A couple days ago, we discussed 10 of the 20 Dumbbest Food Myths…today we conclude with 10 more (man there’s a lot out there!).
Start thinking for yourself!
11. When in doubt, order a salad. “Side salad with dressing on the side and some chicken on top please.” Boring. Not all salads are created equal anyhow. Just because you ordered a salad over the French fries does not mean diddly squat…especially when you consider the colorless lifeless iceberg lettuce on your plate, Parmesan and croutons, and squimmish looking chicken on your plate tossed in Cesar dressing. Eating ‘healthy’ when dining out does not necessarily mean going straight to the salad menu. Get creative and enjoy your food! Look for the protein options available—chicken, fish, even some steaks and beef, ask about adding some veggies (or double veggies) sautéed in extra virgin olive oil or steamed, and maybe even some extras if they have it: like avocado, or a sweet potato/baked potato, a nice red wine vinegar to drizzle on your veggies as well, etc. You don’t have to be confined to the sea of green. And even if you want a salad…see about making your own if the restaurant doesn’t offer the creative options of color and taste you want…mixed greens, grilled chicken, fish or steak, beets, hardboiled egg, avocado, roasted asparagus…see what options they have available throughout the menu and ask if they can spruce up your own concoction.
12. Protein, protein, protein. The more protein the better right? Muscle building here you come! Protein is infused in practically everything now—bars, smoothies, canned drinks, cereals, yogurt, bread…the thing is this protein is really not quality protein at all—often soy-based and an additional marketing hype someone can slap on a label. Aim for whole, real food sources of pasture-raised, grass-fed and organic protein (ie. No weird hormones) as much as possible at your main meals, and leave the marketing ploy at bay. A bar with added protein (and 19 grams of sugar and other chemicals you can’t pronounce) really does not equal a handful of pulled chicken or a couple of eggs. As for protein around your workouts… Just because you worked out does not mean you have to punch a ticket to drink your post-workout ‘bottle’ of Muscle Milk or some fake chocolaty ‘natural flavored’ drink. If you aren’t necessarily training for any big competition (just a modern day exerciser here), then a protein shake isn’t the ‘deal maker’ or breaker for making ‘gains’ in the gym. Eating real food, more than likely, will do your body much better.
13. It’s more expensive to prepare and eat healthy food…I’ll just eat out or buy cheap groceries. $20 here…$10 there…$5 on that latte there…we all need to eat, and it happens at least three times per day…so where necessity comes into play, so does the justification of our dollars. Eating out adds up. Consider a $8 meal at Chipotle or Five Guys vs. spending that $8 at the grocery store towards a chicken (about $3/lb), Brussels sprouts or butternut squash, and a box of Power Greens ($6) that can last you 3-4 meals…or $20 easily dropped at lunch out at 24 Diner with the girls (tip included)…versus $20 spent on some ground beef, broccoli, asparagus, avocado and sweet potato (to make homemade sweet potato fries of course!) for 3-4 meals as well. Even cutting your dollars at the store by purchasing ‘easy’, cheap food (Frozen dinners, boxed instant oatmeal, protein bars) as opposed to real food (meat, veggies, fruits, etc.), is a surefire way to also cut your health in the long-run (cheap food in the tank=cheapening your own health). So the only real cost when it comes to choosing to eat in, more than you dine out; and bring some healthy eats into your home? A little more time. And heck, if you are about saving time, seriously consider giving meal planning a TRY. Take 2-3 hours out of your life to have go-to options available for the WEEK! And you’ve saved hours upon hours from the run to the restaurant…thinking about what to have next…meal prepping every night…etc. It’s a no brainer.
14. Just get over your cravings. Sometimes easier said than done, right? Well it’s not your fault! There is more than meets the eye here, and while a craving may seem like a black and white thing you can (and should be able to) control, there is a physiological component here as well—particularly if your body has become a sugar-burner over the years (running mostly off glucose, and thus experiencing highs and lows with blood sugar levels throughout the day). Often times as well, cravings are really signs of deficiencies. For instance: Chocolate is often related to a magnesium deficiency. While cravings for sweets in general can be linked to low intake of quality fatty acids (cod liver oil and fats in our foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, etc.). If you struggle with ‘extreme cravings’, consider taking a look at where your other nutrition is coming from—and begin to gain back control over the power of the sweet tooth!
