|The author is actually recommending to substitute a Whopper with a Big Mac, UGH!|
Ever hear of the popular book series called “Eat This, Not That”? These books are regretfully bad consumer guides touted to help people choose ‘better’ food options at the supermarket or favorite restaurant (or junk-food fueling station). The thing is, the authors only weave calories and fat into the equation, not actual nutritional/health values. It may seem like a practical guide for the general public and might even prevent extra weight gain but I seriously doubt this book contributes to sustainable weight loss or health. It is chock full of dodgy advise like these gems:
- EAT the Krispy Kreme Sugar Doughnut but NOT the Powdered Cake Doughnut
- EAT the Burger King Whopper Jr. but NOT the BK Big Fish
- EAT Kellogg’s Fruit Loops but NOT Lucky Charms
- EAT Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili but NOT Cheetos
I could go on and on but I think you get the idea (I hope). For any real sustainable health and weight loss it is imperative to wean yourself off overly processed foods and start using mostly organic whole foods in your kitchen. Learning to cook or doing it more often is also a swell idea. I put together a short list of staple foods that will promote better health and weight loss. There are many things I took into account:
- Sugar and sweetener content
- Type and quality of ingredients
- Pesticides and other chemicals
- GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
- Packaging in BPA-free containers
- Micro-nutrient stealing processes
- Anti-nutrients (prevents absorption of vitamins and minerals)
Just The Staples
Milk and Non-Dairy Milks:
Eat This: Grass-fed organic full fat milk (full of omega-3 & vitamin A + D)
Not That: Conventional milk with hormones, GMO, BPA and less nutrition
Eat This: Grass-fed goat milk in opaque packaging (low lactose, high omega-3 & CLA)
Not That: Canned goat milk with preservatives, hormones and BPA
Eat This: Organic unsweetened almond milk or homemade (low calorie and chock full of vitamins)
Not This: Silk soy milk with sugar, potential estrogen disruptors, pesticides and anti-nutrient content
Eat This: Organic unsweetened coconut milk (chock full of healthy fat burning fat called MCT)
Not This: Rice milk with sugar, pesticides and low nutritional value
Notes: Pasteurization and homogenization are widely used in the dairy sector. These processes not only strip milk products of many health advantages they denature the protein (potentially causing harm and micro nutrient runoff). If you can find Organic Raw Grass-Fed Milk (it is illegal in NY for human consumption) buy that. In most of Europe and the rest of the world raw milk is a staple so don’t worry, you won’t die from it. Full fat milk is less processed, more vitamin rich, linked to weight loss and satiety when compared to low/non fat dairy. Light, especially florescent lights, degrade the micro-nutrients in milk including vitamin A – choose milk in opaque packaging.
Eat This: Organic grass-fed non-homogenized plain or Greek yogurt
Not This: Fruit flavored fat-free, fake sugar filled, artificially colored (with dyes illegal in other countries) yogurt
Eat This: Organic grass-fed Kefir plain
Not This: Most flavored yogurts due to the high sugar content (especially if it is not organic)
Notes: Conventional flavored yogurts typically have more sugar per ounce than ice cream and contain potentially harmful hormones and other chemicals. Add your own fruit, nuts and seeds to a plain yogurt and learn to appreciate the natural sourness of this superfood. According to the New England Journal of Medicine yogurt possesses the strongest link to long term weight loss of any other food.
Eat This: Organic pasture raised eggs preferably from a local farm
Not This: Egg Beaters with less nutritional value, pesticides, GMO and BPA
Eat This: Organic pastured raised egg omelet with mushrooms and other veggies
Not This: Scrambled egg whites with processed cheese food product (American Cheese) on a roll
First off, organic eggs are healthy, especially the yolks where all the vitamins and minerals are stored. I can’t vouch for commercial eggs but studies show they are less nutritious and more likely to carry salmonella. If you care about the welfare of the animal you eat and you should because it affects the nutritional value of the end product, look for ‘pastured raised’ eggs. ‘Cage free’ and ‘free range’ do NOT mean the animals actually go outside. Be wary of 100% vegetarian fed chickens. Chickens are not vegetarians…they love bugs!
