Sometimes healthy eating feels like rocket science.
Eat 100% whole wheat. No, don’t eat wheat; it’s been changed too many times from its original form. Don’t eat eggs; they are high in cholesterol. Wait do eat eggs. They are a whole food and a good source of protein. Make sure to eat low- fat products so you have less fat in your diet. Hold up. Actually don’t eat low fat products; they are full of chemicals to make up for the fat that was taken out.
All of the mixed messages can be confusing.
So today I want to share with you the simplest, most intuitive health change I made to help simplify the rocket science of nutrition. There is a whole other level to nutrition if you want to go organic or completely non-processed, but this is a great place for us beginners to start.
Forget the nutrition facts.
Rather read ingredients and then buy foods with less ingredients.
Doesn’t this just make sense? Do I want my kids to eat applesauce with high fructose corn syrup in it or do I want them to eat applesauce made up of just apples and water? Do I want to eat foods where I can’ t even recognize or pronounce the ingredients or do I want to eat foods made from ingredients that I would use in my own kitchen? Do I want foods with 20+ ingredients or do I want foods with as few ingredients as possible?
For me, these questions were not rocket science.
Once I realized how important it was to read the ingredients on foods, I spent 2 hours in the grocery just reading ingredients. I was shocked, upset, and discouraged about what I found in our food, but I was happy that I know knew better and could make better choices.
The first change I made was sour cream.
As I read ingredients on the different brands, I realized I could either buy sour cream with these ingredients:
Or I could buy sour cream that just contained cream.
The choice was not rocket science. DAISY was my new go-to sour cream.
With one simple change, I was already making nutritional progress! I became obsessed with reading ingredients and spent many hours in grocery stores combing the shelves.
I was amazed by what I found. Let’s look at some common foods and compare ingredients.
You may think that you are making a healthy choice by buying wheat bread, but not necessarily. Look at these ingredients in a common wheat bread that I see everybody putting in their carts at Costco. What the heck is all this stuff anyway?
If you were to make bread in your kitchen, you would only need flour, yeast, honey, salt, and water. So I found a bread at Costco (Aspen Mills: Honey Whole Wheat) that only has those 5 ingredients. That just feels better to me and my family thinks the bread tastes great. Even my husband raved about it.
Not Rocket Science:
Look at the differences in these two yogurts:
Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla Yogurt- Nonfat yogurt (cultured grade A non fat milk, modified food starch, fructose, kosher gelatin, vitamin A palmitate, Vitamin D3), water, fructose, contains less than 1% of modified corn starch, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid, aspartame, sodium citrate, potassium sorbate (to maintain freshness), caramel color, acesulfame potassium, annato extract (for color).
Not Rocket Science:
Dannon All Natural Plain Nonfat Yogurt- Cultured Grade A nonfat milk, pectin.
Even if you were to sweeten the plain yogurt with your own sweetener like honey, maple syrup, agave or all-fruit jam, at least you wouldn’t be getting all the other crap they are putting in the vanilla yogurt.
Now I am not advocating eating chips, but there is even a healthier choice within the world of chips. Look at the ingredients on Doritos.
Did you see all those dyes, partially hydrogenated oils, sugars, preservatives and chemicals in there?
Now look at the ingredients in Fritos.
Not Rocket Science:
Doritos has 20+ ingredients most of which I can’t pronounce while Fritos has 3 ingredients that we can all pronounce. So if you must eat chips, Fritos are a better choice than Doritos.
Let’s take a look at crackers: Ritz vs Triscuits vs Wheat Thins
If you read the ingredients on these boxes you might be surprised. Ritz crackers have enriched white flour, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil in them just to name a few of the unhealthy stuff. (My husband is eating Ritz next to me right now while I type this.) While Triscuits only have 3 ingredients: whole grain soft white winter wheat, soybean oil, salt. Wheat Thins aren’t quite as bad as Ritz but they aren’t great. Wheat Thins are made from 100% whole grain, but they still have about 9 other ingredients.
To summarize: Ritz=Rocket Science. Wheat Thins=Advance Chemistry II. Triscuits=Fifth grade science.
I have been staying with my good old uncooked Costco tortillas because they only have 5 ingredients in them and I couldn’t find a whole wheat tortilla version that had few ingredients. When I would search for whole wheat tortillas, brand after brand would be rocket science:
But just last week I found one brand, La Favorita, that had less ingredients. I think the words in the parenthesis are telling me what baking powder is made of? So these wheat tortillas only have 6 ingredients in them which is better than anything else I’ve found. We have been enjoying sandwich wraps this week with these whole wheat tortillas.
So to simplify your nutrition experience– read ingredients not nutrition labels. Check the ingredients on everything you buy and when possible, go with the option that has the least amount of ingredients. If you don’t, you can inadvertently make unhealthy choices. But if you do, you will be getting a lot less junk in your body.
This part of nutrition isn’t rocket science.