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My Top Ten Foods to Avoid

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My Top Ten Foods To Avoid

You are the Key to Your Own Health

Our personal choices by and large dictate our health. It has been said in the past, and accurately so, "You Are What You Eat." If this is true, doesn't it make sense that if we eat junk food our overall health would would be reflected in that choice? That means that your health is in direct correlation to the foods you consume. I know from personal experience and personally witnessing others, SUCCESS IS POSSIBLE
 
My motivation for sharing this information along with my personal story is that I am excited about the results I have experienced. I want you to understand that changing your life through diet and exercise is possible. The secret is not in some new fad diet or break-through exercise equipment or program. The secret is rooted in your own desire to succeed and become a healthier you!
 
I was the same way. It was not until I experienced some life altering medical situations that I was scared into a personal commitment. What is holding you back? Whatever it is, you will not loose the weight you need, you will not reduce or eliminate your medications, and your aches and pains of arthritis will not go away until you COMMIT to CHANGE! This point is so important that I need to emphasize again -- you are in control of your life and things won't get better until you choose to live healthier. Yes, I am a chef and health coach, with a particular agenda, However, I am providing you with this information free without any strings attached.

My Story

Here is my story -- Prior to starting my Nutritarian lifestyle change I was not in overall good health. Not only had I developed type 2 diabetes, and  hypertension, I was also feeling the aches and pains of arthritis. 
 
I decided that I needed to make a change and break away from the Standard American Diet (SAD).  Within weeks of making my transition to a healthier and more nutritionally focused diet I experienced a nearly complete turnaround. I am no longer tied to medications for my health, and even better, the agonizing pain of arthritis.
 
The reasons that a diet consisting of nutrient dense foods has such amazing results is two fold: 
1. Highly nutritious foods promote healing, kick starting your body's natural defense system against disease. And
2. Most nutritionally dense foods are less likely to cause inflammation of your joints and circulatory system.
 
Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer are being shown to have causal linkages to diet and especially obesity. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, about 12.9 million people worldwide died from some form of cardiovascular disease in 2004. Each year, the World Cancer Research Fund estimates that some eight million people died from cancer. Heart disease and cancer, both conditions are connected to chronic inflammation, and are expected to remain as the leading causes of death for many years to come.
 
Studies show that the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer can be mitigated by our lifestyle choices which include the food we choose to eat! Our dietary decisions dictate weather or not we are balancing the pro- or anti-inflammatory compounds in our bodies. With my choice of nutrient dense foods I have by default chosen to lower my intake of inflammatory foods.
 

Low nutritional foods linked to causing inflammation:

 
1. Sugars
b2ap3_thumbnail_RefinedSugar.jpg
Yes, Sugar tops the list. For years we have known that refined sugars have been linked to tooth decay and increased risks of obesity, inflammation and chronic diseases such as lupus and type 2 diabetes. Recently, it has also finally been proven that sugar, as well as dairy, are the causes of acne.
 
A Nutritarian diet is focused on consuming foods with a high nutrient to calorie ratio. So, besides being an inflammatory agent, refined sugars have virtually no nutritional benefit. 
 
Do you know that drinking a can of Coke is equivalent to sucking down ten sugar cubes? Obvious sugar-loaded foods to avoid or at least limit include -- processed fruit drinks and sodas, pastries, desserts, candies and snacks foods. Food manufacturers are getting good at hiding sugar on their ingredients lists, processed sugars are hiding under a variety of names: corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, golden syrup, maltose, sorghum syrup and sucrose are some of the creative names used.
 
The standard American diet has conditioned our collective taste to prefer the sweets. This is conditioned/learned habit. I've found from personal experience that I now prefer the flavors of naturally flavored foods rather than foods bulked up with processed sugars.
 
