The 9 Worst Foods to Eat and Healthy Swaps - DrJockers.com

The 9 Worst Foods to Eat and Healthy Swaps

The 9 Worst Foods To Eat

If you feel like healthy eating gets more complicated every day, I feel you. Paleo, vegan, low-carb, high-fat, organic, and the endless list of dietary terms can make it difficult to even begin eating healthy.  Experiencing this feedback from my patients for years, I completely understand where you are coming from.

That is why I have put together this article to lay the basis of the worst foods for your health, along with the foundational principles of a healing diet to support optimal wellness in the body.  Some of these foods may come as a surprise because they are marketed by the media as healthy…but you will come to find out why you will want to avoid them!

Note On Worst Foods

Although it is important to know which foods to avoid, it is never a good idea to be constantly fixated on what you can’t eat. Once you understand the foods to avoid, keep a mental note in the back of your head. Next, take to heart my healing diet nutrition principles and begin incorporating them into your life.

By doing so, you will begin to naturally avoid the worst foods for your health. Instead of feeling limited to a narrow selection of foods, you will experience liberation knowing that the foods that you are eating are adding to your vitality every day!

Table Salt

Commercial Table salt is nothing like the natural salts our bodies have been receiving for thousands of years. Naturally occurring salts from the earth contain sodium along with over 80 different trace minerals, all of which play an important role in the body.

Commercial table salt is a chemically synthesized sodium chloride along with other nasty additives that prevent it from clumping together. Additionally, these salts often contain things like aluminum and fluoride which I would never recommend putting into your body.

Alternative: Natural Salts

When it comes to salt, I recommend consuming generous amounts on your food. This is because the sodium and other trace minerals play a vital role as electrolytes that ensure your nervous system is working efficiently.

The salts I recommend are those from clean earth sources. This would include salts like Pink Himalayan and Celtic Gray. The coloration to these unique salts is an indication of their mineral content.

If you are concerned about getting iodine, I would recommend using a seasoning that includes kelp like Herbamare or Braggs Sea Kelp Delight.

Vegetable Oil 

There are two important concepts to understand when it comes to fat consumption. Having a healthy Omega-3:Omega-6 ratio is important for controlling inflammation in the body and regulating metabolism (1). Also, your brain and the myelin that surrounds your nerves is primarily made of fats.

Consuming highly processed vegetable oils contributes to disease by neglecting both of these important concepts. Vegetable oils are very high in omega-6 fats while also being highly damaged during processing. This leaves you with an elevation in inflammation and subpar building materials for your brain and peripheral nervous system!

Be careful here…these are REALLY HARD to avoid all together.  Be sure to read labels and if you see anything with corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil and peanut oil than those are vegetable oil culprits.  Many restaurants cook with these and call them “olive oil” when they are really 50% or more corn or canola oil.

Do the best you can and ask a lot of questions when you eat out.  Even better, call the restaurant ahead of time and ask if you are able.  My wife and I will often bring our own oils and grass fed butter or ghee to make sure we get the right stuff.  Here is an example, one of our favorite local restaurants, Ted’s Montana Grill, has a great menu with bison and guacamole and good veggies.  Unfortunately, there “olive oil” is 50% canola oil…so we don’t use it.  We bring our own olive oil or XCT oil like in this picture and our grass-fed ghee.

Alternative: Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a great source of healthy saturated fat that is safe for cooking up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, it provides small amount of medium chain triglycerides which can be converted into ketones that have great benefits for your body.

Unfermented Soy Products

Over the years, soy has become a hot topic as a healthy vs unhealthy food. My view is that you do not want this stuff in your diet. Here’s why:

  • High Amounts of Phytic Acids and Lectins: Soy contains these chemicals as natural defenses from animals that try to consume them. Phytic Acid binds up minerals, lowering the nutrition you absorb from your meals. Lectins can be extremely damaging to the lining of the gut.
  • GMO & Glyphosate: The vast majority of soy in our food supply is genetically modified, containing high amounts of the infamous herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is another compound that destroys the health of your gut while draining vital nutrients as your body tries to neutralize it.
  • Hormones: Soy has mild-estrogenic effects that may be harmful to someone who already has sex hormone imbalance.

