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Know What You’re Actually Eating: Smoke and Mirrors

These days no one goes on a trip without having the equivalent of Google Maps for directions. Why? Because we need guidance to efficiently reach our destination without getting lost.

By the same token, we need guidance to achieve our weight loss goals, especially since we are ill-equipped to remain healthy when blindly eating foods made readily available to us by the food industry. Their motivation is to maximize their profits. They do so by cutting costs using cheap ingredients, extending the shelf life with chemical preservatives and by literally engineering our food in a way that gets us to eat more than we need.

It is critical that we understand, on a granular level, what we are actually eating and how our selections impact us physiologically. When we eat mass merchandised processed foods, it’s smoke and mirrors; “What You See” IS NOT “What You Get”. We have to get the right nutrition data from food labels and know what it means and how the food truly affects us. 

If we don’t want to constantly read labels, or are unable to when we go out to eat, we should keep it as simple as possible. Choose whole foods that are high in fiber AND low in fat, net carbs, sodium and calories; the exact opposite of most prepared, processed foods. Select lean proteins that are grilled, broiled, baked or poached and NOT fried, breaded or drenched in rich sauces, and remove the skin. Choose lots of low glycemic fibrous veggies such as lettuce, kale, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, mushroom and peppers. (To the best on my knowledge, no one’s gotten fat on broccoli!) Choose low glycemic fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, pears, and choose organic whenever possible. Limit fruits to two per day, when trying to lose weight (as opposed to maintaining your weight). When trying to lose weight, limit starchy veggies such as winter squash, corn, peas, and lima beans, and avoid eating high glycemic fruits such as pineapple, mango, watermelon and bananas. 

Hydrate

It is very important to hydrate and limit caffeinated beverages. Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics causing chronic dehydration. Many of us actually choose food over water and our brains get confused and thirst is quelled. By hydrating, we also tend to eat less, particularly when fiber is increased. Each of us should drink about a gallon a day, half of which should be water. We suggest putting a free water app on your Smartphone and get in the habit of carrying a water bottle.

Keep It Simple and Always Have a Backup Plan or Two

Whenever possible, plan ahead. But when that’s not possible, or when plans change, always have Plans B and C ready to go, otherwise we’re more likely to fall off.

Keep it simple with a variety of whole or minimally processed foods which have five or less ingredients. As a rule of thumb, check the label and make sure all of the ingredients sound like something you would choose to eat, with names that are easily pronounced and might also be found in a food pantry. These choices are generally high in fiber, have essential vitamins and minerals, and are nutritious.

Avoid processed foods high in unhealthy fats, refined grains, sodium and blind calories which are engineered to get you to eat more than you really need. Prepared foods are generally low in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and nutrition. 

If you feel yourself slipping out of balance, don’t ignore it. Ask for help from a reliable source and don’t rely on magic bullets. They don’t exist, otherwise we would offer them. Each of us has the power to strategically plan to win, once we understand how the game works.

Call us anytime!

Remember, if you are having trouble finding good, nutritious options, check out our original recipes or visit CardioMender’s Pantry. Our Pantry has many delicious quick-fix meals and snacks that satisfy in the moment and are designed to maintain satiety for at least four hours. Visit our Pantry On-Line and we will ship your selections or visit us at our Pembroke Pines Pantry located at 17009 Pines Boulevard.

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