7 of the Most Unhealthy and Potentially Cancer-Causing Foods : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Monday May 21 | BY |
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You know they’re bad for you, but do you know how bad?

We often like to classify healthy foods, super foods, not-so-healthy foods, and unhealthy foods, but in today’s health-obsessed culture, it can all get a little confusing. Today, we’re going straight for the jugular.

What are the seven worst things you can swallow down your gullet, as far as your health is concerned? We’re not saying don’t ever eat them—just be aware of the potential damage. Here are seven baddies best left off your grocery list from now on.

1. Processed Meat: Meats preserved by smoking, curing, or salting, or that contain chemical preservatives, are linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. Most are manufactured with a carcinogenic ingredient known as sodium nitrite, used to turn packaged meats a bright red color so they look fresh. A 2005 study from the University of Hawaii found that processed meats increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67 percent. Hot dogs, in particular, are made up of meat scraps, including organs, nerve tissue, bone pieces, and other unsavory animal parts. Animals that donate them are likely to have been fed grains laced with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and fecal matter. After a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) declared that consumers should stop buying and eating all processed meat products for the rest of their lives. These include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami, and virtually all red meat used in frozen and prepared meals.

2. Soda: It’s loaded with calories, sugar, and artificial ingredients, and has no nutritional benefit. One can of soda contains the equivalent of ten packets of sugar. According to studies, most popular diet and sugared sodas are nearly as corrosive to dental enamel as battery acid, leading to an increase in tooth sensitivity and cavities despite good dental hygiene. A study from the University of Minnesota found that people who drank as little as two soft drinks a week faced almost double the risk of pancreatic cancer. Dark-colored sodas contain a chemical known as 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), a byproduct of chemical processing used to create the artificial dye that gives these sodas their color. Animal studies have linked 4-MI to cancer. Pepsi and Coca-Cola recently announced they would modify the coloring to avoid a cancer-warning label newly required by California law. A UCLA study also directly linked soda with obesity.

3. Regular Potato Chips: They’re full of artery-clogging trans fats, high glycemic carbohydrates, sodium, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. High temperatures used to cook them typically cause the formation of carcinogenic substances like acrylamide, which is also found in cigarettes. Clark University professor Dale Hattis is quoted as saying, “I estimate that acrylamide causes several thousand cancers per year in Americans.” Even those with reduced trans fat may contain acrylamide.

4. Microwave Popcorn: Chemicals in the lining of the bag, including perfluoroctanoic acid (PFOA) are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to researchers at UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals caused liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancers. Microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize, and migrate into your popcorn. Many manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015. Until then, it’s best to pop kernels the old fashioned way.

5. Farmed Salmon: According to David Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, farmed salmon is not only lower in vitamin D than wild-caught, but higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, flame retardants, and pesticides including DDT. “You can only safely eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer,” Carpenter stated. These fish are also typically treated with high levels of antibiotics.

6. Conventional Apples (and Other “Dirty” Fruits): According to a survey by the Environmental Working Group, apples are the most pesticide-contaminated produce on average, with pesticides showing up on 98 percent of the more than 700 samples tested. Other highly contaminated produce included grapes, strawberries, cilantro, potatoes, and oranges, all of which had more than 90 percent of samples testing positive for pesticide residue. In addition to being toxic to humans, pesticides may increase the risk of some cancers, with some studies indicating that maternal exposure may increase the risk of lowered child I.Q. and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Choose organic for these items.

7. Canned Tomatoes: The lining of most canned foods contains bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical that acts as an estrogen and disrupts hormonal activity in the body. Studies show that BPA may be linked to heart disease, intestinal damage, and infertility and other reproductive issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is widespread exposure to BPA in the United States. Though all canned foods are of concern, tomatoes are particularly dangerous because their high acidity causes BPA to leach into them. University of Missouri endocrinologist Frederick vom Saal, Ph.D., notes that you can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that’s a high enough level to impact people, particularly children.

Do you have other foods you avoid at all costs?

* * *

Photo courtesy bdoublet via Flickr.com.

“Processed Meats Declared “Too Dangers for Human Consumption,'” Colorado State University. http://www.nationalreview.com/the-feed/248644/processed-meats-declared-too-dangerous-human-consumption#.

Robin Lloyd, “Acids in Popular Sodas Erode Tooth Enamel,” LiveScience, March 21, 2007, http://www.livescience.com/7198-acids-popular-sodas-erode-tooth-enamel.html.

“Study: Soda Linked to Pancreatic Cancer,” CBS News, February 9, 2010, http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-204_162-6189455.html.

“Coke, Pepsi Skirt Cancer Warning Label,” ABC News, March 9, 2012, http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/03/09/coke-pepsi-skirt-cancer-warning-label/.

Kim Lamb Gregory, “UCLA Study Directly Links Soda with Obesity,” Ventura County Star, September 17, 2009, http://www.vcstar.com/news/2009/sep/17/ucla-study-directly-links-soda-with-obesity/.

Reader’s Digest Editors, “The Worst Foods You Can Eat,” Reader’s Digest, http://www.rd.com/slideshows/the-worst-foods-you-can-eat/#slideshow=slide4.

“7 Foods Experts Won’t Eat,” Wake Up World, http://wakeup-world.com/2011/10/06/7-foods-experts-wont-eat/.

