Beginner’s Guide to Cutting Out Processed Foods and Refined Sugar

Hello!

So this video I actually recorded and uploaded onto Youtube the same day as my Processed Food Free for 1 Year- Story and Results Video, and thought I had posted it on here as well.  However, apparently I missed posting it here, so here it is! 🙂

In this video I give an explanation of what processed foods are, what foods I eat when trying to eat real foods (and avoid processed foods and refined sugar), what to avoid, and what to look for.  This video did end up much longer than I really had intended it to be, but it gives overall answers to the questions I list above.  Enjoy!

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please note: If you are worried about starting this type of diet, or whether it is right for you, please consult your doctor.

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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

Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner Review with Sunny Mother Nature

Hello!

If you have read any of my other blog posts, you’ll know that I am co-washing (aka conditioner washing) my hair right now.  If you haven’t read any of my posts about it, co-washing is basically washing your hair with conditioner.  It does seriously work.  I have been using this process for 2 months now, and used Wen for 7 months before that.

Originally when I bought the Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner, I thought it would be my ultra-moisturizing conditioner for the ends of my hair and that it would not be good to use as a co-washing conditioner (for my roots).

However, it ended up being the complete opposite from what I thought! 

Here’s my Pros and Cons for this Organix conditioner:

Pros:

1. It works very nicely as a co-washing conditioner.  This conditioner is inbetween V05 (which is very drying/stripping to use as my co-wash conditioner) and Suave Rosemary Mint (which is very moisturizing as my co-wash conditioner).  So, it is perfect!  I end up using Suave two days in a row and then co-washing my hair one day with this.  This makes sure that my hair isn’t stripped and that it doesn’t get oily (buildup).  Yet, I can even use this conditioner two days in a row, even three and I do not see/feel the impact that V05 leaves.

2. It smells nice.  This scent is not like any of the other conditioners (co-washing or Wen I’ve commented on, in my blog) that have very earthy, natural scents.  Instead, this is much more a cologne scent.  The one vblogger I follow described it as smelling like Abercrombie and Fitch’s cologne.  I don’t know if this is true though because I have never smelled their cologne.  It is a sweet smelling cologne though.

3. No parabens.  Yay!

4. It has argan oil.  I absolutely love argan oil!  It’s just amazing to use on your skin and hair! 

5. Organix’s bottles are eco-friendly.  They are “manufactured from materials containing recycled post-consumer resin.  All labels are printed utilizing environmental inks and compostable label film made from annually renewable resource corn, not from petrochemicals.” (This was taken from the back of the bottle)

Cons:

1. It does not have organic ingredients.  Since the name of the brand is Organix, I thought that, therefore, they must be using organic ingredients as well.  However, when I looked at them at the store, I did notice that they are not organic.  So, do not get fooled by the brand’s name!  I personally feel that is very misleading on the company’s part.  However, it is always cheaper for the company to not be organic. 

Just in case any of you don’t know the difference between organic and natural (although this product doesn’t claim to be “natural” either) is the fact that with food, organic is ALWAYS certified (it has to be), while natural is NOT regulated!!  So, the reason why organic food is more expensive is because it costs them more to make it organic, they have strict standards they need to follow, AND the company actually has to pay the USDA to have them certify it organic!  However, with natural, the company can define “natural” as however they want it.  Natural means anything a company wants it to mean.  The product you will end up paying more for just a specific “word” on the label is “natural,” not “organic!” 

With cosmetics, it’s more complicated.  Organic in cosmetics still is better than natural.  Natural still has really no weight.  However, organic cosmetics and skincare, etc. are not regulated by the USDA really, like food is.  Just make sure that you trust the company and believe them when they state that their product(s), or some of their ingredients are organic!  Some cosmetic companies do say that they are certified by various organizations that they are using organic ingredients, or that they are organic.  Just make sure that you do believe that organization is valid.

2. It has added coloring to it.  This may not be a negative for some people.  However, ever since I worked at a small animal shelter and we were ALWAYS told to never feed the animals any food donations that had red dye in them, I have been very suspicious about food dyes and food coloring.  This is especially true when I feel that the added color/dye is unnecessary, like it is in the Organix Argan Oil conditoner.  The V05 and the Suave Rosemary Mint do not have this added in, so I don’t see why Organix needed to add it.

3. It has parfum as an ingredient.  Basically, anything that has “parfum,” or “fragrance” as an ingredient is allowed to hide hundreds of other ingredients behind that one listing.  Having allegric, or skin, reactions to a product with “parfum” on it?  Good luck finding out what the ingredient you need to avoid is.  Both V05 and Suave do have parfum on their ingredient listings too, sadly.

