These 5 Foods are making us Overweight, Unhealthy & Unhappy.

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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.

1. Salt.

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.

2. Oil.

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!

3. Dairy

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.

4. Meat.

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.

5. Gluten.

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!


A Power Snack with a name as Fierce as it makes you Feel: TigerNuts. {Review + Recipe}


Relephant bonus: 5 Mindful Things to do each Morning.






Author: Donna Wild

Image: Britt-knee/Flickr 

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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Donna Wild

Donna Wild, Founder

When Donna was 12 years old, she had a dream to be a dancer and have a house on a property with some happy cows. However, this was the year that doctors diagnosed her with juvenile arthritis and began medicating her for the pain. At 17 years of age, she visited specialists who diagnosed her with chronic rheumatoid arthritis in her entire body and said she would be crippled by the time she was just 22. By then, she had spent her life training to be a professional dancer, however, had become 13 kilograms overweight and directionless.

Donna believes that animal cruelty is wrong and personally suffers when she sees the way humans treat animals, she has worked tirelessly for a decade to empower people and families to eat in alignment with their belief- cruelty-free.

Today, Donna is a Mum of a four-year-old, a Nutritionist, a popular plant-based health and lifestyle author and an Australian Latin Dance Champion. She is completely free of arthritis, pain, and medication.

With her experience transitioning from a meat-eating to vegetarian, to vegan, to purely plant-based diet, and with the tens of thousands of hours she’s put into learning about nutrition and human bodies, Donna has gone just as deep into the ethics behind what we eat which is how she came to found this charity.

Til The Cows Come Home is a charity that aims to be the World Vision for livestock animals, on a mission to rescue animals that are too sick or injured to make it to slaughter and re-home them to a sanctuary to live a full and happy life, just as Donna imaged as a child.

Donna welcomes comments and questions!




Instagram: and

Chantel Smith Nov 14, 2018 12:44am

How were you able to quit gluten cold turkey? How did you deal with challenges (of cravings)? Any tips for adjusting to a gluten free diet?

Bradley Sanche Sep 25, 2018 6:54am

Nothing wrong with olive oil, and high fat diet is what our bodies need. Other oils are mostly harmful, save for avocado oil but its not very flavourful. Palm oil is death. Just forget about dairy, its unnecessary in every way.

Fjori Llaha Aug 27, 2018 8:33am

It's funny how are the bloggers mostly presented: "Mum of a four - year - old" - does it make them look more professional?¿ 🤣

Flurina Caviezel Jul 11, 2018 6:10am

I am sure to a point this might be true. But we eat only our own meat and dairy and there are no hormons or any other poison in the food. The bread we buy bio or beak it with old grains ourselfs. I think to quit all this food out of your diet just to eat almond, soya milk etc. (Which does not need to be healthier) is not the solution. You should check where u get the food from and how the animals have bean treated etc. It is those small changes to stay healthy and have a balanced diet. Not to avoid everything which our body needs. If it is possible only. I am sure this is not easy if you live in a big city but also there u can find healthy food and organic.

Kelly Kidder Feb 10, 2018 11:29pm

Vegan propaganda.

Jodi Benjamin Jan 20, 2018 4:47pm

welcome to 2018 did you just arrive from the 1970"s?? Every one of your suggestions are out dated and unfounded and wrong and lack of fat causes allhizmers , dementia and worse. I have been a avid bodybuilder and extremly healthy all my life and do all that you dont recommend and thriving on exsactly the opposite. So before you go giving advise maybe read up and check yourself.

Katie Zorena Jan 16, 2018 2:06pm

Totally agree

Vaishali Mehta Jan 16, 2018 12:06pm

How come sugar doesn't feature on your list at all? And dairy is where calcium comes from. Salt is important as we do need sodium in moderation.

Simon Epstein Jan 16, 2018 8:22am

What, a load, of shite

Pam Green Dec 29, 2017 11:23pm

Sugar is the source of the obesity epidemic, according to leading resources. This list literally makes no sense. Elephant Journal--please do a better job vetting your articles.

Silvio Šarunić Dec 22, 2017 11:02am

Donna Wild hm, so , you use elephanthjournal to promote your web site ?????..... even your articles are not well resourced, and presented...all i can see is lack of basics...... so..... you could or you could not agree with me.... but... thats way it is.....

Silvio Šarunić Dec 22, 2017 11:00am

this article is not 100% true..... so, major things that make us fat are carbs.....sugar... etc... please, next time, do little math and research... because, this is serious theme to be presented as a amateur article....

