Monday, January 11, 2016

Mission: Fit Monday | Food for Thought

Preserve and treat food as you would your body, remembering that in time food will be your body. ~B.W. Richardson

I wrote this post almost three years ago, when Liem was battling a bad case of eczema and I had gone on a mission to determine what was causing his flare-ups. I still stand by what I wrote, probably more so now that I've become more health-conscious. The following points are my own opinions and suggestions when it comes to food and the way we think about it. It isn't so much a scare tactic or the end-all-be-all on the topic as it is an imploration to simply pay more attention to what you're eating.

1. Organic isn't always better

Organic has become the skinny jean of the food industry  a fad. The term "organic" is slapped onto almost every single label of every single item in the grocery store, from milk to mini peanut butter sandwich crackers. It's thrown around so often and so loosely that it's sort of lost its meaning, and what's worse is that we blindly trust the label and swear the organic stuff is better for us without question. But that's not always the case. Take Horizon Farms, for instance. The nation's "largest conventional & organic milk marketer" actually received a zero cow rating by the Cornucopia Institute. Yup  zero, zilch, zip, meaning their cows don't have access to enough pasture to be 100% organic.

2. Read the label

Sounds simple enough, but you'd be surprised how many people go on their merry way without knowing exactly what they're eating. Case in point: almond milk. Healthy stuff, right? After all, almonds are chock full of essential nutrients and are a good source of healthy fat and protein. While all of that is true, some almond milk brands use carrageenan, a polysaccharide extracted from red seaweed, as a thickener. Although carrageenan is used in a lot of certified organic foods, research links it to gastrointestinal inflammation in lab rats. My advice: if you have trouble pronouncing even one ingredient on the label, ditch it.

3. Forget the calories

Calories don't mean crap if all you're loading into your body is crap. Crap is crap, any way you slice it. What's the first ingredient in those 100 calorie snack packs? Enriched wheat flour? "Enriched" meaning stripped of its naturally occurring vitamins and minerals? Crappity crap crap crap. Start paying attention to better health indicators like fat content (and not all fat is bad), protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sodium, sugar, etc. You know what's healthy. Listen to your gut. Literally. Which leads me to my next point:
4. Pay attention to your body

Gas? Stomach Pain? Acne? Your body may be trying to tell you something. If something is plaguing your body, take a closer look at your diet. Think of your body as a car and the food you eat as the fuel. Just as you wouldn't put diesel in a car that calls for premium gasoline, you shouldn't be guzzling up foods that make you run slower. I'm not saying you should scrap everything and go vegan, but do your research and try eliminating some of the main suspects, or foods that are known to be highly allergenic like dairy, nuts, eggs, or gluten. You may not have an acute allergy to it, but you could be intolerant.
5. Everything in moderation

Life has a lot to do with balance, and that includes food. Don't limit yourself to the point where you start resenting everyone around you who orders a slice of pizza or ice cream cone. Indulge once in awhile. That piece of chocolate isn't going to kill you (Tip: Dark chocolate is a great alternative to milk or white chocolate. It's loaded with antioxidants and satisfies the sweet tooth just the same). Healthy eating doesn't mean starvation or even dieting. It's give-and-take, and more importantly, knowing what you're putting in your mouth.

What's your food philosophy? Let's discuss in the comments!

xo Sc

P.S. Shortly after writing this post, I switched Liem to goat's milk and immediately noticed the redness and swelling of his eczema go down. If your little one is intolerant to cow's milk, you've tried almost every alternative and you're at your wit's end like I was, I recommend giving goat's milk a shot. You can find it at your local Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.
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1 comment

  1. Fab post Sarah.

    1. Not just food, but drink too.

    I know we are all supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but seriously how many people do it? I start and stop and start again, easier to do in the summer when it’s hot out. In the winter I just want hot chocolate and tea. I’ve read so many articles on how drinking water benefits you, so I finally whipped my butt in gear and started a new regime of drinking a bottle of water as soon as I wake up. One between lunch and dinner and one after dinner. The benefits are……

    • Make your skin glow. Water is known to purge toxins from your blood, and as a result you get glowing skin.

    • Renew cells. Drinking water first thing in the morning increases the rate at which new muscle and blood cells are produced.

    • Balance the lymph system. When you drink water first thing in the morning on a daily basis, you help balance your body’s lymph system. Lymph glands found in your lymph system fight infections helping you to perform your daily activities. They also balance the fluids in your body.

    • Lose weight. When you consume about 16 ounces of water (chilled), you will boost your body’s metabolism by about 24% thus help you lose those extra pounds.

    I have noticed a change in my skin and dark circles already, it’s only been a couple of weeks and I see a difference. I can’t wait to see the changes in a month or two.

    2. Simple Pleasures

    When I find I am craving something sweet, I head straight for a fruit smoothie and no, not the Starbucks rubbish. ½ cup of strawberries, ½ cup raspberries, ½ blueberries, ½ cup fat free natural plain yogurt, little bit of water and crushed ice. Sweet, filling, natural healthy foods.

    3. 5 A Day

    Seriously, this is easy to do. There are 3 servings in the smoothie recipe above! I always eat more than 5 a day of mixed fruit and vegetables. If I need a snack in between meals I grab fruit. At night rather than filling my plate with rice, pasta (I love pasta) or potatoes, I substitute it for either cooked vegetables or a salad - which I also eat before the meat.

    4. Processed Crap – Don’t Buy It

    I can’t and won’t buy processed ready-made meals, they are full of crap. We all know it, but it’s easy to grab a ready meal and stick in the microwave Yuk! Fresh is always best. When I have time I batch cook, chili, stews, soups, spaghetti meatballs. I hear people say I’m too busy to batch cook, sorry but that don’t cut it. Get up 30 minutes earlier and leave a meal in the slow cooker all day, take what you need for dinner and freeze the rest for another time. We have weekends people – get off your lazy a*** and cook healthy meals. After a long hard day, stuck in traffic whatever the reason is that you pull that take out menu out of the drawer (because you don’t want to cook) – hey guess what? You can leave the healthy stew defrosting in the fridge all day and it will be ready to warm up when you get in – see no cooking :P

    5. Moderation

    I’m with you on this one Sarah. You want a piece of chocolate have it, fancy a donut – go for it. Depriving yourself of little treats here and there just makes you miserable and want to give up before you’ve even started. If I have something and I feel guilty after because I really shouldn’t have eaten the entire box of chocolate LOL I’ll go for a swim, or couple of miles walk with the dog. It won’t even burn off half of what I ate, but I’m still exercising, I enjoyed eating it and feel less guilty overall.

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