We then moved on to figure out your destination. Where do you want to go? Where would you like to see yourself in a year?
Now we’re on to the third step.
How are you gonna get there?
Whatcha Gonna Do?
When you are planning a trip, you figure out where you are, where you are going, and then you decide how you are going to go from point A to point B.
The hardest part is always getting started! So, ask yourself, “What is it going to take to get me started?” ”What is keeping me from doing the things I know I need/want to do?”
Do you need support? Can you enlist friends? Family? A personal trainer? A counselor? A really awesome health coach ?
Do you need to educate yourself on nutrition? Do you need to realize that you DESERVE to have a happy/healthy life? Do you need to start putting YOURSELF first? Do you need to sleep more so you have energy to work out?
As the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” What is YOUR first step going to be?
I’m big about setting yourself up for success and not failure. Start with something you’re pretty sure you’ll be able to accomplish. If you haven’t worked out for 3 years, and you think you’ll start by working out 5 times/week, it’s most likely not going to work out. Start with 1-2 workouts/week. In a month, you might be up to 5 times/week!
Last week’s challenge encouraged you to take a good, hard, honest look at where you currently are in your life. This week’s challenge builds off of that.
Where do you want to BE a year from now?
WHO do you want to be in a year from now?
When you are plotting a journey, you have to know three things:
Where are you starting?
What is your destination?
How are you going to get there?
So, what is your destination? How will you look? How will you feel? What will you be doing that you aren’t/can’t right now? What will your environment look like? Shoot for the moon! Believe me, in a year, if you follow these three steps, you can be where you want to be! Don’t settle.
I want to give you a little update on my life here. I want to tell you where I was a year ago – I was honestly pretty miserable. I was in excruciating pain from fibromyalgia. I was exhausted all of the time because of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I was stuck. I didn’t know why I didn’t do the things I loved to do.
But, from following these steps, and getting the support I needed (I LOVE my family and friends), I’m in a VERY different place. I only have fibromyalgia flare-ups once in a blue moon….not daily. I’ve been able to cut my thyroid medicine in HALF. Whole foods, exercise and prayer are healing my body and mind! I’m following my dreams! I’m creating a successful health coaching business and am having a blast singing in a band and creating original music (I’ll let you all in on more of that once we get our demo recorded and some good video).
You can be where you want as well. But, you have to take the steps! So, where the heck do you think you’re going?
Food companies use lots of unhealthful and dodgy ingredients to extend shelf life, add gaudy colors, and make us crave their products.
You can (and should!) steer clear of these toxic, tacky ingredients to protect your family’s health. When enough of us say “no way,” these food companies will get the message and clean up their act.
Here are the top 10 “worst of the worst” in our opinion (not necessarily ranked in order of the harm they do)…
1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
WHAT IT IS: MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor-enhancer in processed foods (one of the most common food additives).
WHY IT’S BAD: It’s an known excitotoxin, which is a neurotoxic chemical additive shown to harm nerve cells— overexciting them, sometimes to the point of cell death. Regularly consuming excitotoxins like MSG destroys significant numbers of brain cells and can lead to serious health problems, including neurological disorders. (The two other common excitotoxins used in food areaspartic acid (found in aspartame) and l-cysteine, which is used as a dough conditioner.) In addition, regular consumption of MSG has been shown to stimulate the appetite and contribute to weight gain and obesity.
AKA: MSG goes by several aliases, such as Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Vegetable Protein Extract, Yeast Extract, Glutamate, Glutamic Acid, Sodium Caseinate, Textured Protein, Soy Protein Isolates, Barley Malt, Calcium Caseinate and Malt Extract.
IT’S FOUND IN: Processed foods like salad dressings, low-fat yogurt, canned meats, frozen entrees, potato chips, canned soups (including Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup), and flavored crackers (like Wheat Thins, Cheez-Its and Triscuits).
WHAT IT IS: One of the most widely-used artificial sweeteners.
WHY IT’S BAD: Like MSG, aspartame is an excitotoxin. It also is believed to be carcinogenic, and produces neurotoxic effects such as headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, and gastrointestinal disturbances.
Aspartame contains 10-percent methanol,which is shown to be broken down by the body into the toxic by-products formic acid and formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is considered to be a potent nerve toxin and carcinogen, which may explain why aspartame accounts for more reports to the FDA of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined.
AKA: NutraSweet, Equal, Canderel, Spoonful, Natrataste, AminoSweet, plus others.
IT’S FOUND IN: Over 6,000 products contain it, including diet and sugar-free sodas and drinks, sugar-free chewing gum, yogurt, breath mints, instant breakfasts, frozen desserts, juice beverages, and gelatins.
