What does eating healthy mean?

Making healthy food choices is more than just eating more fruits and veggies while eating less junk and sweets. I recently answered a question about how to eat healthy without a lot of additives on Yahoo!Answers. The person was mainly concerned with eating organic. However, organic is only part of getting rid of additives and other chemicals in the diet to eat healthy.

This was an issue for me too, although I haven’t seen the movie (the question mentioned the documentary Food, Inc). My family, especially my son, is very sensitive to food additives which affect his behavior.

Learn to read food labels carefully. Once you switch to more healthy brands, shopping doesn’t take any more time than normal. I was surprised when I read sour cream labels. I found that many brands have more additives than cream. Try Daisy, it is just sour cream. The more long chemical names you can’t pronounce, the less healthy the food.

Watch for marketing traps. The more modified a product is, the worse it can be for your health. “Healthy” convenience products may have lots of substitutions to make them taste good. Low fat products often add sodium or sugar. No sugar usually means artificial sweeteners which are worse. Also, don’t assume just because a product is organic, that it is healthier. Many processed organic foods have just as many additives (or more!) as the regular versions.

When shopping consider an 80/20 principle. 80 percent of the food should have no label like from the produce section or be whole foods like fresh lean meats, eggs, rice and oatmeal. Dried beans and bagged veggies (frozen or fresh) without sauce count here as well but not canned. The other 20 should be healthy things with labels like whole grain pasta, cereal, and bread; natural cheese; low sodium spaghetti sauces; natural peanut butter; and dairy. Avoid heavily processed foods. You’ll do most of your shopping from the outer aisles. Then get a good cookbook for making healthy meals from scratch.

Keep in mind that you may have behavior changes and/or mood swings for a few days after you get rid of the processed food and other junk as your body detoxes. However, then you should have more energy, better moods, and possibly lose some weight.

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2 Responses

  1. Great post! So true.

  2. Anna,
    Thanks! Any ideas why your comments always end up in the spam? I apologize if any have been accidentally deleted recently.

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