Real Food Tips: 8 (More) Common Misconceptions

As soon as I published my first list of “common food misconceptions” I thought of a few more, so here they are…

  1. If it’s “gluten-free” then it is good for you…wrong (for most people).
    Unless you have an allergy or intolerance we do not believe people should avoid gluten…or any grains for that matter. And like I’ve said about organic packaged food, just because a product is “gluten-free” doesn’t mean it’s a “whole food.” There are lots of highly processed “organic” and “gluten-free” products out there and when buying grains – whether it has gluten or not – it’s best to select those products made with the whole-grain (check the ingredients to be sure). And to back this up, in a recent New York Times FAQMichael Pollan said, “People who eat lots of whole grains are generally healthier and live longer than those who don’t.” In the same article Pollan also addressed gluten-free diets saying, “They are very important if you have celiac disease or can’t tolerate gluten. But it’s hard to believe that the number of people suffering from these conditions has grown as fast as this product category. Gluten has become the bad nutrient of the moment, the evil twin of Omega 3 fatty acids. Could it really be that bread, a staple of Western civilization for 6,000 years, is suddenly making millions of us sick? I’m dubious.”

    Unedited photo of eggs from “pastured” chickens
  1. Brown eggs are better for you than white ones…wrong!
    Brown eggs simply come from a different breed of chicken than white eggs. We personally don’t worry about the color of the shell and instead pay attention to the color of the yolk on the inside. We believe that the best and most nutritious eggs come from pastured chickens (pastured = animals that graze on grass), and you can see the difference in the color of the yolk because it’s usually bright orange as opposed to pale yellow, which you’ll find inside most supermarket eggs. We buy our pastured eggs from our local farmers’ market and some have brown shells, some have white shells, and some even have light blue or green shells. But how those chickens are raised and fed is a lot more important to us than the color on the outside. If you can’t find eggs through local farmers then at least try to buy the organic “cage-free” variety.
  1. Speaking of eggs, they are healthier for you if you avoid eating the yolks…wrong!
    In the same NYTimes interview, according to Michael Pollan, “Eggs are great and always were. The nutrition researchers have rehabilitated them in recent years — they used to think that cholesterol in eggs raised cholesterol in the blood, but this turns out not to be the case for most people.”
  1. Local food is better than well-traveled organic food…unfortunately there’s no good answer for this one.
    Michael Pollan helps sum this one up nicely, “It depends on what you value most. If keeping pesticides out of your food is your highest value, then buy organic. If you care most about freshness and quality or keeping local farms in business and circulating money in your community, buy local. But very often you can do both. Some local farmers are organic in everything but name, so before you decide to pass them up, ask them not ‘Are you organic’ — to which the answer must be no if they haven’t been certified — but rather, how do you deal with fertility and pests?” Long story short…it’s expensive and timely for small farms to become certified organic so it’s always good to ask questions!
  1. Turkey burgers and turkey bacon are better than their beef and pork counterparts…wrong!
    I think this is a case of comparing apples to oranges. Beef, pork, and turkey are all from completely different animals. In general, no matter what kind of meat you choose, if it’s from humanely raised and properly fed animals (preferably pasture-fed from a local farm and/or organic) and you consume that meat in moderation then from there it’s just personal preference.
  1. In order to avoid genetically modified (GMO) food you must buy organic…right!
    Per Wikipedia, “A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques … To date the most controversial but also the most widely adopted application of GMO technology is patent-protected food crops that are resistant to commercial herbicides or are able to produce pesticidal proteins from within the plant, or stacked trait seeds, which do both.” Right now there is no law in the U.S. that require food manufactures to label foods that have been genetically modified, but the USDA rules for organic do prohibit GMOs so at the moment buying organic is the only way to avoid them.
  1. Organic milk sometimes has a later expiration date because it is “fresher”…wrong!
    According to Michael Pollan, longer expiration dates mean “Much of the organic milk in your market is ‘ultra-pasteurized’ rather than simply ‘pasteurized’ — that is, it has been heated to a higher temperature in order to extend its shelf life. This is a holdover from when organic milk sat longer on grocery shelves. Some nutritionists believe that ultra-pasteurization damages the quality of milk; many cheese makers won’t use it. In some busier markets, you can find organic milk that has not been ultra-pasteurized.”
  1. Fresh produce is better than frozen…depends.
    According to Pollan, “Frozen vegetables and fruits are a terrific and economical option when fresh is unavailable or too expensive. The nutritional quality is just as good — and sometimes even better, because the produce is often picked and frozen at its peak of quality. The only rap is that freezing collapses the cell walls of certain fruits and vegetables, at some cost to their crunch. But this has no bearing on nutrition. Do look for frozen foods with a single ingredient — no fake herb-butter sauce!”

