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5 Health Damaging Foods To Avoid For Life

beth March 28, 2013
5223734808_54c1d7dff7_z Image by Daniela Vladimirova

By Carrie Wojciechowski, Contributing Writer

The food that you put into your body has a major impact on ones overall health and wellness. We all know some things are not good for us, however, we might not know just how bad they really are. Here are five foods that you are best off avoiding for the rest of your life.

Corn-fed beef

Cows were born to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans! The reason they do this is it fattens up the  animals faster for slaughter.  The problem is, we”re not getting the Zinc, B Vitamins, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin E, Omega 3″s, Magnesium, Calcium and Potassium when we eat them because they”re not eating what they should be eating! That”s a lot of nutrition that we”re not getting! A study done by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that grass-fed beef is also lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease.

The other problem is that soy is estrogenic. It affects the cows hormones, which will affect your hormone balance when you eat it. Having too much estrogen in the body (men or women) can cause weight gain, hair growth where it doesn”t belong, and cancer. It all comes back to quality over quantity. We need to respect that cows are herbivores, and that we”ll all be a lot healthier if we minimize our red meat intake, and make sure that it”s good quality beef.

Grass-fed beef is more expensive, but you”re getting way more bang for your buck from a nutrition standpoint.

Microwave popcorn

There are chemicals, one of which is called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of these super convenient microwaveable bags, that are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility, according to a recent study from UCLA. When tested on animals, the chemicals caused liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize–and migrate into your popcorn! These chemicals store themselves in your body for years and accumulate until they casino online reach unhealthy levels and cause cell damage and mutation.

Try making popcorn the old fashioned way: in a skillet or pot, or in an air popper, add some real butter and a seasoning of your choice and you”ve got yourself a relatively healthy snack!

Non-organic potatoes

Root vegetables (carrots, beets, potatoes) absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in the soil. Potatoes are treated with fungicides during growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. Then after they”re dug up, the potatoes are treated AGAIN to prevent them from sprouting. We”re trying to keep a potato from doing what it”s naturally supposed to do! Try this: buy a non-organic potato in a store, and try to get it to sprout. It won”t casino most likely. Organic potatoes sprout within a couple days of bringing them home.

Buy organic potatoes. Washing isn”t good enough if you”re trying to remove chemicals that have been absorbed into the potato.

Farmed Salmon

Nature didn”t intend for fish to be crammed into metal pens and fed soy and corn. And as a result of these drastic changes in living conditions, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D (which everyone is deficient in these days!). These fish are in a confined space together, and when one gets sick, they all get sick. So the fish farmers give them antibiotics preemptively to keep them from spreading the sickness. These fish also have higher levels of contaminants, including carcinogens, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT, which are really hard on the liver. Some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks, but I don”t agree with that at all. Antibiotics wreak havoc on our digestive tracts, which in turn, wreak havoc on our immune systems and health!

According to David Carpenter, the director at the Institute for Health and the Environment in Albany, NY, the most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which can be found on American menus everywhere. Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity.  Ask your waiter if the fish they serve is wild caught or farmed. If enough of us ask, and then refuse to eat chemical and antibiotic laden fish, we might see a change! And if the package or menu says fresh Atlantic, it”s farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon.

Cool Whip

These are the ingredient in Cool Whip Regular: Water, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut and Palm Kernel Oils), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Skim Milk, Light Cream, Contains less than 2 percent sodium caseinate, natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, beta carotene (color).

I used to love this stuff. I used it as my ice cream alternative. I thought “It has to be better than that fattening vanilla ice cream.” Holy cow, not even close (depending on which ice cream we”re comparing it to of course). Cool Whip came around in the 60″s, around the same time as pasteurized milk, and it was the convenience factor that was so appealing. It could keep in the refrigerator or freezer for weeks or months and not go bad! And now it comes in five other versions, including extra creamy and sugar free.  As convenient as these replacements may be, they”re a mix of trans-fatty oils (linked to cancer), high fructose corn syrup and enough chemical additives to make you squirm.

High Fructose Corn Syrup interrupts the body”s hunger and fullness cues and can lead to overeating and obesity. The chemicals are hard on the liver. And natural and artificial flavors always make me nervous. Why won”t they say what they are?

In a Cool Whip Experiment, a New York dad left the topping out on the counter at room temperature for 12 days and found that it looked exactly the same as day one in the refrigerator. Of course, this isn”t strong science, but it does make you wonder how the body feels about this foreign concoction. Go for the real stuff!

What Other Foods Would You Add To This List?

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27 Comments

  1. Not sure if you have this information, but I always buy potatoes organic as they are on the “Dirty Dozen” list like you said. However, sweet potatoes are not. Do you know why that is? I have been buying conventionally grown sweet potatoes because of that.

