I think we'll all admit to not being our best selves after the sugar crash from eating an enormous bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs! You don't need to be a nutritionist to know that!
But did you know that there are food that can actually help to boost your mood? I could ramble on about it, but instead I'm just going to share this article from Livestrong.com, "12 Foods That Can Improve Your Mood"
Take a minute to read the article, share the infographic, and have a happy, healthy Monday!
Ever heard of the Atkins Diet?
In 1972 Dr. Robert Atkins wrote a book about an amazing new way to loose weight. It went against all the conventional thinking and proposed that one could eat as much protein and fat as they wanted--without counting any calories--and you could loose weight. The catch? You needed to avoid foods high in carbohydrates. So, your morning eggs, bacon and toast would now be your morning eggs, bacon and bacon. And eggs. And Bacon. : )
Here's the thing (a little background), I'm from a family of Atkins Diet enthusiasts! Not only that, but my family has had an enormous amount of success loosing weight with the Atkins diet.
So, for as long as I can remember white potatoes (which are high in carbs) have been the enemy! Eating potatoes equalled bad in my mind.
A few years ago when I started eating Paleo, I saw that potatoes weren't "paleo approved". That was basically ok with me because I (as mentioned) am a child of Atkins followers, and thought potato=bad!
Then, I came across something regarding a program called Whole 30, and how it's allowing potatoes on it's approved food list. What is Whole 30? Well, it's Paleo, but even more clean! It's meant as a 30 day re-charge in your health (read all about it HERE). Without getting into all the details of what Paleo and Whole 30 are, I was honestly like, "What? Really?" when I read that Whole 30 approved potatoes!
Then, when we were visiting family at Easter, someone who I know is healthy, and understands healthy foods said to someone during a conversation about healthy foods, "well, potatoes aren't healthy", and I wanted to say something, but realized, besides knowing Whole 30 had approved potatoes, I didn't really know why. What makes them good for you? What benefits could come from eating potatoes?
My home-schooler researching nerd personality comes out now and starts digging (which is ironic because potatoes come from the ground...yes? See? Digging? Let's move on...)!
Oh, here's another thing that made me really want to dig a little deeper into potatoes....we were really trying to cut back on the cost of our groceries, and, geez, a 20lb bag of russet potatoes was on sale for $1.97!!! For a family that eats mainly gluten-free, that is like a gift from heaven!!! My kids will happily eat a potato in some form every night, but I needed to know I wasn't just filling them up on starchy nothing-ness!
So, here's my findings on potatoes!
**P.S. I'm not talking sweet potatoes or yams here, just all other kids (whites, russets, red skinned, yellow fleshed, etc., etc.)**
What is a potato?
The potato belongs to the nightshade family whose other members include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatillos (for a full nightshade list, read here). They are the swollen portion of the underground stem which is called a tuber and is designed to provide food for the green leafy portion of the plant. If allowed to flower and fruit, the potato plant will bear an inedible fruit resembling a tomato.
What's Wrong With Potatoes?
The main concerns with potatoes are: they are high in carbohydrates (appoximately 40g per 1 Cup baked), and also high on the Glycemic Index (85 out of 100, or "high").
Let's look at carbs and the GI, shall we?.....
Marc Perry from Built Lean explains carbohydrates very well (emphasis mine):
"Carbohydrates are just sugar molecules, all of which are broken down by the body into glucose.
Glucose is a single sugar molecule that is used as fuel by the cells in your body from your brain to your muscles.
There are 3 types of carbohydrates that are defined by the number of sugar molecules they contain:
1) Monosaccharide – one sugar molecule. Examples include glucose, galactose (in milk), and fructose (in fruit)
2) Disaccharide – two sugar molecules. Examples include sucrose (table sugar), lactose (in milk), and maltose (in beer).
3) Polysaccharide – several sugar molecules. Examples include starchy foods like corn, potatoes and rice.
When a carbohydrate is “simple” it refers to mono & disaccharides that are easily absorbed into the bloodstream because of their simple molecular structure. Think milk, fruit, and table sugar.
