Monthly Archives: January 2015

I’ve been asked how to define/find good food. We must navigate through a minefield of cheap and dangerous fakes.

Three simple guidelines:

  1. If it is a single-ingredient, unprocessed item (whole melon, not already sliced) – go for it!
  2. If it claims health benefits/vitamins on the packaging – be skeptical!
  3. If grandma wouldn’t recognize the ingredients (long chemical names) – avoid!


  1. Anything from the fruit/veggie section is generally good (but those in EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list are full of pesticides and should be avoided unless organic).
  2. Bread from “healthy whole grains fortified with vitamins” – sounds good, but synthetic vitamins are often counterproductive and downright harmful. Berries and green vegetables don’t need a marketing department because everyone agrees they are good!
  3. Dried mango is fine (though high sugar), but “sodium [meta]bisulfite” isn’t. It’s important to avoid preservatives/artificial coloring/taste ‘enhancers’.

The good:

  • Fruit: organic! berries/apples/oranges; kiwi/passionfruit/banana; occasional pineapple/watermelon.
  • Nuts/seeds: walnut/pecan/cashew/almond; sunflower seed/pistachio/pine nut (all need soaking)
  • Beans: Lentil/chickpea (all need soaking)
  • Non-starchy vegetables: almost anything! Celery/capsicum should be organic. Try to maximize colors!
  • Starch: sweet potatoes should replace potatoes; cooking bananas (plantains) also OK.
  • Meat: antibiotic and hormone-free, e.g. from The Barbie Girls. Cannot do beef; lamb is generally better raised than chicken/pork.

The bad:

  • Sugar: avoid, replace with honey/maple syrup.
  • Grains: avoid gluten (wheat and others); some oats OK.
  • Rice occasionally OK; brown rice (with hulls) has more nutrients but also more arsenic; white rice pretty much ’empty calories’ without benefit.
  • Meat: farmed salmon and cheap chicken/pork very bad. Better to eat 5x more expensive meat 1/5th as often.
  • Dairy: quite bad _as currently produced_. Goat milk is better, cheese+yogurt sometimes OK.
  • Oil: cheapo vegetable oil very bad, but used in almost all commercial food.

In short, 99.9% of ready-made food violates these guidelines, hence we make everything from scratch. Vegetables and sweet potatoes always have a place, though!