AVOID ITS PALS: Splenda (Sucralose), Sweet ‘n’ Low (saccharine)
3. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
WHAT IT IS: This is a highly-refined sweetener in which corn starch is separated from the corn kernel. The corn starch is then converted into corn syrup through a process called acid hydrolysis.
WHY IT’S BAD: Nearly all HFCS is made from genetically-modified corn. It is the number-one source of calories in the US diet, and has been shown to contribute to weight gain and thedevelopment of diabetes.
HFCS also is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, arthritis, insulin resistance, andelevated triglycerides and raised LDL cholesterol. In 2009, the Environmental Health Journalreported that a study conducted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policyfound mercuryin 9 of 20 samples of commercial HFCS. The HFCS came from 3 different manufacturers including popular brands such as Quaker, Hunts, Kraft, Yoplait, Nutri-Grain, and Smuckers. Mercury is a heavy metal and is considered a potent brain toxin. The presence of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common.
AKA: Corn sugar, glucose/fructose (syrup), high-fructose maize syrup inulin, iso-glucose, and fruit fructose.
IT’S FOUND IN: Soda, salad dressings, breads, cereals, yogurt, soups, lunch meats, pizza sauce and condiments. On average, Americans consume 12 teaspoons of HFCS per day.
4. Agave Nectar
WHAT IT IS: This highly-processed sweetener is derived from the agave (cactus) plant. Most agave sold in the US comes from Mexico.
WHY IT’S BAD: Many consumers believe agave syrup is a healthful sweetener, but it’s anything but. Agave nectar contains the highest amount of fructose (55-97%) among all the commercial sweeteners, including HFCS (which averages 55% fructose).
Fructose has been shown to increase insulin resistance, the precursor to Type 2 diabetes. It is mainly broken down in the liver and then converted to fat. Excessive fructose, when consumed in quantities greater than 25 grams a day, has been shown to elevate uric acid levels, which causes chronic, low level inflammation throughout the body. It is also a main cause of fatty liver disease.
Fructose consumption also leads to weight gain, elevated blood sugar and triglycerides, plus high blood pressure.
AKA: Agave Syrup
IT’S FOUND IN: Ice cream, energy bars and cereals, ketchup and other sauces. Agave is also sold as a stand-alone sweetener.
5. Artificial Food Coloring
WHAT IT IS: If your food isn’t naturally colorful, these additives tint them much like the dyes that color clothing.
WHY IT’S BAD: Artificial food dyes were originally synthesized from coal tar — and now they are derived from petroleum. They have long been controversial, and are one of the most widely used additives in food products today. Many dyes have been banned because of their adverse effects on laboratory animals. Studies have confirmed that nine dyes currently approved for use in the US raise the following health concerns.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s (CSPI) study on food dyes, “The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens. Another dye, Red 3, has been acknowledged for years by the Food and Drug Administration to be a carcinogen, yet it is still in the food supply.” CPSI further reports that these nine food dyes are linked to health issues ranging from cancer and hyperactivity to allergy-like reactions.
A large-scale British government study (published in 2007in the UK medical journal Lancet) found that a variety of common food dyes, as well as the preservative sodium benzoate, increased hyperactivity and decreased the attention spans of children. These additives were shown to adversely affect children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), along with children having no prior history of behavior problems.
The European Union (EU) has put labeling regulations in place to inform consumers of the health risks, but the US has failed to follow suit.
AKA: Caramel color, FD&C Blue #1, Brilliant Blue FCF, Bright blue, Blue # 2, Ingtotine, Royal Blue, Red Number 3, Erythrosine, FD&C Red No.40, Allura Red AC, Yellow 5 and 6, FD&C Green Number 3, Fast Green, Sea Green, to name a few.
IT’S FOUND IN: Beverages, candy, baked goods, cereal, energy bars, puddings, jams, bread, macaroni and cheese, deli meat, frostings, condiments, fast food, ice cream, sherbet, sorbet, plus meat and fish (to make them appear “fresher”).
6. BHA and BHT
WHAT IT IS: Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives used in many foods to prevent oxidation and extend shelf life.
WHY IT’S BAD: BHA and BHT are oxidants, which have been shown to form potentially cancer-causing reactive compounds in the body. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, considers BHA to be possibly carcinogenic to humans, and the State of California has listed it as a known carcinogen.
WHERE IT’S FOUND: In packaging materials, cereals, sausage, hot dogs, meat patties, chewing gum, potato chips, beer, butter, vegetable oils, cosmetics, and animal feed.
7. Sodium Nitrite and Sodium Nitrate
WHAT THEY ARE: These two closely-related chemicals are used to preserve meat.
