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Clean Eating Do’s and Don’ts

Clean eating may be the buzziest health term on the Internet. But what does it mean? Unfortunately, that’s not always clear.

At the core of this credo is the advice author Michael Pollan famously gave a decade ago in his best-selling book In Defense of Food: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

And research shows that this kind of eating pattern can indeed improve health and help maintain a healthy weight. In 2014 David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Public Health, published a study that compared some of the most popular diets. Katz says that there’s not enough evidence to determine the best specific diet — and there likely never will be.

But Katz was able to determine which general eating pattern is best for health. That would be a “diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants.” And this pattern turns out to be compatible with any evidence-based diet plan, from paleo to Mediterranean to vegan.

Choosing fresh foods over packaged and processed foods improves your health because processed foods are more likely to have added sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, as well as fewer quality nutrients. And eating mostly plant-based foods ensures a rich assortment of nutrients while reducing those harmful ones.

So why not fully embrace clean eating?

For one, there are a growing number of unsubstantiated fad diets touting the benefits of eating clean. “Most fad diets are untested,” says Traci Mann, professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota and the author of Secrets from the Eating Lab. “They’re just things people think up and put in books. They should probably go in the fiction section.”

“The term has been co-opted to mean things like cleanses and detoxes and a whole potpourri of dietary restrictions that are unfounded, unsubstantiated, and unlikely to do anyone any good,” Katz says. “As it’s currently used, the term means next to nothing.”

“But I think it could mean something,” adds Katz. It could be used to describe a diet of “minimally processed foods without added chemicals. Food close to nature, from sources that are raised well.” This concept of clean eating would be a helpful one, he says.

How to Make Clean Eating Work for You

Choose more fresh whole foods, especially plant-based. Plan your meals around lots of fresh fruits and vegetables; legumes (like beans and lentils); nuts; seeds; and whole grains. If you eat meat, choose high-quality lean meat, poultry, or fish. “I recommend strategies to eat more healthy food, rather than trying to focus on resisting unhealthy food,” says Mann. “Eat a vegetable before you have any other food on your plate. Once you put a vegetable in head-to-head competition with any other food, it tends to lose that contest.”

You’ll probably eat less of the other stuff if you start by eating more vegetables. Mann also recommends reducing barriers to healthy foods and adding barriers to unhealthy ones. For example, have a snack of carrot sticks peeled and ready to eat, and keep cookies or candy out of sight and out of mind.

Trade up your packaged foods. Try to avoid packaged and processed foods and meats, as much as possible. However, most of us do rely on at least some convenience foods, like cereal or a frozen meal now and then. So try to select versions with as little processing as you can, made with healthier ingredients.

“Start by trading up individual foods,” Katz says. “There’s a massive spectrum of quality in every aisle of the supermarket.” Look for those that use whole grains. Try to avoid items with ingredients that you can’t pronounce or that you haven’t heard of. Look for options with lower sugar, salt, and fat. And if you choose to eat meat, pick foods closer to their natural state, such as a heat-and-eat chicken breast, instead of frozen chicken nuggets. Likewise, bread made by your local baker is likely healthier than industrially packaged bread.

Cook at home. Restaurants aim to please and load their foods with sugar, fat, and salt. But when people cook for themselves, they often use fresh, wholesome ingredients and keep it simple. Research shows that people who cook most of their meals at home consume less fat and sugar and fewer total calories than those who don’t. They also make better choices when they do go out.

Enjoy your food and eat mindfully. Think about the food you eat and prepare for yourself. Consider where it comes from and how it makes you feel. Notice the color, texture, taste, and smell of your food. These mindfulness strategies can help you slow down your meal and eat less, while enjoying healthful food more. Mann’s lab found that drinking coffee mindfully helped subjects enjoy the natural flavors more, which in turn helped them cut way back on sugar.

