For those of you that know me (Steve), you know that I began a strict “no cholesterol” diet in late 2012. I made this decision in an effort to reduce my outrageous high cholesterol level without having to go on life-long medication while still in my 40’s. Many may not know that a “no cholesterol” diet is pretty much the same thing as a “Vegan” diet except with more confusing looks. In my case a “no cholesterol” diet was undertaken strictly for health reasons and not any other emotional attachment to refraining from consuming animal products. The fact is cholesterol comes from two sources: your body makes it or you consume it by eating other animal products that make cholesterol, or both. If you want to learn more about my decision, take time to read my story under the “meet the coaches” section of the Heaven by Health Wellness Academy website. http://heavenbyhealth.com/health-coaching/meet-the-coaches-2/stephen-johnson/
My decision to go “Vegan” or “no cholesterol”, was the best decision I ever made and it was the worst decision I ever made. How you ask? It was the best decision because in the course of the first seven days I felt better than I had felt…ever. It was the worst decision for the same reason. I felt better than I had felt…ever. What was going to be a shot-term personal experiment into changing my diet to avoid medication, ended up being a complete lifestyle change. Breathe easy, the Heaven by Health community is not a “go Vegan” community. Although it is a community about being intentional about what we eat and recognizing that your body is your temple and should be respected by your diet choices. Even with good and intentional choices, that can be a lot harder than you think.
Most of us have no idea what is in the food we eat if it comes in a box, a jar or a wrapper. Case in point, this week I had the luxury of going to the grocery store twice, with extra time to read labels and “Fooducate”. If you have been to one of the HbyH Wellness Academy Second Saturday Got Health? Wellness Talks, you are familiar with the app Foodudate. If not, please take time now to check it out at http://www.fooducate.com/ and then download the app.
So what did I learn from my reading and barcode scanning a few of the foods I was considering purchasing this week.
First of all, I always go for the refrigerated tortillas or wraps to avoid the preservatives. Well my Kroger brand refrigerated 96% fat free wheat tortillas contained fully hydrogenated vegetable oil, were highly processed and contained trans fats. Folks, stay away from all of these and no one will get hurt. My other name brand (Azteca) wraps I scanned even claimed to be “refrigerated fresh from our ovens to lock in freshness” with no preservatives. Seems great right? Wrong! It got a rating of C- with fully hydrogenated oils, was highly processed and was one of the worst foods in its category. (See Consumer Reports on hydronation http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/04/q-a-is-fully-hydrogenated-oil-better-for-you-than-partially-hydrogenated-oil/index.htm) More importantly, it contains Sodium Aluminum Phosphate (SAP). True, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that most Sodium Aluminum Phosphate will leave your body naturally. However, excess can cause problems. Well hey, we never knew we were eating it so how would we know it we were eating excess. And the problem? Some research has implicated aluminum with Alzheimer’s. Doctors blame aluminum of exacerbating the effects of kidney disease and causing bone or brain disease. (See EWG on SAP at http://www.ewg.org/research/ewg-s-dirty-dozen-guide-food-additives/food-additive-watch-list)
The bottom line, if you know what is actually in what you are eating, you can make a conscious choice whether to eat it or not. The fact is, most industrial food manufactures do not have your health interests in mind and won’t give your the really skinny on what is in what you are eating. It is up to us.
You have heard me say time and time again. If you pull an item off the shelf without reading the label or doing a barcode scan using Fooducate or some other app that provides details on the chemicals in that food, we are assuming the manufacturer of that product has your best health interests in mind. Let me assure you, most do not.
Let’s all learn to be more intentional about not just what we eat, but knowing what is in what we eat. Lessons learned! “Forget what is behind and reach to what is ahead.”