Bryan Walsh, “Apples Can be Tainted with Pesticides—But You Still Need Your Fruits and Vegetables, Time Science Ecocentric, June 13, 2011, http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/06/13/apples-can-be-tainted-with-pesticides—but-you-still-need-your-fruits-and-vegetables/.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Stephanie says:

    Animal products!!! I used to have skepticism against the China Study, but after watching the “Primitive Nutrition Series” on youtube (or plantpositive.com) I am so convinced that animal products is a huge contributor to modern illnesses. Kevin if you haven’t watch the videos yet, you really should! It’s utterly shocking and informative.

  2. RACHEL says:

    I agree with this article, but I disagree with the wording of this: “Animals that donate”. Makes it sound like the animals willingly give up their flesh…

  3. Julia says:

    Nice article.

    Stephanie, read the book “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon, and there’s many more good resources out there, too, such as Weston Price, etc. Animal products are not the evil of the earth, gauranteed. When you search, search with an open mind. I use to be vegetarian, and vegan. I think sometimes those diets might be what some people need at certain times in their lives to heal particular and specific problems. Let your food be your medicine.

  4. I avoid plastic – aka I never store a cooked meal in plastic, put plastic in microwave and I avoid plastic dishes/cups

    I use a glass water bottle (love it, from starbucks 16$)

    I struggled with finding a glass toddler cup till recently, I found (and love) EIO toddler cup which I bought on amazon

    It’s hard to keep my 3 1/2 year old to eat what I prefer when he’s not with me (his dad and I are not together) but I feel that avoiding plastic is a small enough request that his father or grandparents can respect my choice 🙂

    It has been a crusade of mine since I was pregnant. When I researched vaccines and read about arguments of nuerological disorders being on the rise (not agreeing with the anti vaccine argument) I personally decided it could easily be related to increase in plastic use.

    I cringe at folks popping those frozen veggie steamer bags in the microwave eeek.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Julia, the Primitive Nutrition Series is what made me realize how false those books are. I have indeed read Deep Nutrition and am well aware of Paleo diet as well. But when you look at the real scientific literature, you’ll realize what’s good and what’s bad.

  6. carvacrol says:

    I already avoid most of these, except for the fruit and vegetables that you mentioned. I try to buy organic but that’s not very easy in Thailand.

  7. Sarah says:

    As a nutritionist (I have a Masters of Science in Nutrition) who has been working with many clients in several different countries for the last 16 years, I can absolutely tell you that my experience has been that there is NO one right diet that is right for everyone. The Paleo Diet will be the road to health for some but not for others. Going vegan will be right for some but not for others. You might also find that one kind of diet is right for you at a particular point in your life but you need to change your diet completely a little later on. Victoria Boutenko found that following a raw food vegan diet changed the health of her family for the better. Who is going to dispute her on that? Dr. Terry Wahls has cured herself from Multiple Sclerosis on her Wahls Protocol which is essentially a Paleo Diet. Are you going to dispute her on that? If you push one dietary philosophy as being the “right” one for everyone, then you have an agenda.

  8. Christy says:

    I’ve heard the part about BPA in canned tomatoes before but when I’m at the store canned seems like the only option. Has anyone found a better way to buy preserved tomatoes?

  9. Mango says:

    Sarah, with due respect, I don’t think this article is about one diet or another, its about avoiding nasties in our food that affects everyone that consumes them.

    This is a good article but its only the tip of the iceberg. Some foods that I believe should be avoided are, white rice, white flour, white sugar, and most dairy. But that’s only my opinion.

    Good health.

    • Kenneth says:

      Dear Mango,
      I am very curious to know why you say white rice should be added to the list of foods to be avoided.
      Please let me know.

  10. Gil says:

    Wonderful article. I avoid these things. I think you should add white bread and white rice to the list. They turn into sugar in your system.

  11. emmi says:

    Sarah the nutritionist comment makes sense and many others here as well showing an wareness of these zero-value foods. I try to buy organic as much as possible with items like apples and celery and a few others.
    Thanks to all with other book and links references!

  12. Kira says:

    Margarine or trans-fats or hydrogenated vegetable oils. That is all plastic, isn’t it?

  13. Melissa says:

    I think it’s funny reading back and forth, people see the differences they have and argue about them, instead of looking about what they have in common. Both sides of the coin have people that have been healed, like the other poster commented, who are going to argue with them. Lets think what do Paleo/meat eaters and vegetarian/vegans have in common? They, at least the healthy ones, avoid boxed process junk food, hormone and antibiotic laden meats and dairy and fruits and veggies that are sprayed with pesticides. They also do their best to avoid using unhealthy containers and packaging.

  14. Lori says:

    @ Christy – I’ve switched to a tomato product called Pomi imported from Italy that I found at Whole Foods. They’re tomatos in a Tetra-Pak http://www.pomi.us.com.

  15. Nina says:

    So the pesticides on oranges are they actually under the peel too??? I use to buy organic but when me n my sOn started drinking a lot of oj it got expensive, does anybody know ( I’m assuming they are under the peel because Kevin felt the need to add them to the list

  16. Joan says:

    so sad that apples and oranges are on the dirty list…hard to find organic in some grocery stores…just trying to grow more and more of our own food and buy from local farmers – and, I agree with Sarah.

  17. Leah says:

    Great article,

    as a pisceatarian, I always try and get the best quality salmon, but sometimes resort to regular Salmon, but this have reminded me why I shouldn’t.

