Dietary Guidelines and the Food Pyramid

by admin

Can you think of a time when you couldn’t find any food to buy or eat?  Believe it or not, a little over 100 years ago, there were a lot of people in the United States who didn’t have enough to eat.  Food was not widely available.  There weren’t multiple grocery stores in every town, and they certainly didn’t have 24 hour convenience stores.

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Water Facts: All you Need to Know About H20 Consumption

by admin

Nearly everyone has heard that the body is approximately 70% water.  Yet, very few people then make the connection that the preferred beverage we should consume throughout each day is water.  Sometimes it seems as though many people drink anything but water.  Throughout each day, the body is constantly losing water through breathing, urinating and sweating.  This means, of course, that you need to replace or replenish that water.  Thirst is one way the body lets you know it’s time to refill your body’s water supply.  Unfortunately, by the time you actually feel thirsty, this can indicate that your body has already entered into a state of dehydration. More

Understanding: Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load

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Both of these terms relate to how your body responds to the food that you eat, in terms of blood sugar.

Glycemic Index
The glycemic index (GI) is defined as the measure of the power of foods to raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after being eaten.  The glycemic index is measured on a scale of 1-100.  Foods with a lower glycemic index raise your blood sugar less than when you consume a food with a higher glycemic index rating.  In other words, a lower glycemic index tends to be better than one that is higher.

Pure glucose has a glycemic index of 100, and is used as the comparison for other foods.  Here are some examples:  the glycemic index of jelly beans is 80, and rice cakes is also 80.  Corn flakes have a glycemic index of 83.  A banana is 56, while an orange is 43.  Sweet potato and yams are 54 and 52, while breads range from 60-90.  Broccoli and spinach, meanwhile, have a glycemic index of 6.

The glycemic index of a food is determined by testing the actual blood glucose measurements of a group of people after that food is eaten.  This is because there are many factors that affect a particular food’s glycemic index – not just the amount of carbohydrate it contains.

The Glycemic Index was developed in 1981.  Since then, over 2,500 foods and food-like substances have been tested to examine their effect on people’s blood sugar.  In doing this research, it was found that many other factors besides the amount of carbohydrate in the food were important in how the food affected blood sugar levels.

What else affects the GI of a Food?

  • The type of carbohydrate present
  • The amount of fiber in the food
  • The amount of processing the food has been through
  • The speed of digestion
  • The speed of absorption by your body

Glycemic Load
Glycemic Load is a measure that uses the Glycemic Index and combines it with the amount of a food that you have eaten. The formula for Glycemic Load is simple:

A food’s Glycemic Index, times grams of carbohydrate in the food consumed, divided by 100.

GL*grams carbs/100.

The Glycemic Index described above is a measure of how a particular food is digested, absorbed, and ultimately travels through your blood as glucose.  An aspect that is absent from this description is how much of that food that you eat and the impact of the total amount of sugar entering your body.  In other words, Glycemic Index describes how much of a particular food ends up as glucose in your blood (blood sugar), but it needs to be expanded upon to describe how much of a particular food have you eaten.

Glycemic load was developed at Harvard in the 1990′s to improve upon the concept of the Glycemic Index.  A lower Glycemic Load value refers to a lower total load of glucose in your blood stream.  For Glycemic Load, 10 or less is low, medium is 11-19, and a Glycemic Load of 20 or greater is high.  A range of Glycemic Load daily values is 60 on the low end to anywhere as high as 180 on the high end.  A best practice is to keep your total Glycemic Load under 100 per day.

Glycemic Load Tool:  See this index for more examples of other common foods’ glycemic loads.

Important Considerations:

The Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of a food, and of your overall diet, is an important aspect of the quality of your nutrition.  High blood sugar levels are associated with all of the chronic diseases, most notably obesity, heart disease and diabetes, but high blood sugar levels are also associated with several types of cancer.  However, a holistic approach is always critical to ensure that your fuel contains all of the essential elements your body needs.  Total energy consumption, nutrient content, variety, and food quality are all key aspects to understand, along with your fuel’s affect on your blood sugar.

Weekly Shopping List

by admin

After the Master Shopping List has been reviewed and shopped for, the weekly list is relatively the same each week, with some variation depending on the particular recipes and/or meat, chicken, fish, etc. that you will need.