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84 thoughts on “Real Food Tips: 8 (More) Common Misconceptions”

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  1. Also interested in the answer to Sarah’s question! =) I love most of this article but do not agree with number one! I’m not familiar enough with soaking.. but definitely think that would be a better option! I’ve had major dental issues and I believe it had a lot to do with adding more oats to my diet! We’re not super strict grain free, but try to avoid grains as much as possible!

  2. What is Lisa’s nutritional background? She promotes whole grains, though other practitioners reveal the dangers of grains and damaging impact they can have on our health (regardless of whether we have an allergy or sensitivity to it). Has Lisa read any of the following books?

    Dr David Perlmutter “Grain Brain” and “Brain Maker”

    Dr William Davis “Wheat Belly”

    Dr Charles Majors “The Cancer Killers”

    Highly suggested readings.

    1. We aim to eat the traditional foods our ancestors survived on for centuries before us, which includes whole grains. If you feel better not eating grains then it makes sense to avoid them, but it’s not for everyone.

      1. After speaking to a number of holistic doctors, practitioners, health experts and reading multiple sources of literature over the years, there appears to be consistent consensus amongst these sources that a gluten free diet should be considered for optimal long term health, regardless of whether one is “currently” symptomatic of any illness or disease. A few of these health experts and reports have shown “some” disagreement on consumption of whole grains (gluten free whole grains), but all sources I’ve referenced share one commonality…gluten should be avoided as it has been indicated to promote onset of disease with high probability, as it can be inflammatory. I have no “formal” training in nutrition myself, but have done a significant amount of research and communicated with many health experts in the industry who are trained and currently in practice.

  3. Jane makes a great point. Grains, nuts and beans are protected from sprouting too early by Phytic Acid. We need to break down/mitigate that acid down before we eat those foods. Soaking is the answer. I soak my dried beans, raw nuts and grains before I use them. Do a simple Google search ‘Soaking grains, nuts and beans” and many many guides will show up. Look them over, pick one, print it and follow it. Note soaking only benefits raw grains, nuts and beans. Almonds are pasteurized in this country – soaking does not good.

  4. Just a (nit-picky) clarification on your comment here: (pastured = animals that graze on grass)
    That is not actually true. “Grass fed” refers to animals that graze on grass, like cows, goats, & sheep. Pastured means the animal roamed freely in it’s natural habitat, ie a pasture or wooded area, eating foods from that environment, including grass, bugs, seeds, berries, roots, shoots, worms, grubs, etc. and quite possibly some grain as well.
    Chickens and pigs are refered to as pastured, because they do not survive on a strictly grass diet. They aren’t grazers, they’re omnivores :) Otherwise, great article!! I love the deep orange yolks and firm whites from my “yard-eggs” and love watching my chickens roam around. They are so fun!

  5. Hi there! I always love what you post and have learned a lot. I have been researching lately about phytic acid. I’ve learned that a lot of whole wheat, beans, and nuts have phytic acid that our bodies can’t break down and take away nutrients. I was researching because, unfortunately, I’ve had to go to the dentist one too many times. Thanks!

  6. I agree with #1…that just because a product says “Gluten Free” does not make it healthy by any means. There is a lot of misinformation out there about the theory and thought behind gluten-free eating. But, I disagree that we NEED grains. I’m not sure what they supply that we can’t get from eating a diet full of produce, healthy proteins, and healthy fats. I don’t eat completely grain free (although I feel great when I do), and I believe moderation is key, but I know that when I cut out wheat and grain products (even whole wheat), I have more energy and feel overall better. I know people who would not be told they are “gluten intolerant” who have been healed from thyroid issues and other autoimmune diseases as a result of cutting out inflammatory wheat. Do I think it’s necessary for everyone to cut out wheat? No. Do I think we NEED wheat? No to that as well. Here is a great article!
    http://getbetterwellness.com/?p=2796
    “Besides being hybridized to have 50% more gluten, wheat and the cereal grains have anti-nutrients (phytates) in them that make digestion difficult…”

    1. I agree! I have trouble tolerating most grains but am not allergic. I eliminated all grains but white rice and all of my GI problems went away. I was also able to stop taking my anxiety meds. After several months of gut healing, I tried wheat again and it didn’t upset my stomach any more. After a few days of eating wheat I developed anxiety and restless legs. I stopped eating it and within a few days the symptoms went away.

    2. As a nutrition educator, I do say you need grains. I specifically teach grade school kids how to make healthy choices in the foods they eat. Grains are our “GO” foods and they give us the energy to go, go, go. Fruits and Veggies are our “GLOW” foods because they contain so many essential vitamins that give our skin a healthy ‘glow’. and Meat (or other protein) and Dairy our our ‘GROW” foods, proteins help our muscles to grow while the calcium in the dairy helps our bones to grow strong and prevent things like osteoporosis which also seems to be a growing problem today.

  7. Regarding the eggs — I buy Vital Farms eggs from Whole Foods. They’re more expensive, but how the chickens are treated is extremely important to me. These eggs are GMO-free and pasture-raised (they call them “backyard eggs” and there have been a few news articles recently about the company’s humane practices.

