8 Foods People Think Are Healthy … But Aren’t

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Posted March 20, 2012


Between the mainstream media, the Food Pyramid, the gazillions of health blogs out there, and the premise that you can just walk into an organic store and anything you pull off the shelves will be healthy, it’s not hard to see why so many of us are confused as to what is actually healthy and what isn’t.

Being a wellness warrior is tricky business, and I don’t think anyone is exempt from falling into the trap of thinking something is healthy, only to find out later that it totally isn’t. Here are just some of the food items commonly confused thanks to clever marketing.

 

1. Agave syrup

This is one I myself fell for. So many vegans and raw foodists would rave about agave, that I didn’t really stop and think it could be too good to be true. Agave is a super sweet liquid that is often touted as the “healthy” “low GI” alternative to sugar. According to Dr Joseph Mercola, it’s hardly any better than high fructose corn syrup. It’s highly processed, and super high in fructose.

What should we eat instead? Anything from this list of natural sweeteners.

 

2. Soy

Soy milk and tofu are often considered healthy alternatives to meat and dairy. I’m in no way advocated meat or dairy, but in my opinion, soy is actually just as bad. Organic fermented soy products are okay in small amounts, but the majority of the western world is under the idea that processed products like soy milk and tofu (which are also generally genetically modified) are good for us. Hundreds of epidemiological, clinical and laboratory studies link soy to: malnutrition, digestive distress, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, infertility, birth defects, immune system breakdown, heart disease and cancer. Don’t believe me? Have a read of The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD.

What should we eat instead? If you’re after vegan protein, I recommend lentils, beans, chickpeas, quinoa, spirulina, and leafy greens.

 

3. Fish

Fish falls into two main categories: farmed and wild. Farmed fish are raised in much the same environment as factory farmed animals. They are crammed into confined spaces and forced to survive in atrocious conditions. The enormous amount of feces in their enclosures leads to rampant outbreaks of parasites and disease. In order to keep the fish alive in such unhealthy conditions, large quantities of antibiotics and other chemicals are poured into the water. Farmed fish are fed a tasty diet of junk grains, soy meal, corn gluten meal, chemicals and neurotoxins. Everything the fish endures, is consumed by you when you eat it!

Wild caught fish is a little better, but still not great. Most of it is full of mercury (with the exception of the odd sardine) – which is the second most toxic element on Earth next to radiation.

What should we eat instead? If you don’t want to give up fish, here is an Australian list of the most and least contaminated fish, and here is one for the US.

 

4. Fruit juice

I have one word for you: Sugar. That is really all fruit juice is to your body. Because the fruit has been stripped of it’s fibre, it is converted straight into sugar as soon as it hits your mouth, and sends your blood sugar levels all woo hoo. Of course the bottles of fruit juice you buy at the store are rubbish, most people know that. But fruit juice you make yourself is also not that great because of the whole sugar thing.

What should we drink instead? Vegetable juice! You can juice an apple with veggies to make the juice sweeter. Or, if you want more fruit, try a smoothie. With all of the fibre still in tact, smoothies are better than fruit juices.

 

5. Dairy

The argument in favour of dairy is usually around the idea that it is a good source of calcium. I’m here to tell you that it isn’t. Because dairy is an animal protein, it has an acidic affect on your body. To balance out the pH, your body turns to its own alkaline mineral reserves and leeches calcium from your bones. So therefore, dairy actually takes calcium from your body rather than introduces it. Shocking, I know. Then there’s the fact that pasteurised dairy is full of antibiotics, comes from a cow that is usually less than healthy, and is full of pus cells. Yep, pus. According to research by the USDA, the average content of pus in milk is 316 million pus cells! If you want to learn more about the detriments of dairy, click here or pick up a copy of The China Study by T. Colin Campbell.

What should we have instead? Try cheese made from nuts (like cashew or Brazil nut cheese) and milk made from either almonds, coconut, oats, hemp, or rice.

 

6. Cooking with olive oil

When used at room temperature, olive oil is healthy. As soon as you introduce high heat, it becomes rancid and turns into a carcinogen (aka, cancer promoter). It pains me to see top TV chefs splashing their pans with olive oil. Coconut oil is the best oil to cook with as it’s extremely stable against heat.

What should we use instead? Coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and safflower oil all have a high smoke point.

 

7. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

This is another favourite of many healthy foodies, and it’s one I so wanted to believe as it’s touted as a good replacement for soy sauce. However, this extremely salty sauce is also too good to be true. Not only because of the unfermented soy factor (which we covered above), but because it also contains MSG.

MSG is the sodium salt of the amino acid glutamic acid and a form of glutamate. Labelling laws permit it to be hidden in everything from soap to vitamins to condiments to food. Hydrolyzed proteins or protein hydrolysates are acid treated or enzymatically treated, which contain salts of free amino acids. MSG can aggravate existing conditions or cause burning sensations, rapid heartbeat, asthma and neurological damage. That’s just within three hours of use. The most common hiding places are in ingredients called hydrolyzed proteins and amino acids.

There is a fair bit of debate about this on the web, but after sifting through both sides of the debate, the conclusion I’ve come to for myself is that this stuff is not great. If you’re a Liquid Aminos fan and don’t agree with me, I would urge you to do your own research.

What should we use instead? Either coconut aminos, or I would suggest leaving it out. If you want a slightly salty flavour, use a small amount of Himalayan salt. But once you start leaving salt out of your dishes, your taste buds will adjust to no longer needing it.

 

8. Subway

It is criminal that Subway is allowed to be marketed as a healthy option when it comes to food court food choices. The meat is processed, the sauces are full of sugar and other preservatives, and they sell junk food cookies and soft drinks as add ons. There is nothing healthy about Subway. Don’t believe me? Click here to see a list of what is actually in Subway’s food.

What should we eat instead? How about a fresh sandwich?

 

Are you surprised by anything on this list? Do you have any healthy food myths to add?

 

Positive affirmation for the day: Everything is perfect about this moment.

 

 

 

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Nooooo not Bragg’s Liquid Aminos! How disappointing :(

My parents who know I eat healthy always say, “We could go to Subway,” like that is the healthy option, lol.

There is foul smell coming out of Subway outlets – nothing appetising there (and obviously so bad for you). Even when they bake bread it doesn’t smell right…

Yes I always say that when i walk pass a subway.. Smell???

The subway smell is Yeast, too much of it. My mom pointed this out to me when I was expressing distaste for the Subway smell.

Wow thank you so much for that link! I am going to send this to my friends who are convinced it is a healthy option! I was shocked at the amount of disgusting ingredients in nearly everything bar the tuna and salad. Crazy!

I really thought fruit juice, juiced at home with organic fruit would be okay. I appreciate it has sugar but you would think that because it is natural it would be okay.
And I actually brought Agave the other day because of the touting that it was good. Should have known…. Healthly recipes were calling for it so it changes things again.
It is certainly about having some moderation in our lives. We cannot get too stressed about all of this because that’s not healthy either.
Thanks for the heads up on this Jess.

totally agree!

fruit and vegetable juice is a good way to get veggies in though

“Natural” things aren’t necessarily healthy; consider tobacco, peyote, opium…….. The issue with fruit juice is if you eat a whole orange you are only getting so much sugar because you’re consuming the bulk of fiber; when you drink a glass of juice the fiber isn’t taking up bulk so you’re consuming a few times more sugar.

As long as you don’t heat olive oil so hot that it smokes it should be okay.

Thank you – good reminder to watch what you put into your body.

Jess, I have been referring to your website very often and have gradually changed what I eat and what I prepare for my family. I now use organic cold pressed coconut oil for cooking (but still occasionally) and every day as face and body cream (it is just fabulous), I am hooked on Hawaiian spirulina ahd Hydrogen Peroxide, go for unprocessed stuff, moved away from milk (but not yoghurt…)… I have Norwalk on my wish list…Still long way to go.

Great to hear you are making positive changes. My husband and I began juicing and are steadily improving our health. I have finally kicked my yoghurt habit! As for a juicer, I would strongly recommend the Super Angel. The SS twin gears are much more efficient than a Norwalk, with significantly less waste. Good luck on your journey.

Arianna, what are you doing with hydrogen peroxide? Eating it?! I’m confused.

Hi Lisa, Hydrogen Peroxide can be used for a number of things such as mouthwash and a great toner for skin which as Jess has declared, is great for blackheads! I just read last night of someone spraying on their meat to ‘wash’ it and eating it so want to look into this more. Jess also uses it to lighten her hair :) There would be many more uses. Have fun researching!

aha! I only knew about the bleaching effect (so definitely don’t think I’d want to put it on meat, if I still ate it). Thanks for the info, Stacey, and I will definitely pursue this. I feel like becoming a responsible consumer gets more and more complicated every day, but then I just incorporate new information a little at a time. I think we all deserve honorary degrees for all this research! :)

What about unprocessed soy like edammame beans?

These are okay in small amounts, but the salt content is not great. :)

great post Jess! As a mom with Kids I hate that fruit juice is so bad, but since we’ve started juicing ourselfs we’ve found it to be much better. Dairy, Soy, Agave are all no~no’s in this house. We love Maple Syrup tho.
thanks again,
T

That reminded me to look up Subway’s product ingredient list to check something.

http://www.subway.com.au/assets/documents/ausingredientguide.pdf

Wowie!!!! :P
OMG Thanks for sharing that!

WOW! Thanks so much for sharing. This is scary stuff!

I just love the subliminal message that Subway try to convey (very convincingly by the way), that they are selling you the healthy option due to the fact that the chain is owned by “Doctors Associates, Inc”. So of course… the implication is – if doctors own the chain, the nutritional homework has already been done for you….. In fact, according to Company record searches, there appears to be no doctors involved with Doctor’s Associates, Inc. at all.

This doesn’t surprise me much especially considering when televised cigarette were legal they claimed more doctors smoked Camels.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCMzjJjuxQI

Yes subway is definitely not healthy :P I even wonder what they all put in the bread. Not good!!

Hey Jess,

I read that coconut oil was not good for cooking as it had a low smoke point, and it was better not cooked.
I was told that rice bran oil was good for cooking as it had the highest smoking point. Thoughts? Is there anything you can tell me about rice bran oil that I should know?

