Monday, January 23, 2012

Screw Low-Fat and Low-Cal, GO Low-Ingredient!

I just read an article on Yahoo! “Diet Mistakes that make you Fat.” I got so enraged at the article that I started venting to my friend about it…but then decided I could vent to you instead. You’re welcome.

The article, if you don’t want to read it—and really, don’t bother—is basically about how some foods that you are taught are “good” for you are actually very high-calorie and/or high-fat. For example, olive oil is considered good for you, yet it is very caloric if you use too much. Or, peanut butter, also known to be a “good” food, but is high-fat.

OK. The article is being truthful, but what it’s also doing is scaring people on “diets” away from foods that they should be eating. It fails to mention how olive oil helps with daily digestion and it’s calories will burn faster than those in, say, a Snickers Bar; or that peanut butter, while high in fat, will keep you feeling full long after you’ve finished eating it. The problem, I fear, is that people will read this and not eat peanut butter or not use olive oil and instead will buy highly processed Lean Cuisines or sugar-free Healthy Choice Cookies—thinking that these are better foods for their diets because they have less calories. I know that this is how people think, because this is how I used to think. When I was counting calories, I would, hands down, choose to eat a frozen Lean Cuisine over make myself grilled chicken cooked in olive oil. When counting, a calorie is a calorie. Thank goodness, I’m past that and I have seen the benefits of eating quality food.

I won’t bore you with examples of ingredients in foods that we buy everyday, but what we can do—rather than freak out about peanut butter and olive oil is to check ingredients. Rather than low-cal or low-fat, lets go for low-ingredient.

If you can read and understand the ingredients on the product, you’re probably doing pretty well. Also, on a side note, some items that you think must be good because they’re from Trader Joes or Whole Foods, aren’t. Trader Joes, for example, has 3 different types of sour cream (I know, I know, high-fat AND high-cal—but oooh so good!) Two of the sour creams have about 6 ingredients (I can sound out most of the words, but I have no clue what they are or what they do), the third container, however, has 1 ingredient: Grade A Cultured Cream. WHY would there be anything BUT that in sour cream?

Am I right?

Need another example? I had a friend move to Italy for a year. She said she ate more pasta and cheese and bread than she ever ate here in the states and she lost 15 lbs. Seems impossible (and awesome!), but the difference is that they use almost all fresh ingredients. Make the pasta daily, make the bread daily, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, etc.

My point is, give yourself time at the grocery store—find out WHAT you’re actually buying and what will eventually make it to your tummy. To me, its become much more important than the total calorie or fat intake.

This is all sort of part of my experiment, rather than focusing on the numbers in food, I’m trying to focus on WHAT I’m eating and trying to be overall healthier and my hypothesis is that I will naturally lose weight doing so.

Apologies for the rant. I’m off to Trader Joes.
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