Can you give me some guidance to help me clean up my nutrition?
Great question. There is no shortage of information about food and it can be hard to cut through the clutter and know what to focus on. It is important to remember that food should be nourishing and navigating your choices should not create stress. Ideally if you do it well most of the time, then the rest of ‘the chips’ can fall where they may. A good place to start is bolstering foods that are nutrient dense and drawing down on things that (potentially) burden health.
Here are some suggestions that can help you get started.
- Avoid Pesticide Residues. Each year the Environmental Working Group creates a list of the Dirty Dozen for fruits and vegetables with a high amount of pesticide residue and the Clean15 list for those with low pesticide levels. It is a good idea to have this list in mind when you are grocery shopping. Remember that pesticides can be applied to the root and skin of fruits and vegetables so while washing is important, knowing the groupings by residue is valuable. Further, the list is about pesticide residue and not necessarily nutrient content.
- Organic Fruits and Vegetables: While buying Organic will indicate that the fruits and vegetables are free of pesticide treatment and genetic modification, in many cases the farming practices of domestic organic farmers could provide a more nutrient-rich fruit or vegetable. Fruits and Vegetables derive their vitamin and minerals from the soil in which they are grown. Farming practices can impact the nutrient quality of what is being produced. Taste the disparity between organic and non-organic carrots. When produce tastes better it indicates that it is richer in plant pigments, phytonutrients, vitamins and/or minerals.
- Local: When food is produced locally, it tends to be fresher and have less environmental impact. Fruits and Vegetables are highest in vitamins and minerals when they are picked around being ripe. Fruits and vegetables that are shipped from afar have been picked before their nutritional peak.
- Food sourced from animals is best when it is grass-fed and preferably antibiotic and hormone-free: In this day of antibiotic-resistant bugs, hormonal cancers, and genetically modified food, it is important to limit your exposure to these burdens.
- Avoid artificial food: When you read a food label, make sure you understand what the words indicate. Avoid chemicals, preservatives and artificial sweeteners. As one clever poster stated … there is no such thing as junk food; there is junk and there is food. Use herbs, kelp, Bragg’s, lemon juice, oils and vinegars, where desired, to bolster food flavor.
I hope these clean eating tips help you navigate your nutrition and nourish from within.
“Health from the inside out.”
Dr. Kimberly McQueen BSc, ND is a Naturopathic Physician in Victoria, BC. In addition to her clinic work she has been a consultant to the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence, Camosun College, Rugby Canada and Rowing Canada. P:778.433.4935 and