Unfortunately, with so much processed, sugar-filled, junk food (can also be referred to as garbage, but even that may be too good a word for it) pushed in people’s faces, it can be hard to know what you should be eating.
The most important thing as always, is to base your meals around fresh, whole foods like fruits and vegetables. There are so many wonderful foods to enjoy and although there is a lot of bad food out there, there are 10 foods in particular you should always steer clear of.
I’m not even sure how these things can be called “meat”, because they’re far from it. Unfortunately, marketing companies can get away with pretty much anything, so they lead consumers to believe this “meat” is acceptable to eat. We’re talking those hot dogs you eat at the baseball game and the packaged pre-sliced meat you put in your sandwich for lunch. Do you realize what a small percentage of it is actually meat? What you’re mostly eating is the worst parts of the animals, basically whatever is leftover after the quality meat is used for other items. These meats contain chemical preservatives which are known to cause a variety of health problems and are even linked to cancers such as colon cancer. Not to mention all the additives and preservatives, salt, fat and cholesterol they’re full of.
So many of us are used to growing up on that blue box of KD, but when you actually stop to think about what it is, it’s pretty disturbing. I would possibly consider cooking a box of this up now, if zombies had ravished the town and it was the only food left. Even then it would be a tough call. It seems pretty obvious after you take time to think about it; spreading a package of powdered cheese over macaroni that has been sitting in a box for months and doesn’t expire for years seems pretty overtly unnatural. The commercials may make Kraft Dinner seem fun and tasty, but your body — especially if you’re used to eating healthy — will reject it, and it’s not hard to see why. Regular pasta takes about the same time to cook, and it’s just as easy to toss in some fresh tomatoes, or some delicious pasta sauce with it as it is to dump out a white bag of neon orange powder. Effort-wise there’s really no difference and nutritionally, the difference is enormous.
Frozen TV dinners are anything but a proper dinner. Again, we’re talking about convenience here, because many people don’t want to spend the time to actually cook real food, so they toss one of these in the microwave and dig in. Considering the basic frozen dinner takes at least 5 minutes to heat up, you may want to know that there are plenty of real, nutritious meals you could have prepared in that same amount of time. It’s not really about convenience, because there are so many other options, it’s about how much you care about your body and what you’re putting into it. It’s about whether or not you’re willing to put the minute amount of effort it takes to actually prepare real, healthy food. These frozen meals are loaded with calories, highly processed and high in sodium. The average TV dinner contains around 1000 calories, which is frightening considering for many people that’s over half the amount calories they should be consuming in an entire day.
The term “fast food” should really be changed to “chemicals and poison you for some reason purposely put in your body because it means you don’t have to get out of your car to get your dinner”, or something along those lines. It’s honestly disturbing how popular most fast food restaurants are, especially when you realize the sad fact that a large majority of those people are getting it not just for themselves, but also for their children. Wow there is a playground inside, that’s great, but did you know there are also playgrounds outside you could take your children to? This way they’re getting outdoors, still having fun, and they are not being brought up thinking it’s acceptable to put that kind of junk in their bodies. It all comes down to laziness. You may not like that word, but it’s the harsh reality. You can easily recreate the taste if you actually enjoy the food, only by doing it yourself which would require, yes, some effort. Instead of promoting these places and the toxic effects they have on people, make your own healthy food, especially if you have children you are responsible for and should be doing the best you can for. It’s not any cheaper once you add in 3 to 4 meals at a fast food joint either, so let’s leave the excuse of “I can’t afford to eat healthy” out of this. Imagine a world with no fast food joints, and then understand how huge a difference it would make in terms of the health of the general population. You shouldn’t have to wait for a wipeout of all these restaurants though, you should have enough common sense to avoid them on your own.
Potato chips are definitely one of the worst types of food you can eat. Again, using the word food seems disturbing here. Potato chips contain a known carcinogen, acrylamide, which according to Clark University research professor Dale Harris, causes several thousand cancers per year, just in the United States alone. Instead of hurting your body with potato chips during your next movie night at home, get a fruit tray with some yummy dip, or make some kale chips which are crunchy and can be flavoured to your liking.
Margarine is pretty much one step away from being the same plastic as your garbage bag is made of. It’s really as simple as that. Consumers are made to believe that margarine is a healthy alternative to butter, when it’s anything but healthy. Butter may have its issues, but at least it comes from an animal and can actually be considered as a dairy product. Margarine on the other hand is man-made and is the ultimate source of trans fats. Your best bet is to use olive oil, coconut oil, or some herbs and spices when you’re looking to add some flavour to your food.