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    • I’m not sure, but I think maybe it’s because they don’t sprout the way russet potatoes do, so they don’t need to be sprayed as heavily to keep them from sprouting.

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  2. Dr. Axe, a very well known health guru here in Tennessee says to avoid pork, especially bacon full of nitrites. Or anytime of processed meat for that matter.

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  3. Most people don’t eat the skin on sweet potatoes. That may be why.

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  4. Great (sarcasm). We eat all of the above. Just can’t afford grass fed beef, ($6.99 a pound for grassfed ground beef, regular stuff is $2.99/lb in bulk), steaks are $15+ apiece, plus $25-$30 in shipping costs… some of us just can’t afford that. A $8 strip steak is an expensive luxury for us. I have been looking for plain organic baking potatoes, can’t find ’em in 4 stores so far; not sure if the salmon I buy is farmed or not and don’t really want to switch since tasty salmon is hard to find here in the midwest; I use Cool Whip on occasion (see below); we still use micro popcorn, I’d have to go buy a popper or a stovetop pot to make popcorn, pehaps I will ask for one for Christmas.Until I win the lottery or get a big raise and grass fed beef prices drop significantly… I just can’t make all these changes happen. Many of us eat what we eat because we cannot afford the “better/healthier” options. I KNOW grass fed beef is better for us, I KNOW artificial preservatives are bad for us, and it is soooo frustrating that the “good” stuff costs more. On the plus side, Costco had become my new love in life and I have found some healthier options as far as produce, snacks, froz foods, etc. and we buy the majority of our meat there (it’s not grassfed or organic, but it tastes good and the prices are fantastic).

    Is there an alternative for Cool Whip??? A layer of a Jello fruit salad (that my family loves and it gets them to eat fresh fruits) is cool whip, cream cheese and sugar… not sure what else I could use and still have it turn out the same. Heavy whipping cream made it runny and chunky (yes I whipped it first :).

    The potatoes I buy do sprout after a couple weeks, is it ok to use them after they sprout? They feel squishy and feel different when cutting after they sprout, so I throw them out into the woods for nature to take advantage of. I could never use a whole bag of taters in less than a week! TIA.

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    • I will use myself as a subject. I am poor, even by government standards. My income puts me well below the poverty line. I get roughly 250.00 dollars a month in food stamps. This is what the government thinks I should spend to feed 3 of us. I do not buy any meat from the store. Grass fed or other wise. It’s not just the corn fed part, it is everything else that I can’t stand. So with that being said, I use my food stamps to by all my produce and the food I can get at the store. Then I buy my eggs from a local farmer. He also supplies me with pork. I get it for 2.50 lbs and then I pay the butcher another 100.00 to process. I save up for this as I don’t have 300.00 laying around. It’s kind of like saving up for Christmas. 🙂 We don’t eat beef. We eat chicken and most of it we butcher ourselves. If we don’t, I can’t get a whole chicken from my egg and pork guy for around 10.00 a chicken. So I got a coop and started to raise my own, its much cheaper, I get a bunch of roosters that no one wants, fatem up and eat them. Turkins are the best for meat. One whole chicken will weigh about 8 to 10 lbs. Then you make your own stock for soups later. The reason Im telling you all of this is because I think its the whole world that keeps telling us that we can’t afford to eat good. And your right, I see the prices in the store and about choke. You just have to give up the convenience of one stop shopping and go looking for some local farmers. They are out there and they don’t cost any where near what the stores are charging for grass fed, all natural foods. I get eggs for 3.00 a doz and goat milk is 6.00 a gal. I know it sounds kind of expensive, but once you build a relationship with some of these farmers, they will sometimes work with you and barter with you. I have traded compost and services for food. This summer I will trade what I grow in my garden for eggs, meat and honey. I don’t even buy honey in the store any more, its all toxic. The way I see it, you are either going to pay now or later. Pay a little more in food, or a lot to a doctor later on because you are so sick and toxic filled.
      If you have kids, please this is even more important, you only have a small window of time to feed them good food and build a base of good health on. This really is not as hard as it sounds and it is so worth it. The food tastes so much better and my son loves vegetables and eat fruits and vegetables all the time without me telling him to. He will just go and get them and cut some us and eat while playing a game or watching TV. I don’t know where you live, but if you can grow even a small garden, please do. Im sorry this went on for so long. I just so want people to know they can be healthy without going broke on food.

      Reply

      • Thank you for sharing, I like to hear others’ experiences.

