With the year winding down, many are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. If there is any one thing that you can do to protect your health, it’s this: Eat Less Fake Food.
As we are quickly learning, there is still a lot that we don’t know about what all of these food additives, artificial colors, GMOs, pesticides and other new ingredients are doing to us either on their own or in combination.
So as we head into 2016, here are sixteen ideas for resolutions:
- Drop the artificial colors. They’re not used in kids’ products in the UK, and companies are already starting to dump them here. Look for the Yellow #5 and #6 type of call-outs on the labels and avoid them.
- Drop the artificial growth hormone in dairy. Look for milk, yogurt and ice cream that is labeled “rbgh-free.” Thankfully, you can find it almost everywhere: Kroger, Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Wegmans and more. When it was introduced back in 1994, no other developed country – not one – allowed it.
- Opt out of GMOs. According to the website, www.gmoscience.org, there is still a lot that we don’t know about these products. Look for the Non-GMO Project label or the USDA Organic label to ensure that you are opting out of this experiment. GMOs are labeled for 60% of the world’s population but not here in the U.S.
- Dump the soda. Soda companies have been funding “obesity” studies to show that their products aren’t to blame. The same way that the tobacco companies did. Save some money and ditch the soda.
- Purchase a water filter. This is an easy resolution that will last a lot longer than a year. You can hit Home Depot or any hardware store and find one that can fit under your sink. If that’s not an option, grab something like a Brita filter.
- Read more. If you haven’t read my book The Unhealthy Truth, it’s a great starting point. Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis, The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman and any of Michael Pollan’s books are great starting points, too.
- Watch GMO OMG or The Future of Food. Both films provide a great overview of the genetic engineering of our food supply. They have very different approaches (The Future of Food is more academic and one of my all-time favorite films on this issue).
- Reach out to your local grocery store and ask for more organic and non-GMO products. They are listening! In 2014, 45% of new product launches were non-GMO.
- Eat more plants. The biotech industry loves to say that we need GMOs to feed the world. In reality, a lot of the genetically modified corn and soy is going towards livestock feed. The less meat we eat, the less they can claim the need for their products.
- Cook more. Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good here. Do one thing, pick one night, one meal, make it a standing meal. Tacos on Tuesday, Chili on Wednesday, keep it simple so that you can stick with it.
- Plant something. Remember those lima beans in a cup that we grew as kids at school? Do that again. Don’t be afraid to start small. Our garden grew over time. We started with one pot of tomatoes.
- Teach your kids to cook. Don’t worry about the kitchen getting too messy. Let them have fun. Turn on the music and experiment together. Frying an egg, making scrambleds, roasting some broccoli with some sesame oil, salt and pepper. Little hands love to help.
- Go organic. Pick your most popular food item. Love apples? Choose to purchase organic apples this year. Or maybe you have a milk-guzzling family. Look for organic milk at Costco the next time that you are there.
- Start a book club. There are so many great reads, so many recipe books, gluten-free, allergen-friendly, food political books. Grab a few friends and read together.
- Host a movie night. The Future of Food, GMO OMG, even Michael Clayton are all great conversation starters when it comes to starting the dialogue around our food.
- Believe that one person can make a difference. Together, we add up in our schools, our churches, our communities and our local grocery stores. Never underestimate our collective abilities to create this change! We already are.
In the U.S., we spend 20.9% of our household incomes on healthcare and disease management (more than any other country). In 2014 alone, we spent over $374 billion dollars on healthcare. Per person, we spend 40% more than any other nation.
Together, we can change that. We already are.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and productive 2016!