What are you eating? Do you even know what you’re eating? You may not be aware of all of the ingredients you’re consuming on a daily basis.
As a 20-Something, I know a typical breakfast for a 20-Something living in NYC is grabbing a bagel on the way to work and “cooking dinner” often translates to “ordering Seamless.” We eat granola and protein bars that are marketed as health foods and wonder why we feel like crap. Food labels trick us into thinking we are eating healthy while we are unknowingly consuming crazy amounts of sugar, gluten, soy, sodium, and preservatives.
Don’t let healthy-seeming food labels stating “all natural” trick you either. Just because something is 100% organic doesn’t mean it’s healthy either. I am all about eating organic. I love organic foods and make a huge effort to eat organic as often as possible. However, the ingredients list still needs to be checked. Even if the ingredient list is organic, the ingredient itself remains the same. For example, sugar. Organic sugar is still sugar.
“If it has a label or a barcode, you should probably avoid it.”Dr. Mark Hyman
The ingredients list is the first place to look. You may have heard sayings such as, “if you’re grandma didn’t eat it, it’s probably not good for you” or “if the label contains an ingredient whose name you can’t pronounce, it’s probably not good for you.” I like to put it in simpler terms:
Eat Real Food.
By real food I mean fresh fruits and veggies, unprocessed grains, raw nuts, and high-quality meats. These foods are full of natural vitamins and minerals and promote healthy digestion and higher energy levels. These foods are delicious in their natural forms and are devoid of the added sugar, salt, and other ingredients that we do not need in our diet. I have dappled in several different ways of eating over the years- vegan, paleo, etc. but eating real foods gets me feeling great every single time.
Now you might be thinking eating real food isn’t practical. Does eating real food mean that you need to carry salads around for breakfast, lunch, dinner, plus snacks? However, it is possible to eat primarily real food even if you’re constantly on the go or have to eat out. Take it from me, as a Management Consultant, I spend 25% of my week on an airplane, in an uber, or driving a car.
As a Management Consultant who travels for work every week, that unfortunately means that cooking my meals is restricted to only the weekends. However, I have found what works for me is to research local restaurants whenever I am traveling to a new client site. That way I am prepared once the plane lands to make healthy food decisions as I know exactly where to get my meals. At restaurants, I also typically pick the “build your own” salad or bowl option. I like build your own because it allows you to chose exactly what you want in the bowl and, more importantly, ask about each of the ingredients in the bowl. Yes, I’m THAT annoying person. If it is not a raw ingredient (let’s say sautéed spinach), I will ask exactly what it is sautéed in. Let me tell you, I have found that there is soy and sugar hidden in everything.
On my blog, I will begin to share recipes of real food I like to cook. My recipes are simple and don’t require the purchase of several ingredients. To me, there is nothing worse than getting excited over a recipe just to find out that it requires 20 different ingredients, 10 of which I will never use again. I try to keep my recipes simple, using mostly ingredients that I typically have in my kitchen. I’m also a firm believer that you can sautée almost any vegetable in garlic and oil and it will taste delicious, but maybe that’s just the Italian side of me!