Eat This And Not That: 10 Questionable Food Choices
It can be hard to know just what foods to eat when you are striving for a healthier diet. Marketing tricks and less than truthful claims make it all that more difficult. Stick with us in this article as we discuss 10 questionable foods and healthier alternatives. By the end, you’ll know to eat this and not that!
Eat This And Not That
1. Brown Sugar
Brown sugar used to actually have the molasses left intact in the product. Molasses is a good source of iron, selenium, and copper with some calcium to boast about. One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses contains the following amounts of your daily values of each of these nutrients: manganese 13%, magnesium: 12%, copper: 11%, Vitamin B-6: 8%, selenium: 6%, potassium: 6%, iron: 5%, and calcium: 3%. Molasses has more antioxidants than honey, and other natural sweeteners, according to research cited in Medical News Today.
Modern brown sugar is merely refined “white” sugar. This refined white sugar, masquerading as brown sugar, has added caramel coloring to make you think that it is real brown sugar with the molasses still intact.
Eat This Instead: Use Sucanat sugar products. Read labels, keeping an eye out for “brown” sugar that is simply dehydrated sugar cane juice; nothing added, nothing removed. Three brands are Wholesome Sweeteners, Rapunzel Rapadura Sugar, and NOW Brand Sucanat. Sucanat should be darker brown in color, not the medium tan, and even paler tan colors of natural sugar or organic brown sugar. Both of these products have less molasses remaining in them than Sucanat sugars.
2. Greek Yogurt
Real Greek yogurt is cultured milk that has been strained to make it thicker, creamier, and higher in protein.
If refined ingredients have been added to thicken the yogurt, it is not real Greek yogurt. Most Greek yogurts, on the market, are not real.
Eat This Instead: Read the yogurt’s ingredient label looking for starch thickeners: corn, arrowroot, and tapioca, as well as added milk protein concentrates. There may be added guar gums, gelatin, pectin, and Ultra-Gel – a modified corn starch.
While I am on the subject of yogurt and healthy actions to take, eat plain yogurt, not the flavored varieties. Flavored yogurts are loaded with sugar and ingredients that are less than nourishing to our body cells.
Real yogurt should be milk and active cultures, period. Yogurt should be free of thickeners, flavorings, and added sugars, etc.
Use plain, unsweetened yogurt, and add your own fruit. Add nut butter for texture and flavor. Add vanilla or almond extract and a touch of a natural sweetener (Sucanat, local-raw honey, maple syrup) so you have control of the sweetness and amount of sugar in your diet.
3. Frozen Yogurt
Ordering frozen yogurt instead of ice cream… well, because “it is yogurt. Yogurt is good for me, so frozen yogurt is a healthy treat, right?”
No, it is not. See the above info on plain yogurt. Microbial cultures, that are good for the gut, probably do survive the freezing but commercial frozen yogurt is not a quality product.
Eat This Instead: *Eat plain yogurt that you have turned into a yummy and fun creation with fruit, berries, cinnamon, vanilla, and nut butter. Top with low or unsweetened granola and chopped nuts and seeds.
4. Ginger Ale
Ginger ale is thought to be good for people when they are sick or have an upset stomach.
Modern sodas, at best, are a source of liquid corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, and other artificial ingredients.
Ginger, real ginger, is great for a person when sick. It can support fever’s job in the body, boost immune action, increase circulation, and even settle the upset digestive tract. The key is consuming real ginger.
Eat This Instead: Make ginger tea. Dried ginger root powder works well in a pinch if you are lacking in fresh ginger roots. Mix the brewed ginger tea with unsweetened seltzer water to make your own ginger soda. You can control the amount of natural sweetener you add to the glass.
You can also buy a natural brand of ginger soda that has real ginger in it and less refined forms of sugar.
5. Bran Muffins
Running late for work or an appointment, no time for breakfast, so one stops at the local mini-mart and grabs a bran muffin. It is the healthiest option in the mini-mart, correct?
Typical commercial bran muffins are loaded with refined and toxic ingredients: white sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, refined flour, artificial flavors, fillers, dough conditioners, agricultural pesticides, etc., and, yes, a small amount of bran.
