Hi all! Welcome to Throwback Thursday. I kind of wrote this one in a rant-like format but it ended up being kind of cool so I thought I would bring it back!
Healthy eating should be easy, right? I mean you eat fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean proteins and you’re good. Well, yes and no. I, along with probably a vast majority of Americans (and other Western countries), rely on more than just simple unprocessed foods. I work full-time and try to enjoy life. I don’t have time to sit in the kitchen every single day and make 100% of what I eat from scratch. Don’t even get me started about eating while traveling. So I rely on things that come in packages. Cereals, drinks, pizza crusts, energy bars, etc. This is where things get stickier. How can I tell if what I’m eating is healthy?
For that matter, what is healthy? My view of healthy has changed significantly over the years. For awhile I got caught up in the low fat or fat-free trend. As long as there is no fat, it’s good for you, right? Not so much. Also low in calories doesn’t mean high in nutrients. What about organic versus non-organic? Should I care about GMOs? High fructose corn syrup?
I go to the grocery store and I see huge labels with words like “health”, “natural” “organic”, “gluten-free.” Are these products better for me? Sometimes I feel like I need a nutrition degree just to eat on a daily basis.
I’m not sure I have all the answers, but what I do know is that there are different versions of what is healthy. I think the first thing you need to do is ask yourself, what are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to eat less processed foods? Do you just want to feel like you are making good choices most of the time? Maybe you have a few goals.
Once you’ve decided on your end game, the next step is to figure out how to get there. This is where it becomes tricky because there is no one right answer for everyone and the answers are not always clear cut. Even after spending years investing my time in the healthy living community, I still have questions. I think speaking with a professional, like a registered dietician (check out my friend Melissa’s blog), is a good option for a lot of people and can help you get on the right track.
Even if you don’t speak with a professional, identifying foods that contain wholesome ingredients is so important. The closer you can stay to actual, recognizable ingredients, the better your chances of finding products that are actually good for you. These days, I look less at the packaging prepared by people with marketing degrees and more at the tiny print of ingredients. If it contains a chemical, I try to shy away. My goal is to recognize every ingredient on the package. I can’t say it happens 100% of the time, but the more it happens, the better.
Readers, what does healthy mean to you? Do you think that the foods we consume are marketed as being healthy when they aren’t? Ever had trouble with spam?
*I’m not a registered dietician or nutritionist. All information contained in this post is based on my opinion.
[inlinkz_linkup id=552120 mode=1]
Yes to all of this – most of the time I think marketers are just trying to have consumers believe their food is “healthy”. It’s confusing for me and I work in the fitness and wellness industry!! Thanks for (re)sharing this, it’s a great post on an important topic.
So true… “gluten free”, “natural”, “healthy” labels drive me nuts. Just eat real food, guys! To me, healthy means something different for everybody. We’re all bioindiviudals with different needs. I’ve been reading Dr. Weston A Price’s book which documents his traveling the world in the 1930’s to study the health of indigenous cultures. In Switzerland, there was a small village in a valley that only had veggies available in the summer, so they only ate them in the summer. They went months without fresh veggies. They weren’t deficient, they weren’t unhealthy, they were just eating real food and adapting to their surroundings. Healthy is so complex. I think all we can really do these days is eat real food, and listen to our bodies!