        However, after some internet research, it appears that I am stuck in suburbia 🙁 The closest farm that will sell to the general public is 110 miles away. I just don’t have 4-5 hour blocks of time available without having to provide “mom’s taxi service” for 3 kids at 2 different schools and all their activities, plus our work schedules. Based on what you’ve said, those milk and egg prices are more than double what I pay now, even if I did barter, I’m not sure I would come out ahead. There are 2 or 3 farms within 75 miles, but they sell only to stores. I found plenty of online opportunities to get “fresh” farm meats, but the prices are exorbitant as I mentioned before. I have thought about buying part of a cow, but am not confident we would actually eat it all (I have a huge aversion to bones, especially beef). And my kitchen creativity is a bit lacking. It is against county ordinances to have animals for food purposes, including chickens and goats. My neighborhood association is pretty strict too, we had to jump thru about 6 hoops just to fix a retaining wall! I live on a wooded hill, so no space for a garden, not to mention, I can’t even keep a houseplant alive.

        I am trying to break the cycle of one stop shopping and trying to branch out to different stores to find better deals. And trying to make small changes that I do have more control over (avoiding aspartame, MSG, BPA, etc.) while encouraging healthy chioces (i.e. an apple instead of crackers) with my family.

        Thanks for your input and keep up the good work! I am amazed at how you do it on a $250 budget! Ours is about $600 a month, and seems to keep growing instead of shrinking 🙁 Can’t imagine what it will be like when they are all teenagers.

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        • my goodness…excuses excuses. i’m sorry but IMHO if you want to make changes you do what you have to. end of story.

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        • I totally get where you are coming from! I felt the same way, but then, after making a decision along with my fiance, decided to find a way to eat cleanly. It isn’t as hard as you say. For the popcorn (which I LOVE), you can get a air popper for $18 at Target. Mine has lasted 2 years, and we eat it almost every night. Beef is expensive if it is good, so we switched to chicken (which is much much better for you any way!) Fresh Market (a staple of suburbia!) has $2.99/pound antibiotic-free, all natural chicken. It is delicious, cheaper than normal chicken in most cases, and really good for you. Cool Whip isn’t a staple of anyone’s diet, I think that in moderation it’s not that big of a deal. And Harris Teeter and Trader Joe’s often have very good deals on organic potatoes: I grabbed a 2 lb bag for 2.99. The two of us eat organic and healthy for about 80 bucks a week, and that’s all three meals. It’s absolutely doable to get eliminate these toxic foods from your diet. The idea that it is only for “the rich” or “hippies” is exactly what Big Ag wants you to think. Go for it!

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          • That is encouraging… thank you! I think maybe I am looking in the wrong place to find truly less expensive, yet healthy alternatives to what I currently buy 🙁 And I think my lifestyle is just so different from everyone else’s here that it is frustrating me more than helping. The good news is I have found some preservative-free boneless skinless chicken breasts at Costco for $2.99/lb and they are delicious! Costco’s beef is also much better tasting, and less expensive, than what I was using, so I will continue to buy it. I have recently been following some other health and wellness sites and am finding lots of very mixed reviews on things, so am sticking to my “everything in moderation” motto while doing a careful cost-benefit analysis before making changes. Like Cool Whip, I use it maybe 3 times a year, so gonna still use it and not worry. Down to only 2 things in the house with aspartame (we had a LOT!) but not giving up the Crystal Light or chewing gum. I am now baking cookies instead of buying them (most of the time) and found generic non-organic hormone free milk that costs LESS!

    • @Pam – we don’t own a popcorn popper. We just put it in a large pan with a lid, add a bit of coconut oil, and go for it.

      Instead of Cool Whip, buy some whipping cream and throw it in your stand mixer and let it go. If you need it sweetened, add a bit of honey. It will whip up beautifully and taste way better than Cool Whip!

      The only solution I have found to buying conventional beef is buying part of a cow direct from the farmer. The prices are much better, but you do have to save up a bit. We fill up our deep freeze and feast off of it for as long as we can make it last.

      Hope that helps!

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      • Thanks! I tried that in this recipe at it flunked, maybe because of the cream cheese? I have used whipping cream with a bit of sugar mixed in for other things and it was fine.

        Does the pan get ruined? My mom and sister both have “popcorn pans” used only for popcorn because it messes the pan up so bad that it won’t wash off and then everything else tastes like popcorn. Or is it the way they cook it?

        I don’t think I would use all that beef before it goes bad (see above) and doubt that half a cow would fit in our freezer. Sigh.

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        • @Pam- Any changes you make are good changes… so don’t beat yourself up too bad. To make the homemade whipping cream you need to whip it longer than you might think, so maybe that was your issue?
          The popcorn pan shouldn’t get ruined if you are using a little oil, my parents make it like this and use the pan for regular cooking as well. If you are not anti-microwave (I know most in the real foods world are and i respect that, i’m just not there yet) then you can put popcorn kernels in a paper bag, fold the top down, and microwave it just like you would the other stuff. This is how we do it, then everyone can add whatever toppings they like.
          Ask your friends if they want to go in with you on the 1/2 cow, you’d be suprised at how many people are interested.

