My mother recently got re-married and moved to New Orleans. One would think my biggest concerns about her moving across the country to a touristy city with political corruption, unpredictable weather and a very high crime rate, yet my main concerns were the environmental toxins and chemicals to which she would be exposed in New Orleans cuisine. Though my mother has attended 18 out of 20 “Health and Wellness: A Clean Eating Perspective” workshops, she did not understand why I felt an urgency to create a plan to decrease her exposure to harmful toxins, especially Acrylamide, which is found in many foods in the South.
During my own clean eating journey, I became engrossed in research on the chemicals in foods and exposure to environmental toxins. One of these chemicals that I’d ingested a lot on a regular basis was Acrylamide. Acrylamide is a chemical used primarily as a building block for many industrial purposes and consumer products, yet is also found in many foods that people eating the S.A.D. (standard American diet) consume on a regular basis. This includes processed potatoes (chips, French fries, even oven-baked fries–but not boiled potatoes), cereals, coffee, crackers, bread, dried fruit and drinking water. On November 14, 2013, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) released a Consumer Update warning people to reduce their consumption of foods with acrylamide as it has been known to cause cancer. Acrylamide is one of the approximately 800 chemicals listed in California’s Proposition 65 (a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm). One of the many benefits of Proposition 65 is that it mandates certain businesses to provide a warning to consumers about their exposure to Acrylamide.
My desire to become a vegan and vegetarian was sparked by the Proposition 65 list. I decided to eliminate not only these foods, but to also invest in clean alkalized water and to eat foods that helped to remove toxins from my body. According to the National Cancer of Institute, cruciferous vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, other nutrients, and chemicals known as glucosinolates. Glucosinolates break down into several biologically active compounds that are being studied for possible anticancer effects. This meant increasing my intake of argula, spinach, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, mustard greens, kale, garlic, berries, tomatoes, green tea, certain whole grains and sprouted foods, tumeric, grapes, and beans. These foods not only do not contain (or small amounts) Acrylamide, but they helped reduce my risk of cancer and also contributed to my weight loss.
I mandated my mother to find an organic grocery store and to load up on these vegetables, as well as fruit pectin (limes, lemons and apples), cilantro, chlorella, and wheat grass as they help remove toxins, to drink clean alkaline water.
I am aware that you can’t always know what your exposed to, but I know that you can do your best to limit your exposure. I always say knowledge is power.
Also by EnJunaya: Plant-based Diet – How I Lost Weight and Changed My Life
Photo: EnJunaya Canton; ccho via Flickr