avoids synthetic pesticides. Livestock that are fed a 100 per cent certified organic diet. It seems intuitive that the same organic principles that exist for land-grown organic produce, livestock and dairy should also apply to farmed fish. This is apparently not going to be the case.” David Suzuki Foundation, Canada, 2012.

The reality is organic farmed salmon:

• Contributes to the depletion of wild fish stocks
• Encourages non-organic aquaculture of other species
• Is treated with synthetic pesticides and antibiotics, which are released directly into the sea
• Emits vast quantities of fish waste, polluting the sea and contributing to harmful algal blooms
• Infects wild salmon and sea trout stocks with parasites and diseases
• Allows escapees to breed with wild salmon, weakening them genetically
• Causes mortalities of endangered marine mammals

These practices are inconsistent with current organic agricultural standards and not what consumers have come to expect from an ‘organic’ label.

Chemicals, Pesticides and Antibiotics

The flesh of wild salmon is pink – a result of the crustaceans in their diet. However, as a result of their artificial diet, farmed organic salmon’s flesh is grey. Unsurprisingly, consumers do not want to eat grey salmon. For this reason, organic salmon farmers use the same colouring as is used by conventional salmon farmers. It’s called Phaffia, and is an industrially produced yeast that contains high levels of astaxanthin. Organic salmon farms are also at liberty to use immunisations, chemical treatments and antibiotics to combat disease and parasites such as sea lice. Extraordinarily, most used today are not natural based products but the same chemically synthesised treatments used in non-organic aquaculture. As most treatments are given in-feed, they are released directly into the sea in the form of fish pellets and indirectly in fish faeces. This causes untold damage to marine life and valuable fish stocks (see below). Then there’s the additional issue of the development of anti-biotic resistance.

Read the full article


Toxicity of Farmed Salmon

The Salmon Farm Monitor

Farm fish, like battery chickens and turkeys, are reared in factory farms in Scotland, Canada, USA, Norway and Chile. According to a report by Compassion in World Farming, up to half a million farmed salmon on a single farm are crammed into cages, each with the equivalent swimming space of a bath-tub-full of water.

In Scotland, upwards of 50

million farm salmon are produced each year, against wild catches of 60,000 fish. Compared to the ‘King of Fish’, the wild salmon that migrate thousands of miles across the ocean, factory fish are couch potatoes.

Factory salmon farms, like all battery farms, rely upon toxic chemicals to control infectious diseases, parasites, and fouling around cages. A typical salmon farm in Scotland, for example, is authorised to use over 30 different antibiotics, such as oxytetracycline, as well as antiparasitics and antifoulants such as copper and zinc paints. There are over 700 licences to use the toxic chemicals on Scottish farms: Teflubenzuron (trade name Calicide); Emamectin benzoate (Slice); Azamethiphos (Salmosan); Cypermethrin (Excis). These are all described on the chemical manufacturers’ labels as being “marine pollutants”.

Farmed salmon is not as rich in essential Omega 3 oil as suggested. Tesco’s, for example, label their farmed salmon as being “High in Omega 3’s”, but this statement is really only valid in relation to wild salmon. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that farmed salmon contains two to three times less Omega 3’s than does wild salmon.

The fat content of farmed salmon is around four times higher than that of wild salmon (ca. 15% compared to 4%). Wild salmon contain more good Omega 3 oils and less bad fat. Farmed salmon contain less good fats and more bad fat, as well as more potentially cancer-causing chemicals such as PCBs. Read a detailed report on this,

Factory salmon farming spreads disease and parasites. Cramming up to half a million farmed salmon on a farm (with 50,000 in a single cage) is a recipe for disaster in terms of the spread of infectious diseases and parasitic infestation.

Diseases on Scottish salmon farms include Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA), Bacterial Kidney Disease (BKD) and Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis (IPN). In 1998, ISA led to 4 million fish being slaughtered and a quarter of the industry being quarantined. IPN currently affects over half Scotland’s fish farms and threatens wild salmon stocks. Fisheries Trusts have reported catching escaped farm salmon infected with IPN and ISA.

Parasitic sea lice breed in billions in farm salmon cages. They attack and kill wild salmon and sea-trout as they pass by on their way too and from natal rivers. Many West Highland and Island rivers and lochs that once supported large populations of wild salmonids are now devoid of these species.

