In this post I thought I would address some “healthy foods” that are marketed as being healthy, but they are actually just the opposite.
One of my pet-peeves is a marketing campaign that completely LIES to you. I can’t stand seeing advertisements on TV that are complete lies about what the food really is. I DO NOT know how food companies get away with it.
These food items are commonly referred to as healthy in our culture and I want to shed some light on the reality. I think that these products are a big reason why we have an obesity health crisis and why people are so confused about what is healthy and what is not. I think you might be shocked at some of these items I am going to list.
These foods are not nutrient dense, and therefore not healthy. As a result, you end up eating more food by eating these products because they have very few nutrients to fill you up. So you have to buy more food in order to stay full and you end up spending more money than you need to. As a result, you eat more calories with less nutrients and gain weight while constantly starving. Whew, that sounds like a miserable cycle. I want to help you out.
Here we go. (Click here to watch the video if you don’t feel like reading today!)
Yes you heard me correctly. Salad. It can actually be one of the LEAST healthy items that you eat. Normally people get a salad when they are eating out and trying to make a “healthy choice”. I just want people to know that iceberg lettuce with processed cheese and sugary dressing on top is not a healthy choice. You really might as well be eating something else that is more satisfying.
It is really hard to find salad dressing that is good for you and not filled with a bunch of artificial ingredients and sugar. The one dressing I have found that I like is Tessemae’s*. It is just oil, spices, and sea salt. You can pretty much bet that it is a good dressing if it is refrigerated in the store. If it is in the middle aisle, then it probably has a lot of preservatives in it for it to stay “fresh” without being refrigerated.
The reason I am listing this as the first item on the list is because I think that people have this misconception that in order to be “healthy” you have to eat salads all the time. I RARELY eat salad. I eat it if I am at a place with no other options. It doesn’t satisfy me and the taste of lettuce isn’t my favorite. I really am not a huge fan to be honest. If you love salads, great, just make sure that they are full of nutrient dense foods!
Real Food Option:
Fill your bowl with DARK GREEN lettuce (more nutrients) like spinach, kale, arugula, lots of veggies (cucumber, tomatoes, fresh carrots, peppers, onion, etc), and use a good quality dressing. You can also add protein on top to help fill you up (chicken, steak, shrimp, etc).
Egg whites are not a health food. I think we are finally starting to get the word out there that eating the full egg is NOT bad for you. It is GOOD for you. The egg yolk has sooooooooooooo many good nutrients in there. Vitamin A, D, B-12, choline, calcium, iron, etc. The egg white is pretty much void of all nutrients other than some protein. People worry about the cholesterol in the yolk but there is actually new evidence that eating dietary cholesterol does not actually raise most people’s cholesterol. There is a group of people that are hyper-sensitive but for the generally healthy individual, it will most likely not have an effect on your blood cholesterol.
Real Food Option:
Eat the whole egg!
Now this one, man o man Gatorade is good at marketing. Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are SO GOOD at convincing people that they need these in order to perform well while exercising. Gatorade is possibly one of the worst things you can drink if you want to be healthy. It is filled with refined sugar, artificial ingredients and chemicals.
Gatorade claims that they replace your electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium) and that is why you need it in order to perform. First of all, unless you are sweating your butt off and exercising to exhaustion, you more than likely don’t need the extra electrolytes they claim you do. If you exercise regularly, you are probably fine to just drink WATER. Wow, what a concept. But water is free, so nobody markets water and tells you that is all you need. Why? Because they don’t make money off of you that way.
Do you know that I tried to find the ingredients in Gatorade and they do not even list it on their website!?! In order to find it you have to dig deep. You know a company is trying to hide something when they won’t list the ingredients they put in their products. So I looked elsewhere and this is what I found.
The ingredients are listed in this order: water, sucrose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, natural flavors, citric acid, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium citrate, phosphoric acid, red 40, blue 1. I don’t think I have to convince you that the ingredient list doesn’t look all that great. You seriously might as well drink a soda.
Real Food Option:
There are ways to replenish your body with electrolytes and carbohydrates naturally. I think it’s safe to say that most of us are not exercising to the point of exhaustion most days, unless we are college or professional athletes. Even then, we can eat and drink real food in order to replace the electrolytes. Examples: dark leafy greens, some fruits, and WATER. If you want a drink variety, try juicing some fresh lemons, limes, oranges into coconut water and adding some sea salt and honey. You can look up specific recipes online!