“Complex” carbs on the other hand are polysaccharides and because of their more complex molecular structure can take longer for the body to break down into sugar. Think grains, vegetables, and potatoes.
So, in very general terms, carbohydrates can be categorized as either simple or complex.
All types of carbs, except for fibre, eventually deconstruct into simpler forms in our bodies and absorb as glucose, the primary energy source for all cells throughout your body.
Simple carbohydrates, including fruit sugar (fructose), milk sugar (lactose), and table sugar (sucrose), have a straight structure that metabolizes quickly in one simple step in your small intestine, which can give you a spike in energy, then send you crashing.
Complex carbohydrates, such as starch, have a complicated branched structure that undergoes two distinct steps before absorption as glucose.
First, saliva breaks the complex molecule into a smaller form called maltose. Next, enzymes in your small intestine further break down maltose into simpler molecules so it can absorb as glucose.
Fibre is a unique type of complex carbohydrate since it is not broken down into glucose. Instead, fibre stays intact and helps push food through your body.
Now, the Glycemic Index (GI) is a measurement carried out on carbohydrate-containing foods and their impact on our blood sugar.
GI is a relatively new way of analyzing foods. Previously, most meal plans designed to improve blood sugar (for diabetics, mainly) analyzed the total amount of carbohydrates (including sugars and starches) in the foods themselves. GI goes beyond this approach, looking at the impact of foods on our actual blood sugar.
In other words, instead of counting the total amount of carbohydrates in foods in their unconsumed state, GI measures the actual impact of these foods on our blood sugar. We rank our foods then as being very low, low, medium, or high in their GI value (source).
The Truth Behind What's "Wrong" with Potatoes
When it comes to carbs or the GI of potatoes the whole picture isn't being looked at. So, to say that potatoes are unhealthy because of the carbs or rating on the GI is very mis-leading.
Most of the carbohydrates in the diet are starches. Starches are long chains of glucose that are found in grains, potatoes and various foods--complex carbs, remember?
But not all of the starch we eat gets digested the same way, and sometimes a small part of it passes through the digestive tract unchanged.
In other words, it is resistant to digestion and it goes through the stomach and small intestine undigested, eventually reaching the colon where it feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut. Other benefits of eating resistant starch is improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, reduced appetite and various benefits for digestion (Wiley Online Library).
As for the Glycemic Index of potatoes, According to Potato Goodness (which is obviously going to be biased, but it is backed by legitimate research, so I see the findings as valid) and their "Potatoes: Goodness Unearthed" handbook, the GI of potatoes can be effected by many things such as variety, origin (yes, where it was grown), processing, preparation, between person to person and their individual responses to starches, and within one individual and their particular response to starches on any given day, as well as the time of day the food was eaten and whether they had eaten anything prior.
So, to look down on a potato because of it's carbs (which we now know are complex and can be very beneficial to health) and it GI rating (which we now know can vary greatly and for many reasons) is unreasonable and unfair.
To keep this from becoming completely exhausting, I will simply list the beneficial elements of the potato without explaining what each thing is!
The vitamins and minerals listed are for the amount of a baked potato, 1 Cup (Source)
Not to mention:
So....if you're a victim of the "potatoes are bad" generalization group, how are ya feeling?
Right now you're probably feeling like you owe the humble potato an apology. : )
I know there are people out there who have sensitivities to night shades, and that is a real issue for them. I know some people are on low-carb diets to try to loose some fat and are avoiding foods like potatoes right now. I know diabetics are often told to avoid potatoes. Whatever your reasons, can we stop generally saying: "potatoes are not healthy". Because, generally speaking, the evidence is clear: they are healthy.
Potato chips and deep fried french fries? Obviously not healthy. I think part of the potato getting looked at in a poor light is because of it's fantastic ability to taste so freakin' delish when deep fried and covered in salt!!! Duh!
You can bake, mash, steam, or pan-fry (in a touch of good-for-you oil like ghee, macadamia oil, coconut oil or avocado oil) these veggies. Or you can make them into a healthy potato salad, or potato pancakes!
