You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat

What is good for me?

Eating ‘right’ can be challenging, as there is so much information out there and much of it is conflicting. It is difficult to know what ‘healthy’ food actually is when almost every product you see claims some health benefit.  You simply cannot believe everything commercials and labels say. You may be eating and drinking what you think is healthy and nutritious, while what you are consuming may be actually doing you more harm than good. Labels that say fresh, healthy or natural, may not actually be any of these things.

To help you make healthier choices, I will share some of the top things about healthy eating which can change the way you make choices about what to eat and drink.

5 supposedly ‘healthy’ things you are better off not eating or drinking:

1. Multi-Grain Breads

Terms like ‘multi-grain’ and ‘wheat’ sound healthy, but many breads labelled ‘multi-grain’ and ‘wheat’ are typically made with refined grains, so you’re not getting the full nutritional benefit of the whole grain. If the first ingredient listed is flour, it is refined (it will typically say “bleached” or “unbleached enriched wheat flour”) and you are not getting a 100% whole-grain bread.

2. Salad

Don’t assume that anything with the word “salad” in it must be healthy. Prepared salads are often loaded with hidden fats and other nasties, including high sugar and mayonnaise content.  If you’re going to a self-serve salad bar, beware; Even if you choose fresh healthy vegetables, the dressings and other toppings can negate the nutritional value of your salad.

3.    Sports Drinks

While most sports drinks do contain important electrolytes (like potassium and sodium) that are necessary for intense workouts or endurance training, you don’t need a sports drink to fuel light activity. Many sports drinks contain lots of sugar, so spare yourself and opt for plain water to rehydrate.

4.    Smoothies

Due to the extreme portions of fruit, vegetables, and often times, added simple sugars and syrups, store-bought smoothies may not always be as healthy as you think.  You need to also consider the age and quality of what they are putting in to your drinks, as many juice bars use reconstituted fruit juices or pre-chopped fruit and vegetables prepared days in advance.

5.    Energy Bars

Energy bars are the perfect pre-workout snack, right? Not always. Many energy bars are filled with high fructose corn syrup, added sugar, and fillers. It is a good idea to fuel up with a mix of high quality carbs and protein, such as nuts and seeds, before an extended workout or hike.

WHAT can you do? What are the dangers of not eating the healthiest foods?

Continuing to eat sub optimal foods, like most bad habits, has a cumulative impact and is more noticeable in the long term.  You may think you can eat certain ‘bad’ foods and get away with it, while your organs are silently struggling. Over time they may progressively malfunction, resulting in your health slipping away without you even noticing it.

The quality of the food you eat can affect your overall health and wellbeing to a large degree, impacting your physical and mental performance and quality of life.

What happens when you improve the quality of the food you eat?

You know how you feel when you overindulge; you feel bloated, sluggish and lethargic. However, just as the wrong foods and drinks, can lower your ability to physically and mentally perform; it’s the same in reverse when you consume higher quality foods.  Some of the benefits of improved quality foods include more energy, greater fitness, better moods, more focus and improved control of your weight, just to name a few.

Some simple changes to start making today: 

Start by learning what’s in your food. As a more informed consumer, you can ask better questions about the quality, source and freshness, as well as not taking promotional packaging or commercials too literally. It’s also helpful to be mindful of the quantities of your food, as all foods have their healthy limit. If you often eat highly processed foods, try to introduce more fresh vegetables and note the changes in your physical and mental performance.

Why this approach works:

It’s simple and practical common sense that actually works.

Keep in mind, while eating healthy food is an obvious course of action to being healthy; it’s not the only factor that builds and supports your healthy body and mind.  Healthy living is a multifaceted approach, which also includes other important behaviours and strategies.  Be sure to consult with a qualified and experienced health practitioner for guidance and support.

Dr. Ari Diskin is a US trained Healthy Life Doctor of Chiropractic, with over 30 years professional experience, having cared for over 10,000 people. He uses Network Care as part of his 3 Step Vitality Program, in Melbourne Australia.  For more information