Have You Stopped Eating a Food for Health or Other Reasons?

| 10/22/2009 3:49:45 PM

Tags: diet, food, question to readers,

Italian pastriesWe asked you recently what kind of food you think it's most important to limit your intake of. From the poll options, an overwhelming number of you chose Processed Foods as the food to eat less of, with Sugar coming in a distant second. Here are the complete results:

Of the following, which food do you think it's most important to limit your intake of? 

Total Votes: 813 

There are many other foods and ingredients that people choose not to consume that weren't in the poll, from caffeine and artificial sweeteners to gluten or any kind of meat. The reasons why we choose to limit some foods are just as varied: flavor, health reasons, weight loss, personal ethics, political statements. For some, it's not a choice but a neccessity, either for financial reasons or as the result of a food intolerance or severe allergy.

Knowing that MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers are often health-consious and choose to grow their own food, we're curious: Have you cut back or eliminated certain ingredients or foods from your diet? If so, why, and what effects have you noticed as a result?

7/17/2011 6:48:57 AM

I follow what I call the Common Sense Diet. I try to keep it as natural as possible. The only thing I strictly avoid is highly processed foods, meats form factory farms and carbonated soft drinks.

jennie bee
4/28/2010 3:17:41 PM

Definitely have cut out high fructose syrups, etc. Have cut back on salt, sugar and white flour. Cooking with whole foods and eliminated processed food products from our family diet. Have increased the amounts of vegetables and fruits and are gardening more or visiting the farmers markets for fresh produce. Trying especially to buy more foods from producers in our state and the supermarkets are starting to lable and feature Michigan grown products.

dianne swanson_2
4/27/2010 7:28:19 PM

My family has cut out processed foods for the most part. We limit sugar and sodium. We limit meat to a few times a week and eat mostly fruits and vegetables (organic) as well as whole grains. We also consume only non fat organic dairy products.

4/27/2010 3:08:27 PM

Our household cut out processed foods years ago, and have been eating organic foods for quite some time now. The most recent adjustment in my own diet was a reduction in gluten. It's not as consistent as it could be! but I find there's an unmistakable reduction in bloating and gas, and even better, I have more energy now at 54 than I've had for many years.

4/27/2010 8:21:09 AM

I have cut out most processed and salty foods and now am focusing on cutting out sugars, and night shade foods such as (gasp) tomatoes and potatoes, eggplant and peppers. Chocolate is going to be a short term elimination. I am also sensitive to corn and corn products. I have fibromyalgia and I am trying to cut out foods that I am sensitive to and that make my symptoms worse. The upside is that I have lost a couple of pounds from not eating these foods.

erin mccarty_4
4/26/2010 8:34:09 PM

I have been trying to eliminate gluten from my diet and I DO feel better on the days that I succeed. It has been a very hard struggle though due to my hectic work schedule, and because I have been having to rely so heavily on pre-packaged and processed foods for so long. However I am determined to keep inching my way along until I get completely switched over to gluten free.

erin mccarty_6
4/26/2010 8:33:42 PM

I have been trying to eliminate gluten from my diet and I DO feel better on the days that I succeed. It has been a very hard struggle though due to my hectic work schedule, and because I have been having to rely so heavily on pre-packaged and processed foods for so long. However I am determined to keep inching my way along until I get completely switched over to gluten free.

erin mccarty_2
4/26/2010 8:28:08 PM

I have been trying to eliminate gluten from my diet and I DO feel better on the days that I succeed. It has been a very hard struggle though due to my hectic work schedule, and because I have been having to rely so heavily on pre-packaged and processed foods for so long. However I am determined to keep inching my way along until I get completely switched over to gluten free.

erin mccarty_3
4/26/2010 8:27:55 PM

I have been trying to eliminate gluten from my diet and I DO feel better on the days that I succeed. It has been a very hard struggle though due to my hectic work schedule, and because I have been having to rely so heavily on pre-packaged and processed foods for so long. However I am determined to keep inching my way along until I get completely switched over to gluten free.

4/26/2010 5:48:13 PM

First we cut out corn syrup (all types). This seems to have eliminated the pain in my side that the doctor suspected was a gall bladder problem. We also eliminated all rape seed oil products. Obviously we read labels. Then we planted our own garden and now grow all our vegies using compost and NO insecticides. We now also raise our own chickens for eggs and soon meat. The meat we still buy is local pasture raised. The dairy products are also local and free of hormones. The year before the changes I had the flu (or common cold) five times alone. This year I've only had one virus and it didn't last long. We love Mother Earth (the magazine and the planet) and do everything we can to reuse, recycle, and reduce consumption. We save money on our groceries and eat better - thanks Mother.

