This page will provide you with: interesting facts about healthy eating including chemicals in food, pesticides in fruit, pesticides in vegetables, food additives, acidic and alkaline diet, eating organic, alternatives to organic foods and
***4 Healthy Eating Tips you need to know to enjoy good health.
What’s wrong with the average diet?
Eat Certified Organic/Bio dynamic Food
Use of pesticides in agritculture
Level of pesticides in fruit and vegetables / chemicals in food
Alternatives to buying organic / minimise exposure to chemicals in food
Maintaining the pH balance
Today it is common to eat foods that are highly processed with minimal nutritional content, containing many artificial colourings, flavourings and pesticide residues. In fact many foods today have been so highly processed that vitamins and minerals need to be added back to the food after the processing has removed them. Fortification of food is a very common practice, with most breads, cereals, milks and other foods containing added vitamins and minerals.
The typical diet has
- Too Much Fat
- Too Much Protein
- An excess of Refined Carbohydrates
- A lack of Fibre
- An Acid/Alkali Imbalance
- Food Additives and Pesticide Residues 1
All of these can result in serious health problems.
A review article in the British Medical journal (December 1998), ‘Diet and the Prevention of Cancer’, stated that “up to 80% of bowel cancer and breast cancer may be preventable by dietary change” (these are two of the most common cancers today). 2
Whilst research has shown the importance of diet in relation to disease prevention for many years, it is continually being ignored and not effectively conveyed to society. The following statistics are indicative of this:
The current US estimate for persons age 2 years and older who consume at least two daily servings of fruit is 28%. The current US estimate for persons age 2 years and older who consume at least three daily servings of vegetables, with at least one-third being dark green or deep yellow vegetables is 3%. 3
The health promotion and disease prevention objectives for the year 2010 set by the US Department of Health and Human Services are to increase these percentages with the aim to reduce preventable death and disability. 4
Research over the last 40 years has shown that a healthy diet especially one rich in fruits and vegetables — coupled with regular prolonged, vigorous exercise and some strength-building exercise can both prevent and treat many age-related diseases. 5
The B Toxic Free motto is “Nature knows best”.
*** Healthy Eating Tips : Tip No. 1: Your diet should be made up of as much unprocessed, whole, properly constituted, certified organic/bio-dynamic food.
This means eating food that is as nature intended. Brown Rice, lentils, chickpeas, beans, nuts, and deep sea fish are some examples of unprocessed, whole, properly constituted foods. These foods contain no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives.
Minimise the cooking of food as heat destroys enzymes, and nutrients. Grains are best soaked prior to cooking as this makes it easier for your body to digest them and changes the nutritional properties of the grains, by making them more alkaline forming in the body. Fresh fruit, salads and freshly squeezed juices are a good way to get raw food with living enzymes into your diet.
Frying food causes fats to oxidise, resulting in the release of free radicals. The safest oils to fry with are those that don’t create trans fatty acids (and thus free radicals) these include butter, coconut oil and palm kernel oil, which can all withstand cooking above 375º F. The downside though is that these contain saturated fats which are not good for our health. Hazelnut, olive and sesame oil can withstand a moderate heat of 325º F. Polyunsaturated Oils such as Flax, Hemp, Canola, Soy and Walnut should not be heated due to oxidisation. Steaming and grilling are better methods of cooking. These methods of cooking will minimise oxidisation (free radical damage) and the loss of nutrient content.
An example of a highly processed food devoid of naturally present vitamins is white bread.
“When grain is made into refined, white flour, more than 30 essential nutrients are largely removed. Only four of those nutrients are added back into process called ‘enrichment’. Says Dr Cranton.” 6
Buy breads made from wholemeal flours with no additives. Another good idea is to buy a bread maker and make your own.
*** Healthy Eating Tips – Tip No. 2: Eating organic food is an essential key to maintaining optimum health. Organic farming cares for the environment, without relying upon synthetic chemicals and other unnatural interventionist approaches to farming and food production. Organic farming means no artificial pesticides, no herbicides, no hormones, no growth promoters, and no GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms). All of these things have a questionable effect on our aim to maintain healthy bodies. Organic farming uses natural biological and environmentally friendly approaches, conserving natural ecosystems.