WHY THEY’RE BAD: When added to meat, the nitrates are readily converted to nitrosamines,which are associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancers. This chemical reaction occurs most readily at the high temperatures. In a 2007 analysis, The World Cancer Research Fund revealed that eating 1.8 ounces of processed meat every day increases your cancer risk by 20%.
AKA: Soda niter, Chile saltpeter
THEY’RE FOUND IN: Cured meats, bacon, ham, salami, corned beef and hot dogs, pate, pickled pig’s feet, canned meat (Vienna sausages, deviled ham), smoked salmon, dried fish, jerky.
8. Potassium Bromate
WHAT IT IS: A form of bromide, it is used as an additive to increase the volume in some breads, rolls, and flours.
WHY IT’S BAD: It has been shown to cause cancer in animals and is banned in the EU, Canada, and several other countries. The FDA, since 1991, has requested that bakers voluntarily stop using it. It is rarely used in California because a cancer warning is required on the label. Bromide is considered to be an endocrine disruptor.
IT’S FOUND IN: Most commercial baked goods in the US, including Wonder Bread, Sunbeam, Home Pride (but not in Pepperidge Farm, Arnold, Entenmann’s, and Orowheat brands). It’s also common in flour, and occurs in some toothpaste and mouthwash brands as an antiseptic.
9. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)
WHAT IT IS: Produced by Monsanto, rBGH is a genetically-engineered version of the natural growth hormone produced by cows. It is used to boost milk production in dairy cows.
WHY IT’S BAD: “rBGH milk” contains high levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), excess levels of which have been implicated as major causes of breast, colon and prostate cancers. rBGH milk is not required to be labeled.
Giving cows rBGH has been shown to increase the incidence of mastitis. When a cow has mastitis, pus and blood are secreted into the milk. It also leads to antibiotic resistance, which is tied to the spread of virulent staph infections such as MRSA. Hormones in food have also been linked to the onset of early puberty for girls.
Consumer feedback spurred such megabrands as Dannon and General Mills, and the supermarket chains Wal-Mart, Starbucks, and Publix to phase out products with hormones rBST and rBGH.
AKA: Recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST).
IT’S FOUND IN: All dairy products that aren’t specifically labeled “No rGBH or rBST.”
10. Refined Vegetable Oil
WHAT IT IS: There are many different kinds of commercially-refined vegetable oils, including soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, canola oil, and peanut oil.
WHY IT’S BAD: Refined cooking oils are made by intensive mechanical and chemical processes that extract the oil from the seeds. The refining process also utilizes chemical solvents and high temperatures. The oils are then typically deodorized and bleached. This process removes the natural vitamins and minerals from the seeds and creates a product that has been shown to become rancid and oxidize easily, causing free radical formation.
These oils are also high in Omega-6 fatty acid, which is inflammatory and neutralizes the benefits of Omega-3s in your diet. The oxidation effect has been shown to contribute to inflammation in the body, DNA damage elevated blood triglycerides, and impaired insulin response. Additionally, many refined vegetable oils are hydrogenated. This process creates trans fatty acids, which are known to contribute to heart disease and some cancers.
IT’S FOUND IN: Many, if not most, processed foods such as crackers, granola bars, and baked goods use these vegetable oils. They also are popular as stand-alone products (i.e., cooking oils and margarines).
CONCLUSION: This is certainly not a complete list of all the unhealthful ingredients in commercial foods today, but these are the ones to avoid like the plague. If you have other nominees, please add them here.
If we consumers refuse to purchase products containing these ingredients, the food industry will quit making them. It’s really that simple. (You’d be surprised at how closely food companies monitor their sales!)
“Voting” with your dollars is a powerful and immediate way to influence the quality of food in the supermarket. The more you vote, the faster things will change!
I can’t believe it’s been 63 days since I started my 100 Day of Healthy Cooking challenge! I cannot believe how I’ve changed. I never really thought I’d get this far. And by this far, what I mean is that I will never go back. I never thought I’d like cooking, or choose cooking over eating out! I never thought when I didn’t know what to eat at home, I’d run to the grocery store instead of Panera! But, it’s all true! I have eaten out a handful of times. Each time I’m disappointed because I know I can make something better at home, and I also end up feeling not so great.
As far as health goes, I feel sooo much better! I have a lot more energy, and I’m hardly in any pain!
So, that’s just a little update. I plan on giving you all some more recipes in the next few days!
This is not an easy assignment because I’m asking you to take a good, hard look at yourself. I’m asking you to break your denial. Our quick-fix society is full of disconnects. We are lead to believe that any and every problem can be fixed with a pill. Unfortunately, this is so far from the truth. Pills never cure anything, they just treat the symptoms. But, the real problem is always there, lurking under the surface.
So, on to this week’s challenge:
Ask yourself where you will be in a year if you keep living life the way you are living it.
