healthy-foodsI am so discouraged with all of the recent information in natural health circles regarding the “truth” of organics and how our American food industry is “tricking” us into thinking that their brand is “healthy” when its really not!

Shopping for healthy food has always had the same guideline rules but the labels on foods have changed and that has misguided us many times.

So whatever food you’re looking to buy, whether imported organic or locally grown, from either your local supermarket or a farmer’s market, here are the signs of a high-quality, healthy food:

1. It’s grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods).

2. It’s not genetically modified. This is a very tricky shopping situation since there are no government standards for labeling foods that have GMO (genetically modified) products in them whether they be corn, wheat or soy). There are lobbies in place in government to try to change this but so far it has not been successful enough.

3. It contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs.

4. It does not contain artificial anything, nor any preservatives.

5. It is fresh (if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh conventional produce, the latter may be the better option).

6. It did not come from a factory farm. That goes for fish too, so farm raised vs. wild caught is what to watch for.

7. It is grown with the laws of nature in mind (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free-range access to the outdoors).

8. It is grown using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants. Also, this means it was not transported thousands of miles to be on your table if a local source is available.

If the food meets these above-listed qualities, it is likely a good choice. The bottom line is that you need to look deeper than a label when it comes to your food. Most often, the best place to find these foods are from a sustainable food farm in your local area if possible.


So, you think that soy is a “healthy” alternative to milk? Guess what, it’s not. The only soy that is healthy is FERMENTED soy. What does fermented mean?

Non-fermented soy products contain phytic acid, which contain anti-nutritive properties. Phytic acid binds with certain nutrients, including iron, to inhibit their absorption. This is a direct, physical effect that takes place in the digestive system. Their ability to bind is limited by the milligrams of phytic acid present.

The Products using Unfermented Un-Healthy Soy are:

• Fresh green soybeans

• Whole dry soybeans

• Nuts

• Sprouts

• Flour

• Soy milk

• Tofu

What makes unfermented soy particularly unsafe: You can find it in a great many domestically-produced food products at the grocery store. Also, soy is sanctioned by groups like the Soy Protein Council and USDA that cite the presence of isoflavones, which scientists say reduces your risk of cancer.

On the other hand, fermented soy stops the effect of phytic acid and increases the availability of isoflavones. The fermentation also creates the probiotics–the “good” bacteria the body is absolutely dependent on, such as lactobacilli–that increase the quantity, availability, digestibility and assimilation of nutrients in the body.

Products that Use Fermented Healthy Soy are:

• Natto

• Miso

• Tempeh

• Soy sauces

• Fermented tofu and soymilk

Many studies have shown traditionally fermented soy–which is the form that is very popular in many Asian cultures—actually aids in preventing and reducing many diseases, including some forms of heart disease and cancers.

One study of the culturing method involved in the production of the Japanese traditional food, miso, found that the culturing process itself, led to a lower number and growth rate of cancers. Researchers also found it was not the presence of any specific nutrient that was cultured along with the soyabean paste, but the cultured soy medium itself that was responsible for the health benefits associated with eating miso.

Miso, which is a fermented or probiotic form of soybean, is quite rich in the isoflavone aglycones, genistein and daidzein, which are believed to be cancer chemo-preventatives.

The health benefits are found to be as good with natto, according to research conducted by a Japanese scientist, who found natto had the highest fibrinolytic activity among 200 foods produced worldwide. An enzyme produced in the fermentation process, called nattokinase, is a powerful agent contained in the sticky part of natto that dissolves blood clots that leads to heart attacks, strokes and senility.

Natto also contains vitamin K2 and isophrabon, which helps to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis and breast cancer, while slowing down the aging process. Vitamin K2 should be taken along with your Vitamin D3 supplement daily to prevent sticky platelets from forming in the arteries. 100 mcg. of Vitamin K2 is recommended per 1,000 I.U. of Vitamin D.

So whether you are a novice in learning about health food or an expert, the bottom line is that we can control the products we buy (if they are available, of course) just by reading the labels and asking questions. You may have to put in a lot more effort in your shopping and finding of the right things, but in the long run, your body will thank you.

Linda Wolschlager, Certified Nutrition Counselor/West Bloomfield

The Nutrition Advisor/www.naturalnutritionadvisor.com

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  1. Linda; thanks for this great article; I teach argumentation and research, and GMO’s and labeling is a topic near and dear to my heart; I am also highly allergic to soy; therefore, this was a wonderfully informative article that I am going to keep for any students choosing to use this as a topic.

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