Often, we come across interesting facts that are of value to your everyday dietary knowledge. We cover them at length in our posts, but feel it is worth sharing key points here in order to provide you with helpful rules of thumb. There is no order to the list, and as we make new discoveries that can make a difference to you, we will include them here.

  1. Stop buying food products containing ingredients you would not - or could not - purchase individually, like hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, palm oil, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), sodium nitrites / nitrates, potassium benzoate, etc... These are not foods. Most additives are either sugars to make products more addictive; fat substitutes to make products taste better; preservatives to keep products from spoiling the way they would in nature; or artificial supplements to replace that which was stripped away during their factory production. Regardless of whether it contains zero calories, is low in fat, is sugar-free or fortified, these products are bad for you. From candy bars to 'energy' bars; pizza to pre-made sauces; sodas to fruit juice; cheese puffs to low-fat yogurt; non-dairy creamer to almond milk; white sugars to agave syrup; white flour to whole wheat flour; and Frosted Flakes to Heritage Flakes: in spite of the perception that the second name in each pair is healthy, it isn't. Instead, buy real food - the kind that expires, consists of one ingredient and looks like it did when living.
  2. Look for pastured eggs. It's the only term that guarantees hens are eating a natural diet in a natural setting, which translates to healthier eggs and higher nutrient content for you. 
  3. Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like walnuts, cold-water fish and flax seeds to improve your cholesterol and reduce illness-causing inflammation. Fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, soybeans... all are a great source of this key nutrient. More here.
  4. When choosing fish, 3 things count: omega-3 content, environmental practices and pollutants. The following fish score high in all 3 criteria: Atlantic Mackerel, Wild Alaskan salmon (Sockeye or Coho), Pacific Sardines and Wild/Farmed Alaskan Char. Black Cod (Sablefish) comes close, but has a higher mercury content. 
  5. The lycopene in tomatoes - one of the most potent carotenoid anti-oxidants in food - increases with cooking, as much as 164%, as does its bio-availability (ability for the body to absorb it), by as much as 20%.
  6. Eat the whole egg. In recent years, better science has debunked the age-old myth that dietary cholesterol (as in the egg yolk) has any real, long-term effect on blood cholesterol. The yolk contains the overwhelming majority of an egg's important nutrients. Just make sure your eggs are pastured (see point 2).
  7. When preparing eggs, try poaching or soft-boiling them - which both create a runny yolk. Why? A yolk's anti-oxidant content is highest raw, and the more exposed and heated, the more its cholesterol oxidizes, contributing to chronic inflammation. Scrambling exacerbates oxidization, and microwaving them - or anything, for that matter - simply destroys them, nutritionally.
  8. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collard greens, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, arugula, bok choy, turnips and watercress) are among the world's healthiest foods, delivering a spectrum of vitamins and minerals that is matched only by spinach and Swiss chard. Consume them regularly in both raw and cooked forms, as each method of consumption has pros and cons with respect to individual nutrients. More here.
  9. Eat Japanese mushrooms, like Shiitake, Maitake and Enoki (aka Hen-of-the-woods). They all contain compounds that are anti-viralanti-cancer and immune-enhancing, and were considered medicinal in ancient China and Japan. Conversely, avoid consuming white, Portobello or Cremini mushrooms (all the same species). They contain natural carcinogens. More here.
  10. Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract contains 85% of your immune system and over 100 trillion bacteria. Raw milk contains healthy micro-organisms (AKA bacteria) like those in yogurt and kefir that are probiotic, and more than 60 digestive enzymes that break down food into easily absorbed nutrients. Together, these promote GI health, and unfortunately, both are 100% destroyed by pasteurization. The second half of Week 4's blog entry covers this in detail.
  11. Replace flour-based bread (whole wheat or otherwise) with breads made with sprouted grains. The latter category of breads preserves the grain's germwhich contain the vast majority of its nutrients, and the bran, which holds wheat's fiber, and many other nutrients. Flour, in any form, is stripped of any appreciable nutrient value, leaving only the endosperm (i.e.: carbohydrate or plant 'fuel') and is quickly converted into glucose (i.e.: sugar) once consumed. Fortunately, sprouted/whole grain breads are widely available. A comprehensive list of breads and their 'grades' is here.
  12. Ginger is your gut's best friend and has been shown to reduce gas, prevent motion sickness better than Dramamine and relieve even severe nausea, including morning sickness.
  13. The so-called dirty dozen comprise the foods highest in pesticide residue. As a result, it's recommended that you eat them only in organic form, which by law cannot contain synthetic pesticides. These include celery (no. 1 on the list), spinach, apples, cucumbers, peaches, nectarines, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, hot peppers and snap peas.
  14. Over the years, some 19,000 studies have been conducted on coffee, and overwhelmingly, they concur on key health benefits of 1-2 cups per day, including increased metabolic rate (i.e.: fat-burning), lower risks of type 2 diabetes, Parkinsons (in men), and colorectal cancers, lower cholesterol, and a high antioxidant content - all in a zero-calorie quaff. Further still, it may reduce risk of cirrhosis of the liver, and prevent cavities. Drink up, but avoid additives like milk, cream, sugar, syrups and the like. You know they're not good for you. More here.
  15. Proportion size: reduce it. A serving of meat is 3-4 ounces - the size of a deck of playing cards or your own palm - whereas the smallest restaurant steaks are typically 8 oz. Adding a healthy animal protein - like Alaskan salmon - to your salad is a good way of getting animal-common nutrients like choline, protein, Vitamins B12 and D into your diet in the right proportion, without hogging the stage.