Hey Cass, I have not heard that about coconut oil. Everything I’ve read and heard says that coconut oil is the most stable oil for cooking as it has a high smoke point. Do you know where you heard otherwise? Rice bran oil is good for cooking as well, but it just doesn’t have the healing properties of coconut oil. x

Jess, I think you are AMAZING!
Synchronicity – just found this video in my inbox:-)
Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil – Dr Bruce Fife
http://www.ihealthtube.com/aspx/viewvideo.aspx?v=9a6ea595a29de2cd

Hi Jess,
Its so hard for people to know what is healthy and what is not because there is experts on both sides.
One thing i worry about it calcium. I have ALOT of yoghurt everyday because of the calcium and the pro biotics & also some experts states that vegetables do contain Calcium but it doesnt absorb easy.
Its all so confussing but what you are saying totally makes sense.
How do you get your calcium without dairy?

Lisa x

Hey Lisa,

I can’t eat dairy for a number of reasons so have spent a lot of time researching alternative sources of calcium – seaweed is incredible (a little scary though for some people!), leafy greens like kale, broccoli & spinach, tinned salmon (preferably with the soft bones if they don’t freak you out too much), almonds, sesame seeds/tahini and baked beans. Lots of others, I just can’t think of them now … hope that helps :-)

I just wanted to add that to get all the calcium benefits from leafy greens they should be lightly steamed first.

Hi Lisa, yes I know what you mean. All we can do is take in all of the information, do our own research and come to our own conclusions. As for calcium, you can absolutely get adequate amounts from non-dairy sources. As Kacey says, things like chick peas, kale and other leafy greens, broccoli, almonds, and sesame seeds are all really high in calcium. x

I just watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and it showed New Zealand has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis – and also produces a tonne of dairy! I also can’t digest dairy and use the sources Jess mentioned to get my calicum intake.

Most research I’ve done generally agrees with this article about calcium. It’s from the Vegetarian Network Victoria, lots of really helpful info on there that can help with most dietary issues. Hope it helps

http://www.vnv.org.au/site//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=299

Here’s some excellent information on calcium.
http://tinyurl.com/c6ymlwj

Regarding: http://tinyurl.com/c6ymlwj
This is an interesting article on calcium. The author, William Fallon was jailed about 20 years ago because of charges brought against him by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – so my first thoughts are that he is probably a ‘good guy’ (it’s often the ‘good guys’ who get persecuted for their stand for truth).
I have a dessert spoon of almond meal each morning in my breakfast for my calcium supply. I’ve been buying the meal, but I think it’s been heated to remove the moisture, and that probably isn’t good – so when it’s all finished I want to grind the almond nuts myself in our coffee grinder.

Never heard about olive oil being bad, I have been making it a point to only use olive oil. HMM, and fish??

Jess,

while I agree with your top “8″ the problem today is even for those of us who struggle every day to make good choices it is very difficult. Especially when items we thought were healthy are not so. We work 9-11 hrs per day in stressful jobs with little time for prep, shopping, exercise, and family. Can your next top “8″ list be the items that are the most healthy and easiest?

Thanks, someone who is struggling to do it right.

Dave

Here here Dave! This list is very unreaslistic for people living busy lives who are trying to keep on top of eating healthily and getting their required daily intake of calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals to give them energy to get through the day. I agree with subway but I know I won’t be cutting out fish, tofu, dairy or olive oil from my diet!

I understand your predicament, I work full-time also but that doesn’t change the facts … either healthy eating is a priority or it is not.
If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find excuses.
All you can do is what you can, when you can and don’t beat yourself up about it.
Just stay informed and make better choices when you can I reckon.
Nobody is perfect !! :)

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:

“Man.
Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

I agree Nina. Love the quote!

Nina, WOW- a fabulous quote and a timely reminder. Jess, thanks as always for brilliant information in which people can make their own descisions on.

Yes Good idea Dave. A list of the best or suggested shopping list would be great… I find it overwhelming trying to get to the TRUTH of what IS healthy. You almost need a PHD in integrative nutrition before you venture out and do your weekly grocery shop! Ha :)

I find it amazing that people “don’t have enough time” to cook healthy food if they are working full time.

It’s so easy! A fast meal for me is grabbing out some pre washed salad greens, chopping up an avocado, a bunch of herbs and opening a can of wild salmon to put on top. A big squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of cold pressed olive oil and voila, an awesome, tasty, filling (thank you good fats) meal in under 5 minutes. It just doesn’t get faster than that. I’m sure waiting in line at a chain fast food joint takes longer.

I spend Sundays prepping food for my family for the week and use these foods as sides, snacks, fast meals during the week. Makes life very simple and easy.

I have a friend who complains she doesn’t have time to do a super healthy diet. I told her I bet I could make dinner faster than she could. Lame excuses.

Does anyone have suggestions for replacing milk? I love my tea and coffee but not sure I can drink it black.

what about almond or rice milk?

Rice Dream Rice Milk (I buy from Costco) is very tasty and Blue Diamond’s Chocolate Almond milk is excellent. Most of the others that I’ve tasted are “off” in some way or another.

Be careful with the blue diamond almond milk, I used to buy that for my son and then realized it had carrageenan in it and I believe that it helps cancer grow. Now if you don’t have cancer I guess you are fine but seeing as we don’t know we have it right away I would not want to find out that I have it and have been feeding it to make it spead faster :) so my kids don’t drink milk period but they like my green drinks and other concoctions and water… They love fruit juice but it is still 90% watered down and mostly water :) aahhhh baby steps

If you have a bit of time on your hands you can also make your own nut milks, it’s very simple… I made hazelnut milk a little while back, you soak 2 cups of hazelnuts (or almond or anything really) overnight and then blend it in a food processor with 2.5 cups of water. You can blend in some dates or stevia to make it sweeter.

Oh! I also forget to mention that you should strain the blended mixture through a cheesecloth/muslin, unless you want grainy bits in your nut milk.

The bread is produced by Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and muffins. Not the worst I can think of but not declaring it to be non GMO or organic by any means.

I have the same question Cass does :)

Black tea and coffee can take a bit of getting used to – you could try rice milk (quite sweet) or there are some lovely nut milks available in health stores and even supermarkets now, like almond or hazelnut. Hope that helps :-)

Jess how do you get your daily recommended protein? I’ve just finished reading ‘Eating Animals’ and I cannot bear the thought of eating any more animal products and toying with the idea of going vegan… Stressing about the protein factor though? x

Monique » Hi Monique, that book had the same affect on me! Protein isn’t really problematic though. It’s very easy to get adequate protein on a plant-based diet. All you need to do is eat a variety of fresh leafy greens, legumes, nuts, and seeds. And then you can add superfoods like spirulina (the highest form of protein) and bee pollen. It’s nothing to stress about though. The view that we need a lot of protein to function is a bit of a myth. xx

Jess, since you are not eating many beans, legumes and nuts, how do people on the Gerson therapy get their protein?

Pam » Hi Pam, in the beginning we are on a very low protein diet which is why these foods are not allowed. But we still get adequate protein from all of the leafy green veggies. After a little while we are allowed to introduce brown rice and some legumes to increase the protein. x

, also google Charlotte Gerson takng about protien on yotube. It is a very good talk.

Pam… I did Gerson Therapy last year and one day I did a calculation. I was consuming 55g of protein every day – just from carrot juice, oatmeal, veggies and rye bread. More than enough!

Monique, there are many products with high protein. Nuts (esp.almonds), seeds( pumpkin.sesame, sunflower), Spirulina is very high in protein (more than anything I think), Quinoa, Flaxseeds, beans… So, you can get lots of protein without eating meat :)

Raw milk is a different beast altogether and doesnt desreve to be on the list. As for almond and rice milks anything that is ultra heat treated to go in tetra paks is no longer alive.

Agreed… raw milk is incredibly healthy stuff. What is bought in the supermarket does not compare!

So healthy it can give you tuberculosis, diphtheria and scarlet fever, amongst other things!

Right on about Subway (and everything else). I work at Subway and I am allowed to eat as much as I want for FREE, but I do not eat there. Even their so-called “vegan paddy” has MSG and soy. The plain vegie delite with no cheese and no sauce is not healthy either as their iceberg lettuce contains 180 times more sodiume flouride than tap water in highly fluoride contaminated cities in North America. Their olives is filled with table salt (chemically produced salt). Their bell pepper is waxed and most stores I have worked for don’t even wash them (not that washing them really helps anyway). Their bread also contain MSG! I’ve heard their 9grain bread has food color (the dark color is because of food coloring) although I haven’t checked this factor for myself so I cannot say it for certain, but I read the ingredient on the boxes and nearly their entire products contain MSG!!!….and let’s not talk about their pickled products!!

sim » WOW! Thank you so much for sharing this. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t realise about all of this. So eye-opening!

So… my question is, do all peppers (besides farmers’ market) have wax on them, and, if so, is there a way to remove it before consuming them? We eat a lot of peppers, but we live in New England, where the farmers’ market is only open a few months of the year. My second question is in regard to the soy/almond milk. Is almond milk any less processed than the soy? And, Jess, what is your opinion of the people who say that they eat yogurt? Isn’t all dairy kind of a no-no?

Buy an Ozonator or Google “Vegie Wash”

Lisa G. » Hi Lisa, I’m not too sure about the peppers. I would assume that most conventional ones do have a wax, and I don’t know of any way to remove it. You could soak it in 3% hydrogen peroxide? As for the milks, almond milk is a better option but some almond milks do contain added sugar and this isn’t great. The best non-dairy milk I’ve found is organic oat milk. Yoghurt is okay as long as it is organic. x

thanks, Jess… but if you could possibly clarify why yogurt (i.e. yoghurt) is okay although it is dairy, I would really appreciate it. I had tried switching to soy yogurt, but, well, soy is out as well! Every time I think I have all of this figured out… I don’t! Very glad that I recently was recommended to your blog by a friend; I can get stuck for an hour reading it! Great, helpful stuff, Thanks!

