There is so much information written on nutrition that it can be an overwhelming topic to research and the more you read the more confusing it can become.
Please let me help you with the basic principles that you need to keep in mind whenever you are looking into what you should and should not put into your mouth.
1. Is the advice coming from someone who has no financial interest in what they are advising/telling you?
2. Can you see yourself being able to follow the recommendations and suggestions long term because if not then STOP right there and move onto another piece of advice.
3. Does the recommendation make common sense? – now I know you may not feel that you are qualified to make that call but in truth you really can, has this food been changed or manipulated in any way to change its natural purpose?
Let me give you some examples:
Fortified foods such as juice that has added Folate and Vitamin E – Orange juice is a source of sugar, Vitamin C, energy etc it does not have Folate or Vitamin E naturally occurring in its ingredients which begs the question – why are we adding it in?
Foods that you would want to eat if you are wanting Folate are things like liver, dark leafy vegetables, asparagus, beans (mung, lima, kidney) lentils and chickpeas. If wanting to increase Vitamin E things such as sunflower seeds, oils (sunflower seed, safflower, peanut, olive), almonds and peanut butter.
Milk is another great example – when we remove the fat out of milk we also remove the Vitamin D. We need Vitamin D to be able to absorb the calcium in the milk. To combat this, the manufacturer will now re-add Vitamin D to the milk to improve the calcium absorbing qualities of the milk.
STOP PRESS – we drink milk for the calcium!
You could argue that with the fat content in milk it is very easy to drink large amounts of energy with very little effort (which is the thought regarding juice as well incidentally); however a small amount of common sense says that it is important to consume all foods in moderation – milk included.
Next time you are in the supermarket look at the back of the milk containers – those that are promoting 97% fat free are in fact 3% fat – full cream milk is 4% fat, in other words full cream milk is 96% fat free.
So what is really being said here? When all is said and done – the best way to eat and live is as close to Mother Nature as possible. Remember the second golden rule which is everything in moderation so if eating less processed food is not always possible for you then so be it, just aim to make as many achievable adjustments as you can.
Next time you are in the supermarket look down into your trolley and ask yourself a couple of quick questions:
1. Does most of the food in my trolley look like it came out of the ground (or as close to nature as possible)?
2. Did I do the majority of my shopping around the outer perimeter of the shop (the less processed food)?
3. Is most of my food in packets, jars etc?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to the first two questions and ‘no’ to the third you know that you are well on track to improving the quality of what goes into your mouth.
My last tip regarding processed food is the high amount of sodium in that food. To only look at the fat and carbohydrate component of what we are eating is not a clear enough indication of eating for good health. Highly processed food has large amounts of sodium (salt). Your daily intake of sodium is 930 – 2300mg. A 100 gram bag of vege chips has 760 milligrams of sodium and it is not hard to eat 100gms of chips!
You only get one body – make the most of looking after it.
Here is to common sense and nature based food that tastes great!