Read-Nutrition-Labels

Skip These Unhelpful Clean Eating Fads

Avoid overly restrictive diets. Some of the most popular “clean eating” diets you’ll find online are extremely exclusive. The 30 Clean diet starts by banning all sweeteners, soy, dairy, grains, gluten, and corn, along with all processed foods. (It does allow for three small squares of dark chocolate and two alcoholic beverages a week — unless you opt for the Super Clean.) The Whole 30 allows you corn but eliminates the rest of those foods along with legumes. In practice, that means no fat-free yogurt, no brown rice, no sugar substitutes, no tofu — nary even a lentil. “The foods that are excluded are some of the most nutritious there are,” Katz says.

Research tells us that strict diets like this are difficult to keep. “They make your body think you’re starving to death,” says Mann. “And that leads to all these changes that make it hard to keep the weight off. Your metabolism changes. Suddenly you have to eat fewer calories to continue losing weight. Your hormones change, so you’re hungrier all the time,” she says. “And then there are the neurological effects where your attention becomes very focused on food.” This is why most people who do restrictive diets gain the weight back, and often more.

The Eat Clean Diet and Clean Eating Magazine guidelines are comparatively less restrictive, but they still eliminate flour, sugar, preservatives, and many other ingredients.

Stay clear of cleanses and detox diets. Clean Eating Magazine, 30 Clean, and The Eat Clean Diet’s author Tosca Reno all give tips for juice detoxes or cleanses, though there is no scientific evidence suggesting juice diets have any benefit. “Almost every claim I’ve ever seen about a cleanse or a detox is just confabulated nonsense,” says Katz. “The body is marvelously endowed with detox organs. They will take care of detoxing you better than you could hope to do out of a book by whoever the self-proclaimed guru du jour happens to be.”

Don’t do a diet that makes you feel guilty. Obsessing over the purest, cleanest foods, can make all other foods seem dirty. And that can be unhelpful. “Once you dichotomize your food into good/bad, virtuous/non-virtuous, that is problematic because that leads people to feel guilt or shame when they eat the bad category,” says Mann. That, she says, “can make you feel bad about yourself as a whole.” Clean eating diets tend to push for purity. The Whole 30 diet, for example, makes you start your 30-day challenge over if you cheat once.

We all want to eat better, but complicated fad diets may do more harm than good. Look for ways to make lasting improvements to your lifestyle, rather than temporary fixes. When it comes to clean eating, it might pay to remember Pollan’s words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Selected references:
D.L. Katz and S. Meller, “Can We Say What Diet Is Best for Health?”,  Annual Review of Public Health, March, 2014.
Julia A. Wolfson and Sara N. Bleich, “Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention?,” Public Health Nutrition, June, 2015.

By Kevin McCarthy | March 13, 2017  

source: www.rallyhealth.com

 

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7 Ways Probiotics DETOXIFY Your Body

By Sayer Ji        Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

You’ve probably heard the buzz already about the many health benefits of probiotics, a word which literally translates to: pro- “for” + biotics “life” — FOR LIFE.  But did you know that these remarkable commensal microorganisms, which outnumber our bodily cells 10 to 1, and contribute over 95% of our body’s total genetic information, also break down highly toxic manmade chemicals which your body is either incapable, or only partially capable, of defending itself from?

Learn about some of the amazing ways in which ‘good bacteria’ help to detoxify chemicals within our body:

Bisphenol A:

This ubiquitous toxicant — linked to over 40 diseases — found in anything from thermal printer receipts, paper money, canned food liners, dental composites, and of course plastics, is a powerful endocrine disrupter now found in everyone’s bodies. Remarkably, two common probiotic strains, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, have been found in animal research to help the body detoxify it by reducing the intestinal absorption of bisphenol A through facilitating increased excretion.[i] The animals receiving probiotic treatment were found to have 2.4 times higher excretion of Bisphenol A in their feces, suggesting probiotic supplementation could be of significant benefit to humans as well.