    I have had a very hard time finding a local farm near me to get the eggs, this has proven to be a great alternative.

  8. I buy brown eggs to help promote genetic diversity in the chicken/egg pool. It seems to me that it would be unwise to have only one breed of chicken out there making eggs, and so by buying brown eggs I vote with my wallet to keep some diversity in the marketplace.

    1. If you can, try to get hold of blue chicken eggs. I managed to get some fertilised blue eggs and give them to an organic farmer to raise. they were gorgeous, robin egg blue. What I dislike about white eggs is they feel so… laboratory. I love the warm brown tones of the brown eggs.

  9. Lillie Nicholas

    Okay, so I am encouraged to hear that whole grains make you healthier, but can anyone tell me WHY? I am on the Whole30 right now, which is a strict Paleo diet in which you can have no grains and dairy, among other things. I feel intense cravings for dairy and I know I need that back in my life (I will switch to organic, grass fed), but as far as grains go, I am a bit lost on how to get good, organic grains incorporated back in and how much I’ll need. I’m also gluten free due to an intolerance. Would 2-3 slices of organic whole grain bread be enough grains in my diet? Can you help?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Lillie. Whole grains are nutrient rich, high in fiber, and can increase the satiety of a meal. If you have a gluten intolerance, choose whole grains that are gluten free such as quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, etc. This post will help: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/06/28/food-allergies/. And, we are all different. It is also a matter of figuring out what works and makes you feel best. I, personally, do well when I keep my grains to a minimum but I am very sensitive to carbohydrates and cannot do wheat. It is essential to know the ecology of your own body and make choices based on that. :)

    2. Carbs in whole grains are absorbed by the body considerably slower (low glycemic), therefore they don’t raise blood sugar as quickly as processed grains (high glycemic), which can spike blood sugar. High blood sugar is believed (and in many cases proven) to lead to many diseases including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and dementia.

  10. Actually, it’s a little more tricky than that with GMOs. You really need to see a “certified non-GMO” label to insure that it’s GMO-free. Organic labeling means that they did not use GM seed/plants to begin with, but cross-contamination can easily occur with GMO crops that may be nearby. Certified non-GMO means they went the extra step to test the finished product to see if it is, in fact, GMO-free. Complicated! :)

  11. When people buy “whole wheat flour” and “whole wheat bread” they are not actually getting that. Actual whole wheat flour has a 24-48 hour shelf life before it goes rancid. that is why your great-grandmother went to the mill a few times a week to get flour. And, that is why I own a mill and all of my family’s bread products (loaf bread, flour tortillas, bagels, crackers) are made with freshly milled flour.

    There is a mountain of evidence that taking away freshly milled grains is a huge problem in our society. eating this way has completely cured these issues in my family: constipation, eczema, warts, acne, and significantly helped asthma. Also, my energy level has skyrocketed!

  12. I know there is a lot of confusion about gluten and I am not going to get into the argument other than to say that before my daughter was diagnosed with a gluten issue via extensive testing, we ate a fairly healthy diet. I tried to incorporate as many “real” foods as possible. When she first went gluten free, I did go overboard in purchasing packaged foods as it can be very overwhelming to switch your diet so drastically. However, as the year has progressed we have begun to shy away from that type of food. One thing, though, that has been hard for us is pasta. We like pasta in our family! I have been wondering for some time if there was a gluten free pasta that is considered real food and would love any input anyone has on this.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Valerie. My husband is gluten free and we use brown rice pasta. I get it at Trader Joe’s and everyone in our family (even those who are not gluten free) enjoy it. Good luck. Jill

  13. THANK YOU! Thank you for passing the word on this new GF diet fad.
    My family has HAD to be GF for the last 9 years. My son has celiacs.
    When I started seeing the fad start for the GF diet it frustrated me how naive people are to the supposed health benefit. It’s not a fad diet, and just because it says GF it is not HEALTHY for you. We still don’t eat the GF junk foods, and look for more whole grain options all the time.
    On the other hand, while the fad will come and go, it has benefit celiac patients. It has upped the demand in our local markets. Giving more of a selection and more competitive prices. As those Celiac shoppers know, GF is not CHEAP.
    If people would jump on the idea of eating in moderation, eating from all the food groups, and getting active the way they do Fad diets. We wouldn’t have such an issue with obesity. There is no quick fix, just long term changes.
    Thank you again for spreading the word!

  14. I’m always so upset when, despite living in the middle of nowhere being surrounded by farms, farmers markets are never where I expect them and in very, very few numbers. I have to settle for a lot of frozen veggies, which for a lazy cook such as myself (tons of soups and one-pot dishes) is kind of a blessing. Frozen veggies are my favorite things, though it seems increasingly difficult to find them without being covered in butter or sauces.