Organic Vegetables
___celery
___carrots
___red leaf lettuce
___green leaf lettuce
___romaine lettuce
___organic baby green salad mix
___tomatoes
___avocados
___garlic
___kale
___chard
___spinach
___beets
___leeks
___yellow or white onion
___red onion
___green onion
___red cabbage
___yams
___broccoli
___cauliflower
___cabbage (red, green)
___ginger
___zucchini
___yellow crook-neck squash

Meat, Poultry & Fish
___fresh fish
___frozen fish
___chicken legs/thighs
___whole chicken
___chicken breasts
___ground turkey
___beef (organic, grass-fed if possible)
___ground beef
___stew beef
___chuck roast
___flank steak
___rib-eye
___filet mignon
___Australian rack of lamb
___bison/buffalo
___venison
___shrimp
___sea scallops

Organic Fruit
___bananas
___apples
___pears
___oranges
___lemon
___nectarine
___organic blueberries
___organic raspberries
___organic strawberries
___organic grapes
___pineapple
___peaches
___honeydew melon
___cantaloupe
___plums

Nut Milks
___almond milk
___hemp milk
___coconut milk
___coconut water

Canned or Carton Foods
___kidney beans, navy beans
___chickpeas
___tomato puree
___chopped tomatoes
___organic vegetable stock
___organic chicken stock
 

Raw Nuts
___almonds
___cashews
___walnuts
___pecans
___hazelnuts
___macadamia nuts

Eggs
___organic, free-range eggs

Dairy
___organic butter

Nut Butters & Honey
___raw almond butter
___raw organic honey
___tahini

Flours
___almond flour
___coconut flour

Frozen Fruit
___organic blueberries
___mixed berries
___organic peaches

Preventing Dehydration: Tips for Hydrating the Human Body

by admin

When it comes to hydration, we want our bodies to be like a soup, rather than a stew.  Think about it, our amazing bodies have literally trillions of cells undergoing trillions of reactions every single second we are alive.  Most of those reactions deal with the uptake of nutrients or the elimination of wastes.  Would you think it would be easier for those reactions (movement of materials) to take place in a sludgy, crowded stew-ish environment, where everything is thick and cramped together, or in an environment much more like a free-flowing soup or a broth?  If you said broth, you are right on the mark.  You see, the body is made up of roughly 60% water, so you can visualize your body as a pot of soup where the cells make up the chunks, and 60% of it is water.  Now think of dehydration as simply removing some of the water.  What happens when we remove the water?  The chunks in the soup get more crowded, and the soup starts to look more like a stew.  When this happens in our bodies, it becomes much more difficult to transport materials (nutrients/wastes) to where they need to go, things get backed up, and we begin moving away from optimal function and health.

Why is dehydration dangerous?
As mentioned in the Insight, the symptoms of dehydration are anything from headaches and feelings of lethargy and/or dizziness, to numbness and tingling, but the earliest sign of dehydration is thirst.  That’s right, by the time you feel thirsty you may have already lost up to 2% of your total water volume.  Once again, how we feel is inaccurate for how healthy we are, and even scarier is that your overall ability to feel thirsty decreases with age - so it is even more important to add water, regardless of thirst, as we age.  If that doesn’t get you to the canteen, then maybe this will:  research by Dr. F Batmanghelidj, M.D discovered that “…dehydration produces stress, chronic pains and many degenerative diseases.”

Life causes us to lose our valuable water in a variety of ways, such as digestion, sweat, urination, and defecation.  Even breathing causes a natural loss of water, and our bodies become more stew-like, which is why it is so critical to add water throughout the day.  We can do that in two forms, through the water we consume and more importantly through the foods we consume.  The more natural (from the earth) and more alive (fresh uncooked) our foods, the more water content held within them.  Most of the foods we eat should be fresh vegetables and fruits which are loaded with water.

  • Apples are 85% water
  • Broccoli is 91% water
  • Cucumbers are 96% water!

Think about it - do you feel more thirsty after eating a salad, or after eating potato chips?  Obviously the chips, which have had the water cooked out of them and are loaded with salt.  A Bonfire Health Vital Behavior is to keep lots of fresh fruit and veggies around the house.  So the more fresh foods we add into our diet, and the more water we drink, the more soup-like and the healthier our body will be.