Pesticides

Probiotic strains from the traditional Korean fermented cabbage dish known as kimchi have been identified to degrade a variety of organophosphorous pesticides such as chlorpyrifos, coumaphos, diazinon, methylparathion, and parathion.[ii] These nifty organisms actually use these exceedingly hard to break down chemicals as sources of carbon and phosphorous – ‘food’! – and were found to break down the pesticide 83.3% after 3 days and degraded it completely by day 9.[iii]  While this test tube study likely does not reflect exactly what happens in our gut when we ingest both chlorpyrifos and Kimchi, it is provocative, and may indicate there is some protective effects in the gut, and certainly cabbage tainted with organophosphorous pesticide which is subsequently fermented as an ingredient in Kimchi would certainly reduce the burden of this chemical in the diet.

Heavy Metals 

Lactobacillus bacteria found in food have been looked at as a potential adjunct agent for reducing metal toxicity in humans. According to one study, “This is because they have resistance mechanisms which are effective in preventing damage to their cells and they can bind and sequester heavy metals to their cell surfaces, thus removing them through subsequent defecation.” [iv] The study differentiates between detoxification and detoxication, the former of which is described as “the ability to remove drugs, mutagens, and other harmful agents from the body,” and the latter of which is the mechanism through which ‘good bacteria’ prevent “of damaging compounds into the body.” Because there is a large body of research on probiotics preventing and/or healing up intestinal permeability, this may be another way in which toxic stomach contents are preventing from doing harm to the body as a whole.

Cancerous Food Preservatives 

Another imchi study found it contained a strain of bacteria capable of breaking down sodium nitrate, a naturally and artificially occurring chemical (used from anything to rocket fuel and gunpowder) linked to a variety of chronic degenerative diseases, including cancer.[v] The study found a depletion of sodium nitrate by up to 90.0% after 5 days. Sodium nitrate becomes toxic when it is converted in food products, and even our intestines via microbiota, to N-nitrosodimethylamine. A study found that four lactobacillus strains where capable of breaking this toxic byproduct down by up to 50%.[vi]

Perchlorate

Perchlorate is an ingredient in jet fuel and fireworks that widely contaminates the environment and our food. Sadly, even organic food has been found concentrate high levels of this toxicant, making it exceedingly difficult to avoid exposure. It is now found in disturbing concentrations in breast milk and urine, and is a well-known endocrine disrupter capable of blocking the iodine receptor in the thyroid, resulting in hypothyroidism and concomitant neurological dysfunction.  A study found that the beneficial bacterial strain known as Bifidobacterium Bifidum is capable of degrading perchlorate, and that breast fed infants appear to have lower levels than infant formula fed babies due to the breast milk bacteria’s ability to degrade perchlorate through the perchlorate reductase pathway.[vii]


probiotics yogurt

Heterocylic Amines

Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCA) are compounds formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures of 150-300 degrees C, and are extremely mutagenic (damage the DNA). Lactobacillus strains have been identified that significantly reduce the genotoxicity of theses compounds.[viii]

Toxic Foods

While not normally considered a ‘toxin,’ wheat contains a series of proteins that we do not have the genomic capability to produce enzymes to degrade. When these undigested proteins – and there are over 23,000 that have been identified in the wheat proteome – enter into the blood, they can wreak havoc on our health. Research has found that our body has dozens of strains of bacteria that are capable of breaking down glutinous proteins and therefore reduce its antigenicity and toxicity.

While the role of probiotics in degrading gluten proteins sounds great, a word of caution is in order. Since modern wheat is not a biologically compatible food for our species – having been introduced only recently in biological time, and having been hybridized to contain far more protein that our ancient ancestors were ever exposed to – it would be best to remove it entirely from the diet. Also, the aforementioned research showing bacteria in the human gut are capable of breaking some of these wheat proteins revealed that some of the species that were capable of doing this for us are intrinsically pathogenic, e.g. Clostidium botulinum and Klebsiella. So, relying on the help of bacteria to do the job of digesting a ‘food’ we are not capable of utilizing on our own, is a double-edged sword. Again, the best move is to remove it entirely from the diet as a precuationary step.

