Foods to Avoid or Minimize for Better Health & Disease Prevention

Following is a list of foods to avoid, or enjoy minimally or infrequently, as they are less nutritious than the basic Meats & Sweets staple foods to enjoy, and can deplete your body of needed nutrients when consumed in excess in lieu of healthier, more nutrient-rich natural foods.

Generally speaking, if the majority of people simply cut way back on consumption of the foods to avoid listed, we would see a marked improvement in the overall health of the populace.  

These foods are either  known to contribute to ill health, weight gain, disease, and/or accelerated aging when consumed regularly and in excess, or they are simply too calorically dense yet nutritionally deplete, and take the place of more wholesome, health-supporting natural foods.

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During a health coaching session with clients, I  emphasize foods to enjoy, versus just focusing on which foods to avoid, as it is psychologically easier on those rebellious parts of our mind that don't like to feel deprived.  It's mentally more encouraging to focus on the abundance of choices, versus the restrictions.

However, for the purposes of better understanding what constitutes a healthy diet, I will start with a list of foods that pretty much everybody agrees are best avoided, or greatly minimized.  

Foods to Avoid

Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats 

These fats have a hydrogen atom added chemically to allow a vegetable oil that is naturally liquid at room temperature to become solid, and therefore more shelf stable.  You can often read this on the label as "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" palm, cottonseed, or corn oil. 

Hydrogenated oils are a synthetic alteration that the body is not designed to utilize, and can cause a host of problems, and tops the list of foods to avoid, although the PUFAs, listed below,  are also very toxic to our health.  

Anything that is synthetically altered should be strictly avoided, and is not part of a healthy diet.

Commercially Refined, Polyunsaturated Plant & Seed Oils

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs), are also on the top of the foods to avoid list, along with the hydrogenated oils.  Examples of these oils include: corn oil, soy oil, sesame seed oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, and other commercial oil blends.

These oils have a high ration of pro-inflammatory fatty acids, and impair the body's ability to appropriately metabolize sugar, possibly leading to insulin resistance and diabetes.  There are many other health problems which occur as these foods are often combined with 'starches' or refined grains, which breaks down into glucose.  Glucose metabolism is impaired without an appropriate balance of fructose.  The starch or grain + PUFA oils is ubiquitous, and very damaging to health.

Better choices include unrefined cold pressed oils such as a high oleic sunflower oil (cultivated in America), along with several other oil and fat recommendations outlined here.

Synthetic sweeteners

Synthetic or 'fake' sugars, such as saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame, neotame, and sucralose ~ sweeteners that go by the brand names of 'Equal' or 'Sweet and Low' are also on the foods to avoid list.  Synthetic modified food substances are lower in calories, but they are intensely sweet.  They are used in diet sodas, gum, mints, and many other products. 

Better alternatives include raw local honey, molasses, locally procured tree syrups, and even raw or organic sugar!  Other 'sugar' alternatives include stevia, and possibly monk fruit, Swerve, Xyla (made from birch), or other 'natural sweeteners' that are becoming more widely available.  

Foods to Avoid or Greatly Minimize

The Dry Crunchies

Most snack foods are dry and crunchy, which is not well tolerated by our digestive systems.  Couple the dryness with the combo of ingredients found in these foods, and you have a disaster on your hands.  They are usually made with refined flours, PUFA or hydrogenated oils, and excess sodium.  They are lab-tested to ensure you keep coming back for more as well!  

They are drying, causing you to drink above and beyond what you may ideally assimilate of liquids as well.  While they narrowly missed the foods to avoid list, I consider these foods celebratory foods to be consumed infrequently, not as a regular staple food.

Refined Grains and Flour Products

While we consider refined grain products a 'celebratory food' best kept to a minimum, it is harder for most people to avoid them, especially if in a pinch, trying to eat out.  Think sandwiches, pizza, toast, pasta ~ items that are easy to grab out.

When choosing to include grains, prioritize sprouted grain breads and tortillas, and true sourdough breads, or breads made with whole grain flours as much as possible.  Food For Life Low-Sodium Ezekiel Bread is our go-to choice.

Grain products (cookies, cakes, muffins, pretzels, scones, etc.) are not on the foods to avoid list, however we caution people to be judicious about their consumption, and keep consumption of these foods to a minimum.  Most commercial baked goods also contain an unholy (but sweet tasting) trio: refined grains + refined sugars + commercial plant oils or other fat ~ AND are high in sodium!  Baking soda (high in sodium) + salt are added to most baked goods.