Soy products have made their way into many processed foods on the market so it is important to read your labels. Especially look out for things like “soy protein isolate” as it is a very concentrated form of soy that may have exaggerated health effects.

Alternative: Fermented Soy

Soy can be tolerable and even nutritious in its fermented form. This includes things like ORGANIC miso, natto, and tempeh. The fermentation process deactivates a large amount of the phytic acid and lectins which allows you to readily absorb the nutrients.

If you have a histamine intolerance, then I would recommend avoiding these foods as it can cause a reaction. Other Alternatives include:

Processed Meat 

The types of meat you eat are extremely important. Many people believe that simply buying the leanest meats is the healthiest option. The truth is, most of the meat produced today is simply unacceptable.

You want to avoid highly processed meats like deli meats, cured meats, and any kind of meat that comes from poor living conditions. Unless the package states that it is organic and ideally pasture-raised, you will probably want to steer clear of it.

Alternatives: Pasture-Raised/ Wild-Caught

You want your meat to come from animals that have been raised humanely, in pastures, and fed the diet they are meant to eat. For beef and lamb this would be grass, for poultry, this would be things like bugs, seeds, berries and things that can be foraged in a natural environment.

As a result these meats are more nutritious and contain a more favorable omega-3:Omega-6 ratios. The best bet to find good meat is either a health-centered grocer or an online source such as US Wellness Meats or Slankers.

Microwaved Popcorn 

Microwave popcorn is no good for a few reasons. First it is typically GMO corn, which will almost always contain glyphosate. Next, many brands utilize an artificial flavoring called diacetyl that is an alternative to butter. Diacetyl has been linked to respiratory disorders (2). Finally, corn is a common food sensitivity that I see with many of my patients that can cause inflammation in the gut.

Alternative: Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds

If you must have popcorn, your best bet would be to either hot-air pop it or in a pot with coconut oil. Toss it up with some grass-fed butter or coconut oil and a high quality sea salt.

For an even healthier alternative, sprouted pumpkin seeds are a great option. They are super nutrient dense, a great source of zinc, and are a great source of healthy fats. They are nutrient dense and blood sugar friendly!

Non-Organic Produce 

I have mentioned glyphosate a couple times already but I am going to reiterate. You need to avoid glyphosate, as well as all other pesticides, as much as possible. These are toxic to the human body, leaching minerals from the body and damaging the lining of your gut.

Alternative: Organic Produce

You can either go all organic or, if you are sticking to a budget,follow the clean 15 & dirty dozen guidelines released by the EWG. Buy organic for the dirty dozen foods while the clean 15 are relatively safe to purchase conventional.

I consider this an important investment in your nutrition and health of your gut (which tremendously influences your wellbeing overall).

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners and flavor enhancers include aspartame, acefultame potassium, monosodium glutamate, sucralose and many others. They allow us to make food taste amazing without needing to add salt or sugar. The downside is that these compounds have a neurotoxic effect on the brain and break down into nasty chemicals once they are digested.

The constituents of aspartame, for example, have been shown to increase chances of mood disorders, overstimulate neuronal cells in the brain, and increase chances of brain-related cancers (3, 4).

Alternative: Natural Sweeteners

One of the primary draws of artificial sweeteners is that they do not have any calories or sugar. If this is your motivation for using these products, stevia and monk fruit are great natural alternatives that will not have any negative impact on your blood sugar.

Other healthier options are organic coconut palm sugar or organic raw honey. While these will still create a rise in blood sugar, they have a relatively low glycemic index. I would recommend only using these on occasion.

