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What is the explanation behind that there is no such thing as unhealthy food?
I readanswer on some question that there is no such as unhealthy food bit I never understood that concept, isn’t ice cream bad for you? Or what about French fries? Why do we called it junk food?
This my answer to the Quora question above:
You get what you pay for.
Teachers tend to teach as much as they know and not beyond it.
Most people lack the discipline or wherewithal to deeply examine diet and change it towards the healthiest possible. Most people don’t even start. Many start and give up. Very few actually research and discover what’s best for them and then live it, and even fewer of those people publicly become teachers.
Nutrition is not taught seriously in medical school. This means that the majority of doctors did not have any serious nutrition training.
How can a person be seen as an authority on the body without understanding food is beyond me. How can you understand the stomach without having an understanding of what goes in it? How can you understand the kidneys, liver, pancreas, blood, etc… etc… without understanding how diet impacts these organs functioning.
Well, you can’t.
But somehow they still have more authority than nutritionists. Which is understandable in part because nutritionist is a largely unregulated term that anyone can slap on their own back.
But when you realize that the doctors and government recommendations really have tons of holes and contradicting recommendations, maybe that’s not so bad.
Anyhow, there are many conclusions that many scientists have reached about diet, but that don’t really connect to recommendations – but if you follow these conclusions you can realize how yes many foods do qualify as unhealthy.
Read up on the Omega 3: Omega 6 balance literature.
They say that having a near 1:1 or 1:2 balanced ratio is important for IQ and general brain development. Okay, well if people knew how much Omega 6 was in certain foods and realized that if you only ate a few grams of those foods you would get so much Omega 6 that there would be no way you could have a balance of these fatty acids.
So does that make those foods unhealthy?
Well, not necessarily.
But it’s not really enough to just say “moderation is key”. What is moderation actually?
Does eating fast food once or twice a week seem like moderation?
Well, that would be the equivalent of eating more than 500 times at fast food in 10 years. Is that moderation?
How many times can you do something in your life and it still be called moderation?
Does fast food cause harm?
The generalists that just say “moderation is key” perhaps are aiming to be helpful as though this advice will help talk down a person who’s eating nothing but junk food all the time because it seems more reasonable to “just moderate” than the approach of someone who says “eat healthy food all the time… there’s no reason why nearly all of your food should not be healthy food”
What is the legitimate argument for not meeting your nutrition needs with nothing but nutritious foods?
Keep in mind that the first directive is to make sure the person gets their needs met.
I believe that it’s better to get your needs met while unfortunately intaking some toxins then not meeting your needs but avoiding toxins. Our bodies have mechanisms to detox. It’s part of our system and role of the stomach acid and kidneys and so forth.
But why not decrease the total toxin load when we can?
Some things really do not represent a positive role in diet.
Refined sugar. Refined oils. It is rare to find a person that actually needs the calories from either of these. Most people are overweight and would benefit from at least decreasing their caloric intake from junk food. Note that I specified from junk food because I believe that most people could actually still benefit from increasing their caloric intake – even people that are obese.
In my perspective, people that say “there are no unhealthy foods” are really just not interested in scientific analysis or even thinking much at all.
How many people know of a certain food or combination of foods that will result in: heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, or even headaches, or painful indigestion?
Isn’t it fair to suggest those foods that tend to result in those things qualify as possibly unhealthy?
I can think of a variety of foods that if I eat them I get some kind of undesirable result. Maybe it’s just a pimple, or maybe it’s not feeling so fresh.
The total fat content of a person’s diet can make an impact on their athletic performance. Fat has been shown to decrease the efficiency of cell oxygenation. Nobody eats a bunch of peanut butter and suddenly gets huge burst of energy.
Why? Because peanut butter is mostly fat and fat takes a long time to digest. That’s just how it is. Does that make peanut butter unhealthy?
