MND Fitness

Core Principle 3

Eliminate processed foods

Core Principle 3

One of the key lessons I have learned is that much of the so-called food we buy today has been processed, messed with, tampered with and generally screwed up in a factory somewhere. In my book, food shouldn’t need an ingredients label. A carrot does not have a label saying: “Ingredients: 100% carrot”. When I go to my local farm shop, and I see the sheep walking around in the field out the back, and I ask for a shoulder of lamb, it does not come with a label, a list of ingredients, a bar code and a pretty picture of sunrise over an old farm house. It comes out of the cool room at the back with blood smeared on it and bones poking out.

He weights it and wraps it in a piece of paper and I take it home. This is my idea of real food. If the ingredients list on a product is anything like this, then these are NOT what I call real food:

Ingredients label – sample 1

Potato Starch; Dried Glucose Syrup; Salt; Flavourings (Contains Milk); Flavour Enhancers (E621, E635); Vegetable Oil; Colour (E150c); Dried Pork (0.4%); Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithin); Onion Extract; Rosemary Extract.

What is this tasty delight? ‘Bisto Best Rich & Roasted Pork Gravy’ granules. Notice “Dried Glucose Syrup” on that list? Yup, that’s sugar, under a fancy name. Since when was “E321″ a food? You get my point?

Ingredients label – sample 2

Wheat Flour; Egg (5.5%); Salt; Acidity Regulator: Potassium Carbonate.

What is this mystery food? ‘Sharwoods Medium Egg Noodles’. Potassium Carbonate is a recognised additive in many foods (usually designated E501 by the European Union. Research suggests it is beneficial to our bones in small amounts. In large doses it can cause stomach irritation, nausea, diarrhoea, ulceration, vomiting and even sudden death! Do you really want to eat that stuff?

Ingredients label – sample 3

Sugar; Palm Oil; Lactose; Low Fat Cocoa Powder (10%); Skimmed Milk Powder; Whey Powder; Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin; Flavouring: Bourbon Vanilla Extract.

This mystery food has the nerve to use a cute green and brown coloured logo and they use the word ‘earth’ in their brand name. The words ‘made with NATURAL Ingredients’ appear on the jar. What is this ‘food’? This is the ingredients list for ‘Whole Earth Lightly Whipped Milk Chocolate Spread’. I fail to understand how they can call almost anything on that list “natural”, as pretty much every single thing is processed and refined beyond recognition. Number one ingredient = sugar, of course.

Ingredients label – sample 4:

Cereals (Oats, Maize); Sugar; Vegetable Oil; Crisp Cereal (Rice Flour, Maize Flour, Sugar, Skimmed Milk Powder, Salt, Dextrose); Glucose Syrup; Raspberry Flavour Fruit Pieces (6%) (Sugar, Cranberry, Citric Acid, Flavouring, Elderberry Juice From Concentrate); Peanuts (4.5%); Strawberry Fruit Pieces (3%) (Fructose-Glucose Syrup, Humectant {Glycerol}, Sugar, Strawberry Puree from Concentrate, Oat Fibre, Vegetable Oil, Rice Starch, Gelling Agent {Pectin}, Vegetable Concentrate {Pumpkin, Carrot}); Modified Starch; Salt; Barley Malt Flavouring; Sodium Bicarbonate; Antioxidant (Ascorbyl Palmitate, Alpha Tocopherol); Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin).

How many names can they have for SUGAR! Try – Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Dextrose, Fructose-Glucose Syrup…they are just all ways of saying ‘Sugar’!!!! And what is this delightful chemical wonder? ‘Kelloggs Crunchy Nut with red fruit bites’ and I am amazed that it seems to take at least 36 different ingredients to concoct this box full of nutritionally dead crunchy cereal. The ‘fruit’ content is particularly interesting.

First we have ‘Raspberry FLAVOUR Fruit Pieces’, making 6% of the product by weight, and they are mostly made of…sugar. Then we have ‘Strawberry Fruit Pieces’ making a further 3% of the product by weight. Once again, these are made from syrup (read: sugar) and pure refined sugar and various gunky starchy sticky things. There certainly is no real fruit anywhere to be seen, yet the end product bears the word ‘fruit’ in its name, attempting to somehow suggest to members of the purchasing public that this is a healthier choice of cereal.

I have real fresh strawberries growing in my garden, and they are never treated with any chemicals. Once picked, even if kept in the fridge, they are rotten within about 3 or 4 days. Kept out on the kitchen worktop, they start to rot after just 2 days. That’s what happens to real fresh food. Think about that – if it’s in a box that’s been shipped half way across the world, then it cannot possibly be properly fresh food, and the only reason it isn’t rotten is because it’s covered in chemical preservatives and kept in chilled storage.

Dairy

Another form of highly processed food is dairy. Some people are intolerant of lactose and cannot drink milk and eat milk products. Personally, I can handle dairy just fine, however, I do not believe humans are supposed to consume cow’s milk.

Ask yourself these questions

  • Would you run out into a field, lay under the first cow you can find with a big full-looking udder, and suck on those teats?
  • Can you name ANY living creature on Earth that suckles milk from any other mammal of a different species? Ignoring the odd case where a human has encouraged a dog to help suckle a piglet or baby tiger cub or whatever else you might have seen ‘on the net’… I mean in the natural world, left to their own devices, does any other animal suckle milk cross-species?
  • Can you name ANY other species of mammal that continues to take milk from its mother after it has been weaned?

Once you have thought about those questions, think about why so many of us humans still think that drinking cow’s milk is such a great idea?

Additionally, most dairy products available in the supermarkets are highly processed. Seriously, go to Google and search “pasteurization of milk” and spend 5 minutes looking at the search results. The sheer technical process itself smacks of industrial automation and intensive processing, the milk is heated and cooled and it goes through  multiple stages…it looks highly complex and very UN-natural. And if you make it to the Wikipedia description of the process – “the process aims to reduce the number of viable pathogens” was enough to put me off! I don’t want to drink pathogens thank you!

Dairy is all highly processed food – avoid.

One other area that many people forget to include in the ‘processed foods’ category is supplements. This covers everything from vitamin pills to diet shakes, slimmer’s snack bars to protein powders, herbal powders (often touting miracle benefits) to amino acids, those ghastly powders you mix into meal replacement shakes, and the endless array of weird and wonderful ‘latest fad’ products, from dried miracle berries to powdered roots and hooves and magical dried leaves.

In my opinion, supplements are all unnatural. I’ve never seen a ‘protein powder’ tree, have you? I’ve never sat on a river bank catching vitamin pills in a net as they swim by, have you? If you want to have a shake to replace a meal, push a few vegetables through a juicer, then pour the juice into your blender with an avocado and enjoy a natural and nutritious meal without the chewing. Blend some fresh summer berries with a banana or two and a little water, and a few ice cubes, and you’ll have a delicious smoothie.

“broadly speaking, I subscribe to the school of thought that says ‘all supplements are just expensive urine'”

The supplements market is a huge business, and there is a lot of money is sports supplements, energy drinks, vitamin pills, diet supplements, diet aids, diet pills, superfoods, weight loss powders, weight gain powders, and so on. I’m not saying the whole lot is rubbish, I’m not saying the whole game is a con, but I will say that in my opinion, little if any of those products could be called natural, and many of them are full of junk, sugars, E-numbers and chemical additives.

In my upcoming books I will discuss supplements in more depth. Over the years some very respectable scientists have shown that mega-dose vitamin therapy can combat diseases as serious as cancer. I cannot scientifically argue against the benefits of taking cod liver oil or evening primrose, or other such similar, natural remedies. I understand athletes who take protein drinks to boost their protein intake. I myself have a shot of wheatgrass (from powder) now and then. But broadly speaking, I subscribe to the school of thought that says ‘all supplements are just expensive urine’.

Your body cannot always absorb supplements properly, because they often deliver nutrients (such as a certain vitamin or mineral) to you in a high does all at once, or in a form that is out of balance with what else you are eating. Often, there is so much of a certain nutrient concentrated in one little pill or powder, without being bound up in food to slow down absorption, that your body cannot absorb it all fast enough, and you end up peeing half of it down the toilet. Studies vary, but I have read many suggestions that one third to one half of all supplements just pass right through you and down the loo within a few hours. You know when you have a big vitamin pill or soluble tablet, and an hour later your pee is bright orange coloured? That’s vitamin-enriched expensive urine that is!

Summary

  • If it comes with a label and a list of ingredients, it’s probably not 100% real natural food
  • Most packaged foods have sugar in them – beware!
  • Long shelf life = preservatives, additives, chemicals. Avoid!
  • Would you really suck on a cow?
  • Many supplements and vitamin pills are just expensive urine