Believe it or not, there ARE “healthy” foods to avoid to feel better.
When battling with ongoing symptoms like weight that won’t budge, chronic pain and fatigue, insomnia, mood issues and other health challenges, it’s difficult enough to know what to eat for our best health without all the conflicting info that comes at us via the media. One day fat is bad, the next day fat is good. Are there healthy foods to avoid or is that not true? Is it ok to have eggs? Should I go vegan or is meat safe? It’s enough to make you just throw up your hands and munch whatever you have in the cupboard, nutrition be damned!
But don’t give up so soon my little Health Seeker. Here are a few tips to set you straight on three specific foods that I find many people have all wrong. Several years ago at the beginning of my fibromyalgia journey, I was eating plenty of these three foods in my quest for better health, and getting sicker by the minute.
The outdated Food Pyramid model for optimal nutrition had a foundation of six to 11 whopping helpings of grains per day. That is way too much starch for most everyone. After much research I discovered the USDA’s recommendation had a lot more to do with satisfying the grain lobby than with providing valuable nutrition to humans.
There are a few negatives about a grain-heavy diet. First, starches break down in the system to become sugar, and that is public enemy #1 for your health. Too much starch (or sugar) will keep your insulin levels roaring, feeds cancer and will certainly contribute to excess weight, often stubborn belly fat. For more on that topic, check out the past posts: 3 Tricks To Tame Your Sweet Tooth CLICK HERE .
Second, while a modest daily serving or two of a protein-rich, whole grain like gluten-free, steel cut oatmeal, quinoa or wild rice can be part of a healthful plan, “grains” made with refined flour (cereal, crackers, breads, cookies) are not health promoting. Your taste buds may love them but your body does not need them and they disrupt healthy blood sugar balance.
Regarding grain-based foods that contain gluten, there’s an additional issue because most of us with chronic symptoms have some level of gluten intolerance and sometimes Celiac disease. That means our bodies not only can’t break down and extract any nutrients from gluten-containing cereals, breads or baked goods, gluten is likely also doing damage to our digestive tract.
Other than food containing the whole grain, such as quinoa or non-instant oatmeal, I strongly suggest you avoid grains. Regardless of the brainwashing we all got as kids, grains (especially refined grains) are not part of a healthy lifestyle, particularly if you are battling chronic symptoms of any kind or have a diagnosed autoimmune disease.
Another big lie you have been told is that soy is good for you. In many cases, it is not. Many women who struggle with their health discover that they have multiple food sensitivities and soy is often one of the major culprits. In that case, no soy is permissible. If you do not have a specific allergy or intolerance to soy, you still must be careful about the type you consume.
Back when I didn’t eat meat, my go-to “healthy” meals were soy-based convenience foods like soy burgers, soy dogs, soy cold cut meats, soy cheese, soy ice cream, energy bars made with soy protein isolate, and soy protein powder for my smoothies. Most packaged “healthy” crackers and cookies I ate contained soybean oil. I was just soy-ing it up! Not coincidentally, I was struggling to carry 70 excess pounds on my 5’2” frame and was very ill. Turns out I have a food intolerance to soy and should not eat any.
The types of processed soy products I mentioned above are all unhealthy. For everyone. Some folks, who don’t have a specific reaction to soy, can safely eat fermented soy (such as miso or natto) but for me, soy is off limits and I would urge you to use caution.
3. Orange Juice
What could possibly be wrong with a big glass of cold orange juice with breakfast? Oranges are fruit and fruit is healthy, right? Yes and no. A whole piece of organic fruit, eaten with a meal, can be a delicious source of vitamins. However, when you extract just the juice and are not getting the benefit of the fruit’s fiber you get hit with a massive sugar rush all at once, and you already know how negative that is for your system.
You’ll also take in about four times the calories in a glass of juice than you would in a piece of whole fruit and since you drink it instead of chewing and swallowing, it’s less satisfying, which leads to overconsumption.
The upshot? Eat your fruit, don’t drink it.
Have you ever eaten a food that you thought was healthy, only to find out it wasn’t good for you? Do you have questions about other healthy foods to avoid? I’d love to hear your story. Please leave a comment below.