15 Foods A Nutritionist Refuses To Eat
Eating in the modern world can be difficult, what with all the genetically modified, chemically treated, and inhumanely raised food floating around out there. Sometimes compromising is necessary when it comes to food choices, if only to make the best of the current food crisis.
That said, there are certain foods that my philosophy as a nutritionist will simply not allow me to eat. Here are 15 foods that will never touch my lips:
Our bodies don't recognize these substances as food, and they tend not to aid weight loss in any meaningful way.
Alternatives: stevia, rice malt syrup, maple syrup, dates, raw honey (in small amounts).
These come from egg-laying hens confined to cages, meaning they don't have space to move or stretch, and they show more fearful behavior and become prone to skeletal problems.
Alternative: Go for pasture-fed and certified organic instead.
Highly processed, high GI because of the high and hidden sugar content (which causes your blood sugars to drop very quickly after eating them), high in sodium, high in preservatives. Just don't eat them.
Farmed salmon has a high mercury content and is usually higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides.
Alternatives: Wild salmon.
Processed peanut butter
The second ingredient listed is often sugar, which means a large proportion of the peanut butter is sugar!
Alternatives: 100% nut butters found from in health food stores or a health foods section of grocery stores. My favorite is 100% almond butter or ABC (almond, brazil nut and cashew) nut butter.
There's tons of hidden salt and sugar! The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Acidity — a prominent characteristic of tomatoes — causes BPA to leach into your food.
Alternative: Use fresh tomatoes and sauté to make them into tomato sauce.
When nuts come pre-salted, the sodium content is sky high.
Alternatives: Raw and activated nuts and seeds.
Pre-packaged or frozen meals
Frozen or pre-packaged meals usually contain hidden sugar, high fructose corn syrup, salt and preservatives.
Alternatives: Home-cooked meals or pre-packaged meals from health food stores.
Table salt is highly refined, which leaves it with little nutritional value. In high amounts it can be responsible for hypertension.
Alternative: Himalayan pink crystal salt
Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk.
Alternatives: Organic milk, A2 milk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk
Most commercial vegetable oils are highly processed and high in trans fats. Saturated fats usually get the blame, but TRANS fats are the ones responsible for the increase in LDL — the bad type of cholesterol that may lead to bad heart health.
Alternatives: Coconut oil, olive oil
Packaged, processed bread
Bread you find packaged in supermarkets is typically refined and processed. These loaves are packed with (processed) wheat and gluten that the human digestive system finds very hard to break down. This kind of bread is also high in sodium, and is sometimes even high in sugar!
Alternatives: Ezeekial bread, rye or spelt, sourdough, make your own.
The animals that make these products are given growth hormones, antibiotics and other veterinary drugs, and are raised in deplorable conditions that promote disease. These meats are also filled with sodium nitrite (a commonly used preservative and antimicrobial agent that also adds color and flavor) and other chemical flavorings and dyes.
Alternatives: Grass-fed and organic meat
Margarine is high in trans fats, the fats formed during the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oils into a solid substance.
Alternatives: Organic butter and coconut butter
Unfermented soy products
Unfermented soy products, including tofu and soy milk, can mess with your hormones.
Alternatives: Fermented soy such as tempeh, miso and natto.
Jessica Sepel is a nutritionist and health expert who specializes in disordered eating. She is based in Sydney, Australia and received a bachelor's degree in health science and public health from Macquarie University. Sepel is a regular contributor to Vogue Australia and a variety of international publications, and continues to grow her eponymous health brand, JSHealth, which offers coaching programs, health plans, recipes, and supplements. Check out her mbg class, How To Stop Dieting & Learn To Eat Intuitively.