  15. Hey There, So with regards to #1 This whole gluten free thing confuses me. I tolerate gluten fine and am probably reading too much about how its bad for you, and then I read the post above about how its fine. I love bread and really can’t imagine a life without my sandwiches among other bread things. (but mostly sandwiches :p) I spoke with a nutritionist recently who has researched why so many people lately have come forward with gluten intolerance’s. At first I was also thinking it was “the new thing” to hate on gluten because of some ailments. (Please note I am not dismissing any diseases, or gluten intolerance’s at all, so no disrespect intended towards that) because just like your quote above, bread has been a baking forever so whats the deal now? I just didn’t want to think my love for bread could be bad for me. She informed me that my worst fear was true! Yes gluten intolerance is on the rise and really isn’t good for you to be eating all the time. However, she said of course everything in moderation. If you don’t have an intolerance already there isn’t any reason to go completely gluten free, just to moderate. Pushing her for more answers as to why my beloved bread is bad, she said it isn’t bread or grain or anything in its whole form. She said its all the GMO that they put in products with gluten. After its added and the bread(or whatever item you want to insert, bread is just my example) has been processed it has almost little to no true nutrients left. What it is left with is GMO’s that your body doesn’t know what to do with, that your insulin after ingestion goes through the roof, and in some cases results in celiacs or other intolerance’s because your body is essentially trying to fight off an organism that shouldn’t have ever existed in the first place. This doesn’t mean that’s how it started for everybody, she just explained that’s why its on the rise. She highly recommended me making my own bread from GMO free ingredients. What are your thoughts on all this? I really want to get to the bottom of this gluten thing

  16. Here’s one I just have to chime in on! First of all, I am shocked that Michael Pollan would make that remark (but do believe you.) Reason being- grains are one of the most modified foods there are! They may not be “GMO” as in tinkered with my Monsanto in a lab, but definitely have been hybridized through the years to be glutenous to a point that our bodies are no longer tolerating them. Gluten is the stuff that makes LOVELY big air holes in our bread…. (sigh!) so you can see why someone would want more, more, more!

    The “whole grains” issue is another that makes me cringe. Whole grains are ONLY good for you if you know how to treat them prior to eating. Indigenous societies would not eat whole grains without soaking, sprouting, or fermenting them first. To do so is to kiss the nutrients goodbye and do real damage to your body.

    I learned this by reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. A lot of people believe that following these methods, first set forth by Weston A Price, is much like being in a cult. Let me tell you, however, that I was VERY dubious at first, but willing to take the time to try it only because the health of my daughter’s teeth depended on it.

    I now have proof that small changes in our diet like this make a HUGE difference in our health and healing… just look at the story on my blog (also a real food blog ;) and search for “teeth” or “caries” and you can see the story of how our cavities HEALED THEMSELVES without getting fillings and my daughter re-grew enamel on hers. Even the holistic dentists were stunned at how much we were able to do with diet- most of it just with changing how we treated our grains! (We are gluten-free, but I soak all other grains.)

    There are lots of things about how food interacts with our bodies that we don’t understand- like how cholesterol works, etc. Each of us is different too, and sometimes what works for some person (raw, vegan) won’t work for another (paleo/caveman.)

    Just wanted to throw my 2c in!

  17. All of this “gluten” talk blows my mind. My stepsons sister has an intolerance to gluten. It’s kinda sad because she’s only 11. We were at a birthday party this past weekend and she couldn’t have any cake. My mother in law has a celiac disease and is now trying gluten free products. I’ve read that it can cause a lot of problems within the body. I might try it myself. My son has ADHD and I have a slight mood disorder. It’s supposed to help keep the hyperactivity to a minimum. I need to read more, but from the looks of it we all need to be somewhat gluten free! Processed foods are just as bad too. Our food is killing us! I’m glad I found this website though. I want to start eating healthier and finding a diet for my son, he’s only 6.

    1. It’s really hard with kids, isn’t it? My husband had ADHD as a kid. I remember him telling me that his mom took him off all white flour and white sugar, and his symptoms improved dramatically. He also took ritalin at the time. Now my 10 year old daughter has it, and we try very hard to limit her exposure to wheat and sugar. We definitely notice a difference in her behavior when she’s eating more cleanly (as do her teachers!) I try and make a healthy, yummy “treat” for our family at least once a week (such as gluten free muffins or cookies). I do not buy pre-made or packaged GF treats, I make stuff from scratch, using replacement ingredients such as coconut or almond flour, and raw local honey to sweeten. Still, it’s been an uphill battle to convince her that eating healthy, whole foods is for her own good, when she’s surrounded at every turn (in school, at friends homes, and by TV ads), with JUNK! I hope that the state of things regarding food in this country turns around in a big way, and soon!

    2. I’ve been wondering as reading through all of this if people health improvements going gluten free are actually the result of getting the GMO wheat out of their diets. No science or research just food for thought.

      1. Wheat is NOT a GMO crop.
        In fact if you eat any processed/packaged gluten-free foods you’ll be getting more GMOs in some cases from corn and/or soy ingredients.