4/26/2010 3:19:49 PM

My wife has Lupus, so we have changed our eating habits to allow for that, but she has recently had food allergy testing done, and have further modified our diets. It's easier to follow her diets than try to cook separately! We have eliminated: All dairy (except for goat cheese and yogourt); all nightshade vegetables - primarily potatoes and tomatoes; broccoli and most of its relatives - causes severe cramping; as much sodium as possible; all soda and most juices - eating more whole fruit; as much sugar as possible; all gluten. It gets harder to find affordable unprocessed foods, but we will keep at it, given the improvement in the way we feel!

4/26/2010 3:05:17 PM

I try not to eat any refined sweetener or agave syrup. Definitely no high fructose corn syrup -- that's a definite never. Occasionally I'll eat something with white sugar in it, but it has to be very occasionally! I find refined sweeteners, like sugar, very addictive, so if I eat them I tend to eat a lot of them. And I remember hearing a long time ago that white sugar affects the part of the brain that controls cravings, making you crave more sugar, instead of what you really need. I notice that if I don't eat any refined sweeteners then I crave healthy things and can trust that my cravings are my body communicating to me what I need to eat. I eat baked goods with evaporated cane juice and I can eat a small amount of cookies and feel satisfied, as opposed to finishing them off in one sitting! I would like to eventually just use bioregional natural sweeteners though, like maple syrup and honey, and cut out sugar cane completely. And I read something, I think it was from Weston Price, that agave syrup is actually very refined and that it promotes insulin resistance.

4/26/2010 12:53:15 PM

I have given up.... Corn syrup (It's a chemical, not natural), Cows milk (full of all kinds of antibiotics and hormones given to the cows), and generaly eating better foods (fewer sweets, more veggies, more organic content) And spell check! LOL!!!

sara turner_2
4/26/2010 12:13:35 PM

I have given up many foods for my health including: 1) sugar 2) oleo 3) cows milk 4) factory farm eggs 5) most factory farm meat 6) all but organic or U.S. grown vegetables and fruit 7) fruits and vegetables that are not in season 8) processed foods 9) all candy other than dark chocolate P.S. I try to grow as many vegetables and herbs as I can, myself, for the best quality and freshest harvests.

4/26/2010 11:22:51 AM

For the last year I have been eliminating processed foods from our family diet and making most things from scratch. I bake bread twice a week, crackers and cereal as well. The majority of our groceries are also locally produced and organic including dairy. We also watched Food Inc a few months ago (preaching to the choir for me but a big shocker for my husband - I was a vegetarian before kids) and the decision was to eat vegetarian unless we can find ethically produced local meat sources. So far my husband who has been a meat eater for his whole life (and when I say meat eater I mean the 'only meat and potatoes' variety) has been vegetarian ever since. The biggest differences for us was that the amount of money we were spending on food dropped considerably (even before we cut out meat). Organic produce is more expensive than non organic - but by eliminating the processed food and buying only raw ingredients in bulk we saved a considerable amount. Now that we are no longer buying meat we are saving WAY more. The most important change for me has nothing to do with money and more to do with educating our children as to the true origins of our food and our responsibilities towards our planet and food sources.

joan h lee
4/26/2010 10:54:14 AM

As many processed foods and bread products as possible have been eliminated because when I looked up true ingredients there were not only many harmful substances but, in once instance, the imported protein in the bread flour was made from barbershop clippings. Yech. I don't eat beef at all. I drove past a feedlot in the midwest and it was a horrible experience. After reading Omnivore's Dilemma and watching Food, Inc. I have tried to keep diet very simple with real ingredients only. It was not difficult to switch to meats on occasion, in small amounts, and from home organically grown sources. It isn't as difficult as I thought it would be. And I expanded my kitchen garden.

suzanne horvath
4/26/2010 9:42:15 AM

I am totally gluten-free now because of Crohn's and Lupus. I was having relapses of the Crohn's more often before going GF. Dr. Christiane Northrup believes that 3 out of 4 women over 50 are gluten intolerant. If you bloat after having any kind of gluten (wheat, barley, rye) then you're probably intolerant. If you get really ill, you might have Celiac disease. I try to avoid HFCS, MSG etc. When I need yogurt for baking (GF, of course) I use goat's milk yogurt - much easier to digest and I think it tastes smoother. I still eat meat, but very little. And soon I will be moving to an area that has cattle that have not been loaded with antibiotics etc. The beef and poultry from the organic ranchs are sold in the local health food store and the weekly farmers market. I cut out soda, and drink water and tea most of the time. Some juice occasionally. I use Agave syrup instead of sugar, or if a recipe calls for corn syrup, I use maple syrup. I try to cut down on salt. I don't use a lot myself, but so many foods are over seasoned - I email and call those companies to comment on this. For snacks, I have cashews or pistachios and fruit. Or, I make Chebe rolls or mini choc-buckwheat (not really wheat) pancakes with powdered sugar or fruit. It's been hard going to a totally GF diet, but if you're intolerant or have Celiac disease, you must. If you cheat, even a spoonful, you have just reversed all the time you have been GF. And the internal damage is fearsome.

heather _1
4/26/2010 9:19:29 AM

I have become very pro fresh greens and fruits. I have a large Green smoothy daily. When I am at home I don't eat bread, milk, read meat, or processed food. I do eat at other people's homes and will eat what they serve me but most of my friends are health concsious as well. I have maintained a healthy weight for the past 30 years and am told that I look much younger than my 53.

