Healthy Eating Facts

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These healthy eating facts answer a few questions about what real food is, and why we should eat it.

What is food?

"Food" is what provides nourishment to the body.

Many foods are just as nature provides them to us: for example, many fruits and vegetables, and raw milk. Other plant parts and animal products are made edible by traditional methods of processing. These include cooking, crushing, fermenting, extracting, and other traditional forms of food preparation.

Hundreds of thousands of years of human experience defines what food is. As our species learns more about nutrition, we can analyze food but we can never totally replace this experience. We know food is food, because healthy traditional people use it as food.

The human tradition supplies the ultimate healthy eating facts.

Do we really eat stuff that isn't food?

Anything you eat that the body has to filter out, deal with, and throw away isn't food. And, sadly, non-food chemicals are hidden in our food.

The average American diet has more than half its calories from processed foods. If you read the label on the side of the package, you'll see the list of added chemicals. These chemicals are there to try to replace the flavor, fat, and "mouth feel" that get lost when foods are refined and processed.

Industrial food processing uses abnormally high temperatures, removes nutrients, and adds synthetic chemicals—all to give the food a longer shelf life.

  • High temperatures distort nutrients to unusable or harmful forms.
  • Foods with missing nutrients cause nutritional deficiencies.
  • Added chemicals are unusable by the body or even toxic.

This is the adulteration of food by creating and adding non-food.

Why is it important to eat real food instead of junk food and non-food?

The body struggles when it has to

  • expel adulterants
  • clear drug-like chemicals
  • burn and use empty calories
  • assimilate artificial fats
  • store toxins

This struggle is enough to

  • cause illness
  • prevent recovery from illness
  • cause emotional and cognitive problems
  • cause food cravings

What does the body need from food?

Our best clue to the body's requirements for optimal health is the analysis of traditional diets. However, science has identified some of the important elements, such as:

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Enzymes
  • Antioxidants
  • Bioflavonoids
  • Beneficial bacteria

Where do these elements come from?

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Grasses
  • Seaweeds
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Organ meat
  • Milk
  • Eggs

To supply all our nutritive needs, we have to eat a variety of foods.

Some irreplaceable nutrients are found in foods that are not always in the American diet. Examples are: omega 3 fatty acids in flax seed oil and fish; beneficial bacteria in traditionally cultured food; enzymes from high-calorie raw food. Information about these nutrients are key healthy eating facts.

What are food additives?

The food industry uses an enormous number of food additives to achieve an enormous number of effects. Types of food additives range from preservatives to dyes to "flavor enhancers" to "stabilizers" to "dough conditioners" and everything in between.

Food additives are chemicals. Many are drugs and others are simply toxic. Whether an additive is dangerous or not, it still isn't food.

When you eat food with food additives, you're eating food that is adulterated with drugs, toxins, and chemicals that your body has to deal with. You can even be intoxicated by food additives.

In the best case, your body spends energy expelling the additives. Or, they bioaccumulate: the body can't eliminate them and simply stores them.

How can I tell if a food has additives?

Read the label: it will name ingredients, listed in order from the largest ingredient (by volume) to the smallest. Most, but not all, food additives will be listed.

"Natural flavors," "flavors," and "spices" indicate unspecified food additives.

Other additives are used during processing and never reach a label.

Do restaurants serve real food?

Unfortunately, no. Restaurants typically serve food that has been prepared, even pre-cooked, offsite in an industrial facility. It is the saddest of healthy eating facts that this can be so difficult to perceive.

Typical restaurant meals are loaded with food additives, especially MSG and trans fats.

One third of American calories are from meals eaten in restaurants.

But what is there to eat?

Whole foods are the fruits, vegetables, whole grains, animal products, and superfoods that can be available to everybody.

A whole food diet opens up a whole new world of tasty foods, with many more options than the wheat, corn, soy, and rice, with sugar, salt, MSG, and trans fats, that constitute most processed foods.

All the information about nutrition and food--healthy eating facts of various kinds--lead to more enjoyable and healthier eating.

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