Our body is our temple, the tool we were given to express ourselves into this world. It is a vehicle that carries out the orders we give it and allows us to carry out our mission. As with any vehicle, the better you take care of it, the better it will run and the further it will take you.
But it is not enough to just know the strategies and shortcuts. Knowing something is not enough to get you to build a sustainable healthy lifestyle. Information and misinformation are everywhere in thousands of books, blogs and web sites on health and nutrition and in the words of so many so called ‘experts’ that claim to know the latest shortcut or quick solution to fix all your health problems.
The health and wellness industry often works to make the topic of nutrition incredibly complex but in reality once you get past the jargon, it’s relatively simple. You will be surprised that, with just a bit of understanding, you will be able to start enjoying the process and truly get the health and energy you desire.
Today I want to share some of the most common mistakes I’ve noticed my clients make when it comes to eating well. These are things that people think are helping them become healthier, but in reality they are just sabotaging their health.
1. BELIEVING ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL.
Have you ever known someone who counted every single calorie that they put in their mouth, but they still couldn’t lose weight? The truth is that not all calories are made equal. 100 calories from an avocado are not the same as 100 calories from a low fat, sugar-free cake. While the avocado can bring you many benefits, the cake can actually ruin your health. Instead of focusing on counting calories, focus on nutrition. Eating highly nutritious foods and drinking clean water are two key ingredients of a healthy lifestyle.
2. BELIEVING IN THE ‘ONE DIET FITS ALL’ APPROACH
Everyone is truly unique in many areas such as our biochemistry, genes, blood type, metabolic type, our age, our lifestyle, our fitness levels etc. hence no one diet can work for everyone. The worst thing one could do is to approach getting healthier with a ‘dieting’ mindset. What is good for me may not be good for you. What I may need to support my lifestyle may be completely different than someone else’s. Instead, make it a goal to understand your unique self and find the strategies that work for you. One of my favorite approaches is to conduct a live blood analysis twice a year to find out exactly what my body lacks, what it reacts to and what I can do to help it work at its best.
3. THINKING THAT CUTTING FAT WILL HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT
Poorly conducted research in the 1980’s resulted in high amounts of fat being removed from foods in an attempt to help people lose weight and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In fact the results were quite the opposite. Fat was widely replaced with fillers in the form of hidden sugars, which resulted in further weight gain and loss of nutrition. The truth is that our bodies need good fats to function at optimal levels and maintain a healthy weight. In many cases, adding extra good fats into the diet actually help people lose weight. Good fats include: fresh avocado and avocado oil, Omega 3 oils from wild fresh water fish, flax seeds and oil, coconut oil and raw nuts and seeds.
4. NOT KNOWING THE MANY FORMS OF SUGAR AND WHERE IT IS HIDING
Many people assume that sugar is used mostly for foods that are meant to taste sweet like cakes, cookies and beverages. That is far from the truth. Many store-bought sauces, dressings, gluten free breads, low-fat dairy, and low-fat crackers have just as much sugar as a piece of cake! To make things even more complicated, sugar can be found under many names such as sucrose, glucose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sorbitol, mannitol, malitol and xylitol and many others. Remember to always check labels and stay away from what you do not recognize. Thankfully there are many great alternatives to sugar, such as raw unpasteurized honey, coconut nectar, whole leaf stevia extract and dates.
5. THINKING VEGETARIAN, VEGAN, ORGANIC AND GLUTEN-FREE FOODS ARE ALWAYS HEALTHY FOODS
Let’s get something straight! Just because a packaged food is labeled gluten-free, organic, vegan or some other recent buzzword doesn’t automatically make it healthy. Some of these packaged items are very high in sugar and often very low or totally lacking in nutrition. For example, white sugar is naturally free of gluten and vegan. So just because it has a fancy label saying that it is vegan and gluten free, does not mean it is good for you. Gluten-free foods are often filled with a variety of simple sugars that actually do more harm than good. Learning to read ingredient labels is one of the best things you can do for your health. As a rule of thumb always remember, buy food that are as least processed as possible and focus on nutrition.
You don’t have to give up what you love to be healthy. Stick with whole plant based foods and focus on maximizing your nutrient intake and you will see your health get to a whole new level.
Choose Healthy! Choose Happy! And live always as the best version of yourself.