So, Drink Up!

 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Essential Supplementation

by admin

“Omega-3s.” You’ve heard about them in the news. You’ve seen them at the store. You’ve probably heard someone talking about cod liver oil. If you’re really lucky, your doctor may even have mentioned them to you. But what exactly are Omega-3 fatty acids?

The Bonfire Health nutrient glossary defines an essential nutrient. Certain fats are essential nutrients. A fat, chemically speaking, is made up of a long chain of carbon molecules whose distinct characteristic is that they do not mix with water. Many foods contain fats. Within these foods there are different types of fats. The fat that you find in butter or oil is different from the fat in a creamy avocado.

Omega-3/Omega-6 Ratio
When we eat these fats, we use them in our bodies. Fat has many essential roles inside our bodies. This includes the construction of cell membranes and the construction of hormones, not just energy storage (also known as the roll of blubber that is hanging around most Americans’ middles). The membrane of all of the cells in your body is constructed of a layer of fatty molecules known as lipids. This membrane is called the phospholipid bilayer.

One of the types of fat that make up this membrane are Omega-3 fatty acids. The other is Omega-6 fatty acids. It is best to have an equal amount of these fatty acids in your diet, in other words, a 1:1 ratio. The types of fat that you eat affect the type of fats that are found in your cell membranes. Therefore the types of fats you eat can affect how the cells function. When you eat an imbalanced consumption of Omega-6 and Omega-3, inflammation can wreak havoc on your body and your health.

ALA, EPA and DHA
There are three types of Omega-3 fatty acids that are most commonly discussed, as they are the most nutritionally important. A-Linolenic Acid (ALA) has 18 carbons. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) has 20 carbons. And docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has 22 carbons. Each of these are found in foods and need to be consumed regularly.

Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include nuts, seeds, and meat from healthy animals and fish. ALA is the easiest to obtain through diet, as is it prominent in nuts, seeds, avocados and other staples of the Bonfire Diet Style. DHA and EPA are a little bit harder to find. The most prominent sources are limited to fish or the algae that the fish eat while swimming around in the ocean. Three to four servings of fish (such as salmon, anchovies, sardines, and herring) per week usually does the trick, provided you aren’t overeating Omega-6 fatty acids.

Too Much Omega-6
Most Standard American Diets are extremely high in Omega-6 fatty acids - anywhere from 10-20:1 as compared to Omega-3s. This is integral in the onset of chronic diseases related to inflammation. If you are regularly consuming bread, pasta or cereals, which are high in Omega-6 fatty acids, then you are most likely not at a 1:1 ratio. We’ll say it again: Remove these foods from your diet.

Too Little Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential, meaning that we need to consume them for life. If we do not eat enough of them, we will exhibit Omega-3 deficiencies. The most common Omega-3 deficiencies are skin problems, depression, poor vision, hyperactivity, increased susceptibility to infection, and inflammatory diseases. There is some evidence that a lack of Omega-3 in utero can cause developmental problems in infants that may lead to ADHD and other behavioral problems. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most widely-research nutritional supplements. They reduce the risk of heart disease and emotional disorders, and they even improve your skin and nails. Making sure you are getting enough Omega-3s is critical!

One Surefire Solution
The best way to ensure you are getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids is to take a high quality fish oil supplement every day. Make sure it includes DHA and EPA fatty acids. Make sure it is IFOS (International Fish Oil Standards) certified, guaranteeing that there are no harmful toxins in the product that the fish may have bio-accumulated over time. This is a no brainer! Get yourself some Omega-3!!

Master Shopping List

by admin

NOTE:  Each week there will be staples that you always buy, such as eggs, vegetables, fruit; when buying meats for dinners, be sure to buy and cook extra so that you always have leftovers for lunch the next day (planning and cooking to intentionally have leftovers is called a vital behavior, which is defined as“an action step which leads directly to a desired outcome”; in this case, the desired outcome is to eat a healthy and affordable lunch).  You don’t/won’t need to buy everything on this list, particularly with regards to seasonal fruits and vegetables, spices and meats.  Buy what you can, buy what you like (no, that doesn’t mean donuts, ice cream and pizza), and ingredients for the recipes that interest you.

