Food is the fuel our bodies use to function. It makes sense then that food affects your health in either a good way or a bad way. Eating bad fuel leads to poor function; and eating good fuel leads to peak performance. Just like a car, whatever you put in can come out in bad ways… Your radiator can blow, your engine can stall, or the whole thing just plain won’t start up! The biggest and most important difference, however, is that you can always replace cars and car parts. You can’t get a new body. So what’s the difference between good and bad fuel? Does this mean you can never have ice cream or cheeseburgers again? Of course not! Just like most things, the key to feeding your body properly is balance and moderation. For example, instead of ALWAYS eating greasy drive-thru food, cut back to once a week or every other week.
Why should you worry about what you eat anyway, though? You probably feel “fine.” However, too much junk food can lead to lots of underlying or even seemingly innocuous issues. Everything from clogged arteries to acne can sometimes be attributed to the food we eat! Below is how the most common junk foods can impact your health:
Candy, soda pop, energy drinks, pastries, and more are all packed with sugar. This is not the same sugar found naturally in fruits, though. This is added and processed sugar. It may all taste really good, but too much can cause a lot of problems:
- Ages you by damaging collagen and elastin
- Diabetes (type 2)
- Fatty liver disease
- Heart disease
- Increases cancer risk
- Increases depression risk
So what can you do to avoid this? Reading labels is very important. Sugar can be found in unexpected places, so always keep your eyes open. Making things from scratch with sugar alternatives like applesauce and honey can also help cut back on the processed sugars.You can even use Medjool dates as a sweet replacement for sugar in some baked goods. Replace candy cravings with organic, dried fruits that have no sugar added.
Fried chicken, greasy burgers, fast food, pizza, chips, and bacon are all examples of some fried or greasy foods. These foods can taste awesome, but eating too much of them can be so not awesome for your body. Here are a few issues that can arise from eating lots of greasy and fried foods:
- Atherosclerosis (fat-clogged arteries)
- Contributes to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- High cholesterol
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Impaired brain/memory function
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Throws your gut’s ecosystem of bacteria out of balance
None of that sounds like a good time, so definitely make an effort to cut back on these types of foods wherever and whenever you can. Try air frying, baking, and using healthier oils like avocado and olive when you do want to do a little frying. If you just can’t totally cut out things like bacon and pizza, use napkins to drain and dab off the excess grease. Little things like that can add up, and keep you healthier!
Highly Processed/Genetically Modified Foods
Spray cheese, non-organic produce and meats, refined grains and flours, cheap frozen meals, and foods packed with preservatives should be avoided as much as possible. Highly, or “ultra” processed foods contain ingredients that you wouldn’t normally find in your kitchen… Generally with names that can be difficult to pronounce. These kinds of foods are very unhealthy, and sometimes contain chemicals and hormones banned in other countries for their dangerous side effects! Some of these side effects include:
- Autoimmune disease development
- Can cause cancer
- Contributes to depression
- Fluctuating appetite
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Imbalanced hormones
- Insulin resistance
- Memory problems
- Metabolic syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Unfortunately, ultra processed foods are extremely common and convenient. However, there are LOTS of ways to avoid them. Free range and grass-fed meats, organic and unbleached flours and grains, made-from-scratch treats, and organic dairy products are great places to start. Always read labels! A good rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients, the better. Also watch out for ingredients that have several syllables, or would not be found on a typical pantry shelf.
As you can see, there is quite a bit to keep in mind when it comes to watching out for your health and what you eat. However, it is possible to substitute almost anything with healthy and safe ingredients or cooking styles.
Still have questions? Let’s chat. Schedule a Free Getting Acquainted Call We’ll discuss some of the obstacles that stand in your way, and how I can help you thrive and feel your best.
By the end of this session we’ll know if we’re a good fit. You can decide if I’m the right person to guide and support you to a better, healthier gluten-free version of you.