March is National Nutrition Month…and that has me positively cringing.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a focus on nutrients!
I cringe because never before in the history of mankind has there been an expression that has such a tremendously vast (and often misguided or downright WRONG!) variety of meanings as…
A healthy diet!
I’ve been in the health and nutrition field for 36 years and believe me, I’ve seen it ALL when it comes to what people think is healthy!
Now, most people mean well. It’s just that there is SO MUCH conflicting information out there that no one knows what to eat anymore.
Food companies don’t help this cause. With their creative marketing budgets, I’m sure they could convince people to eat used cat litter if they played it up as healthy enough.
Doctors aren’t much help either. They take one basic course in nutrition in their 4 long years of medical school, so quite frankly, how could they possibly be diet experts?
If you are concerned about your diet being healthy (and you’d better be!), here are some traps to watch out for:
1- A _______-free diet
Sometimes eliminating a food from your diet is necessary (such as if you’re gluten sensitive and on a gluten-free diet).
But there are two concerns when it comes to most other “_______-free” diets:
- What you may be missing by not eating that particular food and
- What you are eating in its place instead
In the first case, if you omit a food from your diet, you are also omitting the unique nutrients found in that food…and that can have serious health consequences. When you’re lacking in ANY nutrient, your body will suffer.
As far as what you are eating instead: If you’re on a fat-free or low-fat diet for example, you are taking in boatloads of sugar because food companies replace the missing fat with sugar—otherwise you’d probably spit it out.
In addition to weight gain, sugar creates inflammation, feeds cancer, disrupts your gut flora balance, and increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Sugar-free is no better. Sugar-free products contain artificial sweeteners…which are as harmful to your health as the sugar!
2- A high-________diet
This is when you have a high concentration of a certain food in your diet, such as high-protein or high-carb.
The dangers here are:
- What aren’t you getting in your diet because you’re eating so much of XYZ food and
- Eating too much of any food can be harmful
For example, some very high-protein diets restrict carbohydrate intake SO much that they can cause nutritional deficiencies or insufficient fiber intake—which can lead to chronic constipation and diverticulitis.
On the flip side, a high-carb diet can turn you into a pasta/bread/rice-eating machine, which all turn to sugar upon digestion.
3- What the TV says is healthy
Food companies have huge advertising budgets to create commercials that convince you that their products are good for you. This is especially true when it comes to foods like yogurt, breakfast cereals and margarine.
Words like “all natural,” “trans-fat-free,” and “high fiber” are used to conjure up healthy images in your mind, but don’t be fooled.
For example, yogurt may be all natural, but when it’s laced with sugars and sweetened fruits, it’s basically a dessert.
Margarines may be trans-fat-free, but they are made with heated polyunsaturated oils, which form deadly compounds that are just as harmful as trans-fats.
And although breakfast cereals may contain (small) amounts of fiber, they’re also loaded with sugar and are anything BUT healthy.
REAL healthy foods need no advertising. That’s why you’ll never see a commercial for romaine lettuce, organic chicken, extra virgin olive oil, roasted beets or fresh strawberries.
When you want to know what is healthy, don’t listen to the TV—listen to experts like me.
4- Counting calories
So many people are constantly “doing the math” to see if they’ve stayed within their calorie limits today.
But all calories are not created equal! What matters FAR more is the nutrition value of what you're eating.
For example, you can eat 300 calories of cookies or 300 calories of chicken. The chicken will nourish you and help you stay full.
The cookies? They will widen your backside, and since they do not nourish you, you will be hungry again in a little while and looking for something else to eat.
You can count calories until the cows come home, but if you're not getting nourished, it's just a useless number—and you’re likely walking around hungry 24/7 to boot.
5- It’s healthy if it will help me lose weight
It depends on what you’re talking about.
If you’re referring to real foods like meats, vegetables, fresh fruits and healthy fats, then you’re correct. Eating real foods means you inherently take in fewer calories and are better nourished, and that usually means weight loss.
But if you’re attempting to call weight loss crap like SlimFast or Weight Watcher’s Dark Chocolate Red Velvet Bites healthy, don’t even go there with me.
So what IS a healthy diet?
Simply put, at least 80 percent (and preferably 100 percent) of what you eat should be real foods.
Real foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and poultry (organic if possible), fish (wild-caught), dairy, eggs and good fats (like olive oil, coconut oil and real butter).
When you eat real foods, your body gets well nourished, and when you're properly nourished, these things can be your reality:
- You’ll naturally get full faster, eat less overall, and stay full longer (which can make weight problems a thing of the past).
- You’ll have more consistent energy throughout the day and won’t be tempted to indulge in unhealthy pick-me-ups like soda, chips or candy.
- All of your body’s systems will be able to work the way they’re supposed to, which makes you a much less likely home for disease to flourish.
Now that’s what I call healthy!
Recover from unhealthy diet abuse!
If you’ve fallen for any of the diet traps I mentioned above, it’s also essential to help your body recover from “unhealthy diet abuse”—especially in the area of your gut flora!
Sugars, preservatives and artificial ingredients all take a toll on your microbiome, and without a strong population of helpful bacteria, you are lacking in immune protection (and probably loaded with gas, bloating and constipation too).
In addition, your healthy gut bacteria are not “permanent residents”—they only “vacation” inside of you for about 12 days. So it’s essential to consistently replenish them so they can in turn support your health!
And when it comes to an outstanding probiotic product, Super Shield multi-strain probiotic formula is the GOAT!
Super Shield contains strong, effective, well-studied strains of 13 friendly bacteria that are robust and ready to take their place in your system. They'll help fend off harmful microbes, keep your digestion smooth, beef up your immune system and help keep your gut wall nice and strong.
Remember your insurance policy
Having a healthy diet is crucial if you don’t want to be pushing up daisies anytime soon, but the fact is, our food is inherently less nutritious that it was just a few decades ago.
Plus many of us are on the go, stressed and leading busy lives, so we don’t always have the time to eat as well as we should.
That’s why I recommend a gold-star multi-vitamin formula like Super Core as your little “nutrition insurance policy.”
In addition to providing a complete, well-rounded variety of essential vitamins and nutrients to make sure all bases are covered, Super Core also gives you natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories…and since free radicals and inflammation are two major causes of disease, Super Core goes a long way in supporting your great health!
Now you know what you need to know to truly celebrate March as National Nutrition Month!
To your health,