Eat This Instead: Make your own muffins with 100% whole food ingredients. Again, you have control of the ingredients and the type and amount of sweetener going into your food and ultimately your body.
Keep whole food muffins handy to take on the go.
Find a bakery that uses whole food ingredients and cares about the quality of nourishing food they bake and sell.
6. Wheat Bread
Most manufactured wheat or whole grain bread is made with minimal whole grains and are often loaded with refined and unhealthy ingredients.
Again, read labels.
With grains, organic is always the best option to avoid glyphosate pesticides and GMOs. Not sure what those are? Look them up to increase your whole food knowledge.
Eat This Instead: Read labels and make certain bread is 100% whole grains and made with whole food ingredients.
Sprouted whole grain breads are another cell nourishing option.
7. Commercial Fruit Smoothies
Real fruit does not exist in powdered smoothie mixes. Many powdered smoothie mixes are artificially fruit-flavored or have dried fruit powders in them. Other ingredients in pre-packaged, powdered smoothie mixes can be less than cell nourishing.
Eat This Instead: Make smoothies at home with 100% whole food ingredients including whole fruit. If you buy fruit smoothies in cafes ask specifically what the ingredients are and if they are made with 100% fresh and real foods.
If a shop or café offers fruit smoothies made from a powdered mix, opt for something else. The same goes for the use at home, pre-packaged, protein powder smoothie mixes. Preferably, buy real food ingredients and make your own. Your health and vitality are worth the few extra minutes of prep time.
8. Enhanced Vitamin Waters: These are marvelous marketing campaigns.
Eat This Instead: Drink water from your tap if your tap water is pure, without chemical additives. If your tap water has additives, it may be best to filter your tap water.
If you are interested in upping the health benefits of your water, make properly infused herbal medicinal teas and drink them daily. Your health and cells will be grateful. Might I suggest you start with Stinging Nettle Medicinal Infusion?
9. Non-Calorie Sweeteners
Nature did not make many non-calorie sweeteners. Food laboratories do.
Nature makes real food, food labs do not. These sweeteners are potentially toxic to your liver and body cells. Research has shown that artificial sweeteners increase the body’s inflammation and disrupt our healthy gut flora.
This includes the sweeteners in diet sodas and non-caloric drinks.
On the other hand, stevia is a non-caloric sweetener. This is a natural choice for no-calorie sweetening if you are using the real, powdered herb; green stevia powder.
White powder or clear liquid stevia is stevia that has been refined in food labs.
Eat This Instead: Remove sugar from your diet and get used to foods in their natural state, their natural whole food tastes. Human health thrives without sugar in the diet.
10. Gluten-Free Food Products
Many gluten-free products are made with processed and refined ingredients.
Gluten-free labeled products do not necessarily mean the products is a whole food or healthy. There is a plethora of gluten-free products on the market: cakes, cookies, bread, pizza crusts, crackers, boxed mixes; processed food heaven. Learn to read labels carefully. Yes, I said it again.
Many of these products are full of filler ingredients. The “filler” ingredients are definitely gluten-free, but they are refined, nutritionally devoid foods. You are trading off one huge health problem, gluten-induced inflammation, for other problems of potentially equal degenerative quality. These refined carbohydrates can lead to health problems including blood sugar and insulin issues, inflammation in the body, and all of the degenerative diseases these physiological factors contribute to.
Questionable ingredients to look for are white rice flour, corn starch, potato starch, tapioca starch, tapioca flour*, potato flour*. These gluten-free ingredients are cheap, filler ingredients; not cell nourishing food.
Eat This Instead: Keep refined ingredients out of your diet for vibrant health. Read labels and buy food products that are 100% whole food ingredients.
*Note: Some brands of tapioca and potato flour are the actual whole roots ground into flour. Check with the individual companies; ask them if they use whole or refined tapioca and potato flours in their products. Asking, being an informed consumer, helps to ensure you are buying a whole food product and makes it clear to companies what the public wants
In conclusion, these are the actions to take with all food shopping:
- Read labels on everything that is made by a food manufacturer.
- Spend time thoroughly reading the actual ingredient lists.
- Look for 100% whole food ingredients.
- Put cell nourishing foods in your body, every bite you take