diet - essential nutrition - natural holistic health

Diet - Dietary Stressors

(Avoid or Limit)

Avoid or limit GM (genetically modified) foods like soy, corn, cottonseed, canola (rapeseed), and sugarbeet (sugar) since they are mostly GM (~90%). Other common ones are aspartame, yeast, dairy, alfalfa, Hawaiian papaya, yellow squash, and zucchini. Tomatoes, rice, and peas have been approved but are not commercially available yet. Unapproved GMO wheat has contaminated fields but the extent is unknown. Most processed foods now has a GM ingredient. GM foods are not even labeled in the US, while they are in Europe. In the US, produce with a PLU code (5 digit number) in the sticker that starts with '8' means the product is GM but it's optional and rarely used. Per the Codex Commitee's 2019 meeting, GMO foods worldwide will soon be mislabeled and disguised under the term 'biofortified' or 'bioengineered or 'BE'. Unfortunately, cross-contamination often occurs (wind, insects, seeds, etc.) so non-GMO foods get contaminated. GM salmon, potatoes, and apples were recently approved and are available commercially. As of 2017, GMO salmon is being sold in Canada without labeling. You can read the latest global GMO news here. There is much evidence that GM food has many serious health effects like cancer, DNA damage, and infertility. It damages the gut (our immunity center) allowing undigested food & toxins to enter the bloodstream ('leaky gut') leading to immune dysfunction (i.e. allergies, eczema, asthma, food intolerances, autoimmune diseases, etc.), increased toxicity in the body, and organ damage. GMOs and the chemicals used to grow them have been shown to cause rapid tumor growth. A shocking new study completed in 2012, led by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, was the first ever study to examine the long-term (lifetime) effects of eating GMOs. It concluded that the long-term effects of consuming Monsanto's genetically modified corn and consuming trace levels of Monsanto's Roundup pesticide (glyphosate) caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. The findings from the study showed that up to 50% of males and 70% of females suffered premature death, rats that drank trace amounts of Roundup (at levels legally allowed in the water supply) had a 200% to 300% increase in large tumors, and rats fed GM corn and traces of Roundup suffered severe organ damage including liver damage and kidney damage. They also found that the vast majority of pesticides sold on the commercial market are far more toxic than thought because the "inert" ingredients make these assumed-to-be-harmless formulas hundreds, or even thousands, of times more toxic than their approved active ingredients. GMOs also cause major environmental damage due to deforestation, heavy pesticide/herbicide use (like toxic Roundup/glyphosate), and pollution. And despite the GM crop propaganda, GM crops are lowering yields and increasing pesticide and herbicide use. For tips on avoiding GMOs and a non-GMO shopping guide, check the Non-GMO Shopping Guide. Buying or growing organic food is both safe (no pesticides and not GM), healthy, and environment-friendly. It's best to cleanse your body of harmful GMOs and heal your gut in conjunction with a cleansing diet. Probiotics like fermented foods and raw apple cider vinegar can help protect the body from GMOs and the toxic chemicals they are sprayed with, and help rebuild a damaged gut (digestive system).


Avoid or limit the 'dirty dozen plus list' of conventional produce and buy organic only if you can because they are the heaviest sprayed with pesticides. These are: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers, kale, collard greens, and summer squash. EWG's annual 'dirty dozen list' (most heavily sprayed produce list) can be found here. Otherwise, wash with water and raw apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar, sea salt, or himalayan salt) to reduce the surface chemical residues. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides wreak havoc on the body. Many of these toxins are endocrine disruptors. They interrupt hormone balance and cause disease, including thyroid disorders, obesity, and infertility. They damage the intestinal lining causing leaky gut and autoimmune disease. They also disrupt neurotransmitters in the brain, which can lead to a wide range of psychological conditions like depression, anxiety, etc. Neurotransmitters affect every facet of our life including our thoughts, moods, behaviors, perception, energy, memory, cognitive functions and ability to focus. Also, some of these chemicals are known carcinogens that increase the risks of certain cancers.