Organic Vegetables
___celery
___carrots
___red leaf lettuce
___green leaf lettuce
___romaine lettuce
___organic salad mix
___tomatoes
___avocados
___garlic
___kale
___chard
___spinach
___beets
___leeks
___yellow/white onion
___red onion
___green onion
___red cabbage
___yams
___broccoli
___cauliflower
___cabbage (red or green)
___ginger
___zucchini
___squash

Organic Fruit
___bananas
___apples
___pears
___oranges
___lemon
___nectarine
___organic blueberries
___organic raspberries

___organic strawberries
___organic grapes
___pineapple
___peaches
___honeydew melon
___cantaloupe
___plums

Nut Milks
___almond milk
___hemp milk
___rice milk
___coconut milk
___coconut water

Canned or Carton Foods
___kidney/navy beans [NOTE: - beans/legumes contain saponins and lectins]
___chickpeas [NOTE: - beans/legumes contain saponins and lectins]
___tomato puree
___chopped tomatoes
___org. vegetable stock
___org. chicken stock  

Raw Nuts – not roasted or salted
___almonds
___sunflower seeds
___cashews
___walnuts
___pecans
___hazelnuts
___macadamia nuts

Dried Fruits (unsulphured)

___organic raisins
___dried organic figs
___dried organic prunes
___dried cranberry (w/o sugar or oil)
___dried organic cherry
___org. shredded coconut

Eggs 
___organic eggs

Dairy (optional)
___organic butter
___org. heavy cream
___raw cheddar cheese

Flours
___almond flour
___coconut flour

Meat, Poultry & Fish
___fresh fish
___frozen fish
___chicken legs/thighs
___whole chicken
___chicken breasts
___ground turkey
___organic grass fed ground beef
___organic grass fed stew beef
___organic grass fed chuck roast
___organic grass fed flank steak
___organic grass fed rib-eye
___organic grass fed filet mignon
___organic ground pork
___organic pork shoulder/butt
___imported lamb
___bison/buffalo
___venison
___shrimp
___sea scallops

Grains
___organic oats
___organic quinoa

Nut Butters & Honey
___raw almond butter
___Tahini

Oils
___virgin coconut oil
___virgin olive oil
___grapeseed oil

Sweeteners
___Stevia
___raw honey
___pure maple syrup

Sauces, & Condiments
___red wine vinegar
___Balsamic vinegar
___Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce; but it’s still made with soy which isn’t the great food it’s advertised as)
___ [click here for homemade, soy-free, gluten free "soy sauce" recipe ]
___organic mayonnaise
___Dijon mustard
___chili sauce/salsa

Frozen Fruit
___organic blueberries
___organic mixed berries
___organic peaches
___pineapple tidbits

Herbs, Spices, Powders & Extract
___vanilla extract
___sea sat
___cayenne pepper
___red pepper flakes
___cracked pepper
___Italian spice
___cumin
___cinnamon
___vanilla extract
___curry powder
___marjoram
___parsley, dried
___thyme, dried
___dill, dried
___oregano, dried
___basil, dried
___bay leaf
___anise seed
___fennel seed

Miscellaneous
___unsweetened cocoa
___raw cacao powder
___raw cacao nibs

HEALTH TIP:  Whenever walking into a whole food store, first stop at juice bar and order 1-2 oz. of wheatgrass juice and/or a “green” vegetable juice drink; drink (wheatgrass juice first) as you shop in the store.

THE EGG AND CHOLESTEROL MYTH:
Fresh organic free-range eggs are a great source of many valuable natural nutrients including protein, and cholesterol, which is an essential building block for the body.Eating eggs does not elevate one’s cholesterol (not to mention that cholesterol does NOT cause atherosclerosis or clogging of the arteries – that is also a myth). Also, egg yolks contain biotin which the liver uses to metabolize cholesterol in the production of many critical hormones. Eat eggs, and eat them often.

NON-STICK COOKWARE IS TOXIC
Non-stick cookware leaches dangerous cancer-causing chemicals such as Teflon into your food – STOP USING NON-STICK! Use heavy duty stainless cookware. Shopping Tip: Looking for decent stainless steel cookware?  I’ve bought great skillets, sauce pans and stockpots at Marshall’s, TJ Maxx or Ross. You may not find a full set, but you can pick up random piece of quality heavy stainless cookware for much less than at stores such as Macy’s or Williams Sonoma.   – Dr. Paul

Understanding the Cause of Obesity: How to Identify Toxic Foods

by admin

Currently, two-thirds of American adults are overweight and one-third obese, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  That means that 58 million are overweight, 40 million obese, 3 million morbidly obese, and all are at serious risk for virtually all chronic disease.

