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Ten Reasons NOT to Eat "Outside the Box"

Processed Boxed FoodsIn our quest for better health, many of us are considering a dietary change, one with fewer processed, "boxed" foods. Perhaps chronic illness is a motivating factor. Or a child with behavioral issues. Or simply a general desire to eat healthier.

All sorts of doubts creep in when we make a decision to change. Doubts that keep us from taking action. Below are ten such doubts, along with ten truths to counter them.

  1. People will think I'm crazy.
    True.
    People also thought physician Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis was crazy when he suggested that hand disinfection played a role in the health of birth mothers. The connection between the food we eat and our health seems equally obvious, but anytime we go against the tide we are likely to experience ridicule and skepticism. This is simply part of the journey.
  1. It's expensive.
    True.
    The immediate costs may be higher, but the long-term costs are likely to be significantly lower as we save on doctor appointments, emergency room visits, and prescriptions.

    Colleen Huber, a naturopath, contends that eating organically is not necessarily more expensive. She did a comparison several years ago and found the two types of diet economically comparable. Her study can be found here.
  2. It might not "work."
    True.
    Dietary change seldom yields immediate results. Completely restored health is not a guarantee. But there is no guarantee with any change we make. Isn't it better to try rather than not try? Why not take the risk of eating healthier? If life gets better, and it likely will, healing may simply be honey on the flax cracker (so to speak).
  3. There are so many diets out there. They can't all be right.
    True.
    Some diets say juicing is good. Others say not. Some are vegan. Others are meat-based. Some are raw. Some are cooked. Some include sweeteners. Others do not.

    What do they have in common? No approach invites people to eat unlimited fast food, refined sugar, soda, and boxed food.

    But the confusion factor is one of the biggest hindrances toward altering our diet. This is where our intuition is a necessity. There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to diet. We're each unique, with our own specific needs.

    Don't be afraid to research, study, and ask questions. Be willing to make changes as you go along.
  4. It will be hard on my kids.
    True.
    It's also true that it is hard on our kids to continue to eat sugar and processed foods. The evidence for this is mounting. We can't protect our kids from pain; we can only do the best we can with the best explanation we can offer. If a child understands the reasons for the unusual foods, he/she may be more willing to try. Offer a trial period such as 30 days. It's often difficult for a child to think of giving up these refined/processed foods "forever."

    Try to find fun, creative alternatives for special occasions like holidays and birthdays.

    The movie Breaking and Entering is not kid-friendly, but it does have one scene where Jude Law sits down to a dinner of chicken and vegetables. His wife explains the gut/brain connection and the role diet can play in restoring health to their ill child. The daughter throws a temper tantrum because of the missing ice cream. This scene could help some kids feel less "alone" with their feelings of resentment.
  5. I might get sick.
    True.
    Sometimes the body is so worn down it doesn't let us know the food we're eating is doing us harm. If sugar is perpetuating some of the bad "bugs," we often don't know it. When our body "wakes up" and we start feeding it healthier foods, toxins can die and create die-off symptoms, which are often worse than the general feeling of malaise we may have started with. There are numerous ways to get through the die-off, such as Epsom salt baths, activated charcoal, vitamin C, and many others.

    If we're willing to get worse before we get better, we may eventually enjoy a whole new level of health.
  6. My food might not taste good.
    True.
    Diets high in processed foods "trick" the body into thinking it likes something, when in fact our taste buds are "dumbed down" rather than enhanced. Give new foods a try. Study the taste system and you'll find that we are designed for nutritional intricacy.

    Freshly-made sauerkraut spooned over a brisket stew is a flavorful powerhouse because, according to Dr. Catherine Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition:

    Though taste buds may taste one kind of flavor predominately, one bud can in fact detect different flavor ligands simultaneously. It turns out, the more, different kinds of flavors there are, the more we taste each one. When peptides and salt ions bind at the same taste bud, the result is not a doubling of flavor, but a powerful thousand-fold magnification in the signal going to your brain. . . . (This is why hot dogs, for instance—or better yet, actual sausage—taste better with sauerkraut and bittersweet mustard.)

    You may be shocked at the foods you will love! And how quickly the processed foods lose their appeal.
  7. Extreme dietary restriction isn't necessarily a good thing.
    True.
    Eating good, healthy, REAL food does not need to involve restriction. If you look at the ingredients in a fast food meal, you'll find that corn and soy are behind most of it. In his book The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan breaks down the corn content of a fast food meal this way: soda 100% (since it consists primarily of high fructose corn syrup), milk shake 78%, salad dressing 65%, chicken nuggets 56%, cheeseburger 52%,and french fries 23%.

    In contrast, there are more than 70 types of vegetables, numerous varieties of animals, and lots of parts to these animals. There are an abundance of herbs and spices to flavor these foods.

    For some people, extreme may not be necessary. Eating less fast food and cooking more from scratch may be enough.

    But for those with severe illness, this quote from Hippocrates may apply: "Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases."

    Sometimes a strong message to the body can lead to a big change.
  8. I don't think I can get my spouse or older children on board.
    True.
    We can't control others, in any area of life. We can, however, do our best to educate and explain. We can lead by example. We can try. A slow transition is often better than an abrupt, unwelcome change. Introduce one food at a time and try to find satisfying substitutes for their favorite foods. Ask for a family experiment. Initiate challenges. Make the change as exciting as possible.
  9. It will be difficult.
    True.
    There's simply no way around this one. It is hard to change patterns, food patterns especially. Good things don't come easily. There's no magic pill when it comes to health and diet. Convenience foods are just that: convenient. But there is something gratifying and empowering about this kind of hard work.

In summary, there are plenty of reasons to stick with the "old way." Plenty of reasons not to step out and try something new. This quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes offers some powerful inspiration:

I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it—but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.

Today is a new day with new possibilities. The perfect time to set sail.

Quotes

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"...at age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

Dedication