|Cooked and raw salad with quinoa, mango and sesame seeds.|
No matter what you choose to eat, you can find people who eat the same way as you, and an expert confirming that you're on the exact right path to health. Or, if you wish to avoid a particular food, there's someone out there who will agree it should be avoided. I'm not talking about common sense things like avoiding foods you're allergic to, or which obviously cause you digestive issues, but foods that seem to be perfectly healthy choices. Deciding which foods are healthy is a mine field, which is why I almost never suggest that people should eat one thing or another. I have my food beliefs and preferences (prejudices) but I don't hold myself out as an expert who knows the 'truth.' And what is the truth? I choose to be plant-based because I don't want to kill or cause misery to animals, and I wish everyone would give up or reduce their use of animal products. And, although I suspect a vegan diet is healthier than a meat-heavy one, I don't like to proselytize about the health aspects of a plant-based diet because I don't know for sure, and there are plenty of experts to turn to if you want an official opinion. I may eat very little sugar, try to avoid GMOs, excess salt, high fructose corn syrup, isolated soy protein, and other things that my research has led me to believe are probably unhealthy, but, I tend to avoid preaching about it here because I think people have to make their own food choices based on their own fact seeking, not mine.
|Berry smoothie with cacao nibs.|
I read and listen to lots of opinions about diet — and not just about the particular diet I follow. One day a few weeks ago I came across a video from the 2013 Woodstock Fruit Festival in which 12 raw food experts were each asked to name one food that should be avoided or never eaten. One gave a very sensible answer to avoid any food, even if you love it, that doesn't love you back. I started avoiding gluten after I finally made the connection between gastric distress and what I was eating. It never occurred to me that gluten was an issue for me until it had been in the limelight for a while and I finally started paying attention. Good advice to listen to your body! Two other interviewees said to avoid unripe fruit —especially green bananas. I kind of prefer bananas with a bit of green, but the explanation made sense.
|Cashew cheese with smoked red pepper on gluten-free bread.|
Some of the other foods to avoid might surprise you, since they are things that often turn up on lists of good foods to eat. Keep in mind the people being interviewed were all raw foods advocates, so their perspective may be a little different from yours or mine if raw foods are just part of your diet rather than the entire thing. They were trying to avoid foods that they believe aren't truly raw (cacau nibs, cashews, Bragg's), as well as raw foods they think are unhealthy.
|Cooked veggies, polenta, and beans with lots of garlic.|
On the list were cacao nibs, cashews, Bragg's liquid aminos, agave nectar, garlic, jungle peanuts, and GMOs. Cacao nibs and cashews actually showed up twice on the list. I've often seen the exact opposite advice — eat cacao nibs, cashews, garlic and Bragg's. It's confusing navigating the food-for-health world! Here's the video if you want to watch and get some context as to why some of the foods were chosen.
It's often surprising to me how a food or group of foods will be deemed healthy and necessary by one group, and demonized by another, Olive oil, grains, and fruit juice come to mind. What foods do you see as controversial? Do you have certain foods you believe should be avoided? Did any of the foods on the list (like garlic) surprise you? And what the hell are jungle peanuts?