I know, I know, my mother wouldn’t be happy if she heard me using that kind of language. No worries though, because I’m not using that naughty word in the traditional sense. As you can see, I’ve turned it into an acronym. However, if you’re eating C.R.A.P., you’re the naughty one! You’ll see what I mean when I tell you what C.R.A.P. stands for.
C is for carbonated beverages. If you have a daily soft drink habit, I encourage you to take steps to kick that habit today. The consumption of sugary soft drinks has been linked with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. If you’re receiving this e-mail, it’s because you have an interest in healthy living. As a person who’s concerned about being as healthy as possible, soft drinks have no place in your diet. They have no nutritional value, and may, in fact, rob your body of bone strengthening calcium putting you at risk for osteoporosis. If you said, “But I drink diet soda,” you’re not off the hook. Though they don’t contain sugar, they do contain phosphoric acid, and furthermore, artificial sweeteners pose their own risks to your health. Stay tuned for more information about that in next week’s health post. For now, let’s examine the next category of foods that make your diet “crappy.”
R is for refined sugars. Notice I said “refined.” I encounter people all the time who refuse to eat fruit because of the sugar in it, yet they will scarf down processed foods with refined sugars in them without hesitation. When you’re eating a whole food, such as fruit, that fruit also contains fiber that slows sugar absorption. It also has many other nutrients and phytochemicals that are good for your health. This cannot be said for refined sugars which have no nutritional value at all and are detrimental to health. But what exactly are refined sugars?
Refined sugars are hiding in many products. Many products list “sugar” in the ingredients, while others use synonymous terms such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, lactose, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, honey, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, cane crystals and corn sweetener. Steer clear of all products that contain any of these ingredients because they increase your risk of certain diseases.
Too much sugar intake has been linked to increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, and even cancer. Though most of us know sugar is bad for us, the average American consumes about 152 pounds of sugar each year. We just can’t seem to help ourselves. That’s because refined sugar is highly addictive and triggers the reward centers in our brains much like heroin, cocaine, nicotine, or alcohol. People who consume a high amount of sugar may build up a tolerance to it, much like drug addicts do to their drug of choice, meaning it takes more over time to get the same effect. For a short video on the effects of sugar on the body follow this link :
For a more in-depth talk on the detrimental effects of sugar, click here:
Sugar: The Bitter Truth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM
“Rats given sweetened water in experiments find it significantly more pleasurable than cocaine, even when they’re addicted to the latter, and more than heroin as well (although the rats find this choice more difficult to make).” ― Gary Taubes
A is for artificial foods. This one’s not hard to figure out. We all know the word artificial means NOT REAL. I consider artificial foods to be things such as candy, chips, cookies, and cakes. While certainly edible, when it comes down to it, they provide no substantial nutritional value whatsoever. In fact, many contain more artificial flavorings, colorings, sugars, saturated and trans fats than they do of anything of value that can actually be recognized as food. Not only do they provide little to no nutritional value, these food-like substances are adding excess calories to your diet and robbing you of good health.
P is for processed foods. Of course, cooking or freezing counts as processing, but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about foods that have had a multitude of chemical additives put into the food, or certain health-giving components taken out, before being presented to us for consumption. One such example is wheat germ which is removed from the wheat kernel before it is made into bread. The germ is highly nutritious, but it is removed because it quickly turns rancid which would give bread a shorter shelf-life. Many processed foods started out as real food, but by the time the manufacturers were finished with them, much of the good was taken out, while sometimes harmful ingredients were added. I think Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she “packaged” natural food, and we would be wise to consider the synergistic effects of all the components in real food and the possible harmful effects of breaking it into its constituent parts.
For unprocessed, real foods the way Mother Nature made them, stick to the perimeter of the grocery store, mainly the produce aisle. Of course, you’ll also need to venture to the center aisles for your beans, rice, nuts, seeds, whole grain cereals and bread, but please don’t let your cart anywhere near those bags and boxes of pseudo foods! Consider how close the food on your plate is to its original state. The closer it is to the way it came out of the ground or off the tree, without additives and preservatives, the better choice it is. For an interesting look at different types of additives and adverse effects they are related to, click the following link:
Better yet, for an interesting activity, grab a few boxes and cans from your pantry to see how many of these ingredients you can find. To see how many of you are still reading…..e-mail me a picture of the produce drawer in your refrigerator to be entered to win a $25 gift card to Wal-Mart, Kroger, or Publix to help restock your produce drawer. I’ll announce the winner on my Lori Clark Fitness Facebook page next week along with the picture you submitted. Your gift card will be mailed next week as well. Be sure to tell me in your e-mail which store you prefer.
“Any food that requires enhancing by the use of chemical substances should in no way be considered a food.” ― John H. Tobe
I was once told by a student in one of my classes, “I know you’re healthier than I am, and I want to be healthier and look better, but I don’t want to eat that crap you eat.” She was referring to the fact that I don’t eat any animal products. While you won’t find those things on my plate, you will find and endless variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. In other words, not C.R.A.P., but REAL FOOD. As varied as my diet is, there’s still so many fruits and vegetables I haven’t tried or even heard of yet. I made a vow last year to be open to trying as many new fruits and vegetables as I can. What changes are you willing to make to be healthier?
While I’m not saying you have to adopt a vegan diet to be healthy, I am saying you need to avoid the C.R.A.P. as defined in this health post – not crap as defined by my student. I know it’s hard at first to think of giving up your sodas, chips, candy, and quick to fix boxed meals, but those choices are not going to love you back. Fill your pantry with whole grain breads, pastas, beans, rice, nuts, seeds, and oats, and fill your produce drawers to overflowing with fruits and vegetables of every color. When you cut the C.R.A.P. and start replacing it with real, nutritious food, you’ll not only feel better, you’ll look better too. Until next week, CUT THE C.R.A.P., AND LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE!