The 5 myths of healthy eating
I bet you have heard someone saying it (or you have said it yourself)
“I don’t have time to prepare healthy food”
“Health food is so bland…”
“Gosh, organic produce is so pricey…”
We’ve perhaps all have said something along those lines at some point!
But you know what? They are all a myths, and I will tell you why!
Myth #1 - “It takes too much time”
When people tell me this, I say, it can if you are dedicated to making everything from scratch, but doesn’t have to take that long.
“Convenience foods” aren’t just heavily processed cheap inflammatory foods nowadays!
My favorite healthy “convenience foods” to speed things up in the kitchen:
Buy all your vegetables cleaned, cut and ready for use. To eat them raw or steamed takes just a few minutes to prepare.
There are precooked meats with little or no preservatives added such as as rotisserie chickens and vaccuum sealed cooked and sliced beef roasts.
Fresh or frozen fish is one of the fastest proteins to cook with some of the most easily digested protein and most heart healthy fats.
There are snacks that are available that are whole foods and/or minimally processed, such as nuts/seeds, jerky, plantain or root vegetable chips cooked in avocado oil, whole foods bars, and fresh fruit or veg.
Myth #2 - “It’s too expensive to eat healthy”
It’s true, organic meat, fruits and vegetables are more expensive than conventionally grown/raised foods, but as you probably can also guess, you get what you pay for!
Take a deeper dive into the research surrounding the fatty acid profiles of these animals and toxic contaminants such as pesticides and plastics in the tissues of feedlot animals, farmed fish, fruit and vegetables and it becomes very clear that we are asking a lot of our bodies when consuming these items.
I get it though, it’s not possible or even accessible for everyone to eat 100% organic, grass fed, free range or pesticide free, but we can do our best by utilizing the information out there to reduce our exposures to endocrine disturbing and fatty and lipid elevating foods.
Here are a few tips:
Check out the EWG.org for their list of the dirty dozen and clean fifteen. This is an annual list of the foods tested to be the highest and lowest in pesticides. Those on the dirty dozen it is suggested to purchase organic. Those on the clean 15 you may choose to purchase conventionally grown.
The higher on the food chain you eat, the more important that the meat be raised with quality food, water, exercise and sunlight. Just like you and me, if an animal didn’t live a healthful life his/her tissue will not be as healthy, his/her lipid profile will not be healthy, his/her tissues will not be dense with vitamins, minerals, iron, protein and fat to strengthen your body.
Buy some of your meat ground/minced or try incorporating some organ meat. It’s cheaper to get it this way when organic/ pasture raised/ grass fed..
Buy your vegetables and fruit seasonally, if getting something out of season check the frozen section, you may get a better price.
Buy locally, check out your local farmer’s market or CSA. You may get a better price for your pesticide free/ organic produce when purchased locally. You may even get some deals from your local farmer once you build a relationship with him/her or by going to the farmer’s market at the end of the day. The produce may not last until next week and the farmers may be willing to negotiate a deal with you for buying more produce.
Other discussions I have with people are:
Please take inventory of the amount of money you are currently spending on eating out, your treats, coffee beverages, and alcohol. Then compare that to what you spend at the market for food at the end of the month.
The one situation where the food may truly be more expensive is if you choose to make the cornerstone of your new healthy diet pre-packaged processed “health foods.”
The gluten free and wholefood movement is a multimillion dollar industry. Don’t get me wrong having convenient snacks or meals can really help when we are busy and transitioning your diet, but generally speaking the nutrient density of these foods is somewhat lacking and they are expensive.
When you are attempting to heal your body it needs nutrient dense foods. These treats can fill in the gaps in a pinch, but there is no exception for real food. If you have very strong cravings and an inability to lose weight, sometimes those cravings are just a cry from your body for more nutrient density, vitamins and minerals.
Myth #3 - Healthy food is bland
The standard American diet is chalked full of added sugar and salt. For instance did you know the average American eats 82 grams (equal to 19.5 teaspoons) of added sugar per day.
When it comes to salt the average American eats approximately 3,500mg of salt a day that more than 2xs the recommended daily intake.
But most people are not going around adding sugar and salt to their food, it is hidden in the prepackaged/processed foods.
But there is hope!
You can recover your ability to taste in as little as 2 weeks. The average lifecycle of a taste bud is 10-14 days.
What helps in the meantime is to use all of your taste buds in creating a meal.
The 5 tastes our tongue can detect are:
Sweet (examples: fruit, honey, maple syrup, stevia)
Sour (examples: lemon, lime, vinegars, yogurt, sauerkraut, rhubarb, kumquat, kombucha)
Bitter (examples: arugula, dandelion, artichoke, ginger, radicchio, endive, chicory, white asparagus, kale, bitter melon)
Salty (I think this one is obvious, but quality of salt is important, skip the processed iodized salt void of minerals and choose the natural grey or pink sea salt)
Umami (examples: mushrooms, coconut aminos, tamari, meat, soy, potatoes, carrots, green tea, fish.)
Here are three dinner ideas you can try that hit all the flavor notes and leave you satisfied with your meal!
Arugula beet and grapefruit salad with balsamic dressing and a oven roasted chicken thighs.
Steak with a side of wilted baby kale and mushrooms, and oven roasted delicata squash finished with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Coconut curry with your preferred meat/fish/tofu, sweet peppers, zucchini, and butternut squash. When ready to serve stir in some fresh spinach, top with cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
Myth #4 - Healthy eating is boring / I have to eat the exact same thing every day
I often find when folks say eating healthy is boring what they are really saying is their repertoire of foods they now know are “ok” is limited.
When you first learn a new language, you learn how to say your name, ask where is the bathroom, how to say please and thank you etc. As time goes on you learn to speak in different tenses and on different subjects.
This can be likened to learning to cook dishes from different ethnic foods, or what are good swap outs or alternatives that can be used in a recipe you already know.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by this so I have a few tips to share:
Choose only 1-2 new recipes to try per week.
Ask family members for help with the cooking
Invite friends with similar eating habits if they want to swap a meal/dish per week
Enlist the help of a specialist who can take your favorite dishes and make them work on your new healthy eating lifestyle, and analyze your previous diet and give you suggestions for recipes that work with your new healthy eating plan.
Myth #5 - Eating healthy is restrictive
Believing healthy eating is restrictive has nothing to do with the variety of foods that one can eat.
When healthy eating is believed to be restrictive it is either that this person has not yet learned what he/she can eat and how to cook this way, OR this belief stems from the relationship he/she has with the food he/she eats.
Often people come saying that they are fearful of restricting their diet through an elimination diet, or by cutting out/down on their favorite foods to address a health concern.
They worry they won’t be able to be adherent long enough to complete an elimination diet in order to discover food sensitivities or heal their body.
They tell me they know they will end up “cheating” or end up “binging” at some point due to “poor will power.”
First I want you to know you will never be forced to eat any certain way when you work with me.
It is always a discussion and we create a plan based on what you feel you are ready to do.
That being said, when the layers of the onion are peeled back what I often find behind that statement “healthy eating is restrictive” is that the individual has either:
Cravings due to imbalanced gut microbiome. Yes, sneaky gut bacteria actually signal the brain to eat X foods, because they need it to stay alive!