YES: Grass-fed beef or bison, organic chicken or turkey, pork tenderloin
NO: Grain-fedbeef, deli-sliced chicken or turkey, cured ham
■ Try to source meat that’s organic and grass-fed or pasture-raised, and stick with whole lean cuts like top sirloin or flank steak (bison is lean all-around), organic chicken, and pork tenderloin instead of ham. And avoid deli-sliced meats, which are often formed from pieces and bound together with additives, and can contain sodium nitrate and nitrite for color and preservation.
■ Opt for raw nuts every time. Salted nuts are high in sodium, and the roasted nuts you buy at the store are usually cooked in partially hydrogenated oil, or trans fats, which can raise bad cholesterol.
NO: Skim milk, low-fat fruit yogurt, low-fat shredded cheese
■ If you want cow’s milk, stick with full fat, which hasn’t been processed aside from being pasteurized— same goes for yogurts and cheeses. When low- and nonfat products are processed to remove fat, essential nutrients go, too. And don’t even glance at fruit-added yogurt— it’s a sugar bomb.
■ Whereas sprouted breads are made from ground-up sprouted grains, so you’re eating just veggies, most multi- and whole-grain breads contain extra sugar or corn syrup. Steel-cut oatmeal is a great heart-healthy whole food with nothing extra thrown in. Boxed cereals, meanwhile, have all kinds of additives and fillers, and are stripped of their nutrition during processing.
NO: Imported mahi-mahi or swordfish, farmed Atlantic salmon, shark
■ Any wild-caught fish is going to be better than any farmed variety from a nutrition standpoint, though some come from foreign fish populations that are threatened. Avoid the fish on the “No” list, as they’re more likely to be contaminated and/or overfished. Check seafoodwatch.org for an exhaustive listing of which seafood to eat and which to avoid.
YES: Honey, pure maple syrup, molasses, agave syrup
NO: Refined white sugar, artificial sweeteners
■ Go for natural products like pure honey, 100% natural maple syrup, and blackstrap molasses. You’ll still want to limit your intake of these sweeteners, as sugar is sugar to your body. But natural sweeteners have more vitamins and minerals than refined sugars, and on the whole are a better choice than anything made in a lab.