Welcome to Healthy Living 101, a monthly health column featuring articles written by Marla Brodsky (RD, LD, BCIM). Marla is a Registered Dietitian and specialist in integrative medicine, with many years experience in clinical nutrition and research. To learn more about Marla, read her bio here.
In this monthly nutrition column, I plan on giving you easy, quick tidbits that can move you in the direction of health by reducing inflammation, healing your gut, and giving your body the nutrients it needs to function properly and naturally.
To start, here are 5 things that seem “healthy” but are actually unhealthy:
1. Counting calories and relying on “diet foods”
“A calorie is a calorie” is not true. The body uses different types of calories differently in storing fat and affecting metabolism. Focus on quality ingredients that are found in nature rather than the number of calories. Your cravings will subside and your body will be nourished.
While juicing can be a healthy way to get needed nutrients in the diet, most people use mostly fruit sans the fiber, which is too high in fructose sugar. Despite that fructose is natural sugar, it can spike insulin causing the blood sugar boogie and leaving you tired. Instead, try smoothies loaded with greens, berries, avocado, nuts and omega-3 loaded chia seeds to give a healthy boost.
3. Protein bars
Although they are a convenient way to carry a meal in a purse, most protein bars are high in sugar, soy protein isolates, and low in antioxidants. Instead, make time to eat whole food with real ingredients. Your body will thank you.
4. Fat free or lowfat foods
Research is proving that fat is not the villain anymore! Most fat free/lowfat foods contain excess carbohydrates and chemicals to make them taste good. These are the real villains. Healthy fats like nuts, seeds, coconut oil, avocado and even grass fed butter are GOOD for the body and brain. They don’t make you fat. Carbs do by raising insulin, our most powerful fat storing hormone.
5. Sports drinks
While Michael Jordan might need an electrolyte replacement after a 5 hour workout, most of us do not lose enough sodium, potassium and magnesium to require neon blue, sugary hydration drinks. If you do need such repletion, save some money and cancer causing artificial ingredients by mixing orange juice, water, and a little sea salt to make your own hydration solution.