Avoid or limit toxins by checking the label ingredients or referencing EWG's food score guide. These toxins include:

  • Monosodium glutamate MSG, an addictive neurotoxin commonly used as a flavor enhancer. Check its many hidden names here.
  • Artificial sweeteners like Aspartame, an addictive carcinogenic neurotoxin, in 'diet' drinks, 'sugar-free'' products, and even supplements/medications, that causes seizures, blindness, obesity, diabetes, depression, and a long list of serious health issues. It's also called Equal, NutraSweet, Phenylalanine, Spoonful, Canderel, E951, Benevia, and now Aminosweet (without being labeled!). The FDA has received more reports on reactions to aspartame than all other food additives combined. Also avoid the toxic artificial sweetener saccharin (also called 'sweet n low').
  • Sugar is not a food; it's a harmful chemical and an addictive drug (much more addictive than cocaine). Avoid or limit sugars like white or brown sugars, corn syrup, splenda (sucralose), high fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose, dextrose, maltose, glucose, polydextrose, maltodextrin, maltodextrose, erythritol, sorbitol, malitol, lactose (dairy sugar) which increase blood sugar levels, weaken the immune system (for 4 hours after consumption), and are food for cancer cells. Xylitol, which is touted as a healthy sweetener, is also a sugar alcohol (often made from GM corn) that is processed with toxic chemicals. Sugar alcohols cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and digestive issues for many people. Also, avoid stevia powder (like the popular products truvia and purevia) because it's processed, usually contains maltodextrin/GM corn, and is not the natural stevia plant. Use natural sweeteners like: coconut palm sugar (best), liquid stevia only, raw honey (manuka honey best), monk fruit (luo han guo), or cinnamon spice in moderation.
  • Sodium nitrate, a cancer causing additive to preserve meat and give it a fresh pink color.
  • Bad unhealthy fats = Transfats = hydrogenated oils - found in commercially prepared baked and fried foods, many processed foods, most salad dressings and mayonnaise, crackers, margarine, vegetable shortening, coffee creamers, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. They are formed when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil during food processing in order to make it solidify. This process, known as hydrogenation, gives fats a longer shelf life and a less greasy feel. But it creates a completely unnatural fat that causes cellular dysfunction. Although most food products now claim to be transfat free, they may still contain up to 0.5 grams per serving according to lax FDA rules. Contrary to popular belief, transfats (not saturated fats) lead to heart disease (clog the arteries with fatty plaques), diabetes, cancer, and other health problems.
  • BHA/BHT - cancer-causing preservatives banned in other countries yet still used in the US. Also, bromate/bromide are additives that are allowed in the US but banned in Europe.
  • Artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, and additives - lead to many health, mental, learning, or behavioral problems. An example is the additive carrageenan, in many conventional medicines and processed foods, even organic, which is inflammatory and damages the digestive system. You can find the EWG's dirty dozen guide to food additives here.
  • Processed table salt - natural healthy nutrients in natural salt removed and harmful chemical additives added. Causes high blood pressure, heart, and kidney health problems. So use natural sea salt or even better himalayan salt. Natural salt is necessary for good health.
  • High fructose corn syrup - probably GM, increases inflammation, causes weight gain (disrupts appetite hormones), and has mercury. It has recently been deceitfully renamed as "natural sweetener". 
  • Canola: Probably GM and comes from the rapeseed, the most toxic of all the food oil plants. It has to be refined or partially hydrogenated before it is used commercially and consequently high in transfats which cause inflammation in the body. It inhibits proper metabolism of food and normal enzyme function. Its effects include loss of vision, respiratory illness, disruption of the central nervous system, anemia, constipation, and higher risk of diseases like cancer and heart disease.
  • Soy: Probably GM and is estrogen-like, thus disrupting thyroid function and hormonal balance, causing digestive problems, and leading to many health problems including infertility and cancer. Contains anti-nutrients. Non-GMO fermented soy (like miso or tempeh) is fine. Soy promoters point to studies of Asians and their reduced rates of cancers, even though their traditional diet contains much soy. However, these studies fail to point out that these soy products are primarily fermented, which destroys the anti-nutrients and creates health-promoting probiotics that facilitate proper digestion.
  • Wheat and dairy - the two most common food allergens. Wheat contains gluten and has been hybridized. Dairy contains lactose (milk sugar), casein and whey, and lectins (antinutrients). Other than humans, no other animal drinks milk past infancy or from another animal.
  • Ingredients you can't pronounce and any product with more than five ingredients ;)


Avoid or limit processed meats.They contain sugar, salt, chemicals, additives, nitrates, hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and preservatives that will lead to disease.