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          • Thank You! I will try the microwave popcorn idea and perhaps try one of my infrequently used pans. Thanks too for the words of support! Sometimes no matter what I do, the criticism still happens 🙁

        • Pam- Your pan will only get ruined if you use cheap oils that are rancid and will stick to the pan. We have used the same pot for 12 years for our popcorn (as well as cooking) and it is still in great shape. Use coconut oil-from a good source and organic popcorn. Sprinkle with some real sea salt and toss with grass-fed butter and you will never go back to nasty microwave popcorn.
          You may be able to find a food co-op to get your grass-fed beef and we can buy it either by the 1/4 cow, 1/2 or whole, or even separately: ground beef, stew, steaks, etc. Much cheaper and we picked up an upright freezer almost for free. Takes time to find your resources–make one change at a time. It is all worth it.

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    • I agree, it’s not at all necessary to buy these expensive (but excellent) foods from the store, and I greatly admire Tara for her wonderful ingenuity! We live in one of the most expensive cities in North America and grass-fed beef is out of sight at natural markets like Whole Foods. What we do right now, until we can afford to buy a chest freezer (and make space for it), is buy our meat from a local butcher whose prices are far less than the natural markets. The beef there is mostly grass-fed and never medicated in any way. I don’t believe the cattle (Angus) are fed any corn or soy either. The ground beef is $4.99/lb., which works for us. I can make a pound stretch pretty far! We don’t buy steak much because the cheapest steak is $9.99/lb., so it’s a splurge. You have to be picky about the cuts when you’re trying to save money. Here are the natural cuts we buy: ground beef, sometimes ground pork for sausage, whole chickens that are unmedicated and raised naturally, turkey and chicken backs and necks for broth which I make weekly, and on occasion, pork shoulder to roast slowly or brisket for pot roast. We also buy natural bacon. That’s about it. We really don’t buy anything fancy, and that’s how we manage it. Our meat may not be 100% grass-fed, but it is mostly and that’s the best we can do for now. Costco also has great deals on natural meat (again, not totally ideal, but better than conventional), and offers greater discounts if you purchase by the case. Check your local one to see what they offer, and also look into local butchers and farms. Sometimes farms have farm stores where they sell meat very inexpensively. We have a rancher who does totally pastured meat that we order from a few times a year, but they are pretty expensive so I only buy things like lard and tallow to render myself, chicken livers for pate (SO good for you and cheap), marrow bones, beef heart (cheap and so good for you), and sometimes chicken necks and feet (if they have them) for broth. It IS possible to eat good meat on a budget, you just have to get more creative and forget about fancy cuts! Go for inexpensive organ meats if you can.

      Other than meat, I have consistently found packaged food to be very pricey. It’s cheaper for me to fill my basket or cart with tons of produce (following the dirty dozen and clean fifteen rules) and whole foods rather than packaged, processed foods. We don’t buy bread, but rather if we want bread (we do low-grain much of the time) I bake some. Check to see if you have a local natural grain mill that offers flour and grain cheaper; we do here and the savings are significant. I know many people grind their own wheat, which saves a ton of money. I don’t own a grinder but I think it’s possible to buy such used. I also make many of our toiletries and condiments, which saves tons of money. And as already mentioned, buying whipping cream and making your own whipped cream is so easy and doesn’t have to cost much. I’d check to see if you have a local dairy that could supply you with cheaper organic milk and cream (preferably raw but at least not ultra-pasteurized).

      So to sum up, get creative and go searching for better, cheaper sources of food. Check local farms, grain mills, dairies, and even farmer’s markets. I found our raw honey on Craigslist, and now we buy from the same people every year. I’ve even seen grass-fed meat advertised on there for deeply discounted prices. And like Tara said, maybe you can barter for some of your food. Being a real foodie does not mean you have to spend boatloads of money (most of us don’t have such to spend), rather it means you just have to get a bit more creative with what you buy where.

      Reply

    • You can make popcorn on the stove, melt a little butter or coconut oil in a pot, cover te bottom of the pot with corn kernels, salt if desired then cover and move the pan back and forth while it pops

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  5. I would add processed cheese to your list!

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  6. The American Indians named the Three White Devils as being: White Salt, White Sugar, and White Flour. I only care to add two more Devils: Chemicals found in 99% of Modern Food, & Drug choices, AND Meats being consumed just because We can. Only Love…

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  9. Its all bad. sugar is a chemical these days JELLO IS THE WORST. Its all fake food we are eating. I moved to hawaii and started eating real food. changed my life. lost 45 pounds and have clear healthy skin eyes and even my teeth are whiter! ITS AMAZING!

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  10. dont even start me on the Genetcally modifyed foods that are in EVERYTHING processed containing a soy or corn product not to mention poatoes pappaya tamatos cotton canola

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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