Up next for the mindful food-lover: Eight Nutritional Deficiencies that can Cause Depression & Anxiety.
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I’ve been exploring the benefits of plant-based living for a long time.
I’ve won dance competitions, given birth to a gorgeous baby girl, started my own business, and written several books on health and wellness—all while maintaining a diet and lifestyle completely free of animal products.
I believe this choice lies at the center of a healthy mind, body, and life, and I recommend it to all my clients.
But whether you want to go fully plant-based or you’re just curious about making healthier food choices for you and your family, eliminating the following five foods is an easy and effective starting point.
If we want to get healthy, we have to understand what’s making us sick.
I believe that these five foods are making us overweight, unhealthy, and unhappy. If we can eliminate them from our cupboards, our tables and our lives, we’re already on the fast track to gorgeously glowing health.
Added salt is terrible for us. It causes inflammation and water retention (bloating), and is one of the biggest obstacles to thriving health. While the natural sodium found in foods like celery, Swiss chard and tomatoes is fine, processed salt (i.e. table salt) is not.
In addition to weight gain, consuming these processed salts can lead to high blood pressure, kidney strain, and serious heart conditions. Want to avoid serious health complications? Throw away that salt (and processed foods high in sodium)—now.
I advise replacing salt with other healthier (and more flavorful) seasonings. Lemon juice, herbs, cayenne and black pepper are all natural solutions for tasty meals.
I recommend a diet free (or nearly free) of any oils. Raw or cooked, just one tablespoon of oil can contain up to 14 grams of fat and 120 calories, and simply is not optimal for good health.
What’s more, processed oils are full of trans fats, one of the leading causes of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Instead, I recommend consuming natural dietary sources of fat, like avocado and coconuts, which are whole, unprocessed and so good for us.
But, don’t throw out your coconut oil—it makes an excellent moisturizer for skin!
That includes all animal-derived milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. Dairy contains all kinds of hormones from the animals producing it—hormones contained in their feed or added to their diet to keep them lactating far longer than is natural—and those all end up in our bodies.
Consumption of dairy products has also been linked to osteoporosis, constipation and heart disease. Cutting them from our diet can often clear up allergies, make skin glow, and (bonus!) reduce demand for products from factory farms practicing unethical treatment of animals.
I encourage everyone to switch to almond, coconut or many other non-dairy milks.
I know it’s tough, but if we really want to achieve optimum health, meat has to go. Recent tests have found antibiotic resistant bacteria in 81 percent of raw ground turkey, 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef and 39 percent of chicken. Leaving those statistics aside, meat is one of the only foods that contain almost no fiber, meaning it takes our bodies much longer—as much as a week—to fully digest it.
Fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, move quickly. When we stick to the good, meat-free stuff, we’ll notice our digestion improving rapidly.
Whether or not we’re actually gluten-intolerant, high consumption of breads and pastas is not ideal for a thriving body. Our bodies have a tough time digesting gluten (and many grains), production of these foods is hard on the environment, and many people are in fact intolerant. Cutting glutinous foods out of our diet, we’ll often find our skin getting clearer, our weight dropping, and our allergies disappearing. I’d say that’s a pretty sweet deal.
Instead of these grains, focus on nutrient-dense legumes or satisfying fruit and vegetables. You won’t even miss the rest.
Cutting these five foods out of our diet is good—but it’s even better if we can then replace them with delicious, whole, plant-based nutrition. Fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts are the new staples for a new age of nutrition.
Why not give it a try?
I and my clients have consistently found a diet free of the above five foods and rich in those healthy alternatives to be the key to lasting good health. I hope you’ll experience the same glowing success we have!
Author: Donna Wild
Editor: Catherine Monkman