Eating healthy is simple, not easy.
But what if it could be easier than you think.
What if you are excluding some foods that could be a down right delicious part of your day for no good reason?
Working towards consuming less refined, processed foods, carbs, desserts, and any of your other favorite junk can feel overwhelming at times!
How could I ever go with out my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough bites or some crunchy tortilla chips?
On top of that, I find that people put more unnecessary restrictions on what they eat. More foods to avoid or "bad" foods. Foods that allegedly cause weight gain or poor health.
The truth is many foods get a bad rap when they are actually healthy. Keep in mind that nutrition is a science, recommendations change based on new discoveries which are based on data and research conducted over time. They change! And some of these recommendations truthfully should have not been there in the first place (remember when they told us to eat 6-11 servings of bread, pasta, and grains each day?)
So today I am debunking and bringing to life some foods that have gotten a bad rap over the years, but can absolutely positively be part of a healthy nutrition plan. Check this out.
The most recent nutrition guidelines (2015-2020) removed the recommendation to restrict cholesterol intake. This is why eggs got a bad name in the past. Cholesterol in particular when eaten is not what's leading to high cholesterol in the body - it's sugar! Processed, refined, carbohydrates. The fear around eggs or cholesterol was related to CVD (cardiovascular disease), but it is not a concern any longer. To date, extensive research did not show evidence to support a role of dietary cholesterol in the development of CVD. Eat whole eggs! They're nutrient dense and contain several vitamins and minerals as well protein.
Potatoes fall under the carbohydrate category and I find most people believe they need to avoid this food. My clients eat plenty of potatoes and enjoy progress on the scale and in how they feel. Potatoes contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (including vitamin C, B6, and potassium). They are good for digestion and there are many different variations to explore. Sweet potato, purple potato, russet potato, boniato potato! Potatoes are a whole food and generally do not need to be avoided for health or weight loss purposes. They can be baked whole, cubed and roasted in EVOO, or one of my favorite ways... homemade fries in the air-fryer!
There are some research studies that demonstrate negative effects of eating meat but it's not that straight forward. The meat eaters who have taken part in these research studies consume a lot of sugar and refined carbohydrates and their overall diet is heavily processed and inflammatory. In other words, it's not the meat, it's their diet and lifestyle as a whole that compromises their health and puts them at risk for disease! There are to date no studies that exclusively evaluate meat consumption in the context of a healthy, anti-inflammatory lifestyle (probably because this kind of study would be extremely expensive and difficult to run)
These participants most certainly aren't consuming a variety of vibrant fruits and vegetables or eating high quality meat sources. The smoking, sugar-filled, sedentary lifestyle that causes heart disease and other issues, not the meat, is most likely to blame for studies that suggest meat eaters, on the whole, aren't a healthy group of people.
High quality meat is a perfectly fine option in a diet that's high in whole foods and which rejects processed sugar and refined carbohydrates.
In the context of a sound, well balanced nutritional strategy, I don't see meat as an issue. Not to mention the extreme importance of protein intake and the detrimental health consequences that come with protein deficiency.
Fruit is another carbohydrate that can be included in a healthy nutritional strategy. Yes, fruit has carbs but fruit also falls in the whole food category - containing fiber, water, and nutrients! In fact, berries are some of the most nutrient dense foods in the world!
Here's the catch, too much fruit might impair your ability to feel great, lose weight, and improve blood sugar because it does contain more sugar than potatoes or vegetables, but stamping fruit as "bad" is not needed. Moderate amounts of fruit can be a satisfying and nutritious addition to your menu.
Now this is one that really shocked me when i first heard it. Really? Carrots?
I can understand some of the reasons why health coaches or nutrition professionals might recommend staying away from "starchier" vegetables, but I also find this recommendation completely unnecessary. My approach is understanding what's most important and focusing on what needs the most attention in terms of foods to avoid. While there are some vegetables that carry more carbs than others, i don't believe excluding starchier vegetables is needed in order for someone to become their healthiest, most vibrant self! Carrots are a healthy, nutrient dense food! Carbohydrates are not the enemy, and especially not carbohydrates in the form of vegetables. That is no doubt the least of our concern.
This is another out dated recommendation. Fat-free dressing, fat-free yogurt, fat-free crackers, fat-free everything these days! We've got to put a stop to this kind of thinking.
Fat is back. Though it never should have been made out to be the enemy. Now don't go thinking you should eat fat in unlimited amounts or eat a bunch of fried food because that wouldn't be healthy either.
The important thing to realize is that you need fat for the health of your body. Healthy, nourishing fat is particularly great for your brain. Eating healthy fat helps decrease brain fog and improve cognitive function. Nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut, cocoa nibs, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and ghee are all healthy sources of fat that will keep you sharp and improve your metabolism as well. My clients eat fat at every meal and enjoy every bite!