99% of all salmon sold in supermarkets is farmed. Sometimes it is labelled as coming from “the cool clear waters of Scotland”. This in fact means that the fish has come from one of Scotland’s 350 factory salmon farms. The opposite is the case for canned salmon, 99% of which is wild. However, some supermarkets, including Safeways, now sell canned farmed salmon. To confuse things further John West, a world leader in wild canned salmon, has started selling canned Scottish salmon that is not labelled as being farmed.

This website has been closed in the meantime, but many issues about the farmed fish still remain opened.

In addition to farmed fish the ‘innovation’ is on its way – First Genetically Modified Meat and Salmon To Be Approved For Summer 2013

Will you risk it?

By Gretchen Reynolds New York Times

 walk_in_the_park___by_999999999a-d4a1cnm-300x225Scientists have known for some time that the human brain’s ability to stay calm and focused is limited and can be overwhelmed by the constant noise and hectic, jangling demands of city living, sometimes resulting in a condition informally known as brain fatigue.

 With brain fatigue, you are easily distracted, forgetful and mentally flighty — or, in other words, me.

But an innovative new study from Scotland suggests that you can ease brain fatigue simply by strolling through a leafy park.

The idea that visiting green spaces like parks or tree-filled plazas lessens stress and improves concentration is not new. Researchers have long theorized that green spaces are calming, requiring less of our so-called directed mental attention than busy, urban streets do. Instead, natural settings invoke “soft fascination,” a beguiling term for quiet contemplation, during which directed attention is barely called upon and the brain can reset those overstretched resources and reduce mental fatigue.

But this theory, while agreeable, has been difficult to put to the test. Previous studies have found that people who live near trees and parks have lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in their saliva than those who live primarily amid concrete, and that children with attention deficits tend toconcentrate and perform better on cognitive tests after walking through parks or arboretums. More directly, scientists have brought volunteers into a lab, attached electrodes to their heads and shown them photographs of natural or urban scenes, and found that the brain wave readouts show that the volunteers are more calm and meditative when they view the natural scenes.

But it had not been possible to study the brains of people while they were actually outside, moving through the city and the parks. Or it wasn’t, until the recent development of a lightweight, portable version of the electroencephalogram, a technology that studies brain wave patterns.

For the new study, published this month in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh attached these new, portable EEGs to the scalps of 12 healthy young adults. The electrodes, hidden unobtrusively beneath an ordinary looking fabric cap, sent brain wave readings wirelessly to a laptop carried in a backpack by each volunteer.

The researchers, who had been studying the cognitive impacts of green spaces for some time, then sent each volunteer out on a short walk of about a mile and half that wound through three different sections of Edinburgh.

The first half mile or so took walkers through an older, historic shopping district, with fine, old buildings and plenty of pedestrians on the sidewalk, but only light vehicle traffic.

The walkers then moved onto a path that led through a park-like setting for another half mile.

Finally, they ended their walk strolling through a busy, commercial district, with heavy automobile traffic and concrete buildings.

The walkers had been told to move at their own speed, not to rush or dawdle. Most finished the walk in about 25 minutes.

Throughout that time, the portable EEGs on their heads continued to feed information about brain wave patterns to the laptops they carried.

Afterward, the researchers compared the read-outs, looking for wave patterns that they felt were related to measures of frustration, directed attention (which they called “engagement”), mental arousal and meditativeness or calm.

What they found confirmed the idea that green spaces lessen brain fatigue.

When the volunteers made their way through the urbanized, busy areas, particularly the heavily trafficked commercial district at the end of their walk, their brain wave patterns consistently showed that they were more aroused, attentive and frustrated than when they walked through the parkland, where brain-wave readings became more meditative.

While traveling through the park, the walkers were mentally quieter.

Which is not to say that they weren’t paying attention, said Jenny Roe, a professor in the School of the Built Environment at Heriot-Watt University, who oversaw the study. “Natural environments still engage” the brain, she said, but the attention demanded “is effortless. It’s called involuntary attention in psychology. It holds our attention while at the same time allowing scope for reflection,” and providing a palliative to the nonstop attentional demands of typical, city streets.

Of course, her study was small, more of a pilot study of the nifty new, portable EEG technology than a definitive examination of the cognitive effects of seeing green.

