Tricky Food

by Ashley on May 15, 2012

It’s been a very, very veggie week down here in St. Augustine, FL.

The week before finals week, I did a week-long green smoothie cleanse/fast, however, I will write more about it later; I have been delaying writing because I don’t want you guys to think that I support or promote fasts or cleanses in any way, shape or form. That’s taking credit away from the human body and its flawless design.  I did it simply to revamp my energy, and I knew the best way wasn’t through a Red Bull or overdosing on coffee, it was through greens and the nutrients they provide: kale, turnip greens, collards, mizuna, spinach, Romain… the options were endless.

This week, however, instead of only eating fruit and veggie smoothies all day long, Dustin and I have really ramped up our veggie intake through our meals.

I know what your thinking… “You’re a vegan, Ashley. Don’t you get enough veggies??” Yes, I certainly do.  But with the amount of stress that I have put on my body in the past two years through marathon running, school,  internship stresses, home duties, bills, trying to keep up with Dustin’s workouts, etc. my body is ALWAYS craving more veggies.  I think my blood may be green at this point, just sayin’. Plus, a few extra antioxidants never killed anybody, it was lack there of that did!

Last nights dinner was grilled okra, roasted beets and onions in balsamic vinegar, and roasted asparagus, red bell peppers, yellow zucchini, and mushrooms… (Dustin had BBQ chicken as well).

I’ve never been so full from veggies.

This past weekend at the wedding, a friend and I were talking about…you guessed it…nutrition.  As an avid health and exercise junky herself, we both came to the same conclusion, it’s not that people don’t care and enjoy that now two-thirds of Americans are overweight, it’s that people just don’t know.  We are an uninformed nation.  We know only what we have to know and don’t worry about the rest.  That, plus the fact that the messages put out to us are usually lies anyways. It’s hard to know who to believe anymore.

With that in mind, today I decided I would do a post on foods that most consider healthy, when in reality they are not.  Keep this in mind when you are walking down the grocery store isles and keep these items out of your cart.

1.  Reduced fat peanut butter

  • Are we seriously still a nation that thinks healthy fat is bad for us? This has got to stop. This product contains far more sugar, far more unhealthy fat, far less HEALTHY fat, and is far more processed than its full-fat alternative. Stick to natural peanut butters, almond butters, etc. Your brain and body will thank you.

2.  Cereals/granolas

  • Again, usually loaded with sugar (in many different forms) and stripped of its original nutrients.  Stick to either making your own granola or sprucing up regular old oats by adding your own berries, bananas, nuts, stevia, yogurt, etc.  As a cold cereal lover myself, overnight oats are still my favorite.

3.  Diet drinks

  • Full of artificial sweeteners (think: rat poisoning), artificial colors, artificial flavors; need I say more? Stick to water flavored with lemons, limes, cucumbers, etc. LaCroix is my go to.

4.  Wraps over bread

  • They are usually much higher in calories, ingredients, and saturated/trans fat than good, ol’ fashion whole wheat bread (Ezekiel bread is one of the better brands). Stick to whole wheat bread and you will usually be saving on a lot more than just calories!  Check that ingredient label of your favorite wrap and you just by be surprised by what you see (again, Ezekiel makes a good wrap as well, if you are a wrap lover).

5.  Enriched pastas

  • PRO.CESSED. Any pasta that list ingredients other than 100% whole wheat (or gluten-free pastas that list anything other than the type of flour used such as rice or corn) should be tossed immediately.  This is garbage.  Not only is the fiber stripped almost completely, but the vitamins and minerals added back aren’t nearly as absorbable as the real thing found in whole wheat flour. Stick to 100% whole wheat pasta (or g-free brown rice pasta like we do!).

6.  Smoothies

  • Store bought smoothies should really be called sugar slushies. Why? Because there is more sugar in most of these than anything else.  Don’t be fooled by the company’s marketing tactics.  Also, check in on the calorie content.  Many of your favorites may be 500 calories plus.  Your little snack just turned into a weight gaining tool! Make your own smoothies by adding greens, fruit, non-dairy milk, flax seeds, peanut butter, etc. and blend away!

7.  Fat-free/reduced fat salad dressings

  • When fat is removed, sugar is added for taste. Also, when you eat fat soluble vitamins like those found in salad lettuce, your body is unable to digest/absorb these nutrients without a little fat.  So what’s the point in eating a salad if you aren’t even able to absorb the nutrients? Make your own salad dressing out of omega-3 rich EVOO, vinegar (balsamic, white, apple cider, rice, etc.), crushed garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.

8.  Fruit on the bottom yogurts

  • Unfortunately, kids love these. The reason these yogurts taste so good is because not only is there healthy yogurt and fruit in the cup, but also boat loads of sugar as well.  Stick to making your own fruit and yogurt parfait by adding blueberries, strawberries, and bananas to 0% fat Greek yogurt. Top it off with some shaved almonds to add in a healthy fat.

I hope that this helps you decode some of your favorite unhealthy foods and that you can replace them with their healthier alternatives!  Have a wonderful rest of the day!

Good health!

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