5 forbidden foods: Why you can’t eat anything at all

Foods we once thought were healthy alternatives are now off the menu — starting with your daily (whole-grain) bread.

We’ve joked about it at dinner parties. We’ve read all the same articles, talked to our doctors, and reached the same realization: You can’t eat anything anymore. Soul’s Code canvassed its community of experts about the latest research into conscious dining:

1. Soy, it sucks

The world’s most famous cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Robert Rey, is ultra body-conscious both inside and out. And Rey, a.k.a. Dr. 90210, is highly conscious about what he puts into his own body. Dr. Rey is the author of a 2.0 version of the Paleo diet. And he walks the talk —  doesn’t smoke, do drugs or drink (like, even coffee). He also absolutely avoids a staple of the health-food industry: soy.

Yet Americans love soy: sales in the U.S. have grown more than ten-fold in the past two decades. The soy lobby now represents a $4-billion industry.

So why does soy suck? Among Rey’s beefs is that it has estrogen-like substances. He cites rat studies showing depressed sexual appetite, and an increase in mortality rates after soy was introduced into the Chinese diet in 580 A.D. More specifically, soy contributes to anemia and Alzheimers. “If you eat soy,” Rey told Soul’s Code, “you will start forgetting things.”

2. Shrimp

Americans now eat more shrimp than tuna because it is succulent and low-cal. But the big question is what do the shrimp themselves eat? Answer: farmed shrimp are raised on feed that includes animal parts and antibiotics like oxytetracycline and ciprofloxacin.

The majority of all imported shrimp today is industrially-produced in man-made ponds that are often abandoned after about seven years because they become cess pools. So unless you want to eat recycled worms, pass on the shrimp curry the next time you’re at your favorite Indian restaurant. Or check out this list of approved labels from SeafoodWatch.org.

3. Tomatoes

In the winter, as much as 90 percent of the tomatoes in American supermarkets are grown in Florida. But from a horticultural perspective, Florida’s sandy soil has about as many nutrients as the Sahara desert. “To get a successful crop, they pump the soil full of chemical fertilizers and can blast the plants with more than 100 different herbicides and pesticides, including some of the most toxic in agribusiness’s arsenal,” writes Barry Estabrook in his new book, Tomatoland. So skip Safeway’s produce aisle, and pay-up for locally-grown tomatoes — in season! If you absolutely need post-harvest tomatoes for, say, a Caprese salad on your Thanksgiving table, hydroponic ones from Canada would actually be a better option.

4. Nuts

These hard-shelled fruits are a staple of the Jesus-edition of the Paleo diet, and almost a perfect source of non-animal protein that can lower the LDL “bad” cholesterol in your blood. Nuts are also a favorite of Atkins-diet addicts because they are low in carbs. The problem is that nuts are super-high in fat calories. Eighty percent of a nut is fat.

To put it in perspective, one cup of almonds has almost 300 more calories than a Big Mac (540). Or would you believe 310 more than a Dairy Queen Banana Split (510)? How about more than twice as much as a Taco Bell Bean Burrito (370)?

“Nuts should be used as a garnish, or a side on a cheese plate,” says Catherine Fallis, a San Francisco, CA Master Sommelier and restaurant industry consultant. “Carbs or no carbs, you’ll never lose weight if you are using nuts as a meal-replacement.”

5. Starches

Speaking of carbs . . . bread, potatoes, rice and pasta were condemned by both the South Beach and Atkins Diets simply because of the high conversion rate of their starch component to sugar.  It puts starches in a league of their own when it comes to calorie-intake, and advocates of The Longevity Diet argue that they will take years off your life. According to several scientific studies, mammals who consume foods low on the Glycemic Index live longer and relatively disease-free. They suggest that you decline your daily bread because most types of baked goods are  high up on the Glycemic Index.

