The days are slooowly getting warmer which brings to mind the need to lose a few unwanted winter pounds, but are our efforts to eat better getting hacked?
It is easy to get swept up in the claims made by food manufactures based on current diet trends. Gluten free, fat-free, sugar-free, vegan, … the list goes on and on.
For example, I found these tortilla wraps at my local grocery store. The front label makes them appear amazing with phrases like “Extreme Wellness”, whole grains, and etc. However, when we take a closer look at the ingredients we find a heavy dose of preservatives, dough conditioners, anti-caking agents, and food dyes!
So how does one separate health from hype?
When it comes to my “go to” foods I follow three simple rules. Let me break them down for you.
Keep It Simple
- Choose items with short, simple ingredient lists (about 5 items or less)
- Focus primarily on whole, fresh, foods. (Fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, and herbs)
- Whenever possible, buy whole fruits and vegetables from local farmer’s markets in your area.
- Significantly limit all dairy and gluten based foods.
Keep It Clean
- Choose Non-GMO ingredients or products Why?
- Avoid the “junk” – avoid preservatives, food dyes (Why?), thickeners, anti-caking agents, added sugars, flavor enhancers like MSG, and so on.
- Significantly limit soda, cake, cookies, and the like as much as possible. Consider them “party” foods and enjoy them in small quantities at special events.
Keep It Safe
- Know your allergies or sensitivities and respect them.
~ Depending on a person’s unique biology, consuming just a single crumb or smear of a food your body does not tolerate well can inflame your immune system for weeks. Prolonged exposure can lead to chronic inflammatory damage and weight gain.
- Know the hidden sources of inflammatory foods, such as dairy and gluten, and commit to finding appropriate alternatives.
~ Godairyfree.org is a terrific website for learning about limiting or avoiding dairy for the many health benefits.
~ Check out this Quick Reference Guide for a simple list of hidden dairy ingredients or products.
- Always take the time to discover and understand what your body personally needs, rather than what the media or other social pressures say you need or want. Be open to obtaining professional help to reach your wellness goals for yourself and your family.
You may be wondering, how can I follow these guidelines and keep up with work and family responsibilities? Here are a couple of ideas that have worked well for me. I’d love to hear your ideas or questions in the comments below.
- Paleokrunch Bars* – These are amazingly simple and delicious snack bars free from any dairy, gluten, added sugar, or undesirable chemicals. Great satisfying snack any time of day at work or play!
- PrepDish* – This is a brand new meal planning service I’m trying out. You basically shop for and prep a weeks worth of meals at once and enjoy the fruits of your labor the rest of the week. I just completed my first “prep day” last Sunday. To be honest, it was a rough day, but I am sooooo happy with the results and how delicious, clean, and healthy our family has been eating this week. I’m sure the process will get easier with practice and I look forward to including my kids in the fun next weekend!
*Note: These are my personal testimonials. I am not compensated in any way for mentioning these products.