Health & Food

So, you think you know everything about which foods are good and bad?

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Do you think you know what’s healthy and what isn’t?  We get mixed messages every day, so do you really think you know what you should and shouldn’t eat?  I mean, last year Doctor Oz was all about coconut oil, and already this year he seems to be obsessed with red palm oil instead.  Another example; when I was growing up margarine was the better alternative to butter, but now if I do a demo with margarine at work people give me the evil eye (no joke).

Source: iStock Photo

Should food cause anxiety? No, but for many of us, it does.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just eat food because we enjoy it, and not have to have a million messages coming at us from every angle about why we should or shouldn’t be eating it?  My goal has always been to keep nutrition simple.  I don’t like to give foods titles like “good” and “bad”, instead, I like to say certain foods are just better.

I digress….The point of this post is to share with you some information about food that you may have thought you knew, but really didn’t.  The point isn’t to confuse you more but instead to teach you that if you hear one thing is “true”, it doesn’t always mean it is!  You are allowed to make your own decisions as to why you do or do not eat certain foods, but you need to make sure those reasons are valid, and you didn’t just make up your mind based on one article or one rumor or what one doctor told you on TV. I’ve been guilty of being fooled by “one small rumor” myself, but when it comes to the dynamic field of nutrition you can never take one person’s word for it, you have to look at the whole picture and make sure you remind yourself that just like we shouldn’t judge people based on one thing we’ve heard about them, we shouldn’t judge food either.  Similarly, just because a person has one “flaw” doesn’t mean they are a bad person, they might also have some great qualities.  It’s the same case with food! One “bad” nutrition quality doesn’t always make the food a bad choice (ahem…tilapia!).

Want some examples?  Read this article, titled “What you Think You Know, But Don’t, About Wise Eating”.  A few points from the article;

  • Cured Meats: Avoiding nitrates and nitrates in your processed meats?  Good, you should. But did you know the labels aren’t always the best way to find out if your meats are free of these possible carcinogens?  Yeah, even your “Organic and uncured” processed meats may still contain them, and in high amounts!  Read the article to see how.  The bottom line is, no matter what, processed meats are best consumed in moderation(and I know, I know, “moderation” is an ambiguous word, but in this case I would say once a week, at most) because of their high sodium content.
  • Trans Fat: Did you know that there are some forms of trans fat that actually aren’tharmful?  Yeah, I didn’t either.  Some of these forms can be added to things like dairy products and fruit juices, without causing the harm that “partially or hydrogenated oils” can cause.  Who knew?!  In fact, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which may possibly help with weight control and cancer prevention (according to some studies) is a trans fat. So if you see trans fat on your food label, be sure to make sure it incoming from hydrogenated oils.

Source: iStock Photo

  • Farmed Salmon:  Worried about how your farm-raised salmon got so pink?  I’ve heard customers at work tell me they refuse to buy farm-raised salmon because “they are fed dye that turns them pink”.  Well it’s true they are fed something that helps give them their color, but it’s not dye, it’s typically a commercially made antioxidant called astaxanthin, which is found in algae.  This same antioxidant is what gives wild salmon its color too!
  • Nuts: They are SO high in FAT!  So they must make us fat, right?! Wrong, actually. According to the article, there is research to support that people who eat nuts and nut butter (in normal amounts, not tons and tons!) each day typically weigh less than those who don’t eat them.   Not only are nuts full of heart-healthy fats, but they also contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  And if you like almonds, you may be pleased to find out that they were recently found to contain less calories than originally thought.  Wahoo!

Another great way to get confused really fast is to only “skim” an article.  I saw this article the other day, titled “The Best and the Worst Seafood Choices”  I made sure to read every word, rather than just skim their list of “6 fish to put on the table and 6 to pass up”.  One of the six fish to pass up was a farm-raised salmon, but I noticed that the words “most” and “often” were used throughout, meaning they were making generalizations.  I buy my seafood from reputable suppliers, who follow strict rules when it comes to who and where they buy their fish.  They only purchase from suppliers who use sustainable practices, and I know this because I’ve done the research.  You can too.  This way you will feel better about what you are buying.

QUESTION: 
Have you ever read something about a certain food only to find out later that the information wasn’t true or the truth was stretched?  Has food ever caused you anxiety??

On a personal note, I’m turning 30 tomorrow.  Yep, you read that right, the big 3-0.  Nick is making me dinner and I can’t wait to see (and taste) what he makes!  Then Friday night we are having a party at our favorite local Irish Pub, followed by a weekend trip on Saturday 2 hours north for a stay in the same Bed and Breakfast where Prince Charles and Camilla stayed one time.  It should be fun.  Turning 30 is no biggie, I’m excited.  Bring it on thirties!

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