How much do you know about the way your body works?
Most of us learn only very limited info about food pyramids, the five-plus a day, and if we are lucky, some basic biology. We also casually learn the phrase ‘you are what you eat’.
Food is the fuel that powers us. It literally keeps us alive and can dictate our sleep patterns, hormone levels, moods, energy, healing ability, and much, much more.
Choosing the right foods can help you to power through the week feeling on top of the world. Whereas, choosing the wrong ones can leave you feeling less than flash.
If we are really what we eat, then it would pay to learn a little more about what goes into our meals.
Today, let’s look at some of the surprising “healthy” components of your diet that may not be serving your wellbeing.
Is It True That You Are What You Eat?
Our Food Is Our Health
Of course, food is not the only part of our wellbeing, but it is a considerable part of the overall puzzle. The nutrients that our body extracts from food create our cell membranes, blood, hormones, and bone marrow.
Don’t forget that the human body must continually manufacture new cells to replace the (roughly) 300 billion lost every day. Our food is the fuel for that process. So, if we are getting it wrong, our body will struggle to perform as it should.
The phrase you are what you eat gets thrown about a lot. Largely in relation to known unhealthy foods like processed, sugar-filled, or fast varieties. But, it really goes beyond that. Some foods masquerade as healthy alternatives and some people’s bodies react in certain ways that others won’t necessarily. So, you need to be conscious of that you are putting into your body.
The Problem with Labels and Trends
The media is always full of stories about the next ‘superfood’ or miracle ingredient. But, you shouldn’t always buy into the hype.
Beware of being sucked into marketing gimmicks that jump on board with the latest “health” trends.
Just because something is “organic,” “keto,” “vegan,” “gluten-free” doesn’t automatically make it healthy. Organic gummy bears may be free of pesticides, but they are still full of sugar, and vegan junk food is still junk food!
Deceptively Unhealthy Foods
Some foods have a reputation for being healthy and a lot of them are. However, there are things to be mindful of when choosing whether or not to include them in your diet.
These foods are:
Packed full of calcium, protein, and vitamin D, dairy is excellent for heart and bone health. Yet dairy also contains large levels of saturated fat, sugar and salts. Also known as an acidic food, it can disrupt balance in your body, impacting your skin. So, it is important to consume it in moderation and just take note of how it makes you feel.
Granola, Protein Bars, Muesli Bars
Check the ingredient list of these products with care. Many of these commercially produced products are high in sugar and hydrogenated oils. Opt for items with ingredients you would use in your kitchen instead, or make your own.
These can be a great alternative for those that are intolerant to dairy or simply want a lower calorie alternative. However, avoid varieties with added carrageenan (a thickening additive) as it can be known to cause inflammation or digestive problems. Also, opt for the unsweetened versions as the sweetened ones are packed full of sugar!
Feeling proud with your slice of ham or turkey on rye? Beware that most of these items have excess sodium, nitrates, and saturated fats. Stick to non-processed meats you prepare yourself, such as chicken and turkey breast.
Fruit and veggies are great! But trying to take a shortcut to your 5+ a day won’t cut it. Even if you buy a cold-pressed juice, if it contains fruit, the sugar content is high. When you eat whole fruit, the fibre and other components balance that sugar out so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels.
Smoothies are a much better option, but beware store-bought options packed with hidden sugars and chemicals! Make your own at home with a blender and balance them with adding vegetables and avocado.
Low-fat or Fat-free Products
Removing the fat from these foods usually means manufacturers have to make it taste better by adding extra sugar. They can often be worse than their full fat counterparts. Instead, eat fattier things in moderation and balance them out with plenty of fruit, veggies and lean foods.
Think you are helping your body out by skipping white bread? Turns out, no so much. Whole wheat can still spike your blood sugar – plus, the gluten content may be troublesome for some people and cause tummy upsets. Eating in moderation is the best idea and choose the grainier options.
Balancing It Out
As much as technology has made life easier, quicker, and sometimes tastier, the healthiest foods remain those that are as close to the way mother nature produced them as possible. Opt for minimal processing and avoid additives, flavours, colours, sweeteners, and most things you can’t pronounce.
The best diet is a balanced one. Consuming the so-called “baddies” like sugar, salt, and fat is essential for a well-rounded, healthy diet – but where possible, they should be obtained from a wide variety of natural whole foods.
Knowing Your Body
Your body is very good at telling you things. If you notice a sudden change, then chances are you need to make some modifications to your lifestyle.
Bloating, skin irritations, inflammation and an upset gut are not normal. Usually, there will be a trigger that is causing it. Listen to what your body is telling you, as there might be certain foods, skincare, or lifestyle traits that just aren’t working well.
If you know what your triggers are and what impacts your body, then you can make conscious decisions about what you put in and around it. Just because dairy might give you the odd pimple or sugar impacts your sleep patterns doesn’t mean you need to swear them off completely.
Just be aware of how your body reacts and make a conscious decision if it is worth it to splurge on that piece of cheesecake every once in a while!
If you are what you eat, then you want to eat well. Sometimes it can be tricky to find the inspiration for making healthy, interesting meals every night. You probably find yourself turning to the old faithful’s, especially if you know that your body reacts negatively to some ingredients.
If you’re not already a member, come on over and join my free Facebook Group, Easy Gluten-Free Eating for Busy Mama’s where I share lots of inspiration and recipes for healthy eating which will definitely support you on your quest for eating well, regardless if you’re gluten-free or not.