After juicing for the weekend, you might want to go back to the way you usually eat. But I think you should fight this urge and instead make a plan for healthier eating that builds on what you’ve learned over the weekend. I’ve put a menu plan and recipes in this book that will help you keep eating healthy for two more weeks. Also, Appendix B has a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid. You can use this list to help you choose healthier foods.
But following menus and food lists isn’t the only way to choose the right products for a healthy way of life. Not all animal products, vegetables, or fruits are the same, and it’s important to know which ones are healthy and which ones aren’t. My Juice Lady eating plan is different from other weight-loss plans because it’s not just about losing weight; it’s also about getting healthier.
In the last chapter, I gave you important information to help you make smart choices when you go grocery shopping. Remember that knowledge is power, and the more you know about healthy foods, the more you’ll be able to choose healthy foods for the rest of your life.
Good quality lean protein is important for your overall health and for keeping your weight in check. It causes the body to make more glucagon, a hormone that works against insulin. Glucagon helps keep blood sugar levels stable and gives the brain fuel by telling the body to release energy that has been stored. When insulin and glucagon work well together, they make a stable system of hormones.
Grass-fed beef, lamb, buffalo, and poultry are the best sources of animal protein. Compared to commercial meat, the meat in these products is healthier because it has more “good” fats and less “bad” fats. For example, meat from animals that were fed grass has two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from animals that were fed grains. This meat also has more antioxidants, such as vitamins E, C, and beta-carotene. Also, meat from animals raised on pasture has no hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs in it. It also has a lot of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), about three to five times more than products from animals that were fed a normal diet. Look around! Researchers have found that CLA helps people lose weight. This fatty acid is made by nature and can be found in the fats of beef, lamb, dairy products, poultry, and eggs, among other things. Recent studies have also shown that CLA might be good for your health. For example, it might stop tumors from growing, keep your blood vessels healthy, and keep your glucose metabolism in check.
If you can’t find grass-fed beef, dairy, lamb, buffalo, or chicken, try to find free-range or at least antibiotic-free beef, dairy, lamb, buffalo, or chicken. Animals raised in factories are given growth hormones to make them fat quickly so they can be sold quickly and for more money. But these hormones are not good for our health; in fact, they can be dangerous. Natural food stores like Whole Foods, Wild Oats, co-ops, and many independent health food stores, as well as local farmers, sell beef, lamb, buffalo, and chicken that was raised on pasture or in the wild.
Remember that eating too much animal protein can be hard on the kidneys and make the body’s environment too acidic. So, it’s best to keep serving sizes between 4 and 6 ounces, with women eating no more than 4 ounces.
Learn More about Red Meat
There are different kinds of red meat. Meat from animals that eat grass is better for you in some ways than meat from animals that eat grains. More omega-3 fats, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and vitamin E are found in grass-fed meat. Studies have shown that meat from cattle that live on pasture has four times as much vitamin E as meat from cattle that live in feedlots. It’s also interesting that it has almost twice as much vitamin E as meat from cattle fed vitamin E supplements. Vitamin E makes you less likely to get heart disease and cancer, which makes it a very helpful nutrient.
Grass-fed beef also has more vitamin E and less total fat, including less of the saturated fats that can lead to heart disease. Grass-fed beef also has more beta-carotene, thiamine, and riboflavin, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
A group of USDA researchers did a study to see how grass-fed lambs compared to grain-fed lambs in a feedlot. Their research showed that lambs that grazed on pastures had about 8% more protein and 14% less fat than lambs that were fed grains. Also, it was found that the meat of sheep raised on pasture had twice as much lutein (carotene) as the meat of sheep fed grains. Lutein is known to lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are two of the most common reasons why people go blind. It may also help prevent breast cancer and cancer of the colon.
Pastured Poultry versus Free Range or Commercial Fowl
Poultry that is raised on pastures is much healthier than poultry that is raised in a factory. Pastured poultry includes chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese that are kept in open-air cages or pens so they can peck and scratch the ground for bugs and seeds while also eating grain. They can get fresh air, sunlight, and space to move around. Also, as they move around, their waste is spread over large areas of pasture, which is good for both the soil and the birds.
It’s important to remember that free-range chickens and pastured chickens are not the same thing. Even though free-range birds are kept in cages, they have less freedom to move around in their crowded indoor environments.
The least healthy choice is birds raised in factory farms for sale. From the time they are born until they die, these birds are kept in small cages and made to stand in their own poop. They can’t get fresh air, sun, or the natural foods they should be eating. Because of this, they are often sick and take a lot of medicine for the rest of their lives.
When you choose pasture-raised chicken, you avoid the following:
- Drugs, hormones, and antibiotics: More and more people are worried that hormones, antibiotics, and drugs left behind in meat, eggs, and milk could harm people and the environment. If you eat or drink these things, they might hurt your immune system and make you more likely to get cancer.
- Arsenic: Also, commercial poultry may be given small amounts of arsenic in their food to make them hungrier. Traces of this poisonous substance can be found in the meat we buy.
Eggs from Pastured Hens
Eggs are a great source of all eight essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, especially if the chickens were raised on pasture. They have more of the fat-mixing agent lecithin than they do cholesterol. Also, eggs from hens that were raised outside have four to six times more vitamin D than eggs from hens that were kept inside. When hens are free to roam outside, they get direct sunlight, which helps them make vitamin D. This vitamin D is then passed on to the eggs. Eggs also have a lot of sulfur and glutathione.
If you want to buy the best eggs, look for ones that come from chickens that were raised without cages on pasture, without hormones, and on a natural diet that included green grass. When chickens are kept inside and don’t have access to greens, the eggs they lay have less of the fats that are good for you.
Check co-ops and natural food markets for organic pastured eggs, and look for local producers, farmers, and homesteaders who let their chickens roam free or graze on pasture.
Lab Tests on Eggs from Pastured Chickens
Mother Earth News took samples from 14 different flocks of chickens raised on pasture in different parts of the United States and sent them to a lab that is trusted to test them. The official USDA data for commercial eggs were then compared to the lab results. The analysis showed that the pastured eggs had a shockingly high amount of:
- One-third fewer cholesterol than commercial eggs
- One-fourth fewer saturated fat
- Two-thirds extra vitamin A
- Two times extra omega-3 fatty acids
- Seven times extra beta-carotene
If you want the best fish, choose those that are caught in the wild with a boat, hook, or net. Don’t buy wild or farm-raised fish because they are usually kept in small pens in the ocean or ponds, which can lead to overcrowding and make them more likely to get sick. Farm-raised fish aren’t allowed to eat their natural food sources, like other fish and krill. Instead, they are nourished dried food pellets prepared of fish meal, fish oil that consists of toxins, corn meal, chicken feces, soy, hereditarily altered canola oil, and other fish. These dried food pellets are often contaminated with harmful chemicals like PCBs, dioxins, and flame retardants, which can cause cancer. This makes the environment unnatural, which makes fish with pale flesh that aren’t healthy. Artificial colors are added to the fish’s food to make up for the lack of natural colors, so that the fish look the same as wild salmon.
Many fish raised in farms are overcrowded, which makes them more likely to get sick. Antibiotics are often used to prevent and treat these diseases. Sometimes, these antibiotics end up in the flesh of the fish. Some news stories say that antibiotics may be given to salmon more than to farm animals. On the other hand, wild salmon are usually healthier and don’t have these chemicals or diseases.
When it comes to fish’s health benefits, wild-caught fish are good for us because they contain fatty acids that our bodies need. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for you, and cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout have a lot of them. Also, the meat and fat of smaller fish tend to have less mercury and other heavy metals than those of bigger fish.