Avoid or limit factory farmed or grain-fed meat and factory farmed fish. The animals are fed GM grains and animal by-products, injected with GM growth hormones and antibiotics, and live in unhygienic conditions. Eat organic, grass-fed meat and plankton/fish-fed fish, which are high in healthy, anti-inflammatory omega3 and other vital nutrients because they feed on their natural diet. Grain-fed meat and fish, are high in omega6 fats, which increase inflammation and lead to disease. Grass-fed meat contains 2-6 times more omega-3 than grain-fed meat. Traditional, grain-fed, confined, and factory farmed meat is void of the nutrients that are found in organic grass-fed meat (like vitamins and minerals) and has an imbalance in its essential fatty acid structure. It's also common practice in commercial cattle farming to feed them chicken manure, chicken feathers, cardboard, newspapers, and even bubblegum still in the wrapper, to save money and fatten them. Therefore, meat should be organic, hormone and antibiotic free, grass-fed, and pastured or free-range. Fish should be wild and clean (not contaminated with high levels of mercury so avoid tuna and eat salmon which is safest). And keep in mind that much seafood in the Pacific Ocean is being contaminated with radiation from the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster so it's best to limit or avoid any seafood from the Pacific Ocean.


Avoid or limit grain-fed, non-organic dairy products like milk since it is very acidic and contains growth hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful substances. Organic grass-fed cow's milk eliminates some of the main concerns of consuming milk, especially antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals. It's also higher in omega3. However, it's commonly pasteurized, which removes all beneficial bacteria and enzymes, and makes it difficult for the human digestive tract to properly break down and absorb it. Organic, raw, grass-fed dairy products (like butter, ghee, yoghurt, raw milk, cream, cheese, etc) are fine. Like grains and legumes, milk is relatively new to the human diet so most people are lactose intolerant and allergic to it (casein and whey). Casein is a protein in milk that is toxic and addictive (very high in cheese). The human body was not genetically equipped to digest milk from animals, which is why many people have problems with dairy. Also, like grains, dairy products (especially cheese) contain addictive opiates that lead to cravings. Toxic aspartame will also soon be added to dairy products and without labeling. Instead, use nut or seed milk (like almond milk or hemp milk), or use coconut milk/coconut butter. Raw goat milk is a healthier substitute (closer to mother's milk with more nutrients, easier to digest, and is alkaline). Also, avoid soy milk and soy products since it is mostly GM, is estrogen-like so disrupts thyroid function, contains toxic anti-nutrients, and interferes with digestive enzymes.


Avoid or limit cooking with vegetable or seed oils like corn, soy, canola, rice bran, sunflower, and safflower. The high consumption of these oils (inflammatory omega 6 oils) in the diet today (use in cooking, in many processed foods, and in grain-fed meat and fish) is one of the main reasons for modern diseases. Inflammation is the root cause of many health problems and diseases. Also avoid margarine, shortening, or other chemically altered fats. Use healthy oils for cooking or frying. For high temperature, use coconut oil, palm oil (red best), butter, ghee (clarified butter), or grass-fed animal fat like beef tallow and lard (pork fat). For low to medium temperature, use virgin olive oil (best), sesame oil, or almond/macadamia oil. Coconut oil, a superfood, is one of mother nature's most perfect foods, is great for cooking, and has many other uses and benefits as well.