However, if you are still for something to sweeten a particular meal how about opting for a more natural sweetener like stevia, monk fruit, honey, or black strap molasses to flavor your beverages and foods. Also, natural sugars found in fresh or dried fruits are excellent choices. Not only do they give you the sweetness you crave, fresh or frozen fruits also supply you with vitamins, antioxidants and fibers that you won’t find in foods and drinks with processed sugars. Various berries, ripe bananas, dates, kiwis, oranges, and tangerines are some of the natural sweet and healthy snacks you can sink your teeth into.
 
2. Common Cooking Oils
b2ap3_thumbnail_Cooking-Oil.jpgLike processed sugars, cooking oils and fats have a low nutrient to calorie ratio, and I try to limit them in my diet. Like many of you I have a history of enjoying fat-filled treats such as fried chicken, French fries, and tortilla chips. Common cooking oils are highly inflammatory. Common vegetable cooking oils used in many homes and restaurants are very high in omega-6 fatty acids and dismally low omega-3 fats. A diet consisting of a highly imbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio promotes inflammation and breeds inflammatory diseases like arthritis, heart disease and cancer.
 
Watch out for: Polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as grape seed, cottonseed, safflower, corn and sunflower oils. These industrial vegetable oils are also commonly used to prepare most processed foods and takeaways.
 
Aim for more natural oils higher in Omega-3 and monosaturated fats: Here are some of my favorites -- extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or other more balanced choices like macadamia oil.
 
3. Trans Fats
b2ap3_thumbnail_hydrogenatedOils.jpgTrans Fats and hydrogenated oils were big news a few years back. It is becoming harder to find these killer ingredients in our foods, but we still need to check food labels to avoid them.
 
Trans fatty acids are notorious for their insidious health effects. Primarily trans fats increase our levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, while lowering levels of the ‘good’ cholesterol. They have also been found to promote inflammation, obesity and resistance to insulin, laying the ground for all the subsequent degenerative conditions such as cancer, arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
 
Even small amounts of trans fats can have deleterious effects on your health. However, even ingredient lists that show 0g trans fats on the label may still contain some amount of these toxic fats. This is because in the US, the government allows items containing less than 0.5g of trans fats to be declared as trans-fat free. 
 
The absolute best way to avoid trans fats is to avoid processed foods. When in doubt and have a choice just remember -- Fresh is Best!
 
4. Dairy Products
b2ap3_thumbnail_Dairy-Products.jpgLactose intolerance seems to be on the rise these days. Until relative recently, humans have not had dairy as a part of their daily dietary regime. In fact, as much as 60% of the world’s population cannot digest milk. Researchers suggest that being able to digest milk beyond infancy is abnormal, rather than the other way round. Milk is also a common inflammatory agent that triggers sever responses, such as stomach distress, constipation, diarrhea. Others experience allergic reactions such as skin rashes, acne, hives and breathing difficulties.
 
Milk and dairy products are as pervasive as foods containing partially hydrogenated oil or omega-3-deficient vegetable oil. Apart from obvious milk products like butter and cheese, foods with hidden dairy content include breads, cookies, crackers, cakes, cream sauces and boxed cereals. Scanning the ingredients list is still the safest way to reduce or avoid  the consumption dairy products.
 
5. Feedlot-Raised Meat
b2ap3_thumbnail_feedlot_20140204-052718_1.jpgPeople like myself that promote nutrient dense foods are not by definition vegan. With that stated though my heart aches at the deplorable state of most commercially available meats and poultry.
 
Commercially produced meats are feed with (often GMO) grains like soy beans and corn, a diet that is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids but low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. Due to the small and tight living environment, these animals also gain excess fat and end up with high saturated fats. Worse, to make them grow faster and prevent them from getting sick, they are also injected with hormones and fed with antibiotics. The resulting product that ends up on your grocery store shelf should be labeled with a cautionary warning -- not fit for human consumption.
 
Unless otherwise stated you need to assume that all, beef, pork and poultry you can find in the supermarkets and restaurants come from feedlot farms.
 
