We are all at different levels of nutritional sophistication.
When you get to a point where you have been actively trying to eat better for quite some time, you often forget what it was like to try to navigate the world of healthy eating as a newbie.
Food companies use clever marketing and cutting edge words to get their non nutritious products into your hands, while having you think "this is good for me!" when it could actually be doing more harm than good. I don't like tricks! I want you to be well-equipped with information, or at least stimulated to question everything before you put it in your mouth.
The food you eat LITERALLY becomes you! This is why I've simplified some common terms to help you navigate the grocery store on your next trip.
So if you're looking to begin to eat better, here is a guide to navigate through the world of impeccably marketed but not so good for you food.
GLUTEN-FREE...... does not equal healthy. It means nothing except that specific food does not contain gluten. Unless you have celiac disease, or have been identified as someone who has a gluten intolerance.... these products are just overpriced and sometimes nutrient lacking.
Advice: Figure out if your body responds negatively to gluten before spending the extra money on these products.
ORGANIC...... means it is grown without pesticides or additives, or in a specific manner than meets the Canadian Organic Standards guidelines. An organic chocolate bar might be better for your overall health than a 'regular' chocolate bar (and don't even get me started on the fact that organic and regular mean different thing). However, it is STILL a chocolate bar that is just empty calories. Advice: Organic does not mean less calories, nor is it a magic bullet to weight loss. Consider buying organic whole foods like produce and meats but skip the organic snacks as they are not that much better.
ENERGY BARS….. all food is ENERGY! Eating ANYTHING will provide you with energy because the body breaks down all carbs/fats/protein (macronutrients) for each cell to use to form energy through a process known as glycolysis. Calories = energy. If the energy bar is too high in calories for you, or contributes too much fat or carbs to your overall daily intake…. then it is not necessarily a "healthy energy."
Advice: Don't get tricked into thinking energy bars are healthy. View it as a treat, or use it as fuel for activity.
PROTEIN ADDED "anything" ....... If I poured a scoop of protein powder in your mouth while you chewed a snickers bar does this suddenly make it healthy? In many cases, this is what a protein bar is made up of.
Advice: Consume with caution/look at the sugar + fat content or eat a better source of protein like chicken, turkey, or beef.
VITAMINS..... I love vitamins and we need them. If you are truly deficient in a vitamin, then definitely look for a good quality source and take that regularly! Don't get suckered in to taking each and every vitamin on the market though. If you are eating a variety of whole foods you are likely doing OK.
Advice: Do your research, talk to a your health care provider and figure out which ones are worth your pennies.
FAT FREE….. this is notoriously BAD advice that you need to have a fat free diet. Your body needs fat to make some of the most important things! Some populations should be watching their fat intake… however, the market is flooded with "fat free products" based on some old poorly done research. The trouble is that these prodcuts are often LOADED with sugar and/or calories, yet people think they are eating healthy and are disheartened when a fat free diet does little to contribute to their obesity or poor healthy state.
Advice: check out the calories and grams of sugar on the label before consuming. Consider reading up on healthy fats and the advantages of the consumption of fat here.
If you'd like to learn more, contact me!
I am currently accepting new nutrition coaching clients.
Dr. Alli Cain
If you know someone who is in the beginning stages of becoming a healthier individual, share this blog with them to help them learn & make more informed choices!
Dr. Alli Cain is a Chiropractor, CrossFit Coach/Owner at CrossFit Groundworx Newmarket, Nutrition Coach & healthy living advocate. She is passionately inspired to help change the way you prioritize you and your families health.
Dr. Cain believes that just because you aren't sick, doesn't mean you're as healthy as you could be. Everyone deserves the opportunity to live in their best health state.
Through education, empowerment & the provision of all of the resources she can provide, Dr. Cain is the catalyst to your happy, healthy & successful life.