1/18/2010 1:18:08 PM

Processed foods are the worst foods for your daily diet, and water is the most important thing to consume each day. The only way to lose weight is to take responsibility for yourself! Our health is our most important asset. For many people, being overweight is associated with being uncomfortable in their own skin. To assist with weight control; keep a daily food journal and every time the urge to snack is felt, first drink a large glass of clear water. This simple act will help you to eat less. Water will soon become one of your best friends. The major reason so many people in America are overweight is because we eat too much for comfort! It does not hurt to treat ourselves with something special once in a while, what is necessary is that we limit our portions and do not overeat! It is also necessary to keep our body properly hydrated, so drink a full glass of water with each meal or snack. Being overweight ******, but after reading a book, I lost 85 pounds! Words can not express how good I feel! This is a comment which I recently received about the book Lose Weight Using Four Easy Steps

1/8/2010 8:42:10 AM

We've stopped eating all dairy and since then my arthritis has completely gone away, and my husband's saliva gland on his left side which used to be the size of a golf ball is now smaller than the size of a piece of chewed gum. We've also stopped eating factory farmed meat. Watch the trailer for "Earthlings" and see if you don't as well.

laura _1
12/8/2009 5:29:33 PM

Been vegetarian for 25 years, so I'm not counting that. Use organic dairy mostly to avoid the antibiotics/hormones and junk they give much of the commercial cattle. Limiting processed foods. Chemical additives are not food. Cutting out high fructose corn syrup and not using much sugar to be healthier.

12/8/2009 1:22:28 AM

Eliminated meat a long time ago for ethical and environmental reasons. Processed foods have been waning in my diet due to the opening up of more fresh options and my own increasing knowledge of whole food preparation. Currently working on eliminating all GMOs. Sending a message that we support traditional farming, not monsanto style field robbery. Dairy is more complicated. We are finding goat and sheep cheese more digestible and try to find them unpasteurized. Cheese is just so darn good.

12/7/2009 8:33:10 PM

I have in the past 6 months eliminated meat and processed foods from my diet. I started introducing more fresh fruits, vegetables, soaked nuts and sprouts until that is pretty much all I eat now and 80% of the time I eat them raw. I have never had so much energy in my life! When everyone else in the office is chugging coffee to wake up in the morning I'm having a green smoothie and don't feel a bit tired. Plus I don't have the 3pm blood sugar dip that used to make me sleepy. I moved recently and for 3 days straight I packed and moved boxes and furniture from the time I got up until I went to bed and never ran out of energy. I'm loving the effects!

dawn pfahl
12/7/2009 7:00:59 PM

We've cut most sugary drinks out of our diet completely, removed most fried foods and are eating less red meat (both by choice and because we simply can't afford it!), supplemented by more veggies both garden-grown and store-bought canned (I don't like the sodium content, but we're low on freezer space and I don't have the space or resources for home canning yet). I have also been replacing processed sugar for honey when baking or making tea. So far the results have spoken for themselves. My fiance has lost 20lbs over the last year or so, we're both more active and we sleep better most nights. We have not cut anything out completely because we both enjoy an occasional indulgence, but we follow the rule of "Everything in moderation", and as my gardening skills improve I hope to cut back even more on processed goods.

12/7/2009 5:55:12 PM

Just reading all the other comments made me realize I'm not alone. About two years ago, I discovered HFCS as well as MSG and Wheat Gluten to be my nemesis. My joints ached tremendously until I refrained from those three ingredients. I too have recently discovered Quinoa and absolutely enjoy the meals prepared with Quinoa, like stuffed picillo peppers. I eat red meat in small portions about once every other week and it must be organically grown. Chicken and turkey is my preference and they too must be organically grown. No fried foods! Too many GMO rice and soy products out there. Be careful what you select, people. About a month ago, I tried lowfat organic milk. I tried to go back to the other stuff and found it unsatisfactory. I'd rather pay the higher price than drink junk. I stay away from processed foods and find soda pop to be taboo. At 50plus, I find it necessary to increase my heart-healthy diet. By eliminating pre-packaged, pre-processed foods, and the three taboos I mentioned before, I already have more energy and more vitality than I did years ago and my blood pressure as well as my eyesight have greatly improved over the past year - NATURALLY!

