Did you know that at least 80 percent of all heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes, and 40 percent of cancer could be prevented with a better diet? There is no getting around it, if you want to live a long, vital, disease-free life, then you need to eat right. This means eliminating or vastly reducing animal products and processed foods, and making fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes, the staples of your diet.
I typically recommend my clients strive for a 90/10 ratio - meaning 90% of their diet is comprised of healthy, whole plant-based foods and 10% is cheating foods. I do this because allowing freedom in the diet helps people to not feel deprived and give up altogether. However, some foods are so bad for you, I really would recommend you avoid them completely. I call these foods the Deadly Seven.
The Deadly Seven
Dairy is highly allergenic and it’s the top source of artery-clogging saturated fats in the American diet (which contributes to diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease). Dairy also increases the risk for lung, breast, and ovarian cancer and it’s loaded with estrogen which can lead to estrogen dominance - a prevalent and underdiagnosed health condition with serious consequences. Also worth mentioning - the myth that milk strengthens your bones has been discredited by many large scale studies. In fact, one study of more than 96,000 people found that the more cows milk male teenagers consumed, the more bone fractures they experienced as adults.
A quick tip: Swap cows milk for almond, cashew, oat, rice, or coconut milk.
2. Fried Potato Products
Potato chips and fries are almost always deep-fried with trans fats. Trans fats are used because they help to increase shelf-life, however, when it comes to your health they are the worst type of fat you can eat. They increase the unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels and decrease the health-supporting HDL cholesterol - leading to an increased risk for America’s #1 killer - heart disease. Chips and fries also raise your insulin levels, which leads to excess belly fat, and they contain a known carcinogen (cancer-causing compound) called acrylamide.
A quick tip: Next time you have a craving for something salty and crunchy get baked little or no added oil potato chips and kale chips. Recommend a Breville Oven that prepares potato chips and vegetables without oil.
3. Vegetable Oils
Excess oil of any kind (including coconut and olive oil) increases triglyceride and blood sugar levels and causes the red blood cells to clump up and stick together. When you consume oils, it thickens the blood and can reduce circulation throughout the body by as much as 30%. The reduced circulation can lead to brain fog, fatigue, and dizziness (to name a few), and can increase blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke risk. Oils are also the most concentrated source of dietary fat, containing 14 grams of fat per tablespoon and they contain a whopping 120 calories per tablespoon.
A quick tip: Try using water to saute vegetables, and spices and herbs in place of oil to add flavor to your meals.
Doughnuts are high in sugar, calories, saturated fats, and carbs and most contain a ton of added preservatives to increase their shelf-life. When you eat them, it leads to a jump in blood sugar, which eventually drops setting you up for cravings for more junk food and rapid weight gain. And just one doughnut provides almost 50% of the daily recommended limit for saturated fat.
A quick tip: If you’re craving something sweet, try a vegan dessert such a chocolate coconut ball or a vegan peanut butter cup.
5. Breakfast Cereal
It amazes me that so many children and adults start their day off with this awful stuff. Most breakfast cereals are loaded with inflammation-causing sugar and refined carbohydrates which rapidly get broken down into sugar. The result? Your blood sugar spikes and a few hours later it drops, leaving you feeling hungry, tired, and foggy-headed - not exactly a good way to start your day! Plus most are also loaded with gluten which inflames the stomach lining and can increase skin breakouts; and many have artificial colors and flavorings added as well.
A quick tip: Instead of cereal, try starting your day off with a large bowl of chia pudding or steal cut oats with apples/bananas and cinnamon.
6. Sugary Beverages
Sugary beverages are a major diet and health sabotagers and limit the amount of fruit juice. In fact, recent research found just one fruit juice or soda a day can increase your risk for premature death and lead to 5 lbs of weight gain per year. And artificially sweetened drinks aren't any better - most sweeteners are carcinogenic and neurotoxic; plus studies show they can lead to cravings for more sweets and people tend to gain weight when they drink them.
A quick tip: Try infusing mint, berries, or oranges in soda or spring water, or make homemade lemonade with fresh squeezed lemon juice and stevia. Replace the fruit juice with eating the whole food (such as orange) instead.
7. Processed Meats
While most meats are high in saturated fat and estrogens, highly processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, luncheon meats, sausages, ham, and corned beef are extra bad for you because the processing creates inflammatory compounds, nitrates, and nitrites which are carcinogenic. And don't be fooled by ‘organic’ processed meats - most contain celery powder which is just as high in nitrites as the artificially added nitrite sources.
A quick tip: I'm not a fan of meat but if you must eat it, choose unprocessed, organic sources with no additives, and try to limit your serving size to 2-4 ounces, 1 to 2 times per week.
Additional Foods to Avoid:
Margarine, deep-fried foods, refined flour products, popcorn, candy, coffee creamers, sports drinks, foods with added sugar, and most processed foods.
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