IDENTIFY: What is in the foods you’re eating?
One of the easiest ways to start cleaning up your diet is by first identifying what you are actually eating- meaning what makes up the food you eat. Sure, you might be eating veggies and chicken, but were those veggies sprayed with glyphosate or other pesticides/herbicides? Was your chicken pasture-raised on a farm or raised in tight quarters and fed GMO grains and sometimes even literal food waste/garbage? We ARE what we eat and starting first with what is going into your body can greatly help you understand where to start with cleaner living.
Take an assessment of all the food labels in your home- fridge, freezer and pantry. What do the ingredient lists say? Do you know half the words on them? Are the ingredient lists a mile long? In general, try to follow these tips.
SUBTRACT: Remove the toxic oils to decrease your exposure
One of the biggest stressors to our body are the “bad” seed oils that appear in most processed foods. There is thought that these oils are causing more heart disease and health issues than even sugar does. As our life has become more convenient and less homemade, these oils are popping up everywhere and in everything. We can guarantee that we’re eating these when eating out (unless at a super clean restaurant!), so I wouldn’t worry about this too much for now.
What you can control is what you bring into your home. Even the “health” foods from common brands can use clever marketing to trick us into thinking it’s, say, a better salad dressing than Kraft (we call this “green washing”). They will make it sound like their product is clean (“made with coconut oil”) but when you look at the ingredients list you’ll see that “canola oil” is actually the main ingredient and coconut oil is further down in the list. The easiest way to detect fraud is to skip the front of the label (marketing) and go directly to the ingredient list to see what it’s actually made of!
Common Vegetable Oils to Avoid
- Canola Oil
- Corn Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Rice Bran Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Soy Oil
- Any Hydrogenated Oils
- Palm Oil
ADD-IN: Find products that use better oils
I think you will be amazed at just how many items in your home (even beauty care!) products contain the above oils. I know personally that it can be hard to remember all the above so I make it easier on myself and just look for products made with:
Healthy Oils to Include
- Unrefined Coconut Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Grass-Fed Butter or Ghee
- Unrefined, Cold-Pressed Olive Oil
I’ll be honest – it can be a challenge to find all the items we like made with the “good” oils. The marketplace is definitely demanding more so I think most local stores will soon be carrying healthier options, but personally I love Thrive Market for all of my pantry (and even some cold/freezer) items. Their brand is usually very clean and has the best price, but they carry hundreds of products from other great companies as well. I get everything from gluten-free pasta to baby diapers to cleaning products to stain spray for laundry through Thrive and appreciate the convenience of not having to go to 12 stores to get everything I need.
Thrive Market: Use this link for 40% off your first order.
Remember- take this one product at a time and don’t get discouraged. We don’t know until we know, and all you can do is commit to healthier choices moving forward 🙂
HEALTHY FOOD BRAND GUIDE:
If all of this is new information to you or you struggle with the time to read all the labels and find better alternatives, I suggest grabbing my Healthy Food Brand Guide that will give you links to great brands based on all of the following categories:
- Protein Ideas (Meats + Non-Meat)
- Carb Products (pastas, snack foods, breads, oatmeal, rices + beans)
- Beverages + Drinks
- Baking + Cooking Products
- Healthy Fats (nuts, seeds, butters, oils)
- Dairy Products
- Babies + Toddlers