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Four Foods You Should Avoid or Minimise

These are:

  • Sugars,
  • Salt,
  • Vegetable Oils, and
  • Gluten

Sugars are especially toxic to the human body. They clog up the body and have little nutritional value. There are four types of sugars: glucose, fructose, sucrose and lactose. Worst of them all is fructose. It is not produced by our body and can only be digested in small amounts, like the amounts found in fruits. Any fructose that is not digested gets stored as fat, blocks many bodily functions and causes a myriad of diseases. And it is highly addictive, as our bodies do not have an off switch for it.

I guarantee you if you eliminate the above four sugars (especially fructose) from your diet, in 7 days time, you will experience an energy explosion. I’ve witnessed this not just with myself, but also with all my work colleagues. And be aware that flour and sugar are found in many things, not just biscuits, cakes, ice cream and the usual sweet spots like confectionary and pastries. Sugars can be disguised on labels as agave nectar, brown sugar, cane crystals, corn sweetener, corn syrup, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrates and many other. Sugars can also be found in many pre-made sauces, cereals, juices and snacks (especially anything that has ‘low-fat’ written on it). For anyone who is serious about removing sugar from his or her diet, I highly recommend investing in Sarah Wilson’s book, “I quit sugar” for inspiration.

“But what about fruit?” I hear you ask. High fructose fruits include all dried fruits, and the following fresh fruits: apples, pears, cherries, and grapes. My advice is that unless you are training to be a body builder, it is ok to eat all fruits providing you consume fruits 30 minutes before any protein meal or 2 hours after. I would also recommend you limit eating fruits twice a day for breakfast and mid-afternoon.

Salt is a vital nutrient for our body: it helps fight fungus, bacteria and viruses, it’s important in regulating blood pressure, proper functioning of the nervous system and brain cells, metabolism, digestion, and many other important functions. However, with the increased use of refined salts (table salts), our bodies are becoming depleted of the essential nutrients found in natural salt. This is because refined salts are dried at over 1,200 degrees, bleached and chemically cleaned leaving them void of any minerals and essential nutrients such as magnesium, copper, potassium, iron, zinc and calcium. As our body cannot use this salt, it builds up as deposits in our organs and tissues causing severe health issues, the most devastating being high blood pressure, the number one cause of heart disease and stroke; even greater than smoking! So take my advice and limit the use of salt considerably. Easy enough when you cook at home right? Be wary when eating out because restaurants use a lot of refined salt to make food taste great. I always ask the waiter to tell the chef ‘no added salt please’. When cooking at home, use herbs and spices in addition to a little healthy salt, to get flavour. Unrefined Celtic sea salt is the healthiest.

Vegetable oils – are highly refined and heated at very high temperatures which kills any semblance of minerals and nutrients that were once present in the oils. In the USA, the FDA has finally banned hydrogenated vegetable oils. 50 years too late! Vegetable oils cause inflammation in your body, which raises risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and arthritis. Aim to use Extra Virgin or Cold Pressed oils. ‘Virgin’ or ‘Extra Virgin’ means that the olive or grape seed or whatever it is, was squeezed only once to derive the oil extract. Cold pressed means that the oil wasn’t heated and so its natural essential minerals and nutrients are still alive. But remember that oils are still oils and high in fat. So use them sparingly, even on salads. Avoid deep fried food at all cost. But if you have to lightly shallow fry, best to use one table spoon of rice bran oil, grape seed oil or better yet, coconut oil which has a very high heating point so its structure doesn’t change when heated.

Gluten. For the past few years, there has been much debate and conversation on the subject of gluten and the more I research it, I am convinced that it is the contributing cause to many modern diseases. Gluten is the protein that plants build into their seeds (grains) to support the next generation of plants. While all grains contain gluten, our bodies cannot break down the gluten contained in wheat, rye and barley because their composition is too tight. Over time, because our digestive system cannot break down the bacteria from gluten, it builds up in our system, causes inflammation of the intestines and eventually erodes the lining of the stomach. This can lead to a loss of immune tolerance and trigger autoimmune diseases like celiac disease (where the stomach attacks itself). If gluten intolerance or sensitivity doesn’t affect the stomach or intestines, it can affect your skin, gallbladder, liver, or any other living tissue on the body. The reason gluten is affecting us more is because the wheat we are eating is hybridised to the point where all vitamins, minerals and fibre is taken out of it (especially in white flour and white bread). Because the wheat is so refined through the processing, the gluten in it is stickier, thicker, stretchier and more elastic. It is a good marketable product to use but the human digestive system simply cannot break it down. Effectively ‘gluten’ means ‘glue’ and unless you would eat glue, then I urge you to cut out gluten from your diet. Like any intolerance to food, pay special attention to your fatigue levels after eating bread, pasta or anything with wheat in it. If you feel tired, that’s the first sign that gluten is doing damage to your body. If you continue eating it, eventually you will start to cause permanent damage. It might not be in your stomach, it might be chronic fatigue or headaches or arthritis. If you’re interested in finding out more about gluten, I highly recommend visiting Dr Thomas O’Bryan’s website: He is a doctor who specialises in the topics of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.