I recently walked into my local health food store and made a bee line for the grocery section to grab my staple almond butter. With a few minutes to spare, I decided to have a brief look at what other ‘healthy’ products lined the shelf. Given the vulnerable state of most people shopping at health food stores, I felt disgruntled at the amount of unhealthy processed foods that were competing for shelf space.
The gluten free section
(although I would like to debate the placement of chocolate in the gluten free section in the first place)
had me up in arms!
Gluten free cookies, chips, biscuits, crackers- all of which would not deserve attention in a healthy trolley were taking pride of place in people actively seeking a healthier kitchen cupboard. Just because something is ‘gluten free’ doesn’t make it any more processed and terrible then its gluten riddled counterpart. At the end of the day- most of these products are still a high GI carbohydrate nightmare that will send your blood sugar flying and send messages to your body to store fat – and I know that is not what we want.
Moving on down the line into the ‘vegetarian mock meat’ section I was confronted with soy products galore. While soy products deserve a whole article on them in itself (yes this includes the milk), I simply want to ask you, how do you think soy beans become hotdogs, ice cream and ‘chicken’ nuggets? It’s part of the wonder known as processed food, and to be frank, I think I would actually prefer to eat a McDonalds Burger Patty than down a mock meat soy ball. There’s also a good amount of research to show that processed soy, such as soy milk is an endocrine disruptor and anti-nutrient.
Turning into the next aisle, I was met with an entire block of ‘natural sweeteners’ – particularly every single type of Agave Syrup you have ever met. Here’s the news. Sugar is sugar, regardless whether it is from a cactus or from table sugar or a piece of fruit. Your body digests sugar just the same as any other form of sugar – that is- it raises your insulin levels, and multiplies your stress hormone reaction. Given this natural response- excess sugar is also very aging.
Funnily enough- if I even enter the store in my workout gear (being the buff fitness trainer that I am ) I’m often accosted as to what I’m putting into my trolley. Regardless of the store, whether it is a supermarket, local, or health food store – I stick to the peripheral. Fresh veggies, fruits, quality meat and fish. That my friends – is all you need – apart from the occasional detour to the chocolate section…and I will be honest…the ice cream section too.
Start reading the labels of your favourite product and think about what something is before it goes into your mouth! It is up to you to be your own food detective!