The first family of pesticides to be widely employed were organochlorines. However, these chemicals were found to be highly toxic and non-biodegradable such that they were banned and replaced with the current family of pesticides known as organophosphates
The problem is that organophosphates are not all that dissimilar from organochlorines and exhibit many of the same destructive propensities.
Forty per cent of pesticides now in use are proven to be cancer promoting, linked to birth defects and decreased fertility. Pesticide exposure is also connected to depression, memory decline, destabilisation of moods and aggressive outbursts, Parkinson’s and — according to Professor William Rea — asthma, eczema, migraine, irritable bowel and rhinitis. 7
In his 1974 book Atoms in Agriculture, Dr Americo Mosca, Brussels World Fair prize winner for chemistry, states that
toxic genetic chemicals, (herbicides, insecticides, hormones, steroids etc.) cause damage equal to the atomic fallout from 145 H-bombs of 14 megatons each, or in terms of atomic bombs – from 72,500 atomic bombs of Hiroshima type. For this reason, disease of all kinds and the birth of mentally retarded babies have increased tremendously in the United States in the last 10 years. The damage to plants, crops, soil fertility and water pollution are practically incalculable. If use of these toxic genetic chemicals persists in agriculture and on food, this will cause the destruction of the American people. 8
(Above graph ‘Use of Pesticides in Agriculture, years vs million kg’s of pesticides’ taken from “Organic and Natural Living”, Issue One. Australia).
A New Zealand family from Christchurch is pursuing legal action after their son was born with no eyes and a cleft palate. The mother was exposed to the chemical Benlate (fungicide) whilst working as a city council parks worker. Two other children born to council park workers also suffered birth defects. 9
Another problem with chemical exposure is bio-magnification. This is the process whereby chemicals become more concentrated as they move up the food chain. This process also explains why chemicals like chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticide dichloro diphenyl dichloro ethane (DDD – a relative of DDT) that were banned many years ago can still be found in humans today.
- Bio-accumulation:This is the process whereby compounds accumulate in living things faster than they are metabolised and excreted.
- Bio-concentration: A process of chemical collection from the surrounding environment that creates a concentrated form.
- Bio-magnification: The process that results in larger chemical concentrations to be found in a living living organism than in the food it eats. i.e. chemicals can become more concentrated as they move up the food chain. 10
(Bio-magnification. This example illustrates the potential harm of over use of chemicals in our environment. Concentration of DDD increases as it moves up the food chain. Above diagram is based upon information contained in the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, page 48. DDD was applied to Clear Lake, California, USA, 1954. DDD has since been banned).
Whilst organics may be more expensive the food tastes better, contains higher levels of nutrients and is better for the environment. How much is your health worth?
Scientists in Denmark have found that organic food contains significantly higher levels of a powerful antioxidant called quercetin. 11
Research by the Organic Advisory Service of the Organic Retailers & Growers Association of Australia (ORGAA) compared nutrient content of organic and conventionally grown vegetables. Four vegetable varieties, tomatoes, beans, capsicums and silver beet, were grown on a certified organic farm using compost and soil regenerative techniques and were later analysed for vitamin and mineral elements. A similar range of vegetables grown conventionally were sampled and analysed from a supermarket. Results showed significant differences in mineral levels in favour of the organic produce. Calcium levels in some produce increased by eight times, potassium by ten times, magnesium by seven times and zinc by five times. See “Food with Attitude“, Permaculture International Journal (March-May 2000, No. 74, ISSN 1037-8480), p.27.
Supermarket produce, Organic/revitalized soil, levels measure in mg/kg Australian Government Analytical Laboratory 12
Alternatives to buying organic / minimise exposure to chemicals in food
‘I can’t afford to buy organic’
For some buying organic food is too expensive. To minimise exposure to chemicals in food as much as possible try these alternatives:
- Buy organic food in season or on special, organics in season can be the same price as conventional fruit and vegetables.