But even so, she said, the findings were consistent and strong and, from the viewpoint of those of us over-engaged in attention-hogging urban lives, valuable. The study suggests that, right about now, you should consider “taking a break from work,” Dr. Roe said, and “going for a walk in a green space or just sitting, or even viewing green spaces from your office window.” This is not unproductive lollygagging, Dr. Roe helpfully assured us. “It is likely to have a restorative effect and help with attention fatigue and stress recovery.”

How often do we check expiry date labels on our stored food especially on frozen food and cans? Here is a comprehensive table of recommended food storage times for refrigerated and frozen foods – important to know to decrease risk of food-born illnesses.

Check your fridgeFoods should be refrigerated within two hours of purchase (sometimes sooner) for a best-before date to be valid. Refrigeration slows down but does not stop bacterial growth, so food can still go bad. Some food can be frozen to keep beyond its best-before date, but how long it can be safely frozen depends on the type of food and its ingredients.

When a best-before date has expired, use your judgment. When in doubt, throw it out.

Useful NHS link: Ten ways to prevent food poisoning

Here are some tips on how to minimize health risk while cooking or storing food:

  • Do not cook or store food for long periods of time in aluminum cookware.
  • Do not use badly scratched or un-coated cookware to cook or store food.
  • Avoid visibly damaged, stained or unpleasant smelling plastics and containers. Never heat or store food in plastic containers that were not intended for food.
  • Nonstick coatings are a risk if they are heated to temperatures greater than 350°C. This might happen if an empty pan is left on a burner. In this case, the coatings can give off irritating or poisonous fumes.
  • Do not store foods that are highly acidic, such as stewed rhubarb or stewed tomatoes, in stainless steel containers.
  • Levels for lead and cadmium of glazed ceramic cookware can vary from country to country – check standards.
  • Don’t use plastic bowls or wrap in the microwave unless they are labelled as microwave safe.
  • If you reuse plastic items for storage, such as dairy product containers, let the food cool before storing, then refrigerate it immediately.
  • Do not scour coated copper cookware.
  • Do not use silicone cookware at temperatures above 220°C (428°F) as it will melt if exposed to high temperatures. You should also be careful when removing hot foods from flexible silicone cookware, as the food may slide out very quickly.
  • If you know you are allergic to nickel, do not use nickel-plated cookware. If you are sensitive to nickel and are having difficulty managing your allergy, discuss options with your doctor. Foods known to contain higher levels of nickel include oats and oat products, peas, beans, lentils and cocoa products, such as chocolate, particularly dark chocolate.

Never put open cans in the fridge, as the metal may transfer to the can’s contents – place the contents in a storage container or covered bowl instead. This is the NHS UK recommendation. Read more about how to store food safely.

by Deepak Chopra

Body fat is getting more complicated. It was once thought of as basically inert; fat cells were like microscopic oil tankers that took on a small or expanding load of fat. Now we realize that fat is a very sophisticated and complex tissue. Fat in fact functions as an organ. Rather than just a passive or inert storage depot, fat is metabolically active and constantly communicating with other organs, including the brain, through a variety of hormones and chemical messengers.

The brain is the fattiest organ in the body. More than 50% of the dry weight of the human brain is fat. It is structural fat contained in the membranes of neural cells and a key component of the synapses, or connections, between neural cells.


The whole issue of fat in the diet should be simple, as it once was. Doctors followed the dictum of “fat puts on fat,” assigning blame for overweight on a fatty diet. Of the three major sources of calories – fats, proteins, and carbohydrates – the one with the most calories per gram (8) is fat. It only makes sense that cutting back on this component should lead to weight loss. But to say so is like time traveling back to 1950, before the great cholesterol revolution.

read the whole article and watch the video 

Mark Hyman, MD

The mistake is to think that if you eat an abundance of calories, your diet automatically delivers all the nutrients your body needs. But the opposite is true. The more processed food you eat, the more vitamins you need. That’s because vitamins and minerals lubricate the wheels of our metabolism, helping the chemical reactions in our bodies run properly. Among those biochemical processes greased by nutrients is the regulation of sugar and burning of fat. The problem is that the standard American diet (SAD) is energy dense (too many calories) but nutrient poor (not enough vitamins and minerals). Too many “empty calories” confuse the metabolism and pack on the pounds.