Why is everyone getting so fat?
There are several identifying factors behind the recent surge of obesity, but one of the major contributors is toxic food choices.  Diet-induced diseases, including obesity, account for the largest burden of chronic illnesses and health problems worldwide.  The current Western diet, characterized by foods that are highly processed, deficient in nutrient quality, and high in energy density, has Americans fat and sick as ever.  More Americans each day are forsaking healthy home-cooked meals, and are gorging on calorie-rich, nutrient-poor snacks, sodas and sweets when the dinner bell rings.  In fact, 90% of the money Americans spend on foods goes toward processed foods.

Why are processed foods so toxic?
Very simply, your body is unable to express optimal health when it is fed unnatural food.  Your body knows exactly what to do with food that grows from the ground and is found in nature, but it becomes confused when faced with mechanically altered foods.

The modern convenience foods of today – sugar and white flour products with hydrogenated vegetable oils – are key factors in the alarming rate of chronic degenerative diseases, learning disabilities, and dental disease.  These denatured, processed foods do not provide sufficient nutrients to allow anyone’s body, especially children’s, to reach full potential of health, nor the proper functioning of the immune, nervous, skeletal, digestive, and reproductive systems.

At the heart of the problem:  Sugar.  Refined sugars, or simple carbohydrates, provide no nutritional value to your body other than to provide calories.  When we consume processed carbohydrates such as white flour and sugar, it is absorbed rapidly into our systems and needs relatively no digestion time.  Our blood and cells get flooded with sugar, and the result is a physical disaster.

Many researchers believe refined or processed, high glucose foods are the major dietary cause of all degenerative disease.  The sugar surge depletes, replaces and uses up important vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  It quadruples adrenaline output, inhibits immune functioning, lowers metabolism, raises cholesterol, and increases triglycerides.  The glucose that is produced from refined foods gets stored as fat.  The conversion process not only causes fatty deposits on your body, but also in your cells, on your arteries, and on your heart.  Fat is even deposited in your liver, kidneys and other organs.  The constant bombardment of blood sugar raises your risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, premature aging, and cancer.

According to the USDA, people consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat no more than about 10 teaspoons of added sugar.  USDA surveys show that the average American is consuming about 20 teaspoons of sugar per day.

What are some characteristics of non-toxic foods?
• Been around for thousands of years and eaten by your ancestors
• Grown from the ground or tree
• Animals that graze freely
• Variable quality
• Spoils quickly
• Requires preparation
• Vibrant colors, rich textures
• Authentically flavorful
• Strong connection to land and culture

What are some characteristics of toxic foods?
• Produced, manufactured, and likely only been around for a short period of time
• Made in a laboratory or factory
• Animals that are raised in captivity and fed unnaturally
• Always the same
• Keeps forever (ever seen a twinkie go bad?)
• Ready for instant consumption
• Dull, bland
• Artificially flavorful
• No connection to land or culture

Here are a couple more suggestions:
• If it didn’t exist when hunter-gatherers were around, it’s probably not food.
• If it’s wrapped in layers of plastic, cardboard and foil, it’s probably not food.
• If it requires heavy advertising to sell it, it’s probably not food.

Be sure to check out the The Top 10 Never Eat Foods list.

Remember, addition is the first step toward making lasting change.  So find some foods that fit the non-toxic criteria, and give your body what it needs to be healthy, age gracefully, and feel great.

Good Fats – Know the Facts!

by admin

Calcium is to bones as fat is to ______________???  If you guessed nerve tissue, your brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerve system, you guessed right.  Fat is the structural component that makes up your nerve system.  Your endocrine (hormone) system is also made mostly by fat.  These two systems are primarily responsible for regulating your entire body.  Fat is also responsible for making up much of the cell wall in all of your 100 trillion cells.  This is one of the reasons why fat is an essential nutrient.

