We are a big fan of supplements to help you complete the puzzle of giving your body what it needs… but the truth is the BEST source of any nutrient is always going to be good high quality food. Unfortunately most “health food” is built for marketing more than it is for your body. We have picked what we believe are the 3 best foods to upgrade from what is probably in your fridge right now.
#1 Grass Fed Beef
If you are eating regular ground chuck from the super market, our next big upgrade to your dietary health is GRASS FED BEEF.
Whether you are worried about GMO, hormones, antibiotics, or just the effects of a corn based diet on your meat, grass fed is the way to go.
Why Organic Grass Fed Beef?
Cows raised on excess antibiotics are a major theory behind antibiotic resistant bacteria. So it’s ecologically friendly to limit their usage, plus there could be nutritional benefits.
Grass fed beef tends to be more lean, and pack in more minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. Including a healthy omega-6 omega-3 fatty acid ratio, and increased amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
Eating grass fed beef means you are more likely to support your local small farms, farmers markets, and local economy.
Is Organic Meat Grass Fed?
NOT NECESSARILY! In fact, probably not. Unless it specifically states that it’s grass fed, it’s most likely “grain fed”. Don’t let “grain fed” fool you either, that probably means the use of cheap subsidized corn product that limits potential nutritional intake of the cows eating it.
You want it to say ORGANIC (meaning no antibiotics) and GRASS FED (meaning increased nutrient benefits).
A 2009 Study in the journal of animal science that did a side by side comparison shows grass fed beef was:
- lower in total fat
- higher in minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
- higher in beta carotene
- higher in antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E
- higher in omega 3’s and healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids
- higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
It’s definitely going to cost a few more dollars, but the ecological, economical, and most importantly… HEALTH benefits are hard to match. If you are going to regularly consume red meat, grass fed is the way to go. Don’t forget to indulge in the organ meats either, I know it makes some of you squeamish but a grass fed cow liver is one of the most nutritious foods available in nature.
#2 Dark Leafy Greens
Open your fridge and have a look around, if you don’t see a bounty of fresh organic greens like swiss chard, spinach and watercress, then you need to upgrade your diet. Number 2 on our list of best foods to upgrade for health is the same one your parents used to harp on you to eat more of… vegetables! specifically, dark leafy greens.
This one seems obvious, but the CDC 2013 state indicator report shows that 22.6 percent of US ADULTS report consuming vegetables less than once per day! This isn’t the kids who are being told to eat their veggies, this is the parents who should already know better.
Vegetables are the cornerstone of diet. A good mix of dark leafy greens provides a broad list of benefits that would help undercut some of the #1 threats to our health. Spinach and kale are full of cancer fighting antioxidants like sulforaphane which is being researched to help with autism. These dark greens also provide a good source of fiber and dietary folate which may lower heart disease risk by maintaining your DNA. If you aren’t getting enough you should probably be supplementing an advance B complex with methyl-folate.
Tips for Vegetables
Eat raw veggies when you can, they are packed with nutrients! Adding some leafy greens to your smoothy or workout shake is a great way to get at least a few into your diet.
The juicing community is on point with vegetable consumption, though we at glutathione pathway tend to prioritize consuming the whole vegetable.
Eating sprouts (pop them in a sandwich!) of these greens can be even more nutrient packed than the full grown versions and mean you can grow them yourself!
If you absolutely have to cook your greens and vegetables – NEVER cook until it’s mushy, you want it to be a gentle quick cook that keeps things crisp.
Upgrade Your Greens
Setting up a home garden in the summer time gives you much more control over the nutrients, chemicals, and pesticides. Keeping in mind even the wood used for your planet boxes, everything has the capacity to leech, so follow some safe growing practices and grow some nutritious greens.
There’s nothing better than ripping leaves off your kale plant to toss in a smooth, or pulling some fresh spinach to mix up a fast salad.
In the off season, or if you can’t grow your own, do your best to source organic… the main reason being you don’t want to be eating a boat load of pesticides in your salad!
#3 Pastured Eggs
Check the carton of eggs in your fridge – if it doesn’t say free range or pasture-raised then you want to UPGRADE YOUR EGGS. If you aren’t already eating eggs you are missing out on one of natures most perfect foods and the best foods you can eat for your health.
Very similar to beef, hens that are given the chance to roam free and forage for their food (they love insects, worms, seeds, and green plants (like our dark leafy greens!)).
Good quality eggs are a rich source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, beta carotene, vitamins like A and E, minerals, antioxidants, protein, fat, and important amino acids.
What About Cholesterol?
Your liver produces about 80% of the cholesterol in your body. Only 20% or so comes from consumed foods. The health benefits of eating eggs are probably more likely to improve your body’s ability to process and use cholesterol than actually increase the ‘bad’ cholesterol.
It’s always going to be wise to exercise some moderation, and monitor your health. If you have an existing heart issue this is especially true and you should consult with your doctor.
DON’T be afraid of eating some of the healthiest foods in the world because of one highly debatable factor. (side note: the more you cook the egg the more oxidized the cholesterol and the more potentially harmful it becomes. A nice soft poach is perfect.)
How To Cook Your Eggs
For maximum nutrient benefit – drink it back raw! The reason this has been frowned upon in the past is risk of the egg having been contaminated by salmonella. A high quality egg should have very low risk… So if you can get past the texture, pop a couple eggs in a cup and drink em down!
If you can’t get past the texture (we don’t blame you!), just like the vegetables try and keep the cooking to a minimum. A soft boiled, or poached egg with a runny yolk is a great option. The more you cook the egg the more you oxidize the cholesterol… leading back to that cholesterol concern.
Upgrade Your Health Food
You’ll notice a pattern in these 3 foods to upgrade your health. All three are organic, and all three foods would be readily available in nature without civilization. The ultimate health foods are alive in nature, not packaged and marketed as health foods full of hidden sugars. Another point to note is the connection between high sulfur foods and health, both dark leafy greens and eggs are notable for sulfur content in one form or another. This and folate connected them to dna methylation, transfulration, and glutathione production pathways.
Buy your food organic – don’t cook it too much – live the healthiest life you can.