There are many ways to enjoy this demonized food! We like to have different versions of baked potatoes at least once a week around here. Curry stuffed, taco stuffed, egg stuffed, spinach and cheese stuffed, pizza stuffed, the list goes on and on! Obviously the things you add to your potato make it more or less healthy. When we do pizza stuffed potatoes, for instance, it often replaces our semi-regular pizza night. The kids still love it because it's pizza-ish, and I like that it is waaaaaaaaay more cost effective than making paleo & gluten-free pizza! Winner winner!
The amazingly delicious Beef Samosa Stuffed Baked Potato below is from Eat Your Beets.
In conclusion, stop hating on potatoes! : )
Leave your comments if you stop by! Tell me why I'm wrong, tell me why I'm right, tell me your favourite way to enjoy a potato, or why you can't/won't ever eat them!!!
I hope you've enjoyed this little romp through potato land! I will admit that most people would find this boring....and didn't read it at all....but somehow you're down here at the bottom reading anyway, so tell me if you DID read this and share your thoughts!
Sincerely, a true potato convert,
Deciding to eat whole and healthy food can seem daunting-especially if you're not really used to it.
But I gotta say, there are so many good-for-you recipes out there (on the internet, in magazines, in cookbooks) not to mention there just being so, so, so many strait-up tasty good for you foods right outta the earth, that if you find yourself thinking "I can't so this! I can't eat healthy!", then take a deep breath, Google "whole foods recipes", or go to your library and look up some healthy cooking recipe books, or just go to your grocery store and walk around the produce department and see all the amazing things that are there!
What I want to share today are some of my favourite healthy recipes & foods!
A favourite snack of mine is fermented or pickled vegetables! It may seem gross, but I love having a snack that is A: a vegetable, and B: extra good for me by being pickled or fermented! There is a difference between something being pickled or fermented, but I feel like I can just save that conversation for another time. For now, let's just lump them together, knowing they are the same and different!
I realize if you need to watch your sodium intake this option may not seem so great, but as an occasional snack, it can be very beneficial. You can read this article from Wellness Mama about the benefits of eating fermented food.
Not only do I love pickled and fermented foods, I often drink the "juice" that the food is in as a relief for heartburn. Wait-what? Drinking acidic "juice" to help with heartburn?!? Oh yes. To be honest, there isn't a whole lot of research out there as to the "why" this works, but I'm telling you, it does. If I feel heartburn coming on (often at bedtime), I'll take a tablespoon or so of pickle juice, and my heart burn instantly (no, seriously, instantly!) goes away!
Anywhooo, recipes for homemade pickled and fermented foods can be found all over, but I wanted to share with you a simple pickled carrot recipe (a favourite in this house--though I add a lot more garlic because we love it) from It's A Love/Love Thing.
Other pickled or fermented foods include pickles (obviously!), some yogurts (look for labels with "Live & Active Cultures" on it)-and try to make sure you buy a kind without any, or too much, added sugar, sauerkraut, and kefir which is a fermented milk product (cow, goat or sheep milk) that tastes like a drinkable yogurt.
Another favourite snack of mine is having a big, beautiful bowl of fruit! The photo above is an actual bowl of fruit I sat down to as a snack! Yum, right?
So, salads seem like a pretty expected fall back meal when thinking about healthy eating, and can admittedly get boring! But salads can be super-crazy delicious, you can make them in so many ways, and with so many flavours! Above is an awesome (I'm joking, I clearly know it's ridiculous!) selfie of me with my Taco Salad (...sans taco). I love this salad because it's everything I love about tacos, except with waaaaaay more veggies!
Some more favs:
Comfort food is something people seem to miss when they're eating healthier, but they don't need to!
Look at some of these delicious examples.......
From Julia's Album comes this amaaaaaa-zing Chicken with Bacon Mustard Sauce....mmmmmmmmmmm.....
Potato soup gets a health boost from cauliflower in this Faux-Tato Soup from Bushel & A Peck.
How good does this shepherds pie from Noshtastic look, right? Yum!
