My inspiration board for 2016 is all about finding my balance!
Pray more often
Love every single day
Being your Healthy Genie my focus in here will be all about clean eating, what it means and how you can incorporate it easily into your daily routine.
Don’t let this new buzz get you all worked up and worried about another new way to eat. ‘clean’ is just a trendy new name that takes us back to healthy eating basics. A well balanced eating pattern using the small frequent meals concept that includes all the ‘good for you’ food groups in proper proportions while avoiding artificial ingredients and refined sugar as much as possible if not at all.
Now the last bit is the tricky one, because it involves a lot more work on your end in terms of reading labels and choosing your items more carefully. Yes it might feel like a chore at first but trust me once you get the hang of it it will feel as easy as picking the same brand of facial cream that you trust and buy every single time.
To make things short but sweet I will get into where it all starts with, when you’re at your food store of choice and have a shopping list in hand (the importance of a list is a fun subject that I’ll tamper into in a future post). The one weapon I want you to have when buying food items is the power of reading a food label. Not reading the words but knowing all the good and evil that comes with it.
I like putting things down in bullet points so let’s do this!
The four most important things to look for in a food label:
- The ingredient list: the shorter the list the better and if you want to focus on one thing only then I’d look at the very first ingredient because that’s the one you’re eating the most from when you consume the product in your hand. so to use an example, if kale chips is what you are checking out then kale needs to be the first ingredient on the list. If not then I wouldn’t buy it.
- Serving size: we are all in a rush and you can easily mistaken the numbers written on the label to be for the entire pack. Now in some cases when it’s a small pack like a snack bar then the serving size most probably is the entire pack but in others it is not always the case. Give it a quick read and check what constitutes a serving size so you know exactly what you’re getting in every bite.
- Sodium: which translates to salt, is one of the oldest methods of preserving food known to human kind and it is natural. But you need to keep track of the amount of sodium that you consume because having too much of it can have serious adverse effects, one of the most obvious ones is an elevated blood pressure. A quick guide to use is 5% is low 20% is high. I’m talking percentage here because sodium is usually stated with a %DV next to it and that’s percentage daily value which is based on 100% of the recommended amount of sodium, which is less than 2400 milligrams (mg) per day.
- Sugar: There’s naturally occurring and there’s added sugar. The issue is usually with the added one because it means that the manufacturing company added sugar to a food item that didn’t contain it and it’s either to improve taste or as a preservative. Current nutrition label law doesn’t ask manufacturers to separate natural vs added so you have it all under ‘sugar’ and it’s hard to tell unless you’re an experienced label reader and can analyze it based on the ingredient list. But who has the time to do that? well I kind of do that for personal and professional reasons and I am here to help you figure it out without doing too much work. I plan on giving you a more detailed analysis of different products in the future but for now I will list down some of the food products that you normally buy without expecting them to have much sugar in them, yet they can be loaded with it. It is a surprise to a lot of people. This includes: bread, crackers, pasta sauce, salad dressing, teriyaki sauce, granola, cereal (even the healthy ones, go ahead and check) and peanut butter to name a few. The good news is you can have those without any added sugar. How? Stay tuned for my next post.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and ‘clean’ 2016!