Last week we looked at the impact our food choices can have on our health and well-being. This week we will look at key food strategies, and how improving our diet can make an impact on our toxic burden.

Fresh is best

Using fresh ingredients can make all the difference. Opting for organic, quality fresh foods helps you to avoid pesticides.

If organic options are not readily available, make sure your fruits and vegetables are washed well. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that soaking vegetables in a solution of water and bicarb soda for 10 minutes before rinsing removed most of the residual chemicals on fruit.

Remember, whilst organic produce is the best option, they also need to be washed well. Pesticides and herbicides are still used, just not as many.

Also, whilst organic produce is the best option, they still need to be washed well. Pesticides and herbicides are still used, just not as many.

Keep it simple

Sometimes we want something quick and simple, and all packaged foods are not equal. Learning to read an ingredients list can help you to make the right choice in the supermarket aisle.

Avoid foods with chemical preservatives and colourings, and opt for foods that use natural ones. Even some numbers used can be from natural sources. There are numerous apps to help you while you shop so you can recognise which numbers to avoid. Always choose packaged food with the least ingredients. This typically means less processing.

Remember, the more processed the food the less nutrient-dense it is. Avoid refined sugars, and if you want a little sweetener, choose something like maple syrup, raw honey or coconut nectar. When it comes to sweeteners, moderation is key.

Oils

Choosing what cooking oils to use can be difficult. Preferably, look for cold-pressed and unrefined oils. They often have a lower smoke point so avoid cooking at high temperatures.

Good options for cooking oils include almond, avocado and coconut oils. These oils can be used for frying when they are refined, so make sure they are organic and GMO-free. As with sweeteners, always use oils in moderation.

Quality protein

Good quality protein choices are an excellent source of sustained energy. Protein can come from both meat and plant sources.

For meat protein choose grass-fed beef where available, and always choose free-range organic chicken and eggs. Non-organic meats can contain antibiotics and been raised on GMO feed.

Fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, anchovies, black cod, and herring are not only good sources of protein but are high in omega-3 fatty acids
Nuts and seeds are rich sources of protein. They are also high in fibre which is essential for the elimination of toxins via the bowel.

To supplement or not to supplement?

While food is always best, supplements can be a great way to replenish the vitamins and minerals you are missing. Unfortunately, they can also add to your toxic burden if they are not right for you.

Never buy supermarket supplements. They are cheap and often use low quality or synthetic vitamins.

Avoid anything that makes wild claims such as weight loss, anti-ageing or hair growth. They are typically marketing ploys to get you to buy them.
The best way to know what is right for you is to talk to your naturopath. They can arrange for appropriate testing to find out exactly what you are lacking, and provide you with good quality supplements that you need.

Fad Diets

Never follow a food strategy that is too restrictive or heavily focused on particular food groups. There are always fad diets circulating that may help in one area, but often leave you lacking in other areas.

Your diet and food choices should be nourishing to support you through the various stages of life. Having enough of the right vitamins and minerals to effectively produce and detoxify hormones, produce energy, and support your mood can have an enormous impact on your health and wellbeing.

Come back next week as we journey into the next in our series on the six stressors, light.

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