Lisa G. » Hi Lisa, sure! I’m not a fan of yoghurt for myself but it is better than most dairy because it is fermented. This process makes it easier for the body to digest. However, I stay away from it simply because all dairy contains a protein called casein which is a major tumour promoter. x

Brilliant ! Get that message out there girl! I worked at subway when i was in Grade 11 and 12 as my part time school job..trust me there is nothing healthy about those sloppy sugar ridden foot longs.
Another biggie…the artificial sweeteners! In particular DIET drinks! Tricking us all into staying ‘skinny’ but in actual fact feeding our souls and bodies with extremely dangerous chemicals! Great post as usual xx

@Lisa — calcium from sources such as broccoli and kale and collard greens is absorbed twice as well as the calcium in milk! Plus, thats where the cows (naturally) get their calcium — the greens and grass that they are supposed to eat! We should just be going to the source — greens.

I have to disagree regarding coconut oil — its full of saturated fat and that can do a number on cholesterol levels. Dr. Greger explains here — http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/is-coconut-oil-good-for-you/

Yep, coconut oil IS full of saturated fat, but any doc who is paying attention now knows that saturated fat levels in your diet have very little to do with your cholesterol levels, which in turn may have very little to do with your risk of heart disease. Saturated fats are BETTER for you than the polyunsaturated fats touted for so many years. Coconut oil can lower your risk for lots of things. If you want to lower cholesterol cut sugar and simple carbs, not saturated fat.

I disagree with Dr. Gregor. There is no evidence that eating saturated fat causes high cholesterol.

http://chilloutandgethealthy.blogspot.com/2012/01/saturated-fat-does-not-cause-high.html

Hi Jess,
In regards to coconut oil is the best oil to cook with as it’s extremely stable against heat, I have recently discovered safflower oil. “For culinary use, safflower oil compares favorably with other vegetable oils with its high smoke point and low saturated fat content.” This link on wikipedia has an excellent table, what are you thoughts on this one?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safflower

I am SO glad that you posted some of the lesser known food contradictions, especially cooking with olive oil and agave syrup. We only use coconut oil as it’s readily available here.

We moved to the tropics 2 years ago (from the US) and are so glad. We are all the healthier for it. We’ve been able to eat fresh, live food without having to search for it in ‘health food’ stores. Everything we eat is grown within 50 miles of where we live and the fruits and vegetables are NOT IRRADIATED and do not have wax on them. That means that they still have all their live enzymes intact and nourish our bodies well beyond the fruits and veggies in the US.

One of the reasons that we won’t move back to the US is the toxic food supply.

One thing about Subway, for some people, Subway is a ‘healthier’ option that what they would typically eat. It’s still disgusting though unless you decide to fill your sub with a ton of veggies.

Thanks, it’s good to know I was on the right track with all of these! Although I still consume organic unhomogenized dairy from ethical sources and am looking for raw. I figure the amount of alkalizing foods I eat as a vegetarian will balance the acidifying dairy.

Just wanted to add one to the list: tea. Yes, even green tea. It contains insane levels of fluoride, as it actively takes it up from the soil through its roots.

And wanted to add that soy products, along with all the trypsin inhibitors and goitrogens and other poisons, also contains huge levels of aluminium, from processing with acid and alkaline washes in aluminium vats.

Thanks again!

Great post Jess. Agave is my disappointment even though I use it sparingly. Was wondering whether you have posted something on the best sugar alternatives ie. honey, maple, stevia etc. Perhaps dispel the myths behind supposedly healthy sugar alternatives when a recipe calls for a ‘natural sweetner’ that isn’t fruit?

Yep click the link next to agave.

Hi Jess,
I am new to your website and your newsletters and I am finding them brilliant.
I am enjoying reading all your insights but I am a bit confused about the dairy one today.
I understand and see your point regarding cacium being leached, but why would you use the results from the USDA for your PUS cell counts.?
I have worked in dairies all around Australia and I have not worked in one that either one has mistreated their animals or two has had very high cell counts. Cell counts are monitered everyday and anything that has a high cell count is rejected. Milk like this would never reach the consumer here in Australia. If you drank milk straight from the cow then yes the cell count would not be known. This is why you cant buy straight cows milk.
I have been told though that straight cows milk is better for you if you are going to have dairy. Is this true??
Thanks
Karon

Hi Jess,

This is a great post! It’s dissapointing that agave is still touted as a healthy ingredient. I love the Loving Earth raw chocolate and also my kids love their coconut chocolate spread and have it as a Nutella substitute and both contain agave. Dissapointing, but still healthier products than most. I guess it just comes back to eating the best possible source of anything you can, in its most natural state.

I too love the Loving Earth chocolates but not keen on the choice of sweetener in it. I use organic maple syrup when making sweet foods – at least its not refined and processed.

Hi Jess, could you give any references for the dairy info you included? I’d love to read more, thanks. :)

Barbara » Hi Barbara, yes of course! The best resource I have found on the dairy issue is Dr T. Colin Campbell’s book called The China Study. It’s brilliant and so eye-opening. Online, have a look at the Not Milk website: http://www.notmilk.com/ x

So sad about Subway but not unexpected. Here’s a question for you – what would you give your kids if you were out at a shopping centre and it’s lunch time. The usual fast food outlets are there.. My choice would have been subway over McDonalds and all the others, but now not sure. I guess we now come home and prepare food here. Gosh it’s getting harder to eat out now. Especially when the kids get hungry and want to eat out as a treat.

Thanks Jess for the great post too.

Tracey – I don’t feed my kids in a food court if I can help it, but if you have to eat at the mall what about Sushi? Or a freshly made sandwich, or fritatta?

Great read Jess, thanks for sharing!

I have always been incredibly sceptical with Braggs Liquid, as it never did give a full detail of its Nutritional Information and Ingredients, as it only explained how “healthy” and “natural” it was.
Just brought a bottle of it last, week, which will go to waste now lol!

Hope you’re well xx

Fab article :D I vaguely realised about them all but fish! seems silly I know. thanks for the clarity!!!! xo

Good grief- I had absolutely no idea about olive oil. Will stick to coconut oil from now on. Thanks Jess!

I’m very confused about the rice/almond/soy milk situation. I gave up drinking soy milk after reading something about it being bad for you, and now drink almond/rice milk. The only trouble is, it’s obviously in a carton and it’s probably been sitting there for a while on the supermarket shelf! I struggle to find time to make my own almond milk though- any suggestions?

Thanks Jess- another great post!

Buy a vitamixer, I can make coconut and almond milk in a couple minutes with no mess and it tastes great

Hey Pat! Sounds absolutely delicious- will have to look up some recipes. Thanks so much!

Hey Katie,
Almond Milk is as quick as making a smoothie!
There are many methods in how to make you own Alomond Milk. Personally for me (someone who has limited kitchen appliances) I just add Sprouted Organic Almond (pre purchased) with water and mix it all in a blender, I then strain it with a simple a simple strainer (I dont have a nutbag or cheesecloth etc). I then add either Raw Organic Honey or Stevia just to give a bit of a sweeter flavour, but you could add anything you desire (:
I too am a busy individual, so I one big batch to last me a whole week!
Hope this helps!
Hannah (:

Hey Hannah! Thanks so much for your reply- seems pretty easy! Will give it a go! Thanks!

Hi Katie,

It is incredibly easy to make almond milk.
From all my research, the ideal thing to do is get organic almonds as almonds absorb a lot of pesticides. Rinse them a few times and then put into a jar of water and let them soak over night so they start their sprouting behaviour. You probably won’t actually see them start sprouting, but they do and this helps to break down the phytic acid in the almond’s skin so your body can absorb the nutrients better.

Rinse them the next day clean water and now they will be softer and easier to blend. Put in a blender or little mini food processor like I have with fresh water and blend it up finely. You may want to start with less water, rather than too much and gauge the consistency to your preference.

But a nut milk bag (google this), or better yet, make your own with material that has a tight weave but is very pourous, and pour the liquid through. Cheese cloth is not good enough for this as the pulp becomes too fine for it to work well. Squeeze until it has all come out and put it into the fridge. Voila!

If you really think it needs more tang, I have used raw honey and a dash of himalayan salt to bring out the taste. It tastes amazing and you can use the almond pulp in cooking, so there is no wastage at all :)

Just wondering why no one here mentions raw honey. Is that a no no?

Hi Kim- thanks so much for your reply. Sounds very easy- no excuses now! Thanks again, Katie x

4. Fruit juice

I have one word for you: Sugar

Then why does Doctor Gerson advocate apple and carrot juices 12 times a day, you are currently on the Gerson Therapy aren’t you, and the protocol is drinking high volumes of fruit juice? your thoughts?

Pat » Hi Pat, vegetable juice is very different to fruit juice. The only fruit juice we have is 1 glass of orange juice first thing in the morning. The Gerson protocol is a mix of apple & carrot, plain carrot and green veggie juices – the apple is in these for a specific purpose.

Argh so, so, SO agree about agave and soy!! (and Subway!!)

You forgot whole grains!!! Unfortunately, whole grains contain phytic acid in the bran of the grain which combines with key minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc and prevents their absorption in the intestinal tract. This makes it more difficult to digest properly. Soaking, fermenting, or sprouting the grain before cooking or baking will neutralize the phytic acid, releasing these nutrients for absorption. The same goes for nuts and legumes.

OMG at the Subway ingredients list!!!

Hi Jess, so we are only talking about the one product from Braggs, not any others ????
I use Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar in lots of things & have it in water every day.

Kerry

Kerry » Hi Kerry, Yep I’m just talking about their Liquid Aminos here. We use the ACV as well and it is great!

I have substituted coconut aminos for Braggs. I like the taste better and it’s organic, raw, gluten free, soy free, dairy free and vegan http://www.coconutsecret.com/aminos2.html

Didn’t realise that about the MSG in Bragg’s Amino Acids, just goes to show you still have to read the labels. Bit of a downer for Subway though, but then again, it’s still a fast food joint, not a health food joint – figures. Loads of great feedback and comments here Jess. Thanks to everyone who’s commented

I recently walked into the food/meal section at a large shopping centre, did the circuit of food counters and decided to walk out again – there was very little there that might be healthy. Once I used to think that hot chips were, maybe, just passable as they came from just potatoes, but later learned of the problems associated with heating up oils, especially canola oil (which is probably commonly used), and yes, even olive oil heated up for chips, fish etc. is bad as Jess says. I’ve also heard that a chemical additive to hot potato chips gives them that crispy outer layer. Also the idea of sitting in a closed air-conditioned area with hundreds of people breathing out, also turns me off. There are a number of food items, more than 8, that I once thought were healthy or OK.
…… as per Kerry above, we also use Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar EVERY day. Kind regards, Lyall

uhhh . . . when did radiation become an element?

Great post Jess! Subway infuriates me with it’s happy healthy fresh people adverts. As do “healthy choices” in other fast food chains.

A year ago I had blood tests done and had “abnormal indicators” regarding my liver. At the time I was eating bucket loads of agave in raw deserts and smoothies so did a little research and came across the link between fructose and fatty liver disease. I don’t actually think my abnormal readings and agave were linked (probably not over a long enough time span) but after reading about its negative health effects I cut it out to give my liver a break. It’s all good now :)

Thanks Jess! You answered my questions about Agave. I wondered whether it was too good to be true – bugger! I haven’t used for a long time but will now throw it away.

RAW organic A2 pasture fed jersey cow milk is a superfood, as are small fresh fish caught in southern oceans

Hi Ian. Regards “RAW organic A2 pasture fed jersey cow milk is a superfood, as are small fresh fish caught in southern oceans”.
With respect, and I can see where you are ‘coming from’, however I myself probably wouldn’t make a one-line broad statement about raw organic cow’s milk as you did. I could make a one-line broad statement about the marvelous bone-healing property of comfrey/’bone-knit’, and how it assisted my broken arm to heal 6 years ago, but I’d also have to mention the ‘not-so-nice’ side effects. I took comfrey (in tea form) with good results, as confirmed by a surgeon, but after 2 weeks had to stop because the toxins in the comfrey leaves gave me horrible headaches. Raw organic cow’s milk, from what I have read, has some good nutritional qualities, however it does have an acidifying effect on the body, and this puts a strain on the body. Kind regards, Lyall

super great post !

I knew most of it- but I didn’t know subway was THAT bad !
bummer. my 10 year old liked it once in a while. MSG…yuck !!!
thanks, Jess.

sandra

Thanks Jess for your tireless research and efforts, great content and well appreciated

Can you please expand on: “Wild caught fish is a little better, but still not great. Most of it is full of mercury (with the exception of the odd sardine)”.

In particular the part about: with the exception of the odd sardine?

Also is there anyway to find wild/pure fish? Or do you just have to take your chance or avoid all together?

Also do you have any recommendations for good sources of omega-3? (if not fish).

Ben » Hi Ben, sure thing! I’m not sure what its like where you live but we have a place here on the Sunshine Coast called Wild Caught Seafoods. They are pretty good. It’s usually the larger fish that contain mercury, the smaller fish like sardines being the safer options. Here is a good list that outlines the most and least contaminated fish: http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/index.asp Great sources of omega 3 include spirulina, chia seeds and flaxseeds.

It’s great to be informed but best not to get too paranoid. If you work, raise a family, travel, visit relatives etc there will be times when you are faced with less than perfect food choices – the business buffett dilema (lettuce anyone??), kids invited to Macdonalds parties, god forsaken airports where something akin to Subway is about the best option!! Moderation is the key, stressing can do you far more harm.

great post, Jess!!!! And everyone who added their experience to this post! Thank you!

I have a question for you Jess……I have just recently found out that cucumbers are a No-No for Gerson therapy. Could you tell me why? As cucumbers are supposed to be very alkalizing??? Thank you ;-)

Denisa » Thanks Denisa! Sure thing. Gerson says that cucumbers are excluded because they are difficult on the digestive system. I was bummed about this as well, but it’s been surprisingly easy to stick to the no cucumber rule. :)

I didn’t know that fruit juice was only a bomb of sugar, unhealthy especially for diabetics.
And I also thought that eating fish was relly healthy because of some vitamins and principles contained in fish, but also this was false.

Articles like this must be shared, because only a great knowledge about foods can guide us to the real healthy eating.

Thanks Jessica, from now on I will keep your blog into Favorites!
See you soon,
Alessandro

I don’t understand the part that dairy would steal calcium from the body so to speak. If it were so then dairy consumers would have a massive calcium deficit and would need to eat even more plant source calcium than a vegan to make up for it. To me that doesn’t make sense. Especially since it’s been found in some research studies that a high intake of dairy actually protects against some forms of cancer and that has been guessed to be because of the calcium…

Another question – as someone who does self intermittent catheterisation I’ve learned that too acidic urine is not good (in the extreme that might lead to yeast infection) but that the urine should in fact be on the acidic side to protect against bladder infections. Just spoke to a urotherapist the other day and basically her words were that alkaline urine is a sign that something is wrong… So – just wondered if you could comment on the bladder health side of the whole acid/alkaline subject and the fact that you test your urine to make sure your body is alkaline.

I’m not too sure about this one Ulrika. Everyone I’ve spoken to and everything I’ve read has indicated that urine pH needs to be alkaline to suggest a healthy body. I just came back from a naturopath then and he tested my pH with a urine sample, and everyone else I’ve seen has done the same thing. Sorry I can’t be more help! x

Oh my goodness… (i’m in shock!)

Thank you Jess as always for your fabulous information .I went back to agave nectar but will stop as i have heard it isn’t healthy for you. I also use raw honey at times and am working on getting off coffee. I have tried Teccino but do not care for the taste of it. Also people can check out Hallelujah acres also for good information. God bless you and your family.

I am only eating and feeding my children what I grow in the garden. I am so an advocate for healthy eating, but this article changes mug mind on a lot!! Thanks, I’ll do more research on my own, too, but I appreciate it!

Ok, I have to ask about refined coconut oil because I detest, detest, detest, the smell and overwhelming taste of unrefined, organic coconut oil (I hate the way it over-powers the foods cooked in it too:). Enough of the hating, I know. :D
Is refined Coconut Oil really horrible in your opinion/experiences? Is it better than cooking with olive oil (guilty)?
(I do use ["real"]butter for cooking sometimes also.)
Thanks!

April Johnson » Hi April, refined coconut oil is not great I’m afraid. The refining process removes all of the health properties and changes the structure of the oil. There are other options though like grapeseed oils. Organic butter is fine if you aren’t vegan. x

Thank you!

Hi, I use a lot of theorganic ‘creamed coconut’ that comes in a pure block. What makes it different to the more expensive stuff in the glass jars?

Remember everyone,

Use the information you receive and do some of your own research. There is a lot of conflicting information and you want to make sure you are receiving unbiased info. Yes it is confusing…stick with whole organic foods and you are ahead of the game. If you are a meat eater, make sure it is clean, taken in moderation and balanced with lots of raw veggies or slightly cooked veggies. I am a vegetarian, but do not see how humans have come this far if meat were a death sentence. Be sensible eat clean, get exercise and fresh air, relax or meditate and detox. Our food is only part of the equation, but a very large part.

I really try to set a good example to my children by eating lots of healthy, fresh, organic, wholefoods but could someone PLEASE tell me what kind of milk I should be putting in my morning latte??? It really is the one pleasure I can not give up!

Um… just a dash of milk from the corner shop? That’s what millions of people do every day, and life expectancy is the highest it’s ever been in human history. I really don’t think there is any evidence that ordinary old milk in a cup of coffee is a direct cause of anyone’s ill health, never mind death.

You may want to reconsider your second sentence.. “life expectancy is the highest it’s ever been in human history” … now if you do a bit of research what you will find that across cultures certain peoples and civilisations have lived A LOT longer than the 21st century western man. You may also find that there are presently people on our planet that are living far longer than 100 years old.. some of our oldest humans have reached well into their 150′s and 200′s — back in the antiquity times!!!! You may think that more people today are living longer, but there is someone filtering that information to you, and even if the majority of people have a longer lifespan across our planet… our lives may be long but are they of quality?? I meet sick people here there and everywhere suffering pain and are chronically addicted to pain killers and pumped with pharmaceuticals. Is a caged animal that lives to 80 years that is in pain, fear and addicted to medication better than a free animal of highest health and mental peace that lives to 2 years?

Hi Kristin, I would just recommend switching to organic full cream milk. If it is just a dash in your morning coffee, and you don’t have any healthy issues you are trying to reverse, I don’t think it would hurt. It’s the dairy from factory farms, when consumed in large amounts, that causes most problems. But if you don’t have an agenda like cancer or some other condition, I wouldn’t stress about it. My favourite non-dairy milk though is oat milk. :)

Thanks Jess, that is helpful…I switched to soy for the health benefits, then started reading about soy…looks like organic cow’s milk it is!

here’s a good aussie fish guide link as the 1 above is american i think http://goodfishbadfish.com.au/?page_id=1621

“When did feeding ourselves become so complicated?”

Oh I totally agree!
Now its not about just eating healthy…the whole concept of eating has changed…and then people take it to the extreme where it becomes their religion.
I just want to eat right and get on with life!

It got complicated when big companies decided to use toxic crap to grow it food or over process them so they became unhealthy!! It’s very sad :(

Hi Jess,
Love your stuff. Do you mind going into some more detail around olive oil? I’m completely with you for the other foods however olive oil (used sparingly) is a substance people have been cooking with for generations. It has been a large part of healthy food culture since the BC era and was a diet staple long before cancer rates began increasing to the levels they are at currently.

I get nervous about using new oils (or milks or any other processed food for that matter) because they don’t yet hold the test of time. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Grace Stubee » Hi Grace, sure thing! Check out this article by Dr Mercola. It sums it up really well: http://www.foodmatters.tv/_webapp_199426/What_Oil_is_best_to_cook_with_and_which_oils_should_never_be_heated x

Hi Jess, interesting about fish farms. Bloody heartbreaking in fact. Especially when I buy fish from the supermarket.

I have recently been baking at home and removing the sugar content from the ingredients and substituting with honey. It’s natural bush bees honey, no added anything.

What’s your understanding on honey in the human body and cooking with it?

Thanks, Ra :)

Super post and love all the feedback!
What to add… dunno, lots? Everything that an ‘average joe’ consumes in a day? ;)
Errr…
I’m stuck.
Makes me laugh tho when you tell ppl you’re vegan and they rant about proteins/calcium etc and then they’re all ‘oh i suppose you eat shitloads of soy/tofu’. Ridiculous.
Information to the people!
<3

Ps: My 'milk substitute' is also oatmilk, something no one has ever ever heard of apparently. ^^

You know, I don’t entirely agree with the 8 ‘bad’ food list Jess.

I think it is probably fairer to say: it depends on how often and in what context you eat them.

Whilst I’ve always been a bit wary about anything ‘processed’ or adulterated – I don’t do soy/ tofu or even spirulina – because it is after all just put through a manufacturing process, and someone makes a lot of money from it. I can’t really see the point of substituting fake milks for the real stuff. It’s not natural if it has to be manufactured!
,
But the two items I would mainly disgaree with are fruit juice and fish.

Fruit juice in the right context is an excellent food. A fresh fruit juice – served with your morning oatmeal (soaked overnight) is a fabulous hit of nutrients and a great way to wake up your digestive system for another day.

And significantly better than flavoured drinks or even milk for children.

A child would get more nutritional benefit from glass of freshly prepared fruit juice – than if it was left out of their diet altogether. One of the main reasons children are getting fatter – is that their little bodies are literally starving. Loads of ‘food’ everywhere – but very little nutrition.

And as long as your oats are not the processed quick oats the ‘fast sugar’ is slowed right down as part of a low GI meal.

Fish: I grew up in Scotland where fish was a staple food. The small deep sea fish are becoming over fished and more expensive, whilst the fresh water river fish as always been expensive, but in a balanced diet good quality fish has loads of nutrients.

A lot safer for you than your mobile phone!

Different fish feed differently and in vastly different environments worldwide – and that largely dictates mercury levels.

We really need to remember that healthy bodies are pretty well able to deal with a regular detoxification process – so long as we are mindful of overload.

The dairy comment is only an opinion. Yes pasteurized dairy is garbage. There is plenty of evidence that raw dairy is in fact very healthy especially cultured dairy such as kefir. Charlotte Gerson is not the authority on which foods are healthy although she sometimes acts as though she is. And you can add to that list polyunsaturated oils, including the beloved flaxseed oil. It oxidizes at above 25C or so, including in the bloodstream at 37C. Plenty of research on the immuno-suppressive effects of polyunsaturated fats on the body. In fact Max Gerson did no have flaxseed oil in the original Gerson therapy, it was Charlotte that added it saying she found a letter that said her dad had planned to add it. Odd?

Hi nwo12. What part/s of the Dairy comments do you claim are only an opinion? Fresh organic milk has a good side (my opinion), yet it does have a dark downside (fact) as it has an acidifying effect on the body. Also I would say that Charlotte Gerson is well qualified as to stating which foods are healthy. Her father was an exceptionally brilliant man, and she grew up with him, his research and professional contacts. If one buys good organic flaxseed oil, it should be refrigerated, as it is in most health shops, so a figure of 25C for oxidation, as you suggest, is of no consequence for sensible use. I grind flaxseeds for my porridge every morning, yet if I had cancer I would probably buy the oil. Kind regards, Lyall

It does not acidify the body, perhaps you would care to prove that comment with fact? And as for it being said it leeches calcium from the body, this is true of pasteurized milk but not raw. Raw dairy, along with animal organs, has been shown to even reverse tooth decay due to its ability to remineralize teeth. Same for bones. I don’t think you get it with regards flaxseed oil. If it oxidizes above 25C what do you think happens when it enters the human body of 37C? It oxidizes. Grinding flaxseeds is worse than that due to all the enzyme inhibitors that will be present (natural defense mechanism of non germinated seeds). Also hopefully you soak those oats and cook well to de-activate the phytic acid which will seriously affect your vitamin absorption. That is another thing that should be added to that list, whole grains are FAR from healthy.

Hi nwo2012. I had planned a longer reply however Andrea made some good comments. I too was going to mention Johanna Budwig, the German bio-chemist. She found that by mixing organic cottage cheese (even though it has an acidic effect on the body) and organic flaxseed oil, the sulphur-amino acids in the cheese made various fatty acids in the oil water-soluble, and these could then oxygenate cells & replenish certain proteins and lipids needed to negate cancer. You may have heard of the Bill Henderson Protocol, which includes a strict alkaline diet, sensible exercise and the Budwig diet. Many people are being cured of cancer by this protocol.
If you want good evidence on the acidifying effects of animal products, you probably won’t find better than Dr. Robert Young’s research.
I am aware of Western Price’s findings regarding tooth decay; also Ramiel Nagel’s protocol for repairing cavities with organic milk & butter, cod liver oil and organ soups. I have the free chapter from Ramiel’s book, & I tend to believe what he says, but as the components are acidifying, one would need to ensure everything else consumed was strictly alkaline forming (& of course you couldn’t have cancer at the time). For some time I have been considering trying his protocol. As for phytic acid, some say it reduces absorption of minerals and proteins, & some say it has anti-oxidant properties & other good properties. Perhaps in some way it display all these properties. I had considered soaking my flaxseeds at one stage, but for the amount I use, I have a significant amount of raw and lightly cooked veges which should counteract any downside if it exists. Kind regards, Lyall.

NWO2012: I would say that most of us who have daily dose of organic raw flaxseed oil for health purposes know fully that flaxseed oil is unstable with light, oxygen and heat.

Every food that enters our body goes through a chemical change and flaxseed oil is no different.

My understanding of the significance of flaxseed in the Gerson diet and why Dr Gerson was keen to use it for essential fatty acids which our body needs related to the work of a peer Dr Joanna Budwig, who had success with cancer patients.

I cannot help but smile at people who deride Charlotte Gerson – how many ninety year old doctors are still working, travelling and active with cancer patients. How many 90 years are fully productive for that matter? Clearly Ms Gerson isn’t having a problem with her flaxseed oil…. or her diet…

Jess – what about whole fruit smoothies rather than juice? I have quite a bit of those (mix of blueberries, strawberries, bananas, peaches,Mundella yoghurt and rice milk). Are these ok, re sugar content? Thanks so much.

Richard » Hi Richard, fruit smoothies are better than fruit juice because they still contain fibre and this slows down the release of the sugar into the blood stream. However, I still think that fruit smoothies should be considered a treat rather than as a daily addition to a healthy diet because they are super quick to drink and your body still absorbs them much fast than if you were to eat the whole fruit. When I make smoothies, I prefer to have green ones that are majority green leafy veggies with a little fruit for sweetness. I will have the odd banana/berry smoothie though :)

I always thought that the sugar from fresh fruit is assimilated in the body differently than white processed and refined sugar. I’ve witnessed this with my own body. White refined sugar can make me feel “wired”, while sugar from fresh juiced fruit doesn’t leave me with the same “wired” effect. I’m not suggesting that one go out and consume nothing but fresh fruit juice, but is the drinking fresh juiced organic apples really a “sugar bomb” leading to all sorts of dietary issues? (note: I’m talking about fresh juice made from a home juicing machine, nothing store bought or processed)

Hi Jess,

I’m curious as to what protein sources that you advocate. If not fermented soy, dairy, or meat. What are your choices? I can only think that this leaves legumes, nuts, and seeds, all of which I love, but it becomes difficult to eat them everyday.

Also, whole food versions of organic soy, which are not genetically modified if labeled as such, are very different from soy isolates, which are dangerously processed and seriously unhealthy.

Just curious as to your perspective. Thanks for the great information.

Sara

Sara Novak » Hi Sara, it is very easy to get adequate protein from sources other than dairy, meat and soy. I’ve been on what many would consider a low protein diet for the past two years, only having legumes once a week, and my protein levels are totally fine. My favourite sources of plant protein include beans, seeds, nuts, legumes, quinoa, green leafy veggies, spirulina, and bee pollen. It’s really not difficult to eat from this range every day. Yes, organic soy is totally different to processed soy, which is why I mentioned that fermented organic soy is okay in small amounts. However, soy is still not the health food it is made out to be – no matter what the form. If consumed in large amounts it can cause problems, including reproductive issues.

Hi Jess-
Thanks so much for this great post! I have transitioned to using Braggs Liquid Aminos in place of Nama Shoyu or Tamari, to cut back on sodium intake. Which do you suggest is the best alternative? Also- I use several other Braggs products, particularly their raw Apple Cider Vinegar, I also thought it was a reputable company, and now after reading the articles you indicated I am concerned about their integrity. Do you know of any information about the legitimacy of their other products? Thanks so much!

Jenny » Hi Jenny, the best way to reduce sodium is to try to get used to meals that don’t have that salty flavour. Once our taste buds adjust from years of salt abuse, many people find that salty flavours are no longer needed. I now find them way overpowering. However, in small amounts organic tamari is probably the best option as it is made from fermented soy beans and it does not contain wheat. We use Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar as well and it is really good. It’s the best ACV on the market! x

Recently wrote an article about MSG & how it is hidden in seemingly healthy foods. Its a shame people are consuming high doses of such a poisonous chemical & don’t realize or want to change their habits! If only they knew what it was doing to their insides! Ive posted informational links as well. Hope it helps! Michelle
http://www.corncopiaefoods.blogspot.com
@cornucopiaefds

Hey Jess

In recent times i have reduced the amount of agave I use in most of my home recipes if not all, and only use it in some raw dessert classes I teach. When Mercola did come out with those findings, I was at raw culinary school and this is what Matthew Kenney had to say about agave, thought you might be interested:

“I have received dozens of inquiries about agave in recent weeks, particularly following Dr. Mercola’s article. Rather than jump on one bandwagon or another, the intelligent approach seemed to require deep research and a further look into the issue. Along with a number of conversations, readings and studies, we sent Meredith Baird, who I have worked with on all projects for the past couple of years, to Mexico last week to explore and document the entire production process. While her findings have not addressed 100% of the ‘claims’, it is safe to say that many of them are exaggerated and include uneducated guesswork. There are a couple of issues we are still researching, particularly the temperatures that ‘raw’ agave may reach during processing. We will release our findings in the next couple weeks on http://www.matthewkenneylifestyle.com.
As a measure of flexibility, we have adjusted recipes in the 3 upcoming books we are currently writing, to include 3 options for any dish that requires a sweetener. That said, we are currently still utilizing agave for many of our recipes. As always, the most important factor is to listen to your body and try to remember that any sweetener should be used in moderation, and are primarily for dessert.
One year ago, many of the same ‘authorities’ proclaimed that cacao was toxic, full of harmful elements and could even cause nerve damage. Anyone that has been to a recent trade show or health food market will recognize that raw cacao usage has only grown rapidly in the past year.
I grew up with maple syrup and honey that were both produced in my back yard, so I’m comfortable with them both. Those are the options we recommend for anyone seeking alternatives, although they do alter the character of certain recipes. We will also explain this in more detail in our upcoming article.
In the meantime, it’s always good to relax a little – we are, after all, talking about the nectar of a plant, not the KFC Double Down. I sometimes find the drama to be more of the point than the issue being discussed with some of these topics. Obviously, nothing in excess is good for you- excessive equals obsessive. And that is never healthy.”

Hi Jess,
I’m a Gerson patient. Would you comment about why it’s okay for me to drink a glass of freshly squeezed organic orange juice every morning if it’s just sugar and it’s not good for me. Thanks.

Charlie » Hi Charlie, no this is fine! One glass of fresh OJ is good for you. I was more talking about drinking fruit multiple glasses of fruit juice per day it has the same benefits as veggie juice. :)

Hi Jess, wondering about your response to this article challenging Dr Mercola’s claims re agave: http://www.braintoniq.com/is-agave-bad-for-you-fallacy.php
Thanks

Lisa » I would say that this article is quite biased given that Brain Toniq uses agave in their products. I’m not inclined to take their article very seriously. Sorry!

Hi,
It would be great if you can specify some replacement alternative for each. Additionally, we could sort the foods to see which are most harmful in this list of 8.
Anyway I think you are calling us to research and open our eyes, and thank you for that. My comment is just a cool cloth to not become paranoid and give everything the treatment it deserves.
Regards,
—Diego
(sorry for my English, I’m from Argentina)

I agree with most of the list and people need to be conscious of how all of their food is actually PRODUCED rather than how it is MARKETED, there is a MASSIVE difference between the two, however the comment about fish almost completely writes off fish or seafood from someone’s diet. Whilst predatory fish that sit atop the food chain do inevitably cop a lot more of the mercury, there are still lots of fish/seafood that are incredibly important to the human diet, especially Omega 3 fatty acids for brain development. The website below provides a better alternative to the one you have provided as it is an Australian site as opposed to an American site (whilst I’m sure you have a large American following) – Provides a great list of alternatives to fish and is also conscious of the sustainable fishing practices involved in obtaining wild seafood and not just how many pollutants are in the fish.. http://goodfishbadfish.com.au/?page_id=1621

Would love to know what you suggest as healthy alternatives, especially to Agave, Soy and Braggs!
Thank you – for all you do!

Sari Dennis » Hi Sari, check out this post for healthy alternatives to agave: http://www.jessainscough.com/2012/03/9-awesome-sugar-alternatives/ As for soy and Braggs, I would just leave them out. If it’s soy milk you drink, I would swap to oat, hemp or almond milk. If you want soy for protein, I would have lentils, quinoa, beans, chickpeas etc. instead. x

Have you read this article? Maybe already responded? I could easily have missed it in the comments. I am curious what you think.
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/agave-nectar/

uggghh…my beloved Subway. This is the motivation I needed to give it up, at least for the most part. It is my go to place when I am out. I have a veggie delite…all the vegetables with just mustard, oil and vinegar. Still, I have been thinking lately I should try to avoid it more often, mainly because of the bread. The others I have already been aware of. Still consume dairy on ocassion but very little. SOY was a nightmare for me when I heard it was healthy and went crazy for it…the effects were awful for me. I try to not get to uptight about it all, but this is a great reminder of what I am doing right and what I could still improve on. THANKS!!!

I haven’t read all the above comments, but coconut oil as good as it is to fry with, tastes horrid in some recipes.

Here is a better list of cooking oil comparison:

http://www.eatingrules.com/2012/02/cooking-oil-comparison-chart/

Apricot kernel oil and avacado oil are easily found here in Oz in health food stores.

This article is great. A great list that proves that every item sold at a health food store isn’t always the best choice for everyone. Always be sure to do your own research on any product you consume. You can’t simply trust the store you buy it from in every case.

Hi Jess
I may be way late to add my 2cents here, but I have a query re olive oil. My book called foods that fight cancer has a section where you cook tomatoes in olive oil and this releases the lycopenes, which is far higher than if you just ate tomatoes. It states that “Lycopene’s anti-cancer activity is maximized by cooking tomatoes in the presence of vegetable fats, such as in sauces made with tomato paste and olive oil.”
Do you have any data on this versus olive oil becoming rancid and a carcinogenic at high temperature?

Thanks for all your work, your site is fantastic and a needed and wanted.
Cheers

Karin

Karin » Hi Karin, thanks so much! That’s a really good questions. Tomatoes are better eaten cooked due to that reason, but that still doesn’t change the fact that olive oil becomes rancid when exposed to high heat. Low heat is fine, so if the tomatoes were cooked super low for a long amount of time, this would be better. Otherwise, I would use a different oil that has a higher smoke point like coconut, sesame seed or grapeseed. Hope this helps! x

If we can’t eat meat, dairy, fruit, fish, soy, etc. then for the love of GOD – what are we supposed to eat????????? Because my ancestors did NOT claw their way to the top of the foodchain so that I could live on LETTUCE!

joseph » Hi Jospeh, you can eat whatever you feel like eating! I’m not telling you not to eat anything, I’m just providing information that I find while researching what foods add to the health of the body and which foods don’t. What you do with the information is completely up to you, and whether you agree with me or not is not important to me. I do have to say though that there are plenty more foods out there than meat, dairy, fish and soy. I don’t eat any of those and I hardly starve, and I eat much more than lettuce. For instance, you could eat vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, superfoods, natural sweeteners. I also don’t rule out fruit – I only warn people that drinking copious amount of fruit juice is not too great. Thanks for your comment!

I was with you until you mentioned the acid/base profile argument for milk and suggested reading The China Study. While well written and convincing, the science behind Campbell’s arguments are poor at best. The research has been debunked many times over. Google “The Protein debate” with Loren Cordain and Campbell. Or check this out this analysis. http://rawfoodsos.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/minger_formal_response2.pdf

And on fish, and the fear of mercury, look into the selenium content of the fish too, and read Chris Kresser’s post on “Is eating fish safe?” http://chriskresser.com/is-eating-fish-safe-a-lot-safer-than-not-eating-fish

Thanks for being aware and mindful of food and promoting real foods without the additives of the boxed food industry.

I do not know if anyone have said this yet but; dried fruit.
Why? Cause it’s more like ‘candied fruit’ alot of the time.

Although I knew some of the foods on the list was bad, the others really surprised me (soy, olive oil in heat). Even then, its really hard to keep up a diet without these bad foods. For instance, I eat fish every day but its not easy to find wild fish at my local supermarket. Seems like being a vegetarian is the best option.

Hi, I had to do my research on the Braggs Aminos. I don’t do a lot of soy, but I do really like the Bragg’s Aminos for seasoning. I’ve tried the coconut aminos and I’m not as happy with, plus it is very expensive for a tiny bottle. So, I wrote to the Bragg’s company because their website says that it is gluten-free (I have Celiac). Here is their response:

“Bragg does not add MSG to make Liquid Aminos. MSG is an ingredient naturally occurring in many natural foods such as mushroom, sundried tomatoes, parmesan cheese and many other natural foods, including soybeans. MSG even occurs naturally in the human body. Since our Liquid Aminos is made with soybeans, there is some naturally occurring MSG found in it.. Our tests show it is a very small amount about 1.5%. This can be formed when the naturally occurring amino acid, Glutamic Acid binds with natural sodium forming a salt of Glutamic Acid called Glutamate which is related to MSG. MSG is a complex of Glutamic Acid and Sodium.

Patricia Bragg teaches against the use of MSG in food preparation. The type of MSG used in cooking is not naturally occurring, is highly concentrated being made in a factory as a flavor enhancer. It is commonly used in Chinese and other Asian restaurants.

Patricia Bragg is very sensitive to MSG. And, many of our loyal Bragg customers are also sensitive to MSG. However, Patricia and many of our customers are able to use Liquid Aminos everyday without a problem. In fact, some sensitive customers use it with every meal without experiencing any reaction. This is because the MSG is naturally occurring and in very small concentrations, not enough to trigger a reaction. The MSG in other foods and recipes that give problems to sensitive people is hundreds to thousands of times the concentration compared to a serving of our Liquid Aminos.

Thank you and best in health.

Bragg Customer Service”

Thank you for posting this. It’s important that people understand MSG does occur naturally in some foods.

If we are to pass information to the masses, we must be meticulous in our research.

Perhaps we could argue that Braggs contains soy so perhaps it is not the best option for some, but to imply that they add MSG for taste is misleading and incorrect.

I don’t use it anyway, but I know many who do. I think they are a very reputable company.

I couldn’t find where it was said or implied that MSG is added for taste.
Jess just said that it contains MSG.
From what I understand, the MSG is produced in the manufacturing process of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos; and from what I have read, MSG is found in nature in such small amounts as compared to foods with added MSGs, or in this case, MSG produced in the manufacturing process.
Kind regards, Lyall

I love reading your posts! Thank you for educating us. I tried to read thru almost all the comment to see if you already hit on this subject but didn’t notice, sorry if this is repeating something. What is your thought on Hemp Seed oil? My husband just ordered some along with Hemp hearts, I would love your feed back. Thanks, Diane

Diane » Hi Diane! Thank you! Yes, I’m a big hemp fan. I wrote a post about it here: http://www.jessainscough.com/2011/09/for-the-love-of-hemp/ x

Thank you!!

For god sake get a grip people there is nothing wrong with sugar in its natural form of fruit, honey etc,
if you don’t consume sugar and good fat as in omega 3 your brain will not fuction because thats what it thrives on.
Sugar and Fat is not the problem it is the type of sugar and fat.

Hi Gayle,
I very much limit the amount of natural sugar (fruit & honey) that I have. It does effect blood sugar; and it does effect your body pH (it has an acidic effect) so I make sure that it’s taken with enough alkalising food eg. vege juice, or I’ll make sure that over the day, it’s percentage is small.
You didn’t mention pH, nor did you mention quantity of natural sugar. If these aren’t considered then you have missed something. The body needs to be alkaline to function properly. Our blood pH should be at 7.365 and can go slightly higher, and that’s optimum for it to function properly. Too much sugar, even natural sugar, and your body has to work like mad to buffer/safeguard the blood pH, to the detriment of other parts of your body. Also, too much sugar, even natural sugar, means that your body has to convert some glucose to glycogen, and if your body has no room in your muscles etc to store glycogen, it has to convert to triglycerides which are stored in fat cells.
Yes, the type of sugar, and fat, is a problem, but also quantity of natural sugar needs to be considered.
I get plenty of omega-3 from chia seeds, quinoa and flaxseeds, every day.
Kind regards, Lyall

Hi Jessica,

thanks for the smoothie recipes.
Looking forward to try them.

I am very surprised at number “4. Fruit juice”
I ‘ve got a few of the JuiceMaser Jason Vales books and have been juicing for quire some time now (combined with green smoothies) and also took part in the JuiceMasers Big Spring Clean. He seems to have amazing success and I can only report positive results myself.

Liebe Grüss
Frank

Ohhhh no, I don’t understand. Aren’t fruit juices okay if it is 100% the juice? It’s so hard… I feel like there are many contradictions. How about the reboot your life juice guy Joe Cross? Some of his juices are 100% fruit!

Sorry 100% the fruit ***

Alex » Hi Alex, 100% fruit juice is much better than bottled fruit juices that are not really fruit juice. However, because the fibre has been removed, 100% fruit juice has a similar affect on the body as sugar. I have a glass of fresh OJ every day, but I wouldn’t have any more than this. I mentioned fruit juice in this story because many people drink them and expect the same benefits as vegetable juice. Fruit juice should be a treat, not consumed all of the time. Hope this helps! x

thank you!! i have been screeeaaaaammming this at peeps for far too long! watching friends eat fish with tofu, braggs and a soy smoothie breaks my heart! now i have evidence in writing thats easy to read :) although, i am confused about the 316 pus cells in milk… in how much milk??
thnaks again x mel.

For all those saying that they are not eating soy – please check and read many of the ingredient lists on many products one buys. INCLUDING BREAD.

Most breads, even some of the suppousedly healthier ones (you know, organic, yeast free, etc etc) still have got soy four added (a big frustration on my part!!

Also, a lot of the soy here in Australia is not GM (this is not true in the US though).. so be aware of this! A lot of the soy milks made here in australia actually use non GM soy. Though, either way, soy is not good as it is basically immitates estrogen as soon as it hits our bodies. Especially not good for boys and men.

“nuttlex” spread had me fooled as a healthy product for years…

Great article…
I avoid most of what you have mentioned except dairy.
I removed it but after a Health scare have introduced quark once a day (budwig with flaxseed) and occasional organic cheese for my homemade onion soup :)
I have been cooking with olive for the kids as they hate coconut oil, will switch back to rice bran and try grapeseed…

Hi Nat,
A friend of mine uses rice bran oil. Is there some specific reason that you use rice bran oil? Just curious.
Kind regards, Lyall

We use rice bran as we are very health conscious and couldn’t find anything negative about it… The kids hate coconut oil and refuse to eat anything cooked in it sadly…

Didn’t know that about Agave. Thank you!

This website is incredible! It is so wonderful to see everyone prepared to speak out, research and listen to their inner voice and to continue questioning.. never stop learning.

On the topic about calcium needs etc, people need to realise that one of the biggest multi-million dollar industries in today’s world is the meat and dairy industries. We have been conditioned through media/advertising and experts that these food sources are crucial for our health (e.g. food pyramid on the side of our cereal boxes). It is terrible and confronting that we find ourselves confused and lost, having to admit that maybe the “experts” aren’t right on everything and that they may not have our best interests at heart or are truly ignorant to the truth. We end up listening and believing “experts” including doctors, nurses and our families on how to eat right for our health. Unfortunately there is vested interest in making money from these industries and therefore real non-biased scientific research (that doesn’t make our major nutrition journals as they are funded by biased parties such as pharmaceutical companies, if you don’t believe me check out http://www.foodmatters.com) information is filtered out and we are left searching for alternatives when we finally find ourselves exhausted an wiped out on some hospital bed. I believe that we must continue questioning.. question those that fund our scientific research across all area’s.. to ask question’s such as “what is really going on here?” or “what’s really behind that news article or that health advice?”, who is in charge of funding doctors through our medical school’s? People our medical students are only taught about nutrition for a couple of months out of a 7year course!!! Yet food, whether good or bad is medicine for the body! If our reality of our health does not fit with the information we are being fed and the food they are selling to us on our grocery shelves then something is not quite right.

If you start to become really interested in why we are given the incorrect information re food, health and wellness… you must be prepared to go down the rabbit hole. We are a sick society but we have a way out and its good to see people are waking up and people like Jess are standing up!

Now to get to the point I wanted to talk about human calcium needs :p Guy’s and girls the biggest thing you can do for bone health and strength is weight-bearing exercise! It does not matter how much calcium you take your body builds bone when the bones are being used and everyone into exercise especially weight lifters, those of us into Bikram yoga or have children (have to lug them everywhere) and so on know that weight bearing builds muscle and bone! Now to understand this we can look at what cells are involved with bone building and bone decay. There are bone cells called osteoblasts which as the name suggests “blasts” bone away and then there are osteoclasts which are cells that build bone. Now when the body undergoes “stress” in this case “good stress”, such as the influence of weight on the body the body sets of a series of signals to the body to tell the osteoclasts to go in and start adding more calcium, minerals etc to the bone, in essence they add to the bone, resulting in higher bone density. Therefore the body can now withstand the greater force or “stress” on the body, the bones are now stronger and prepared to take the load. Now when people stop using their body, stop carrying the grocery bags for example, stop lifting up their kids, or limit any body movement such as becoming a lazy couch potato what happens is the body (the highly intelligent system that it is) begins to send messages that now tell it to utilise the bone minerals/proteins/components that make up the bone and transport these to other areas of the body where it may be needed. This is when the osteoblast cells come in and TAKE BONE AWAY, therefore you end up with a lower bone density! So people if we look at a lot of the Australian women that are major sufferers of osteoporosis, what you find is that it may not be just a case of lack of calcium (as the doctor’s/dairy industry/etc) would like you to think there is and therefore you should devour more milk/dairy/cheese etc BUT that these women have another factor influencing their condition… lack of weight-bearing exercise or any kind of exercise for that matter. Maybe if we did a statistical analyses of this group of osteoporosis sufferers we may also find they are possibly overweight, have heart conditions, high blood pressure and a myriad of other health concerns… and not just linked to lack of calcium (ohhh you need more milk) BUT lack of exercise! We must understand there is not just one thing that influences our health but MANY – food, our mind-set, genetics, exercise, our environment etc etc… we must remember that our body is an incredibly complex intricate system where everything is connected.

More information regarding these osteoblasts and osteoclast cells at work can be seen with people with arthritis. What happens is that people who suffer arthritis have oscillations between stages of remission where the body builds bone (osteoclasts come in to build up the bone) and then periods of exacerbation where the osteoblasts come in and blast bone away. This is why when you see suffered of arthritis not only do they have pain in joints but they also have after a long time deformation of the joint. This is because of the oscillation of the cycles of bone building and bone being taken away.

So overall I’d like to finish off to say read widely, question a lot, be open and also to build healthy strong bones, instead of wheeling the trolley of groceries all the way to the car or getting your husband or strong other half to carry the grocery bags, why not carry some yourself! You will be doing your bones a world of good and will be increasing their density and strength! (remember only carry what the body can carry, your body does have a limit and edge so remember only to what is comfortable but will be enough to stress your body in a good way!)

Hi Jess. I’m a new reader :) Just wondering about farmed fish – I went on a tour of some salmon farms off the south coast of Tassie a few years back. I’m not sure you could find anywhere more remote, clean and pollution free!? As far as I could see the fish were kept in huge nets – can’t see how their waste products could build up? To me it seemed far more sustainable that fishing from the wild. Have you any thoughts on this?

I think I saw something about these fish farms in Tassie on tv not too long ago. It looks like they are the more ethical ones, however, I’m sure you can imagine what the others may look like.

hello haven’t read through all these comments but as a fan of agave nectar i read the Marcola article you linked to and as a result thought I’d better check out my brand of agave, went to their website http://www.lovingearth.net/ and found a link to an interesting article on agave thought maybe you would be interested in having a look too. Here’s the link
http://www.lovingearth.net/media/files/great_analysis_of_agave.pdf

cheers rebecca

Jess…I’m just starting to read your blog and I love it. Not only is your knowledge detailed and thorough, but your attitude and approach to these confusing topics is refreshing. This nutrition stuff can bring out so much idealism that is often very misplaced. Thank you for being a great resource and continuing your own learning while you educate the rest of us!

Best! ~Mindy

Just stumbled across this site while looking for diferent places to buy coconut aminos, It has made me laugh to myself as we follow those steps in our everyday diet and have told many family and friends who always have minor health issues and say “we eat healthy”, but none of them seem to listen to us or believe us, they all say of that sounds great we will have to look that up on the internet as if what we are telling them isn’t true and we know they are going to keep eating their fruit, dairy, fish, soy ect… It is good to know there is someone out there trying to help educate people and change there healthy ways of thinking. My 2 year old son and husband have digestive problems and eating this way helps so much, we all feel so good for it. I constantly get but where are you getting your calcium and and other vitamins from as if fruit and milk is the only sourse of neutrients out there. little do they realise everything we eat has somthing beneficial in it we just don’t fill ourselfs with all of the sugars and nasty foods they have.

I find it interesting that soy ranks in the “bad” category. I understand that biogenetically engineered soy milk or any type of milk would be bad for you — but real soy milk, mildly processed from non-modified soy beans is NOT bad for you.. One of the healthiest and longest living people groups has a diet of primarily soy and rice products — but we Americans know best huh?

Hi Beth, from my readings about soy, I decided to only ever use fermented soy.
My wife and I would never use soy milk.
I’m not sure which healthiest and longest living people group you are referring to.
If you gave their name I would love to read up on them.
Kind regards, Lyall

You mean to tell me i’ve wasted my money on extra virgin olive oil all these yrs?

Jeezus. So many sources telling you so many conflicting things…!

Maybe I’ll just be thankful I have enough to eat and stop worrying about it!

Hi Laura, We only use extra virgin olive oil on our salads, and we cook with organic coconut oil. Kind regards, Lyall

is drinking Tang bad for you?