Avoid or limit consumption of carbs like grains, starchy foods, sugar, and high fructose fruits. As humans have lived for 2.6 million years, we only started eating grains 10,000 years ago with the agricultural revolution, so grains are new to our diet. Anthropological research tells us that the paleo diet was eaten by our ancestors for more than 2 million years, while the current modern day diet which includes grains, legumes, dairy products, and sugar has only been eaten for about 10,000 years. That means for almost all of our evolutionary history, humans have been eating a diet of meat, fish, eggs, above ground vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.  Prior to the consumption of these foods, the epidemics of type 2 diabetes, anxiety, depression, heart disease, obesity, etc., did not exist. These foods contain a variety of substances that disrupt the brain, nervous system, gastrointestinal (digestive) tract, metabolism, and the endocrine (hormonal) system. Grains, legumes, and starchy veggies became a common staple in the diet only after it was discovered that they could be mass produced and distributed cheaply to generate a great profit for the producers. These fattening and addictive foods and drinks include: grains (especially refined like white flour/bread, rice, noodles/pasta), starchy foods like legumes and root vegetables, all sugars, molasses, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, grain alcohol, sodas, and grain-fed meat-fish-and dairy. In general, all grains (corn, wheat, barley, oats, rye, rice, etc.), starchy foods like root vegetables (foods that have 15 grams or more of carb per 100 grams like yam, white potatoes, squash, parsnips) and legumes (beans, peas, lentils, peanuts), and processed foods (cookies, brownies, candy, potato chips, corn chips, etc.) are high glycemic and cause rapid increases in blood sugar and insulin levels so it's best to limit them especially if you don't have an active lifestyle. All non-starchy vegetables (have 10 gr. or less of carb per 100 gr like onions, beets, carrots, turnips, pumpkin, etc) and whole fruits that are low in sugar are healthier carbs. Contrary to popular belief, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases are due to a diet high in carbohydrates (esp. refined), and not due to saturated fats. Grains and legumes also contain several toxins, known as anti-nutrients (like lectins, phytates, gluten, exorphins, etc), that damage the intestinal lining, leach minerals from the body, disrupt the digestion of proteins, and cause inflammation and an autoimmune response. They contain enzymes called protease inhibitors that interrupt the digestion of proteins leading to nutritional deficiencies, allergies, food sensitivities, and prevent the digestion of lectins contained in grains and legumes. These lectins bind to cells in the intestinal tract, causing damage to its protective lining and depleting beneficial bacteria. This leads to holes in the intestinal lining, a condition called leaky gut. Toxins and undigested food particles make their way through these holes and cause autoimmune reactions, digestive problems, and yeast overgrowth. Self-tests (visual indicators) for candida/yeast overgrowth in the body are a white coated tongue, or spitting in a glass of water upon waking up and seeing cloudy strings floating down into the water from the saliva within an hour (the more strings/cloudiness and faster it develops, the more the overgrowth). Sprouting, soaking, or fermenting any food that is high in lectins, like grains and legumes, will reduce the lectin content and make them more easily digested, while cooking will also destroy some of the anti-nutrients. But cooking or sprouting will not reduce their carbohydrate content, so they will still increase sugar/insulin levels, contribute to feeding fungus/candida, trigger sugar cravings, and deplete endorphins. Also, phytates in grains and legumes bind to minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron making them less available to the body and inhibit digestive enzymes needed for proper digestion. And gluten, a protein the body can't digest, creates an allergic or inflammatory autoimmune reaction. Wheat is the highest food source due to cross breeding and is highly allergenic. Other foods with gluten are: cereal grains, rye, spelt, barley, white flour, durum wheat, kamut, wheat germ, wheat bran, soy, graham flour, pasta, bread, couscous, flour tortillas, white flour products (baked goods, cookies, pastries, cakes, crackers, pastries, chips), as an additive in processed foods, and imitation fish. Grains also contain high levels of exorphins which mimic our brain's endorphins (natural neurotransmitters which relieve pain, promote good moods, relaxation, and feelings of well-being). This leads to their depletion because the brain thinks it doesn't need them and stops producing them (leading to grain cravings and addiction). Grain-like seeds like quinoa, millet, amaranth, perilla, teff, hemp, and buckwheat are a healthy alternative. Asians enjoy better health than westerners despite the fact that they consume rice regularly because: rice is less harmful than glutinous wheat (bread), they have better insulin sensitivity (carbohydrate tolerance) due to lots of physical activity, and their diet is higher in other health promoting foods like fish, vegetables, and fermented foods. In the past, fruit was a healthier choice because it contained less fructose (fruit sugar) than it does today, and it was consumed seasonally only. Hybridization, however, created sweeter fruits that contain higher amounts of fructose than traditional types, and modern varieties have been developed to ripen after harvest and last for a longer time. Fiber and nutritional content is also lower in our modern day fruit. Since all kinds of fruits are available year round, high amounts of fructose are eaten on a regular basis. Although it is rich in a variety of nutrients like antioxidants and vitamins, in order to maintain good health and weight, the amount of fruit in the diet should be limited (based on the fruit's glycemic load GL only, and not the glycemic index GI). Fruit juice should be avoided or limited because it has no fiber/pulp to slow down absorption. No or low fructose fruits are berries, grapefruit, lemons, limes, avocados, olives, coconuts, pomegranates, tomatoes, plums, kiwi, cherries, and watermelon. Moderate fructose fruits like peaches, apples, oranges, pears, bananas, pineapple, grapes, and mangoes, and high fructose fruits like prunes, raisins, and all dried fruits should be limited. The ketogenic diet is high in anti-inflammatory healthy fats and low in protein and carbs. The body adapts to using fats (ketones) as an energy source instead of the standard carbs (glucose). It's the best way to address sugar and carb addiction, compulsive overeating, candida overgrowth or other microbes, adrenal fatigue, alcohol and drug addiction, anxiety disorders, depression and other mental health issues or autonomic nervous system disorders. Carbohydrates fuel each of these conditions by disrupting or overstimulating the endocrine system and/or the brain. Not only will you overcome cravings for sugar, carbs, caffeine, and other addictive substances and have more emotional stability, but also reduce your risk of all diet related conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. Learn more about the ketogenic diet here and here. And try some delicious, healthy keto recipes here.


