You Eat What Your Food Eats

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Last September, nutritionist Jess Godfrey spoke to WellcomeMD’s Richmond practice about the importance of eating a well-balanced diet, or as she refers to it, eating the rainbow. In addition to answering patient questions, Jess highlighted a few key diet staples. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be featuring blogs on the nutritious foods that Jess recommends, and explaining how and why you should include them in your diet. This week’s focus will be on eggs and meats.

Eggs

Contrary to popular assumption, WellcomeMD nutritionist Jess Godfrey says that eggs should be an important part of everyone’s diet. While eggs have previously had a negative rep, a study published by the AMA (American Medical Association) found no relationship between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, people who ate six eggs per week had a lower risk of heart disease than those who ate less than one. Another trial found that eating a dozen eggs per week had almost no effect on cholesterol levels. Finally, in 2015, the USDA's guidelines dropped the egg restriction. Jess also notes that the color of the egg – whether it’s brown or white – doesn’t have anything to do with its nutritional content. Omega 3 eggs are particularly good because the chickens are given flax meal, and since we eat what our food ate, we get the higher levels of omega 3’s that they got. Since the type of egg doesn’t typically matter, it helps to find a local market to buy eggs from.

Meats

When it comes to meat, Jess recommends always buying grass-fed. With conventionally raised meat, the animal is fed a very high grain diet full of omega 6, which is a pro-inflammatory fat. Inflammation occurs when our body activates protective proteins to respond to chemicals that it considers a threat. Eating inflammatory foods such as sugar, vegetable seed oils, and processed meats, can have harmful short and long-term effects, including a higher risk of heart disease, lung cancer, joint and gut pain. Since we eat what our meat ate, when we eat conventionally raised meat, we end up getting too much omega 6 and not enough omega 3, which is an anti-inflammatory fat. When you cook grass-fed meat, it has a different fat profile from conventional meat, so it needs to be cooked differently. Grass-fed meat can’t be cooked as long or at as high a temperature as conventional meat.

As always, the most important factor when choosing healthy ingredients is whether or not they were naturally raised. With something like hot dogs, Jess urges patients to buy natural or not buy at all.