12/7/2009 3:04:50 PM

Dairy Products, that is what our family has cut out! Since we've quit...my son's ADHD symptoms and tics have reduced noticeably, my asthma, acne, eczema, flushing, etc all went away! I swear that I think cheese is one of the most evil products on planet! We also only eat whole grains and no HFCS. I limit soy consumption as well, since I noticed hormonal problems if I eat too much! Eating whole, non-processed foods is the best. Are you all noticing how hard it is getting to find staple foods anymore!?! At the big "W", especially. The frozen food section is made up--almost completely--of prepackaged meals. It's hard to find a bag of plain old peas! And staples are increasing more expensive when compared to their processed counterparts! For example: A can of pinto beans has risen in price from $.33 a can to $.87 a can in the last five years! And it will cost you much more to make spaghetti sauce from scratch than it will to buy a jarred sauce. And that is just the beginning!

12/7/2009 12:20:11 PM

Since I discovered I have diabetes (type 2), I have severely curtailed my intake of processed foods, especially those made with white wheat flour, and sugar. I'm working now on eliminating wheat and other gluten containing products. I was diagnosed 2 years ago, and haven't lost much weight (I am at least 50-75# overweight). The only time I did was when I was following a very low carb diet.

12/7/2009 11:29:24 AM

I started suffering from severe debilitating migraines when I was 32. Doctors just kept prescribing me various medications that had worse side effects than the migraines. With a background in both physical and biological science my own research determined that the migraines were caused by a hormonal imbalance. I came to the conclusion that once I eliminated everything in my environment that caused the imbalance theoretically my migraines should go away. I knew that anything that was a neurotoxin, an excitotoxin, or an endocrine disruptor had to be removed from my household and diet. I now clean my house (and myself) with nothing more than vinegar, baking soda, salt, and Dr. Bronners soaps. I had completely cut out high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and (I thought) MSG out of my diet. I had gone from having migraines several times a month to every 14 days. I knew since I was still getting them I had missed something but it took me 5 years of research before I came to understand that ALL processed foods contain MSG (free glutamic acid) and that the food industry is very deceptive about labeling it. Now that I eat only whole unprocessed organic foods the ONLY time I am plagued by a migraine is when I accidentally ingest something with MSG or am exposed to petrochemicals when I am visiting or going out. If you are trying to avoid this toxin for any reason look up the Truth In Labeling organization and they will supply a definitive list of what to look for on labels.

sara turner_2
12/7/2009 11:24:43 AM

Foods I've given up due to health issues include: 1) processed foods 2) Oleo 3) Ham and Pork 4) Tuna only 1 x per week or less 5) Veal 6) Seafood packed in Cottonseed oil 7) Hydrogenated Oil 8) Trans Fatty Acids Also, I NEVER microwave any food!

12/7/2009 10:04:05 AM

I cut gluten out of my diet. I immediately started feeling better. 5 pounds went away. About 4 days into the experiment I realized my joints no longer hurt. My thyroid medication seems to be working much better. This has me wondering if I have other food sensitivities and might see further health improvements by trying other omissions. I do not eat HFCS or hydrogenated product. I limit soy to one serving a day and also restrict sugar, attempting to use healthy substitutes. Caffeine is still a sacred cow. And I do continue to use some meat and fish.

12/7/2009 9:41:07 AM

I have cut out HFCS and partially hydrogenated oil. Just eliminating these ingredients has removed most processed foods from my diet. I would say that my taste for these ingredients has become more sensitive; I don't like the taste of most foods that contain them, which occasionally happens when I'm not the shopper.

12/7/2009 8:40:25 AM

We follow the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of our diet is whole, unprocessed and sugar-free. And 20% is the part we can't stress out too much over... like when traveling, and at other people's houses. Best diet: www.westonaprice.org and the book that goes with it is: "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon.

maggie tatum_1
12/7/2009 8:20:13 AM

I have always had a reasonably good diet as I was brought up in a household where the cook, Mother, used fresh foods. Naturally I copied her practices. Lately I am preparing dishes of Quinoa, discovered it in Ecuador and Peru. Eat and drink minute parts of milk as research has shown me that our bodies are not constructed to use this substance. Milk being the perfect food for humans is a myth. I am also very active, play tennis, belong to gym, walk a lot. My physician says he wishes all his patients had a "blood profile" like mine. I will be 82 in January next. Have to add my Uncle Ken died this month at age 99. He swam until a few years ago, and on his birthday last March gave his usual wonderful speech with a little original poetry thrown in. Maggie T

10/24/2009 5:09:52 PM

I have cut out HFCS and partially hydrogenated foods after spending several months working with nutritionists at a local hospital's cardiac wellness center. I have also cut out most all processed foods due to concerns about my allergies and the chemical preservatives used in these foods. As a result, I haven't had a serious asthma attack in several months, I have lost approximately 25 lbs. and feel better than I have in years.

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