RK Tip of the Week|Cake & beer does not make happy human cells

Posted on January 7, 2011


So this is sure interesting! 90% of you think you’re eating healthy, yet 1 in 3 of you is obese. Mm-hm. This study was just released, and it collected data from people by asking them about their eating habits. And what people think they are doing compared to what they are actually doing, is way, way off.

This is a dangerous place to be gang – if you’re lying to yourself about your health, it’s as bad as an ostrich hiding its head and assuming you can’t see its body because it can’t see you. Every food and beverage you consume goes to your cells, and is used to create more cells. How can you have happy, healthy, fit cells if they are made out of soda & granola bars, or cake & beer?

Here’s why I think this is happening & down below, I’ll give you ideas on how to make sure you aren’t falsely considering yourself healthy when you could be doing better for yourself.

1) Food producers have savvy marketing teams who have found every angle imaginable to call their food product healthy. Look at margarine as the perfect example. In the book In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan shows us how margarine has been “low fat” “low saturated fat” “trans fat free” “heart healthy” & “full of omega-3’s” over the last 30 years. Whatever society decides is “healthy”, margarine has re-branded itself to be sure it meets that. Compared to an apple, which has always and will always have the same nutrient FACTS, margarine makes many nutritional CLAIMS that change whenever the wind changes. Real food that is healthy will never have to change its nutritional FACTS.

2) Everyone wants to consider themselves a good person who does the right things. It feels good to say, “I’m healthy” because that implies you’re taking care of yourself well. When 43% of surveyed respondents said they had at least 1 sugary drink per day, and only 1 in 4 said they limited sweets & sugary items, well, that’s NOT in line with being healthy. Only 1/4 of respondents stated they limit the amount of fat or sugar they eat, and 2/3rds of the group did not eat enough fruits & vegetables. There are scientific truths about health & food – it has been proven that too much sugar can kill you, too much fat can kill you, too few nutrients from vegetables can perpetuate cancer & more. Eating healthy means following the scientific truths about food & drink the vast majority of the time – not just once per day.

**I know you’re going to say, “but Kate, you can be healthy& still have ‘treat’s once in a while” If you’re over your ideal weight range, have BP or cholesterol numbers that are not under control without medication, have stomach issues or are catching sickness frequently, you’re not healthy. And other studies have shown that your doctor isn’t going to tell you that. I’m not going to lie to you, so there it is. If you meet any of those criteria, you’re not healthy, and if you want to be healthy, treats, sugary foods, and low intake of veggies simply CANNOT be a part of your life while you work to get healthy. A rare treat is fine if it truly is rare – but rarely does a former sugar addict have one treat and not fight like heck to push down the sugar cravings that ramp back up.

So with all of this coming at you on top of all that work/family/life balance stuff you have to do, how does one not just cope, but FLY in the wind of good health through nutrition?

*It’s a food marketing jungle out there. Carry a machete & hack through the mess of ad campaigns promising to help you lose weight if you eat only their product…Yoplait, I’m looking at you with your ridiculous 2 week yogurt diet based around yogurt that is jammed with as much sugar as a candy bar. Trust nothing up front, explore deeper before consuming (ingredient lists, nutritional content, is it even real food? red velvet cake flavored yogurt is not)

*Consume as much food as you can that never came in a pre-packaged box/can/bag. Use this list to get you started. Remember, real food doesn’t put nutritional claims on its packaging!

*Don’t kill yourself if you mess up & fall off the wagon! Just pick yourself up and start again. We’ve all been there, myself included, besides…it’s in those mess-ups that you learn. Distract yourself by choosing an alternative food than the one you’re craving, talking on the phone to a friend, and deep breathing/stretching (which you all need to do more of anyways)

*Make regular steps toward optimal nutrition – maybe you can make giant leaps? maybe just baby steps. I was a baby-stepper. When I first moved out of my parents’ house, I’d eat frozen meals & takeout ALL THE TIME – because I hated the way my cooking tasted. When I first met Drew, I’d cook him dinners of pre-formed Jenni-O turkey burgers, microwaveable brown rice & frozen mixed peas/carrots/corn (aka ‘the least nutritional valuable veggies of all time’). Last week, I made this for dinner. Baby steps got me there!