    1. This article has a lot of its science mixed up. Einkorn wheat wasn’t the main kind of wheat during biblical times; hexaploid bread wheat (which the author calls “Frankenwheat”) has been cultivated for 9,000 years and is probably the result of natural hybridization within fields of emmer wheat.

      Dwarf wheat has been cultivated for thousands of years, too. Dwarf traits were bred into modern wheat varieties using traditional cross-pollination techniques. All the stuff about chromosome number is wrong. Hexaploid wheat, which is our regular bread wheat, has 42 chromosomes, not “twenty-eight or twice as many (as Einkorn).” It has 6 sets of 7 chromosomes. Durum wheat, which he doesn’t address, is tetraploid and has 28 (4 times 7).

      Explaining all the places where he went wrong would just take too much time. There are some facts in there, but they are mixed up with lots of mumbo-jumbo and scary words (SuperStarch! SuperGluten! FrankenFoods!). If anyone is interested in the history of wheat, I can provide references to scientific journals.

      Some people have intolerances and should avoid wheat, but wheat is NOT the cause of our obesity epidemic. We just eat too much food overall. Look at the USDA data at http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/foodreview/jan2000/frjan2000b.pdf . We spend less of our income on food than ever before, and eat more meat, more cheese, more added fats, LESS GRAIN, more fruits and vegetables, and lots more sweeteners (due to increase in corn sweeteners) than 100 years ago. It doesn’t take a scientist to look at the graphs and guess that a 50% increase in sugar consumption a 100% increase in fat consumption might cause a population to gain weight.

      The blessing and the curse of modern agriculture is that food is cheap and abundant. We in the US don’t have to worry about widespread starvation any longer, but the flip side of that coin is an overabundance. We are, figuratively, kids in a candy store.

  18. Although I really enjoy your blog and it has helped me to change my family’s diet the last few months, I find your comments on wheat and gluten to be less informed. I have also read Pollan’s book and took a lot of good things away from it. However, I went beyond that and learned more about wheat. It’s no longer in our diet, although we do have a lot of other healthy whole grains in our diet, and we feel much better. I really encourage you to read Wheat Belly. You may find yourself taking wheat out of your family’s diet when you learn more facts about wheat today vs. our “staple of Western civilization for 6,000 years”. It is simply not the same and most of the changes have happened in the last 50 years. The introduction Wheat has a role on asthma. Your daughter may benefit even more if you swap out the wheat & gluten for other gluten free options. I agree that just because something is gluten free doesn’t mean it’s healthy — you have to look at all the ingredients. But that’s the same for whole wheat foods as well! By the way, celiac disease and gluten sensitivities/intolerances can be developed at any age. And the only thing creating the opportunity for it to develop is the continued consumption of wheat/gluten foods.

    1. I’m sorry, I started a sentence and then forgot to complete it:
      The introduction to the book alone is eye opening when Davis compares the bodies of people 50+ years ago with the bodies we see around us today.

  19. First off, I love your website and the encouragement that eating “real food” is important. I like to read it during my lunch break.

    Because you always seem interested in facts, I want to point out that item #6, “In order to avoid genetically modified (GMO) food you must buy organic…right!” is only partly correct.

    Only a few types of crops in the US are transgenic. So, if you are concerned about GMOs, then you should avoid conventional corn, soy, canola oil, and cottonseed oil, and the advice to buy organic is correct. But, no transgenic rice, wheat, quinoa, barley, kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils, apples, carrots, grapes, peaches, peas, etc. even exist in US agriculture, so for those (and almost every other food) you don’t have to buy organic to avoid GMOs.

    Unfortunately, it’s really hard to track down any consumer-friendly lists of transgenic crops. These articles in Nature and USA Today are the best I could find (http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/biotech/2011-02-22-biotech-crops_N.htm and http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v29/n4/pdf/nbt.1842.pdf). The only government information I could find includes all that have ever been approved, even those that aren’t currently grown, so that’s not really informative for the concerned citizen.

    So, in short, these are very likely to be transgenic in the US:
    -corn
    -soy
    -cottonseed
    -canola
    -sugar beet
    -alfalfa

    And these sometimes are transgenic:
    -papaya
    -summer squash
    -(and one of those articles does mention potatoes, tomatoes and peppers, but I haven’t heard much about those becoming widespread)

    The technology is expensive to develop and get approved, so it’s usually only worth the investment for crops that will be grown on large acreages, like those that will enter the processed food industry. A “real food” diet will automatically exclude the commodity foods that are most likely to contain GMOs.

    Personally I don’t intentionally avoid eating transgenic foods, but I totally support the right of all people to be informed and make their own food choices. Thank you for encouraging people to make intentional, healthful choices in their diets!

  20. Last summer I was excited to buy from a local farmer with a roadside stand. In conversation though, I found out that he does not grow the food he sells. The potatoes were from Texas, the peaches were from North Carolina, etc. And he was not concerned with pesticide use or GMOs, so I had no more knowledge of what’s in it than what I buy at the grocery store.