Protein Bars/ Granola Bars
The problem with eating these kind of bars is that most of them are loaded with sugar and extra ingredients that our body doesn’t need. We need protein in order to be healthy, but the type of protein in these bars aren’t exactly what I would call “real food”. We want to eat protein from sources in it’s natural state and not isolated from all other things. The protein that is in protein bars has been taken out of it’s natural state and inserted into a bar. Our bodies aren’t meant to process things like that.
I honestly don’t know much about certain brands of protein or granola bars because I don’t eat them. In general though, brand doesn’t really matter. They are mostly made up of the same ingredients.
This is just an example and these are the thinkThin bars.
Protein Blend (Soy protein isolate, calcium caseinate, whey protein isolate), Coating (Maltitol, Cococa Butter, Chocolate, Sodium Caseinate, Milk Fat, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors, Salt), Glycerin, Maltitol, Peanuts, Water, Peanut Flour, Canola Oil, Natural Flanors, Soy Lecithin, Sea Salt.
I don’t think I really have to go into each ingredient and tell you that it’s not a real food. The only name that I recognize as a real food is peanuts and that is way down the list (which means there isn’t that much in there).
KIND bars are also very popular for a granola bar option. Check the ingredients for these because they load these with sugar. Especially the chocolate varieties. You may as well be eating a candy bar.
The KIND Peanut Butter Berry bar is loaded with sugar. Take a look.
Whole grain blend (oats, millet, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, oat flour), dried cane syrup, honey, tapioca syrup, cranberries, peanut butter, canola oil, peanuts, brown rice syrup, raspberries, gum acacia, vanilla extract, sea salt, peanut flour, Vitamin E (to maintain freshness).
Did you know that dried cane syrup, honey, and tapioca syrup are ALL forms of sugar. Dang. That’s a lot of sugar.
Real Food Options:
Lara Bars, Dates with nut butter
If you have been following me and have read my previous post on why ingredients matter, you know how I feel about cereal. I am not going to go into much detail because I have in a previous post, but I just had to list it here because I think that most American’s eat cereal for breakfast and think they are making a good choice. We eat cereal in the morning and then in 1-2 hours we are STARVING again and craving something sweet because we just had a bowl of sugar for breakfast.
I googled “healthy cereal” just to see what popped up and I found quite a few websites that list cereal that are not nearly what I would call healthy. I chose one that was marketed as organic and very healthy and looked at the ingredients.
Kashi Heart to Heart Honey Toasted Oat Cereal.
Whole oat flour*, degerminated yellow cornmeal*, invert cane syrup*, oat fiber*, honey*, salt, expeller pressed canola oil*, natural flavor, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) for freshness.
Again, there are several forms of refined sugar in there and our bodies are being overloaded with sugar. Our bodies weren’t created to metabolize foods this way.
Real Food Option:
There is a cereal brand that I have mentioned before that is okay if you love cereal and HAVE to have it. It has no added sugar with weird names and it also has real fruit that is freeze dried. Grains are a huge topic of discussion in the nutrition world and very controversial. Many people have strong views on it.
Again, experiment with your body and if you don’t seem to notice anything that is damaging to you and you desire to eat it, go for it. However, I would still not recommend to eat this daily because grains do damage the lining of the intestine. There are other more nutrient dense foods out there that you can eat for breakfast (bacon and egg cups, scrambled eggs, eggs on bed of lettuce with avocado, smoothies, banana on a piece of sprouted toast with nut butter and cinnamon, steel cut oats).
Eat REAL Healthy Food
I hope this clears some things up for you. I want to expose the lies we are told and help you choose better options. Our bodies need more nutrients and less sugar and I want to help you find ways to incorporate this into your life! Remember, healthy doesn’t have to be hard!
Just a quick note: All of these real food alternatives are not expensive. Actually, probably cheaper than the processed food option because you find yourself more satisfied, not needing to eat as much food. REAL FOOD ISN’T EXPENSIVE. You just have to plan.
That’s all for now! Leave a comment below and don’t be afraid to contact me with questions!
5 Healthy Foods You Thought Were Healthy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY9wUKIlvdA)
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