Ever really take a look at what’s lurking in your foods? Ever take a moment to scan through your cabinets to see what it is you are actually consuming each day? Especially for those who love to bulk up on lots of packaged products that are easy, quick to grab and have a shelf life of up to a few years. Well, it’s time to take a peek if you haven’t already.
Often times when I explain to others about how we need to start paying attention to what is in our food, I might get a response in their defense such as, “Of course I look at the nutrition facts all the time and make sure it’s low in fat and doesn’t have a lot of cholesterol”. Well, that’s great, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about the little nutritional box that shows you how much fat, calories and sugar a product might have which yes, in some instances is also very important too.
But it is even more important to take a peek at the actual ingredients, which will tell you a whole lot more. You will notice a lot of our mainstream products include an ingredient panel consisting of a long list of words that most of us can’t even pronounce. Those words are usually chemicals or bi-products that are either added to enhance the flavor of that particular food item or alter the color to make it vibrantly pretty. Along with the variety of hues and artificial flavors are added ingredients so that it can be stored on the shelves longer. Have you ever really wondered how something could possibly sit on the shelf that long and still be edible? Don’t just rely on the bold words spread across the front of the box usually indicating how “healthy” it supposedly is. It’s time to start reading in between the lines to see what we are really injecting into these sacred bodies of ours.
What’s Hiding In the Kitchen?
Guess what the first step to this exercise is? It’s to start workin’ that body into the kitchen and doing some arm exercises. If your cabinets are below your waist, then it’s time to do some squats!!
Let’s start with taking a look at what is hiding out in your kitchen cupboards. Carve out a few hours at a time or perhaps you want to do this in increments if you have a lot to go through. What you want to do is take a look at each product you have and read the ingredient labels…from soups to nuts (no pun intended!). You’ll be surprised what is actually lurking in your canned soup or nuts for that matter! Along with the following list of ingredients you want to avoid, take note of all the other ingredients listed that you can’t pronounce or that you know cannot authentically be considered “food”. These are most likely the ingredients you probably shouldn’t be consuming.
When I do this with my clients, I get to see firsthand how many chemically-laden products are being consumed each day by one single person or family. It pains me to see millions of dollars being spent on food that is really not food at all, but consisting of chemicals that are most likely contributing to the majority of our health issues such as disease, weight problems and common day to day symptoms such as fatigue, bloat, headaches and many more. Remember that food is what fuels these amazing bodies of ours just as gas is what fuels your car. I’m sure you wouldn’t be putting just any ol’ chemicals into your car right? If you did, your car’s life would be short-lived. Then why do it to your body?
OK, so ready to get started? Here is a short list of some of the ingredients you can start out with.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup, corn syrup
- Monosodium Glutamate – flavor enhancers (sadly many other ingredients are masked with other names and won’t always just say MSG or monosodium glutamate.
- Partially hydrogenated oils – trans fats
- BHT – preservative
- Sucralose, Aspartame, Sorbitol – artificial sweeteners
- Artificial coloring (such as Blue No.1, Green No. 3, Yellow, No. 5 and the like)
- Artificial flavoring
Understanding Food Labels
Once you complete the first part of this exercise, the next step is to get your whole body moving and go shopping!! You now want to replace all the unnatural products you found with the most natural replacements you can find. For instance, if you found a soup in your cabinet that had a lot of foreign ingredients, go out and choose soups that have natural ingredients, ingredients you can recognize.
A little tip for you is to shop on the periphery of the store such – the outer aisles are generally where all the living food is. You’ll notice that most foods in the middle aisles are loaded with sugary packaged foods. Some exceptions would be healthy grains such as oatmeal & Quinoa, raw unsalted nuts and healthy oils. Those are just a few examples, but you get my drift, right?
Once you begin this exercise, you are on your way to a healthier body and a clearer mind. I promise you!