The type of fat that makes up your cell walls is directly related to what types of fat you have in your diet.  Humans should be eating a varied diet of fats, from all types of natural foods like lean, wild meats and seafood, plants and oils.  The types of fats you want to avoid are from heavily processed foods like hydrogenated oils, margarine and any plant oils that don’t really seem that oily.  For example, when you bite into an avocado or olive, you could see that just by pressing it, oil would come out – whereas, the same principle doesn’t really hold true for things like corn.  The more common sense involved in the things we feed our cells, the better.  Now, these natural fats that are found in nature are called Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.  They often have a ratio of around 1 (or 2):1 Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the natural, healthy food sources available to us.  If we consume these healthy fats in those ratios, then our cells will be built around that similar ratio, which is very important for cell health.

Why is this Important?  One Word:  INFLAMMATION
Eating the wrong fats causes inflammation (or silent inflammation) in the body.  And it is associated with nearly all lifestyle diseases:  heart disease, cancer, obsesity, type II diabetes.  It is virtually guaranteed to run rampant in your body if you are consuming a diet that resembles the USDA’s food pyramid guide or a typical American’s diet.  These diets have an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio much closer to 10 or 20 to 1, Omega-6 to Omega-3.

The content of our cells, essentially how we are made, depends on what we eat.  And it plays a huge role in how we break down.  Breakdown is part of life; some of your cells are undergoing the process of breakdown, while still others are in the process of dividing and creating new cells.  This is a very natural process; however, what types of fats you eat have a large role in whether that breakdown happens normally, or whether it triggers an inflammatory reaction in your body.

If you eat a natural (Paleolithic or hunter gatherer) diet, your ratios of fats will be balanced and there will be much less inflammation in your body.  Inflammation is linked to all lifestyle diseases, and so it is extremely important to include many healthy fats in your diet!!

Saturated vs. Unsaturated?
Although saturated fat has been much maligned in recent years, the truth is that our bodies need both saturated fats and unsaturated fats; addtionally, the source of those fats is critically important.  Animals typically have much more saturated fat, and so you want to make sure that the saturated fat you eat comes from healthy pasture-fed animals.  Unsaturated fat typically comes from plants, so you want to focus on healthy plant fats and oils that come from foods such as avocados, walnuts and olive oils.  Staying away from processed food will help you minimize your trans fats (man made) and unhealthy saturated fats, which are linked directly with heart disease and other lifestyle diseases.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!!  Everything you consume is a choice, either to build and feed your beautiful body’s cells, or to poison and harm the only vessel that contains your life.  A carrot is not just a carrot – your brilliant body is able to turn that into skin, eyes and hair – and a Twinkie is not just a sugary treat, but a wrapper covered poison bomb that will shorten your life over time.  We must make smart decisions with the foods that we eat, especially when it comes to fats.  Avoiding fats and focusing on carbohydrates in the form of grains, breads, pastas, and other packaged food-like products has cost many Americans their figure and their life.  Stop thinking of food as something to stop your stomach from moaning, or as mindless fuel, and start thinking of food for what it is:  sustenance, that which creates our body and mind and gives us life.

Fat Recommendations:

  • Eat a lot of fat. Our ancestors ate roughly 30-45% fats from healthy, natural sources and had no evidence of any heart disease, cancer, dementia, autoimmune disorders, skin problems (acne, eczema), etc.
  • 2-5 grams of healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acid each day
  • And lots of the following:  olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, raw nuts and seeds.

Know Your Fat:  A Glossary

Saturated Fats:  The term “saturated” comes from the way the molecules that hold this type of fat are bound together.  Fat molecules are made up of carbon atoms that are bonded together in a chain, with each one carrying its own hydrogen atoms.  In saturated fat, the carbon atoms are carrying as many hydrogen atoms as they are capable.  In other words, they are saturated in them.  This hydrogen saturation firmly packs the fat molecules together, almost like stacks.  This stacking changes the form of the fat.  Saturated fats are more likely to be a solid, like butter or lard, easily molded but not oily.  Saturated fats are also often used in packaged, processed foods because they are more solid at room temperatures.  Some saturated fat is needed in the body. These should come from healthy, grass fed beef and naturally raised animals.