    I don’t personally eat meat, but free range, grass fed, organically reared meats and poultry don’t have the same detrimental health effects as regular processed meat, not all meats are the same. just like Apples!!!

    take care and stay healthy

  18. Cynthia says:

    “Animals that donate”? Sure, they volunteered to be slaughtered.

  19. Melissa says:

    It is very easy to start a food buying co-op. First recruit families near you that want to have access to a a large variety of organic produce at wholesale prices. Second call Global Organics and sign up for a wholesale account. You can use Foodclub.org as your ordering site. You can also sign up wholesale accounts through Kehe Direct and Frontier Food for spices, dry foods and household goods. Also for personal use, Amazon and Vitacost are great for affordable organics.

  20. Jai says:

    I agree with Sarah, the nutritionist. People are all different. What works for one will not work for another. The common thread: feed yourself and your family as close to nature as possible. Be aware of the environmental as well as the social impact of the food choices you make. I am a weekday vegetarian because I believe the environmental impact of eating meat is heavey. However for me having some animal products(from local family farms – no factory farms)is healthy for my body. Being aware and being responsible in the food choices we make is more important than any particular kind of food rules.

  21. Melissa says:

    Lori, I was just reading yesterday that there is some safety issues with tetra packs, I wish I could find the website I read. Its worth looking into more.

  22. SarahB says:

    For my clients who find they cannot eat organic food all the time, I send them to the Environmental Working Group web site for the “Shoppers List on Eating Organically”. (Hopefully this link gets you here). At least it gives you an idea as to which foods MUST be eaten oroganically for health and which foods are not too bad if you can’t eat 100% of your diet as organic sources. (But really, I advocate organic food as much as possible).


  23. Kathryn T. says:

    Oleo-margarine and canola/veggie oils for the most part. I use Coconut, grapeseed, and Olive oils. Plastics are on my bad list. Anything processed with more than 5 ingredients, or ‘corn syrup’-‘corn sugar’ on the label. White table sugar! Processed, enriched white flours! (Most flour actually).
    I try to buy local, or raise my own, and use plenty of home-grown herbs in my cooking! And thanks, Sarah, for your wonderful, insightful comments about diet – I agree, no one diet will work for everyone. ~Kat

  24. Frank says:

    Yes, I too agree with Sarah. Although the educational curriculum for a nutrition degree is pathetic at best, she’s obviously educated herself outside the classroom, which is what we all need to do. Don’t believe me? Go eat some hospital or school cafeteria food and you’ll see how poorly our nutritionalists and dietians are educated.

  25. Jane says:

    Tomatoes — use Muir Glen — their cans are lined with ceramic. Also Whole Foods and Trader Joes have removed BPA’s from their label cans.

  26. D says:

    re: post #7 Sarah, I LOVE it when people talk sense like you just did! It’s just so TRUE!

  27. snowmoonelk says:

    I use passata in tetra paks. Can’t find tomatoes per se in them in UK, but still looking!

  28. snowmoonelk says:

    Oh, I forgot to say I avoid Quorn!

  29. Hubert says:

    At Julia and Stephanie:
    The china study is often mentioned but the china study was about processed meat dan diary (coocked, fried or whatever) and not good quality. As one commenter said they are not all equal. Meat/fish is a high quality food that can easily be damaged to the extend it becomes very harmfull to us. So it can be heaven it can be hell.
    Did you ever wonder what would have happened if the China study would have been done with raw healthy meat/diary? (impossible yet off course)

  30. Pam says:

    I read somewhere that DOUGHNUTS are the highest in cancer-causing ingredients. Makes sense to me: white sugar, white flour, lard, deep fried in rancid oils. These are definitely “Coffin Nails”. A tragedy, since they taste to good! Gave them up years ago, by the way. 🙂

  31. Joseph says:

    I guess twinkies don’t count as food, eh? 😉

  32. Laura says:

    Bionatura: organic strained tomatoes, salt free. My husband and I have been using this for years. It comes in glass bottles. Sold at Whole Foods and can be ordered by the case at small health food stores, like the one I work at, by the case. Just ask the owners to order it for you!

  33. sam says:

    You missed out refined sugar, table salt (the salt that is chemically produced in the lab, NOT the good old natural sea salt), refined oil, foods containing MSG, ….

  34. Cirsten Awaja says:

    I just love eating fish. And living in two countries (The Netherlands and Denmark), where there is so much water around, you should think it is easy to find all kind of delicious fresh fish, right? Wrong. I wont get started about the EU’s fishing qotas, but the result is that there are very few fishing boats left and in stead of fresh fish from our own oceans now we can buy farmed fish from China and in stead of our own prawns from small fishingboats we can buy plastic wraped prawns, fished by huge Dutch ships in the German part of the Northsea, transportet by airplane to Africa where they are peeled and transported back to the Netherlands to get packed and sold as “real Dutch shrimps”. Or we can get Tigerprawns from Asia, where they are farmed and where a farm can only be in the same place for a few years, before it has to move on because the place is so poluted, it takes nature dekades to clean up again. What a shame

  35. Sara Rice says:

    I’m wondering why Corn and Soy were not on your top list- both are over 90% genetically engineered!!! Also, meat or dairy that is not raised on grass fed free grazing pastures.

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      Hey guys! Thanks for all the additional foods! The theme was unhealthy and cancer causing so this is why many of the ones you named were not on the list. I wanted Colleen to find studies that linked certain foods to cancer!

