The road to wellness isn't straight, clear, or predictable. It's a path you forge yourself.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Take out the Trash

So, the first thing I did before I even tried to start figuring out what was wrong with me was to get rid of the junk I was putting into my body.  (Fast food, soft drinks, sweets, preservatives, etc.)  I read a book once that said nature could take care of itself.  In order to clean  up a polluted stream for instance, all you have to do is stop pouring toxic chemicals into it, and nature will clean it up.  I think of my body in the same way.  In his book, "The Ultramind Solution",  Dr. Hyman says to get rid of the "bad stuff" and add the "good stuff".

The Bad Stuff:
(Stuff that could be making you sick and fat.  I have not ingested any of these in the past 6 months and I avoid them at all costs!

1.  Trans fats - Any fat that is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated is a trans fat.  It is a man-made fat that your body does not know how to process.
(Note:  Labels are misleading!  Packages are allowed to say "0 trans fats"  if there is less than 1 gram of trans fat per serving!  That's not the same as no trans fats at all.  Read the label.  If "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oil is listed in the ingredients, do not eat it!)

2.  High-fructose corn syrup - Sweetener derived from corn.  Food manufacturer's like to say that it is "all-natural".  Yes, it is derived from corn, but the process is anything but natural.  It is just bad for your body.  It is absorbed in your body much more quickly than sugar and it makes your blood sugar spike quickly, then drop.  (This makes you have more cravings!)  The rise in obesity can be tracked from when they first started using high-fructose corn syrup in soft drinks and processed food.

3.  Nitrates - A preservative used in meat.  I never eat deli meat anymore unless I know it is nitrate free.  (Groceries are starting to carry nitrate-free deli meat and bacon these days.)  If I slip up and eat meat with nitrates, I get a terrible migraine.  (If the label says "sodium nitrate" I do not eat it!)

4.  MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) - Again, people like to say it's natural since it is derived from seaweed, but the processing condenses it to levels that our bodies were never meant to handle.  Most fast food and most restaurant food has MSG in it.  Chain restaurants are the main offenders.  I have better luck at local restaurants because they don't rely on pre-packaged food as much and therefore don't have as much MSG in their food.  These days, I can tell which places used MSG by the way my body reacts to the food.  MSG will cause me to feel insanely thirsty, tired, and usually will give me a migraine the next day.   Here is a site that will help  you know how to avoid MSG.

I went through my cabinets and threw out anything that had "bad stuff" in it and vowed never to eat it again.  Luckily, it wasn't that hard for me because fresh, real food tastes so much better!

I understand if you think this is an unrealistic thing to do.  I never thought I could live without ever eating Cheetos and Twinkies again.  However, there are more and more natural "junk" foods becoming available all the time.  I found Whole Foods to be a life saver!  If you find yourself in the throes of a super craving, you can go and get healthier versions of your fix.  It's not the best thing for you, but it's certainly better than eating chemicals.

Cutting out all of the bad stuff also means you'll have to start cooking your own meals more.  It seems daunting, but once you do it you'll find that it's really not that hard or time consuming.  You'll figure things out.  Just use fresh, all natural ingredients and throw something together like pasta or an omlet or even a sandwich.


  1. Wow. And what did I eat today: Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme with a Dr. Pepper, and "spaghetti carbonara" with quinoa spagh and HOT DOGS (just 1) and parmesan (Kraft, no less).


    I knew I was cheating my gluten free diet with the flour wrapping on the crunchwrap, but I didn't think about my old enemy MSG in the meat (and cheese) and the hot dog.

  2. Oh, I remember what I meant to write: I think I remember reading that there's a connection between MSG and maltodextrin too, though I forget what it is exactly...can't remember if it's the process or some ingredient. There are a ton of soups and "diet foods" that have maltodextrin in them that just make me instantly sick.

  3. Maltodextrin is a sweetener usually derived from corn, but it can be derived from wheat as well. Check it out:

    Don't be too hard on yourself. This is not a judgmental blog! I look at it this way: whatever you do for your health, it's better than not doing anything at all. Even little changes can get you on the right track. I just had more motivation than most people do because I was feeling SO terrible all the time. I was willing to do ANYTHING in order to not feel like that anymore.

  4. Actually, you reminded me that I forgot to add artificial sweeteners to the "bad stuff". I NEVER eat them. Even before I started this quest, I knew I couldn't have aspartame, saccarin, etc. If I have even a bite or sip of anything with them in it, I immediately feel dizzy and nauseated and I'll have a migraine within a few hours of having it.

  5. Yeah, I've given up on any when I want something sweet, I just cave and get the "real thing" even if it is pretty awful for me. But at least I can't finish a whole can of Coke and I don't crave more later (unlike my experiences with Diet Coke).

    Hehehehe....funny thing: to avoid gluten, I gave up soy sauce. Now I've discovered from that last that the Bragg's "Liquid Aminos" soy sauce substitute is just loaded with MSG. Phooey.

    I hope I don't have to give up sushi altogether...maybe it's just sashimi from here on out?

  6. You can find gluten-free soy sauce. My take on soy sauce and the seaweed in sushi is that they are natural, not-so-processed forms of MSG. The super-processed, concentrated MSG is what you've gotta look out for. I find that a bit of gluten-free soy sauce or tamari is okay.