I often espouse eating “live” foods and many of my customers then ask “Do you mean I can’t cook my food?” Laugh-Out-Loud (lol)! No, I don’t mean you can never cook your foods, but I do think we eat too many foods that are overcooked and over processed.
So what does it mean to eat “live” foods? Live foods are food from which the vital nutrients have not been removed. We generally call these types of foods “unprocessed” foods. In order to enhance shelf life for our food products, suppliers remove nutrients that cause shelf life to be shortened. But that causes them to contain fewer vital nutrients and aren’t as good for your health.
I’m an advocate of selecting your food from the perimeter of the grocery store – the outside edges. That’s where you find the fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs and spices, the cheeses and dairy products, the fresh cuts of meat and fish, fresh eggs and water. And this is where you find the colorful foods. Did you know that there are even books written about “Eating Your Colors”? Every different shade of food provides some different nutrients. For example, deep red and purple foods provide antioxidants to get rid of free radical damage; orange and red food provide carotenoids such as beta-carotene which aids bone and cell growth, and lutein which is important for healthy vision; green foods provide a powerhouse of nutrients such as fiber, folate, potassium, and the A-C-E vitamins; and crimson, blue and brown foods provide flavonoids that contribute to proper brain function and blood flow.
While canned foods still have some nutrients, I put them in the intermediary – the heat of canning kills many vital nutrients, and the added salt used in the canning process preserves the contents from spoilage but adds sodium which can cause several health issues.
And then there are the packaged foods. They have had most of the “live” nutrients replaced with long-lasting preservatives. The focus is on shelf life. And they will fill you up, but they provide little nutrition.
So what are some things you can do to eat better? Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Shop from the outer perimeter of the grocery store. Enlarge the variety of foods you eat to get a better variety of nutrients and prepare your own foods as much as your lifestyle will permit.
Consider one of the popular mail-in food programs we see advertised so much now. They ship the fresh foods along with recipes for preparing them. You can involve the family in the preparation to enhance family time and learn to cook together. And you get a freshly prepared meal.
And you might then consider the next step – a small backyard garden to get just the food you enjoy in the freshest form available – pick them from your backyard and take them in and prepare them for a family meal! Whether you dig up the whole back yard, simply prepare a few small raised beds, or put together a collection of pots and pans for a deck or porch container garden, it can be a life-changing and tasty new hobby.
– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, call 405-736-1030, e-mail [email protected], or visit TheHeathPatch.com.