My next post was going to be on making tough decisions when figuring out your grocery budget, but I just read an article today that has me very...what is the word...ahhh, I can't think of a word! Let's just say I am very motivated to write about one thing - moderation! The article was written by one of my favorite bloggers. I don't agree with everything she says, but she has some great informative articles and they always prove to be thought provoking. Today's article focused on the danger of green smoothies. If you are not very familiar, these are smoothies made with fruits and fresh raw darky leafy greens. Her argument is that because dark leafy greens contain high levels of oxalates and oxalate toxicity can cause multiple problems throughout the body, they should in general be avoided, consumed only maybe once or twice a week and cooked in butter which is said to improve absorption of the minerals in the food.
Heralded as one of the greatest health foods you can eat, dark leafy greens are a HUGE component of many healthy diets out there. We have been consuming green smoothies about 5 days a week with our lunches for quite some time now. However, because organic dark leafy greens bunches cost $2.50 where I buy them (I haven't been willing to make an extra trip somewhere just for cheaper greens :) ), I don't buy a whole lot of them. I figure each member of our family consumes at most 2-3 full servings of greens a week. I also have been aware of the oxalate issue for a while which also factors into us not eating an insane amount of greens. My biggest concern with oxalates is that they inhibit calcium absorption. So I did my research a while ago and we only consume greens with lower oxalate levels, namely collard greens and kale.
Of course I read this article though and thoughts go through my head like, "Gee, should we stop the green smoothies. What could I replace them with?" And then I read a comment on her blog that captured what my sentiment so often is when I read about the "dangers" of a given food. Basically the reader was saying, "So...what CAN we eat?" Here is a list of some of things I have read about that we should steer clear of or eat insanely small amounts of:
- Grains and beans (as well as nuts and seeds) - because they are high in phytic acid
- Fruits - because of their high fructose level
- Starchy vegetables
- Dairy (unless it is raw, which is EXTREMELY pricey) - because unless raw it lacks the enzymes that help digest it well. Some diets though say NO dairy at all, even if raw
After a while you really do start asking, "What can I eat?" And then throw the grocery budget into the mix. This bleeds into what my next post will be about, but when I consider the list of no nos, I am left with items that are extremely expensive. When faced with all the information I have gathered I have a couple of options. I can just say it is insane and disregard all of it. Problem is that I find a lot of merit in what I have learned. I could try to follow all of the dietary guidelines I have come to agree with (though it is tough to figure out who to agree with), but then I would have to sell a kidney to pay for groceries. Or I could do what I have done - adopt the principal of moderation.
My father-in-law was just telling us the other day about how the Native Americans ate things in their diet that were "toxic" to their systems. But they were just fine eating them because they only ate them seasonally. It is the build up of the toxins over time that is harmful. With the availability we have of almost all foods year round, seasonal eating is something few people do. I sure haven't gotten in to the habit, though I would love to. But I figure the next best thing is to eat all things moderately. Having food sensitivities has helped me with this because I have learned it can be the overuse of a certain food that can cause us to become sensitive to it in the first place. I figure if we don't eat too much of any one thing and something we are eating is in fact bad for us - well at least we weren't eating too much of it! Furthermore, it won't be too hard to replace because we aren't fully dependent on it. I will not claim my thinking is for sure correct, but given all I have learned this is what I believe is the best decision right now for my family, and that is to stick to a whole food diet and eat things in moderation as much as possible.
So should we ditch the greens? Who knows?! Maybe that would be best, maybe not. But instead of freaking out and worrying about either getting an oxalate overload OR missing out on the amazing benefit of greens, I choose a middle road. I will keep eating them as we are - in moderation. And I am NOT going to worry about it!