- Buy organic food in conversion, some supermarkets now stock organic produce that is in conversion, this is normally cheaper especially if it is in season (I have seen organic oranges cheaper than non organic imported oranges in the same supermarket).
- Grow your own fruit and vegetables. Even if you don’t have a garden their are easy and cheap alternatives. You can use pots to grow some vegetables and fruit trees. Other options include growing sprouts in your own kitchen. Its super cheap and very easy. The following book Sproutmsan’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook Sproutman’s Kitchen Garden is great for the alternative health enthusiast.
- Next best thing to organic is free range produce, e.g. free range eggs, free range chicken.
- Try to eat fruit and vegetables that are least contaminated see pesticides analysis above.
- Wash all fruit and vegetables thoroughly
- Peel or skin fruit and vegetables where possible
- Seek a local grower who uses minimal chemicals / pesticides
Where to buy organics. Click here to check out where to buy organics in your location (Australia).
*** Healthy Eating Tips – Tip No. 3: An excellent dietary guide to follow is the alkaline/acid balance. Following the alkaline/acid balance is easy.
The absolute foundation of sound nutrition is to maintain the correct acid/alkali balance in the body. If we have the correct acid/alkali balance, then much of our health as far as nutrition is concerned falls into place. 13
Ph is the measure of acidity/alkalinity. Ph of 7.0 is neutral. Above 7.0 is alkaline and below 7.0 is acidic.
The body maintains a constant blood Ph between 7.35 and 7.45. Even small fluctuations can have life threatening results. Buffering is the body’s mechanism to prevent this.
Separate to the Ph of the blood, the body’s tissue fluids may vary in regard to Ph with relative significance.
Once foods are eaten they are metabolised/processed by the body. Once processed the foods have either an alkaline, or acid forming effect on the body’s tissue fluids.
Confusion often arises around the topic of foods being either acidic or alkaline (or sometimes very occasionally neutral). For example an orange is definitely acidic by itself. Even when it is eaten its juices are acidic to the stomach. However once the orange has been metabolised its effect on the body fluids is alkaline forming (leaving alkaline residue). The citric acid in the orange is broken down into carbonic acid which is excreted by the body through the breath as carbon dioxide leaving a residue of alkaline minerals. 14
Generally all animal products, dairy and meat, are acid forming, fruits and vegetables on the other hand are alkaline forming. For a more detailed list of alkaline and acid forming foods see Dr Hulls Web 75/25 Eating Plan. The typical Australian diet is often the other way around- 75% acid forming i.e. heaps of dairy and meat and 25% fruit and vegetables. This needs to change if we want to enjoy better health.
Check out Dr Janet Starr Hull’s sample Alkaline/Acid balancing diet.
Based on the total weight of your daily food intake, Dr David Collison recommends that fruits and vegetables should make up 75% or more. 15
If the Ph of the body’s tissue fluids changes greatly from the ideal Ph e.g. becomes acidic then the the body utilizes minerals contained within including the removal of calcium from the bones to maintain a constant blood Ph. 16
A chronically acidic environment over many years will cause a severe depletion of mineral from the body, resulting in dangers of kidney exhaustion (too much ammonia production and acid damage), osteoporosis, internal deficiency diseases, and then the auto-immune problems brought on by excess acid lodged in the joints and cartilage, such as arthritis and a host of other complaints. 17
“A body that is very acidic, and therefore in a toxic state, is prone to inflammatory conditions like colds and eventually degenerative states such as arthritis and similar.” 18
In her book The Wright Diet , Celia Wright describes the over-acidic person as being grouchy, sensitive and exhausted, inclined to aches and pains, headaches, problems with sleeping and acidity of the stomach. Smokers have been found to have a high acid level in their urine, cravings appear to reduce on a more alkaline diet. 19
Nobel Prize Winner Dr Otto Warburg, noted that alkaline bodies absorbed up to 20 times more oxygen than acidic bodies. He found that diseased bodies were acidic bodies which repelled oxygen. Warburg worked with almost 50 species of animals and was able to induce cancer in animal tissue simply by acidifying the body and driving out the oxygen. Experiments with ulcerated breast mass and other tumour material show categorically that malignant cells grow prolifically in acidic, anaerobic environments, but shrivel and die in calcium oxygen rich alkalis. 20
So what’s the message?, eat A LOT MORE (certified organic/bio dynamic or organic home grown) fruit and vegetables.
