Welcome to the very first Food and Fitness Friday! I am excited to get started and to have you be a part of this journey! Let me jump right in!
So January 1st 2014 rolled around and you probably thought… I am going to lose weight this year. Well you are not alone in that resolution, but how do you start? Some join a gym and think that is all they need to do, while others plan to add a few more fruits and veggies to their plates and squeeze in a walk or two. Others try going full blown healthy but find they don’t have the tools to make it very far on their own. I have been there.
The most critical things you can do is eat food. “WHAT? I am already doing that” is probably what you are saying, or saying something like “That’s my problem I eat too much food”. Well you may be surprised to find out most Americans are not eating very much food. America is consuming a lot of food like products but most of it isn’t actually food. If you read the ingredients on most of the things in an American cupboard it probably has a ton of ingredients you can’t pronounce. That is not a good thing.
So where do we begin? Right here; My challenge this week is to eat “Clean” and throw out your processed foods. Those are pretty much anything in a box, can or prepackaged meal. Look for REAL foods, toss out anything with “Enriched” in front of the ingredient, soy and/or soy lecithin or anything with the word soy, high fructose corn syrup, or fake sugars such as sucralose and aspartame for starters. I will be doing more detailed posts on these ingredients and why it is so crucial you exclude them from your diet later on. If you question a food ingredient, please take a picture of the item's ingredients and leave me a comment below and I will be able to tell you if it is a keeper or not, and why in short.
These processed foods are empty calories (calories that have little to no nutritional value but are high in calories) and chemical concoctions to make food cheap and trigger sensors in your brain to make you think it tastes good, and to crave more.
“Unfortunately, most processed foods are laden with sweeteners, salts, artificial flavors, factory-created fats, colorings, chemicals that alter texture, and preservatives. But the trouble is not just what’s been added, but what’s been taken away. Processed foods are often stripped of nutrients designed by nature to protect your heart, such as soluble fiber, antioxidants, and “good” fats. Combine that with additives, and you have a recipe for disaster” (Readers Digest Association, 2014).
Americans are set up for failure when they walk into a grocery store. You may find the above ingredients I told you to toss in 99% of your everyday foods. Well, in short, this is why America is fat and has outrageous medical issues like no other first world country. You can find small changes that make a huge difference in your daily dishes though (unless you eat fast food, and in that case… just don’t do it or do it as little as possible). Simple things like choosing a whole grain pasta (still check the labels on these… they can lie too), brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice, frozen fruits and veggies instead of canned, fruit instead of candy, dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. The list goes on and on.
The biggest argument is “well that stuff just doesn’t taste good”. Well if that is you (or could/will be if you change your diet) your taste buds are tainted. I am not kidding! America’s taste buds have been overwhelmed by salts, fats and sugars, give it a few days to a week or two and things will start tasting so much better and you will find you can’t believe you used to get something as sweet as a white mocha with whip cream!
Shopping tips: Read ALL nutrition labels and ingredients. Shop on the outer isles at the grocery store and only get frozen fruits and veggies in the freezer isle. Go for Organic if you can (real food not genetically modified). Buy sprouted grain bread if you can. Wheat and white bread/tortillas really are nutritionally no different, 100% wheat or not at all.
Here are just a couple links to great recipes that are clean and nutritious that can help you plan grocery shopping for your next trip:
Hope you visit me again, next Friday, for more ways to get healthy! But until then take 3, 30 minute walks this week and challenge yourself to a 30 second to 1 minute plank each day (as long as you are cleared to do so by a Doctor) and check out these 3 videos (on Netflix): Hungry For Change, Forks over Knives and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.
Was this helpful? What would you like me to talk more about? What is something that can help you personally? All questions and comments are gladly read and will be answered if posted below.
Readers Digest Association, (2014). 4 Harmful Ingredients in Packaged Foods. Retrieved from: http://www.rd.com/health/diet-weight-loss/4-most-harmful-ingredients-in-packaged-foods/