    Make sure to talk to the farmers/sellers and ask questions! Never just assume it’s locally organically grown!

    1. This is a great point. When we go to the Farmer’s Market, we make sure and ask the questions – how do you deal with pests? How do you grow your plants (feed your animals)? etc. You can’t assume that because it’s a farmer or farm stand it’s fresh, local and/or organic.

    2. I think your point is excellent. I had a similar exerience with a road side stand. I have since begun getting my foods at another Farm Market and they post information about their growers and farmers. They also only buy from farmers who practice minimal and natural pesticide practices. They clearly advise that their food is not “organic” but also point out that many practices are beyond organic. They also only get their product from farms within 120 miles from the shop. I feel so confident buying from them even if they aren’t organic.

  21. Dareen AbouShackra

    I’m loving this post. thank you for sharing. It’s crazy u point these all out. I’ve realized that people just follow trends, while disregarding the obvious “money-making’ schemes. One day pomegranates are the fad & the other day something comes up that switching people against it due to one or two studies. I loved your first point about Gluten!! we definitely have to rethink the full “no gluten” concept. If it doesn’t harm you then why stop it.

    Dareen
    http://www.IngeniousHealth.com
    follow me on twitter @IngeniousHealth

  22. My husband and I quit eating grains over 7 months ago. He’s lost 43 pounds and I’ve lost 31 pounds. His constant acid reflux disappeared almost overnight. My bouts of depression are gone. The aches and pains in my joints are vastly improved. Our energy is higher and our minds are clearer.

    I read “Wheat Belly” by Dr. Davis and, although I don’t really appreciate the “hype” that comes with his info, it is still excellent information that is based on science. If you want less hype, try reading “The Perfect Health Diet” by Dr. Paul and Dr. Shou-Ching Shih Jaminet. They are scientists who spent 5 years studying the impact of diet on health in order to cure their own health conditions. They explain the same problems with wheat that Dr. Davis does, but they do not add the hype. Fascinating reading. The wheat of today is NOT the same wheat our grandparents grew up on. If you are really interested in eating healthy, you owe it to yourself to check it out. If you only want to read one book, I highly recommend the second book I mentioned.

  23. I am so relieved to read the one about fresh vs. frozen! We are a busy family and my son is 18 mos and one week he loves something and the next not so much. So having veggies and fruits handy in the freezer as his tastes change is very economical for us!

  24. The fact with a lot of this stuff is that people believe what they want to believe. PERIOD! Those who believe that saturated fat is evil, or eating fat makes you fat, or that grains are the best thing since sliced bread (grin), are probably going to keep believing it because they WANT to. The science is out there folks, do your research if you want facts. I’ve done hundreds of hours of reading on health topics over the past 6 months since embarking on my new way of life, and I’ve based my decisions on that. And more importantly I’ve experienced profound health benefits based on what I put in my body. Those who are posting here about grains are not saying that every person who eats grains is going to get sick (although based on my research I do believe the “majority” of people, as in over 50%, will be impacted negatively by eating grains). What raises my hackles are statements like those made by Pollan regarding grains, and those made by people here who “think” they know the facts based on NO facts, but just that they have always eaten grains, how can they possibly be bad for us. If you want some nifty “facts” about gluten and what it does inside our body, watch this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qjr_v7jAYy8&feature=player_embedded

  25. The fact with a lot of this stuff is that people believe what they want to believe. PERIOD! Those who believe that saturated fat is evil, or eating fat makes you fat, or that grains are the best thing since sliced bread (grin), are probably going to keep believing it because they WANT to. The science is out there folks, do your research if you want facts. I’ve done hundreds of hours of reading on health topics over the past 6 months since embarking on my new way of life, and I’ve based my decisions on that. And more importantly I’ve experienced profound health benefits based on what I put in my body. Those who are posting here about grains are not saying that every person who eats grains is going to get sick (although based on my research I do believe the “majority” of people, as in over 50%, will be impacted negatively by eating grains). What raises my hackles are statements like those made by Pollan regarding grains, and those made by people here who “think” they know the facts based on NO facts, but just that they have always eaten grains, how can they possibly be bad for us. If you want some nifty “facts” about gluten and what it does inside our body, watch this:
    https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#label/Diane+Save/1350bea8140a8516

  26. I see a lot of people posting that they feel much better after getting away from grain, and my question is simply this: were you eating truly whole grains, or did you do your best with what you found at the grocery store? When we decided to get away from meat (because of cholesterol and blood pressure issues) and go vegetarian, I decided that if our diet is based on grain, it better be the best possible. NOTHING in the grocery store is made from REAL whole grain. It ALL has the germ removed, since it isn’t shelf stable without removing the germ. I started grinding my own flour and making our bread (total bricks for about the first year, but I learned a lot and we persevered). I lost about 20 pounds and felt amazing in one summer. We added back some meat into our diet after moving to a more rural setting, because wild game and pasture raised meat were both available. I will never purchase meat from a grocery store again, nor do I allow items made from flour that I didn’t grind myself. If I no longer had access to fresh ground flour, I would not go back to breads from the store (or pasta). I would get my grains by boiling them, like rice. I believe all those posting about how much better they feel without grains, but I do think it may have as much to do with the quality of the grain as the presence of gluten (or more).

