Rather than looking at foods as “good” or “bad”, think about how food will affect your body. Think about the source. Just because it’s pizza, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Just because it’s a gluten free, no sugar added, chocolate chip cookie, does not make it good! You need to look deeper at the source. Is the chocolate in your cupboard made with refined sugars and hydrogenated oils (AKA trans fat)? Or is it made with raw cacao and lower amounts of a natural sweetener?
The point is not avoiding these “junk foods”. The point is avoiding the nasty ingredients commonly added to these food items. For example, a slice of chocolate cake, could be made with refined white flour and sugar or could be made with coconut flour, honey and dark chocolate. By switching harmful ingredients with whole, raw foods, you can still eat the foods you like to achieve your personal health goals. These small changes can have a huge impact on your health in the long run.
1. Nut butter
Bite the bullet, STIR THE PEANUT BUTTER. The number one question I ask when a client tells me they eat peanut butter is, “What’s in it?” So many people see peanut butter as a good protein source; yet, they fail to read the nutrition label. Most shelf stable peanut butter contains incredibly harmful ingredients for your body! These ingredients are including, but not limited to: partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, mono and diglycerides and, you guessed it – sugar.
Partially hydrogenated oils are trans fats in disguise. Unfortunately, the FDA only requires companies to clarify grams of trans fat on the label if it contains more than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. So what does this mean? Most of us eat more than 1 serving of peanut butter per day (more like in 1 sitting). Over the course of time, this amount of trans fat can cause chronic inflammation leading to diseases like cancer or simply weight gain. So, while stirring the peanut butter may be obnoxious, eating whole, natural nut butter can help you lose weight and reduce inflammation which will benefit you immensely in the long run!
Everybody loves a good slice of pizza. Hot gooey cheese, chewy and crispy crust, sweet sauce and savory meat. But it’s bad right? These components in their raw forms aren’t harmful to your body, but the way we have altered them through food processing has changed how they affect our bodies. Did you know that most pizza chains have hydrogenated oils and sugar in their ingredients?
Here is one way to still enjoy your slice of pizza, while avoiding inflammatory and harmful ingredients. I make pizza crusts with whole food ingredients that are nourishing
to your body, and guess what – still taste like pizza! Here are a few examples of some of my favorite pizza crusts:
3. Ice cream
Smooth, creamy and refreshing, ice cream is a go to dessert for most people. The ice cream market really has it down. They have the potential to never run out of new ice cream flavors. You can basically have your cake as ice cream (“and eat it too” ;)). I think ice cream is especially tricky because you can eat a lot of it and not know the amount of sugar you are consuming! Most serving sizes of ice cream are 1/2 cup and we often eat much more than this. Here are some quick tricks to compensate for this! I often use a small bowl that is 1/2-1 cup of a serving size. I add fresh fruit to my ice cream and a healthy fat source to balance it out. I also either purchase no sugar added ice cream – check the ingredient label for added sweeteners (I try to avoid sucralose and stick more toward stevia and occasionally erythritol). Also, if dairy causes inflammation in yoru body, you can choose coconut milk ice cream – there are great options out there. Personally, I love “So Delicious”. They have a few great no sugar added coconut milk ice cream choices!
You can also make your own ice cream at home. All you need is heavy cream/coconut milk (full fat), egg yolks, unsweetened almond milk, stevia, and vanilla extract or cocoa powder, depending in your desired flavor. I think the homemade version tastes better when using an ice cream maker, but this is not necessary! Check out these recipes to make your own version at home:
French fries. These are just straight out awful for you. They are fried in nasty oils (like soybean oil) and contain trans fat when ordered from most restaurants. Although, they are simply delicious. Thankfully, another option may be just as savory, though a bit healthier.
Choose to make your own fries at home. This can be easily done by slicing up whole, raw white/sweet potatoes. Slice them thin if you desire more crunchy fries or thick if you desire them more chewy. Drizzle some healthy fat all over them (extra virgin olive oil, or melted coconut oil or butter) and add salt, fresh garlic, pepper and other seasonings you desire. Bake at 425F for 20-25 minutes or so and enjoy the non trans fattiness.
Now, I don’t recommend baking for “reduced fat” content. I recommend baking your fries, instead of frying because frying changes the type of fat the fries contain. Frying often means trans fat and baking can be associated with healthy fat, when using the right kind of fat (extra virgin olive oil, butter/ghee or coconut oil).
Most bread contains refined white flour. When you eat refined white flour, it turns to glucose in your body almost instantly. Your body views the glucose from flour and sugar the exact same. It does not know the difference. This glucose enters your blood stream, and is brought to cells for energy with the help of insulin- if your body needs the energy. The excess not used for energy is stored as fat in your body. This is why it is important to limit the amount of flour you consume. If we are consuming a lot of glucose in the form of fruits, vegetables, milk, grains, and the worst form – sugar, we are most likely getting too much energy and storing the extra as fat in our bodies!
So, how can we still consume bread? Well, there are some great whole, raw forms of bread that you can purchase yourself at grocery stores. My favorite is Ezekial bread; but, simply looking at the nutrition label can bring you to the correct purchase. Look for breads that do not contain added sugar in any form (words ending in -ose, HFCS, rice syrup, etc.) and do not contain nasty oils (hydrogenated oils, soybean oil, etc.). You can also make your own bread! You can find my favorite bread recipes here:
Again, it is the source of the food that is more destructive to your body than the actual food item itself. Look at the ingredient label and decipher whether the ingredients you’re putting in your body will help it or hurt it.