Avoid or limit other potential allergens like nightshade plants. Nightshade plants like tomatoes, potatoes, pepper, and eggplant are inflammatory so limit them or avoid if you are sensitive to them.


Avoid or limit endocrine/hormone disrupting (estrogen-mimicking) chemicals in the environment, food, personal care products, and household products like: non-fermented soy products, canola oil, sugar, refined carbs, steroids, tap water, fluoride, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals, non-organic hormone-laced dairy products and meat, body lotions, makeup, plastics (have Bisphenol-A BPA or BPS and pthalates), parabens (in personal care products, cosmetics, etc.), teflon-coated cookware, food additives, pesticides, herbicides, caffeine, artificial colors, spicy and deep-fried acidic foods, vegetable (omega6) oils, transfats, some alcohols, and soft drinks. They can lead to hormone imbalances causing infertility, depression, sleep disorders, cancer, and other health problems. EWG's 'dirty dozen endocrine disruptors' and how to avoid them can be found here.


Avoid or limit processed foods especially if labeled “diet”, “low-fat” or with ingredients in the list above like: "hydrogenated, artificial, high fructose corn syrup, corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, wheat", or if with many strange ingredients.


Avoid or limit soft drinks because high in sugar and harmful additives causing the body to become very acidic and prone to many health problems.


Avoid or limit antibiotics unless absolutely necessary because they destroy gut flora in the gut (the center of the body's immune system), have side effects, and build resistance. They treat symptoms, not causes. The acids from antibiotics change the bacteria into yeast and mold (candida). That is why when you take antibiotics you can end up with a yeast infection. For a natural infection fighter, use raw garlic, colloidal silver, or bee pollen instead. Otherwise, always take a probiotic every time you take a dose of antibiotics to repopulate your gut flora, and continue taking it for several weeks after the course of antibiotics is complete. The body should have 80% friendly bacteria (only 20% bad bacteria) inside the intestinal tract. After an antibiotics course, the body will have no more than 20% friendly bacteria creating the potential for health problems. It will take weeks to heal the gut.


Avoid or limit synthetic supplements sold in supermarkets because they are pharmaceutical made, synthetic, and of poor quality with many fillers, excipients, binders, and flow agents that are often toxic. Thus, you find either no benefit or can be harmed by taking them. Natural supplements found at most health stores are safe and good quality (effective) food-sourced supplements. Unlike synthetic supplements, they are natural and absorbed easily and effectively by the body (bio-available). Liquid, sublingual (under tongue or in mouth) and powdered forms are best. Supplementing with nutrient dense superfoods offers the most health benefits. Ideally, all of the nutrition we need can come from the food we eat. Unfortunately, in today's world, it usually doesn't. Currently, soils contain only about 15% of the minerals they had 100 years ago due to synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and monoculture. Even if food is grown in nutrient dense soil without contaminates, much of the nutrition is lost in transportation and storage. Hybridization techniques and genetic alterations of traditional heirloom species have also reduced the nutritional content of foods. Also, food alone can only fill our nutritional needs if our bodies are able to digest and absorb all of its nutrients properly (dependent on our gut health). And in todays world, our bodies need even more nutrients to deal with our daily exposure to high levels of physical, mental, emotional, and environmental toxins and stressors. Thus, to maintain optimal health, supporting the diet with nutritional food-sourced supplements and superfoods has become a necessity.


Avoid or limit using the microwave for cooking. It irradiates the food destroying its nutrients, and also changes the molecular structure of the food making it difficult for the body to digest. Also, don't microwave food in a plastic container or cover it in saran wrap because the toxic chemicals in the plastic will leech into the food.


Avoid or limit tap water and most bottled water because it's unsafe due to toxic chlorine, fluoride, and more contaminants. If you don't have a shower filter, limit or avoid hot showers since the body absorbs much water through the skin when the water is hot.

Next: Learn about "Diet - Eating Habits"


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 * The information on this website is for educational purposes only and not medical advice.


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