What Probiotic Should I Take?

While plenty of probiotic pills and liquids exist on the market, and many of which have significant health benefits, it is important to choose one that is either shelf stable, or has been refrigerated from the place of manufacture all the way to the place you are purchasing it from. Moreover, many probiotics are centrifugally extracted or filtered, leaving the nourishing food medium within which it was cultured behind. This is a problem in two ways: 1)  without sustenance, the probiotics are in ‘suspended animation’ and may either die or not properly ‘root’ into your gastrointestinal tract when you take them.  2) the ‘food matrix’ within probiotics are grown provides a protective medium of essential co-factors that help them survive the difficult journey down your gastointestinal tract.

With that said, another option is to consume a traditionally fermented, living probiotic food like sauerkraut, kimchi, or yogurt (focusing on non-cow’s milk varieties, unless you are lucky enough to find a source that has the beta-casein A2 producing cows). There is always goat’s milk which is relatively hypoallergenic.

Finally, the reality is that the probiotics in our bodies and in cultured foods ultimately derive from the soil, where an unimaginably vast reservoir of ‘good bacteria’ reside – assuming your soil is natural and not saturated with petrochemical inputs and other environmental toxicants.  And really fresh, organically produced – preferably biodynamicallydie grown – raw food is an excellent way to continually replenish your probiotic stores. Food is always going to be the best way to support your health, probiotic health included.

Updated October 2014

Article References
[i] Kenji Oishi, Tadashi Sato, Wakae Yokoi, Yasuto Yoshida, Masahiko Ito, Haruji Sawada. Effect of probiotics, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, on bisphenol A exposure in rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Jun;72(6):1409-15. Epub 2008 Jun 7. PMID: 18540113

[ii] Shah Md Asraful Islam, Renukaradhya K Math, Kye Man Cho, Woo Jin Lim, Su Young Hong, Jong Min Kim, Myoung Geun Yun, Ji Joong Cho, Han Dae Yun. Organophosphorus hydrolase (OpdB) of Lactobacillus brevis WCP902 from kimchi is able to degrade organophosphorus pesticides. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 May 12;58(9):5380-6. PMID: 20405842

[iii] Kye Man Cho, Reukaradhya K Math, Shah Md Asraful Islam, Woo Jin Lim, Su Young Hong, Jong Min Kim, Myoung Geun Yun, Ji Joong Cho, Han Dae Yun. Biodegradation of chlorpyrifos by lactic acid bacteria during kimchi fermentation. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Mar 11;57(5):1882-9. PMID: 19199784

[iv] Marc Monachese, Jeremy P Burton, Gregor Reid. Bioremediation and tolerance of humans to heavy metals through microbial processes: a potential role for probiotics? Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Sep ;78(18):6397-404. Epub 2012 Jul 13. PMID: 22798364

[v] Chang-Kyung Oh, Myung-Chul Oh, Soo-Hyun Kim. The depletion of sodium nitrite by lactic acid bacteria isolated from kimchi. J Med Food. 2004;7(1):38-44. PMID: 15117551

[vi] Adriana Nowak, Sławomir Kuberski, Zdzisława Libudzisz. Probiotic lactic acid bacteria detoxify N-nitrosodimethylamine. Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2014 Jul 10. Epub 2014 Jul 10. PMID: 25010287

[vii] C Phillip Shelor, Andrea B Kirk, Purnendu K Dasgupta, Martina Kroll, Catrina A Campbell, Pankaj K Choudhary. Breastfed infants metabolize perchlorate. Environ Sci Technol. 2012 May 1 ;46(9):5151-9. Epub 2012 Apr 20. PMID: 22497505

[viii] Adriana Nowak, Zdzislawa Libudzisz. Ability of probiotic Lactobacillus casei DN 114001 to bind or/and metabolise heterocyclic aromatic amines in vitro. Eur J Nutr. 2009 Oct ;48(7):419-27. Epub 2009 May 16. PMID: 19448966