There was an excellent article in the November issue of Prevention Magazine discussing the 7 Foods That Should Never Cross Your Lips. I’ve actually narrowed that list down to 4 (because 7 may be too hard to remember) and weighed in with my own opinion about some excellent alternatives!
Canned Tomatoes – I’m actually going to expand this to all canned vegetables. The main danger of canned vegetables (specifically the acidic ones like tomatoes) is that the cans contain a synthetic estrogen called BPA, which can leach into the food. BPA has been linked to all sorts of major diseases but specifically those related to your reproductive system. In addition to BPA, as the vegetables sit in the can, most of the important vitamins and minerals are leached out into the surrounding water. So unless you are drinking the juice (gross), you’re missing a lot of the essential nutrients.
Instead: Try vegetables packaged in glass or even frozen vegetables. A vegetable is most nutritious the second it is harvested. Frozen vegetables are flash frozen immediately after harvesting so in some cases they can contain more nutrients than their fresh alternatives.
Nonorganic Apples – This year the apple skyrocketed to the top of the “Dirty Dozen” list, an honor that no produce wants. This means that nonorganic apples have the highest amount of pesticides.
Instead: Buy organic. If you can’t afford organic, make sure to wash, wash, wash your apples before eating.
Corn/Soy-Fed Beef – Close your eyes and picture a cow in a meadow. What’s he doing? Eating grass, right? That’s what they were designed to do, however, factory farmed cows are fed corn and soy because it’s cheaper and fattens them up faster. Unfortunately, it also decreases their nutrient profile making them lower in O-3’s and vitamins and minerals and higher in saturated fat.
Instead: Opt for grass-fed beef. As the damage of corn-fed beef becomes more apparent grass-fed options have been popping up at more and more grocery stores. It tends to be more expensive, but if you are going to spend your money on one thing, this will have the greatest impact. You can also visit www.EatWild.com and find a local farmer to buy from directly.
Microwave Popcorn – This one actually makes me the saddest because popcorn is one of my favorite treats! However, microwave popcorn bags contain chemicals that have been linked to infertility and cancer. They will actually be phasing out these chemicals by 2015, but I suggest you phase them out by 2012!
Instead: Pop your own! It is way cheaper and actually tastes better. Don’t have an air-popper? What a perfect time to ask Santa…or Amazon!
Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist and Salada Tea Spokesperson living in San Diego, CA. She blogs twice a month with “Tara’s Friday Bite.” Leave your comments with ideas for future topics or email Tara directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.