Last year when my studio did our clean eating challenge a client asked if I would be willing to take her grocery shopping with me. I was happy to oblige, but being a mom of three kids also meant that I would be taking 3 children: 5, 4, and 2 along for the ride! While walking through the isles Emily looked at one of the boxes and asked, “What about this? It says heart healthy?” We flipped over to the ingredients of the cute sandwich thins but sadly they were filled with sugars, preservatives and other things that SHOULDN’T be in bread! She said, “I don’t get it, it says it has multi-grains and is healthy?!?! ” It was her first lesson in this truth: “labels lie and liars make labels”. A week later my kids and I were back in the bread isle and my 4-year-old son yelled, “THESE BOXES LIE!” From the mouth of babes. I had no idea how closely he was listening to our conversation, but I am grateful. I hope that at a very young age I can teach my children deep truths about food and nutrition so that they will never have the confusion that I had on the subject! Sometimes I fantasize about walking through the grocery store and blocking off entire isles with huge signs that say, “DO NOT EAT…HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH!”
Labels lie and liars make labels. Often unfortunately after further inspection of the bright shiny box that tells us it is filled with “nutrients”…we find that the ingredients lists are filled with words we cannot identify. That is our greatest clue to STEP AWAY from the product…and RUN (do not walk) to the edges of the grocery aisles. The FDA does not require a label for most of those items because they contain ONE ingredient: blueberries, apples, spinach, carrots, kale, beets, you get the idea.
I started to compile a list of “bad ingredients” for you to identify while shopping. You know, preservatives, additives, coloring, or “hidden” chemicals, sugars, etc. What a GREAT idea. Then I realized my list would take up PAGES of my blog. Don’t get me wrong—we want you to figure out what is IN a product…but often under further investigation you find it is simply NOT whole food. Such is the state of our food these days. My strongest encouragement is if you do not recognize a word, it probably is NOT a good sign, and probably should be avoided. If it is a product that overall seems clean except for one ingredient it may be worth investigating…if there are several words you don’t recognize, or a list longer than about 8 ingredients it is probably best to just avoid it. It’s not that YOU are not smart enough to know what it is, it is that the Food Industry will do ANYTHING it can to MASK the junk that they have put in to our food to confuse the consumer.
If we can shift our focus away from trying to even figure out what is IN everything and try to find a the most whole natural foods then we will be in a MUCH better place!
Janine and I can both sense that our clients are working very hard to be clean, read ingredient lists, and make wise choices. KEEP doing this. In the meantime…use your BEST judgment. Continue to educate yourself. Read great books and watch great documentaries. Figure out the WHYS to better create “belief power”…it is 1000x stronger than will power.
We are very PROUD of each of you as you are beginning this nutritional journey. This is not just about getting lean, but about the life long health benefits of eating whole foods. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep eating one dark leafy green after the next…no label required!
Here is a list that many have requested and that I thought would be helpful as you shop this week! Any meal or mini snack should pair a lean protein and complex carbohydrate. There is great science as to the whys of this…I have included a site* that explains for those who want a “why”. But as you think through your snacks and prepare meals this week PLEASE think lean protein and complex carb. This will be lists that can be used for both the clean and E2 challenges…
Carrots, Snow Peas, Peppers and hummus
Carrots and peanut butter (Chris’ favorite)
Almonds and dried apricots
Avocado or black beans and salsa
Avocado (crackers, ezekial bread or spelt bread)…then I add tomato and spinach.
Roasted chickpeas and carrots
Salmon and Quinoia
Chicken and broccoli
Boiled egg and apple
Eggs and spinach
Whole wheat toast with a nut butter
Banana with a nut butter
Apple with nut butter…or sunflower butter
Triscuits and a nut butter…triscuits with any protein option
Tuna and veggies
Oatmeal and walnuts (add dried fruit—delish!)
String cheese, laughing cow cheese, and triscuits
Cashews and grapes or other fruit
Spinach, walnuts and strawberries
Greek, Coconut or Almonde yogurts and walnuts (or granola)
A “clean bar” that has protein and carb—my favorite “lara bar”.
Homemade granola with dried fruit/walnuts/almonds (no salt in these and only natural sugars)
Smoothies! With protein powder, or yogurt, or soy milk, or peanut butter and then some sort of fruit, I even add oatmeal…but people say I am weird! =)
Almonds, Walnuts, and Goji berries…my NEWEST fav!