Discovering you are allergic to a particular food additive can be a difficult task. A process of elimination is required. All suspect food types should be removed and then introduced back into the diet one by one.
*** Healthy Eating Tips – Tip No. 4: Conclusive evidence on many food additives and their combined effect isn’t likely to be available anytime soon. Therefore it is best to use a common sense approach and avoid all food additives as much as possible.
Here are some interesting facts about food additives:
There are four different artificial colours in one of Australia’s most popular chocolate biscuits. 102, 110 (yellow), 129(red), 133 (blue), all of which are implicated in negative food reactions.
These additives have been banned in a number of countries. Hyperactive Children’s Support Group (HACSG) has recommended the elimination of these and many other chemical additives from the diet of children. It is interesting to note that many additives are banned in some countries and not in others. This is because studies have shown many additives to cause birth defects, acute reactions or may even cause cancer.
See the following URL’s for more details.
Foods that contain large amounts of additives are not always obvious for example;
A typical artificial strawberry flavor, contains the following 49 ingredients:
amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphrenyl-2-butanone (10 percent solution in alcohol), a-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, y-undecalactone, vanillin, and solvent. 21
Avoiding food additives is a sensible choice. Your diet should be made up of mostly unprocessed unrefined certified organic/bio dynamic foods.
A government-funded survey in Britain found a link between the use of food colourings and tantrums in young children. TEMPER tantrums in up to a quarter of young children could be caused by food colourings added to popular brands. Another government-funded study has established a link between colourings added to food and changes in children’s mood and behaviour. 22
1 Collison, David, How to live to 100+ Years, Australia, The Oracle Press, 2001, p. 30.
2 Ibid. p. 19.
3 Wardlaw, Gordon M, et. al., Perspectives in Nutrition, 6th Edition, US, The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2004, p. 18.
4 Ibid. p. 2.
6 Day, Philip, Health Wars, UK, Credence Publications, 2001, p. 186.
7 Holford, Patrick, “How to Protect Yourself From Pollution”, 100% Health Newsletter, No. 16, September 2003.
8 Organic and Natural Living, Issue One. 2003. Australia. Atoms in Agriculture.
9 New Zealander, Wednesday Feb 4 th 2004, Family Chases Chemical Claim, p14.
10 Organic and Natural Living, Issue One. 2003. Australia. Silent Spring.
11 Holford, Patrick, “How to Protect Yourself From Pollution”, 100% Health Newsletter, No. 17, October 2003.
12 http://journeytoforever.org/garden_organiccase.html. “The Case for Organics – Scientific Studies and Reports”, Journey to Forever website.
13 Collison, David, How to live to 100+ Years, Australia, The Oracle Press, 2001, p. 34.
14 Ibid, p. 35.
17 Day, Philip, Health Wars, UK, Credence Publications, 2001, p. 245.
18 Collison, David, How to live to 100+ Years, Australia, The Oracle Press, 2001, p. 35.
19 Holford, Patrick, The Optimum Nutrition Bible, London, Judy Piatkus (Publishers) Ltd, 2002, p. 97.
20 Day, Philip, Health Wars, UK, Credence Publications, 2001, p. 248.
21 Schlosser, Eric, Fast Food Nation, UK, The Penguin Press, 2001, p. 125.
22 http://www.geocites.com/missionstmichael/FoodColour.html. “Food Colourings cause 1 in 4 Temper Tantrums Claims British Study”, Womersley, Health Correspondent.