The Dirty Dozen
Over 90% of the foods eaten on the standard American Diet (SAD) consist of things that we shouldn't be eating. In fact, they shouldn't really be classed as "food" at all! They are unnatural, highly chemicalized, genetically modified, sprayed with dangerous pesticides, and generally toxic. In many households, healthy and nutritious food has become relegated to decorations and garnishments on the plate.
With the enormous amount of confusing and contradictory information on the subject of healthy food, sifting through the "misinformation" can seem overwhelming, especially when nutritional experts themselves cannot seem to agree on what is considered healthy and what is detrimental to our health. And with the savvy marketing claims of today's food manufacturers, how can we blame them?
Many nutritionists, dietitians, and health coaches are completely lost on the subject of pesticides and the studies showing their devastating impact on our health and on the environment. They are not aware of international health studies sounding the alarm bells when it comes to how GMOs may be affecting us. And some freely recommend processed soy and call it "healthy."
The good news is that when it comes to getting healthy, it really is not that complicated. In fact, understanding what we should be eating and what we should be eliminating (or minimizing) is very simple. By removing the following top 12 offenders from your diet, not only will you experience a quantum leap in health and vitality, but the chances of developing many of the chronic health conditions now a household name will be drastically reduced.
What Are the Dirty Dozen?
Let's take a look at the top 12 offenders in our food chain and explore them in detail. It is important we take the time to understand why we should remove these offenders from our lives (and our bodies!).
Without understanding, there can be no "mental shift,"
and the mental shift is how real change happens.
What is this mental shift? After you learn about the 12 offenders, read below about my own personal experience of the moment I truly felt that shift at work...
#1 - Processed & Refined Foods
#2 - Pesticides & Herbicides In Our Food
Health studies have conclusively linked pesticides to:
- Neurological disorders
- Brain cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Intestinal cancer
- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Soft tissue sarcoma
- Neuroblastoma (childhood tumors)
- Childhood leukemia
- Canine lymphoma
- Fetal death
- Parkinson's disease
#3 - GMOs
#4 - Factory-Farmed Meat
- What is factory farming & why do other countries ban it?
- 7 dangers of eating factory-farmed meat
- Eating meat responsibly & ethically
- Why more & more people are avoiding meat
- The environmental impact of factory farming
- Fraud & destructive fishing practices of the seafood industry
- The link between meat cooked at high temperatures & cancer
#5 - Stress
#6 - Processed Soy
Learn more about why you should completely avoid processed soy, and about the health impact of including processed soy in your diet.
#7 - Artificial Sweeteners
The Center for Science in the Public Interest cautions everyone to avoid aspartame (NutraSweet® & Equal®), saccharin (Sweet'N Low®), and acesulfame K, because they are unsafe consumed in large amounts, or are very poorly tested and not worth the risk.
Learn about some of the wonderful natural sweeteners you can use instead which are far healthier.
#8 - Table Salt
Need to get over your salt addiction? Learn how you can retrain your taste buds to no longer crave that salty taste!
#9 - Irradiated & Microwaved Food
Think your microwave is God's gift to your kitchen? Think again. Read about the health studies showing that not only does microwaving damage and destroy nutrients in food, but it also has a detrimental impact on the blood and various systems of the body.
#10 - Stimulants & Addictions
Learn how stimulants affect us, and what you can do to nix them from your life for good!
#11 - Refined Sugar, Soda, & Energy Drinks
The typical soda or energy drink contain 7-14 teaspoons of sugar, and contains an array of artificial stimulants, chemicals, and artificial sweeteners that contribute to osteoporosis, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. Drinking only 1 soft drink each day increases your chance of developing type 2 diabetes by 20%.
Most sports and energy drinks are really just junk sodas in disguise. Learn more about why you should nix them completely from your diet.
#12 - Pasteurized Dairy
Beneficial bacteria and nutrients are also destroyed or rendered unusable, causing calcification and contributing to osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions. Rates of osteoporosis are far higher in countries that consume the most pasteurized dairy products.
Food From China
It may not be one of the dirty dozen, but when we buy foods either sourced from or prepared in China, we take a serious risk with our health. Some of the biggest food recalls in history are a result of poor quality control of foods from China, with under 3% of all food from China inspected.
It is not only our own food we have to worry about, but also our pet food and pet treats. Learn why you should never purchase any pet food or treats containing ingredients from China.
The Mental Shift
A mental shift is a sudden realization that we experience that permanently changes how we feel about and react to something in our lives - sort of like being struck by "enlightening"!
In the beginning, it can be challenging getting rid of the junk. But if you take the time to understand what the unhealthy foods are physically doing to your body, an interesting shift begins to occur. Let me explain by sharing a personal experience:
My most favorite food in the world used to be certain candy bar, which shall remain nameless. I began to change my eating habits, and in the process dropped 70lbs. and looked and felt better at 40 than I ever did at 25. I occasionally splurged on unhealthy foods, and never punished myself for doing so. But one day, I decided that I needed this particular candy bar. Desperately!! It has been over a year, and what an awesome treat it would be to celebrate getting my pilot's license!
I drove to the store, picked up the object of my affection and read the ingredient list. I stared at it in dismay. Some of the ingredients I knew were terrible for my body, and a couple of the food colorings had been banned in the European Union as a result of conclusive studies linking them to health disorders such as ADD (why not in the US? ...Read more). And I also knew that my liver and kidneys definitely would not appreciate my eating it.
I stood in the store, holding the candy for a good few minutes, before slowly putting it back on the shelf. Part of me felt devastated. I mean, it was just ONE candy bar! But my knowledge had taken me to the point where even though I was giving myself permission to eat my favorite candy, no part of me wanted to put that garbage into my body any more. It was no longer a matter of having some yummy treat and not thinking about how it would affect my body. I had past that point. I even rationalized that my body was clean - what difference would one small candy bar make...? but I realized something very interesting, something that made me smile. I realized that I just loved my body too much.
So then I picked up another popular chocolate bar, hoping for some salvation. Lo and behold, it was worse! I drove to the local natural food market and bought a Hail Merry's Persian lime tart, which tasted exactly like a cross between cheesecake and lemon meringue pie. It contained no chemicals, preservatives, or dangerous additives of any sort. It tasted absolutely incredible - in fact, it was one of the best desserts I'd ever had in my entire life!
A big turning point had arrived for me. I truly understood that even though the cheesecake was higher in calories and in fat, the ingredients were far healthier and filled with wonderful nutrients that my body could easily digest. Not one toxic or unhealthy ingredient. I wolfed down that heavenly tart and felt so much better about myself. I had given myself permission to eat junk, and freely decided that the junk was not worth the "disservice" to my body. My body and I had become the very best of friends, and my organs deserved no less than the healthiest treats. And in hindsight, the cheesecake tasted SO much better anyway!
To this day, Hail Merry desserts are a permanent part of my family's life, and I highly recommend all the yummy flavors they offer!
This magical mental shift is something we all experience when we make a profound change in our lives. Thousands who have recovered from an alcohol or drug addiction in 12-step programs refer to that "A-ha" moment during their recovery when something clicks. Something fundamental changes in the way they think and feel about their addiction, and they are simply able to walk away from it with a sense of peace and freedom they had never felt before.
- The Dirty Dozen: What they are & why you should avoid them
- The root cause of sickness - How we get sick, how we heal
- Get off the diet merry-go-round
- Is your diet healthy? See how it stacks up
- Raising children naturally
- Healthy food choices for children
- Why our pets are getting sicker
- Healthy food choices for pets