Beware of These “Healthy” Foods
It seems everywhere we turn there’s yet another contradiction about what is healthy and what is unhealthy. We know that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” diet that will work for everyone but there are some general guidelines that can help most people to achieve better health. For instance: avoiding processed foods and including more whole foods in your diet is a great place to start! You might have swapped out some of the obvious unhealthy culprits like chips, burgers, and soda from your diet. But what you might not realize is that even some of the healthier alternatives you’re eating might not be so healthy after all.
Here are some “healthy” foods that may actually be bad for your health:
Are you trying to cut back on meat? For those trying to avoid or reduce meat in their diet, veggie burgers might seem like the obvious healthy choice. But beware! Those patties may not have so many vegetables after all. Many are packed with fillers and additives to give them that realistic burger-like texture, leaving little room for real vegetables. Before you buy your next veggie burger, check the ingredients to make sure that vegetables top the list. There are a few good ones out there but if you can’t pronounce the ingredients list, it’s best to leave it. Check you local health food store, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
Fish is another food that you may be adding in to your healthy diet. But there is a lot to be aware of when it comes to choosing fish. First, it’s a good idea to avoid farmed fish altogether. Yes, avoid all fish that is farmed. Not only are fish in these farming environments fed genetically modified (GM) corn, soy, fishmeal (and in some cases chicken) which is an abnormal diet for marine life, but they are also loaded with other chemicals, antibiotics, and anti-fungal compounds. To ensure you get the benefits of omega-3 fats from your fish – without all the pollutants – opt for wild caught and look for fish that has been granted the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. I love Costco for this. I just got myself a bag of individually wrapped, wild Mahi Mahi filets. Perfect for quick and delicious pan seared fish tacos!
Before jumping on the soy bandwagon, there are a few things you should know. Many studies have linked soy to conditions such as digestive distress, immune system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, infertility, cancer and heart disease. Soy (even organic soy) contains anti-nutrients, compounds that hinder the absorption of nutrients. Although you can gain many health benefits from fermented soy products like tempeh, miso, and natto, much of the soy produced in the U.S. is unfermented and therefore laden with these health risks.
There are numerous options for ready made protein drinks (think Muscle Milk) and protein powders (a quick visit to GNC will blow your mind). Many people, especially busy professionals, replace a meal with a protein drink when time (and money) is tight. Ever wonder why a protein drink with 20+ grams of protein still leaves you feeling hungry an our later? In most cases, the protein is not bio-available. Your body may only use a small percentage of the listed nutrients in the bottle, but absorb all the sugars, preservatives and chemicals (doing more damage than good) and still leave you frustrated and hungry. Read your labels and try a whole foods based meal replacement shake instead. Real food = real nutrition. Quality shakes are absolutely available on the market today and my friends at Purium are offering my readers a $50 discount to try some of the healthiest food on the planet. Here’s one of my favorites.
Most of us dine out a few times per week. Many of us have to do work lunches and meetings in restaurants as well. Servers are trained in the preparation of dishes and are there to provide the best experience for YOU (I know, I’ve worked int his industry for 20+ years). Ask questions and request modifications if necessary. You can (and should) ask if the salmon is farmed or if the veggie burger is made in house. If the answer doesn’t suite you, the healthier choice may very well be an unexpected surprise.
Keeping your diet healthy and fresh not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, it helps you THRIVE by improving your focus, boosting your energy and nourishing your soul.
I hope these tips are helpful! Weeding through all the conflicting health and nutrition information can be a tough task for anyone. If you need help developing clarity about healthy foods that you can start to include in your diet, feel free to comment below!