Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Top 5 Food Poisons as an Onmivore (and a Few More Since Becoming a Vegan)

Thanks to an inspirational family and close friends who share an affinity for staying informed on nutritional issues, as of recent years I have tried to stay away from the following harmful substances:

#1 Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
#2 Artificial sweeteners
#3 High fructose corn syrum
#4 MSG (monosodium glutamate)
#5 Nitrates

Rather than explain the health risks of each and every one of these, if you are truly interested in the negatives effects of any of these food substances, just google them!

Now, as a raw foods-dominant vegan, I have added a few more things to my list of poisons:

-Dairy products
-White flour
-Refined sugar or sweeteners or all kinds
-Artificial anything in my food, including artifical colors and flavors and preservatives

Many feel that this diet is extremely confining, but I feel just the opposite. I feel a wonderful sense of liberation knowing that I am taking control of my body and my health and possibly preventing diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and various autoimmune diseases. Did you know that the above listed diseases kill 80% of all Americans? Incredible, isn't it? But it doesn't have to be that way! With a diet that gets back to nature, we can take back our health and our lives and live the way God intended us to do so. I'm not saying that I think God wants us all to be vegans, but we could all stand to eat a few more natural foods, right? What a freeing feeling it is to be eating in a way that so close to the way nature intended!

Another way I feel free is that I have overcome ALL of my food addictions. I no longer HAVE to try everything at the dessert table at our church activites or HAVE to have a bowl of chocolate ice cream while I blog as a way to "wind down". Today, at a Boy Scout banquet, fajitas were served. Whereas they smelled wonderful and it was fun to watch the meat, onions and peppers being fried in an authentic Mexican "disco", I had no desire to consume any of it! I had shared a bowl of Raisin Bran with almond milk and strawberries with the twins and the toddler right before the dinner, and I felt completely satisfied with no desire to even have chips and guacamole, which is a favorite vegan snack of mine. As I got to thinking about why I wasn't hungry at all, even though I'd probably only had about half a bowl of cereal for dinner, a little light bulb went off in my head. Perhaps I have felt so satisfied and rarely hungry or tempted to eat things that are not good for me because my body is finally getting the nutrition it needs via vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans and grains. When I consumed the standard American diet (SAD), I was depleting my body of key nutrients and I believe my body was always telling me to eat more in a desperate attempt to get the nutrients I was missing. It makes so much sense to me that that is why my appetite has decreased so dramatically!

Just thought I'd share that with you. I'm so happy about this and thanks for listening!

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Jill @ Sneaky Momma said...

Great post! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I found that during the couple of months where I eliminated many of the poisons you talked about that many of my cravings vanished, too.
I went out and bought Dr. Barnard's book for reversing diabetes. I haven't dived fully into it yet, but am looking forward to doing so soon! I think he may be on to something there, as I had eliminated starches from my diet for a couple of months with very little change in blood sugar. Eliminating the fat is worth a shot!
Thanks again for sharing your experiences. :)

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Jill, it's wonderful that you mentioned Dr. Barnard! I have been eating up his YouTube videos on how a vegan diet can reverse diabetes! I am so happy you ordered his book and I plan on ordering it as well. My father passed away due to diabetic complications five months ago, and I have had 3 diabetic pregnancies, so I am so excited to delve into his book. Thanks so much for your comment and I can't wait to hear how following the vegan diet affects your blood sugar. Keep us posted!

TheSaltyGirl said...

Fantastic post! It reminds me of Michael Pollan's food manifesto, "Eat food. Not too much." The secret is eating reaaaal food. I'm so much healthier and happier since cutting out "food poisons" and eating real, natural foods.

Renee said...

Great post. I've been an ovo-lacto vegetarian since I was 16, I'm getting ready to cut out cheese (I already don't drink milk or eat ice cream due to lactose intolerance). I've been reading labels more and can't believe how many things have artificial coloring and flavoring. Thank you for bringing this to other's attention.

L2L said...

While although I'm not all for vegan diet, I will say it is well worth anyone's time to do research on white flour!!!!! Very bad stuff!!!!!

Noel said...

that's alot of food to leave out of your diet! What would be an average meal for you? Do you find you have less trouble controlling weight issues being a vegan?

Cambria said...

Thanks so much for all the great posts and insparation. I have been having such troubles lately with stomach aches and headaches. I made our first "monster goo" =) shake last night and my kids couldn't get enough. Just had another one for breakfast. I hope I feel good today. Thanks!

threesidesofcrazy said...

In 1986 I was very sick and unable to hardly walk. I was diagnosed with systemic Lupus and Fibromyalgia after 6 months of male doctors telling me it was what it was and I'd have to learn to live with it - long story short I was given 5-10 years to live and then I found the BEST DR. EVER, a Rheumatologist with insight. The very first thing she did was take EVERY preservative and artificial everything out of my diet. She said to use real everything, sugar, butter, etc... and you know what within 2 weeks I was walking again. She asked me when I first met with her to tell her which receptors in our body were set up to accept things like sweet & low, margarine or cool whip. I couldn't and then she showed me the chemical make up of these things. It's true that the margarine and cool whip are only a molecule away from being considered plastic. Anyway everything in our diet is made fresh from raw ingredients. You won't find rice-a-roni or frozen dinners here. I have had to add some dairy and meat back in over the years because of the anemia, being a diabetic and my protein levels, but you'd never know I was even sick to look at me - not bad considering the first several doctors predicted I'd be dead by now. Congratulations on making the decision to make a healthier you!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Noel, it is a lot of food to leave out, but think of all the foods I do get to eat: fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, beans, nuts. An average day goes something like: Breakfast - granola with almond milk and strawberries, lunch - bean burrito with chips and guacamole, mid-afternoon snack - chocolate banana smoothie made with a soy or almond milk base, dinner - bean and tomato soup, zuchinni with cashew cheese sauce (non-dairy), a spinach salad, mangos and for dessert a homemade almond chocolate tart! It's very rewarding and filling and guilt-free!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Oh, and yes, Noel, I have seen significant weight loss without even trying - 8 pounds in the 4 weeks that I've been vegan! Yay!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Wow 3 Sides! Getting fibromyalgia is one of biggest fears. I have had so many friends who are debilitated by this disease. It's WONDERFUL that you were able to combat it through diet alone! What an inspiring story! I'm glad you're still with us, too!

My Year Without said...

It's funny. Sometimes I wonder how my diet is perceived by others....and is it too confining? I mean, how in the world can we stay away from all of those artificial ingredients and all of the sugary crap found in most packaged food? I'm on a mission to be healthy and I'm not going to give in just because it may be a little more difficult to find the healthy food.

Yesterday I wrote and kind of went off about how we eat these days. If it's at the grocery store, it must be okay... Ha!

Good for you for setting your standards so high. THAT is how people make a difference. And if one person can eat that way, it means it's possible for others to do the same.

Kim @ Forever Wherever said...

Sounds like you're doing a great job eating healthy! Congrats on feeling great!

Suzanne said...

W O N DERFUL POST. I have always wanted to be a vegan. I love fresh fruits and veggies. I have recently moved to Calif. and ALL is plentiful and reasonable in price. Now was the the perfect time for my family and I to start. I hope you post weekly menus. Would really appreciate this request. Also, I am going on line immediately to Amazon to purchase Dr. Banard's book. Thanks again for ALL this helpful info. Love and Prayers, Suzanne p.s. My word verification today is sundekey. Funny don't you think?

Marilyn said...

Truly inspiring! I also just read Michael Pollan's book and completely agreed with him.