If being healthy was straight forward and easy – then we’d all be doing it right?
So why isn’t it straight-forward?
The simple fact is we are contending with multiple factors that can muddy the waters, veer us off track or confuse our perspective. These factors are endogenous and exogenous – meaning both inside and outside our body.
Our own hormones and neurotransmitters can stifle our road to health - driving fat storage and cravings. In addition, external factors such as strategic marketing by wily manufacturers in an attempt to sell their product(s) masked in health. Food manufacturers are driven by revenue and don’t always have your health at the heart of their decision making process – hence products fill our shelves with bright and shiny health claims – often jumping on trends such as ‘sugar-free’ or ‘gluten-free’ in a bid to relieve you of buying (and consuming) guilt.
I often think how confusing it would be for somebody beginning their health journey - a quick Google search would throw up so many theories, approaches and disciplines, most of which would conflict, and the peruse in the local ‘health food’ aisle wouldn’t shed much light either – don’t get me wrong, I’m excited that the health food aisle is growing but I also feel the screening process for products may need some reviewing or fine tuning.
Below are a number of points to help navigate the minefield that can impede the road to health. Essentially they are ways to take control and ownership on your own health:
If you don’t currently read labels I strongly suggest you start…knowing what’s in the food you’re ingesting can be critical for general health. You’ll notice a bunch of kale doesn’t contain a label….because… it is what it is! The further something is from its natural source or engineered in a laboratory the more ingredients it’ll have.
Look at the label on a jar of Nutella – a hazelnut spread - you’ll see that hazelnuts are THIRD on the list and sugar is FIRST…denoting it contains more sugar than hazelnuts….odd and mildly alarming for a hazelnut product don’t you think?
My suggestion is to not rely on anyone to determine or control your health and well-being – this includes manufacturers! Start today by being your own food detective – read all labels whether in the health food aisle or not and begin to decipher what constituents a healthy item or not. I have a fairly good gauge but even I will run my eyes over labels daily – it takes no time at all and is just a necessary component in ensuring I’m not consuming inflammatory foods/ingredients.
At first you may not be familiar with all the inflammatory ingredients but even at the very least keep your eye out for cheap industrial oils (canola, safflower, poor quality sunflower etc). It’s these oil which have flooded our food landscape over recent decades and that are easily oxidized meaning they cause free radicals. Free radicals can terrorize the integrity of a cell within our body, so it’s optimal to keep these to a minimum.
Nutritional panels will show Total Carbohydrate, this is important but it’s more important to factor in net carbs. This will factor a great deal if you are aiming for a low carbohydrate diet – for instance to achieve ketosis your daily net carb intake would amass to between 40-50 grams. Net carbs are Total Carb minus the Fibre. Although fibre is a carb, the glucose molecules are bound in a way that can’t end up in circulation so it doesn’t have an impact on glucose or insulin.