Over time I’ve noticed that most people think they eat healthy. They also believe they are eating the way they should to lose weight. As mentioned in my previous post about following your intuition and listening to your body when it comes to losing weight or making healthy choices, it’s important to be conscious of body signals when trying to accomplish this. For instance, one should pay attention to what they eat as they are eating; they’ll most likely be eating slower and ingest less amounts of food and calories. One should also pay attention to satiation levels as they are eating; never eating ‘till they are full because this will slow down the digestion and when eating excessively, this can disturb insulin levels. Or, one should bring their attention to the presence of food intolerance symptoms such as bloating, fatigue (feeling sluggish), mood swings, headaches, stomach acidity, belly cramps or sharp pains, change in stools…
Starting by being in touch with your body is the first step to achieving weight loss and optimal health. You’ll have a better understanding of how much, when and what you should eat.
There are thousands of diets out there, and sometimes it may be overwhelming and confusing. But what works best to my experience when I look at my clients and their results, is applying this first step I’ve mentioned and following the below list of food to avoids and those to limit as much as possible (or avoid completely).
FOODS TO AVOID:
1- Sugar or anything containing refined sugar. Plain and simple sugar is a drug and in my opinion, cocaine and sugar, not too different from each other…
2- Highly Processed Foods: Anything and everything sold in a box or packaging, where ingredients list contains more than 3 items and when you have no idea or understanding of what they are. Usually these are products that are not in their natural state. For example strawberries are in their natural state; a strawberry Nutrigrain Bar is not, a strawberry yogurt is not, a strawberry low fat no sugar added ice cream is not… Get the point?
3- Commercial Cereals & Breads: this one merits a category of it’s own – even if they are considered Highly Processed Foods. Somehow people always think that these are healthy. Stay away from Kellogs, Kashi, Nature Valley and all breads sold in supermarkets. Even the organic kinds aren’t great; often containing too much sugars or preservatives and they tend to spike up insulin levels. Ideally, you can and should make your own granola & bread (try gluten free ones – will post recipes soon). If you really can’t do without and want maybe once a week a slice of bread or cereals for breakfast look for Ezekiel brand at TAU (freezer section for breads and cereal section for cereal and granola – always chose plain versions and add your own fruits to sweeten). On occasions I will go to a bakery to pick up fresh organic breads with very little ingredients and most are made using sourdough – check out Le Fournil Ancestral (they are the distributors of organic breads to almost all healthy grocery stores like TAU & Rachel –Berry.
4- Anything Low Fat: Commercially created for the “weight conscious” it includes skim milk, low fat yogurt (usually will contain a lot of sugar to compensate from the fact that the product will lack taste from being low fat), margarines…
5- Deli Meat: Another highly processed food that needed a category of it’s own in my opinion. They are filled with growth hormones and chemicals, preserved with nitrates (toxic to the body) and contain unhealthy fats. Not to mention that processed meats have been linked to higher risks of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
6- Soy products: Soy is the second most used genetically modified product in the world after corn and is found in almost everything processed. It is highly processed and is highly contaminated with pesticide. This combination along with the fact that soy contains plant estrogens that have been linked to breast and prostate cancer should be enough to convince you to avoid it or any of its derived products. Great article by Precision Nutrition on Soy.
FOODS TO LIMIT OR AVOID COMPLETELY (limit in terms of proportion AND regularity – don’t eat everyday, maybe once a week…)
7- Dairy: If you have milk chose 2% or 3,8% AND ORGANIC. Butter isn’t bad for you; it’s actually better to cook with butter than other oils. It’s high in calories, so simply watch the amounts you consume and it MUST BE organic, because fat is where all animals store toxins such as pesticides and alt. See article on the difference between conventional butter and organic butter for more details. If you chose a yogurt, opt for full fat and plain (you can add your flavors with cinnamon, vanilla extract, fruits, nuts…)
8- Non organic eggs (the minimum is to buy eggs from free run hens)
9- Non organic meats
10-Caffeine & Alcohol : I like to limit my intake of caffeine in a day to one espresso or a lightly brewed cup of green tea (in the morning) and a glass of wine on occasions. We all know the effects of alcohol on the body. As for caffeine, which is a controversial subject; some say it’s good for you and some disagree. I LISTEN TO MY BODY and I know when to stop so that it doesn’t become too much for my body to handle. An espresso a day, in the morning and a glass a wine as an accompaniment to my supper is my limit!
If you have questions or simply want more info on the matter, don’t hesitate to contact me.