      Thanks for reading!

  36. Nikki says:

    I conducted a personal experiment of cleaning up my diet for several months, so I was eating mostly raw vegan for a few months, then added a bit more cooked veggies and some gluten free grains and did that for a few months, and just a few months ago I added a bunch of “junk” like processed ‘vegetarian meat substitutes’, soy milk, boxed cereal, and even yogurt (including the non-organic kind sweetened with sucralose) and to tell the truth, I did not experience any health benefits from eating none of the processed junk, so I think it really is not as important as so many of us make it out to be. I’m not saying I would recommend people just eat Fast Food all the time, but I think if the majority of our diet is clean, the minority part which includes less healthy foods won’t really affect our health for the average person. This may be different if you have a severe health condition which makes you more sensitive to your dietary choices however. To me organic just makes sense, but is not practical. I only buy organic if it is the same price or cheaper (on rare occasion when there is a really good sale) than conventional. I’ve been veg. for about 12 years for ethical reasons, and went vegan for about 8 months starting last Aug. Since I added dairy into my diet about 3 weeks ago, I haven’t noticed any negative effects. I know there are still ethical issues with dairy, but that pretty much goes for almost EVERYTHING now a days. I want to start allowing myself more freedom in my food choices and not be so stressed out to the point of not wanting to eat anything. Heck, I even started using an old fav. Fat Free Miracle Whip a few months ago. Talk about processed junk. But guess what, I feel just the same eating that and other processed foods as I did when Green Smoothies were my mainstay! I say, lets take the best of both worlds. Don’t be extreeme. Eat your greens and your processed-till-it’s-not-really-even-food food too! I still have pretty rigid health obsessed thinking, but this is what I am striving for. Overall, experiment and see what works for you. If a certain type of food causes something you don’t like, stay away, if not, then who cares if the ‘experts’ claim it will cause this or that. It’s all hit and miss, just as the ‘experts’ thought the world was flat, and gonna end last year.

  37. Hubert says:

    Í’m pretty surprised at Nikki’s comment (37). The fact that you don’t feel a difference doesn’t mean that things are good for you.
    People feel great for years and have all the energy they want untull ONE DAY they drop unconscious or are rushed off to the hospital. They are very surprised to hear they have this or that serious disease. They never thought…

  38. Megan says:

    I agree to some extent, especially topic concerning farmed salmon. There are also studies that weigh out the benefits of eating farmed salmon. For example, how it is a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids which leads to the reduction of heart disease which might I add is te number ONE killer in the United States. Honestly, to make a general statement…if women ruled the world, we would not even be discussing this because women are gatherers and we just are wired to have compassion and love for the things that surround us :), thus we would be a vegetarian world!

  39. Jacque says:

    Somebody told me that those deep fried twinkies may pose a health risk, as well. Just kidding, of course. Glad to see though that stores like Whole Foods are starting to carry foods like tomatoes and pumpkins in glass and “milk type” cartons instead of cans. By buying them you are showing the manufacturers that you are in support of their products.

  40. Irene says:

    O’crap, that list is my whole diet!

  41. Darlene says:

    I have avoided artificial sweeteners, and white sugar for many years. I find xyletol and stevia to be good alternatives if I’m in the mood for sweets.

  42. Yvonne says:

    @ Christy
    I use passata (sieved tomatoes) that come in a glass jar instead of canned tomatoes. It’s also fairly easy to make a tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes and just add a little passata. It’s a myth that you need to skin tomatoes before cooking, as I learned from my daughter when she was 11. They taste absolutely fine with skins on!

  43. Dee says:

    Wow! I knew apples are contaminated with pesticides so if I don’t get organic I tend to peel the skin. But grapes and oranges too? That’s news to me. Have to be careful in future. I don’t touch meat of any kind as I believe meat is the biggest killer. Thanks for the article. Certainly an eye-opener.

  44. Alex says:

    Thank goodness my French Canadian poutine didn’t make the list! I think I am going to go to Harvey’s and get some with my double cheese and bacon burger.

  45. RadiantTara says:

    Tilapia, a devil in disguise! So sick of seeing it everywhere. That should be the first clue. Everything said about farm raised Salmon and more. Want added hormones, throwing you even more out of balance, eat Tilapia! It is the Canola and Soy of this generation. Eaters please beware.

  46. sharon says:

    I think it’s a crime that there are so many people that can’t get organic food. I know that it is sometimes more expensive, but to just not have it available is more than frustrating. I guess if more people buy more organic, then things will change to meet the demands. It just takes time.

    I’m vegan, eat ONLY organic, and am lucky to have it all available. The thing that I don’t understand is how many meat-eaters SAY that they eat only free range, grass fed, organically reared meats and poultry. How can that be so readily available if organic fruits and vegetables are not readily available?

    Another question I have is the controversy over white rice. I’ve been told by Ayurvedic practitioners and Chinese Herbal doctors that I/people should eat white rice because it’s more easily digested than brown rice. Guess the Indian and Chinese ancient cultures swear by white rice and say that brown rice was invented by Hippies. 🙂

  47. Kaila says:

    Firstly, some of my avoided items include fast food, chemically altered ingredients, white flour/sugar/rice, soy, GMOs in addition to those items above.