Mindy Armstrong Pollard Dec 5, 2017 9:37pm

Nuts seem to be a huge source in this new life style. We are a nut free home due to my son's anaphylaxis to peanuts and tree nuts... Any recommendations on how to slowly transition over, or make changes not including Nuts?

Eugenia Dalla Valle Aug 15, 2017 6:26am


Mark McKee Aug 7, 2017 10:04pm

Please do not follow the advice this charlatan is peddling. She is just plain wrong on several points in her article

Amos Cohen Aug 2, 2017 6:32am

you forgot to mention SUGAR

Kathy Gottberg Jun 29, 2017 11:33pm

Where's the sugar? Honestly how can you claim to make a list like this without including sugar?

Jim Mauney Apr 23, 2017 3:33pm

I have trouble buying into the gluten-free craze. Bread has been a staple of the human diet for over 10 thousand years, but in the last 10 years it has become a problem. It's like the bathroom bills that are popping up. There wasn't a problem until someone said there was a problem.

Agnieszka Anna Lukasiewicz Apr 1, 2017 7:14am

I think that the resourcess that are linked to the "Gluten" point are irrelevant to your argument. If someone is interested in more detailed article about gluten I would recommend that one .

Donna Wild Mar 8, 2017 6:00am

Hi Olivia, Great questions. Of course some oils are worse than others ie non organic vs organic however oil is still oil and is not ideal for human consumption once refined. I mentioned coconut oil in this article of which I believe to be the better of the oils (along with the oils you listed) but I don't recommend it nor any for eating as any processed oil (any plant that has gone through a process to extract it's oil) is too much fat for optimum human health. If we are healthy and are living with our dream body (not over weight) then we have more room to play with food. But if we are healing any ailment or trying to lose weight then I'd ditch the oil all together.

Olivia Ashleigh Powell Feb 27, 2017 3:25pm

I know that vegetable oil and canola oil are not the best for you, but what is your opinion on olive oil, avacado oil, grapeseed oil, etc.? And does it make a difference if they are organic?

Donna Wild Feb 26, 2017 10:40pm

Julie I understand where your coming from and many agree with you. The current data states the contrary though and I agree with them. Oil is a processed food. It's been through a process. Therefor it's not a whole food and is certainly worth looking deeper into.. I have done that. Here are some extra sources for you to check out thanks to, I think you'll really find it interesting: Jakulj F, Zernicke K, Bacon SL, van Wielingen LE, Key BL, West SG, Campbell TS. A high-fat meal increases cardiovascular reactivity to psychological stress in healthy young adults. J Nutr. 2007 Apr;137(4):935-9. Cortés B, Núñez I, Cofán M, Gilabert R, Pérez-Heras A, Casals E, Deulofeu R, Ros E. Acute effects of high-fat meals enriched with walnuts or olive oil on postprandial endothelial function. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Oct 17;48(8):1666-71. Epub 2006 Sep 26. Canales A, Benedí J, Nus M, Librelotto J, Sánchez-Montero JM, Sánchez-Muniz FJ. Effect of walnut-enriched restructured meat in the antioxidant status of overweight/obese senior subjects with at least one extra CHD-risk factor. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Jun;26(3):225-32. Mills EW, Seetharaman K, Maretzki AN. A nutribusiness strategy for processing and marketing animal-source foods for children. J Nutr. 2007 Apr;137(4):1115-8. Also, here is Dr Gregers video on virgin oil: A few of the Dr's that are leading the way with their findings on the benefits of an oil free diet diet are; Dr Greger, Dr T Colin Campbell, Dr Pam Popper, Dr Alan Goldhamer, Dr Esselstyn, you may like to check them out online. Every one of them is a wealth or knowledge with a willingness to share what they know with the world. I know this information isn't mainstream yet. But I believe it will be and more importantly- should be.

Julie Crosby Feb 26, 2017 5:18pm

Donna Wild I agree with processed trans fat, but coconut oil, avocado oil and evoo have their place and shouldn't necessarily be removed because of their high high fat/calorie count.

Donna Wild Feb 26, 2017 2:33pm

Hi Julie. My comment disappeared? I am not opposed to fats- it actually states that in the article. "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."

Julie Crosby Feb 26, 2017 12:32pm

Donna Wild the reference on oil states that evoo is shown to improve cardiovascular health. I do agree that highly processed vegetable oils are not good for us, but certain high quality oils are extremely beneficial.