Broken Bellies do not always have to come with a diagnosis of IBS, IBD, Crohn's or UC. I know many people that spend way more time in the restroom than they should. If your belly aches and #2 keeps you in there for a decent amount of time (and I don't mean because you're watching hilarious dog fail videos on Facebook) then you need to check out today's topic.
Avoid Processed foods. Seem simple? Well it is, but takes time and dedication. You probably have some food triggers and while you might not want to embark on an elimination diet, how about starting small and cutting out processed foods? The easiest first step is to only shop the perimeter of the grocery store.
These are small steps but If you take these rules to the store, there's no way you won't feel better and lose some lbs! Here's a quick pic of my latest trip to the store. Does your counter even remotely resemble mine? If you have kids ask them how many fruits and veggies they can name!
What you SHOULD eat:
1. Whole foods are any foods that are a product of nature and have not been manufactured or altered in a lab or plant.
2. Lots of fruits and vegetables (anything from your local farmers markets are great- local and organic are the best you can get)
3. Pasture-raised dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt and cheese from animals that were allowed to graze on grass! (I only put this in here because many people are addicted to dairy. Dairy should be consumed only because you like it but beware you are not "doing a body good". Check out 'Fix your Belly' to find out why dairy should be avoided. I'm about 100% sure your dairy DID NOT come from this scenario...
4. 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains (real bread takes 5 ingredients to make so watch out for the 30-ingredient “healthy bread”)
5. Seafood (wild caught is the optimal choice over farm-raised)
6. Only locally raised meats such as pork, beef, and chicken (preferably in moderation and from pastured animals or organic- but pastured is best.)
7. Beverages limited to water, REAL cold-pressed juice, coffee & tea, and, to help the adults keep their sanity, wine!
8. Snacks like dried fruit (no added sugar), seeds, nuts, REAL POP IT YOURSELF ON THE STOVE popcorn (NOT a microwave bag), roasted chickpeas, whole-food meal bars, 70% or higher cocoa.
9. Real sweeteners including RAW honey, 100% maple syrup, dates (and fruit juice concentrates are acceptable in moderation)
10. Organic is good, Local is better, Local Organic is best!
What you should NOT eat:
1. No refined grains such as white flour or white rice (items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat/grain…not just “wheat”)
2. No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda or even Agave.
3. Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label
4. No fast food
5. Nothing you can’t pronounce or don’t know how/where it’s made!
How to Avoid Processed Foods:
1. Read the ingredients label before buying anything. Up until 7 years ago I only looked at the calories, fat and protein on the ingredients label. While it’s a “nice to know”, the “need to know” is what is in that food. The best way to know how processed the food is? Check what it’s made of. Marketing companies make millions fooling you that food is healthy. If the ingredient list has more than 5 items listed, or most are unpronounceable, odds are your body has no idea what to do with it. Skip it
2. Increase your consumption of whole foods especially vegetables and fruits. No doubt you’ve heard this time and time again. But guess what? It’s TRUE! The more you crowd out the processed stuff and fill up on more fruits and veggies, the less room you have for the things your body doesn’t know what to do with. And you don’t have to count calories, sugar, protein, or fat in fruits and veggies. Eat as many as you want in as many colors as you can find. Maybe introduce meatless Monday and find a unique veggie dish to try.
3. Buy your bread from a local bakery. You will be shocked at the number of ingredients it takes to make commercial bread. Real bread is flour, water, yeast, oil and salt. Go to your cabinet and see how many ingredients make up your bread. Many contain 30-40 different ingredients, including white flour and sugar. Why would there be so many on the list if it only takes a handful of ingredients to make bread? In addition to your bread choice, when selecting foods like pastas, cereals, rice, and crackers always go for the whole-grain option. And don’t just believe the health claims on the outside of the box. Read the ingredients to make sure the product is truly made with only 100% Whole grains – not a combination of whole grains and refined grains which is unfortunately how a lot of “whole grain” products are made. The white flour or other refined grain alternatives are high in calories and low in nutrition.
4. Avoid store-bought products containing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or anything that has some form of sweetener in the top 3 ingredients. The biggest indication that a food is highly processed is the presence of HFCS or cane sugar.
5. Don’t order off the kids’ menu. Know why kids love that menu? Because all the food is white! Fried, fried bread, sugar and more fried. I know kids can be picky but if you pay the check you say what they eat. Try a compromise and order multiple side items or share your entree. Maybe have them try something new each time you go out. They don’t have to finish it but they must at least try it. Monkey see, monkey do.
6. Visit your local farmers’ market the next time you need to restock your fridge. According to Michael Pollan (In defense of food) not only will you find “food that is in season, which is usually when it is most nutritious”, but you will also find a large selection of pesticide-free produce and humanely treated animal products. Not to mention it’s better for you and the environment if you consume locally grown produce rather that something that was grown 1500 Miles away.
7. Lastly, “eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.”- Michael Pollan. Want potato chips? Get some organic potatoes, peel, chop and fry them. If every time you wanted junk food you had to make it yourself you would consume so much less, if any! It just goes to prove that having any food, at any time, is leading to the decline in our overall health.