Not to be overly concerned, there are organic, free-range options available, animals that are fed a natural diet such as grasses instead of grains and hormones contain more omega-3 fats. Having more room to roam freely, they are also leaner and contain less saturated fats.
 
6. Processed Meat
b2ap3_thumbnail_processed-meat1.jpg(Because of the previous statements on feedlot-raised meat, I include that in the category of processed meats.) Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that processed meat may trigger chronic inflammatory response -- "low-grade, simmering inflammation that won’t go away has been linked to cancer and heart disease."
 
The link between processed meat consumption and cancer is even stronger. In the 2007 report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, processed meat has been stated as a convincing cause of cancers of the colon and rectum, and possibly of the esophagus and lungs too. Processed meat includes animal products that have been smoked, cured, salted or chemically preserved.
 
7. Alcohol
b2ap3_thumbnail_Alcoholic_Drinks.jpgRegular high consumption of alcohol has been known to cause irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, larynx (voice box) and liver. Over time, the chronic inflammation promotes tumor growth and gives rise to cancer at the sites of repeated irritation.
 
8. Refined Grains

b2ap3_thumbnail_WhiteBread.jpgMost of the grains we experience on the SAD are highly refined and are devoid healthful benefits. The result of the food manufacturing process is a product devoid of fiber and vitamin B compared to unpolished and unrefined grains that still have the bran, germ and the aleurone layer intact. With this mindset, modern processed flours are on a par with refined sugars, which are practically empty calories. And like refined sugars, refined grains have a higher glycemic index than unprocessed grains and when they are consistently consumed, can hasten the onset of obesity and degenerative diseases like cancer, coronary disease and diabetes.
 
9. Artificial Food Additives
b2ap3_thumbnail_food-additives.jpgThe rule of thumb should be "if you have trouble pronouncing it -- dont put in in your mouth." Artificial food additives like aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG) reportedly trigger inflammatory responses, especially in people who are already suffering from inflammatory conditions such as lupis and rheumatoid arthritis.
 
Learn to read ingredient lists. Preservatives and other food additives are only found in packaged processed foods. If you need to buy them, read the labels carefully and weigh your risks. If you order Chinese takeaways, make sure you have the option to ask for no MSG. Otherwise, look elsewhere.
 
10. Food Sensitivities
b2ap3_thumbnail_FoodAllergies.jpgThere are many foods that are problematic for certain individuals that are not of concern to the general population. Many people are sensitive to certain foods but are totally unaware of it. Unlike food allergies whereby symptoms usually come fast and furious, symptoms caused by food intolerance may take a longer time to manifest. Consequently, when symptoms of food intolerance do appear, they are often brushed off as common minor ailments such as tiredness and headaches. But repeated, long-term exposure to food that irritates can cause inflammation and lead to chronic disease.
 

There Are No Short Cuts

(No Short Cuts)
If someone tells you any different they are probably trying to sell you something. There is no magic pill that will allow you to eat everything and anything you desire. An active lifestyle is also essential. It is your life and your choice. I chose to be healthy. How about you?
 

So, What is Keeping You From Optimal Health?

Contact me when you are ready for a change. I encourage you to take advantage of my FREE no obligation consultation. During our initial consultation we will do a survey of your current health and diet profile and provide you with some free resources to help get you no the road to becoming a healthier you!

If you've enjoyed reading this BLOG entry please consider making a comment here or on my facebook page -- http://facebook.com/chefmichaelcallahan

 

 

 

 
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Chef Michael is the founder of the American Culinary Guild, and has spent 30 years perfecting his craft. Michael has brought his personal take on fine dining back to Southern California from the San Francisco Bay Area to Alaska to the troops in Afghanistan and back. He's delighted diners numbering in the thousands, as well as small intimate gatherings.


With a significant amount of experience in healthcare food service and personal success in battling weight loss, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure; Michael is now offering his services as a health coach and wellness mentor.

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Guest Wednesday, 30 July 2014
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