Healthy Eating Made Simple: The Health and Life Diet

Trans Fats

 

Healthy Eating shouldn’t be hard.  In fact, following these few tenets below, it should be quite easy!

But wait!  Before diving in, we realize nutrition hasn’t been a major focus for Health and Life.  Nevetheless, we believe nutritional misinformation and the rapid growth of corporate food companies pose important problems today.  Therefore, we wanted to come forward with our views on nutrition and the optimal diet, with the hope it will spark your curiosity and make you healthier.. The effect of nutrition on mental and physical healthshould never be underestimated.  Enjoy!

Health and Life’s Healthy Eating Diet:

Health and Life’s guide to healthy eating is centered around 3 basic guidelines:

  • Avoid gluten-heavy foods; particularly processed grains (think processed bread/toast, cereal, bagels, etc).
  • Avoid vegetable oils(soybean oil/canola/sunflower/palm/peanut/soy/grapeseed/cottonseed/etc.)
    • The three oils we recommend for cooking, and which are also acceptable in products, are coconut, avocado, and olive oil.  As easy as that!
  • Consume healthy fats (local meats/nuts/etc) and fibrous vegetables (broccoli/asparagus/kale/spinach).

That’s really all there is to it!  Balance is key. To simplify our guidelines, just follow these words: Eat lots of greens, don’t eat packaged foods, and avoid processed carbohydrates. Following these few words will make you look and feel significantly better!

Healthy Eating: Good vs. Bad Oils:

A central premise of our nutritional advice is avoiding vegetable oils.  But, most don’t know what vegetable oils are, where they come from, or why they’re so bad for you.  Each question deserves an answer.

Vegetable Oils:  What and from where?

Contrary to popular belief, vegetable oils are not made from vegetables.  Rather, vegetable oil is the lipid removed from corn, grapeseed, cottonseed, and safflower seed, among others.  Extracting the vegetable oils from the seeds isn’t a simple process and requires extreme heat, which comes with associated side effects.

Vegetable Oils: Why So Bad for you?

What distinguishes the good oils from bad oils when cooking has much to do with oxidation.  Oxidation occurs because of the high temperatures used in vegetable oil extraction. When food is oxidized, it means the lipid molecules in the food have reacted with oxygen.  Due to their shape, saturated fats (avocado/coconut/etc) don’t have room for oxygen to squeeze in, so high temperatures can’t cause the tough molecules to let oxygen (2). This resistance to oxidation is especially true for olive oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil (3).

Free Radical Production:

Unfortunately, the story isn’t the same for polyunsaturated fats (“bad oils”).  The majority of the bad oils listed above are made from polyunsaturated fatty acids.  As a result, oxidation is an issue. For instance, oxidation causes the formation of free radicals and trans fats.  Look up trans fats anywhere online and you’ll be horrified at what pops up. While a balance of free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for reasonable physiological function, continuous oxidation resulting in free radical production can negatively alter the body’s lipids, DNA, and proteins, and cause a host of human disease (4).  In other words? Eating products made from and cooking with vegetable oils should beavoided.

The process of extracting the vegetable oil from seeds also involves the use of hexane (yes, the component of gasoline).  Organic, expeller pressed oil is the safest form of vegetable oil to cook with or have in a product you’re purchasing. However, even organic expeller pressed vegetable oils have their risks:  According to a study done by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, bottles of organic, expeller pressed canola oil contain as much as 5 percent trans fat (5). Avoid as best you can!

With that out of the way, lets look at 3 common eating habits that we recommend throwing in the trash.

Common diet habits that should be reduced/eliminated:

  • Bagels, toast, or cereal in the morning
  • Soda with lunch or dinner (or breakfast if you so please!)
  • Chips with lunch or dinner

Notice the trend here.  Avoid processed carbs!

Carbs vs. Protein vs. Fats:

Importantly, at Health and Life we don’t discriminate against any of the three basic nutrients (carbs, fats, proteins).  It is well documentedthat different ancestral populations evolved and thrived on diverse diets involving the three nutrients (6).  While we may criticize processed carbohydrates in particular, we don’t associate with any fad diets (ketogenic/vegan/etc).  Instead, we emphasize a balanced diet that includes sufficient unprocessed fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Prescribing the perfect diet can only be generalized to the level of the individual.  For instance, as more clinical studies are showing, the “best diets” depend on the individual’s sex and race, among other factors (7).

Healthy Eating: Recommended Readings:

Not sold?  Confused why we’re advocating supposed “unconventional” advice?  Check out these three books. These three, among other publications we’ll mention in future articles, offer credible and easy-to-understand nutritional advice.

  • In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan: The renowned author gives his simplest advice on nutrition through seven basic, old-school nutritional rules.  For our readers with little knowledge on nutrition, we recommend starting here.
  • Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, M.D. : Perlmutter explains the link between higher consumption of processed grains (gluten particularly) and neurodegenerative disease, diabetes, and other modern disease.
  • Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan, M.D. : Shanahan articulates the link between vegetable oils and a variety of health disorders.  She argues that the underlying cause of modern disease is a low nutrient diet high in distorted, man-made fats and sugar (along with a sedentary lifestyle).

Concluding Thoughts:

Nutritional science is a tricky area.  While the above information represents our current beliefs on nutrition, the science behind it is constantly changing.  As a result, our nutritional beliefs are always changing. We are always investigating recent research and updating our opinions accordingly.

Cheers to healthy eating!  As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at contact@healthlifeandstuff.com !

References:

  • Shanahan, Catherine.  Deep Nutrition, pg. 365.
  • //www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/20103137677
  • //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
  • //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12848499
  • //www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/sex-differences-in-fat-storage-fat-metabolism-and-the-health-risks-from-obesity-possible-evolutionary-origins/00950AD6710FB3D0414B13EAA67D4327/core-reader
  • //www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good (Image)

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *