Small Steps, Sensible Choices, Superior Health.
To have good cardiovascular health, we've always been told, you must avoid saturated fats. Well, they're not saying that anymore. Experts are now saying that eggs, red meat and saturated fats are good for you.
Most of us that have been living a more natural lifestyle and following the Weston A. Price ways, have known this all along.
Heart disease has been one of
the leading cause of death for the last 60 years now. It's interesting
how that increase coincides with the 1950's introduction of oleo, margarine,
tub spreads and hydrogenated oils. These are all trans fats.
It's finally being discovered that healthy saturated fats like butter, lard and coconut oil are not to blame for poor cardiovascular health.
In fact, they are beneficial fats and it's the trans fats that are wreaking havoc on our cardiovascular health. Fortunately the FDA is now trying to get the trans fats out of our food system.
New research is changing the rules on
how to achieve better cardiovascular health. Experts are recommending that if
you don't want to suffer with heart disease, avoid trans fats, sugar,
grains and refined carbohydrates. Those are the culprits, not the
Ditch the Processed Foods.
So you switch to butter, coconut oil and olive oil, thinking you're on your way to better cardiac health. Not so fast, avoiding trans fats is not as easy as you think.
It's still found in our processed foods both from the grocery store and from the foods we eat out in restaurants.
Years ago as a working Mom, I confess, I had a pantry loaded with all the wrong stuff. I had boxes of “add meat meals”, mac and cheese, side dishes and plenty of cans of chili and pasta type foods. Let's not forget the freezer where there was no shortage of frozen treats, breaded meat concoctions and pizza.
Thankfully, I started learning more about the impact that food can have on our health. It's been a process, but now we eat nutrient dense, real food, cooked from scratch.
I have changed the way our family eats, but sadly, most people still eat a diet of primarily processed foods. In order to reverse the trend on heart disease, we have to change the way we eat.
Stop the Sugar.
In addition to trans fats, experts are say that sugar, grains and refined carbohydrates are also responsible for negatively impacting our cardiovascular health. Not surprisingly, if you read the labels on processed food, you'll find they are loaded with sugar (it has many names), and grains (mostly GMO corn), in addition to the trans fats.
I wish I could say that sugar is not harmful to your health, but sugar doesn't seem to have any health benefits that can't be obtained from a more natural source. To be clear, we are talking about white refined sugar as well as corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and all the other corn sweetener derivatives.
It's not only bad for our cardiovascular health but it seems that none of the body systems can handle it very well and it's a trigger for other diseases too. Sugar is just one of those things you just decide to eat very little of, if any at all. Sugar is highly addictive and you will crave it if you try to cut it out of your diet.
Fortunately, once you get off the sugar bandwagon you'll find you don't crave it anymore. Please don't consider using any sugar substitutes like Splenda or Equal, that's opening up a whole new set of health problems. Stevia is a natural sugar substitute that is safe to consume, even those suffering with diabetes.
Other natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar are all safe for healthy people, but use in moderation.
Go Against the Grain.
Grains are one of the hardest things to transition out of your diet. However, you can still get your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables.
To enjoy good cardiovascular health consider transitioning from grains to more whole foods, and if possible buy organic.
Or go to a farmer's market and ask how heavily they spray, if it's minimal, just give it a good washing and enjoy.
I would rather eat local produce with minimal spraying than buy organic that took 10 days from picking to arrive at the grocery store. The fresher the food, the higher the nutrients.
Try eating more vegetables in place of the grains. I started limiting grains years ago because I noticed my weight would increase when I'd eat them. You can still feel quite satiated when substituting vegetables for grains. I enjoy sliced tomatoes or even left over cooked vegetables with my eggs in the morning instead of toast.
I usually eat burgers without the bun, but lettuce can be used in place of a bun or bread in sandwiches. Most other things can be put on a bed of lettuce for a tasty salad. A soft tortilla can also be a replacement if you really it. Saute cabbage, zucchini and other types of squash as a substitute for pasta.
They used to say that red meat would negatively affect your cardiovascular health. I would agree that beef from the grocery store is not the healthiest meat to eat and leads to inflammation.
However, experts now know that beef and other meats that come from organically fed or pasture raised (grass fed) animals are actually a good protein source.
Meat from animals raised in their natural
environment are much healthier and they aren't routinely fed
antibiotics and hormones.
Cows graze on grass, their digestive system was not designed to eat corn.
Meat from the grocery store comes from cows that are raised in crowed, confined animal feeding operations (CAFO).
They are fed mostly corn which is almost certainly to be GMO (genetically modified organisms) corn.
Cows raised like this are stressed, sick and can't thrive, consequently they are routinely given antibiotics and hormones. They are then processed and delivered to the grocer's meat counter for the consumer.
If you need help finding a good source for beef and other meats, try your farmer's market or the Local Harvest website. When you do find a good source, go ahead and enjoy that burger or steak!
The same holds true for chicken. The poultry sold in the store are raised from chickens that are raised in similar conditions. They never see the light of day, they are kept in crowded chicken houses and their feed is laced with growth hormones and antibiotics.
If fish is your favorite, buy wild caught not farm-raised, for the similar reasons. Of course there is always the risk of increase mercury from consuming too much fish. Purchase wisely when buying fish.
Some things haven't caught up yet,
according to the FDA, the recommended amount of fat needed per day is
10 percent. However, we are learning that most of us actually need
50-75 percent of our calories to come from the fats in our diets. So
many body systems rely on fat to function properly.
Yes, eggs, butter and other
high-quality fats (saturated and monounsaturated) from animal and
tropical sources are good fat sources. Again, you're looking for
organic or pastured animals raised in their natural environment.
I buy eggs from a local source as well. In a high quality egg you will notice that the yolks are darker, the whites are more firm and the shell is stronger. If you have a local farmer's market these should be pretty easy to find.
Most people know that olive oil is good for cardiovascular health but so is coconut oil and other nut and seed oils. I use coconut oil to bake with, saute my vegetables, cook my eggs, and pop my popcorn.
Avocados and nuts are also beneficial saturated fats that your body can easily use.
if you would like more detailed information on this topic, check out Dr. Mercola's article.