Buying Food Guide

By learning more about the foods you eat, you can begin to make a healthful food plan that will allow you to enjoy eating and feel better. Once you make a decision to rely on natural foods, your body and mind will adjust so that natural foods taste more delicious than manufactured derivatives.

Once your sugar and salt taste buds calm down, fruit will taste sweet and you won’t need that salt shaker as much. Ninety percent of your food should be excellent for your body, and 10 percent excellent for your soul!

Cereals and Grains

Cereals are an excellent way to increase your fiber and mineral intake. Unfortunately, the bulk of breakfast cereals contain too much sugar, hydrogenated oils, and other unhealthful ingredients, though some low-sugar, low-sodium cereals are sold in healthfood stores. Read package labels carefully. Check for the amount of sugar (4 grams = 1 teaspoon) and for the amount of fiber.

If you have gluten or other grain sensitivities, you will be able to find many, nongluten breakfast cereals in natural-food stores. Healthy cereals are made with the whole grain. You can also choose cereals with organically grown ingredients such as oatmeal and bulgur. Purchasing organic products ensures that you have not purchased genetically modified foods.


Eggs have been given a bad rap because they’ve been linked to cholesterol. In fact, eggs have high amounts of phospholipids that are integral to our cell membranes. They are a precursor to acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter.

Many researchers now believe that eating eggs has little or no effect on the serum cholesterol levels of people who have normal serum cholesterol. Recent studies found no significant change after six weeks in the cholesterol levels of healthy people after eating two hard-boiled eggs daily.

Other studies have concurred that eating eggs can actually raise the good HDL cholesterol. Current thinking is that if your cholesterol levels are normal, it’s fine to eat egg yolks that have not been oxidized (exposed to oxygen)—eggs that are hard-boiled, soft-boiled, or poached—since oxidized cholesterol can damage arteries and raise blood pressure.

It’s best to buy organic or free-range eggs. Commercially raised chickens live in unnatural settings, never seeing the light of day, never touching the earth beneath their cages, pumped with hormones to stimulate growth and antibiotics to prevent disease.

If you believe that the quality of a seed determines the health and vibrancy of the plant it produces, then by the same token if a chicken is artificially manipulated to produce eggs, how good can the quality of those eggs possibly be? For more information on this subject, the best resource is Diet for a New America by John Robbins.

Fish and Seafood

When selecting fish, it’s important to know where the fish came from. Do not eat fish found in polluted or questionable waters. Fish and shellfish found close to shore, in rivers, or in lakes may be environmentally contaminated.

Mollusks that filter water, such as oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops, can concentrate pesticides up to seventy thousand times the concentration of seawater. The EPA and FDA have recommended that we avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tile fish because of high mercury content.

Blue fish also may be highly contaminated. Many farm-raised fish have fats that resemble chicken fat because they were fed grains instead of algae. If you purchase farm-raised fish, ask questions about what they were fed. Eat high EPA/DHA-containing fish, such as salmon, twice a week.


Seaweeds, also called sea vegetables, are nutritious foods that are often neglected in American cuisine, though we have been exposed to them through macrobiotics and Japanese culture. Because we evolved from the sea, sea vegetables and seaweeds contain nutrients that are nearly identical in ratio and quality to those we use best.

Many people find that eating sea vegetables gives them a tremendous energy boost, probably because the seaweed is filling some minute nutrient need.

Meat and Poultry

When eating meats, make sure to choose lean cuts and remove the skin from poultry, which contains most of the fat and half of the calories. So by removing it, you can eat twice as much and stay within the same calorie count. Pork is marketed as “the other white meat,” but the only truly low-fat cut of pork is the tenderloin.

Environmentally, food animals are a disaster. Most water pollution comes from runoff from animal farming. The antibiotics they are given go into our rivers and streams, fields, crops, and bodies. The hormones they are fed affect us after we eat their meat.

This doesn’t even touch on the inhumane conditions in which these animals are raised and slaughtered. It takes sixteen pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef, which is an extremely wasteful use of our global natural resources.

If we, as a nation, would consume just 10 percent less meat, we would have additional stores of grain to feed sixty million people each year. Undeveloped countries that switch from a grain-based to a meat-based economy become poorer, have more hunger and starvation, and strip their land of natural resources.

By changing the foods you eat, you have an opportunity to help the world become a better, gentler place. For more information on this subject, read Diet for a Small Planet and Food First by Frances Moore Lappe and May All Be Fed and Diet for a New America by John Robbins.

Oils, Nuts, and Seeds

When purchasing oils, it is essential to find ones that have been expeller pressed, cold pressed, or are extra virgin (for olive and coconut oil). These oils have undergone a simple process of warming and pressing, unlike most grocery store oils which have been chemically treated with solvents, heated to temperatures that destroy all natural antioxidants, deodorized, bleached, refined, degummed, defoamed, and preserved.

One should also avoid all products that contain cottonseed oil, hydrogenated oil, partially hydrogenated oil, margarine, or vegetable shortening. Keep all oils, except olive oil, in the refrigerator so they don’t go rancid. Good-quality oils vary in flavor and color—walnut oil tastes different from corn oil.

You’ll find it’s best to use less of the stronger flavored oils. The fat in nuts and seeds provides minerals and essential fats. However, a cup of nuts contains between eight hundred and twelve hundred calories, most of which come from fat, so beware of quantity if you are watching your weight.

Chestnuts, which are delicious steamed or roasted, are an exception to this rule. Buy raw or roasted nuts that have not been seasoned, dry roasted, or coated with sugar and/or salt. Store nuts and seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them fresh.

Peanuts are in the bean family and grow underground rather than on trees. Some peanuts have a mold, called aflatoxin, which is toxic and can cause cancer. Aflatoxin is tasteless, so it’s impossible to tell if it’s on your peanuts or peanut butter.

A healthy person should be able to handle any aflatoxin they’re exposed to, but a sick person may have a difficult time. As for peanut butter, be sure to buy only the old-fashioned kind—ground up peanuts and salt. Almond butter, cashew butter, and sesame tahini are good alternatives.