What’s the best way to focus on quality foods for quality genes? A good rule of thumb (or rule of yum!) is to seek out foods that are less processed, packaged and preserved.
Ever wander through the supermarket though, up and down the aisles full of countless colors, brands and flavors? To help guide my shopping, I always try to stay on the periphery, which is generally where the most healthy and least processed foods live – produce, freshly cut meats, etc. The further you spiral to the center, however, the more you’ll experience the wonders of food science. Frozen pizza rolls and cheeseburgers, boxes of treats that can stay “fresh” for years, and who knows what else!
Another rule of thumb (or, in this case, rule of glum) is the fact that highly processed foods are often made with many chemical additives and other unnatural ingredients. Not only are these harder to digest and pronounce, but a diet made of “frankenfoods” can lead to some seriously unhealthy conditions. For example, nitrates in cured meats have been studied for a link to stomach, esophagus and even brain cancer. Or that whole wheat bread you thought was super healthy may also contain potassium bromate to strengthen it and help it rise. Only problem - potassium bromate is classified as a carcinogen by the state of California and the international cancer agency.
The best plan of action? Mindfully swap out the junk for quality foods. Your body will thank you, and over time you’ll help switch on healthier genes and switch off unhealthy genes. (Feel free to read this previous blog post on nutrigenomics and the relationship between food and switching genes on and off).
Below are some examples to help get you thinking … some healthy food for thought (literally!):
- Swap out cookies for dates stuffed with walnuts
- Swap out sweetened yogurt for grass-fed, organic plain yogurt and use natural honey
- Swap out protein bars with unreadable ingredients for Larabars or organic Kit Bars
- Swap out grocery-brand eggs for omega-3 cage free or farm fresh eggs
- Swap out chips for dehydrated or dried veggies
- Swap out conventional beef for grass-fed ground beef
- Swap out canola oil for red palm oil (best for high-heat cooking)
- Swap out canola oil for olive oil (best for medium-heat cooking)
- Swap out canola oil for virgin coconut oil (baking!)
This is just a start though! Definitely experiment to see what works best for you … as long as you’re ditching the junk, eating more quality foods, and taking better care of your genes.
Happy healthy food hunting!