  27. I hope the “WheatBelly” book has some wonderful, amazing facts… Because the website “hype” didn’t impress me at all.
    :( It looks like one of those things you would find on late night tv….
    Good for those who have found it works for them though…

    Loved this sensible list. And yeah, definitely check into the “organic” stuff…. Take “organic” milk for example. It might not only be ultrapasteurized, but the cows are often treated the exact same way as non organic milk, and can still be fed brewery mash-just so long as it’s “organic” brewery mash. You are much better to do whatever you can to support local farmers, even if they don’t have the “organic” label, many still do their best to avoid drugs and antibiotics, and care for their animals well (typical lifespan of a dairy cow on the line-4 yrs. Typical “family cow” lifespan-12-14 yrs!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      We buy ours from Earth Fare and it comes from a farm in Virginia (that doesn’t ultra-pasteurize)…it’s called Homestead Creamery and comes in glass bottles.

  28. For more information about how wheat has changed and how cutting wheat helps improve your health and even reverse some health problems. It’s called Wheat belly by William Davis.

  29. Why does everyone keep posting about their gluten intolerances? Did you read the post? She specifically excluded those with intolerances so feel free to stop being so self-righteous about it.

    1. People are posting about their gluten intolerance because many of them were not diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Many of the symptoms seem to not at all relate to gluten intake so most wouldn’t even think to remove gluten from their diet to see if it changes anything. They are posting so others may try it to see if it makes you feel any better. Again, there are no nutrients in grains that you can’t get from some other source so they aren’t necessary to a healthy diet.

  30. I work in the organic food industry.. I would add.. JUST BECAUSE IT IS ORGANIC, DOESN’T MEAN ITS GOOD FOR YOU..

    I get a TON of people in the shop buying processed organic food thinking they are making a healthy choice. Yes.. It is better to eat organic processed food thank conventional processed food, BUT it is STILL full of fat, salt, and calories!
    It is tough to sell things you cannot stand behind and would never eat yourself. Oh well. Its a step in the right direction I guess!

  31. I just finished a book called Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis and in it he discusses why the “new”, hybridized wheat we eat is not good for us. It isn’t that wheat is bad for us, it is the modern wheat that is bad for us because it has been so drastically modified.
    Check out the website: http://www.wheatbellybook.com. The website says the following:
    “Over the past 50 years, wheat has been genetically altered by Big Food companies. The reason is simple: Genetically altered wheat means bigger yields and bigger profits for Big Food companies.

    That’s good for them but bad for you, because along the way, “modern” wheat developed a biochemical makeup that turns the human body into a metabolic mess.”

    Also check out this website:
    http://www.growseed.org/
    Where you can buy some of the “original” kinds of wheat and grain.

    1. People are just regurgitating this guys book over and over. Not every single grain we eat today (unless you’re eating bunny bread) is apart of the ultra-hybridized foods (or GMO). Lots of Independently owned companies online (that many of us in this community use) sell non-GMO grains that are exactly the same as they were hundreds of years ago. The problem with his assessment (and why many endocrinologist do not take him seriously) is because he waves his hand saying “all wheat is bad” while ignoring that whole grain is not the same as white flour.

  32. I normally LOVE your blog so I hate to say this, but the last part of your paragraph about gluten is very uninformed and actually comes off as a bit offensive to those of us who do have problems digesting gluten. You really need to do more research about the subject before implying that it’s not legitimate. The grains that are available today are completely different than the ones that were available 100 years ago because of genetic modification, which is largely why an increasing number of people are having problems digesting it. I understand that this may be “hard to believe” (it is indeed a crazy situation) but that doesn’t make it untrue. Writing about nutrition should be based on facts, not hunches.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Hi there and I am sorry if I was misunderstood…I am not AT ALL implying “gluten-free” isn’t legitimate for some I just don’t believe it’s necessary for all. Also, most of that paragraph was a quote from Michael Pollan and not something I wrote…just to clarify. Thanks for your feedback!

    2. They are absolutely not different. The only Grains that are different are the ones you purchase from GMO companies. If you purchase your grains from the various other organic farmers that have been linked from here, they do not use GMO grains, and they are not ‘hybrids’. Stop with this madness.

  33. Grains today are hybrids of hybrids of hybrids. Years ago, our bodies handled grains -which were much different then -better than they can now. But it is a fact that a person could never eat another grain for the rest of their lives and be perfectly healthy. If you do well with them – eat them. Many do not and we avoid them.

