1. SWITCHING TO WHOLE GRAIN BAKED GOODS
Whole grain doesn’t really mean whole grain flour! The only benefit of such flour is a bit more nutrients. However the negatives about eating too much flour products stay (think your gut health for one). Do instead: Whole grain means you take the real grain, ideally soak it and cook it yourself to add to your dishes. And still eat it in moderation. If your gut can tolerate grains at all.
2. SWITCHING TO “HEALTHY” SUGARS
So, my clients hear this over and over again “Sugar is sugar is sugar is sugar”. Proven by science for our body (here mainly the endocrine system, brain, fat distribution) it doesn’t matter in what form sugar comes. Body will react to it in pretty much the same way whether it comes from white sugar, honey, maple syrup, raisins, “healthy” cereals, protein bars... Yes again, in “healthy” sugars you are getting a bit more nutrition, but sugar-related issues persist! Do instead: Minimize all sugars including healthier ones. Go on a Sugar Detox if you can admit addiction.
3. DRINKING FRUIT JUICE (incl. packed vegetable juices)
By drinking juices your body is getting an instant blood sugar onslaught without the fiber barrier to slow things down. This might be ok in certain instances, but mostly not in our over-sugared lifestyle. Again, yes, great deal of vitamins and minerals comes with it (in case of fresh pressed!!), but can you afford loading your body with that much sugar that often? Some say about 10 tsp of sugar in a tall glass of apple juice for example (comparable to similar amount in Coke). Do instead: If juice, then go for fresh pressed green juice with carrots or small amounts of fruit to sweeten it up. Or eat the whole fruit. Or even better, eat vegetables! See next. But, most importantly, drink WATER!
4. INCREASING FRUIT (and dry fruit)
You must’ve heard it, “Increase your fruit and vegetables”. For most people it’s easy to increase fruit, it’s sweet, mostly yummy. But often that’s where it ends, with increasing fruits. This kinda belongs to bullet 2. Switching to healthy sugars. You are adding more sugar to your already over-sweetened diet of other “healthy” carbohydrates. Dried fruit, in addition, is more dense, less filling due to the missing water content and you probably eat even more of it. If you do snack on dried fruits instead of processed sweets, it is healthier from the nutritious point of view, yes again, but you are still a sugarholic and it will catch up with you in the long run. Of course, if you eat a well balanced diet that is right for your needs, adding some fruits would be perfect and nutritious. Do you? Do instead: If you eat a lot of fruit, cut back and increase vegetables instead, especially non-starchy ones.
5. GOING FOR THOSE “HEALTHY”, “NATURAL”, “GLUTEN-FREE”, EVEN “ORGANIC” PROCESSED PRODUCTS
These labels mean nothing in connection to your unique needs. There is no regulation for “Healthy” and “Natural”. Any product can put it on it’s label. Organic pancake mix will not serve you well if your main issue is sugar cravings, digestive issues, overweight, mild depression, inflammatory disease etc. Gluten-free whatever has little meaning for you unless gluten is killing you such as in the case of celiac disease. Using gluten-free but still processed product is not the best thing for your health anyway. Do instead: What you wanna go for instead is real, whole food as close to it’s natural state as possible and with the least chemicals and human “modifications”. Or read your labels carefully (let’s say up to 5 ingredients, watch for additives, sugars disguised by many names, bad fats, preservatives...)
6. NOT KNOWING WHAT CARBOHYDRATES ARE (therefore overeating this group)
Carbohydrates encompass a broad range of sugars, starches, and fiber. So far (previous 5 bullets) we were speaking about carbohydrates alone. Are you starting to consider you might have too much carbs in your diet after all? Fruits and vegetables, incl. potatoes, corn…, grains in all forms (breads, pasta, whole grains, cookies and all sweats…), legumes, anything else starchy, many dairy products and sugar with all it’s healthy alternatives. Do instead: Moderation is the key. Limit your allover carbohydrate intake. Focus vegetables - the only carbohydrate you can eat unlimited amounts of is non-starchy vegetables. Experiment with protein and fat.