    Nikki, i do like the approach of worrying less about every single bite you put in your mouth! I adopt the same view off and on…I had a similar experience but with different conclusions. I didn’t purposefully do an experiment but my experiences with food and health have given a bit of insight into their Relationship.I’ve always been aware of health having been on this diet or the other since high school/college. When I started my masters program in CA in 2004 I was around 220 lbs and felt extremely unhealthy, even though I didn’t officially have any problems. With that realization I hired a personal trainer, lost 75 lbs and got healthy on a balanced diet. I felt great! Over time I leveled off around 160-75 still eating normally with the occasional treat. Eventually I became a vegetarian again for moral reasons and then found my way to raw foodism, first including meat and dairy, then raw vegan. I will say I’ve never felt better than I did being raw vegan for 4 months. My face glowed, little ailments cleared up as did my brain and emotions, I was filled with vibrant life force and positivity! Down to 138lbs I compared pictures of myself in 2004 and 2006 and I actually looked YOUNGER in the latter. So, a success, right?

    After healing myself, I loosened the reins a bit, especially because I travel and perform quite a bit. Little by little I opened up my diet to include first some cooked veggies and raw cheeses. Still felt ok, weight stayed around 145ish. Then added in grains and vegetarian items. A year later still about the same. I’d say I maintained my weight around 150 for a couple more years as I continued to relax my diet, still healthy I guess but with more indulgences like sprouted breads, organic whole wheat pastas, etc.. I still never ate fast food, red meat, white bread…By 2008 I started gaining weight slowly again and little things started to be the matter with me…I’d evolved to a pescetarian. Still healthy but now around 160. And throughout all of this I worked out/swam/yogaed and continued to eat tons of greens in addition to relaxing my diet. 2010 I found out I had a couple of small fibroids so stopped eating soy. 2010-12 I started adding lamb and occasional chicken and essentially ate whatever healthy whole thing I wanted. At the beginning of this year I was at around 195 lbs.

    I found out in Feb that my tiny fibroids that should have disappeared had grown instead…I went from healthy to having all sorts of problems which seemed to progress as I reintroduced more unhealthy things back into my diet (including some items on this list). March 1, I went 100% raw vegan again. Similar results to the first time, though slower as I’m also fighting the fibroids with ACV and blackstrap molasses. This time I had my blood work done a couple weeks in and everything was excellent already. Even the anemia caused by the fibroids had improved in the few days between my first and last blood test.

    So the results of my unintended experiment are that food definitely affects your health though it may not be immediate. I don’t think we should all always be raw vegan, but I don’t think throwing caution to the wind the best plan either. I’d say base your diet in organic plant based food, virtually free of the things on this list and other detrimental foods but allow yourself the occasional indulgence in the healthiest version possible every so often. When you’re healthy you crave health. I think I appreciate an amazing organic/grassfed gourmet steak or whatever when it’s the first I’ve had in awhile and I really want it, not just because it’s there.

  48. @leah I am laughing (not in a bad way) pisceatarian? I have never heard of that terms BUT IT ROCKS~

  49. George says:

    So, what is the message? Eat raw and organic wherever possible? The price of organic produce is usually much more expensive than the conventional farm produce. So the aged and pensioners buy their fruit and vegetables in the local supermarket and take their chances. I would have to agree about avoiding the pre-packaged, processed foods as these have other adverse effects apart from cancer. If you have a car you may be able to travel to an organic farm and obtain produce at a slightly cheaper price. On the matter of rice, I have always believed that brown is superior to white as it is the whole grain. White rice has a longer shelf life, like UHT milk.

  50. Mary says:

    Some folks already mentioned my “don’ts” some are not food but deadly: : celery, commercial cherries, lard in all of its disguises; ditto for sugars; aluminum, most plastics. If I freeze something, I first wrap it in unbleached parchment paper, then wrap in foil or maybe a recycled plastic container. I avoid bottled water; filter my own and drink from stainless steel or glass. I don’t go crazy about all this stuff, am just lovingly aware that nothing in Creation came artificially packaged. Everything’s was good.

  51. Ira Edwards says:

    “How false these books are” (From Stephanie, #5) includes Westan A. Price? You can’t read Price’s book and think that. It is clearly some of the best research ever done, and before much of this vegan vs meat debate was an issue. Price was on neither side of this issue. He found healthy people who ate mostly plant food, and some who ate mostly meat. The common factor was modern processed food as a cause of disease, and well-developed traditions as a source of health. Most of the healthy groups he studied ate high animal fat if they could get it. Read NUTRITION AND PHYSICAL DEGENERATION and find reliable answers to nutrition questions.
    Compare this with THE CHINA STUDY. Those cancer-free rats on low protein died quicker than the cancerous rats on high protein, because the protein-starved liver was so diseased that it couldn’t even produce the tumors. Campbell selected data and widely generalized to claim animal food causes cancer.
    Campbell also found a correlation between meat-eating areas of China and cancer. He omitted a confounding factor, schistosomiasis infections in those areas, which is known to cause cancer.
    Even the author agrees that his THE CHINA STUDY book was mis-named, because only a small part of it has anything to do with the China study data.
    One factor seemed to have a real correlation: Wheat-eating chinese were in poorer health than rice eaters.
    Ira Edwards Author of HONEST NUTRITION

  52. Ira Edwards says:

    Correction: Weston A. Price.

