One thing I have learned in talking with people about their ailments, how they all started, and what they continue to eat and do in their life, is that all of them lead back to what they have been told by our culture and food industry about food today. And the SAD (yes pun intended) truth is that most of the things that are believed are completely false. Let’s dive in.
MYTH: Breakfast cereal is a whole grain and is a complete breakfast.
MOST American cereal is refined flour and sugars. Heavily processed, stripped of all nutrients and value to your body. Primarily it causes a sugar spike, and then rapid hunger, and feelings of a terrible slump to follow. Cereal is NOT a balanced meal, despite what food companies say in the commercial.
These processed foods (cereals) are also chemically created to be hyper-palatable which means taste so darn good you could never find anything that tastes that great again to fill that same neurotransmitter spot in your brain!
Hard time believing it? Grab your box and look at the ingredients. Recognize any of those ingredients?
Truth: Science shows that uncontrolled blood sugar, and focused eating on only certain nutrients, are tied to inflammation, diabetes, and heart disease. It is not from eating cholesterol in an egg and healthy fats like olive oils, butter, coconut oils, and more.
A balanced breakfast has healthy fats, healthy protein, and vegetable-based carbs. These carbs are low in sugar content, and with healthy fat and protein, you will stay satiated for much longer and have no energy slump.
What can you do?
Your body, and how you feel all day, will be amazing if you eat real whole foods, prepared in your home for breakfast each day. Does this take planning? It might. You may need an extra 10 minutes in the morning, or you may need to make it ahead so you can eat and go. You may need to buy different ingredients to mix a whole foods smoothie or make the omelet of choice. However, your digestion, your blood sugar balance and more will improve with the start of your day being a whole food meal that is balanced between carbs, protein, and fat.
Myth: Fruit juice, juice boxes are healthy for children and adults.
Commercialized fruit juice is often not even fruit juice. But you buy ALL JUICE and no concentrate you say. So you have learned that there is some juice on the market that isn’t juice but says it is. That is good, however, the sugar content in commercial juice is extraordinary. Not only that but if you aren’t buying organic it is also full of chemicals.
Let’s just look at what seems like a great option – Honest Kids Super Fruit Punch Organic Juice Drink. Here are the ingredients: filtered water, organic white grape juice from concentrate, organic strawberry juice from concentrate, organic watermelon juice from concentrate, natural flavors, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), organic natural flavors, and citric acid.
As you can see here … not exactly what you were thinking. This ONE box has 9 g of sugar. What does that mean? What if your child ATE the WHOLE FOOD items that are supposed to be in this box instead – would this be the same?
Strawberries – (1 strawberry has .6 g of sugar naturally). Whole strawberries also contain fiber, magnesium, phosphorous, and more, watermelon contains vitamin A, calcium, B vitamins, iron, and more.
As you can see these things are not found in the drink above. It contains sugar and fortified vitamin C (which is not from the natural source so it’s used the same way or at all).
Truth: When anyone drinks juice it spikes the blood sugar. This is bad for several reasons. First of all, balanced blood sugar makes a happy person. Spikes and drops create angry, upset, sad humans. Blood sugar is tied to our flight or fight response. When in balance less stress, and a nice even person (that means calmer kids, kids that can listen, and kids having fewer meltdowns, who also feel good about themselves). We also do not get any of the added vitamins, minerals, and fibers of the actual fruit itself in a juice, which we need badly in a nutrient-depleted world.
What can you do?
Eat whole fruits, or eat vegetables instead. Most people today do not get nearly enough vegetables and lack this type of fiber, which is THE type of fiber you want for healthy bowel movements. If you are constipated you need more vegetables in your life. No more fiber products filled with chemicals and processed foods to fix it. Notice how they haven’t fixed that problem? Still interested in juice? Learn more about juicing and how to do it whole-food style but delicious at Joyous Health – her recipe section will take you where you want to go.
Another option: Start your day with a warm glass (8 oz) of water with lemon. This helps digestion and detox the body from toxic foods and substances we come into contact with.
Myth: Artificial sweeteners are better than sugar because they are zero calories and not sugar
Four major artificial sweeteners are in products today. These can lead to food sensitivities, but mostly they change your brain chemistry. They are found in yogurt, protein powders, food supplements, cereals, toothpaste, and beyond.
Truth: Most people use artificial sweeteners to avoid high-calorie sweeteners like honey or standard sugar (table). Examples include – aspartame (Nutrasweet), saccharin, sucralose, acesulfame-k. They are in certain processed foods and soda. H.J. Robers wrote in his book Aspartame: Is it safe? people who consume these sweeteners will have increased cravings for sweet and fatty foods along with their regular consumption of these sweeteners. These sweeteners also make people feel bloated and also shun away from real and whole foods (change the taste buds literally).
