The Healthy Diet Dilemma






There will be NO lengthy discussion or video here that requires a lot of your time before you can find out what those “5 foods you must not eat” are. I write a lot but most of my income comes as a cashier in a large, world-wide grocery retail store. I am neither a nutritionist/ doctor, nor do I have an inspiring personal story of how I lost weight, stopped the aging process, or grew a new kidney (I was born with only one) by following a certain diet. My aim in this article is to pass on information and hopefully provide help to anyone who finds reading ingredient labels, planning what to eat, and choosing foods that are right for you (not necessarily for everyone) as difficult a task as I do.

The advice to consult your doctor is of course most important because as your personal advocate and expert, he or she can tell you what foods you should eat and what to avoid. A really good doctor will take the time to analyze your diet and even offer advice about small details such as whether you should eat tuna or a brazil nut (both high in selenium) or, in my case, what foods to avoid to prevent kidney stones.Unfortunately, this may add to your medical expense or not be available under your health plan.

That said, where do you go from there?

There is an interactive tool for Health Care Professionals that you can use to get recommended daily amounts of calories, macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals by typing in your height, weight, age, and gender. (No names) You will have to search Google for it.

My Plate Daily Checklist is another site which you can use to track eating habits. Select, say age 4-8. then calorie level desired (1200 – 2000) for your personal analysis.

Button code: SuperTracker can help you plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity.

Now that you have your requirements, you can do research (I did a lot) to find out which foods have which nutrients. I kept a journal but found it a problem to keep looking back and forth every time I was hungry, or going to shop. I did make the mistake of buying a lot of “superfoods” (seaweed, dark chocolate, brown rice, salmon, exotic vegetables etc) only to find I either didn’t like them or couldn’t use them up before they spoiled. I should mention that I gave up sugar, bread, baked goods, and most processed food eight months ago which complicated things. I learned to “pare down the pantry” and use what I already had to make meals. Some people like cereal for breakfast and can find low sugar, high fiber choices there. I cook vegetables and  egg for breakfast adding hamburger, quinoa, Tostitos tortilla chips, turmeric or ginger, as wanted. The point is: balance.

If you are already a lacto-vegetarian, follow a paleo diet, or one that is gluten-free, diabetic, IBS-friendly, or heart-healthy — good for you. You probably already read labels and know the rest of this.

An overview of food ingredients. additives, and colors can be found on the FDA government site with a  list of sweeteners but it does not include stevia, xylitol, and inulin. The last one has started showing up in organic foods and sugar-free pudding. While inulin is not bad for you, some research shows that it can “free” bacteria which cause pneumonia. Xylitol has been shown to prevent ear infections and cavities by killing staph germs but it can also kill lacto-bacillus and may have a laxative effect. Store and dispose of gums properly as it can be fatal dogs.

Food Babe posts A Full List of non-organic ingredients allowed in organic food.

Also Christina Guyanese of Shape Magazine, wrote an article,14 banned foods still allowed in the U.S.

Frankly, reading labels lengthens your shopping time but it often results in people putting things back on the shelf and making better buying choices. I see an increasing number of customers buying healthier products. One man in a wheel chair bought only scads of fruit. I don’t judge, but for me, while fruit has a lot of vitamins, it also has sugar (fructose). Consumers of organic meats, vegetables and yogurt are willing to pay considerably more for those products, but should be aware that not all organic products (and energy bars/drinks) are the best – better – but again, read the label. A roll of corn meal mush (cornmeal, water, salt) costs $1.54 while organic corn cereal can run $5.98. Healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. If you love chips, you should know that Doritos have no sugar and Lay’s potato chip ingredients are simply potatoes, safflower oil, and salt. Also frozen vegetables are equally nutritious as fresh but cost much less and some “healthy” foods, like miso and capers, have high sodium content.

So beware and check labels. It doesn’t mean that you can’t eat well or enjoy favorite foods in moderation, it just means YOU choose what is right for you and not eat whatever a food company thinks you should have or want.




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