I grew up on cereal, hot dogs, hamburger helper, and plastic cheese.
In 2009, I had my first daughter and I started looking into her first foods. I made the choice that all parents have to make: Do I make the food or do I buy it?
That’s when I watched Food, Inc.
I remember sitting on my couch in Port Chester, NY watching it with my jaw to the floor. The wool had been pulled over my eyes for my entire life!
I just had a baby inside of me for 9 months. What had I been eating that she was subjected to?! Cattle..chickens…stuffed into confined space and fed antibiotics and hormones to keep them alive with no light, no movement?! I was horrified. We aren’t only what we eat; we are what we eat eats. It all matters.
Scary statistic: 1 in 3 Americans born after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes.
Not. My. Children.
My eyes were opened. I became hyper-aware. This is what started it all.
I had to make a decision knowing what I knew now. I could ignore it and pretend it didn’t exist or do something about it. Enough was enough. I needed to make a change, but how?
One step at a time.
I started looking at the food in my kitchen—looking at labels and realizing I was eating ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. Chemicals like butylated hydroxytoluene were no longer acceptable in my food.
I had been trained to look at the Nutrition Facts label with % of fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, and protein. But I was completely ignoring the actual ingredients. I had been trained to look at the front (marketing) of the box instead of looking at the ingredients; we’re all fooled into thinking we’re eating something healthier than we are.
Most of the bags and boxes in my pantry were chemically processed foods. I started replacing those things with foods that contained ingredients I could pronounce. I started actually reading the labels.
How many decisions do we make out of habit because we have always done it? I wasn’t ok with that anymore. I became obsessed with asking, “Why?”
I learned some tricks to finding healthy foods:
Find foods with less than 5 ingredients.
The first three ingredients are the most important as they make up the most of what you are eating or drinking.
Avoid this list of ingredients:
- Artificial flavors, sweeteners, dyes
- Low fat, low carb, natural, low sugar, no sugar, fortified or enriched
- Chemical ingredients you can’t pronounce
Don’t forget to look at the serving size!
After working with a client, she brought her kids to the grocery store. They wanted to buy a seemingly healthy protein smoothie drink only to find that there were over 25 grams (4 grams = 1 teaspoon) aka 15 teaspoons of sugar in the bottle with 2.5 servings!
Food is either fuel or the slowest form of poison.
Continue this conversation with Jessi.