It seems as though buying from the grocery store is getting more difficult these days for those of us who want to get healthy and stay healthy. In fact, the main portion of the supermarket is usually piled high with processed foods, most of which deter from health rather than promoting it.
Here are a just few products to stay away from.
Vegetable, canola, soy, safflower and peanut oil: These are all a big no no, as are diet butter alternatives. These oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, an overabundance of which is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, weight gain and diabetes. Not to mention the fact that they are most likely made from genetically modified ingredients.
Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and flax oil are much better options, along with grass fed butter and coconut butter.
Cookies: Cookies are on the list of foods never to buy at the store. Not only are they high in bad fats, they are high in refined sugars and lack any nutritional value. Homemade cookies are a bit better, but stay away from the refined sugar and flour. Oh, and the vegetable oil.
Frozen yogurt: Frozen yogurt is very high in sugar, sometimes higher than ice cream. It also is not just frozen yogurt. The frozen so-called “treat” often contains maltodextrin, cellulose gum, some kind of thickening agent, and artificial flavoring. If you’re really craving some sweet treat, freeze some organic Greek yogurt and top with some fresh fruit.
Cake mixes: Another item that is high in refined sugar and flour is cake mix. Like the store-bought cookies, it’s best just to make your own, gluten free, healthy versions.
Artificial sweeteners: Stay away – and we mean away – from artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame are all chemically processed. They have been linked to cancer, ADHD, diabetes, headaches, depression and forgetfulness (to name only a few), and they actually increase your hunger… isn’t that ironic?
If you find it necessary to sweeten things up a bit, try using raw honey, unprocessed stevia or coconut sugar
Processed meat: This includes smoked and cured meat. Nitrites and nitrates are added to bacon, ham, hotdogs and sausage, just to name a few. These nitrites and nitrates, which are included to add color, prevent the growth of bacteria and extend shelf life, are linked with diabetes, heart attacks and colon cancer.
Your best bet is to stay away from processed meats altogether. There really is NO good hotdog unless it is an organic, grass fed beef dog.
Snack bars: Avoid high fiber cereals and snack bars that have an ingredient called cellulose. This is actually a fancy name for wood shavings. These wood shavings are added to the product to cut down on the use of flour, oil and sugar, which are growing more and more expensive.
Even some organic food contains cellulose. It is getting more and more difficult to stay away from the stuff. Just be sure to read your ingredients carefully.
Salad dressing: Adding processed salad dressing to your healthy, low-calorie salad ruins the healthy aspect of your salad. Salad dressings are packed with empty calories and often laden with bad fats. Two tablespoons of salad dressing, which is a serving size, contains a whopping 200 calories and 20 grams of bad fat – and who really uses just two tablespoons?
For a healthier option, try using lemon juice or balsamic vinegar combined with some extra virgin olive oil to bring out the taste of your salad.
Non-organic milk: Buying organic is the best choice when purchasing milk. Organic milk is free from the pesticides, hormones and chemicals that are found in non-organic milk. Cows that produce organic milk are grass fed, as opposed to cow that are fed in feedlots. Conventionally-raised cows are also given the bovine hormone rBST to help them grow faster and produce more milk.
This hormone has been banned in Europe and Canada, and with good reason. Researchers found that cows that were given rBST injections were more likely to have health problems like lameness, reproductive trouble and udder infections. When these cows were treated for their infections with antibiotics, the antibiotics were passed through the milk down to us, the consumers.
Just remember, be patient and read the ingredients. If a product has more than five, don’t bother buying it. As a general rule, the more ingredients a product has, the less healthy it is.