What to Avoid When Trying to Eat Healthy and Eat No Processed Foods or Sugar

Here are the ingredients and foods that I completely avoid since I’ve started eating healthy and have been avoiding processed foods and sugar. Now you can too! 

I’ve also included a couple tips on healthy eating that will help you to start eating healthy too!

This list is long, so just read it over.  If you don’t think you can avoid all of them at this time, it’s ok.  Just avoiding a few of these ingredients and/or foods will help your health. 🙂

Ingredients to Avoid If Avoiding Sugar of any kind:

1. All artificial sweeteners (ex. aspartame, saccharin, dextrose, corn sugar, grape sugar, sucralose)

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup

3. Corn Syrup

4. Sugar

Ingredients to Avoid if Avoiding Trans Fat:

1. Hydrogenated Oils of any kind (ex. hydrogenated soybean oil, hydrogenated canola oil)

2. Partially Hydrogenated Oils of any kind

3. Interesterified Oils of any kind

Any of these oils listed in a food, means that there is some trans fat in that food, even if the label states it has 0g trans fat.  This is because the FDA decided that companies could advertise any of their food products as having 0g of trans fat if it has less than 0.5 g of trans fat in them per serving.  Trans fat is more harmful to your health than saturated fat.

You need to be especially careful of this loophole when the serving size seems especially small.  This can result in you consuming a lot of trans fat when you believe you are consuming none at all.

There are three types of fat: two are naturally occuring and one is manmade.  The two naturally occuring fats are unsaturated fats and saturated fats.  Unsaturated fats are the good kind, and are naturally liquid at room temperature (think olive oil).  Saturated fats are considered the less healthy type of fat (but still better than trans fat) and are naturally solid at room temperature (think butter on the counter).

The third type of fat, and the manmade type, is trans fat.  Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been modified to be solid at room temperature, not liquid.  This modification is what created margarine, shortening, etc.  However, this alteration is also the reason why they are more harmful than saturated fats.

Other Ingredients to Avoid, to Help Overall Health and to Help Avoid Processed Foods:

1. Artifical Flavoring

2. “Natural Flavoring”

3. Propylene Glycol

4. Caramel Coloring

5. Fake coloring added (ex. Yellow 5, Blue 1)

5. “Enriched” Flours ~ Although some people look at “enriched” foods as a good thing, it really is not.  “Enriched” means that whatever food product it is, has been so processed that the natural vitamins, minerals, and/or fiber that would normally be found in it have been stripped out.  So, companies had to add vitamins, minerals and/or fiber back in to make it more balanced.

6. Added vitamins and minerals (look at “enriched” flours)

7. Soybean oil, Soy Lecithin, anything soy (soy has become the “new” corn- soy and corn are cheap fillers)  Soy is okay in small amounts for people (ex. Someone who has a glass of soymilk once a day because they are vegan/vegetarian).  However, too many people are getting lots of soy in their diet through processed foods and not even realizing it.  Soy mimics hormones in our bodies, and we need to be careful of that.  Soy is in anything from salad dressing, pasta sauces to chocolate.

Foods (That May Have a “Healthy/Healthier” Reputation), and Food Packaging, to Avoid:

1. Margarines– has trans fat/ hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in them

2. Shortenings (ex. Crisco) -has trans fat/ hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in them

3. “Wheat” foods that have 0g of fiber~ this means that it’s overly processed because wheat naturally has fiber in it.

4. White bread

5. White rice

6. White pasta

7. Any foods that are “instant,” or have a reduced cooking time: most of the time, they are more processed than the foods they are imitating (ex. instant mashed potatoes vs. homemade mashed potatoes; parboiled instant rice vs. brown rice)

8. Any foods, including meat, that have high percentages of sodium, cholesterol, or saturated fat

~Sodium- the highest percentage on any food should be 10%, but ideally lower

~ Cholesterol- the highest percentage on meat should be 30%, but ideally lower and should be more around 20% or less for any other food

9. Avoid Food Packaged in Plastics #3 and #6 – these are the most harmful types of plastics.  The chemicals in these plastics can leech into the food the plastic packaging is holding, which then makes it unsafe for our health.

10. Limit and/or avoid Plastics #1 and #7.   #1 Plastic is one that the studies are inconclusive about.  Some people suggest it is harmful while others say it is safe.  Plastic #7 is the miscellaneous category for plastics.  Some plastic labelled as #7 is safe, but other #7s are not.  I like to be on the cautious side when it comes to my health.  So, I try to limit these as much as possible.

 Tips for Healthy Eating and Eating No Processed Foods or Sugar:

1. When looking at any wheat or whole grain products, make sure there is at least 2g of fiber.  This normally means the product is less processed.

2. Look for ingredients that you can instantly imagine in their natural state: tomatoes, brown rice, etc.

3. The fresher the food is, and less packaging there is, the better.

4. Go for the rainbow when selecting fruits and vegetables

5. Eat whole wheat and whole grain foods like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and whole grain bread- instead of white rice, white pasta, white bread, etc.  Wheat and whole grain are complex carbs, not simple carbs like their white counterparts, which make them a better fuel for your body.

6. Eat only 2 palm-sized portions of meat a day.  This is an easy way to visually see what an 1 oz. serving of meat looks like without having to buy a scale, or carry one around with you everywhere.  Also, this is the amount of meat recommended for a person daily.  Following this keeps in check the amount of cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium you’re consuming in a day.  The rest of your daily protein should come from beans and/or nuts.