  53. Noelle says:

    I think high fructose corn syrup is a poison in so many foods. I was told (don’t know for sure) that it is one molecule away from being plastic. Yuck!!
    And to Nikki, a lot of times you will not see the negetive results of what you consume for some time. It’s not necessairly an over night effect, so please be careful.


  54. My family and I avoid all of these things except for the conventional fruit you mentioned. It’s a pity that apples, grapes and strawberries are our favourites and yet I have trouble finding stores that sell organic varieties. I always buy organic whenever I can, but usually that’s only carrots, broccoli, bananas and zucchini that I can get organic and very occasionally strawberries and apples. The only wholefood store that I know of is an hours drive from where I live and it is the only place I’ve ever seen organic grapes.

  55. Stevie says:

    Hi Kevin,
    The organic fruit on your list surprised me. I would think there would be many more detrimental things on the grocery store shelves than fruit, even if it’s not organic.
    I had a very interesting discussion with a friend of mine who grew up on a farm out east. She told me that organic does NOT mean no pesticides were used. She says there are organic-approved pesticides and even monsanto’s roundup is ok for use on organic produce. I’m not sure if there’s a special roundup or the regular roundup is used, but I find this highly disturbing.
    She also told me that pesticides usually get washed off the fruit in the rain, etc. I asked about pesticides in the ground water and being absorbed into the plant, which she basically dismissed as not being viable enough for concern. I’ve studied organics for most of my life, but I found myself at a loss to debate due to my own ignorance. It’s so frustrating!
    I’m wondering if you can speak to this or even address it as it’s own topic. Thank you for all you do to educate us 🙂

  56. Samantha says:

    Rachael… Hehehe, I think you missed the sarcasm! 🙂

  57. mariah says:

    @ Stevie:


    “the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 empowered the USDA to create a set of national organic standards that are now enforced by the USDA’s National Organic Program.
    These federal standards, are basically that:

    • Foods must be grown or raised without the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, sewage sludge, and genetically modified organisms.

    • Animals raised organically must have access to pasture, and farmers can’t routinely feed the livestock antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones.

    • Animals can’t be fed grain derived from genetically modified crops or crops grown using any of the aforementioned chemicals.

    • Foods cannot be irradiated to kill pathogens.

    • In general, all-natural (non-synthetic) substances are allowed in organic production and all synthetic substances are prohibited.

    Bottom line: Certified-organic food is the most reliable way to ensure your food is grown using methods that protect your health and that of the planet. So look for the familiar green-and-white “USDA Organic” seal. Any food claiming to be organic that doesn’t have that seal should list a USDA-accredited certifying agency somewhere on the package (If you don’t see either, call the USDA; companies face steep fines for using the term “organic” on a food product that isn’t certified to National Organic Program standards).”


  58. mariah says:


    I think you misunderstood the comment on apples, grapes, strawberries, cilantro, potatoes, and oranges.
    The comment was referring to these as produced ‘conventionally’ vs. organically. Rather, it stated, “Choose organic for these items.”
    Hope the above info helps some…

  59. Carina says:

    I also believe that everyone is different, and what is best nutrition for any one person can also change from one time to another. But I don’t believe that anyone has to have meat in order to thrive. Even if some people can live in excellent health on it, I don’t see why they would want to if there is an option. And I believe there always is an option. It may take some time and adjusting, but habits can slowly change and so does our genes through what we call epigenetics. I don’t think there is a person on this earth who can’t eventually thrive on a vegetarian diet, or even a vegan one, if done right. So why eat meat and kill animals when there is no real need? Even people in the far north don’t have to depend on meat any longer. Other food can be transported or stored.
    And why do we focus so much on tradition and what we “always” have been doing, rather than who and what we want to become?
    Why would we want our descendants to be meat eaters if we have a choice? I feel it is our responsibility as compassionate humans to adjust as much as ever possible to a vegan diet, so that this is easier duplicated in our descendants and eventually becomes the only acceptable norm for humane living.

  60. Wendi says:

    Peppers and Celery are on the dirty list, only buy organic. I did find out why peppers are so heavly sprayed when I grew my own and discovered catapillers sever inchs long that where eating them down to the stubs, even the hot peppers included. The only way to combat this was to go out early every morning and pry the things off with a pair of plyers and squish them. They where unaffected by any orgainic spray I used.

    I also buy all my leafy greens organic.

  61. Sophie says:

    I agree with Carina, becoming vegeterian slowly and carefully, bringing othe forms of protein could be beneficial to everyone. Actually at the origins, we were just plant eaters. We became meat eaters only after ice age!….there was no more plants so we had no choice…. Our body is not made to digest meat: carnivores have more hydrochloric acid in the stomach than we do in order to digest meat, they have a shorter intestinal tract, they have canine, they have claws, they do not have skin pores like us (they do not pespire), their saliva is acidic (ours is alkaline), they lick water (we sip it, don’t you?)…. quite a few differences don’t you think? And don’t forget that meat is the most acid producing foods (acidic environment being ideal for cancer). Most americans have a fixation on protein but too much protein can lead to protein poisoning (liver and related glands overwork to a point that they may be permanently weakened). So yes, i agree, there is not one diet perfect for everyone, however, everyone should be aware of the side effects of too much meat in a long term…..slowly but surely we can eat a more plant based diet.

    All great discussions on food causing disease…..but do not forget the mind! You cannot separate body and mind. After all, the most important is to feel good in his head, not worry, not being stressed, being happy….and then we can digest our life!!!! Easy to say, especially these days 🙂

    Have a good day, you all!

