Packaged fruit juices
Yes, I am talking about 100% natural fruit juices with no sugar added. They are nothing but empty calories. They are deprived of most vitamins since they have been pasteurized to stop from spoiling quickly.
Making your own juices and smoothies is fun and so much healthier. Once you have a blender, all you need is fruit and water or plant-based milks. If you have a little more time, get a juicer and juice your own oranges, apples, carrots, celery, cucumbers, peppers, etc. They will give you a boost of energy and nutrition right away.
Milk is what comes from the mammary glands of female mammals after they have a baby and is intended for their babies only. Humans are the only species who drink the milk of another one. Modern cow milk, including raw and organic milk is full of estrogens, pus and growth hormones not intended for humans. Recent, important studies find many problems with dairy consumption. If you are worried about keeping your bones strong, remember that the best way to have strong bones is by exercising your body on a regular basis. Take a look at my post about dairy here.
Replacing animal milk in our household was easy. We have so many alternatives these days: almond, soy, coconut, hemp, rice, cashew and so much more. Try experimenting, and if you have the time, make your own milk; it’s worth it.
Gluten free baked goods
Gluten is bad for you only if you have celiac disease. New studies have shown that the so-called gluten sensitivity is mostly in people’s heads. It is true that our modern wheat is different than the first wheat people initially cultivated, but that’s true for almost every single crop we consume now. Artificial selection has always been a part of agriculture.
If you aren’t diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, know that gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy—and gluten-free baked goods like bread, cookies, and crackers often are packed with more refined flours, artificial ingredients, and sugar than traditional baked goods. Plus, they can cost up to twice as much as you’d normally spend.
About 10 years or so ago I stopped eating red meat (beef, pork, lamb) mostly for ethical reasons. I wanted to become a vegetarian but was not ready to quit poultry and fish. After a few years of not eating them, I was not happy preparing them at home either and so I stopped feeding them to my family.
To replace red meat, I have incorporated more vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, and plant-based foods. My dishes are more colorful, delicious, and healthy now and even my son has started cooking with the different vegan cookbooks I have purchased.
There are also health reasons to skip red meats from your diet. For red meat, there was evidence of increased risk of colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer. Take a look for yourself at this important announcement from the American Cancer Society here.
We are so accustomed to eating processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, ham, deli meats, sausages and others that we tend to forget they have to go through a lot of processing.
Processed meats are typically made from red meats high in saturated fats, and they contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs): inflammatory compounds that are created when these processed meats are dried, smoked, and cooked at high temperatures. Not to mention, those nitrates and nitrites in cured (and natural, “uncured”) meats can turn into carcinogenic nitrosamines when exposed to high heat.
In a 2015 study from the World Health Organization, twenty-two experts from 10 countries reviewed more than 800 studies to reach their conclusions. They found that eating 50 grams of processed meat every day increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. That’s the equivalent of about 4 strips of bacon or 1 hot dog. The study is found here.
The smell that first hits you when you open a bag of popcorn is actually a chemical called diacetyl, a synthetic butter flavoring added to the product. People who work in the factories developed a problem called “popcorn lung” from inhaling the gases with the diacetyl in it. Most manufacturers have removed diaceytl from their products, but it’s been replaced with other kinds of butter flavoring that some government scientists say are just as bad as the original stuff.
Another problem is perfluorooctanoic (PFOA), a chemical that lines the bag, also used to make Teflon. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified PFOA as a “likely carcinogen.”
The alternative is easy and trash-free: simply place 1/3 cup popcorn kernels in a large pan on your stove top on medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil, cover the pan, and wait. Once the popping starts slowing down, remove the pan from the heat. Transfer to a bowl, add salt, and enjoy healthy popcorn!
Washed and bagged greens can be a time-saver, but they can cost twice as much as buying the same amount of single leafy greens and they are never as fresh as their counterparts. Buying a head of fresh lettuce and a bunch of spinach will also make a delicious salad; you will save money and eat fresher. You will also avoid creating unnecessary trash. Try making your own salad dressing too.