Alternative health as a way to lose weight...

America's Corn Story goes beyond the expectedCredit: David NiblackHealth advice. Most everyone says something on the topic. And who doesn't lament the media's perpetual yet fleeting endorsements of the latest diet and ways lose weight? Not many people seem to be talking of alternative health, of ways lose weight that advocate for a return to simple wholefood. Few seem to really answer the question "what is organic food?" and "why should we eat organic food." Worst of all, they've left many speechless upon answering the basic question: "how does one eat healthy and good tasting food?"

Thankfully, some questions do have simple answers. The health advice in this case is not to add some new product but to eliminate two very harmful ingredients : high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Without getting into the nitty-gritty science, high fructose corn syrup is a product of the modern food industry. It results from an excess of inexpensive subsidized corn. Just think how often an excess of certain foods easily find themselves in any number of dishes, whether the recipe called for them or not. The same happened with corn. The Federal Government subsidized farmers to grow corn and food engineers (yes, they exist!) figured out how to process it into different products. Only the bottom dollar was their aim, not health.

Our bodies have much difficulty processing high fructose corn syrup. It's one key reason America is so overweight. Thus, the first simple step to better health: Stop eating high fructose corn syrup!

Simple, ey? Well, in theory. The somewhat daunting news is that nearly all conventionally processed foods are made with high fructose corn syrup. "Then what do I eat!" you may ask? Fruits and vegetables are the obvious answers, but there is relief for those unable to cut all processed foods from their diets. USDA Organic guidelines do not allow high fructose corn syrup. That means any food that's certified organic is safe. And for those not wanting to buy organic, at least look for products labeled "no high fructose corn syrup," which are thankfully becoming easier to find.

Hydrogenated Oil

Explaining the "hydrogenation" of an oil necessitates scientific jargon, so suffice it to say that it's taking something natural and making it unnatural. As expected, consuming something engineered away from its natural state brings certain health problems; among the list: diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. And the science is conclusive enough that most European countries have banned the use of hydrogenated oils or legislated for is banning in the near future.

So why might the food industry go through the trouble of hydrogenation oils? Shelf life and convenience. 

Perhaps the most common example is peanut butter: When it has hydrogenated oil there is no separation. But thankfully for convenience sake, you can now find natural peanut butters that do not need stirring and have no hydrogenated oils. And for most other foods simply read the ingredient list. 

Not Convinced?

Don't take my world for it. A number of "food Journalists" have hearkened these same two simple steps towards health through legitimate investigation backed by impressive credentials and a loyal and solidly increasing readership. Michael Pollan is perhaps the most famous, best known for The Omnivore's Dilemma. And in his recent Food Rules: An Eater's Manual he presents refreshingly simple approaches to food choices. Two other favorites worth reading are: Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions and Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. 

Hooray for Health!

Take comfort in the fact that eliminating these two ingredients from your diet is actually the absence of doing something. Really, so much of today's health advice demands additions: "do eat this" or "do eat that." But with all of life's demands, who couldn't do without a thing or two, especially in the name of increased health. 

And should this nutrition news leave some searching for new food ideas, consider simplifying to whole foods prepared in ways that increase their nutrition, such as rice and beans, oats, quinoa (especially tasty!), other whole grains, fermented dairy products such as keifer and yogurt (an article on how to make it - especially economical!), and of course fruits and vegetables.

Also, remember that health includes more than just diet. Holistic healthy living addresses every sphere of life and positively influences and shapes interactions with others, such as faimly and friends. So consider embracing natural and sustainable clothing, learning from remarkable individuals like Juliet de Bairacli Levy, and helping your children learn in the natural world through an earthworm lesson plan and a wild edible and medicinal plant lesson plan.

Happy eating!