Hi Everyone !
I absolutely love grocery shopping. Is that weird ? I consider it a recreational activity … a hobby of sorts … each trip to the grocery store brings on a new challenge to discover a hidden health food gem , learn about the current trends in food, and snag free samples along the way (no shame in my free sample game!) I consider myself at this point somewhat of an expert at navigating food packaging and the plethora of products lining the shelves -- always with the goal of finding the BEST options available. I know not everyone shares this sentiment for food shopping .. some of you may even consider it a daunting task! Gluten free ? Organic ? NONGMO? Vegan? Grassfed? Low Fat? Sugar Free? Low carb ? Nutritious? Natural ? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN ! I know it can be really overwhelming when every product is promising you all kinds of things , so I wanted to help you by sharing my tips for picking products that are good for you and what to look for !
First I want to start by saying that I used to be one of those people who would pick up a product and immediately look at the nutrition label at the calories. If it was a snack under 100 calories , in my book, that was great. Next .. I would scroll down to the carb count .. if it was relatively low , then I would consider that healthy. Does this sound like you ? That WAS me... until I learned that I HAD IT ALLLLLL WRONG. You see, we are so conditioned to count calories .. to keep this running quota of calories/carbs in the back of our minds throughout the day and pick foods only according to this. This fixation on numbers and carbs/calories is not only creating an unhealthy relationship with food .. it is preventing you from eating so many nutritious things .. it is not making you any healthier.. and it is also making you eat foods that really do nothing for your body/health (for example--> you eat the keto cookie, you trick your brain into thinking it ate carbs, you didn't actually eat carbs , instead you ate chemicals/fake factory produced ingredients .. you continue the cycle, you throw your systems off, you end up less healthy/gaining weight in the long run <-- true story).
Now that I know the truth and I've seen the light .. let me shine it on your lives as well. There is ONE thing that matters (in terms of health) when you look at a package and one thing only ….INGREDIENTS. No .. not how many ingredients .. that is irrelevant.. it matters what the ingredients are. It matters WHAT they are .. It matters WHERE they came from .. and then you can go on to ask yourself WHY it is healthy… this will ultimately help you understand your food and eat intuitively. To make this more visual i'm going to use one of my favorite treats, Eating Evolved Dark chocolate Coconut butter cup, as an example and go through the process of how I decide to buy it or not.
1. THE FRONT OF THE PACKAGE - Here is where companies will strategically display words like ''natural'' ''vegan'' in order to grab your attention. This is the first thing you will see so of course, acknowledge what it says .. but don't hold too much value to it just yet. What I like about this one is first of all … dark chocolate/coconut/caramel sea salt UMM YASSSSS … but secondly , I see that it is organic and paleo … two things that are bonuses to me ! I don't rely on the labels much at all however if something is ''Paleo'' - to me this holds more value than most labels as it truly means something is as close to eating whole foods as possible.. unlike say ''vegan'' .. which doesn't really mean much unless you personally follow a vegan diet for ethical reasons. Acknowledge these words but DO NOT be swayed by the marketing.... low fat, sugar free, low carb, cholesterol free, fat free, natural, nutritious, healthy, vegan, gluten free,organic … these are not markers of if something is good for you. Example --> A package of muffins says ''gluten free and vegan !" … but the ingredients are sorghum flour, rice starch, xanthan gum, cane sugar, ethyritol, soy , modified corn starch etc... this is NOT healthy .. it is just gluten free and vegan. Get it ?