One of the paths to vibrant health is to choose healthy foods that are rich in as many natural vitamins and minerals as possible, while avoiding processed foods which contain additives and preservatives.
That means consistently choosing to eat real food over processed, fake foodstuffs. Real food is what our great-grandparents ate, and it was what we should be eating.
What are real foods? This is my definition:
Real food is food that comes from a clean, living source. Real food ages, and unless fermented for specific results, should be eaten while fresh. Real food has its natural flavors, colors and texture intact. It is minimally processed before it reaches your kitchen, and no chemicals have been added to change its natural state.
Healthy foods don't have a very long shelf life. In contrast, processed foods have a very long shelf life.
Pasta and cheese from a box is NOT real food.
A List of Healthy Foods
Real, life giving, healthy foods include any foods from the following groups:
These healthy foods are rich with nutrients and fully support the physical and mental needs of the human body. It is on these types of healthy foods that human populations have thrived for thousands of years.
Goal: Reduce Toxic Chemical Consumption
The main goal of switching to traditional and healthy foods is to avoid as many toxic chemicals, additives, colors, and preservatives as possible. By themselves, these chemicals may be generally recognized as safe (GRAF) by the FDA, but no studies have ever been done on the effects that combinations of these chemicals have on human health. And I'm not so sure about the FDA's commitment to keeping us safe.
I believe that the general headaches, joint pains, stomach ailments, fatigue, and other "non-specific" health issues that many people experience are related to the chemicals found in our food supply. From my own experience, I know that once I substituted real foods for processed, chemical laden foods, I stopped having these non-specific symptoms. My joint pain, flu-like aches, stomach discomfort and other health problems went away.
Why Grass Fed Animals?
Animals that are raised and fed in natural conditions are healthy with strong, balanced constitutions. They eat a natural diet meant for their systems, absorb light and energy from the sun, and breath clean air. These natural conditions translate to vibrant health.
Just like humans who eat healthy foods, these animals are getting the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals from their diet, and storing those vitamins in their bodies. Those same vitamins and minerals are available to us when we consume the food made from these animals.
In fact, grass fed beef, chicken and pork products are higher in beta carotene (Vitamin A), conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and Omega-3 fatty acids, and they are low in lectins, the harmful toxins found in meat from animals fed grains and beans for extended periods of time. In addition, the risk of infection by E. coli in products made from healthy animals is virtually eliminated.
In contrast, factory farmed animals are raised in enclosed buildings or crammed in feedlots, where they spend much of the time standing in manure and mud, breathing air that is foul and polluted. If you have ever driven through Kansas with your car windows down, chances are you've smelled a feedlot.
Factory farmed animals are fed unnatural food which destroys the delicate balance of their digestive systems. In addition, some are given growth hormones to artificially increase muscle weight or milk production. As would be expected, these animals become ill and succumb much more quickly to disease and death under these unnatural conditions.
The government’s solution to the health issues created in these factory farms is to add antibiotics to the food to try and keep the animals well. This adds another foreign substance to an already compromised system, and results in super strains of bacteria that antibiotics can't kill. The milk and flesh from these animals is polluted, dangerous and lacks the natural antibodies, vitamins and minerals which make grass fed animal products so healthy.
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Resources for Further Reading
I’ve found the following resources very helpful in learning more about healthy foods and living a healthier lifestyle.