7. BEING AFRAID OF FAT (especially saturated), CHOLESTEROL AND SODIUM
Like me, you likely grew up with this notion in the air, “keep down your fat, cholesterol and sodium intake”. Today, we know different, proven by science and the real life trial results with “low fat” diets. But the new truth is not really in the air yet. So I’m telling you. We now know that the bad rap should’ve been given to the killing trans fats (unstable vegetable oils, hydrogenated margarine, shortening, deep fried foods, baked goods, processed cereals, crackers, cookies...just about everything packed). And if something is low fat, it’s also likely highly processed, high-sugar and other nasty flavorings and one can’t get enough of it. Do instead: So we are back to nature - it’s actually ok to eat animal fats in this regard, including real butter and eggs (yolks too). You know, in that way, that Saturday morning you crave scrambled eggs with bacon, but the “knowledge” in your head stops you and you take “healthier” cereals with “healthier” low-fat soy milk instead. From oils, go for virgin olive and coconut oil, nuts and nut oils. Don’t worry about too much fat, unlike sugar, your body will tell you when you’ve had enough. Add fat to your carbs and you’ll end up eating much less of it. Cholesterol - shortly, no need to focus on lowering cholesterol, rather on eating balanced (high vegetables, as needed protein and natural fat, modest whole carbs) and cholesterol won’t have the need to come to the rescue in an inflammation crime scene. As for salt, again the bad rap goes to white, bleached and striped of all nutrients table salt that so becomes totally foreign to our body and can cause problems. Just go for clean sea or rock salt and season as you wish.
8. EATING TOO OFTEN
Simple as this - forget about anyone telling you how many times a day you should eat. Seriously, since when it is natural for humans to eat 5-6 times a day? (Since someone makes money on it?) Do instead: Eat when you’re hungry (as it fits your schedule). As you balance your diet and body, you will need to eat less often and less in general (you’ll actually save on food in the long run and will be able to afford quality produce, if you can’t now!) Look into intermittent fasting. Huge benefits come with eating less as you age. Less disease, prolonged lifespan, more energy and vitality… And in case you are controlled by cravings for now, it’s most likely carbohydrate cravings (hungry every 2 hours, in need of fast energy?). It’s really not that difficult - avoid the problematic group for some time and reset your body’s instincts.
9. FOCUSING ON AMOUNT AND CALORIES
Instead focus on what. I will say it again, focus on real, whole, processed only by you, high on non-starchy vegetables, according to individual needs protein and fats and whole carbs, include some fermented foods, lots of water... And with time you’ll forget all about counting. You’ll simply follow what your body is telling you. Trust, it will guide you well.
10. RESTRICTING AND DEPRIVING
This is a tricky one. If you are restricting or depriving yourself (or think you should), you most likely have a food issue. If you are able to admit it and want to fix it, you will need to go through a somewhat restricting phase with the food group causing you issues. After a successful rehab, restriction and deprivation will be a non-issue. Pinky promise. Do instead: The general tip is: focus on alternatives rather than on what you can’t have. In my school (IIN) we call this crowding out. Be adventurous, resourceful, inventive or just planned and consistent. Then be naughty once in a while (stick with <10% cheating and you shall be fine). How you know your rehab was successful? You’ll feel back in control! You’ll start to crave mostly food that is actually good for you, that your body is in need for (e.g. “hmm, root vegetable stew today”). You’ll no longer feel you are depriving yourself. You’ll even start to find the once-craved bad foods repulsive. It will all feel right. But it will also be ever evolving according to your needs.
11. RELYING ON EXERCISE FOR WEIGHT LOSS
To make it somewhat graphic - statistics say, exercise adds only 20% to weight loss. 80% is in the diet. If you change your diet into that balanced, intuitive, right-for-you one (and it might be a bit different from what will do it for your husband), in time you will reach your ideal weight and you’ll keep it as long as you eat right. Perhaps you don’t get the muscle tone you wish for, that’s what exercise will do. In addition to having you feel happy, stronger, more flexible, energetic, with nicer posture and all the other undeniable benefits. However, if you only exercise and keep a diet that doesn’t serve you well, you’ll not get far or not for long. I know, this is not an eating mistake, but just in case you wanted to back up from the dietary changes clearly needed and rather rely on exercise... Cause most of my clients come with focus on losing that damn weight, while what they really need to focus on, is to eat right. The weight will go as a mere side effect.
12. NOT TAKING NON-DIET FACTORS INTO ACCOUNT
If you haven’t yet, you absolutely need to explore the effect of non-diet factors on your well-being (or weight loss). Are you sleep-deprived and then gorge on fast sugars? Does stress leave you completely sucked out of energy and then you search it in food? Do you overeat because it supplements (even if so fleeting) the feeling of emotional happiness? Are you “treating” yourself for withstanding an overload instead of finding ways to improve the situation? Are your hormones messed up and on a strike or whatever vicious circle it is? Just sabotaging yourself because otherwise you would be too good to be true? Or are you hijacked by your imbalanced gut flora who is calling for more sugar to feed its growing colony? (own post for these guys, I have exceeded a short read for busy moms already).
This article is not edited, so please, overlook small typo, grammatical, syntactic and such errors if you do understand what I’m trying to say. Cheers
And put your comment below, someone might need to hear your insight! Or just get it out, connect;)
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