  62. Angeline says:

    re: Tinned Tomatoes – Bionaturae sells organic tomato paste and diced tomatoes in glass containers. Also, Eden Organic uses BPA free lining in their cans. Lastly, if you don’t see it at your local market or health food store – tell management. Request BPA free containers, the more they hear our requests, the more likely they are to listen. We have to be proactive when it comes to our health, food and environment! Thanks for the article!

  63. Ray says:

    Christy, just buy fresh tomatoes and chop them in a chopper or dice them. Add your own herbs if you want or slat and pepper. I do it all the time and it’s great. The only ones I found to be BPA free are Wild Planet brand for tuna and salmon and Eden for beans and we get them both here in Whole Foods.

  64. Chiu says:

    Organic produce is definitely the way to go for reducing/eliminating pesticide exposure. But I’ve found that 50/50 water/vinegar removes the junk off of fruits and veggies better than just rinsing with water alone. And the spray bottle doubles nicely as my counter-top cleaner 🙂

  65. Nikki says:

    I understand that you are not always going to see major results or changes in health right away from a change in diet, but I would think that 8 months of a super clean diet would start to show tiny changes even if minor ones. Right now I have come to the point of feeling like I would much rather die at age 75 having lived a more care-free and happy life eating what I want, than live to be 100 but miserable and worried about my food all that time. In fact I don’t even like being alive, so why would I care if I got cancer? My main focus in food right now is to be able to enjoy as much food as possible for the lowest amount of calories!! For example, I’d rather eat 2 cups of non-organic, splenda-sweetened, fat free yogurt, than 1/2 cup ‘natural’ full-fat organic yogurt sweetened naturally, or even something as wholesome as almond or coconut yogurt. I just want to make sure my food won’t make me gain weight, get acne, or constipated/gassy…. cancer? I could care less.

  66. mariah says:

    Oh my, NIKKI!
    You sound like you may have some clinical depression going on.
    Your comment that you “don’t even like being alive” indicates you are not as ‘healthy’ as you say you feel. True health includes a happy vibrant enjoyment of life & being alive!
    I say this as a mental health nurse who has evaluated & worked with depressed people for over 30 years, as well as experiencing & managing my own clinical depression most of my adult life.
    From those experiences let me share that depression ‘skews’ our thinking so that we do not see life clearly.
    I also want to point out that if you “don’t even like being alive” now while you say you are ‘feeling’ healhy, imagine how much worse life would be while suffering the greater misery ill health brings.
    I’d also like to share that some natural ways to ‘lift’ depression & bring smiles back into your life would be:
    -EXERCISE which is often enough to raise the endorphines that replace depression with enjoyment of life.
    -A very healthy lifestyle (high nutrition, good sleep, close friends & fun social activities, etc.)
    -If you still “don’t even like being alive”, either Sam-e or St. John’s Wort (both are natural supplements) should bring life enjoyment back.
    Whatever you choose to do with this information, I wish you a very joyful healthy life that ultimately makes you very happy to be alive!!

  67. Nikki says:

    Oh yeah, I know I have major depression and anxiety! I don’t know that I would say I feel healthy. I just don’t have any notable physical health problems. Mental issues for sure though. I do exercise and I think it is very very very very mildly helpful… but mostly only because it helps relieve some of my anxiety about gaining weight because I know I am burning off calories… and I doubt that it the reason most people should feel benefit from exercise. My good eating did nothing to improve my moods over the 8 months of super clean eating, and even now, compared to the SAD, my diet is still pretty darn ‘healthy,’ so that is not helping. Most of the time I am too depressed or anxious to ‘have fun with friends.’ I don’t find anything enjoyable and even the smallest things stress me out. I had been on antidepressants since I was 11, and only stopped last August. I went back on some for a few weeks last December, but have been off since mid January of this year. So many side effects from the meds. I’ve been seeing a naturopath for about 2 months now and he has given me some nervous system calming herbs and a glycerite tincture, and some ‘mental ecercise’ type stuff to do, but it clearly isn’t enough as I still can’t handle life!

  68. nick says:

    I love meat and animal products they taste GREAT but is it-

    1: Ethical
    – To enslave kill and eat animals.
    – To feed farmed animals enough food to feed 8.7 billion people.
    – To use/waste huge amounts of water.

    Daily water usage in the US for…
    An omnivore : 4,200 Gallons
    A vegetarian: 1,200 Gallons
    A vegan: 300 Gallons
    To make one pound of food…
    Pound of beef =2500 Gallons of water
    Pound of apples =49 Gallons of water
    Pound of lettuce =23 Gallons of water

    2: Environmentally Sustainable
    – The clearing of land to grow food for animals.
    – The extinction of native species flora and fauna from land clearing and farming hoofed animals.
    – The biggest cause of pollution on the planet through methane and excrement.
    – The enormous use of fossil fuels used to raise and process animals.