Cooking classy created these Philly Cheesesteak Zucchini Boats that are so good! Not into zucchini? Feel free to try my Philly Cheese Steak Peppers!
As for sweets that are healthy, well, the opinions are so varied I don't even want to go there! I will give my 2 cents though.....when in doubt about a sweet treat, start with a favourite fruit. You may find that you can knock your sweet craving with a naturally sweet treat. I find mangos really hit the sweet spot for me, but find something that feels treat-ish to you!
Think fruit as a sweet treat is dumb (haha, I know some of you are thinking that!!!)-then try some dark chocolate. Look for 60% or higher dark chocolate with little added sugar or any other funky ingredients. To get the health boosting antioxidants from the cocoa, you do need to choose a dark chocolate, as milk (in milk chocolate) binds to the antioxidants and makes it unavailable to the body. I honestly love eating a handful of my Pascha 100% cocoa chips (link below) and it always hits the spot.
I think that's all I'll share with you for today!
A few snacks, a few salads, some comfort foods, and my 2 cents about sweets should help you change your mind at least a little about healthy food being boring! Get creative about your food, try new things, and see how much fun good for you food can be!
Alrighty, I'm signing off!
I read an article recently that I found very interesting, and so I wanted to share it! It's from popsugar.com.
Binge Eating Disorder
Although binge eating disorder affects more people than anorexia and bulimia combined, it was only recently recognized by health experts. Our friends at Self are here to explain the facts behind binge eating disorder. If you think that you or someone you know may be suffering from an eating disorder, refer to the support links to at the end of this article and take NEDA's Online Eating Disorder Screen.
Hearing the words eating disorder, most people automatically think of anorexia and bulimia. But actually neither of these is the most common eating disorder people struggle with.
For years, there were essentially three buckets into which eating disorders were grouped: the two we've all heard of, and, well, everything else. If you were dealing with something that was neither anorexia nor bulimia, it was usually referred to as either "eating disorder not otherwise specified" or "other specified feeding or eating disorder." But these catch-all designations are falling out of favor with experts who know that within them, there are more accurate diagnoses that could actually describe what people are experiencing — we just don't know what to call them yet.
About three years ago, one particular diagnosis was plucked out of the muddle of EDNOS and OSFED, and today it is considered the most common eating disorder in the U.S. (At least, the most common one that actually has a name.)
Known as binge eating disorder, the condition affects 3 to 5 percent of women, which is about 5 million sufferers nationwide. In comparison, up to 1 percent of women have anorexia, and 1 to 2 percent are afflicted with bulimia, according to the National Eating Disorders Foundation. And it's estimated that 57 percent of people with binge eating disorder never receive treatment.
Here are nine important facts you need to know about binge eating disorder, including how to recognize signs of it in yourself and loved ones, and what to do if you think there's a problem.
1. Binge eating disorder is more than just eating too much food
Insatiable cravings that lead to eating large amounts of food, often quickly and to the point of physical pain, and followed by intense shame and self-loathing, characterize binge eating disorder, says Kathleen Murphy, licensed professional counselor and clinical director atBreathe Life Healing Centers, where the Breakfree at Breathe program specializes in treating binge eating disorder. Unlike bulimics, who also binge, those with binge eating disorder don't purge afterward. Since most sufferers feel so ashamed, they often eat alone or in secret. The ensuing emotional distress affects work, school and personal relationships.
2. Unlike other eating disorders, nearly as many men get it as women
While binge eating disorder does affect more women, who make up 60 percent of patients, men account for a significant 40 percent of cases. "We often see that binge eating disorder in women is more likely to occur in early adulthood, while it frequently occurs mid-life for men," says Murphy. Caucasian, Hispanic and African American populations are equally impacted, causing many experts to call it an "equal opportunity" disorder. Up to 1.6 percent of adolescents of both genders suffer from binge eating disorder, though individuals who seek treatment for binge eating disorder are often older than those who suffer from bulimia and anorexia, says Murphy.
