Monday, July 27, 2009

Healthy Monday: What's In Your Fridge?

Do you have any of these foods in your refrigerator: meat, dairy products, canned foods, farmed fish, non-organic chicken, sodas, foods with hydrogenated oils (that's pretty much the entire snack aisle), processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs, and sausage, and artificially colored foods, such as maraschino cherries? If you answered yes, then congratulations! You're on your way to ingesting arsenic, growth hormones, tumor inducing toxins, and nasty pesticides.

Now you're either frantically running towards your refrigerator desperate to toss these foods or scoffing at the paranoid world we live in. Either way, please know my goal is not to scare you, but rather to inform you of what you might be putting in your body. As noted in the Eco-Salon article, 13 Tips to Avoid Exposure to Toxins in Common Foods, the aisles in our grocery stores are filled to the brim with foods designed to look appetizing (and usually taste pretty good), but ultimately are laden with unhealthy chemicals. For instance, lab rats and mice exposed to artificial food coloring developed adrenal gland, brain, thyroid, and kidney tumors. Hydrogenated oils are linked to diabetes and heart disease and studies have shown farm raised fish contain over 10 times the amount of dioxin.

What's the solution? I'm not sure there is a clear cut one, but I would suggest implementing more fruits, vegetables, and legumes into your diet. If you're not a vegetarian, cut back on meat, poultry, and fish. And probably the biggest no-brainer, but the hardest of all, is to cut back on those sugary processed food and drinks, especially the ones with artificial sweeteners.

And of course, buy local whenever possible! Need to know what's in season for your area? Check out this handy interactive "peak-season map" from Epicurious.

photo from Biggie

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