Are you trying to incorporate some positive changes to make your life better? One of the best things you can do for your longevity is to eat a healthy diet. How can you achieve this with so many differing opinions telling you what you should and should not eat? When you’re dealing with proper nutrition, you cannot listen to everyone who tells you what to put into your body. There are lots of marketing ploys trying to get your money by promising tons of health benefits. Unfortunately, most of these claims are hollow and fail to deliver. In this article, we provide the worst foods you can eat and give you tips on what to eat instead. The best thing is that we keep it simple so you can begin eating better today.
In years past, everyone was on the low-fat diet train. Everywhere you looked, there were baked goods, dairy products, and other items touting that they were low in fat. Many people believed these to be low-calorie, but that was often a misconception. Also, most of these foods contain additives and fillers that make them even more unhealthy. (1)
Our brains are made up of fat, and we need fat to survive and thrive. In fact, up to 70 percent of your brain is made up of fat and healthy fats are required for your brain to function well. (2) Rather than reaching for these low-fat choices, look for fat sources that contain omega-3 fatty acids, like fatty fish, chia seeds, avocado, and olive oil. If you want a way to cook healthy foods that taste delicious without taking forever in the kitchen, the Heal Yourself Cookbook was created for you!
Many of us grew up eating a bowl of oatmeal each morning before school. Grains were thought to be a wholesome, nutritious food. You’ll also find these ingredients in bread, pasta, and cookies. Refined grains barely contain any fiber or true whole grains. Eating these foods can be linked to health issues like heart disease, inflammation, and obesity. (3)
Some grains also contain gluten. Many people are intolerant to gluten and should avoid any foods that contain it. White flour can spike your fat-storing hormone and cause weight gain, increased belly fat, diabetes, and other health problems. (4) White flour contains no vitamins or minerals, leaving you with empty carbs and calories.
In an attempt to have some quick meals, many people buy deli meats to make sandwiches or have meat and cheese rollups for healthy fats without the carbs. Processed meats can cause headaches due to high amounts of nitrates. These deli meats can also contain other additives that raise blood pressure and cause other problems. If you want a quick protein for your salad or meal prep, consider buying a whole rotisserie chicken, or look for deli meats that don’t contain additives. (5)
Some people avoid eating sugar but don’t realize how much they get in their drinks each day. You’ve seen people at your local coffee shop ordering energy drinks or coffee concoctions high in calories and loaded with sugar. Sugary drinks equate to insulin resistance. (6) If you’re getting bored drinking lots of water, consider sparkling water without additives. There are also soda choices that use stevia instead of sugar. You have options to give you a break from plain water without turning to sugary fruit juices and so-called vitamin drinks that have few health benefits.
Along with sugary drinks, some people have a habit of eating foods that have lots of sugar. You may drink nothing but water, but load up on cereals, snack bars, sweetened yogurt and other items that have mostly sugar. The reason we mention this separately from sugary drinks is that companies will sometimes try to convince you that a food is healthy when in fact, it is not. If you check the breakfast aisle in the grocery store, you’ll see lots of foods that promise to be protein-rich or contain lots of vitamins and minerals. Most of them are loaded with sugar and chemicals that are terrible for your body.
If you eat lots of fried foods, you put yourself at risk for heart problems, inflammation, poor sleep, and weight gain to name a few issues. The biggest problem is the oil commonly used to fry the foods. Most restaurants use vegetable, peanut, canola, and corn oils. These seed oils are awful for your health and highly inflammatory. They get used most frequently because they are cheap. Try to avoid chips, french fries, fried chicken, and the like. Fried food causes oxidative stress in the body, which is the precursor to many diseases. (7)
There are still plenty of foods you can enjoy without having them coated in white flour and cooked in seed oils. Roasting and baking meats and veggies can be a delicious alternative, and you can use olive and avocado oils to marinate and cook them.
Fast foods that you get from the drive-thru aren’t the only ones we are talking about here. Frozen meals that you can pop into the microwave are usually filled with many of the unhealthy ingredients we’ve mentioned. Even the ones that have labels promising to be healthy are typically not good for you. Fast foods are almost always cooked in vegetable oils and can cause lots of inflammation. Avoiding these foods will help you feel much better.
When you head to that drive-thru for a quick option, you may get a cheap alternative, but it won’t be quality, nutritious food. If you want to live without type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, and other illnesses, you may want to stay away from these fast-food places. (8) Instead, try some meal prepping on the weekend to prepare for your week ahead. It will take a little time, but the health benefits will be worth it. If you didn’t have time to prep, take a nutritious shake that has a blend of healthy protein and vitamins to keep you energized throughout the day.
If you see anything artificial, like flavorings, dyes, and sweeteners, you should avoid it. When something is artificial, that means it is made somewhere, and not found in nature. Some countries have banned these food additives because of their dangers. (9) Many of these ingredients have been found to cause cancer in animals and are thought to have the ability to cause it in humans, too.
The best way to avoid these unhealthy foods is to focus on whole foods like meats, veggies, and fruits. Don’t buy foods that list any artificial ingredients on the label. Again, meal prepping is a great way to avoid unhealthy foods.
You would never expect to go to a meeting at work without preparing first. For most trips, you plan and make hotel reservations and decide on the route to take. Similarly, you should prepare to be successful on your health journey. You don’t want to get ravenously hungry before you decide what to eat. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. By taking some time to think through your meal choices and make healthy options, you’ll feel better and take control of your wellness naturally. You won’t need to spend hours in the kitchen trying to prepare extravagant meals, either. Taking advantage of easy recipes and items like rotisserie chicken will help you get some healthy meals on the table fast. Simple strategies can get you on the road to a healthier lifestyle, and we are here to help every step of the way. Contact us today to get started!