The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Bad foods that are good for you

Yesterday's list of surprisingly bad foods might be a shock to some of you, but there's good news --- delicious foods you thought were forbidden which are actually healthy.  Here's the dirt on...

  • Homegrown eggCholesterol --- Conventional wisdom holds that eating too much cholesterol causes heart attacks.  The truth is that our body needs cholesterol to create sex hormones and to keep our cells, brain, and nervous system healthy.  Lack of cholesterol in the brain leads to depression, agression, and suicide and very low levels of cholesterol is linked to cancer.  We can usually make cholesterol within our body if we don't eat enough, and rising levels of cholesterol in our blood is an indicator a bit like a fever.  Artificially lowering high cholesterol can do more harm than good since our bodies boosted the cholesterol levels for a reason.  Although mainstream doctors will tell you differently, there are also some studies coming out that indicate that folks with low cholesterol levels don't live as long or as healthily as those with higher levels and people who die of heart attacks often have low cholesterol levels.  So eat as many eggs as you want --- they're good for you.  Just don't go for dried eggs since oxidized cholesterol is trouble.
  • LambGood fats --- The fats found in milk, cheese, butter, pastured animal meat, eggs, coconut oil, lard, tallow, sesame oil, and rice bran oil are healthy for our bodies since they provide omega-3s, essential fatty acids like conjugated linoleic acid, and vitamin D in a form our bodies can consume.  Studies have shown that eating the right kinds of fat helps you lose weight, increases insulin sensitivity, and builds muscle.  While eating saturated fat can increase our cholesterol levels, this cholesterol is created in the body and is thus unoxidized, so it is both harmless and helpful.  Do be cautious to limit your sugar while eating saturated fats so that the duo doesn't cause platelets to aggregate.

Doesn't pastured lamb taste better than a soyburger anyway?  Maybe your body was trying to tell you something when you started craving butter.

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This post is part of our Politically Incorrect Nutrition lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I definitely agree with this advice. Eggs are a big part of our diet over here. I had family members visit last spring and my grandmother, who has had open-heart surgery, shouted out to me as I was collecting eggs that "eggs are high in cholesterol." Usually I try to be friendly and diplomatic, but it was hard not to roll my eyes. I'm often advised by people against things like shrimp and eggs, but these same people who are advising me have diets loaded with sugars, salts and processed foods. It's a little baffling, a little sad, and I really wish that I had the patience and time to really express my understanding of REAL nutrition... but for some people it just seems like it won't make any difference.
Comment by Sara Sun Apr 3 13:39:13 2011
I know exactly what you mean. After replying to comments on this week's lunchtime series, I resolved not to post again about nutrition --- all kinds of really smart people (me included, probably!) have crazy, knee-jerk beliefs about nutrition. It's nearly as bad as talking about religion!
Comment by anna Sun Apr 3 18:46:48 2011

It seems to me that there is ample historical evidence that humans can survive on a wide range of diets.

It could be that some diets are healthier than others, but my gut feeling is that compared to the effects of e.g. proper hygiene and healthcare, the effect of diet on lifespan increase over the last century or so has been relatively minor (provided you're not starving).

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Apr 4 19:23:10 2011

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