Bonus tip, Coffee

No, it’s not on this list because caffeine is a diuretic that keeps you up at night, stains your teeth and makes PMS worse. It is one of the most wasteful food products on Earth. Few Starbucks addicts realize that in the harvesting, processing, roasting and brewing of coffee about 98 percent of the biomass is discarded. “An estimated 12 million tons of agricultural waste is left to rot each year, generating millions of tons of methane gas and contributing to climate change,” says Gunter Pauli, author of The Blue Economy.

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6 Responses to “5 forbidden foods: Why you can’t eat anything at all”

  1. Linden Stewart Alsop Reply 25. Jul, 2011 at 4:43 am

    I agree with the premiss that perhaps we shouldn’t eat at all, if we are THAT worried about scientific research? Perhaps death is preferable to worrying about all this ? I don’t think so.

    Or maybe we should just eat whatever we feel we need but without relying too much on any particular foods in order to maintain a balance. After all, none of us would be here if our forebears had worried too much about not eating things off the ground or out of the trees or had worried about whether their fires had cooked things right through. A bit more trust and a bit lest angst.

    • Julian Niemiec [Lion] Reply 25. Jul, 2011 at 1:20 pm


      From personnel experience, isn’t it better to avoid foods that make us ill rather than taking drugs to solve the problem after the event, but then having to take more drugs to contract the side effects of the first set of drugs.

      There is also a theory that the current, dramatic increase in food intolerances, including peanuts, is as a direct result of children being given vaccines.. Studies have shown that getting chicken-pox as a child prevents more serious problems as an adult, but now we vaccinate children for chicken-pox but this doesn’t prevent the problems as an adult.

      In our forebears time, only the strong survived which is totally different to today.

      I would have more faith in Doctors if they promoted Good-Heatlh rather than give drugs after the event.

  2. Interesting article and while I agree with all of it I think the soy part does not tell the full story. Fermented soy does not wreak havoc on your body like unfermented soy. The phytoestrogens in soy are broken down during the fermentation process. The only fermented soy products I occasionally use are miso, tempeh and tofu. I stay away from processed foods with soy.

    The Chinese consume fermented soy AND have the lowest (almost non-existent) rate of breast cancer in the world. While Americans consume soy that is GMO and not fermented in any way.

    As for my healthy food, my addiction right now is Shelled Hemp Seed. I put it on my salads and mix it in my smoothies. Love the nutty flavor. It’s high in protein AND contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids.

    • We should, by all means, avoid anything that makes us ill, for whatever reason. My concern is that people avaoid foods simply because they have seen a ‘digest’ of scientific research in a newspaper or magazine and then assume that what is ‘statistically significant’ in a scientific sense relates directly and personally to individuals. I suspect that scientific research funding contributes directly to foods being labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’. (Look at the sugar companies who financed research that showed that sugar is not at all harmful.)I am just keen to suggest we should be more attuned to our own bodies and what they need. If it doesn’t suit you- don’t eat it and if you love nuts/wholegrain bread etc and it suits you, don’t eat it to excess. Just ensure that the foods you eat are safely produced and natural- and then eat everything in moderation.

  3. Julian Niemiec [LION] Reply 25. Jul, 2011 at 10:25 am

    From my personal experience, that has taken me over 10 years to identify, Soya is one of the foods that makes me very ill and the worst part …. It has a delayed reaction, so I don’t feel the bad effects for 12 to 18 hours after I’ve eaten it, they then last for a further 48 hours.

    Now I’m on a quest to find the other bad foods for me.

    My search started 20 years ago and only now am I finding the true extent of how ill food can make me (I’m an engineer by trade which has helped in my investigations) and how little the medical profession know or care.

    Great article and thanks for sharing.

  4. Ellen Block, Esq. Reply 26. Jul, 2011 at 7:30 am

    This article lead me to many other wonderful and informative articles. Hope everyone takes some time to read them. We must be Protean (visionary) not only in our career management but our health management as well. We all must take personal responsibility for our own health – maximizing the incredible abilities or these amazing bodies that we are blessed with.

    We must first take care of ourselves before we can care and serve others. My favorites foods: avocadoes, almost anything green, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries; all mixed together in a powerhouse smoothie!!!