    Yearly land usage in the US for food…
    An omnivore : 3.3 Acres
    A vegetarian: 1/2 Acre
    A vegan: 1/6 Acre

    To make one pound of food…
    Pound of meat =7 pounds of grains or soy
    Pound of grain or soy =1 pound of grain or soy

    3: Healthy
    – Pesticides, Herbicides, Antibiotics -(90% of the world’s supply) fed to farmed animals.
    – Heart disease, Obesity, Cancer Autoimmune disorders, Stroke, Diabetes, Allergies, Mad cows disease, Ecoli, Salmonella, Parasites, ECT.
    20% Calories from protein
    80% Calories from fat (mostly saturated)
    0% Calories from carbohydrates
    Contains excess hormones
    Raises cholesterol
    No fibre
    Contains steroids, antibiotics
    Unsustainably produced
    Depletes the earth
    $5-$10/lb (1 serving)

    25% Calories from protein
    5% Calories from fat (unsaturated)
    70% Calories from complex carbohydrates
    Helps discharge excess hormones
    Lowers cholesterol
    High in fibre
    If organic, contains no chemicals
    Keeps you regular
    Sustainably grown
    Adds needed nitrogen to the soil
    $2-$4/lb (4servings)

    We will run out of fossil fuels and we cannot keep farming animals as a primary source of food

    So I urge everyone to do as I have done research and make your decision based on all 3 of these points not just on your diet.
    Thanks Nick

  69. Anne K. says:

    I’ve been vegan for over 20 years. A raw vegan diet is what works best for me, but at the moment I’m about 70% raw. I’ve been eating lots of SAITAN for about a year now (mostly the “Field Roast” brand). I like that it’s high in protein and tastes good but I know it can’t be healthy considering the high sodium, gluten, and processing (Add it to the BAD list????). I’m wondering if the gluten in saitan isn’t as bad as other forms of gluten (ie. bread and pasta)???? I don’t like any of the vegan protein drinks (I’ve tried a million of them!). I try not to eat soy. I get tired of beans and hemp protein powder. Any suggestions for other vegan protein options? Especially low fat or low carb ones??? I know most Americans get too much protein, but past blood tests have shown I need to eat more protein.

  70. lynni says:

    to ANNE K.

    for some quality high protein, very low carb breads.
    They even have a zero-carb, 9gm protein/slice bread!

  71. Kat says:

    Wow, so many things to try to avoid these days, it is not that easy to eat and live clean. As far as foods to avoid, Aspartame and MSG top my list. These are often hidden in the term “natural flavorings” and are not required to be on the label if it is a small amount, but they are excitotoxins, which excite your cells to death. Other names for Aspartame include Equal, Splenda, Sweet N Low, NutraSweet, Neotame, all ways of trying to fool the consumer. Aspartame is found in diet soda. Also HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), food colorings, and GMOs, including corn, soy, alfalfa, cotton, canola oil. Peaches are also on the dirty dozen list.

    I avoid things that have fluoride in them, such as water and toothpaste. You can look up your spring water to see how much fluoride is in there, and choose the lowest one. I also avoid things with aluminum, such as baking mixes and deoderants. Cooking in non-stick pans with teflon, etc. is also carcinogenic. And then there are so many products with parabens and SLS (sodium laurel sulfate), etc. that should be avoided.

    I have started testing my pH with some nitrazine paper (from the health food store) and I try to have a more alkaline diet. I often squeeze a lemon or ACV into my spring water and sip on that because, while lemon is acidic, it becomes alkaline in your body. Something that has improved my health quite a bit recently is taking HCL with meals and then probiotics after meals.

  72. I was selling wild caught shrimp. The top restaurants in NYC did not understand my product.Price talks to them. They continue to sell farmed shrimp. They are worse than farmed salmon as they swim in confined ponds in their own poop. The ponds contain algaecides, fungasides, antibiotics, and other really bad stuff.
    I am fortunate to have orange and lemon trees in my yard here in Oakland, CA. Eating as clean and least processed as possible. I buy local as well as orgainc.
    In nutrition school we learned the box is more nutritious than the cereal in it. It’s processed by the way. Keeping the body alkaline is very important. Dense protein is acidic. So many people are hung up on the protein myth. Food must be prepared with love and with the idea it will benefit your body for it’s highest good, even if you fall off the wagon. Barbara Holistic Health Coach

  73. Josephine Brown says:

    Do not buy or eat any Tyson chicken! Look it up and find out why! Josephine Brown

  74. I live in Greece and most people here don’t give a crap about what they eat. Cancer is rampant in my village and most men have tremendous “bellies”. Women too.I come from the U.S.A. and am aware of organic foods. I grow my own in the summer and fall and never use pesticides. I use a combo of the water from boiling hot peppers, dish soap and a little bit of olive oil. Then I use this in a spray bottle on my veggies and also my roses.I have found that it works on my string beans #1. They are hard to keep pest free. I also buy from the “bazaar” on Saturdays but who knows if these farmers use pesticides. I don’t have enough room to grow everything. So far there are no organic veggies and fruits around.I am 74 years old and have been told I look like 55. I feel great and have great energy. I very seldom eat meat for all the obvious reasons and stopped artificial sweeteners and soda. I have 2 sisters who are sick, one overweight with various illnesses and the other with fibromyralgia. They are younger than me. I try to be an advocate on healthy eating but nobody is interested. Reading all your comments made me write this testimonial to eating healthy doesn’t mean not enjoying life. Is food the only thing in life that makes us happy? How about a healthy relationship with a friend, a mate or a family member? Is a doughnut more important than a hug from your child or good times with family? Think about it. Food should not be our first priority to make us happy in life. Love you all, Barbara

  75. Why don’t we all just stop eating everything, and simply die a very normal death of starvation, as so many others around the world do? Good-bye all.

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