Please be brutally honest with yourself. Are you on a journey that will lead to a life of health and happiness? Or, are you on a path that will lead to pain? Our daily choices are what make or break us.
This exercise is not intended to be an opportunity to beat yourself up. This is an opportunity to build a better future. Some of you already know where you are headed and just feel nothing but guilt and shame. You have to break out of that! That type of thinking is not going to get you the life you dream of and the life you deserve. We’ll address those thoughts at a later date and get you where you need to be =)
Once you figure out where you are, where you truly are, we can figure out the steps to take to get you where you really want to be!!! If you are going to Disney World (one of my favorite places EVER!) and you think you’re beginning your trip in Texas, but you’re really in Michigan, you’re gonna end up lost. So, let’s plot this trip! Let’s plan this journey!
Ready, set, GO!!!
(Please feel free to email me if you need help =) firstname.lastname@example.org )
(Yes, the word “scrabble” can be used interchangeably! Try it! It works!)
Right ITEM, wrong COLOR. Boo!
But, for our trouble, we were given a major discount on the oven I really wanted! It’s stainless steel, hidden elements & convection! I can wait a couple more days for that! They’re letting us keep the white oven until the right one comes in! =)
Either way, this is the fruit of my days of cooking! By the way, I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t stand to eat out! That’s amazing!
The funny thing is that I’m buying an oven on the week we are discussing the raw food diet in my classes! Nice! I’m pretty sure that I’m not supposed to be 100% raw. But, I do believe most people should be more than 50% raw at least.
This week’s challenge is a continuation of last week’s, which was to become aware of the difference between REAL food and FAKE food. This week is still about awareness. I fully believe that intuitively, we know what is good for us and what is bad for us. We know when a food makes us feel crappy and we know when a food makes us feel energized. Some of us have a stronger awareness of this than others, but we all have it. It’s almost as if God put a sensor inside of us to let us know what to avoid.
The thing here is that we are all very different. What is good for one of us can be detrimental to another. At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, this is called bio-individuality. This applies to “healthy” foods as well as junk foods. A good example is that broccoli is really good for some people. But, if you have thyroid problems, raw broccoli can make hypothyroidism worse!
So, if you find yourself cringing around a certain food, there is a possibility that particular food is not good for you! Eating healthy and being healthy should be enjoyable, not torture! Of course, there are things that are definitely bad for everyone without a doubt. I discussed some of those in last week’s challenge. (Trans fats, msg, food colorings, additives, sugar…) And we should avoid those as much as possible.
Intuitive eating can also be used to know when you need to eat and howmuch you need to eat. We live in a society that is inundated with advertising telling you what to eat and when to eat. It’s really everywhere you go! Fast food, billboards, commercials. My favorite are the magazines in the checkout lanes. The same magazine will have titles on the same cover “Eat THIS and Lose 10 Pounds by Tomorrow!” ”Most Delicious Cake Recipe EVER!” Disconnect much? Then you open the magazine and find 50 ads for pharmaceutical drugs.
So, this week’s challenge is:
Trust your Gut!
Getting healthy/being healthy is about YOU! Somewhere you know what is good for you and what is not! Begin becoming aware of your own intuition around food…even around exercise! If you’re not happy, or healthy, maybe you’ve been trusting others too long. Maybe you’ve been trusting the wrong people?….Advertisers, one-size-fits-all diets… Start asking yourself, “How does this food make me feel?” ”Does it give me energy?” ”Does it make me cringe?” I’m interested to see how this challenge changes your perceptions!
Let me tell you about when I met Mr. Mills. I was working for the University of Northern Colorado in Native American Student Services. I was given the task to book Mr. Mills to speak and set up his arrangements. His speaking style reminded me very much of listening to my grandma pass down stories in the Native tradition. He spoke about his journey out of poverty and his Olympic win. He also talked about the use of Native Americans as mascots and how demeaning and degrading they are. He spoke about the importance of nutrition, which is why I contacted him for the interview. And after his speech, he stayed up talking with a group of us until midnight!
Later that year, my graduation was approaching. I decided to send Mr. Mills a graduation announcement thanking him for his encouragement and inspiration. A few days later, I get a phone call. It’s Mr. Mills! HELLO! That was such an awesome surprise! But, honestly, I don’t think I should have been surprised because that seems to be the just the kind of person he is.
Anyway, here is the rest of my interview with Billy Mills. Ever since I conducted the interview, I’ve been thinking about the wisdom he imparted & it has really impacted me. I know it will you as well. So, please take the time to listen & let me know what you take from it =)
If you ever have the chance, you should watch the movie, “Running Brave” starring Robbie Benson, which is about Billy Mills’ life story.
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