4. This conditioner was not moisturizing.  Although this conditioner works amazingly as a co-washing conditioner, I did not originally buy this conditioner to use it in that way.  So, anyone who buys this thinking it will add moisture to her hair will be disappointed.

5. It is somewhat expensive for a drugstore brand.  This conditioner was around $7 or $8 when I bought it (I’ve had it for a month now, so I don’t remember).  So, it will probably range from $6 to $11 in drugstores and grocery stores.  To me, compared to V05 and Suave that are $1 and $2, respectively, it is expensive.  However, that may not be considered an expensive drugstore brand by you.  It just depends.  However, to me, if I was going to spend that much on a drugstore conditioner, I would rather spend a couple dollars more and get an organic conditioner.

A Thing I’m unsure of:

1.  It claims it has Organic Argan Oil in it.  Although this should definitely be a positive, it is only stated once on the back of the label.  Other than that, it does not state that it’s organic in the ingredient listings, or anywhere else.  So, I’m unsure about this.

In conclusion, I do really like the Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil.  It works very nicely as a co-washing conditioner and has argan oil in it.    So, I do recommend it especially for co-washing.  However, if you wanted to use this to moisturize your hair, I would say pass on this conditioner.  It dried out my ends instead of moisturizing them.  This makes it good for co-washing, but not good as a normal conditioner.

However, I would probably not repurchase this, personally, because of all of the Cons I listed.  The Cons really outway the Pros for me.  Yet, that may not be the case for you!  If the cons are not an issue to you, then go ahead and try this conditioner!

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!  🙂

Have a sunny day everyone!

~Kim

UPDATE: I wanted to add the ingredients listed on the bottle before I recycled it, so that you could look at them and decide for yourself 🙂

Ingredients: DI Water (Aqua), Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycol Stearate, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Parfum, Argania Spinoza (Argan) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Butter) Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Leaf) Extract, Panthenol, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylchlorothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Red 40, Yellow 5.

Please Note: I am not affiliated with Organix, V05, or Suave.  None of these companies gave me products to review, nor are they compensating me for my review.  I bought all of these conditioners myself.

Why to Avoid Fragrance and Parfum as Ingredients

Sunny Mother Nature says to avoid “fragrance!”

Try to avoid “fragrance” or “parfum” in the list of ingredients on your body washes, lotions, perfumes, face washes, body mists, even sometimes laundry detergents, etc.!

I touched on this topic in my earlier post Sunny Mother Nature Loves Castile Liquid Soap.  The idea that the FDA does not require companies to tell you what exactly they’re placing in their products under the “fragrance” label.  If you have an allergic reaction?  Too bad, you’ll never know what the exact ingredient it was you had a reaction too.  Good luck avoiding hundreds of ingredients you don’t even know of.

Yes, hundreds.  They can use hundreds of extra ingredients not listed on their product’s label if they list it as an ingredient under “fragrance.”

Not only that, but they could be harmful ingredients, like parabens, carcinogens, etc. and we won’t know.  It really is a scary thought to think about.

How many of those unknown ingredients are really good for us, or for Mother Nature?

I’m betting that if they were “good” ingredients, like argan oil, aloe vera, fruit extracts, etc. they wouldn’t be putting them under “fragrance”~ they would be using them in their ads and advertising them to push sales!

So, what to do?  It is a simple idea, but possibly difficult to follow~ Don’t buy any product that has “fragrance” or “parfum” in their ingredient listing!

This requires every one of us looking at those labels every time we buy something.  I’ll admit that there are times where I forget to and after buying a product, I’ll look at its ingredients.  Sadly, I’ll more often than not see “fragrance” along with all those other unpronounceable words.

I think partly the companies like using fragrance as a listing to fool us into thinking that because it’s the fragrance, then that must be an okay ingredient, when really it may not be so “okay,” or even safe for us.

When products have a fragrance, it’s ok, as long as those products list all of their ingredients.  To make this easier, go for natural products~most of the time they openly tell you every ingredient that is in their products.  However, be careful~  Even some natural companies state “fragrance” on their ingredient lists!

I believe that if a company does truly care about their consumers’ health, then they will list all of their ingredients.  If they do not list ALL of their ingredients, then just walk away from that company.  Our health is worth it!

So, read those ingredients and try to avoid “fragrance” in your products!

Mother Nature will love you a little more even if you just try to avoid “fragrance.”  After all, any ingredients that aren’t good for you, aren’t good for Mother Nature either!

So, go out and live a little greener and live a little sunnier!

~Kim