In a recent article that appeared in Prevention Magasine in December of 2011, seven foods were highlighted as things NOT to consume in our diets. These appear below with their recommended alternatives. Some of this may shock and amaze but here you go.
Patients have often asked me why was it our grandparents could smoke three packs a day, drink alcohol with every meal, eat bacon and eggs for breakfast every day and still live into their nineties. Its always been my contention that they ate things that were more pure than we do. The water they drank, the air they were breathing had far less contaminants than we are currently exposed to. Long and short of it, in my opinion we need to clean up our act for the best chance at a healthy life and here are some tips that made sense to me.
I’m not suggesting you never eat any of these foods, but be aware of the repercussions and the potential alternatives that may be better for you.
The problem foods:
Number one, Canned Tomatoes. The tomatoes them selves are not the problem. The resin lining in the tin can contains Bisphenol-A which is a synthetic estrogen that’s been linked to reproductive problems, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The acid in the tomatoes causes this to leach into your food.
The solution: Don’t buy tomatoes in cans. Yes they are available in bottles which don’t have the offending resin lining. Boxed tomatoes such as Pomi or Trader Joes are also a safe alternative to the canned variety.
Number two, Corn fed beef. The funny thing is I have a distinct memory of corn fed beef being a selling point as if this was preferable. The problem is cows evolved to eat grass not grains. The reason they feed corn to cows is they fatten up faster so make more money for the cattle farmers. Grass fed beef is higher in beta carotene, vitamin E, and omega-3’s, calcium, magnesium and potassium. They are also lower in Inflammatory Omega-6’s and lower in saturated fats.
The solution: Buy grass fed beef which may be more expensive, but, there’s a reason. You can find it at Whole Foods. It may be available elsewhere so ask your butcher whether they carry it.
Number three, microwave popcorn. Yeah… I know… who’d have thought. Again its not the food but the packaging that causes the problem. The lining of the bags contain Perfluorooctanoic acid which has been linked to liver, testicular and pancreatic cancer. Micro-waving caused the chemicals to vaporize and saturate the popcorn. These toxins stay in the body for years and researchers state the levels in many humans cause cancer in laboratory animals. Manufacturers promise to voluntarily phase out PFOA by 2015 but there will be a LOT of popcorn sold before then.
The solution: Pop your popcorn the old fashioned way in a pot. Not only is this more healthy for you, its SO much less expensive its amazing people have forgotten the joys of popping corn.
Number four, potatoes! Yes, I said potatoes, OUCH. The issue here is that root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides and fungicides that end up in the soil. Sadly the most popular vegetable is treated with fungicide during the growing season, herbicides to kill off the vines before harvesting and they are treated again to avoid sprouting.
The solution: Eat only organic potatoes. Yes they may cost a little more but only one to two dollars a pound. Sadly washing the normally available non-organic potatoes just isn’t enough as the chemicals have been absorbed into the flesh of the potato itself.
Number five, farmed Salmon. While at first pass this may seem like a good environmentally sound policy to farm Salmon. Sadly what they feed farmed Salmon is soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. Due to this poor diet and the overcrowding of the Salmon pens, these fish when harvested are lower in vitamin D, and higher in contaminants such as PCB’s, pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. The worst offenders are northern European fisheries.
The solution is obvious, eat only wild caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, its probably farmed. BTW, Canned Salmon is almost exclusively from wild catch.
Number six, Milk produced with artificial hormones. The problem here is that dairy cattle treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) produce more milk. Its just that simple hence why its so widespread. Sadly (rBGH) also increases udder infections which causes puss in the milk. It may also cause higher levels of an insulin like growth factor in milk which may contribute to breast, prostate and colon cancer. There is not 100% proof that this happens but (rBGH) is banned in most industrialized countries.
The solution: Do your homework and check labels for rBGH free milk. “Organic milk” or milk with the phrase “Produced without artificial hormones” should not contain rBGH
The seventh problem food, conventional apples. Apples don’t develop resistance to pests like many other fruits. This is do to the fact that they are all in essence descended from an individual tree. This is how individual varieties maintain their distinctive flavors. As a result apples are the most dosed fruit available. While industry leaders state that these residues are not harmful, an increasing number of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides from all sources.
The solution: Buy organic apples and cut out the pests should they have any.
While nobody lives forever lets not hasten our departure from this plane by making bad food choices.
Yours in health, Dr. Camp