What are you eating? Do you even know what you’re eating? If you are an average 20-Something, chances are you probably aren’t aware of all of the ingredients you’re consuming on a daily basis. As 20-Somethings, we grab bagels to go on the way to work and to us, cooking typically means “order Seamless.” We eat bars that are seemingly healthy and wonder why we feel like crap. Food labels trick us into thinking we are eating healthy while we are unknowingly consuming crazy amounts of sugar, gluten, soy, sodium, and preservatives.
In the words of Mark Hyman, “if it has a label or a barcode, you should probably avoid it.” Don’t let healthily seeming food labels saying “all natural” trick you either. The ingredients list is the first place to look. I am all about eating organic. I love organic foods and make a huge effort to eat organic as often as possible. However, the ingredients list still needs to be checked. Even if the ingredient list is organic, organic sugar is still sugar.
Check your food labels. If you’re grandma didn’t eat it, it’s probably not good for you. If the label contains an ingredient whose name you can’t pronounce, it’s probably not good for you. To put it simpler:
Eat Real Food.
By real food I mean fresh fruits and veggies, unprocessed grains, raw nuts, and high-quality meats. These foods are full of natural vitamins and minerals and promote healthy digestion and higher energy levels. These foods are delicious in the natural forms and are devoid of the added sugar, salt, and other ingredients that we do not need in our diet. I have dappled in several different ways of eating over the years- vegan, keto, etc. But eating real foods gets me feeling great every single time.
Now you might be thinking- eating real food isn’t practical, I mean I can’t readily carry salads with me for breakfast, lunch, dinner, plus snacks. Or you might be thinking, eating real food is so expensive, I can’t afford to do that. You know what else is expensive? Those bars that you pack in your bag that cost $3 each. It is possible to eat real food even if you’re constantly on the go or have to eat out. Take it from me, I spend 25% of my week on an airplane, in an uber, or driving a car.
I got this delicious salad out this week. Unfortunately, now that I travel every week, my cooking is restricted to only weekends. I’ve found what works for me is whenever I’m switching to a new client site, I research restaurants in the area so that I come prepared to make healthy food decisions. For this particular salad, I picked the “build your own” option. I like build your own because it allows you to chose exactly what you want in the bowl- and more importantly ask about each of the ingredients in the bowl. Yes, I’m THAT annoying person, if it is not a raw ingredient (let’s say sautéd spinach), I will ask exactly what it is sautéd in. Let me tell you, I have found that there is soy and sugar hidden in everything. This salad contains a healthy portion of leafy greens, zucchini, cooked veggies (as I’m trying to eat more ‘warm’ food), and an avocado and tahini dressing for some healthy fats. Tahini dressing is surprisingly easy to make on your own and delicious.
I will begin to share recipes of real food I like to cook. It doesn’t require the purchase of several ingredients and it doesn’t require a lot of effort. I’m also a firm believer that you can sauté almost any vegetable in garlic and oil and it will taste delicious, but maybe that’s just the Italian side of me!