You may think you’re doing the right thing by opting for low-fat foods, but you’re actually making one of the worst moves by buying them. Marketing can be a not-so-wonderful thing, and that’s definitely the case with these “low-fat” items. Again, tricky marketing definitely plays a key role here, leading shoppers to believe they’re making a smart move, when what you’re buying is probably just as bad as the stuff you’re purposely avoiding. Don’t be fooled by the “low-fat” and “no-fat” labels. The fact is, you should never choose these processed, “low in fat” items over real foods. They may say they’re low in fat, but they actually contain loads of sugar, salt and unhealthy fillers. Not very appetizing and definitely not good for your waistline.
It seems pretty obvious that doughnuts would be unhealthy, but you may not realize just how bad these nutrition bombs are for your body. Full of trans fat, sugar and refined flour, there is not a single ounce of goodness in a doughnut. Instead, you’re filling your body with empty calories, which is only going to add up when you step on the scale. No matter how pretty they may be decorated, what’s the point of putting something in your body if you know it’s not doing you a bit of good?
Buddy may thoroughly enjoy it in Elf (I love that movie so much), but soda is one of the worst things you can ever put in your body. Keep up with your love of soda and you’ll quickly pack on the pounds. A standard can of soda contains around 10 teaspoons of sugar, so just imagine you’re shovelling that amount of sugar into your mouth every time you’re drinking it. Over time you increase your risk of numerous health issues, including the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Soda pop is bad for you, but so are other caffeinated beverages. From coffee to those frightening energy drinks, you would think by now people would understand that caffeinated beverages a big no-no if you want to be healthy. Sure they may seem to get you out of an energy slump so you feel more awake and energized, but give it a couple hours and you’re going to crash, feeling even more fatigued than you were to start with. Unless of course you’re one of those people who feeds on multiple coffees or energy drinks through the day and then you’re set (total sarcasm here). If you’re feeling tired, the healthy way to feel more awake isn’t by driving your body nuts with caffeine. Make sure you’re getting adequate sleep at night, stay organized to better manage your time, and relieve stress with yoga, meditation, or even just going for a hike or spending time with your family and friends. Life is not all about work and running around busy all the time, and if you live life believing that it is, it’s no wonder you feel so burned out all the time.
Packaged cookies may seem like sweet little treats, but there are many far healthier options available to you in the supermarket. Companies manufacturing these products pack them full of sugars and oils, to make them seem more flavourful. If you’re a cookie fan, why not whip up your own at home? Sure it may take a bit of effort, heaven forbid, but this way you actually know what’s going into them. Plus you’re saving yourself a ton of money. Or you could skip out on the unnecessary sugar altogether and enjoy nature’s natural sweet treat, some delicious fruit. Some avocado with a drizzle of natural honey and cinnamon over top is a delightful snack to satisfy your craving for sweets.
Remember – fresh, whole foods is what you should be filling your shopping cart with. We have access to some of the healthiest, most amazing, real food in the world, so why are so many people opting for putrid, fake food? The problem in most cases is convenience. Many people want these quick, ready to go foods because they’re so busy and want something that’s easy. If that’s your mindset, it’s a really bad excuse. Chopping up some veggies and lettuce for a salad takes less time than it does to cook a box of Kraft Dinner. Plus, instead of supporting these horrible foods and companies that so many of us — including children who don’t know any better unless you teach them — you can be supporting farmers and health-conscious companies that actually deserve to be making a profit.
If these are foods you’re used to eating, you may be a little frustrated realizing that none of it is actually food at all. Our bodies were not designed to handle processed, man-made junk, they were designed to process actual food. It’s a sad reality that there is so much complexity with food these days, what’s good and what’s not, because for most companies all they care about is what sells. Marketing gimmicks and false advertising lead many consumers to believe they’re buying healthy food, but you should actually steer clear of all this junk and stick to what your body is and always has been made to eat – real, nutritious food. If you want to be healthy and take care of your body, give it the nutritious food it needs.
There are many more unhealthy “food” products out there you should be avoiding that aren’t on this list, but if you remember to keep your shopping cart free of these 10 things, you’re already making a huge leap toward living a happier, healthier life.