A Nutritionally Deficient Culture

After reviewing the major nutritional research over the last 40 years and doing nutritional testing on over 10,000 patients — I can tell you that Americans are suffering from massive nutritional deficiencies. What I see in my office is reflected in the scientific literature. Upwards of 30 percent of American diets fall short of such common plant-derived nutrients as magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin A (2). More than 80 percent of Americans are running low on Vitamin D (3). And nine out of 10 people are deficient in omega-3 fats, which are critical for staving off inflammation and controlling blood sugar levels.

So, what happened? Why are we so undernourished?

Food is less nutritious. Processed foods, stuffed with high fructose corn syrup, refined flours and trans fats-are a modern phenomenon. These foods crowd out more nutrient-dense foods because they are inexpensive and convenient. Your grandmother wouldn’t recognize most of the foods filling the center aisles of our grocery stores today. Imagine what early humans would think of Lunchables! Our species evolved eating foods that contained dramatically higher levels of all vitamins, minerals, and essential fats (4). Wild game is leaner and healthier than animals raised in factory farms. Plus, the meats and fish eaten by hunter-gatherers were almost always fresh. Most store bought meat today are laced with chemicals, such as nitrates, used to process and preserve.

Soil is being squeezed. There is a reason our food is less nutritious, industrial farming is depleting the nutrients in the country’s farmland. As a result, most vegetables harvested today have fewer nutrients than those plucked from the ground just two generations ago. One of the largest and most compelling studies on this topic was published in 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Using data from the USDA’s archives, a team of scientists looked at the nutrient content of 43 fruits and vegetables — everything from rutabaga to honeydew — grown in 1950 and compared them to the identical fruits and veggies grown in 1999. Their findings were disturbing. Levels of calcium were down 16 percent, iron 15 percent, and Vitamin C 20 percent (5). Not a single nutrient had increased in the past 50 years.

Because those foods contain fewer nutrients, the servings we do eat don’t deliver as much nutrition as they once did. Fewer nutrients means lowered immunity and increased vulnerability to chronic disease and obesity. When your body doesn’t get the right nutrition, it just keeps asking for more food. The endless cycle of craving a Catch-22; people are eating more, getting fatter, but still not feeling satisfied — it’s a nightmare from which they can’t escape.

*Refining kills nutrients. In general, foods are stripped of their nutrients during the refining process. One of the most telling examples of this mistake is wheat. The process of refining whole wheat flour into white reduces the fiber by 80 percent and slashes levels of essential minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients (6). Eventually, food manufacturers started adding synthetic versions of the most important vitamins and minerals back into food and call the food “enriched.” But the idea that you can process out nutrients, such as B vitamins in the making of white flour, and then add them back is reductionistic and neglects the synergistic qualities of food. Food makers call these “enriched foods” but that’s only because they are so impoverished in the first place!

Three Ways to Grab More Nutrient-rich Calories

  • Eat more plant-based foods: Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains are the foundation of a lifelong ultraprevention diet. They are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, fiber, and essential fatty acids. These foundation foods also eliminate the many triggers of chronic illness, such as saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and toxic food additives.
  • Prioritize healthy plant-based fats: The best way to eat most of your fat is in the form of extra-virgin olive oil, flax, nuts, and seeds with minimal amounts of properly processed (expeller-pressed) vegetable oils. Avoid oils that do not state the method of extraction or have a bitter aftertaste or rancid flavor.
  • Dine on modest amounts of lean animal protein: The best sources are small cold-water fish that don’t contain high levels of metals and other contaminants. Healthy fish choices include sardines, herring, mackerel, salmon, trout, and arctic char. Wild game, such as wild elk and deer, are also rich sources of omega-3 fats because of the wild plants they eat.

Remember, food is your best medicine! Whole foods are naturally packaged with a vast array of nutrients that work synergistically to optimize your health. They ripple throughout our entire physiology, reducing inflammation, boosting detoxification, balancing hormones, and providing powerful antioxidant protection — all things that repair the underlying causes of disease.

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  • wartica: I can attest to this; eating garbage food , always lead me to eat more - all because I was lacking real nutrients . Great post and I look forward to s