What you put at the end of your fork is more powerful than anything you will ever find at the bottom of a prescription bottle. This is so very important; I cannot stress this enough!
Why? It may seem obvious that what we eat can impact so many parts of our system, from our body and minds to our energy and overall health. Food contains information that speaks to our genes, not just calories for energy. What you eat programs your body with messages of health or illness and can help heal or in some cases, hurt and cause disease, fatigue, chronic inflammation and more.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” harkens back to Hippocrates, the father of medicine. This quote, though thousands of years old (and nothing new to many who are into nutrition) acknowledges the importance of healthy eating and how the nutrients in the foods we eat can have healing and lifelong beneficial properties for our bodies AND minds.
Coming back to our headline, how often do you really think about what you pick up with your fork or spoon? I understand keeping track of everything can seem like a job, so let’s keep it simple. If it’s in a box or a bag, has been ‘processed’ in volume or has more than five natural ingredients then it is most likely doesn’t fall on the ‘healthy’ scale. Look for things that come from the earth, such as nuts, fruits, veggies and the like (there’s more than lettuce! 😊). The American Cancer Society provides a nice list on their website of how to Stock Your Kitchen with Healthy Ingredients and who knows, maybe you already have some of these tasty treats in your pantry. The one thing I’m not a fan of is canned goods, so if you can try to keep those to a minimum. There are many reasons but mainly, some canned foods can be high in salt and/or contain added sugar. So, as you may have guessed, they’re adding stuff to the cans during the canning process that your body doesn’t need and that could potentially cause harm (with short or long-term effects) – including preservatives!
In our kitchen, everything is organic. I recently talked about the benefits of going organic in my blog about the dirty dozen. The overarching goal is to minimize chemicals and processing in your food and by eating organic, you can help control the added ‘stuff’ that goes into your body. So, what and who determines the foods that are labeled and certified ‘organic’? The USDA has strict guidelines (see a few high-level listed below) and requirements for these items.
There are four types of organic food labels, including:
100% organic: Most foods that are labeled 100% organic are raw, such as fruits and vegetables.
Organic: Any product that is made of at least 95% organic fruits and vegetables can be labeled organic.
Made with organic: Any product that is made of at least 70% organic foods can use the “made with organic” label to call out the specific organic ingredients. Products using this label are not allowed to use the USDA organic seal.
Specific organic ingredients: Products using less than 70% organic food can specify that certain things are organic in their ingredients list, but they cannot use the USDA organic seal or the word organic anywhere else on their packaging.
What does it take for food to be certified organic? Fruits and vegetables must meet specific requirements to be certified organic by the USDA. Here are a few examples of the dozens of standards that farmers have to meet when growing organic produce:
Farming methods can’t harm the land or water.
Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are typically not allowed.
Conventional farming methods have been known to kill bees and other animals, but organic farming must be done so that it doesn’t harm plants and wildlife.
What about pricing?
While pricing can be slightly higher for organic, the key factor here is that the benefits can have a positive, long-lasting positive impact to your health. This article talks about the labeling requirements in-depth and in an article from TIME, we can learn more about 4 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Eating Organic.
How do you get started?
To learn more about how to stock your kitchen with healthy ingredients or get help in cooking easy 5-ingredient meals, reach out to me for a free consultation. Let’s figure out how to make it easy to look at the end of your fork and get excited about what you’re putting into your body.
To your health and happiness,