July 30, 2015 by Dr. Sana Keller
I’m a big believer in making ongoing, small changes in the direction of our goals–especially our health goals, focusing on do-able and workable-sized goals, one day at a time. This helps avoid the “overwhelm” that can result from statements like, “OK, that’s IT–from now on, I’m only going to eat healthy foods–I’m throwing out all the junk now”, only to find yourself wondering, “Uhm, now what do I eat?” or “From now on, I am going to exercise every day for 30 minutes—No excuses”, only to find yourself nursing a pulled hamstring from an overzealous workout two days later. These are great examples of “How NOT To Build Long-Term Habits Into Your Life!” If one of your long-term goals is to make healthier food choices, paying closer attention to what actually makes it into your grocery cart is a great place to start–since it leads to your fridges and cupboards being filled with more wholesome options for meals and snacking. And if healthier options are staring back at you (nicely!) when you open the fridge or cupboard, the chances of you making healthier eating choices are much greater. This is the short list, yet they are frequently in the “Found In Most People’s Grocery Carts” category. Just 4 foods to focus on…That’s do-able…See what you think…
“Prepared Cheese Product”
It can’t be called cheese because it is NOT cheese! Legally, processed cheese cannot be sold as cheese–it must be called a cheese food or prepared cheese product. From the single-wrapped slices of orange-ish squares, often called “American”, although I’m not sure why…to the classic yellow and red box of “Pasteurized and Prepared Cheese Product” that comes wrapped in foil with a looong shelf life…to the spray cans of thick, orange goo…they all fall into the category of processed foods that are filled with chemicals–which don’t do our bodies any favors.
Healthier Options: Organic cheeses, Feta cheese, Goat cheese, Raw milk cheeses, rBGH-free cheese (rBGH is a genetically engineered artificial hormone injected into dairy cows to increase milk production.)
Products Pretending To Be Butter
Fake butters are inflammatory in nature (the exact opposite of the state our healthy bodies should be in), they deplete our bodies of antioxidants, usually contain harmful chemicals such as BHA and BHT, and have NOT been found to be effective in weight loss or heart health. From I Can’t Believe It’s Not…to Move Over…the Crock…the Promise…or the Vegan Buttery Stick with 12 ingredients, their great marketing tactics have fooled many if not most of us–at least for a while. No more!
Healthier Options: Organic butter, Coconut oil, Extra virgin olive oil (all used in moderation)
Almost all bottled dressings are made with inflammatory oils, like canola or soybean oil, along with unhealthy chemicals like monosodium glutamate, artificial flavors, modified food starch and other almost-unpronounceable chemicals like disodium guanylate.
Healthier Options: Annie’s Naturals Dressings. The oils used are “expeller-pressed” which means they are chemical-free, healthier versions of oils. Or make your own salad dressing! They only take a few minutes to make–and you can make enough for a week or two. I created a Pinterest board with healthy sauces and dressings like Creamy Garlic and Citrus Vinaigrette–check it out!
Traditional Peanut Butter
The peanut butters that most of us grew up with now often have 12 or more ingredients, including sugar, corn syrup solids (also sugar), hydrogenated vegetable oils (soy bean, rapeseed), partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, soy protein, pea protein, and mono and di-glycerides. 😦 Healthier Options: Choose “real” peanut butters with very short ingredient lists of peanuts and a bit of sea salt, like Trader Joe’s, Arrowhead Mills, Old Home, Nature’s Place, and Earth’s Pride Organic Peanut butter. No sweeteners or “flavor enhancers” needed!
Cheese—Butter—Salad Dressing—Peanut Butter
As the above poster reads: Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results. Choosing healthier options for these 4 foods is a great place to start. You can do this!
To your ever-improving health,
Sana Keller, PhD, RN Health Unlimited LLC