Low fat fruit yogurt, skim milk with your next coffee, fat free dressing on your salad for lunch, 100-calorie snack packs… All healthy decisions, right? Wrong.
If you’re trying to eat healthier, think twice before you fall into the media trap. Think again before you give up some your favourite foods for “healthy” (often pre-packaged and processed) foods that are labelled “low-calorie” or “low fat”. Here’s what’s wrong with those labels: your body needs calories. Your body uses fats. However, your body doesn’t use ALL fats the same way.
The first thing to remember is that health, like most things in life, is about quality, not quantity.
Sure, if your only goal is to lose weight, switching to lower calorie options may do the trick. So before you tell me I’m wrong, and that you dropped 5 kilograms by counting calories last fall, let’s get one thing straight: I’m not talking about weight loss. I’m talking about health. Because health is so much more than a numbers game. It’s about the nutrition in your food, balance in exercise, your overall happiness, and your general well-being.
More often than not, the lightened up, low fat, or lower calorie versions of classic foods are highly processed, stripped of whatever nutritional value they possessed to begin with, and are filled with lots of added sugars and additives to make up for the difference in taste (yes, even yogurts and skim milks!).
Simply put, they’re empty calories. They won’t help your body function the way it wants to, and they won’t leave you feeling satisfied and nourished by your food.
Instead, focus on switching to whole, natural foods made with real ingredients that are both delicious and nutritious. Delicious foods like:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables,
- Nut butters, and
- Whole grains
Yes, full-fat peanut butter with 100 calories per tablespoon is a healthy food.
Remember, food is your friend, not your enemy. It is an experience to be enjoyed. If you love food, embrace it! (Read: I love food).
Food is fuel – fuel for your next workout, fuel for your exam tomorrow morning, fuel to simply live your life. If you don’t eat enough, how can you expect to power through your day as best you can? Healthy fats and complex carbs (from whole grains and potatoes to so many more) are what our brains and bodies run on. Feed your body correctly and it will return the favour. Fail to feed it well, or worse, fail to feed it enough at all, and it’ll scream out to you in protest. Don’t fight with your body—help it.
Understand your body, figure out what makes you feel good. There is no one-size-fits-all miracle formula. Just trust me on this: once you start eating well, you‘ll no longer feel those constant, nagging cravings for excessively sugary or greasy food. “Constant” is a key word here.
So next time you’re at the supermarket, question whether you want to opt for the 100-calorie processed snack pack of some description or instead grab an apple and some nuts (a handful of nuts at time, not a whole bag, lol). Even though the apple and nuts may be the more caloric option, it has lots of healthy fats and some natural sugars to help power your body through the day! Ask yourself whether the “healthy” decision you’re making is truly right for you.
Most importantly, being healthy is about balance, not perfection.
Tahini date cups aren’t always going to do the trick. Sometimes, you’re going to want a snack and you’re gonna grab a sweet biscuit. So what? Live a little. Treat yourself. Indulge in that fudgy chocolate cake. Heck, even put a large scoop of ice cream on it, drizzle on some hot fudge and throw on some sprinkles. Just not every night! Everything in moderation!
Want to learn more about infrared sauna as part of a healthy lifestyle? Click here and request a discovery pack.