Well, we don’t need to label it one way or the other, but if you try to eat an equal amount of peanut butter in calories for breakfast instead of what you’ve been normally eating, odds are you will not feel glorious, but go ahead and check to find out. Peanut butter also has a huge load of Omega 6 making it exceedingly unlikely that you will reach an Omega 3:Omega 6 balance on any day you eat peanut butter.
Also it tends to be roasted at high heats. When you high heat fats they can become rancid… read carcinogenic. Is that unhealthy?
Well, everyone who eats peanut butter or expects to in the future will not want to believe that it would negatively affect them. Perhaps it doesn’t in some kind of magical, if you don’t believe it’s unhealthy it won’t hurt you.
And sure, stressing about food can be quite harmful in itself…
But that doesn’t really justify this “no food can be unhealthy” argument.
Prod at this argument a little more.
Ask them for how much of the food is okay to eat. Perhaps they will offer some good caveats such as, if it causes you any obvious problems then you should probably stop.
That sounds reasonable!
But let’s look from another angle: the angle of – what does ideal nutrition look like.
One thing that I believe we could get agreement from everyone is this: fresh food tends to be better.
Studies have shown that nutrients get lost as soon as a food is plucked from its source or killed or removed if it’s an animal part. Exposure to sun, light, and heat are known to destroy nutrients. Exposure to high heat can actually create toxic compounds such as acrylamide, nitrosamines, and heterocyclic-amines.
I recommend working in a kitchen that uses a deep fryer and just breathe in the air for a few minutes… or hours. See how that does for you. Look up the smoke points of the oils you choose to cook in and consider whether it’s such a good idea to raise these fats to these heats.
This is a good example of something that a person could choose to consume differently. As far as I know, there’s little nutritive value to frying a food in fat as opposed to steaming it in water.
By steaming it in water you can keep the temperature of the mixture down to the boiling point of water. Oil on the other hand can get much hotter to the temperatures that have been shown to create things like acrylamide etc…
I don’t know much about the law, but I noticed that in Starbucks and McDonald’s have signs that say that their foods contain acrylamide a chemical known by the state of California to cause cancer.
I would assume these mega corporations fought against putting the signs up and lost. OR it is a way for them to avoid any lawsuits by having a sign that informed people that they were at risk by eating their food. It also clarifies that acrylamide is a compound that gets created whenever a food gets browned.
So is toast healthy?
Well, if healthy means free from unnecessary toxins, then no it’s not.
Will most people stop eating it from this post? Probably not.
But if people really thought about it and weighed their options and considered that there isn’t a fundamental reason other than “eating for fun” when it comes to justifying foods that have been produced in a manner that creates toxins… then they might be able to be okay with labeling this as a relatively unhealthy thing and to limit their consumption of it.
Not eating toast doesn’t mean a person must miss out on wheat.
Wheat can be boiled whole and can be quite delicious. Wheat can be powdered and made into pasta – also delicious.
But is wheat healthy?
Well at least for some people, no. Wheat is very harmful to some people.
What I hope people understand for the most part is this, just because some food is “unhealthy” doesn’t actually limit them because there are other foods that ARE healthy. People should focus on intaking enough healthy foods FIRST before worrying about what foods are unhealthy also.
If you eat healthy foods first, you might be able to meet your needs and then will have no desire for unhealthy food.
Most people don’t really learn how to eat healthy food so they crash their diets.
YOU MUST EAT ENOUGH FOOD in order to be eating a healthy diet.
It is not healthy to “just eat salad” or some vague idea of what healthy is where a person just cuts out “junk food”. You need a legitimate plan that involves getting enough calories for the activity level you require and meeting all your needs.
Most people have never done that these days.
People have not had a single day where everything they ate was truly healthy.
Plenty of doctors eat junk food every day.
They will never be able to legitimately say “you should not eat junk food every day”… because they do it.
There exist plenty of unknowns with regards to diet. I know from my experience that if I don’t eat fresh food (things directly from the bush, tree, etc… or from the farmer’s market)… then I feel less fresh. I have found that the people that increase their quantity and quality of fresh foods feel better.
On paper this might have nothing to show for it though!
If you look at standard nutrient analysis performed in a bomb calorimeter, there might be no difference whatsoever between an apple picked off the tree versus an apple that has been in a warehouse for 9 months. But the experience is different and I hypothesize that better analysis will show that there are observable differences.
I would also say that eating one food can lead to eating others.
“Bet you can’t eat just one”
Eating one food can make your appetite swell for another.
Perhaps you say that eating a pretzel is not unhealthy (despite the high salt content, acrylamide, and often hydrogenated oils)… but what happens after you eat a salty pretzel? You want more salty things.
What kind of salty things do people eat?
You can answer that for yourself.
If we look at other animals or think of human physiological history or design, it makes sense that we would eat very simply.
There are digestive reasons why. Different nutrients require different environments for digestion. Different nutrients require different enzymes for digestion.
The food you eat, how much of it, when you eat it, with what you eat it… these make a difference. A HUGE difference. You can’t just “moderate” the junk food and “be healthy”. If you think you’re “moderating” the junk food… odds are that you’re not really eating that much healthy food either. You’re eating junk food, questionable food, and occasional health food. You might eat carrot sticks from time to time and pat yourself on the back as though you’ve really done yourself a big favor.
The thing is we don’t really know some things. We base big directives on isolated studies. How much calcium should you get on a daily basis? How much phosphorus? How much is too much? How much iron? How much zinc? In what ratios?
There are SO many questions and so many people are actually not qualified to answer but we’re looking to them to answer.
I would say this: consider whether you would benefit from being healthier.
Consider whether you’d like to have more energy.
Consider whether you’d like to be at a different body composition.
Consider whether you’d like to be stronger.
Consider whether you’d like to not have indigestion, acne, diarrhea, stomach aches, heart disease, or any other condition that occurs in relation to diet.
Consider whether you’d like to be happier.
Now look at how you’ve been eating in the past and ask yourself could you do better?
If you CAN do better, why not try to do better?
What do you lose by replacing some food that you suspect are junk with foods that you believe to be healthy?
It’s okay to change your mind! Sometimes things change. Sometimes we make new discoveries. Maybe you thought something was healthy but it’s not and maybe something that you thought was unhealthy… is healthy after all.
A lot of people say eating meat is unhealthy now… and then develop deficiencies and decide maybe meat is healthy to some extent. But guess what, it’s possible that it’s both. There might be unhealthy things in meat when it’s prepared a certain way (like deep fried or baked or eaten in too large quantities and too often). Why not learn from everything you can?
Why not try to figure out what way of eating truly makes you feel the best not just during the meal but after as well.
A lot of people that avoid viewing foods as unhealthy are not considering the full picture.
They are people that have never freed themselves from the addictions to certain foods.
If wheat or corn based diets are all you know, it might seem like some wild idea to consider replacing your foodbase across the board. It could seem like a tremendous task – and one that you have no basis in history for doing. You’ve never just eaten healthy foods for a week let alone a month. So why be confident in doing so?
The idea of “not” eating healthy foods might seem like choosing to starve and deprive yourself – but this would be different if you had a legitimate plan of 100% healthy foods for at least a day and better yet a week or month.
You can do it.
There’s no shortage of things to learn when it comes to food, but it doesn’t mean that it is so complicated. You can create a healthy meal plan that meets all RDA’s with as few as 2-5 different food items per day.
Download a program like CRON-ometer and punch in your food for a few days without trying to change anything… just to see what your intake looks like.
You might already see you fall short in certain categories, but more to the point you can start associating how you feel with what you eat and start to discover some correlations and eventually perhaps some causation.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that a certain food causes you heartburn so that you could just stop eating that food and eat something else and feel better? There are plenty more options.
A lot of people just don’t really feel that good in general, despite saying they feel okay. Once they actually stop eating anything that bothers them at all… they start to feel amazing. People often experience blissful feelings while fasting because they don’t have to deal with the digestion of foods, but you can only fast for so long.
If you make it a habit to only eat foods that really feel great for you AND you make sure you meet all of your nutritive needs then you will understand much more directly how different certain foods are.
I just had a great experience spending around an hour talking to Rafe Kelley from evolvemoveplay.com. Facebook recommended him at some point and showed some video of him climbing trees and doing parkour type stuff and I almost went to a class because he was in my area, but missed it. Still, I follow his page on facebook and reached out for an interview/conversation.
I believe that we have natural abilities to do all kinds of monkey shit and that people that practice that for more time show more of these abilities than those of us that just sit or do repetitive movements in the gym.
Exploring environments like trees and ditches and rocks and streams and all that gives a much wider range of experiences.
We discuss a pretty wide range of things from nutrition, to intuition, to meditation, to being confident with one’s body.
Something else that I found inspiring was that prior to the conversation I spent many hours just practicing movement and realizing so many things about how my body moves and how I can move it differently to have more grace, control, power, and enjoyment.
From his website:
“Learn to move like a human. Reclaim your capacity to move with flow over grass, rocks, and trees. Learn to develop yourself through contact, roughhousing, dance, and combatives. Reconnect with nature and develop your aliveness in movement to become a more resilient and embodied human.”
I do movement practices everyday and it has changed my life so much.
I once followed the teachings of an educator who claimed that people did not need to take any supplements. They simply needed to avoid eating spices, salt, garlic, onions, and cooked food and perhaps not wash their vegetables… and their b-12 would be fine.
He said that things like stress depletes b-12 so combining lifestyle techniques with the food regimen would result in safe b-12. He mentioned that the b-12 requirements are artificially higher since people eat so many supplements and so forth. He also claimed that b-12 was “ubiquitous” meaning present everywhere in nature. He said it exists in air, water, saliva, and especially in apple cores.
I believed it.
So did many others who followed him.
It was an important point because part of his whole story was about the physiology of man being ideal for a diet of raw ripe organic fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds eaten in properly combined meals with adherence to a general macronutrient ratio favoring carbohydrates.
Some of the things that he recommended I still enjoy. Food combining makes a big difference. Eating a lot of calories from foods that digest well makes a big difference. I gained a lot of athleticism on the protocol.
I also developed a depletion in my b-12.
For a while, I just thought maybe I was alone in this. It was not something I was proud of. I didn’t really want anyone to know anything was wrong with my health markers in anyway… but there it was on paper. I think I had a 205 score on b-12 which was very close to being deficient.
Overtime, I began to talk to more people that followed this vegan supplement free “natural” lifestyle and discovered that b-12 depletion or deficiency was the rule and not the exception. Nearly every single person that I talked to who had tested their b-12 and followed this supplement free vegan lifestyle had low b-12 and was now supplementing.
So let’s talk logic for a moment.
The guy essentially spoke of the “natural” lifestyle. He spoke of what foods are specific to our species, as though each species has some specific diet that works for them. That makes sense. But apparently what he prescribed was not this diet. And if you look at the other primates… it makes sense that a pure vegan would not be the diet for man; other primates do not practice pure veganism. They eat between 1-5% of calories as animal whether it be insects, bugs, or other larger animals.
Even the supposedly peaceful and friendly orangutans can be seen eating some very very cute small animals. Look up slow loris’s on Youtube and consider that orangutans eat those from time to time.
So what do we do?
Well, the honest thing would be to admit perhaps that veganism is not the natural diet for humans. That perhaps goes too far just based on people following this one man’s raw food vegan protocol, but what do the other health professionals say?
Dr. Greger says that vegans MUST supplement. You can watch his video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRVrtqy-3NA
In it he references a study which you can read here – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933506/
What does it conclude? That over half of the vegan men had deficiencies and around a quarter of them were depleted. Deficient is worse than depleted. Deficient means, according to Dr. Greger, that the individual’s body is no longer functioning properly.
Now keep in mind that most vegans do not believe that non-human animals ought to stop eating animals. They accept that nature has allowed for certain creatures to require the deaths of other creatures in order to maintain their healthy lives… that’s just how things work these days…
So what if the vegans would again accept that humans might otherwise naturally need to eat some animals?
This could be a gain for vegans too!
On the other hand, I am somewhat open to the possibility that supplementation can work, but it seems risky because we know that much of what is contained in food is unknown. Merely extracting the b-12 as though it would be the only nutrient we would get from whichever source we’d naturally derive it from… is too simplistic.
Similarly, I have heard those same vegan advocates say things like you can’t just take a vitamin c pill – you have to eat the oranges, kale, broccoli, or apples (or whatever whole food plant source has vitamin c).
And yet suddenly, when it comes to b-12, perhaps they say yeah well b-12 supplements are the best or they simply won’t consider this notion. But those that do, might admit concern, but perhaps not if their health seems great they will not for a second question whether they have all their ducks in a row.
But how do we know?
I have experienced many different mental states and levels of clarity and health and know for a fact that things can feel a whole lot different than we’re used to. We might think we’re pretty good, but actually we’re far from what could be. I know this for sure when it comes to things like movement. I think I move okay… I can run far. I am stronger than the average person. I am more flexible than the average male…
More flexible than AVERAGE??? What does that even mean??? Stronger than average??? What does that mean? Average equals sick these days! We can’t compare ourselves to that if we want to achieve our potential!
So what does true mental health look like? What does true fitness feel like? We simply do not necessarily know.
So when it comes to choosing a supplement for an essential nutrient instead of consuming what we would otherwise need to consume to meet our needs… we run the risk of a silent deficiency. There are no tests for deficiencies of nutrients that haven’t been discovered yet.
Even as it stands we can question our testing accuracy.
I have heard again and again that b-12 deficiencies can take years to develop and that the body stores several years of b-12 internally… but in the study I linked here’s a quote:
“There was no significant association between age or duration of adherence to a vegetarian or a vegan diet and serum vitamin B12. ”
What does this mean? How do we interpret this? I don’t really know. It seems like perhaps b-12 levels stabilize in some way. Perhaps it means that B-12 levels truly reflect the amount of B-12 a person has access too and that the educator we talked about was right to a degree… that b-12 does exist in many places other than in animal products and that it can be utilized to some degree as well.
But it doesn’t look like we can just follow his protocol and expect to not be deficient or depleted – and potentially in a very quick amount of time – not just in a couple years (which isn’t so slow either in my opinion).
Still, this educator’s work spawned others who very loudly promoted these “facts” and it eventually comes full circle where people think these have been firmly established by “Science” (something that doesn’t exist) and so they say things like “b-12 is a waste product of bacteria… it’s not even from animal products… people inject b-12 into animals…”… “if you don’t eat spices and just eat raw fruits and veg and fast then you will have good b-12”. So they somewhat continue to believe in veganism as natural to man.
Now I do not write this to totally discount a vegan diet as unnatural to all people or impossible to follow healthfully.
But in so much as it appears to more likely cause a deficiency than not, it is completely unsatisfying unless rectified. I do not know exactly how people can replace B-12 effectively. Too much might be problematic just like too little can be problematic. These make a huge difference in a person’s life.
Imagine a person who just drinks a little bit too little water. Someone who sleeps just a minute too few every day… he lives in need constantly even though a small thing could fix it all.
B-12 is needed in very small amounts, but if we don’t get it… we are in trouble. Dr. Campbell wrote an informative, interesting, but rather bizarre article where he says, referring to vitamins, “Don’t consume them for awhile, and your health is no more.” (read it here http://nutritionstudies.org/need-vitamin-supplements/ if you like)
Somehow he doesn’t really say anything about B-12 with regards to a plant based diet. He doesn’t say “you must consume a B-12 supplement”. Where does he think people will get B-12 from? What makes the article somewhat odd to me is that he later writes about how supplementing with vitamin A and vitamin D are actually potentially quite dangerous! He makes an interesting clarification about how neither A nor D should even be considered vitamins because we don’t need to consume either of them to be healthy.
Well, you learn something new everyday. How interesting that despite my somewhat disagreement of certain points, I can still pick up some new information.
Still let’s boil down two points he made:
1. if you don’t consume vitamins for a while… you lose your health
2. supplementation can be dangerous
Although he did not specifically say B-12 supplements can be dangerous, and he seems to downplay the amount It seems to me that the reasonable approach then would be… get your vitamins from food. So now we have to figure out where should we get b-12 from.
I was tempted to write, if you don’t eat collard greens, then you’re an idiot, but I figured I should probably tone it down!
But the fact is collard greens are SO good. They are not only delicious but they are nutritious. AND not only are they both delicious and nutritious… THEY ARE FUN
Collard greens are PERFECT for wrapping up other delicious foods. Just cut out the rib and wrap wrap wrap.
You can eat the rib like a crunchy crunch crunch.
SUPER HIGH IN CALCIUM.
Get your greens.
You can steam them or saute them or just eat them RAW
What if the only things we ate were things that we bought? I consider myself much “earthier” than the average city dweller; I forage for berries, I pick wild lettuces from time to time, and I can identify most edible fruits around me… and yet…
I or another person buys 99-100% of the food I eat.
What’s the issue?
What if there’s some food that simply can’t be sold very well?
There are some fruits that I love that are not sold in stores. Perhaps because people haven’t heard of them, perhaps because there isn’t a big enough market for them, or perhaps because they spoil too fast once removed from the plant.
I don’t want us to miss out on nutrition just because it doesn’t sell well.
Truly fresh food makes a difference. I can feel it. When I don’t eat from the farmer’s market for a couple weeks… my vitality goes down. When I eat fresh fresh… my vitality goes up.
When I lived on a farm… my vitality was waaay up there.
Some things just currently aren’t sold in stores, so we don’t buy them. We could spend a lifetime never getting certain things simply because they’re not sold.
SOME THINGS ARE NOT SOLD… you have to acquire them by other means.
I hope to get remembered for inspiring more celery consumption worldwide. This is my attempt to do something to that end.
I am eating peas with avocado and cherry bomb peppers.
3 ingredients. Delicious.
The peas were frozen and I heated them up with some slices of the cherry bomb peppers.
When fully heated I added some avocado slices.
I was thinking I’d add salt, but it doesn’t feel like it’s necessary at all!
There are so many simply recipes out there with just 1,2, or 3 items.
THAT”S RIGHT. 1 item recipes.
There are PLENTY of them. Like this morning, I had around 8 oranges for breakfast. Just chopped them into quarters and ate them. Felt great. Just ate them one at a time until satisfied.
Try that out! Pick a fruit that you love, buy plenty of them so that you can eat as much as you feel like without thinking about it and make fruit for breakfast. Just eat slowly and naturally. You will be amazed at how good it feels!
I am eating pasta with peanut butter! That’s right. PEANUT BUTTER.
Why? Because I wanted something fatty and I don’t eat dairy and didn’t want to use oil and didn’t have avocados.
I recalled that bread + peanut butter = pretty tasty… so why not pasta?
Answer: this works too!
In fact… pasta is sweeter than bread because it has no salt/yeast… soooo it’s potentially tastier than bread and pb.
NOW, I am not a superfan of either wheat or peanut butter, but I like the innovation. I could see people thinking “eww… peanut butter on pasta???”…
BUT if you think about it… there are many asian dishes where peanuts are part of the sauce and they are pretty tasty dishes.
Anyhow, just posting for a little inspiration to innovate in the kitchen! I’m excited to be eating a lot more calories lately. I was eating less for a while and my overall energy levels were lower – though in general not noticeably “low” just not as high.
Eating easily digested foods in higher caloric intakes seems to directly potentiate more exercise/movement/excitement etc… for me. I’m pumped about pumping in more easily digested foods to have more energy to do more and live more and love more!