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Exposing “Healthy” Foods
Exposing “Healthy” Foods
Are you vegan, dairy free, or gluten free? Then this episode is especially for you. If not, listen in, because what you think might be healthy is actually probably not. I was so shocked when I learned about ingredients in food, and with New Year’s goals in full swing to eat healthier, lose weight, and be your best self, it’s important to know exactly what you’re putting in your body to promote real health and energy to put your best self forward.
Do you feel sluggish after eating or groggy waking up? Are you wondering why you feel so unmotivated despite having just made some big New Year’s resolutions?
It might be your food. When I went to college, I thought protein shakes, gluten free or vegan food was healthier for me. I was so confused when I gained 10 pounds. For reference, I am a stick. My family does not gain weight easily. So this was really big for me and made me question what I was doing wrong. Turns out, I wasn’t doing anything wrong except for believing the labels on the foods I was eating. I really just needed to flip the package over and read the ingredients.
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Impossible burger, gluten free oreos, protein shakes, protein powders whey or not whey, Just Egg, Activia, Hippeas, dairy free cheeses, Trader Joe’s hummus, oat milk, shall I go on.
All of these have incredible amounts of sugar and processed ingredients I can’t even understand. The best advice given to me by my nutritionist was to stay far far away from packaged foods. If I had to eat a packaged food or truly enjoyed something, I was advised to flip the package over and observe the ingredients. If it had more than five ingredients, anything I didn’t understand, or sugar (this includes anything ending in -ose, stevia, cane sugar, or one of the many other names for it, especially HFCS), to put it right back on the shelf.
It’s my strongest belief that we need to give people power to make informed decisions about what they’re eating. The protein shakes I consumed three times a week in college were giving me acne, weight gain, and sluggish-ness, and a ruined gut microbiome contributing to my Crohn’s diagnosis.
If you are finding a lot of the products in your pantry have these ingredients, do a pantry clean out. Chuck anything with things you can’t understand or have sugar high on the list. The higher an ingredient to the top of the list, the more of it. And don’t be fooled by the label above the ingredients. Companies don’t regard some sugars including Stevia, as a sugar, so it looks like foods have “0%” sugar, when in fact it’s spiking your insulin to kingdom come and creating a dependency to keep you coming back for more.
And don’t worry, there are plenty of amazing and delicious alternatives. If you really love something, decide if it’s worth it and keep it hidden for an occasional treat. Sugar dependency doesn’t disappear overnight, and you’ll find yourself craving these foods. Trust me, intuitive eating is not a craving for sugar. That will go away over time. It took me about two weeks to realize I didn’t actually want the chocolate, I just wanted water or to eat in general.
Do a pantry audit. What can be pitched? What has artificial flavorings (actually anything with “natural flavorings” in the ingredient list can be a company’s way of hiding cancer causing ingredients – yes this is legal), dyes, sugars, or ingredients you can’t understand or that don’t grow naturally? Pick one thing to keep as a treat and throw the rest away. Plan a grocery shop to replace those things with healthier alternatives and fruits and vegetables.
My college experience learning about ingredients for the first time
A list of a few packaged foods marketed as being healthy
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