3. Binge eating disorder was only recently recognized as a disorder
In 2013, binge eating disorder was finally categorized as a recognizable and treatable diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) produced by the American Psychiatric Association. This was incredibly important to the treatment of the disease, since a diagnosis that can be documented leads to greater access to care for sufferers. For example, most health insurance companies won't provide coverage for mental illness treatments that don't have an officially recognized DSM-5 diagnosis. Since it's now listed as a disorder, many insurance plans cover treatment.
4. Binge eating disorder is a habitual eating pattern, not something you do once or twice a year
Who hasn't overeaten and felt guilty after an indulgent holiday like Thanksgiving or an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch? Binge eating disorder is not occasional overeating, however. "Episodes must take place at least once a week over a period of at least three months," explains Murphy. Additionally, binge eating disorder is marked by a considerable amount of distress and a deep feeling of shame over the eating behavior. The overeating-guilt pattern is a vicious cycle that makes people feel completely out of control.
5. Emotion — not hunger — is what appears to be the driving force behind binge eating disorder
The disorder is still newly classified, so research is underway and all of the causes of binge eating disorder aren't known just yet. However, there are correlations between binge eating disorder and different manifestations of sadness and emotional stress. "The most common trigger for an episode is feeling badly or depressed," says Murphy. This could be due to relationship and work problems, stress from battling weight fluctuations and body image issues, feelings of loneliness, and even boredom.
6. Certain personality types are more prone to the disorder
High risk factors for having an eating disorder, including binge eating disorder, have been identified by scientists. Personalities that are inclined toward perfectionism, difficulties regulating emotion, having a rigid thinking style (like there is only one way to do things), and stress eating, are all more likely to fall victim. Those who suffer from anxiety or low self-esteem, or harbour obsessive-compulsive tendencies, are all more likely to have binge eating disorder too, says Murphy.
7. There's a genetic predisposition to binge eating disorder
A close family history of depression or addiction — whether to drugs, alcohol or painkillers — has been shown to coincide with eating disorders, including binge eating disorder (though binge eating disorder itself is not classified as an addiction). Those with genetic conditions such as celiac disease and Crohn's, which require restricted eating regimes, have been shown to be more prone to developing binge eating disorder, Murphy says, though no actual genetic link between the two has been found.
8. Not all people with binge eating disorder are overweight
While many binge eating disorder patients are overweight, you can be of normal weight while suffering from the disorder. "It's interesting to note that most obese people don't engage in recurrent binge eating episodes," says Murphy. Experts say giant portions, a diet high in factors like calories, saturated fat and fast foods, as well as a sedentary lifestyle all contribute to obesity much more so than the loss-of-control binge eating episodes that characterize binge eating disorder.
9. You have a better chance of recovering from binge eating disorder than other eating disorders
Prognosis for treatment is very positive — remission rates are higher in binge eating disorder treatment outcomes than in bulimia or anorexia, says Murphy. Careful attention to structure and emotional health are still essential to successful long-term self-care. Sufferers know theyshouldn't binge, but the frustration and struggle occurs when that knowledge seems to fly out the window during triggering moments when all they want to do is eat, says Murphy. Most binge eating disorder treatment programs include a combination of methods such as psychotherapy, support groups, nutrition counselling, and even alternative therapies like mindfulness and yoga.
If you or someone you know is suffering from binge eating disorder or another eating disorder, here are some helpful resources to learn more and find help:
Binge Eating Disorder Association Provider Directory
National Eating Disorders Association resource links and help and support, or call the toll-free, confidential helpline at 1-800-931-2237
The Alliance For Eating Disorders Awareness
Weeks 1 & 2 of my February long "Keep It Real" series we talked about "real simple" and "real food".
Today let's talk about keeping health & fitness real interesting!
I know grammatically the word should be "really", but I live in the sticks, and saying something like, "real interesting" isn't uncommon, and I like it!
Grammar aside, let's talk about keeping things interesting in health & fitness!
If there is anything I've learned on this journey through health & fitness, it's that what you eat and how you workout need to be interesting. If you do the same thing over and over and over and over and over (you get it), then you'll get bored and quit!