15. Whole grains and brown rice are the best options. For years, we’ve been told to make ‘healthier choices’—and part of those healthier choices involve ‘whole grains’, right? After all the FDA food pyramid’s base foundation prescribes we eat 6-11 servings of carbohydrates per day from the grain family to ‘be healthy’…however, what if what is really being sold to us about whole grains, is more than anything, a marketing scheme? Food companies often use catchy buzzwords to get us to buy from them: “Grass-fed”, “organic”, “natural”, and…“whole grains.” You’ll see it on the packages of breads, snack crackers, Kashi cereal, Nutrigrain bars, tortilla wraps, and more…however, unfortunately, most of the whole grains in our mainstream market today are nothing more than enriched grains with sticky proteins and anti-nutrients that wreak havoc on your gut and skeletal system. Real whole grains are found in the bulk section of grocery stores (Whole Foods, Sprouts, Central Market), such as: Steel cut oats, quinoa, plain wild rice, barley, amaranth, millet. If grains are part of your diet, real whole grains are best—when properly prepared (pre-soaked before cooking, and/or sprouted) for optimal digestion and nutrition. As for rice: Brown or white, which is better? Well…have you even wondered why healthier Asian countries have eaten white rice for thousands of years, not brown? Because brown rice is full of phytates and lectins, which bind to vitamins and minerals and prevent them from being absorbed (Phytates are anti-nutrients found in grains and legumes. Phytates, or phytic acid, binds to minerals like zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, niacin and calcium, preventing them from being absorbed. Phytic acid also inhibits pepsin, the enzyme needed to properly break down protein as well as amylase, the enzyme needed to break down sugar. So not only does phytic acid prevent nutrient absorption, it interferes with proper digestion).
16. Eat six small meals throughout the day. This old-school, body-building diet philosophy can make you go crazy about meals and timing and food obsession if you let it. Egg whites and oatmeal for breakfast…followed by a protein shake at 10 a.m. or some canned tuna…then a chicken breast and broccoli for lunch…then another protein shake or some nuts for a snack…then salmon and more broccoli for dinner…then some non-fat chocolate pudding before bed…and the beat goes on. I used to be obsessed over meal timing and meticulously planning all my meals each and every day with this philosophy as my cornerstone. The thing is though: I became completely disconnected with my hunger-fullness levels. Instead of allowing my gut and my intuition (what sounded good) be my guide, I let a piece of paper and script of my meals govern me. And not only was I ‘obsessed’, I also was impeding my digestion. The process of digestion through your small intestine alone takes 6-8 hours. When we are continually feeding or grazing throughout the day, we really don’t give our bodies a break to properly and thoroughly digest each meal. Now some people do need to eat frequently throughout the day (particularly those on a weight restoration plan, or those who have chronic hypoglycemia—low blood sugar), but generally speaking, eating three nice sized meals throughout the day can be a great way to allow your digestive system to recalibrate (and take a lot of the thought and obsession around food out of the equation). Just recently, for instance, I had a client who had been eating 6 small meals per day because it’s what she ‘had to do’—yet her body was stressed! She tried switching to 3 regular sized meals per day (balanced of course), upped the fats and added in some carbs like sweet potatoes…and after 5 years of not having her period on her own…she had it! Her body and hormones were less stressed and able to start working again.
17. If it’s organic, it’s good for you. More marketing ploys! Organic is another one of those buzzwords that has everyone feeling like they deserve a pat on their back for making the ‘right’ choice. However, organic pizza from Whole Foods is really no better than Papa John’s delivery…or organic boxed cookies versus Nabisco’s chocolate chip goodness are still cookies at the end of the day. Even within the produce and meat aisles, be wary of labeling—because what you see is not always what you get (Check out this post by the Washington Post for more in-depth insight into this). If anything, aim to buy the highest quality meat you can find (even Farmer’s markets or a neighborhood butcher), and steer clear of the dirty dozen. You may have heard of the ‘dirty’ dozen and ‘clean 15’—when it comes to buying organic, it is suggested you steer clear of the dirty dozen. The rest of your produce is typically safe in mainstream land.
18. Calories in, calories out. No matter what you eat…it’s all about how you exercise, right? At least if you want to ‘stay in shape’ or ‘be healthy’? Not quite. Nutrition is 80% of your results in the gym and in your health…so a workout sesh with your Stairmaster in order to ‘earn’ your cheeseburger and fries, or to justify eating breakfast that morning is really more like spinning your wheels. Movement is definitely a great thing! But the justification of movement to eat food (or poor quality food) is really just like working hard to make lots of money and be rich (and stressed)…only to blow it on something frivolous…and go right back to working just as hard and being stressed…and repeating the cycle.
19. If it worked for her, it will work for me. Every BODY is different…so comparing yourself to Sarah…working out like Melissa…or trying to eat like Rachel is only going to leave you frustrated. You do not have the same exact needs….health…or blood type…or metabolic type…as ‘her’ (whoever ‘her’ is).
20. A Detox or Cleanse is a great way to re-wire the body. Detoxes and cleanses most certainly have the ability to help you ‘recalibrate’ your body and health…however, if the foundations of digestive health and sound nutrition are not in place first…then you will only be releasing toxins in your system…and they are going to want to stay in your system (in other words: your body is not going to be able to detox appropriately). It is suggested you get a solid baseline of clean eating (and water) under your belt for 2-3 months, before embarking on a detox or cleanse of any sort in order to do it safely and effectively.
There ya go! Quite a list. Do you have any food myths you’ve believed or think need to be addressed? Let me know in your comments!