Grains and Flours:
Eat This: Buckwheat, quinoa, millet, amaranth, coconut, almond and flax meal based flours
Not This: White flour or whole wheat flour- high is sugar and void of nutritional value plus added bleach and other chemicals.
Eat This: Zucchini sliced into pasta strips with your favorite homemade organic sauce
Not This: Semolina or flour pasta chock full of wheat & gluten with little nutritional value
Eat This: Organic brown rice pasta or buckwheat pasta
Not This: Whole wheat pasta – has a ton of sugar and just a little more fiber than regular pasta
Eat This: Organic brown rice or wild rice
Not This: White rice which is devoid of most nutrients and converts quickly to glucose
Eat This: Organic chia pudding
Not This: Granola or most any other breakfast cereal – packaged sugar, fat and salt with loads of chemicals, colorings and preservatives.
Foods made with wheat flour have the potential to raise your blood sugar higher then most candy bars. Modern wheat offers humans very little nutritional value and is a likely culprit to our expanding waistlines. It is estimated that 30-50% of the population (most unknowingly) have a sensitivity or allergy toward gluten which can cause brain fog, bloat, weight gain, inflammation and headaches. Peculiarly buckwheat does not contain wheat or gluten and thus makes a healthy hot cereal.
Meats, Poultry & Fish:
Eat This: Organic grass-fed beef (if it is not ‘organic’ it may have GMO, hormones and pesticides)
Not This: Conventional beef with hormones, food coloring, GMO, pesticides and maybe even E-coli
Eat This: Organic ‘air chilled’ pastured raised chicken
Not This: Convention chicken especially the dark meat due to its higher levels of toxins
Eat This: Organic pasture raised pork
Not This: Bologna filled with MSG, nitrates, GMO, sugar and ‘mystery’ ingredients
Eat This: Wild salmon
Not This: Farm raised salmon which is given antibiotics, fed an unnatural diet, up to 16x more PCB than wild salmon and many are injected with artificial colors
Eat This: Fresh or canned sardines – high in omega-3, calcium, iron and CoQ10
Not This: Farm raised tuna in BPA lined cans with other ingredients in the can besides tuna and water like corn syrup, soybean oil, yeast etc.
-Cows are not meant to eat corn. In fact, it makes them sick. Once they get sick because of what we feed them, they need to go on antibiotics which eventually make their way into our bodies and waterways. Organic grass-fed cows are chock full of healthy fats and complete proteins.
-Chicken labeled ‘hormone free’ only means the company is not breaking the law. The USDA already prohibits the use of growth hormones in poultry. Air chilled chicken tends to have much lower bacteria content (than water chilled birds) and does not absorb extra water before packaging, resulting in a better tasting product and less water weight.
-When draining tuna packed in oil so goes many of the fat soluble vitamins and Omega-3 down the drain. Choose tuna packed in water or solid packed and don’t eat more than 2x per week due to the higher mercury levels found in this fish.
-If you care about the animal welfare look for one of these certified humane labels:
- Animal Welfare Approved
- American Humane Certified (strictest)
- Certified Humane Raised & Handled
Fruits & Veggies:
Eat This: Sweet potatoes (they don’t have to be organic)- has more potassium than a banana
Not This: French fries or white/yellow potatoes – lots of sugar and no fiber
Eat This: Organic blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or most any other berry
Not This: Fruit juice – Full of sugar (specifically fructose) and very little fiber
Eat This: Coconut meat or flakes (MCT fats which are healthy and help you burn more fat)
Not This: Sweetened coconut water- lots of sugar, fillers, very little healthy fat and barely any fiber
Eat This: Roasted broccoli and cauliflower salad
Not This: Beet & carrot salad with low-fat dressing (low-fat usually means high sugar)
The fruits and vegetables listed below are likely to have high amounts of pesticide residue and most likely contain GMOs. Especially when it comes to these foods, please choose organic varieties:
- Bell Peppers
- Peaches & Nectarines
- Berries & Cherries
Conversely, there’s no need to spend extra on the ‘organic’ label with these foods: Onions, Avocado, Asparagus, Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms, Cabbage, Cantaloupe, Eggplant and Peas – But make to sure to wash them properly before eating.
Here is a cheat sheet cut out for your wallet: