When it comes to clean eating, food quality is typically talking in terms of micronutrients. These are the vitamins and minerals that the body needs as discussed above. Micronutrients consist of four types: trace minerals, water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins and macrominerals. For the most part, our bodies can’t produce any of these micronutrients. Very specific roles are fulfilled by vitamins and minerals. Next, we will explore exactly why micronutrients are important:
- Avoid Sickness and Boost Immunity – many micronutrients are crucial to the processes of the immune system cells to keep you healthy. The immune system is designed to fight infections and diseases. In order to do this vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and folic acid as well as iron, zinc, copper, and selenium (which are trace elements) should be a necessary staple of your diet. Of those listed, all but Vitamin C and iron are necessary for producing antibodies. These are a protein in the blood that is designed to combine with substances that the body recognizes as bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances in the bloodstream.
- Regulating Endocrine System– the endocrine system is responsible for producing hormones in the body. Hormones play a huge role in your life. Hormones are chemical messengers that are responsible for specific functions in the body. These hormones are connected to growth, development, metabolism, reproduction, sleep, mood, and so much more! Your lifestyle choices (including quality of food) can help you keep your hormones in a healthy balance. Food is incredibly important when it comes to healing hormone imbalances. It is easy to become micronutrient deficient if not paying attention. This type of deficiency can wreak havoc on hormones. A few tips are to reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption to minimize the chances of micronutrients getting depleted.
You can see from this information why food quality is so important to your health. As discussed, micronutrients are more prevalent in organic veggies. This is just one example of how quality impacts your wellbeing.
Poor Quality Foods
You might be wondering, if you don’t eat high quality foods, what happens? Now that you know what to look for regarding food quality, you know that clean, whole and organic foods, and those grown without hormones, pesticides, antibiotics etc. are the best choice. It is so important to remember that what goes on in the duration of the food being grown (whether it’s plant or animal) makes its way to us when we consume it. A little extra “food for thought,” give this some pondering… this list below is what you may be eating if you aren’t choosing quality foods:
- GMOs – genetically modified foods
- Corn – in 8,000 forms
- Sugars – all kinds including artificial sweeteners
- Artificial ingredients
- Toxic ingredients and chemicals
- Vegetable oils
- Highly processed foods
- Food that isn’t even food!
Here’s an interesting story for you to ponder regarding poor quality food. One year for the holidays, a family member had been given one of those boxed sets of beef sticks, blocks of cheese, and crackers. You know the ones that show up on the end caps of all the major stores around the holidays? Well, we opened it up to see all the goodies inside. The front of the cheese package said, “processed cheese food.” In looking at the ingredients, there were many things no one knew what they were, many artificial ingredients, and quite frankly nothing that resembled cheese! This is one example of “food” that isn’t even food… it contained at least five of the things on the list above. We’re pretty sure that no one ended up eating it, thank goodness!
Each thing on the list above is detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing. The body does not know what to do with most of these things, it cannot process the GMOs, corn, sugar, artificial ingredients, and vegetable oils found in all the highly processed foods on the supermarket shelves today. Pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and toxic ingredients and chemicals disrupt the natural functions of the body. When these things go into the body on a regular basis there is no possible way for the body to keep up with the overload. It gets bogged down, and guess what? You end up feeling it… you are tired, bloated, have digestive issues, can’t sleep, etc. Bottom line is that you end up not feeling well because the body can’t sustain itself!
Where Diets Go Wrong
One major reason why we get so frustrated with mainstream diets is that they often become misconstrued and do more harm than good. Most people go into a diet plan knowing they need to have some control over their food choices whether it is counting calories or macronutrients. This becomes an issue when meeting those numbers (i.e. 1,400 calories or 155 grams fat, 100 grams protein and 50 grams carbs) is more important than the actual food itself. This happens more frequently than you can imagine. People often lose sight of making sure the food they eat is high quality and will eat whatever just because it fits… or they’ll make sure they can “fit” a candy bar into those numbers and forget it’s filled with sugar and artificial ingredients and does them no good nutritionally.
To look at this a little closer, let’s start by saying you are probably quite aware that we are fans of the keto diet… especially when done in a healthy way. If you’re not familiar, this is a low-carb, moderate protein and high fat diet. This diet should consist of low-carb vegetables, clean sources of protein, and healthy fats. As an example of “dieting gone wrong,” keto has unfortunately become a mainstream way of losing weight. It’s turned from a high fat, quality meat, micronutrient dense diet that was amazing for health benefits into bacon, cheese, and a sugar alcohol overload just to hit your daily macronutrient numbers.
Food Quality and Health: In Summary
In exploring why food quality is so important to your health, we hope that we have reiterated the idea of thinking about your long term health over temporary weight loss. Looking at the quality of the food you eat is so crucial to long term growth when it comes to your well-being. On the other hand, we must remind you that just because it is quality food doesn’t mean that you can eat as much as you possibly can! We recommend that you still be aware of how much you are consuming, even if it is high quality. Think about how easy it is to overeat on a regular basis, it’s even easier if you tell yourself that “it’s all good for you” and don’t pay much attention to exactly how much you’re eating (i.e. snacking on nuts can easily turn into a day’s worth of calories). Think of it this way… FOOD QUALITY + PROPER QUANTITY = HAPPY BODY, HAPPY MIND, HAPPY YOU and HAPPY LIFE! Remember that you have one place to live, feed it kindly!