7 Days of Spring Cleaning For Your Health – Day 5: Dinner

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-happy-family-having-roast-chicken-dinner-table-image18044089We are over half way through our spring clean.  Are you feeling the relief of clearing out bad food thoughts, unhealthy foods and replacing them with vibrant, nutritious eating?

Dinner can be a real pitfall for many people.  We always seem to think we need to “fill up” for our overnight fast.  But this is NOT the time to overeat.  Around 8:00 pm, your body begins to wind down for the night.  Your systems begin to slow down and reserve energy for the overnight repairs it will make and melatonin begins to flow, leading you to a restful night sleep.

In the same line of thinking, this is not the time to deliver junk to your body.  So we’re going to go back to your fridge/pantry and do a second clean out.  This time our targets are not as easy to spot.  Below are some of the most commonly overlooked ingredients you don’t want to put into your body according to Gaiam.com:

Artificial Colors
  • Chemical compounds made from coal-tar derivatives to enhance color
  • Linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity and headaches
Artificial Flavorings
  • Cheap chemical mixtures that mimic natural flavors
  • Linked to allergic reactions, dermatitis, eczema, hyperactivity and asthma
  • Can affect enzymes, RNA and thyroid
Artificial
Sweeteners
(Acesulfame-K, As-partame, Equal®, NutraSweet®, Sac-charin, Sweet’n Low®, Sucralose, Splenda® & Sorbitol)
  • Highly-processed, chemically-derived, zero-calorie sweeteners found in diet foods and diet products to reduce calories per serving
  • Can negatively impact metabolism
  • Some have been linked to cancer, headaches, dizziness and hallucinations
Benzoate
Preservatives
(BHT, BHA, TBHQ)
  • Compounds that preserve fats and prevent them from becoming rancid
  • May result in hyperactivity, angiodema, asthma, rhinitis, dermatitis, tumors and urticaria
  • Can affect estrogen balance and levels
Brominated
Vegetable Oil
(BVO)
  • Chemical that boosts flavor in many citric-based fruit and soft drinks
  • Increases triglycerides and cholesterol
  • Can damage liver, testicles, thyroid, heart and kidneys
High Fructose Corn (HFCS)
  • Cheap alternative to cane and beet sugar
  • Sustains freshness in baked goods
  • Blends easily in beverages to maintain sweetness
  • May predispose the body to turn fructose into fat
  • Increases risk for type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer
  • Isn’t easily metabolized by the liver
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
  • Flavor enhancer in restaurant food, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, soups and more
  • May stimulate appetite and cause headaches, nausea, weakness, wheezing, edema, change in heart rate, burning sensations and difficulty in breathing
Olestra
  • An indigestible fat substitute used primarily in foods that are fried and baked
  • Inhibits absorption of some nutrients
  • Linked to gastrointestinal disease, diarrhea, gas, cramps, bleeding and incontinence
Shortening,
Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils
(Palm, Soybean and others)
  • Industrially created fats used in more than 40,000 food products in the U.S.
  • Cheaper than most other oils
  • Contain high levels of trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, contributing to risk of heart disease
Sodium Nitrite and Nitrate
  • Preserves, colors and flavors cured meats and fish
  • Prevents botulism
  • Can combine with chemicals in stomach to form nitrosamine a carcinogen

Take some time to review the foods you have on hand.  Many times making a meal from scratch doesn’t require more time than the box version, but can avoid many of these lurking ingredients.

Change is never easy, but remember what the goal is…. HEALTH!  Don’t let other concerns about money, taste, or convenience trump what is really important.

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