Buying healthy food – the Nitty-Gritty

When you can, buy organic. But when you can’t,
get your money’s worth of healthy food--
with the cleanest, most nutritious alternatives.

Here’s how!


  • When buying non-organic, only plain foods and whole foods are healthy food. For instance, choose products with no sugar or salt, or sweetened with pear juice, etc. Unlike many extremists, we ourselves haven’t given up sugar, but prefer to add a better form of it, such as honey and maple syrup (which are alkaline-reacting), or organic sugar. (We used to try to find beet sugar, which Edgar Cayce recommended, until this year, when it seems beet sugar companies are now growing genetically modified sugar beets, able to stand-up to incredible doses of Roundup herbicides! There goes that option…)

  • Artificial sweeteners are awfully risky, due to serious health side-effects, although there is a natural sweetener called Stevia herb, available in several forms, which can be used in many recipes. If we want salt, we use the better form of it -- sea salt, with a little kelp added, for minerals, vitamins and amino acids.

  • Protect your family’s natural health by reading labels. Many people already check the content disclosures for fat, sodium and cholesterol, but it can be just as important to read the ingredients, particularly for preservatives, emulsifiers, dough conditioners and starch.

  • Nowadays, chemical ingredients are often identified by type on the label, but if you don’t know what an ingredient is, check the Internet. There is grave concern that these food additives may be linked with various types of disease. In pursuing healthy food, you should avoid additives as much as possible.

    The downside to content disclosures is that, often, products list 0% protein, 0% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, etc., and you could get the idea there’s NOTHING in it! But, remember, it’s not always what shows up in food under a microscope, but the action it causes within the body. For example, citrus tests acid on a litmus test, but is alkaline-reacting when consumed. For more on acid-alkaline reacting foods, click to see our page.

  • Buy simply, but consider the psychological. Edgar Cayce mentioned this. For example, maybe you would like some ice cream. Okay -- buy something like Breyers’ Golden Vanilla. It’s not organic, but it’s fairly clean – it qualifies as healthy food. If you want something fancier, add frozen blueberries or strawberries, raspberry jam, cinnamon, or the like. You quality control the ingredients. We have usually found that, the more ingredients they put in, the more contaminated and processed it is. Even Breyers’ fancier ice creams often make us cough or sneeze, a sign of physical distress.

  • Buy real health foods. Eggs, dairy products, canned and frozen vegetables are all plainer and mostly cleaner (of chemicals) than most prepared foods. Whole grain flours, such as King Arthur or Hodgson Mill, even if not organic, are available in many supermarket flour sections.

  • A carefully selected amount of meat will influence the rest, if you’re not a vegetarian. But buying meat is tricky. We’ve gotten to where we can’t eat much conventionally raised, grain-fed beef -- it just doesn’t taste good. (After all, cows and other ruminants can’t digest grain, without a lot of tinkering by agribusiness. Don’t let them fool you with myths about grain-fed beef!) But there is a product called "Laura's Lean Beef" that we have no problem with. It’s grass-fed, and sold by Kroger and others. And there are other brands. In any case, choose simpler, unprocessed forms of meat – small whole chickens, cheaper roasts, things you can use as an ingredient in stews or casseroles, rather than as a separate entrée. We found that we don’t have to buy bones for soup any more -- we get them free from a local butcher (mostly grass-fed) and freeze them.

  • But watch out -- many manufacturers are trying to fool the buyer! Since there is a growing interest in natural food, they use clever wording like “all natural,” or this statement on whole fryers: “This product grown without antibiotics or hormones.” The laws regulating chicken producers already forbid that, anyway! They’re just trying to get a higher price for the same product. When you see similar wording, check the lock on the hen-house! Do a little research on the Internet – it doesn’t take much time.


  • Prepared foods - meals someone else has fixed, and put in a box, freezer bag or can – they’re tasty and quick, but you lose control. There ARE alternatives – easy whole-grain quickbreads, simple stews, and more!
  • Processed cereals – keep to the simple ones: plain unsweetened flakes, and the like.
  • Cookies, toaster pastries or waffles, bakery goods. These are mostly just white flour, sugar, fat and chemicals, and any doctor would tell you that’s not healthy food!
  • Snack foods – chips, crackers, etc.
  • White bread, including “French bread,” “Italian bread,” “bagels,” and other fancy varieties
  • Anything with excessive additives
  • Most meat, even if you’re not a vegetarian. The USDA’s testing has confirmed that it is very high in pesticides.

  • Worst-Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables
    The USDA has tested numerous fruits and vegetables to determine which of them contain pesticide residues. These are the 12 that showed the WORST contamination. They are NOT healthy food. Try to use your organic dollars here, if you can:

    Percentage containing pesticides
    Imported Grapes*86%
    Bell Peppers68%
    Red Raspberries59%

    * Many of these were pesticides now illegal in U.S.

    The above statistics are useful for comparing different foods you might buy. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t buy them at all. For example, we buy Wal-Mart’s apricot jam. Rather than refusing it because apricots are on the worst-contaminated food list, we rationalize that it’s better as a treat than toaster pastries. Moderation is the key.

    Least-Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables

    The following are the 12 fruits and vegetables found to contain the LEAST amount of pesticides. Many of them have thick, inedible skins, which protect the fruit. They are the ones to buy non-organic, if necessary, as part of your healthy food diet.

    PineapplesSweet Peas

    * Almost all corn is genetically modified

    These are ways to begin moving in the direction of natural health, by transitioning to healthy food. It can also help curb the out-of-control agribusiness industry, as a natural result. There are many people who are critical of the kind of steps we recommend, but this is a moderate site, with, we hope, a practical approach. (After all, what good is the perfect solution if you can’t afford it?)

    If you find yourself able to go further, and want to, we are with you! But remember the famous saying: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Trite? Maybe. But true.

    Now let’s talk about yogurt, one of the most perfect foods anyone can eat!

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    Dr. Sheila Miles is a Naturopathic Physician whom we know in Kentucky. She is Board Certified by the National Board of Examiners in Integrated/ Alternative Medicine and Natural Health Science, with a Doctorate in Natural Health Science. She is also certified in Nutrition, Homeopathy, and Herbal Preparations.

    We had the privilege of editing her new book, Healthy Choices in an Unhealthy World. It's an excellent basic grounding in nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, and we are pleased to endorse it here. --
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