Unsaturated Fats:  These are generally healthy fats, or “great fats!”  Replacing the saturated fats in your diet with unsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol and your risk for heart disease.  Unsaturated fats are not fully saturated with hydrogen bonds, the carbon molecules instead bond to each other.  Therefore, they do not have the rigid structure, and are oily and more fluid-like.  Unsaturated fats can be found in avocados, nuts, and vegetable oils such as olive oil.  There are 3 different types of unsaturated fat:  monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats.

Monounsaturated Fats:  These fats have one bond that is unsaturated.  That may not seem like a big difference, but it is!  These are often found in natural foods.  Olive oil is about 75% monounsaturated fat, and almonds are about 65% monounsaturated fat.  Add these great fats in order to reduce your risk of cardiac disease.

Polyunsaturated Fats:  These fats have more than one bond that is unsaturated.  You can find polyunsaturated fats in leafy greens, fish oil, seafood, bananas and sunflower seeds.

Hydrogenated Fats and Oils: When an unsaturated fat molecule has hydrogen atoms added to it, it eliminates the double bonds in the carbon atoms, replaces them with hydrogen bonds, and makes the molecule more saturated.  This process is called hydrogenation.  It extends the shelf life of these fats, but they are harmful to your body.  These are dangerous fats that you should stay away from!  Incomplete hydrogenization is very common.  This causes the formation of trans isomers.  Trans isomers are…(surprise!) linked to heart disease.

Transunsaturated (commonly known as “Trans”) Fats:  Also known as Partially Hydrogenated Oils, trans fats are not essential.  Trans fats promote heart disease. They are created when the hydrogenation process doesn’t fully saturate the fat molecule.  They are so dangerous that they have often been banned in many cities. New York City was the first city to ban trans fats from restaurants completely.  Evidence is mounting that trans fats promote Alzheimer’s, liver dysfunction, type II diabetes, and even infertility in women.  Simply put:  Do not eat trans fats.

Critical Concepts: Food Shopping

by admin

Food Shopping For Health:

  • A well-stocked kitchen and pantry is a vital behavior for a healthy lifestyle.
  • Shopping at big chain grocery stores is for basics like aluminum foil, diapers, etc. – it’s not where you buy fresh, organic, quality, nutritious foods.  For that, you must find your nearest “whole food” markets (it might be closer to work versus home – take an ice chest and shop at lunch or after work).
  • Whenever possible, buy and eat ONLY organic meats, fruits, and vegetables.  Organic meat has little to no hormones and antibiotics, AND, organic meat is grass or pasture fed – this means the saturated fats are beneficial, whereas grain-fed animals contain unhealthy fats.  Not only does organically-grown produce have little to no pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc., but organically-grown crops are also grown in soils that contain vitamins, minerals and trace elements which are vital to healthy physiological function.  Commercially-grown produce is grown on depleted soil using pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and petrochemical fertilizers.  And now commercially-grown produce is often genetically modified (GM) which has been proven to be a health concern.

Overview
The Master Shopping List was designed to make it simple and easy for you to save time and make your Bonfire Health Diet Style not only one of great pleasure but of great health.  Your first week’s shopping list will be more extensive in order to stock up on staples for your kitchen.  Please cross check your Menu Plan shopping lists with your pantry items.

We ask that you print out your Master Shopping List each week and review with menus and recipes before going to do your shopping.  You will probably have to shop at more than one store (i.e. Trader Joe’s, Costco and your nearest whole food or health food store).  Some healthy foods can be found at Costco and Trader Joe’s (but be careful – both stores have many, many “disease foods” on their shelves as well – don’t shop hungry).  Your best option is to go to your local farmers’ market (make sure to ask which items are organic if they aren’t labeled).

IMPORTANT:  As mentioned above, whenever possible, always buy organic fruit, vegetables and meats.  However, if this is not possible due to inconvenience or lack of availability, please do not get discouraged.  Any fruit or vegetable, even if it is non-organic, is a much healthier option than processed or packaged foods.  Do the best you can!

If you choose to consume dairy, the best choice is raw dairy products; if not available, be sure to only buy organic dairy products that do not contain rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone).

NOTE:  Many of these items are only available at a “whole foods market” or comprehensive health food store.  Some things are available at Trader Joe’s or Costco (i.e. frozen organic berries); if neither of those are conveniently available to you, do your best at your local market, farmers’ market, or – as a last resort – a supermarket.