8. If cutting out most processed foods from your diet/food intake, make sure you still get enough sodium.  Most Americans get way too much sodium in their diets/daily food intake because of how much processed foods we eat, and how much sodium is in processed foods.  So, most of the time, Americans have trouble with too much sodium.  For us who cut out most processed foods though, we have the problem of getting too little sodium, which our bodies do need to function (and will cause horrible leg cramps if receiving too little).  So, make sure you have enough sodium by salting your meat a little,  eating salted nuts, etc.

9. If you are financially able, go organic.  USDA Certified Organic foods are regulated and are required to not have pesticides, artifical growth hormones, etc. in them or on them, making them an even healthier choice.  However, I am even not able to go completely organic because of finances.  I have a few items (milk, eggs, cheese, and I believe one other item I can’t think of) that I regularly get organic.

However, I believe that eating fresh produce, leaner meats, and overall healthy foods will benefit anybody’s health regardless of whether they eat only organic foods, only conventionally made/grown foods, or a mixture of both.

That’s it!  Thanks for making it through the entire list!  I did not go into the reasons why I avoid each ingredient and food because I felt that it already was a really long blog post.  So, I only included reasoning when I felt that it was especially needed.

If you have any questions on any of these ingredients or foods- like why one of them is on my list– please comment below, and I’ll answer back!

This is not an all-inclusive list.  This is only what I can think of right now. I will be continuously adding things to it when I think of more.  🙂

Did I miss an ingredient or food you think needs to be avoided?  Or, did this list help you start eating better?  Comment below and let me know! 🙂

Have a sunny day, and happy healthy eating and grocery shopping!

~Kim

“Why settle for eating healthier, when you could be eating healthy?” ~Kim Maurer

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Why I’ve Continued Eating No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar, aka Day 75

Hi!

The past couple of weeks have gone by so quickly for me. I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging! I can hardly believe it’s July 6th already.

So, if I was still counting, (which I haven’t been, but I figured some of you would be curious to know how long I’ve been going without processed foods and sugar 🙂 ) today would be Day 75!

Honestly, it feels like I’ve been eating real foods and no processed foods or sugar for much, much longer than 2 1/2 months.

So, why am I still eating no processed foods and no processed sugars?

I just overall feel healthy now. That was one of my goals when I initially decided to eat this way. And this one change has led to two other changes in my life. After I started this challenge, I began to exercise, started yoga again, and even began to heal my two pulled hamstrings that had “made” me stop doing yoga two years ago (I thought that doing yoga was making them worse. So, I thought I would let them rest. Instead, my hamstrings got so bad on this plan that I would majorly pull them when I leaned over to wash my hands, or when I bent over to pick something off of the floor. They were that bad). The yoga and the walking have been making my hamstrings stronger. The other major change that I started was that I began to really look at how much plastic was in my life and how I could limit it to protect my health and the Earth’s health.

This challenge has even connected me more with my body. I am realizing when I am hungry and when I’m just rummaging around the kitchen because I’m bored, tired, anxious~ place any word you like there. And so, I go do yoga, or just get a glass of water. Anything to get out of the kitchen.

I also have clearer skin. Is it completely clear yet? No, but I know that there are still a lot of toxins in my body that my body is attempting to get out. And, I also know that my skin will never be 100% clear. But, it still is a lot clearer than before I started this challenge, and I’ve even stopped using any acne skincare products.

I am even down to 141 lbs. compared to 156 lbs. when I started this challenge, and this wasn’t even a goal of mine. However, it is a natural response the body has when it is being fed better.

Yet, the one thing that continually brings me back from a craving of chocolate, pizza, a cookie, etc. is that I am feeding my body and my mind right.

It is easy to say, “Oh, but that cookie, junk food, extra-huge portion of steak, or any kind of processed food and sugar tastes so good. I deserve it.”, or “I want it.”

But, do any of us truly deserve or want health problems? Being overweight? Obese? Heart Disease? Diabetes? etc.

No, we don’t! We don’t deserve that. No one does.

So, eat healthy! Eating actual food like fruits, vegetables, whole grains (brown rice, wheat pasta, etc.), milk, nuts, fish, chicken, and those in the right portions, help to nourish you and your body.

Healthy eating:

~ maintains a healthy body weight

~ helps lose weight if overweight

~ helps energize (and eliminates feeling sluggish and tired caused by unhealthy foods)

~ helps lower cholesterol

~ helps lower high blood pressure

~ lowers your risk of Heart Disease

~ lowers your risk for Diabetes, etc.

The list truly goes on and on!

While food-like substances and foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fat (look for hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients EVEN if the package says “0 g. trans fat”), cholesterol, sodium, high fructose corn syrup, artifical sweetners, and sugar like ice cream, canned soups, crackers, bread, macaroni and cheese, jello, white pasta, white bread, white rice, cookies, chips, etc. only make you feel sluggish, tired, and can make you gain weight. And no one really wants that.

My goal here is to expose you to how much food is processed, and not actual food, around us! How much processed “food” we believe is food because the ads, companies, and our friends are telling us it is food!

Yet, is it food?

With so many processed foods “enriched” and “nutriously rich” are they really enriched naturally? Or, did companies have to add so many vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. to those “foods” because they were so processed that they barely even resembled food? They are really empty calories that companies sometimes attempt to make “seem” better.

Do you really want to eat foods that are instant? That don’t spoil? That are meant to have long shelf lives?

When it comes to processed foods:

Long shelf lives in the store= Long shelf lives in our bodies

I don’t. I don’t want to eat foods that have ingredients I can’t pronounce, or that have ingredients that I can’t buy or picture that ingredient in its natural form.

And that is why I am continuing to eat this way. I am willing to eat healthy because I know it will be good for me now and later on down the road.

And, it tastes good! 🙂

Anyone can say they will make a change, one day. Are you willing to be different and start making that change today?” ~Kim Maurer

Have a sunny day!

~Kim