There are often times where you naturally fall into a routine, and that sameness can be comforting. But you need to be listening to yourself. A comfortable routine can slowly turn into feeling trapped. That little voice in your head that says, "ugh....more salad....." as you're prepping your 15th salad in a row for dinner. Or that same voice that says, "I am so not looking forward to my workout today because I've done the same one for the last month...."
That voice is the voice of health & fitness boredom, and that voice is not your friend!!! It's like the little angel and devil sitting on your shoulders telling you the right and wrong things to do, except one of these little creatures would be an unhealthy, sickly thing, and then there would be a healthy & happy one. Well, the "this is boring" voice is coming from the sick and unhealthy one. After thinking up this clever notion I Googled "angel and devil on shoulder", and found the images below. So much for being original! Haha...fail.
One key in keeping it interesting is being willing to try new things. If you keep saying, "I only really like (fill in the blank), and so that's all you ever try, eventually you will become bored of it.
If you like having a workout video, see if a friend has one too and ask if you can borrow it or swap with one you have for a time.
If you need new recipes (and have the internet....which I feel I can safely assume you do because you are reading this...), then decide to look up 3 new, healthy recipes to try in the next 3 weeks. Or you can go to a local library and see what healthy recipe books or magazines they have that you can borrow to try out some new things (you may also find some workout videos there too!).
So, allow me to share with you some of my favourite recipes and workouts and maybe you can add them to your life to keep things "real interesting!"
Favourite Healthy Recipes
Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Fajita Salad from Cafe Delites
There is brown sugar in the marinade/dressing that I have omitted and the salad was still amazing!
Cauliflower Chowder from Yes, More Please!
Super yummy, super filling, super-duper!
Chicken with Rosemary & Mushrooms from Paleo Foodie Kitchen
Such a simple recipe, but really full of flavour!
A 20 minute workout from POPSUGAR Fitness
10 Minute Jump Rope with Tony Horton
15 Minute Power Yoga with Yoga by Candace
A great way to find variety in YouTube without feeling overwhelmed is by finding a few channels you like (the 3 above are my favourites), and then just start working through their videos, and liking (clicking the thumbs up icon) the ones you really enjoyed to have as a reference for later use.
The other thing about workouts and keeping them real is to keep them challenging too. You will get bored if you consistently choose workouts that are too easy for you. Challenge yourself and your brain won't get so bored!
A few other ways to keep workouts interesting is to workout with a friend. I personally prefer working out alone, but if you're more social, than maybe having a friend to workout with will give you the boost you need in your workouts. Another thing you can do is to add new music to a playlist you might use while working out. Even just adding 3 new songs can add up to 15 more minutes of music that will be keeping you moving!
So my friends, don't get stuck in a rut! There is no reason to in this day and age where we have so many resources available to us! Arm yourself with new and interesting recipes and workouts so that you can succeed in being the healthiest you possible!
Last Monday I talked about Keep It Real: Real Simple. That post expressed my feelings about how health & fitness shouldn't be such a confusing endeavour!
Today I want to chitty-chat about food!
***Warning! I'm about to go to a rant!!!*** ; ) ........no, but really.....
I saw the ingredients recently for a "healthy" protein shake.....good grief (Charlie Brown), it was the most ridiculous list of ingredients I had EVER read for a "healthy" shake! Seriously, it made my blood boil a little! I was so upset that someone, somewhere in a big company thought, "hey, well, people trust us, they think we're cutting edge in what we do, let's expand into "health foods", but instead of them being healthy, we'll actually load it with so much garbage that they aren't actually being healthy at all (insert evil, corporate heads laughter here)!!! Ok, not all corporations operate like that, and perhaps my scenario of how this particular company developed their food line is not quite accurate. Still, I can't help but wonder......how did anyone who gave a crap at that company let this protein shake go to market???
Let me share the ingredients:
This particular shake consists of a "special protein blend" of pea protein isolate, which, by the way, is NOT the same as plain old pea protein! In fact, pea protein isolate has had very little research done on it's safety and pea protein isolate is a highly purified chemical extract, dramatically increasing the protein content of the unprocessed pea from around 10-15% to upwards of 90% in the isolate (info from Todd Caldecotte, who is a medical herbalist).
