If you've ever wondered what goes through a nutritionist's mind as she navigates a giant backyard buffet, celeb nutritionist and Ayurveda expert Kimberly Snyder is here to share the foods she always skips—and explains why a couple of wellness world faves deserve a spot on her no-no list.
It bugs me that we live in the age of approaching diet and health with a hyper-focus on the reductionist aspect of numbers: grams of protein, calories, carbs, etc.
To achieve great health, you must go beyond numbers, and take a more holistic view of how foods actually digest and assimilate in your body. You also should be considering the amount of potential toxicity they introduce—as well as their micronutrients, phytonutrients, co-factors, and so on, which are not considered when you take an oversimplified approach.
To achieve great health, you must go beyond numbers, and take a more holistic view of how foods actually digest and assimilate in your body.
The end result of focusing on yourself instead of the numbers? You’ll feel and look great, and your body will do the math for you. You achieve your best health by optimizing your digestion and being more strategic in not just what you eat, but also your food order and combinations.
And you may be surprised to find out that some of those “healthy” foods you’ve always heard about, or the ones that advertise themselves as good-for-you choices, could actually be sabotaging your efforts for optimal health, beauty, and weight loss.
Here are 3 offenders I don’t eat—and why I recommend you shouldn’t, either.
1. Farmed salmon and shrimp
Often called Atlantic salmon, farmed salmon may be contaminated with dangerous levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), which are toxins that can wreak havoc on everything from nervous to immune, and endocrine systems, and cause reproductive problems. According to a report from Food & Water Watch, more than 90 percent of shrimp is sourced from overseas, and may be high in chemicals banned in the US, such as organophosphates (which is toxic to the nervous system), chloramephnicol (it can cause aplastic anemia), and organotin (known to disrupt hormones and predispose consumers to obesity). Yuck.
I’ve been harping on this for years, yet I still see it added into products as a neutral-tasting—and cheap—sweetener. It is low-glycemic, but the chemical process for manufacturing agave nectar is nearly the same as what corn refiners use in making high-fructose corn syrup from corn starch, turning agave into a high-fructose product that is typically 70 percent or higher fructose. Fructose consumption has been linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which creates challenges for healthy heart and artery function—and untreated, it can even lead to cirrhosis.
3. Corn-fed beef (or any beef for that matter)
Most of the beef you find in a grocery store comes from corn-fed cattle. Many ranchers have switched to feeding cattle corn and other grain-based diets because the feed is cheap and fattens the animal quickly. The problem? Corn creates an acidic environment in the cows’ stomachs, and much like humans consuming acidic foods, this can cause all kinds of health problems, including the growth of E. coli 0157:H7, which can prove fatal to humans.
Although “grass-fed” or “free-range” beef would be considered a healthier option for human consumption, it contributes to worldwide deforestation and the majority of rainforest destruction to clear land for grazing cattle. This is another reason why I'm an advocate for removing or at least cutting back on animal products from your diet. And yes—you can get more than enough protein from nuts, seeds, veggies, quinoa, legumes, beans, and so on.
Kimberly Snyder, CN, is a member of the Well+Good Council and the New York Times best‐selling author of The Beauty Detox Solution, The Beauty Detox Foods and The Beauty Detox Power, and co-author of Radical Beauty, with Deepak Chopra. Her popular beauty blog, KimberlySnyder.com, features Ayurveda-inspired recipes and products—and she's also the creator of Glow Bio, an organic juice, smoothie, and cleanse company.
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