You see that I often write about living a Paleo lifestyle (why I started, shopping guide, beginner’s guide). My family and I try to live a healthy lifestyle. This extends to cleaning products, recycling, skin/bodycare and more. But the biggest area I write about is food. I tweet and Facebook about food a lot. Sometimes recipes from my Paleo recipe site, and sometimes general information about healthy eating. There are sooooo many schools of thought and philosophies on healthy eating. I’m not an expert. I’m not saying my way is the only way. I’ve embraced Paleo and I’ve run with it. But if you don’t want to jump into Paleo 100%, there are other ways you can improve your diet and your overall health with what you eat, and more importantly, what you do not eat.
What’s more important than whether or not you follow Paleo are the definitions and overriding principles of healthy eating in general. These Here are some terms and phrases you may see me write about…and many of these I did not know until this past year:
GMO (genetically modified organism):
A GMO is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Yummy right? And there are genetically modified foods and crops. Most of the have been created so crops are resistant to pests, herbicides or environmental conditions. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to eat a science experiment, so I stay away from foods with GMOs. It’s not easy to do, however, because GMOs are in a LOT of foods. If a product is organic, it does NOT have GMOs. Also, all Trader Joe’s branded products are GMO-free.
Gluten-free = no gluten. Sounds great right? Well, just because something is gluten-free doesn’t mean it is healthy. You can find gluten-free baked goods, pizzas and processed foods which can still be bad for you. Whenever possible, stick to whole foods (see next item) and if you need a fix or a treat, make it yourself…that way you know the quality of the ingredients.
No, not the grocery store. Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined. Fruits, vegetables, unpolished grains, beans, non-homogenized dairy. While I don’t necessary eat all of these listed (grains and beans are a no-no on Paleo), if you stick to this type of diet, it is inherently healthier.
Yes, the store. Just because you shop at Whole Foods does not mean you are buying healthy foods. You must be a discerning customer. Whole Foods sells both organic and conventional foods, so read signs and labels. Whole Foods also sells foods that contain GMOs. And they DO NOT label all the products that have GMOs so be aware (they have committed to doing so by 2016, however in my opinion, they should not carry products containing GMOs). I do frequently shop at Whole Foods, but just beware and be educated.
Mark’s Daily Apple wrote up a great post on the grass-fed beef and I think you should read it. Basically, I stick with organic, grass-fed beef.
Basically, any food not in its natural state. An apple = not processed. Twinkie = processed. That may be a drastic example but you get the point.
According to wikipedia, organic foods are:
…foods that are produced using methods of organic farming — that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.
We buy organic foods whenever possible. I mean, do pesticides, chemical fertilizers irradiation, solvents and additives sound healthy? Yeah, didn’t think so.
Dairy products are food products processed from the milk of mammals. Milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream…but NOT EGGS! Even though eggs are in the dairy section of the grocery store, they are not dairy. Eggs come from chickens.
Grains & Legumes
If you follow Paleo, you avoid grains and legumes. What you may not realize is that includes corn (grain) and peanuts (legumes). Other nuts are fine. Just not peanuts, because they are not really a nut.
Wild vs. Farm Raised Fish
I took this passage from this CNN piece:
A 2003 report from the Environmental Working Group showed that farmed salmon in the U.S. has the highest levels of PCBs, toxic man-made chemicals. And a widely publicized study in the journal Science in January 2004 suggested that farmed Atlantic salmon had higher levels of PCBs and other toxics than wild Pacific salmon.
Umm…..nuff said for me. I stay with wild seafood.
So those are some of the terms you may hear or read from me. Have any others that you are curious or confused about? Let me know!