Geez!!! After that ingredient is cranberry protein.....yes, you read that right. Did you know cranberries had protein...? It's because they don't! Ok, over-reaction....they have trace amounts of protein (about 0.4 grams per 100 grams of cranberries), and I've read that the seeds contain more protein than that, but that idea is very confusing to me. If they test cranberries for protein, they take the seeds out first? I don't know much at all about this cranberry protein, and it's so new it's hard (borderline impossible, actually) to find sufficient information about where it comes from, how it's extracted, and so on. So, I can't say much about it except that it seems a little gimmicky in this mis-leading shake. But hey, maybe I'm wrong and it's an amazing thing?
Next comes rice protein. Now, rice protein perhaps isn't the very, very absolute worst protein out there....but it sure is the cheapest (in price and quality of protein). It isn't even a complete protein until it's combined with another protein (like pea, or hemp). So.....why add it at all? Why not use hemp protein instead, which is in itself a near-complete plant based protein. Especially if you're selling this particular shake at $20-$30 more than other shakes......?
Besides the added-in vitamins & minerals (you have to add them in when the foods you've used don't really contain much at all) the last few ingredients are cane sugar (there is palm, coconut, beet, brown and maybe a few more types of sugar, but what they're trying to trick you into thinking is that the sugar they used is special. It's not. It's just plain on white sugar made from canes instead of the other things I just mentioned.
Next comes sunflower oil (ahhhhhhh! What!?!?! Read this article, this article, or this article to find out why exactly you should not be consuming sunflower oil. If you don't feel like reading those, let me just say to you STOP EATING SUNFLOWER OIL!!!!!!.
Natural vanilla flavour is next. Well, this seems innocent enough! But, wait.....why not just real vanilla, or pure vanilla? Oh, it's because it isn't real at all. Just the flavour of natural vanilla??? Can I tell you an alarming thing I read recently? "Natural Vanilla Flavour" can actually contain beaver anal secretions (here's the article I read from Mercola, and here's another good one from national Geographic). The spray beavers use to mark their territory smell like vanilla, and because it's technically "natural" it doesn't needed to be specifically listed in the ingredients list of "natural vanilla flavour"......just let this info sink in......
...ok, moving on with the ingredients...
Corn starch (because we all needed another reason to consume more corn products!), inulin (found naturally mostly in root vegetables, although tiny amounts are found in onions and garlic, while much larger amounts are found in starchy roots such as chicory root and Jerusalem artichokes, read more about it here. I can't figure out why it's even in here), Xanthan gum (used for thickening), flax seed (the only food in this shake worth eating!!!), stevia leaf extract (a sweetener and sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana). Looking at the other ingredients listed, I'm going to guess they didn't use a high quality product, but I think I'm just feeling bitter---side note, too much Stevia and you no longer taste sweetness, but have a bitter taste instead. Weir, huh? Also, we already know they added sugar, so why even add the Stevia???
The last two ingredients are gum acacia and guar gum.....both "gums", which as we already saw 2 ingredients ago is used for thickening. Add the cornstarch from earlier, which has no nutritional value so I can only assume is there as a thickener, that makes 4 thickeners in this product! They really want you to feel like you've got a thick, satisfying healthy shake in your hand!
Oh, and the real kicker?!? The last bit of goodness is the statement made below the list of crappy ingredients: "Made in a facility that processes milk, eggs, tree nuts, soy and wheat". So, if you have allergies to any of those things.....you can't have this shake. Well, lucky you, actually! Most companies who give a care about their health food actually being healthy endeavour to make their health foods as allergen friendly as possible. This company couldn't even be bothered to try.