Refined grains have been stripped of their natural fibers, and many of their B vitamins and minerals to make them more shelf stable (along with the addition of salt) while synthetic vitamins may be added in their stead. Many believe that  excess consumption of refined grains in combo with trans fats or poor quality commercial oils may be the underlying cause of inflammation, and many modern diseases.

Packaged Processed Foods

The bulk of foods found in the center aisles of grocery stores are very high in sodium, with very little potassium, a ratio that is bad for your health!  Read why here!  Processed foods typically contain long lists of ingredients, with many unidentifiable ingredients, preservatives, dyes, and other non-food substances. While some may have fancy labels which imply being 'healthy' or 'whole grain' don't be deceived!  Read labels!

Our modern culture has become very reliant on these so-called convenience packaged foods, yet they come at a cost.  We highly encourage cultivating a greater appreciation for preparing your own natural foods at home!  We show how simple and easy this can be in Meats & Sweets ~ A High Vitality Diet.  You can find more great recipes here and on our Meats & Sweets blog.

When purchasing canned meats, tomatoes and tomato sauces, sardines, mackerel, tuna, olives, and select condiments, do your best to purchase low-sodium options when available. 

The Rest

Other foods to avoid include any dyes, guar gums, chemicals, genetically modified foods and any other ingredient you do not recognize as a food!

Salt:  Salt (sodium + chloride) is not an essential nutrient!  Many people are very addicted to salt!  Salt is used in packaged foods to preserve shelf life!  High sodium diets in combo with low-potassium intake increase risk for many diseases.  We suggest slowly limiting use of salt, and reducing intake of high-sodium, processed and packaged foods.  

Salt is uniquely on our Meats & Sweets foods to avoid or greatly minimize list.  These days, sea salts have been raised to gourmet food status!  The chloride in all salts, sea salt included is perhaps the real danger, as is excess sodium, especially in combination with insufficient potassium intake.  Potassium is essential for all life.  It is a vitally  important mineral you will get an abundance of on our Meats & Sweets High Vitality Diet!  Even if you love salt, I highly encourage reading the books shown below, or my article about Salt and disease, here.

Meats: Pork and shellfish were considered  'unclean' foods during Old Testament times.  We believe these foods should be avoided or greatly minimized because of their increased risk for allergies and food born illnesses. These animals are bottom-feeders, here to help clean up the environment, and as a result can be breeding grounds for parasites, and hence foods to avoid.

Greens & (Raw) Cruciferous Vegetables

Many greens are also high in oxalate acid.  Cruciferous vegetables potential  thyroid hormone disrupters, and should be consumed well cooked rather than raw for those who have thyroid problems.

A few signs of sluggish thyroid is poor metabolism and circulation, small clumps of hair falling out, unable to sleep deeply throughout the night, moody, difficulty losing weight, and cold hands and feet, to name a few.

Talk to your doctor if experiencing any of the above symptoms.  If he/she tests your Thyroid hormone levels to be 'normal' yet you are still experiencing symptoms, it could be still related to sluggish thyroid function that is just not out of their standardized range.  A change of diet, and thyroid glandular supplementation may help.  

For those interested, Don and I offer one on one Health Coaching.  During a health coaching session, we help you customize a healthy diet for your particular preferences and needs. and make supplement recommendations, including herbs as needed. Learn more.  Or, Contact us with questions, or to get started.

Read more about Meats & Sweets ~ A High Vitality Diet.

Milk Jello w/ Raspberries, Honey & Coconut Sugar Sprinkle
Chicken Salad w/ Herbed Goat Cheese & Chopped Summer Vegetables
The 'sweets' of Meats & Sweets, A High Vitality Diet
Burger w/ Grilled Mushrooms & Onions, & Cucumber & Tomato Salad

Is Your Diet Supporting Your Health?  You Will Know You Are On the Right Track When you experience:

  • Less pain and stiffness
  • Better elimination
  • More lustrous, glowing skin
  • Softer hair, less falling out
  • Better moods
  • Better focus, clarity and motivation
  • Increased vitality
  • More balanced blood sugar and moods 
  • You can better manage stress
  • Safe, steady weight loss if needed
  • Improved sleep
  • Age with grace, maintaining reasonable cognitive and physical functioning
  • More energy to enjoy and create a fruitful life!

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