Ingredients in our food!
I heard somewhere (at some point during my journey) to ‘never eat anything that has more than five ingredients in it.’ Heck if I can remember where I heard this, but I just knew that people I looked up to, nutritionally speaking, were fussing about it so I thought it must have merit.
This was before I understood what real food actually was. Sounds crazy right? I mean I had at one point eaten myself up to the point of being 260 pounds! But I’m telling you I didn’t know what real food was? Well, it was no surprise then that at the beginning of my journey I didn’t understand that high fructose corn syrup didn’t have to be in almost every single thing I ate. Or that Natural flavors are sometimes naturally disgusting! Or that those hard to pronounce chemically sounding ingredients were just that! Hard to pronounce chemical ingredients. I thought if they sold it in the grocery stores, than it’s real food, right?
Don’t get me wrong, we are all at different points on our journey and sometimes on different paths at that. The journey to true health is like any journey. It takes time, it takes change, it takes dedication (to the journey itself, not to some strict set of guidelines or rules or restrictions). So if simply reading ingredients when you shop at all is something you’ve never done before than start there! Get curious. What is in your food?
Or next, try focusing on one problem ingredient that, as I said, is in nearly everything: High fructose corn syrup. See if you can find products without it when you are looking for BBQ sauce, salad dressing, pre-packaged fruit cups, or pastry items. Chances are that eliminating (or aiming to) this one ingredient will steer you in the right direction most of the time. Now … herein comes an important fact about ingredients. Ingredient lists can be deceiving! HFCS is not always labeled as such. It may be labeled as corn syrup, corn syrup solids, corn sugar, or whatever else they can legally call it but that sounds as natural and non-sugary as possible.
Personally, I try to avoid the word sugar in any form (which takes some practice, as there are lots of ‘natural’ and artificial sweeteners/sugars out there to remember) on the ingredient list of things I buy. Fruits and Vegetables have their own natural sugar, so I don’t see why we have to add it to everything. Like marinades? Seasoning mixes? Why? That is what I want to do, take the care to grill up some lean chicken or salmon that’s been seasoned with sugar and other spices (that they called ‘lemon pepper’ or ‘taco seasoning’), and then slather it with a sugary sauce.
This blog wasn’t about sugar though. Or High fructose corn syrup. It’s just that all these foods we eat, if we made them from scratch (I know, I know, totally not always possible) would use just real foods. The applesauce would be made of just apples, lemon and a pinch of cinnamon. The chili just lean meat, whole dry black beans, chicken stock (with no salt added), tomatoes (pureed and whole), onion, carrots, and real spices. It is possible to eat real foods, there is such a thing, and conventional grocery store shelves are selling something else entirely.
We can’t get to the end of this road overnight though. And I would say that we are never to the end of this road. But the more we get curious and move towards change, the closer we are. As I have been stating at the end of each blog, and will continue to: We all have different constraints. Do the best you can with you what have and what you know. If you do that, you will continue to grow.