(Are you going to hear that song in your head all day now? I know I am.)
I have a mixed history with ‘healthy’ eating. I can unabashedly suck on a huge spoonful of marshmallow fluff while simultaneously worrying about GMOs. I drank Tab soda for years, until Diet Coke came along, at which point I became a slave to the stuff and have only recently totally renounced it. So I will not pretend that I am not a hypocrite or inconsistent. I am. But I still want to make beneficial choices. If you are monetarily challenged it can be frustrating when shopping to make good food choices. My advice: Make a small but beneficial choice. It may not be where you would like to be, but it may be better than before.
Example One: Sugar.
Whether you feel like sugar is evil or not, I don’t know. But I eat it. I use it mostly in iced tea and when baking sweets. If you are buying sugar and you care about GMOs, it is a simple thing to just look at the label. Does it say Cane Sugar somewhere? If it doesn’t, it is most likely made from sugar beets. In 2012 most sugar beets became GMOs. It is a simple enough task to just look for the words Cane Sugar, which is still not GMO. (Side note: powdered sugars can be either but you should assume they are GMO. Why? Even if made with non GMO sugar, cornstarch is added and most corn is now GMO. My advice: Make your own.)
Example Two: Flour
Easy way to make sure your flour is non GMO: Buy King Arthur. (Interesting tidbit in there about chocolate and lecithin. Hmmm.)
Example Three: High Fructose Corn Syrup
I hate the way it tastes. It leaves an aftertaste in my mouth that is unpleasant. I always know when a brand has switched from using sugar to HFCS. Besides the question of whether your body knows the difference and processes HFCS differently, we go back to the GMO aspect of it. Look on the labels to see whether a product uses it–and don’t be fooled by the NO HFCS on the front of the label because, fella, if you look on the back it’s probably Low Fructose Corn Syrup… Hershey’s Syrup had to leave my house over corn syrup and we went back to an old childhood favorite: Nestle’s Quick. I bought the syrup for a bit and then switched over to the powder. Eventually I would like to make my own with cocoa and sugar. Baby steps, baby steps…
Example Four: Fat/Oil
This became a real issue in my house last year. I’ve never been on the low-fat diet kick. Partly because I know that Fat is Flavor and if you reduce fat then you increase sugar to compensate. Hmm, if lower caloric intake is the point then you’ve defeated yourself from the get-go. Also, cuz I just don’t care about fat. Fat plus flour equals gravy. Drizzle some of that stuff on my meat, baby! Yum.
But I digress.
Canola is recommended as the healthiest cooking fat but what do we know about canola/rapeseed? GMO. Plus this statement about canola scares me: “It is considered one of the most chemically altered oils sold in the US.” Many people switched to olive oil, thinking it was a better choice. And it is, but not for cooking. Heated olive oil becomes carcinogenic/toxic. Olive oil is for table use; Use it in dressings, dipping. I had switched to coconut oil before my husband’s heart attack and then was worried that it had been a factor: Images of congealed coconut oil in my husband’s arteries haunted me.* But more research led me back to having confidence in my old friend. I use butter and olive oil and coconut oil, depending upon what I’m using it for, with confidence and a calm heart.
Example Five: Water
We all know that drinking water is good for us. I have a pitcher of homemade ice tea and a pitcher of water in my fridge at all times. I am fortunate, in my own mind, that we’ve been drinking well water for over thirty years. But it can be hard to drink as much water as we should; There was the famous “eight glasses of water a day” advice. I just read this morning about a study in which even mild dehydration–are your lips dry? You’re dehydrated–is linked to irritability, lack of focus, a decline in intellectual ability and migraine. Yikes! The formula recommended in the article was this: Divide your weight by two. Drink that many ounces of water per day. For me that amounts to almost ten cups of water. (Don’t you dare backwards calculate to figure out my weight! I’m coming off 13 years of drugs known to cause weight gain!)
Even small changes can make big differences.
*My husband’s heart attack is the culmination of many years of bad choices on his own. Truck driving, an inability to manage pressure/stress, fast food and beer all combined in a potent recipe for disaster.
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist nor a PHD. I just read a lot and try to balance out all the known facts. I’ve tried to link to reliable pages but they are not my only sources. My health concerns may be different that yours and you must consider that in your decision-making. :O)