Margarine

Margarine, like artificial sweeteners, is one of the more deceptive products to ever hit grocery store shelves. It is often marketed as a heart healthy alternative to butter. This is supposedly because it contains “heart healthy” vegetable oils and does not contain any saturated fat or cholesterol.

Although marketed as healthy, margarine is actually a toxic mixture of inflammatory, GMO, oils and artificial additives that I would not recommend to anyone. You want to instead eat fats that increase your Omega-3:Omega-6 ratio while providing healthy saturated fats for brain and nervous system health.

Alternative: Grass-fed Butter

While many alternatives could fall here, in terms of the health effects mentioned above, butter provides a very complete nutrition profile. Butter from grass-fed cows is naturally high in Omega-3 fatty acids as well as important saturated fats and dietary cholesterol that are key for brain health and formation of sex hormones.

Other great options include: Organic Coconut Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Animal Fats (Lard/Tallow), Omega-3 rich fish, and avocado oil. As a general rule, fats that are solid at room temperature are suitable for cooking, while those that are liquid at room temperature are better suited as dressings after cooking.

Canned Tomatoes

Chemicals from plastics are a disaster to healthy hormone balance. For men and women, frequent exposure to chemicals leached from plastics can cause an elevation in estrogen that has many negative health effects. One of the major offendors is the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA).

What many people don’t realize is that BPA is often used in canned goods to protect the inside of the can from deteriorating. Combining a BPA lining with an acidic food such as tomatoes causes large amounts of BPA to leach out of the can. This means consuming canned tomatoes exposes your body to a massive amount of BPA.

Alternative: Fresh Tomatoes

You may be able to find canned tomatoes in BPA free cans or even alternative packaging. However, I would say it is probably ideal to buy fresh organic tomatoes from your local health foods store or farmers market.

Following A Healing Diet

Sometimes the most daunting thing about beginning a new way of eating is becoming fixated on all of the foods you can no longer eat. So, after you get a general idea of the most important foods to avoid, it’s best to focus on these key guidelines for the foods you should eat.

A healing diet focuses on a style of eating that stabilizes blood sugar, dramatically lowers inflammation, reduces exposure to environmental toxins, and floods the body with nutrition on a daily basis.

As a simple starting point, I recommend 3 key rules for a healing diet.

Reduce Sugar & Grains

Sugars and refined carbohydrates consumed frequently throughout the day send blood sugar into an unstable rollercoaster. Along with this comes a fluctuation in insulin levels that contributes to inflammation, weight gain, and unstable energy levels.

Additionally, removing grains will drastically reduce phytic acids and lectins going into your system. This will help you extract more nutrition from your food and put less of an inflammatory strain on your gut lining.

Decrease Bad Fat & Increase Good Fat

Remove highly processed oils and fats from conventionally raised animals. Replace them with healthy fats. This includes things like grass-fed butter, coconut oil and coconut products, olive oil, avocados, and MCT oil. These help stabilize blood sugar, balance hormones, and keep you full between meals.

Change The Meat You Eat 

It is absolutely critical that you replace all conventionally raised animal products with those derived from pasture-raised animals. The nutritional value of any animal derived product is a direct reflection of the environment it was raised in. Meat and dairy from pasture-raised animals is richer in nutrients, contains more omega-3 fatty acids, and overall is better for you and the environment.

For a more in-depth shopping guide, click the banner below and you can get a free shopping list for the healing diet along with core principals of this powerful eating style.

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Simopoulos, A. P. (2016). An increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 fatty acid ratio increases the risk for obesity. Nutrients, 8(3), 1–17. PMID: 26950145
2. Simopoulos, A. P. (2016). An increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 fatty acid ratio increases the risk for obesity. Nutrients, 8(3), 1–17. PMID: 26950145
3. Simopoulos, A. P. (2016). An increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 fatty acid ratio increases the risk for obesity. Nutrients, 8(3), 1–17. PMID: 26950145
4. Rycerz, K., & Jaworska-Adamu, J. E. (2013). Effects of aspartame metabolites on astrocytes and neurons. Folia Neuropathologica, 51(1), 10–17. PMID: 23553132

 

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13 Responses to The 9 Worst Foods to Eat and Healthy Swaps

  1. Karli July 25, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

    Thank you for the interesting article. Can you please tell me the source for your table, Beef’s Nutritional Ledger? I would like to read more on this subject. Thank you.