This is a low-calorie sweetener that is in foods, beverages, and tabletop sweetener packs. It is generally known as NutraSweet. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. The ingredients of aspartame interfere and compete with essential amino acids in your body that use the neurotransmitter serotonin. (Often associated with depression, anxiety, and mental wellness feelings). This has been associated with convulsions, headaches, behavioral disorders, and gastrointestinal problems. Julia Ross reported in her book “Diet Cure” that more than 10,000 users have reported 100 adverse side effects from using this. These include menstrual changes, weight gain, severe depression, insomnia, and anxiety attacks.
Non-nutritive sweetener. This passes through unaltered and is excreted in the urine. A few studies have linked this as a possible cancer-causing agent. This is used in many foods, including bottled salad dressings, puddings, and more. It can lead to an increase in consumption of refined sugars, and increases cravings for sweet foods.
Sucralose – Acesulfame-k
This is primarily in packet and tabletop form. But is in some “sugar-free” gum. Lab tests have shown it causes cancer in lab animals.
What does this all mean?
It’s better to use whole foods to flavor anything. By using artificial sweeteners or products that contain these artificial “sugars” you are only making the blood sugar regulation, cravings, and imbalances you have intensified.
So what are your alternatives?
Whole foods that are not manufactured by companies! Stevia is a natural sweetener with no calories as well, but is also very intense and should be used in very small amounts if you need to. Using very little local honey or maple syrup is also an alternative for sweetening. Try using whole foods and their components instead to add flavor to food and beverages.
Myth: Fruit-flavored Fat-Free Yogurt is good for you because it’s yogurt
Fat-free products generally tend to be highly processed. Think about it. The product itself comes in full fat from the animal, then is stripped down and it is removed. Then through that process, all nutrition is lost, so it is then fortified with chemical vitamins and minerals, and then there needs to be a balance of texture and flavor (also done through chemicals).
The last myth below is killing everyone and harming them today – and ties into this fourth myth too – and that FAT IS BAD. It isn’t bad (see below).
Truth: The fruit flavor in these yogurts is done through sugar, and hidden sugars (they use the scientific name – any “ose.” This is another time when the artificial sweeteners above sneak in.) Choosing a whole-fat, grass-fed, plain yogurt is always the best option (organic as well). You get the nutritional value of the animal and the healthy fat that you need to feel full and help your brain function, as well as balance hormones and other body functions that fat is needed for. (Yes you NEED fat for those things to be in balance).
What can you do?
Whole-fat regular or whole-fat Greek plain yogurt. You get the fats, and then you can add your sweetener through whole fruits, even a sprinkle of honey or maple syrup, and if you want, homemade granola from organic seeds and nuts. The best is to find your local farmer’s market, or farmer, and get your product right from them. Then you know it’s not highly processed. You might even score raw milk products – even better. Do not be afraid of these, they are very healthy, beneficial, and clean. Need to understand dairy better? Check out this previous post.
Myth: Low or non-fat products are healthier for you.
This craze is still VERY MUCH alive and well today. Unfortunately, we all learn something one way or another about the lack of fat. Believe me, I was raised and lived a nonfat life for most of my life. Many imbalances came from lacking that fat (that I still work to counteract today) as well as the wrong fats, and very highly processed products that were created in the nonfat fashion.
Most (not all but most) of these products are highly processed, especially if they naturally are full fat. They have been stripped of their fat, chemically altered, and then reshaped with chemicals.
Truth: You need healthy fats (olive oils, coconut oils, butter, saturated fats, avocado oil, nuts) to create cells, and balance hormones. Along with minerals most of our endocrine (hormones, as well as things like thyroid) comes from the consumption of healthy fats and proteins, with minerals. Without all of these things, you cannot create the hormone balance you need for all those systems to be in balance and run efficiently.
What can you do?
Stop being afraid of fat. THE BEST thing to do is eat healthy meats and proteins and cook your vegetables in healthy fats. Use extra virgin olive oil dressings. Do not be afraid of butter. Use it in your pan to cook your WHOLE egg. Stop with the egg whites only every day. I used to do it too – I know! That yolk is filled with vitamins, minerals, and cholesterol which you also need to make proper hormones and balance.
For meat you want wild-caught from the sea, you want grass-fed from the land and pastured animals. Organic is always best, but if you can buy from your local farmer, just ask how they raise and if they use chemicals. You can get an organic quality local for less that way. If buying from the grocery store, and you cannot find grass-fed and finished, there are online sources. But if that doesn’t work look for organic. Can’t find that and need to go conventional? Lean cuts then. Toxins are stored in the fat of conventional animals, so the leaner the better. Grass-fed and finished, organic, and pastured animals that haven’t eaten corn/soy/other feed, and haven’t been given chemicals are naturally lean and free of toxins.
AVOID vegetable oil, canola oil, corn, soy, and any other oils like cottonseed, hydrogenated oils and more. These make digestion difficult and are HIGHLY processed with a lot of chemicals so they can maintain shelf life and not stick together at colder temperatures.
Not sure where to start with changing your routine to feel better with nutrition?