Look at that! Moving onward and upward already! Great Job!
In last weeks post, Healthy Weight Loss 101 I covered the basics of losing weight with the calorie deficit concept and I touched on replacing high calorie/low nutrient foods with low calorie/high nutrient foods. Today I want to dive a little deeper into high nutrient foods and food quality.
Food quality does matter! No matter how much my father doesn’t want to believe it, the quality of our food has changed dramatically over the past 40 or so years. I’ve watched the food documentaries and they all point the same finger at the age of quick and convenient food leading to more processing and cheaper ingredients to feed the masses. Food not only became quick and convenient for those preparing and eating the food but the also for those producing/manufacturing the food.
Look at almost any food label that you grab from the middle shelf in the middle grocery aisle, the list of ingredients is a dirty laundry list that you can barely pronounce. These are a slew of sugar and flavor additives as well as preservatives. The scariest part is they can mess with your digestive hormones and throw your metabolism out of whack next thing you know you’ve gained 5lbs but all you did was eat a few PBJ’s like grandma used to make: white bread, peanut spread, strawberry jelly, right?
First of all peanut spread is totally different than peanut butter! Just check the label. Peanut butter should be peanuts and salt, that’s it! And white bread, it’s soft for a reason, the ingredients have been so processed there’s not much left of them, nothing left for the body to benefit from. When you switch that bread up for a whole grain, your body actually has something to digest and those grains break down into valuable vitamins and minerals the body needs.
The science of the quality of food and how your body reacts to low quality vs. high quality food can go pretty deep and I’m not sure if this is the place to bore some of you with hormone talk so we’ll leave that for another time (but if your into hormone and chemical reactions in the human body, let’s talk!)
Let’s stick with the basics, high quality food such as vegetables, fruits, lean-farm raised meats, ocean sourced fish, natural plant oils, and whole grains contain a bevy of vitamins and minerals that keep our bodies functioning at the most basic level. These vitamins and minerals protect our brain, our heart, our liver, keep our muscles moving, and keep our bodies lean.
Low quality foods such as, you guessed it, processed foods like candy bars, packaged cookies and cakes, chips, Cheetos, soda’s, mayo, white bread, conventionally produced red meat, Big Mac’s, etc. contain more sugars, starches, and recently created chemical preservatives than our bodies know what to do with. So our bodies bloat, our liver works overtime, we get brain fog, we don’t sleep as well so we’re tired all the time, our energy spikes and crashes leaving little time for healthy movement and a lot of time for metabolic diseases to develop such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
The shift takes practice and time but it’s doable for anyone on any budget. Trade your next dessert cookie for an orange. Looking for a crunch from a bag of chips? Grab a handful of nutty trail mix or if your really ready to get crazy, slice up some green and red pepper for a juicy crunch (that’s what I’m into 🙂 ). Enjoy your hamburger every once in a while but on occasion trade in that bun for a lettuce wrap. Start with a few trade ups here and there and before you know it you’ll start liking those new choices a lot better when you start to feel better in your body.
*This post contains information and concepts from the American Council on Exercise and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
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