Hi Lisa. Tang is a processed product and as such I wouldn’t touch it. A quick google search revealed the following ingredients: Sugar, Citric Acid, Less Than 2% Of Natural & artificial flavor, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Maltodextrin, Calcium Phosphate (Prevents Caking), Guar And Xanthan Gums (Provide Body), Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Artificial Color, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, BHA (To Help Protect Flavor). I can’t say that these ingredients are correct without doing more research, but some of these should definitely be avoided.
Doing your own juicing of veges and a little fruit is far far better. It will take you longer but you will be doing your body a great favour. Kind regards, Lyall.

Sugar and digestible carbs has been one of the major factors in helping me to heal. Along with the right non inflammatory protein and fats, in the right ratios (for me), at the right times during the day (for me). It seems too easy to blame sugar.
Check out http://www.eastwesthealing.com for some more info

Hi OldMate. Are you able to expand on what you have said. It’s a bit hard to make a comment without any more information on your diet, type of sugar intake, amount of sugar intake and for how long, what you were healed of, etc.. Kind regards, Lyall

You think fish is bad for you…… I guess you are entitled to your opinion, but I do hope people use common sense and ignore some of your remarks

I wouldn’t dare touch farmed fish unless I knew it was raised chemical and anti-biotic free and in a clean environment. Often I’ll see cooked fish at a great price, but I wouldn’t buy it without asking if it is farm raised. I rarely buy cooked fish anyway because of the oil it is cooked in. ….. Wild caught fish – everything in moderation, but I think Jess was really concerned about the mercury content in this as mercury accumulates in the body. Kind regards, Lyall.

You’re dead wrong – you cannot cook with sesame oil! It must only be used at room temperature as a dressing!

I think that the facts do not support the assessment about olive oil vs coconut oil. Based on wikipedia figures http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point Extra virgin olive oil has a smoking point of 375F (468 for high quality) and extra virgin coconut oil 350F. If you use refined versions these increase to 460F for olive oil (Pomace) and 450 for refined coconut oil. In both cases olive oil’s smoking point is higher.

Jess said “When used at room temperature, olive oil is healthy.” Comment -Yes.
Jess said “As soon as you introduce high heat, it [olive oil] becomes rancid and turns into a carcinogen (aka, cancer promoter).” Comment – Yes.
Jess said “It pains me to see top TV chefs splashing their pans with olive oil.” Comment – I feel the same.
Jess said “Coconut oil is the best oil to cook with as it’s extremely stable against heat.” Comment – Definitely Yes.

Smoke point is a valid secondary (even third) issue, although not the primary issue to consider here. Smoke point (for any oil) should be avoided. That’s when the triglycerides (& the very small amount of diglycerides and monoglycerides) break down into glycerol and the previously attached (by relatively weak bond) fatty acid chains. This is when that smelly acrolein is formed (from glycerol), which is not healthful. It’s this same acrolein that is found in the irritating smoke from cigarettes. However, all oils except coconut oil (comprised of about 92% saturated fats) start to break down before smoke point and form carcinogens. The monounsaturated fatty acids have fair stability (but not good stability) for cooking (and very bad above smoke point), but do break down a little even below smoke point, and if you’re going to cook in these all your life, you will get carcinogens. The polyunsaturated fatty acids are definitely fairly unstable, and below smoke point of course, and should be avoided for cooking. Oils that you buy in the shops are a mixture of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and saturated fatty acids (saturated fatty acids are actually good for you). The primary issue to consider when choosing a cooking oil (apart from genetically modified considerations) is molecular stability under heat, and that’s where coconut oil romps in first by a long way, except you should NOT go above smoke point.
The wikipedia page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point reads,
Quote – “The smoke point also marks the beginning of both flavor and nutritional degradation.” Comment- Smoke point does mark the beginning of flavour degradation, but nutritional degradation, as in forming carcinogens, is lower than smoke point, except for saturated fatty acids lower than smoke point.
Quote – “Therefore, it is a key consideration when selecting a fat for frying, with the smoke point of the specific oil dictating its maximum usable temperature and therefore its possible applications. For instance, since deep frying is a very high temperature process, it requires a fat with a high smoke point.”
Comment – This is a nonsense, and this notion has been used by the grain industry for decades to promote various oils for cooking and deep frying, as being better than coconut oil. The propaganda started around the 1920’s when the grain industry needed sales for their growing industry. Ancel Keys (well know for the K-rations in world war 2), the well known American nutritional scientist, in the 1950’s sold his ‘soul’ to the grain industry, and hence the propaganda about saturated fatty acids (including coconut oil) being unhealthful, and the propaganda about other various oils being good for deep frying & good for cholesterol levels etc. Decades of propaganda have thus turned into dogma about the lie of coconut oil being bad for you.

.

What do you think of fish/krill oil supplements? If so, what brands do you use?

I’d encourage you to do some more research and clarify your terms on oil. The smoke point of virgin cocunut oil is is 350; the smoke point of extra virgin olive oil is 375, and 400 for virgin olive oil. Olive oil does lose some of its distinctive flavor when heated, but this does not mean it becomes “rancid.” If true, no one would even want to cook with it (have you ever tasted or smelled rancid oil?) The article you link claims oleic acid can cause breast cancer; some studies indicate exact opposite, that oleic acid can prevent breast cancer (http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2005/01/oleic.html). Coconut oil is excellent, but there is no danger to cooking with olive oil, so long as it is not heated to too high of a temperature (as is true of all oils).

I think the phrase ‘genetically modified’ is thrown around too much, especially when trying to sound negative. Selective breeding, or, artificial selection, is also a form of genetic modification, which has been used way back when the Mayans were planting maize and when the knowledge of genes didn’t exist. It’s really just an effective way of ensuring that you’ll get some sort of crop yield. When you see the phrase ‘genetically modified’ you should be looking out for exactly what kind of genetic modification has been made to the product.

I just read your post on agave but I would assume that not all agave products are bad- it would just depend on the refining process. If it’s organic and unprocessed then I can’t see why it’s so bad- it’s a bit like maple syrup-there’s pure organic unprocessed brands and there’s refined ones with sugar added that’s just not a healthy alternative. There seems to be so much conflicting and misleading information about agave that it’s hard for consumers to make a any sense of it all.

If soy products like soy milk and tofu etc are so bad why is it that the Japanese and Chinese have been using it for thousands of years and they’re probably the healthiest and longest living people on the planet. Sure there’s some unhealthy soy products on the market that have been highly processed and contain harmful additives but unprocessed and fermented soy products have been used for centuries with clearly positive health benefits. It all really comes down to how the particular soy product is grown and processed/produced that will determine whether it’s healthy or not.

The Japanese and Chinese don’t drink soy milk and they don’t eat large amounts of tofu. The soy they consume is mostly of the fermented kind like tempeh and miso.

hey hey, I like your blog, plenty of good healthy info, links, etc which is great! I have a question though. I admit, I love dairy food, LOVE it… especially milk. I actually make a huge effort to buy the least fiddled with milk that I can (ie, at least non homogenised, but preferably non pasturised) ..I have no idea why I love the taste and feeling of a lovely tall glass of milk but I do.

I’ve done a lot of reading on the subject of dairy milk, not quite enough to satisfy my own curiosity but still enough to make me want to ask you, why didn’t you mention raw unpasturised milk when you discussed milk in this post?

From what I’ve read, I’m led to believe that yeah, the ol milk we take for granted is not what it seems as you’ve mentioned. But I’ve also read that unpasturised milk sort of kicks arse. I haven’t found many studies on the topic, except for one european one which tested only 700 families with positive results (lost the link)..

Anyway… what’s your make on it and is there any research you can point me to? Much appreciated!! : D

p.s… your story is amazing! :) Absolutely awesome!

Hey there! I don’t advocate raw milk because to me it’s still milk. I know a lot of people who do advocate it, however, so it’s a personal decision. Even though it’s raw, it still contains casein which is a major tumour growth promoter. Plus, drinking the milk of another species doesn’t sit well with me. Again, this is just my personal stance on the topic. Thanks so much! :)

Hi Jess,
I am based in Sydney and trying to get a hold of Coconut Secret Raw Organic Vegan Coconut Aminos. No one that I have tried seems to even know of it. Do you have any recommendations for retailers? Or alternatively of an online retailer who will ship to Australia (Amazon.com won’t) .
Thanks!

hi just found this post and found it really good. is cooking with canola oil safe?

I realise this is an old post but just thought I would mention a couple of things.

The conditoins you mentioned regarding farmed fish do not mention organically farmed fish, this is VERY different.

Regarding the agave, Joseph Mercola’s opinion has been debated to great length.
Please refer to this link for further information from the other side of the debate.

Glad you mentioned Bragg’s and Subway though, evil stuff.

Also agree that dairy is not a valid source of nutrition, but sparingly probably not an issue. Although I believe there to be plenty of natural alternatives.

It’s embarrassing to think of how many years I thought subway was a healthy option. I have a friend who’s family now owns a subway outlet and it is so hard to bite my tongue when she gushes on about how fresh everything is. It is so sad that there is so much confusion and misinformation in the world of health. Thanks for being an advocate for positive change Jess xx

I’m sorry, but I can’t believe anyone would take anything Mercola says as gospel! If you concur with the opinions (and results of years of scientific research) of T. Colin Campbell (as I do) then you should hold Mercola in contempt (as Campbell does). He’s a snakeoil salesman.
And agave is no better and no worse than the other sweeteners recommended here.

Excellent post Jess. Personally, I think juicing is the way to go. Been doing it for around 5 months now and have never felt better. Jon

could you tell me what you think about goats milk? I dont drink cows milk and I like making nut milks but I just want to know more about goats milk :)

alright, all of the above EXCEPT dairy. if you have access to grass-fed, non homogenized and not ultra-pasteurized…or better yet…just raw dairy. do it. Yoghurt, some cottage cheese, just to name a few, are excellent sources of nutrition. Oh, and butter. Butter is your friend :) Just do your research and all in moderation. There are a lot of issues with nut milk, such as high levels of oxalates in almonds or caregeenan in store-bought versions. http://www.westonaprice.org/making-it-practical/milk-it-does-a-body-good

with respect, you have given mis-information about msg being in Bragg’s liquid aminos. Please refer to the following article which clearly illustrates and explains msg, and scientifically refutes your claim.

http://www.edenfoods.com/articles/view.php?articles_id=207