  2. Kim July 25, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

    Question, regarding avocados. When you buy avocados you cannot open them in the store, and therefore cant tell sometimes wether it is good…if a avocado is brown like spots or if the majority is brown, does that mean its bad or are they still good to use and eat. Should it be all green to eat or ?
    I live avocados but i have a hard time storing them to keep them fresh.

    Also ive heard of oil pulling which is healthy for teeth and immunity, what will happen if you accidently swallow any…and is it ok to just eat a tsp/tbsp of coconut oil?

    • Dr. Jockers July 25, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

      Hey Kim avocados should have a slight give to them when you squeeze them, that is an indication they are ready to eat. They can bestowed in the refrigerator if they begin to feel like they are getting too soft. This is something you just need to get a feel for over time and you will notice that sweet spot! You want the inside to be preferably nice and green on the inside with as little brown as possible as this is a sign of oxidation.

      As for oil pulling you will want to avoid swallowing as it accumulates many toxins during the process that should not be ingested.

    • TL July 26, 2017 at 12:14 am #

      Avocados should not be soft when purchased. Allow them to ripen, only until they yield slightly to pressure when slightly squeezed. If you buy many at a time, put some of them in the frig so they will take longer to ripen. Also, if you pull off the little piece left from the stem, it should be green underneath. If it’s brown, then it’s likely that the avocado is also brown in places.
      Oh, and it’s preferable to spit out the oil after pulling due to the impurities you just pulled out, but it isn’t harmful if you accidentally swallow it.
      Happy eating!

      • Dr. Jockers July 26, 2017 at 9:28 am #

        Thanks for your input TL!

      • Trent August 8, 2017 at 10:55 pm #

        Have heard the oil from oil pulling contain toxic, so not recommend swallowing. As have mentioned above by Dr. Jockers…

  3. TL July 25, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    Great information! However, I looked up both the Herbamare & Bragg’s Sea Kelp Delight & neither list iodine on the label; not sure how it supplies it if it’s not listed on the nutrient list.

    • Dr. Jockers July 25, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

      Both of these seasonings contain sea kelp which is a natural source of iodine.

  4. John Michael Schmidt July 25, 2017 at 9:58 pm #

    I appreciate this article so much thank you. I was pleasantly surprised that I had eliminated all of the bad stuff already and am well invested in the good. I live in Chiang Mai, Thailand where many of the issues raised stare us in the face daily and I have learned there are some things I require ordering from the USA from companies like Iherb and Vitacost who deliver my natural product goodies to my door. Also, we import Himalayan Pink Salt directly in full containers from Pakistan to provide for the international and Thai community here and I have been drinking sole’ ( pink salt with water) for 13 years daily now and feel the energy from all of the minerals I absorb. My blood pressure was 110 over 67 last week so I know the salt is not negatively affecting that aspect of my health. My question is, can I be using too much of this precious salt?

    • Dr. Jockers July 26, 2017 at 9:27 am #

      Great to hear you are on the right track John! It sounds like you are not experiencing any negative effects from your salt intake so I’d say you are okay to keep it up! Here is a great article on salt that may help you with this: http://drjockers.com/is-your-salt-killing-you/

  5. TL July 26, 2017 at 12:17 am #

    Hmm, I’m pretty sure that glyphosate (Roundup) is an herbicide, not a pesticide. Both are harmful, but a herbicide is even worse!

    • Dr. Jockers July 26, 2017 at 9:32 am #

      Thanks for the input TL! It has been updated but you’re right, neither should be part of a healthy diet!

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