Being healthy goes way beyond being thin. You can be thin and EXTREMELY unhealthy. This is where the saying “You are what you eat,” applies. Eat garbage, feel like garbage. If you are living on Diet Coke and Snackwells Devil’s Food Cakes (which I totally did for years…but more on that in a future post), you are not getting the vitamins and vital nutrients needed to make your body the powerful, disease fighting machine it is meant to be. You are also depriving yourself of an array of great tasting, flavorful food.
Here is a list of the 10 foods I never eat.
1. Condensed Soup
…Or most soups in a can for that matter. Canned soups are full of MSG (monosodium glutamate), preservatives, artificial flavors, way too much sodium and have very little nutritional value. Look at the label and see how many of the ingredients are actual food that grows or grazes…SCARY!
For those of you who like prepared soups, try buying organic soups that come in a carton. Pacific Naturals makes a great Cream of Mushroom Soup, and my kiddos and I are also fond of their Creamy Tomato Soup.
2. Prepackaged Cookies/ Snack Cakes/Puddings
These are loaded with processed sugars, high fructose corn syrup, bleached flours and artificial flavors. Most also contain trans fats…even if they say they do not, as the FDA allows a certain amount before food manufactures (notice that I call them MANUFACTURERS) have to include them on the nutrition information. To spot these look for the words “hydrogenated” or “partially-hydrogenated” oil.
I make my own cookies and snacks. That way I am in control of what goes into our treats.
3. Shortening or Margarine
Have you ever noticed how doughnuts, “buttercream” cake frosting and frosted snack cakes stick to the roof of your mouth, then proceed to leave a film on the roof of your mouth that you almost have to scrape off? Well…blame it on the shortening! Imagine what that is doing as it enters your bloodstream…most likely sticking to your arteries in much the same way it sticks to your mouth. Thirty plus years ago the vegetable oils in shortening and margarine were hailed as the newest way to prevent heart disease. They were cholesterol free, so that made them good for us…right. WRONG!
A great substitute for shortening is coconut oil. It is solid at temps below 76 degrees, so it behaves like shortening in some baking applications. And, as for the margarine…throw it away and replace it with good old fashioned organic butter. As long as you use butter in moderation, it is perfectly fine…and oh so delicious.
4. Lunch Meat and Hotdogs
The list of offenders: nitrates, preservatives, additives, excessive sodium and saturated fat. Nitrates are a contributing factor to some colon cancers, and are proven carcinogenic when cooked with meat. If you want to know about preservatives, read this post I wrote back in August.
If you must have a hotdog…buy from a local meat market. They generally use less preservatives, and sometimes you can get them entirely free of nitrates. Beware of the store bought “nitrate free” hotdogs…they aren’t free “naturally occurring” nitrates or preservatives. Read the label…it says so.
5. Anything with Artificial Sweeteners
“Artificial” is the key word here. These chemicals are created in a lab…and I guess since they don’t kill you immediately, are deemed safe for consumption. But I pose a question: What does your body do with these non-food chemicals? I don’t think it knows either, because aspartame has been found to cause brain tumors.
Be safe, and use natural sweeteners like raw honey, pure maple syrup, or organic evaporated cane juice. If you really must use something calorie free, stevia is the way to go. It is derived from the sweet leaf stevia plant, and a much better choice that a manmade chemical.
6. Genetically Modified Soy
GMOs are BAD news. Period. Watch the documentary Food Inc, (you can watch it on youtube in parts). You will be astonished.
Certified NON GMO soy is a great choice, and has a host of health benefits. So, enjoy your tofu and edamame, just make sure you read the label!
7. Bottled Salad Dressing
Another example of read the label…MSG, preservatives, artificial flavors, hydrogenated oils….There is seldom anything good in a bottled dressing.
Make your own! Here are 3 great dressings that I make from scratch.
8. Frozen Entrées
Even the lean versions (which are the most popular) of these are horrible. Loaded with sodium and artificial flavors, then cooked in a plastic container, frozen entrées are in no way a health food. Plus…have you ever heard anyone say, “Man, I’m jonesin’ for a very small portion of processed chicken, smothered in a fat-free cream sauce with some shriveled up potatoes on the side.” NOPE.
If you need a quick lunch, hummus with veggies and whole wheat pitas are awe-some. Or, organic spring mix greens with some leftover grilled chicken and a homemade vinaigrette…maybe a few dried cherries and crumble of gorgonzola (or feta). A bowl of Mexican Bean Salad and some organic raspberries. Use your imagination (or read my blog for ideas!)
9. Bacon Bits
Shelf stable bacon in a bag (or plastic jar)…At this point in the post, do you even have to ask?
10. Bright Colored Candies
Artificial food dyes are thought to be culprits in ADHD and learning problems in children. They are also, like artificial sweeteners, created in a lab. OH yeah…they are banned in European countries! Hmmmm?
If you need something sweet and flavorful, try fruit leathers. I LOVE Stretch Island Fruit Co. fruit leathers…and they are low in calories to boot.
There you have it folks…my DO NOT EAT list!
Hope you are having a SUPER week!