To Your Health
August, 2012 (Vol. 06, Issue 08)
Eat Alive Food, Not Dead Food
By Aimee Raupp, LAc
"What's alive food?" you ask.
Let me explain.
When I was studying Traditional Chinese Medicine, I was taught a classic tenet that I now preach daily to all of my patients: If it sits on your counter and it doesn't go bad, don't eat it.
You see, food that is "dead" will not go bad. As well, this type of "dead" food will offer you very little in the way of nutrition.
Let's define what I mean by dead food: think processed, packaged, artificially colored food "stuff" like cheese-flavored snacks, meal replacement bars or TV dinners. These types of foods are not foods. Rather they are a series of synthetically derived ingredients that are mixed together into something that tastes OK, has a long shelf life and actually does more harm than good to our health. As I am sure you are aware, in recent times these health depriving "foods" have become quite popular and often a staple in the Standard American Diet. As such, we have seen an incredible rise in modern diseases like diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, infertility, cancer and more. And, as a health care practitioner I cannot ignore the obvious correlation between one's health and the quality of the foods they eat.
That's why I encourage all of you to eat "alive" foods.
By alive, I mean food that is as close to its natural state as possible. Alive foods occur naturally in nature. These types of foods grow in the dirt, or on a tree or come from the sea or walk on legs. Think broccoli or sweet potatoes or eggs or wild salmon or even some packaged foods like nut butters (that only contain nuts and maybe some salt). These types of foods will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally.
Proper nourishment from "alive" foods and is one of the cornerstones to optimal health. This type of food contributes not just your overall state of health—but to your longevity. When you consume foods that deliver the nutrients your body needs in an easy to digest form that your body can efficiently utilize—your health will thrive (and you'll feel amazing too!).
What I try to do first with my patients is instruct them to begin reading food labels—if an ingredient in not recognized as a food that is as close to its natural state as possible—don't eat it. For example cashews versus corn syrup, sea salt versus MSG. Some of these dead "food stuffs" are obvious, but some are not. What about soy oil? Or corn oil? These types of oils are extremely chemically manufactured and should as well be avoided. Rather one should eat butter or olive oil.
Of course, the best is to avoid eating any food that comes in a package and has a label.
For most the idea of committing to that is quite difficult. So, I always say to start slow. Start with one meal a day that contains zero dead food and slowly you will shift into a healthier lifestyle. Instead of packaged, flavored and overly sweetened instant oatmeal for breakfast, try two eggs scrambled with some tomato and avocado. Not only will you feel better, but you'll be fuller longer. Sounds great, doesn't it!
So, go ahead, give it a shot—avoid dead foods as much as possible and go for the alive ones.
Your health will thank you for it.
Licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and book author Aimee Raupp is a women's health and fertility expert. Her growing practice focuses on improving health and beauty, preventing disease and increasing fertility among women whose health and wellness are challenged by the demands, stressors and imbalances of Western culture. Find her on Facebook and at www.AimeeRaupp.com.