Healthy Eating

© Katherine Poehlmann, PhD


Our food supply is dramatically different than it was 20 years ago. The same brand and product is NOT the same as it was before. New chemicals and preservatives have been added during the manufacturing process, to lengthen shelf life, lower costs, and make them tasty enough to induce buyers to come back for more. The “tasty” part usually involves adding chemicals, sugars, and trans fats. These additives may trigger allergic reactions, even from foods you have enjoyed for years. The reaction may be to a new combination of foods and/or spices that normally do not bother you by themselves.


The manufacturing process destroys the enzymes in the food and with them, much of the nutritional value. The toxins and chemicals in processed food overload the body with substances it doesn’t know how to handle. Accumulated toxins are responsible for many of the illnesses we experience today. Taste-enhancing chemicals make us fat because they tempt us to eat more than one serving.


Ideally, we should eat only raw, pure, organic food and recipes cooked from scratch without chemicals. This isn’t practical. We like to go out to restaurants, where packaged and processed foods are served to us. We like the convenience of processed foods at home. Even in health food stores, you must read the labels to avoid unwanted ingredients.


Try to shop at a farmer’s market to buy truly organic fruits and vegetables. You might even try your hand at growing your own. Shop at health food stores or whole food stores. Look for small, independent, local companies that use pure ingredients. They are less likely to introduce chemicals than the large agribusinesses.


Avoid MSG. Salad dressings almost always contain MSG. The most nutritious dressing is a combination of extra virgin organic olive oil and apple cider or balsamic vinegar. If in doubt at the restaurant, ask for MSG-free food. Sometimes this is not possible because they use pre-packaged mixes for sauces, soups, etc.


Buy truly organic food whenever possible.


Eat fruits and veggies raw or gently stir-fried. Boiling and microwaving destroys nutrients.


Reduce salt. Season with fresh ginger and organic spices. Use organic sea salt if you must. Your maximum sodium intake should be less than 2400 grams daily, much less if you have high blood pressure.


Use extra virgin organic cooking oils. Avoid hydrogenated oils.


Use water with a little vinegar added to wash all fruits and vegetables to remove pesticide residues. The vinegar is acidic, so wash just before using, else the texture will be damaged. To wash lettuce properly, core the head and wash it leaf by leaf. For firm-skinned produce, wash with a weak solution of water and mild dish soap, then rinse well.


Chocolate is not bad, as long as it is organic and consumed in moderation. Find this at the health food store. Carob, a chocolate substitute, can be quite tasty.




Dr. Poehlmann is the author of Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Infection Connection, available at and major bookstores, or click here to order now.


For related articles, see “Reading Labels” and “Healthy Snacks for Kids (and Dieters)”.


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