You want to start eating healthy, but where to start?
I just had a visit from my parents and, with each visit, I try to pass on a little more vital health information to them; in addition to cooking almost every meal for them during their stay. As they begin to age, it’s important for me to make sure they’re eating healthy and partaking in many other healthy habits. Unfortunately, while it was fairly easy for me to make changes to my own diet over the last few years, it’s hard for them to change habits they’ve had for about half a century. But I assure you, it can be done!
I come from a very traditional, Hispanic background. Food has always been heavy in sugar, unhealthy fats and grain products such as tortillas, rice, and breads; it’s what a typical Mexican-American diet consists of. Add to that our fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyle and we’ve got a whole new set of nutritional battles to deal with. Not only are you not getting the best nutrition at home, but now you’re also consuming unhealthy, highly-addictive fast-food on a regular basis.
Nevertheless, as I continue to learn more about nutrition, I’ve begun to promote healthier, nutritional choices to all of my family. I’ve been met with a lot of resistance, especially from my nieces and nephews who can’t bear to give up their chicken nuggets and processed snacks, but my parents have become more open to my guidance. Still, the question my mom always asks is, “So, what am I supposed to eat?” It’s a pretty hefty question considering the 50+ years that she’s been used to eating a certain way. So, I decided to start her off with a few simple things to stay away from.
First and foremost, I always stress to my family that they should do their best to cook using real foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible. However, explaining processed foods and ingredients to those who know very little about eating healthy has proven to be another battle. So, I found the perfect guide for my parents, and anyone looking to clean up their diets to follow. The article on Yahoo! Health, “7 Ingredients Nutritionists Always Avoid” has proven to be a great, basic guide to eating healthy and making better food choices.
When looking at a food label, nutritionist ask you to avoid the following ingredients:
- Artificial Sweeteners – have been linked to increasing your risk for type 2 diabetes and increasing your calorie intake throughout the day.
- Carrageenan – a thickener found in dairy and milk products, whose safety is still unknown.
- Caramel Color – has been found as a carcinogen in animal testing.
- Trans Fats – artificial saturated fats that may increase your risk for heart disease.
- Sugar – known to increase your risk for several diseases, including obesity and heart disease.
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – known to be very high in sodium and may cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea, chest pain and many other healthy concerns.
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup – this sugar replacement, used in many processed foods, has been linked to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and several other diseases.
The biggest thing when beginning to eat healthy and trying to remove foods from your diet is to read nutrition labels; which is something I stress to my parents. If sugar is one of the top ingredients on a food label, you probably shouldn’t eat it. I actually grabbed a Gatorade bottle and pointed out to my mom that sugar was the 2nd ingredient on the label, and this would not be a good drink to give to kids or even for themselves; I also handed her a Rebound Fx™ – Citrus Punch canister and compared the labels. It takes time, but going through the ingredients list on a food label is essential if you want to make sure you’re eating healthy, wholesome foods.
To add a boost to your nutrition, you can try Youngevity’s Ultimate Youth™ Green Super Food which contains 46 powerful fruits and vegetables including wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella, dulse, blueberry and cranberry. Make sure you’re providing your body with ingredients that will help it thrive and not put you at risk for disease.
Prevention is the key!