Read Food Labels
Eating healthy is a real trick today. One person’s definition of “healthy” oftentimes doesn’t match another’s, even though their biology is the same. Furthermore, what one “expert” defines as healthy can vary greatly from the next “expert.” So who is right? So what do you need to eat in order to be healthy?
First, let’s define healthy. Check out my blog post about what defines health. Health isn’t merely the absence of disease. Health occurs when all body systems are functioning at optimum capacity. It makes sense that each of these systems need the proper fuel, right? Of course - and that fuel is your food.
The body needs micro nutrients, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other essentials to have a balanced and supported system. Whole foods - as close to their natural state as possible - are going to give you the biggest nutritional bang for your buck. At the grocery store, however, finding these foods may not seem as easy as you think. Labels like “all-natural,” “cage-free,” “organic,” “non-GMO,” “gluten free,” and others can make the savviest shopper’s head spin. So how can you know what is actually healthy and what is not? Here are a few general guidelines to take with you along to the grocery store:
- Read labels. I don’t mean reading the front of the packaging, and I don’t mean the nutrition facts. I mean pick up the box and read the ingredients list. Can you read those ingredients? Are they even food? If yes, you’re on the right track.
- While reading those labels, avoid several ingredients. Sugar is a big one, and it comes in many forms. Sugar is in everything from sushi to bread to ketchup, so be sure to read those labels with a skeptical eye. Furthermore, sugar is listed in several names. For instance, “cane sugar” is the same thing as sugar. High Fructose corn Syrup is another big no no - it’s not at all natural and it causes insulin spikes.
- Don’t buy sugar free. While you should be avoiding sugar, choosing “sugar free” doesn’t fix the problem - it creates a new one. Anything labeled as “sugar free” that is also marketed as sweet will be full of artificial sweeteners which we know cause a whole host of diseases within the body, including cancer and neurological diseases. If given no choice other than artificial sugar or regular sugar, go for the regular sugar every time.
- Don’t buy fat free. If you’re purchasing a food that has fat in it, buy the full fat version. Fat free products have added sugar to enhance flavor, so if you’re buying them hoping to slim your waistline, you’ll be sorely disappointed with the results. Sugar causes insulin spikes, and insulin is the fat producing hormone. So the fat free trend is essentially a hoax that should be avoided.
- Stick to the produce section. There is little wonder what is in those foods! Of course organic is best, but even if you can’t do organic you can at least buy whole foods.
- Buy your meat locally. The commercial meat industry is rife with problems. The conditions in which the animals are raised, the cleanliness of the meat, and even the quality of the meat are all severely compromised. When you purchase cheap meat, you’re taking a serious gamble with your health. Generally speaking, if it’s in the regular meat section of the grocery store, it’s not going to be good for you.