I know what you’re thinking…what foods are bad now? The list changes all the time, doesn’t it? Nutrition is a pretty tricky thing considering we are constantly learning how the body works and how it utilizes what we put in it and on it.
What I’m about to tell you is pretty simple. Eat what your grandmother/great-grandmother ate: real, whole traditional foods. She really knew what she was doing! We have gotten so far away from cooking wholesome meals that we rely on packaged convenience foods because they’re quick and cheap. There is a reason they are so cheap. They are made in a lab by food scientists using the cheapest ingredients around or even worse, invented ingredients. This means it’s not real food and our bodies don’t know what to do with it!
Before we get into the list, I want to make it clear that this is my opinion backed by research. There are hundreds of thousands of beliefs regarding what is healthy, what is nutritionally sound, and what is misleading marketing, dangerous, etc. A lot of these varying beliefs have supporting research, so where I take a particular stand on certain foods, I understand others take a different stand. I welcome conversation and would love to hear your perspective as well!
So, without further ado…
Fat-free dairy is healthy: You need fat! Really think about it for a second…any real food that comes from an animal (cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, burgers, steak, pork chops, chicken legs, ribs, etc) is in a perfect, complete package of protein and fat. (I know, fat has been demonized, especially the saturated kind and even that has been questioned) The dairy industry strips all the nutritious fat from their products and advertises that low-fat and fat-free are healthier because the calories are lower. So not the case! Strip the fat that contains the vitamins and minerals we need and replace it with sugar, additives, and flavoring? Awesome. I am not a fan of homogenized and pasteurized dairy, but if you do buy those types of things buy whole fat always. Remember, the source of dairy is important (as with all food). Healthy, happy, pasture raised cows on grass (not grain) are your best source of dairy. If you cannot find these products or feel they are too expensive, shoot for organic and certified humane.
Fiber keeps you regular: Not always. Some people might benefit from bulking their stool but many don’t. A low fiber diet does not always contribute to constipation, but these things can: stress, hormones, thyroid, autoimmune issues, lifestyle, diet, exercise, sleep, and so on. The treatment is not always as simple as adding some bulk. Many times that makes it worse.
Cereal is part of a balanced breakfast: Cereal is one of the most processed “foods” around. Yes, a lot of brands have all these great vitamins and minerals, but it’s fortified with synthetic junk! Any “food” that has to have nutrition added to it is not healthy to begin with in my opinion. Most cereals are also a simple carb that spikes blood sugar big time with a not-so-great crash coming soon after. This is the last thing you (and your kids) need. Instead, get your protein and fat on! Eat dinner leftovers for breakfast – be a rebel! Eggs in coconut oil with some greens or a smoothie with some high quality gelatin added sounds perfect.
Soy Joy: To me, there is no joy in soy. Soy is loaded with phytoestrogens that wreak havoc on your body. Men, women, and kids do not need excess hormones coming from food. Extra estrogen can cause weight gain, alter mood, cause acne, lower fertility and increase breast cancer risk. Soy also has many other health risks listed here.
Peanut Butter is healthy: Oh gosh, I know you’re giving me the stink eye! Hear me out. First, peanuts are not nuts; they are legumes. Legumes contain lectins and phytic acid that inflame the gut lining. Second, they are moldy. Ew! There are theories that the mold/mycotoxin, aflatoxin (a known carcinogen) contributes to the severe peanut allergies on the rise and cancer. Even if you don’t agree with me on the lectins, phytic acid, mold or aflatoxin, a lot of people consume this food without being mindful to portions which is unhealthy as well.
Corn is a vegetable: No, it’s a grain. And, almost all of it is genetically modified. Corn is not easily digested, and it usually causes gas/bloating and well, you see it later if you know what I mean. It’s a starchy, sugary grain with hardly any nutritional value. Plus, think about this: commercial farmers feed their cows what to fatten them up before slaughter? Corn (when they are only supposed to eat grass). Hmm… feed cows something to fatten them up. Maybe that works with humans too?
Protein and energy bars are a good supplement/meal replacement: Ah, fancy processed junk food. Most bars on the markets are really bad, as they are filled with sugars, dyes, artificial ingredients and flavors. They are really glorified candy bars. Read the label, and if the ingredient list is longer than 7-8 easily recognizable ingredients (aka real food), don’t waste your money. (photo credit)
Agave nectar/syrup is a great sugar substitute: Actually, agave is highly processed and has more refined fructose than high fructose corn syrup! It has a low glycemic index because the liver “digests” agave verses the intestines. If too much fructose is in the liver, it is stored as fat and fat in the liver increases insulin resistance. Better sweetener choices are honey (raw), maple syrup (Grade B) and dates.
100% fruit juice is healthy: The issue with fruit juice bought from the store is that pretty much all of it has been pasteurized. Yes, this kills bad bacteria but it also kills the good, along with enzymes and some vitamins and minerals. If a juice boasts its nutrient content, you can be pretty sure it was fortified. 100% juice is loaded with isolated fructose that has been known to increase blood sugar, blood pressure and triglycerides (fat in the liver as mentioned in #8.)
Eggs whites are healthier than whole eggs: I personally believe this food fraud is simply bogus. Sure, egg whites have protein but not much else. The yolk contains all the nutrition! Egg yolks have iron, Vitamins A, D, E and B12, folate, selenium, lutein, and choline. Hello, nutrient powerhouses! Yes, the yolk is higher in calories, but to me it doesn’t matter when considering the other nutritional elements. Nutrition trumps calories.
What do you think? Did I miss anything? Do you disagree on any of these frauds? I’d love to hear from you!