11 Foods People Mistake As Health Foods
Eating real health food has become a bit challenging to due to aggressive marketing by big corporations. Here is a simple guide to help you navigate through some foods that fooled us into believing they are healthy foods.
I’ll point out the misleading problem foods and give you healthy options you can use to replace them. Towards the end of this post there is a easy to read infographic you can download or share.
1. Agave (nectar): Its comes from the Agave plant, but unfortunately it under goes through some high processing that removes the beneficial fiber and concentrates the sugars. This makes it's sugar content very high and taxing on your liver and body.
The healthy alternative: Raw Honey
The main health benefits of raw honey today come from the unique blend of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, phyto-nutrients and other health components that it possesses. The two key beneficial components of truly raw honey are bee pollen and propolis.
2. Trail mix: Has gained huge popularity as a quick go to snack. The bad news is most of the trail mix out there is high in sodium, with artificial coloring, flavors, sugar and oils. With all these added ingredients combing fats with high sugar and sodium it makes the once healthy nuts into a huge calorie and weight gainer of bad weight (fat gains).
The healthy alternative: Unsalted nuts, such as almond, walnuts, pistachios, or cashews
You can simply make your own trail mix be purchasing natural unsalted nuts of your choice. Easy and simple plus you get to avoid all those red colored weird tasting fruits in the other trail mix, is that a cranberry, a raisin or m&m?
3. Yogurt/Frozen Yogurt: Usually labeled with the great misleading title of low fat, don’t be fooled. Most yogurt and frozen yogurt even though it might be low in calorie is usually sweetened with added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. All that sugar get converted into unhealthy fat.
The healthy alternative: Greek Yogurt/Grass Fed low sugar Yogurt
Seek out plain greek yogurt that is low in sugar and if you want to be uber healthy choose Grass fed Low Sugar Yogurt, simply add some berries for a natural sweetener or some stevia.
4. Skim Milk: Simply avoid. First of milk that is pasteurized is very unhealthy for us to consume. The heating process denature the milk. Through the processing it lose of its nutrients so then its “fortified” with synthetic vitamins and calcium. And plus the fat in the milk is what helps you actually digest the milk.
The healthy alternative: Raw Milk (yep), Unsweetened Almond Milk, Coconut Milk
Raw milk is full of nutrients, a cup of raw milk is pretty much a meal in its self. Check out some research here. If you don’t want to be so adventuresome try a vegan alternative such as unsweetened Almond or Coconut milk.
5. Whole Wheat: Once upon a time wheat was healthy for you, kind of. But then someone decided to take the germ out, that contains most of the minerals so that it would last longer. And also decided to create a hybridized dwarf form that is serve to about 75% of the world. And then there is the good ole’ satanic “gluten”. A protein in wheat that is very difficult for us to digest. Many believe this is on of the main cause of auto immune disorders. (Scary fact look up celiac disease and check out the symptoms). Not trying to induce hemophilia on anyone but gluten truly cause us a lot of harm. See what this doctor say about wheat here.
The healthy alternative: Brown Rice Bread, Brown Rice Tortillas, Teff Tortillas
Thanks to the great innovators of today, there can be a world without whole wheat. There are actually some good brown rice breads out there on the market. Also some tasty brown rice tortillas and/or teff tortillas (its a bit more sour like taste to it).
6. Couscous: Its really just tiny bits of refined wheat. Same reasons as stated with wheat why you should avoid.
The healthy alternative: Quinoa
A sexy exotic grain from South America, is a nutritional powerhouse packed with protein, minerals, anti-oxidants and low in the glycemic index. Cooks just like rice, has a bit of a nutty flavor.
7. Peanut Butter: Sorry to all the PB&J fans out there. This old time favorite is heavily processed, usually comes with added hydrogenated trans fats, sugar, and artificial additives.
The healthy alternative: Almond Butter/Cashew Butter
After your first spoonful of some almond butta you’ll be thanking me. Find brands that don’t have any added sugars or other additives, if you can choose the raw version.
8. Fat-Free Foods: Or as I like to call them fake food. Most fat free foods are full of preservatives, chemicals and sugars. Your body can’t really get any nutrition from these foods and the sugar content in your blood stream is usually turned in to fat. You ever seen a skinny person drinking diet soda?
The healthy alternative: Good fats like Avocado, coconut oil, and nuts
Your body uses good fats for many reasons. Like one of the main one is to fuel your body to balance your hormones. Once again thanks to marketing and pseudo science/research we got tricked into believing fats are harmful to us. For more info see what acclaimed author Gary Taubes says about it here.
9. Snack Bars: Many “health” bar companies out there pack tons of chemical preservatives and sugars into these tiny convenient bars. Turning something should be healthy into a candy bar.
The healthy alternative: Snack bar with low sugar and no added chemicals
There are a few bars out there that are actually healthy. But you have to read the labels. If there are too many ingredients that you don’t know what they are, don’t buy that bar. Also make sure they are low in sugar no more than 10 grams for the whole bar.
10. Instant Oatmeal: Ah the convenience of breakfast in a packet, too bad its filled with the additives, sugars, GMO’s, artificial flavors and colors. Damn you Mr. Quaker and you looked so trustworthy!
The healthy alternative: Rolled Oats/Quick Oats
It might take you about 3-5 minutes to make, but you are better off choosing old fashioned rolled oats or quick oats. You can add some nuts or berries and cinnamon for a delicious healthy breakfast.
11. Soy: Its highly processed, lacking most nutrional value and the majority of it comes from GMO variety.
The healthy alternative: Tempeh or Miso
If you wish to enjoy some variety of soy try some of the more traditional versions such as fermented soy in the form of tempeh and miso. When shopping make sure the labels says GMO free.
Don't get caught up in the next health craze. Its easy to fall prey to the sexy advertisements that "this miraculous health food" will change your life, but in reality its take a lot more than just that one magic pill to change your life. So next time you start seeing a trend happen in the health industry take a few moments to do some research before jumping head into it.
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of these healthy alternatives. Also tell me what are some healthy substitutes you like to use.