  34. the colour of the egg yolk is not always a good indicator any more, since many farmers are now feeding their chickens saponified marigold to “dye” the yolks orange. As you said about local farmers and organic products, the best way to know you are getting a great product is to talk to your farmer.

  35. I am gluten free, and healthier for it. I have Crohn’s and gluten intolerance so it is a must for me. Additionally, I choose to be grain free most of the time. I do indulge in the occasional corn chip or rice cracker, but those are rare events and generally happen when I’m in a social setting. I think it is important to note that while some gluten free products ARE junk filled with sugars and so forth, that a great deal of gluten free folk don’t actually eat that junk regularly once we have adapted to our new lifestyle. Most of us maintain our health with sustainable meat, dairy and fruits and veg, instead of replacing items with fake outs. At least, that is the case after we transition to a place of accepting our new dietary restrictions. It is hard and alienating to be gluten free, and those foods help us ease into a new life style AND allow us to participate in social settings. There is very much a grieving process that comes with adopting a gluten free lifestyle and it isn’t one that many would choose to go through. They help us feel normal and occasionally help us to cope so please don’t be judgmental. We are capable of reading the label, but sometimes, we are just trying to get by. And food isn’t our only enemy. There is gluten in cosmetics, personal care items, and all kinds of hidden places. Gluten free means far more than a label on a food product.

    1. Thanks for these words. So appreciated the clarification for those of us who are dealing with gluten free. My children are gluten free and we have done the same to generally stay away from packaged stuff and eat fresh. There is a difference for those who are gf and need to be.

  36. This is one of the main reasons that I love your site. I think that you present a balanced, common sense approach to eating and living better in today’s world. Your posts are well thought out and researched, and I always learn something new. Thank you!

  37. I’m 53, and ate grains my whole life, thinking they were perfectly healthy (and I ate a relatively healthy diet too, not a lot of junk food). Gave them up 6 months ago as an experiment to see if I could improve my health issues, and all I can say is that my results have been life changing. My osteoarthritis pain has vanished, the depression I was suffering from has improved dramatically, my peri-menopause symptoms have disappeared (hot flashes, etc.), and I’ve lost 30 pounds to boot (without “dieting”). Considering the fact that it’s estimated that 60% of Caucasians have, at the very least, an intolerance to gluten, this is not a subject to be taken lightly, or thought of as some “fad”. You might be fine at 20, or 30, eating all the grains you like, doesn’t mean it’s healthy in the long term. Gluten causes inflammation in the body, period. And inflammation is the root of much of the disease that is running rampant in our society today.

    1. Roxanna Walkovik

      Diane is right on target Gluten is not the same anymore and unless you do Orangic whole wheat ..it’s still has major problems with inflamation which causes many illness. RIGHT ON DIANE!!

    2. Gluten does not cause inflammation for the majority of people. Eating grains, which is a great place to find Fiber, is incredibly healthy for you. People have been eating some form of grains for 10,000 years. There’s no reason to stop now just because a few people are connecting it to their current pain problem (which may of been something ELSE inside the grains itself, not the gluten specifically).

  38. I’ve been wondering why the eggs we get from our friends’ ranch had yolks that are more orange than yellow. Thank you for the explaination. And to anyone hesitant to try fresh eggs, do the water trick (mentioned in a previous article) then enjoy their richer flavor!

  39. I’ve been doing a lot of research on gluten. It seems that a lot of our wheat or other grains have been modified or changed from what grain used to be. The gluten content of many foods is much higher than it used to be due to this modern day wheat. Many believe that may be the reason for the increased sensitivity to gluten. I’ve been trying to limit my gluten intake and replace it with healthy fruits and vegetables instead as I think I get more nutrients from them than gluten-filled foods.

    1. It is important for me to eat g-free to keep stomach and skin problems at bay. While I do not have Celiacs disease, I know and feel the difference when I’m eating g-free compared to if I eat wheat…I tested it out shortly after changing the way I ate and it was not fun at all. But even with my intolerance, I am still able to get whole grains into my diet. I can still enjoy rice, quinoa, buckwheat (yes, it’s gluten free even though wheat is in it’s name), and oats. Additionally, my intolerance has led me to make even more real food at home. Lisa’s blog has helped me a ton and her tortilla soup and crockpot chicken (and broth) are my current obsessions.

    2. I had read that as well about the changing of wheat over the years. So sad that GMO’s are taking over and sickening us like this.

    3. Yes, except #1- boo. While there is no doubt that any “processed” food is best avoided even if it’s gluten free, Many people have an undetected gluten sensitivity that isn’t revealed thru most blood test. I went gluten free to support my husband who was gluten free due to depression and viola’ he improved dramatically, my tendentious & bad PMS went way. My son with ADD also improved. It is very addictive and in EVERYTHING, so many people have a hard time giving it up and this type of info is just what they need to continue with the addiction. Wheat Brain is real! I feel fabulous without wheat & whole grains.