I feel so upset over companies who are tricking & swindling people out of their hard earned cash for stuff that shouldn't be going into their bodies! I hate that a lot of the ingredients are terrible food items, and that there are things in there that are intended to mis-lead people or catch their eye and make them go, "oh, I've heard of this, it's good for you/healthy/whatever". Using words like "special" in their protein blend is to remind you that this company wants you to feel like you're receiving some exclusive, top-of-the-line product. Their protein blend is "special", I suppose, because they are maybe the only ones doing this particular blend...but it's not a blend worth duplicating, so, yeah, I suppose it is special? "Cane" sugar is meant to make people think it's healthier than it really is. Adding Stevia (I believe) is purely for the purpose of catching peoples' eye because a lot of people have heard of Stevia and how it's a "health food", so it seems flashy and cutting edge to be in this shake.
I know a lot of people need protein shakes (mainly vegetarians and vegans), and there are a few good brands on the market, like this one, but unfortunately, most people are using protein shakes as a substitute for real food.
My (unprofessional, not medically trained) advice is this: unless you're a vegetarian or vegan, or your doctor specifically said that you need to be on a protein shake for some reason, don't even bother going after a protein shake!
Don't get caught up in the lies most companies offer up regarding their "superior" product. Don't spend (far too much) money on something that is just a synthetic version of a real food.
Instead, just keep it real--with real food!
I got this image from Mike over at The Iron You. He says:
This is rule #19 in Michael Pollan’s book “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”. One of my favourites.
It stresses the importance of eating real food, not creations of the food-industrial complex. Real food doesn’t have a long ingredient list, isn’t advertised on national television, and doesn’t contain stuff you can’t even pronounce the name.
Part of being healthy means consciously choosing wisely what you put in your mouth. So do eat food that comes from plants not that is made in plants!
I totally agree.....except I would also add that if it ATE a plant, eat it! : ) I'm talking meat here people!
I know the image above shows a Twinkie, but it could just as easily show an image for the protein shake I tore apart!
If you're thinking, "I need to start eating right", don't think of anything that was made my man. I know a lot of people who think, "I should eat better", and then they replace all of their man-made blatant junk food for man-made secret junk food. Food made in a plant.
Instead, try real food. Go through your produce isles with new eyes. See all of the colours, all the one ingredient foods, the flavour and texture varieties, and try a few things you've never had before!
I love that "Eat Right Rule" above: If your food can go bad, it's good for you. And if your food can't go bad, it's bad for you. I mean, I eat my fair share of junk food on my treat day, but I do so knowing that what I am eating is a treat and isn't a great food at all! When I'm eating Swedish Berries (the candies), I'm not thinking, "oh boy! These are made with real fruit juice and are fat free? Hot dog! They're practically healthy!!". But, unfortunately, that's often why such facts are plastered on the packages because someone, somewhere is thinking, "wow, what a good choice for a little treat!". I personally choose them because they are so freakin' delicious, but I know they are a food void of any benefit to my body whatsoever!
Swedish Berries (the candy) shan't ever go bad, even if I left them in my pantry for 10 years! Now, if I stuck a handful of real berries in my pantry, well, they would be getting squishy and moldy at least within a week.
Please take away from this post the simple message of eating real, simple foods. I feel like I've been bouncing all over and not really making the point I want to!
Don't let eating real, whole, and healthy foods become a scary thing! It's not, it really couldn't even be more simple! If you start an eating program that starts you off by saying you need to buy their food products (bars, shakes, cereals, whatever)-they are using you to make money, while misleading you about healthy food!!!
When's the last time an orange in the grocery store was like, "hey.....pssst! Hey you! Yeah, you! You should just start eating only oranges and nothing else. And you should also only buy them from the company named on my sticker"......I"m going to guess this has never happened?
Real food (as mentioned in the one photo above) won't be advertised on national television, because no one person/company can make a fortune on real foods. For example, I don't care what apples I buy, as long as they are the least expensive, I have no loyalty to my apple brand. But, if I was buying an apple cereal bar, I would probably look for a specific brand because I've been told it's the healthiest. Do you see what's happening?
The next time you walk into your grocery store, think "did this come from a plant (or did it eat a plant?), or is it made in a plant?
Eat well, eat simple, live long and prosper : )
It's Me, Amy-Lyn!
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