Yesterday I talked about the food chain and how what animals eat affects not only them but also the eggs and milk they produce. I mentioned that the omega fatty acids are essential, meaning the body can't make them. This is key because it means our intake of them directly reflects the ratio of them in our bodies and this continues down the food chain. So animals are fed diets high in omega-6s, which are inflammatory, cause coagulation of the blood and stimulate cell growth (be it fat cells or tumor cells). They then produce eggs, milk and meat that is high in omega-6s. Most people in North America eat a lot of meat, consume dairy products, eat a fair bit of eggs and on top of that we fry a lot of our food. Frying unfortunately damages omega-3 fatty acids and you lose the health benefits.
I hope you are beginning to see why this is worth talking about. Between 1970 and 2000 Americans lowered their fat consumption by about 11 percent and even lowered their total calorie intake by 4 percent. Meanwhile obesity went up 31 percent in the same time span. This is referred to as the American Paradox, which is no longer just affecting Americans, but Europeans also.
Another fact that underlines how the whole food chain is affected by our industrial animal feeding practices, is that the amount of fatty tissue in children under one doubled between 1970 and 1990. French biochemist and farming engineer Pierre Weill, who researched this phenomenon, said "Between 6 and 11 months of age, you can't blame McDonald's, snacking, TV and lack of physical exercise!".
So fat and calories alone are not the issue and if you are trying to loose weight but have high concentrations of inflammatory, cell growth promoting omega-6 fatty acids in your body, well it might feel like a bit of an uphill battle!
But enough of the ranting, time for some concrete tips on how to be healthy! Below is a picture taken from the Anticancer book (http://www.anticancerbook.com/) again, which shows the Anticancer plate. Really it could be called the pro-health plate. It's a food guide that gives you the big picture of what might be a pretty healthy way to eat.
This gives a bit of guidance and maybe I'll leave you with a few concrete tips on increasing your omega-3 intake and decreasing the amount of omega-6 fatty acids.
1) The following are high in omega-3s: Flaxseeds and Flaxseed oil, Olive oil, Walnuts, Fish, Beans and Tofu.
You can take flaxseeds, grind them in a coffee grinder and add them to yogurt (preferably organic), a bowl of fruit or even a shake. Use flaxseed oil in your salad dressing but don't use it for frying and keep it refrigerated.
2) Toss out sunflower oil, choose to buy animal products like meat, eggs and dairy from organically raised, grass fed or flaxseed fed animals, don't use margarine (I might have to write a post just about this one).
Here is something I do, but admittedly it's a bit hard-core, I mix about 2 tbsp of flaxseed oil with almond milk, a bunch of Turmeric (has great Anticancer properties), a pinch of cayenne pepper and about 20 drops of cumin oil. I blend it using an electric milk frother and away I go... This might not be for everyone, but for someone with cancer, I think it's perfect.