How is everyone doing with their Baby Steps to Paleo so far?! Have you identified your mantra and ditched the big “no-no’s”?! If not, go check those posts out first and then come back to see what’s next!
For those of you who have already checked off the first two steps, the next one is pretty easy but VERY IMPORTANT! I almost made it step #2, but after attending the Balanced Bites Seminar in January, I had to stress the importance of getting rid of a few things immediately. But anyways, here’s step three:
Stop Counting Calories – Start Reading Ingredients
I used to be guilty of eating granola bars and 100 Calorie Packs on a daily basis in college. Like the majority of people, all I knew about nutrition was about these things called “calories.” I knew that if I wanted to lose weight/not gain weight all I had to do was not eat more calories then I burned (aka “calorie defecit“).
So I latched on to websites like Livestrong and My Fitness Pal to track every single calorie I ate. While I did lose weight doing this, I still didn’t feel great since I was paying NO attention to ingredients or nutrients.
What matters more is the info UNDER the Nutritional Facts – the actual INGREDIENTS. The actual ingredients that make up those calories and grams of carbs/fat/sugar matter SO much more than those numbers. Take a look at the ingredients for the two processed snacks (100 Calorie Pack Oreos and Fiber One Bars) below, which I’m sure many of us have been guilty of eating:
Even though these two convenient and tasty little packaged goods are only 100 and 90 calories, they each have a laundry list of ingredients (some of which I can’t pronounce and don’t even recognize). If you can’t pronounce it or have no idea what it is, chances are it is not real food.
Real food looks like this:
Simple ingredients that you know. There is nothing foreign sounding or looking in the above two packaged goods (Wholly Guacamole and EPIC bars – which I will be reviewing soon).
Why are these better for your body? Because your body was not meant to digest processed foods. We evolved eating meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and starchy tubers. We did not evolve eating Oreos and Fiber One bars. Our bodies are not adapted to digest and absorb these “foods” so it makes getting the nutrition we need really difficult. The stress our bodies undergo merely digesting and breaking down these processed foods is also very harmful and can cause inflammation.
Focus on QUALITY not QUANTITY. By default, you will most likely eat less because your body will be more satisfied with the “good” kind of calories, so weight loss may still happen! Even if it does not, you will most likely feel better by nourishing your body with real food that is rich in the nutrients our bodies need to thrive.
So the next time you are reaching for something you have to un-wrap, take a moment to flip it over and read the ingredients. You might be un-pleasantly surprised!
How many of you already pay close attention to ingredients? What are some you absolutely avoid?
- Eat Clean Heath: How to Read Ingredients
- “The Perfect Human Diet”
- Authority Nutrition: 9 Ways That Processed Foods Are Slowly Killing People
- Food Babe: Processed Foods are Harder to Digest
- Harvard Med School: What you eat can fuel or cool inflammation, a key driver of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
- 100 Days of Real Food: How to Read Ingredient Labels
Legal Disclaimer: I am NOT a licensed medical professional, nutritionist, dietitian or expert of any kind. I am merely a passionate advocate of the paleo lifestyle who wishes to share her views/beliefs with others. The content of this blog is NOT intended to be used as medical advice and is the expression of my sole personal views. All content is intended to be used for educational purposes only. Always consult with your Doctor/Physician before making a diet change, diagnosing or treating any conditions.