This past weekend, I went to see the movie Frozen with my sister. On the way there, she remarked to me about how confusing it is to know how to eat healthfully. She had read an article about foods that cause inflammation which contradicted other information she had read previously.
This happens frequently. One day, we read about a study that evokes the benefits of coffee, red wine, or salmon. The next day we read an article that speaks to the health damaging effects of the same foods. What is a person to do?
Additionally, we are inundated with information about the latest, greatest diets. Paleo, Raw, Atkins, The Virgin Diet and hundreds, literally hundreds more out there. My thoughts about this are an entirely different blog post. But, this I will say. Diets are a short-term solution. A healthy lifestyle is a daily practice created by healthy daily habits. It is not something that starts and then ends once we reach our goal.
Like the majority of us, Debbie does her very best to feed her family nutritiously. Yet, she finds it challenging to do even when shopping at our local natural foods market.
Yesterday, my husband and I were interviewed by two lovely young college students who are in school working on a degree in nutrition science. It was a lively and engaging conversation and we spoke about the many complicating factors that lead people to experience health challenges. Very often these people end up being treated with drugs and/or surgery. In the midst of the conversation, one of the young women spoke of the health benefits that could be experienced if more people shopped at Trader Joes or Whole Foods.
I disagree. I hear this misconception often. Just because a food is being sold in Trader Joes or Whole Foods does not mean that it is automatically healthy. Many of the foods found in these stores are actually owned by companies such as Coca-Cola (Odwalla & Honest Tea), Pepsico (Naked Juice), General Mills (Cascadian Farms, Muir Glen, LaraBar), Kellogg’s Company (Kashi), Hershey (Dagoba), Kraft (Back to Nature), and there are many more I could list here, but…you get the point. These companies have products that they sell for profit NOT for their stellar nutritional content. As consumers it behooves us to be educated and understand exactly what we are eating and where it comes from.
For several years, I shared with clients that I enjoyed Dagoba chocolate until I learned from my astute daughter that the company was owned by Hershey and the chocolate was from the Ivory Coast in Africa where children are used as slave labor. I watched a documentary about this and was shocked. No more Dagoba AND no chocolate for me unless it comes from South America.
So…what is a well-intended, health conscious person to do with all of the diet info out there and conflicting nutrition studies floating around?
Take a deep breath. Keep your diet simple, fresh, and close to home.
Shop at the local Farmer’s Market for your fresh foods if at all possible. The foods are often sustainably grown and picked when they are ripe meaning that they are filled with more nutrition and flavor.
When you shop at the grocery store (whatever store that may be) let the majority of your cart fill up with foods that don’t require an ingredients label. Broccoli, chicken, almonds, apples, romaine, avocados. Whole foods. If you purchase packaged foods, choose items that have five ingredients or less. And…let the ingredients be foods that you recognize. Steer clear of the chemicals, additives, food dyes, and preservatives. Find foods that are grown or raised on a farm, rather than created in a laboratory.
Do your best. I am not a purist by any means. Eating foods that leave me and my family feeling our best is a daily practice. Some days we do better than others depending upon what is happening.
Personally, when I stick with unprocessed whole foods, I feel my best. I have energy, I am happier, I wake up earlier and I am more productive during the day. The foods that serve me well include; leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, non-gluten grains (quinoa, millet, buckwheat, brown rice), legumes, lean meats, nuts, and seeds. Small amounts of dairy or eggs. And…of course…my beloved dark chocolate (85%) or raw cacao. The natural sweeteners I enjoy the most are low glycemic coconut sugar, stevia, grade B pure maple syrup, and local raw honey.
My mission is to support you in feeling your very best. And…to encourage you to keep reaching for foods and making lifestyle choices that create and sustain radiant health. To make it easy for you, I offer a 3-day seasonal cleanse to get you started eating more whole, plant-based foods. To learn more, click here.
I would love to hear what foods leave you feeling your best…Please share your comments and thoughts below.
If this was useful, Share on social!