Key Ingredients To Stay Away From & Why

If you’ve been a part of the HXH community for a while now, you know I’m obsessed with cutting harmful ingredients out of my diet. While I encourage all of you to do the same. I know how hard it is to avoid a lot of these ingredients because they are used ALL THE TIME.

The reason we see (most) of these ingredients used so frequently is because:

  1. They are cheap.
  2. They preserve food, giving it a longer shelf life.

In America, profit has taken priority over health for a long time. The general public has been kept in the dark about the harmful impacts these ingredients can have on our bodies when we consume them too often. I’m not saying every single one of the ingredients discussed in this post should be totally cut out from your diet, but I am saying it’s important to cut back on them.

  1. Anything you can’t pronounce
    If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, there’s a very high chance that it’s a CHEMICAL. Go to your pantry or refrigerator right now and take a look at the ingredient list on some of your products. Even foods that seem simple can have 20+ ingredients, and a lot of them are words I guarantee you’ve never seen before.
  2. Funky Oils
    Canola oil, palm oil, vegetable oil and soybean oil are all pretty disgusting. Why? They are often packed with pesticides and they are HIGH in saturated fat because they are mostly hydrogenated. These funky oils can cause inflammation, heart disease, and other not-so-good health consequences. Stick to coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive instead – but only in small amounts!
  3. Anything with the word “Isolate”
    When you see the word “isolate”, it means that the ingredient is a processed additive. In other words, a portion of a food has been removed from its other parts and then added to other foods. This is harmful because in order for our bodies to digest foods correctly, we need the whole food, not “isolated” parts of it. This same concept applies to anything powdered. A powdered food is not a whole food. I’m not saying all powdered foods are bad, because they aren’t! But the whole food is always better.
  4. Whey Protein
    I preach this on IG all the time and I created Blender Bombs to replace whey protein. What’s the problem with it? It’s an incomplete food. Your body can’t register it as food and ultimately, it doesn’t know what to do with it! A lot of people experience inflammation, bloating, and other negative health effects when they consume whey protein.
  5. Dairy
    The typical dairy sold in American grocery stores has become chalked full of hormones and antibiotics that it isn’t what it could or should be anymore. There are a lot of great dairy alternatives that I am excited to share with you in this post (insert hyperlink) to Vegan Cheese post once it’s up)  for those of you who can’t stay away from milk and cheese!
  6. Meat
    Like dairy, meat is also having an identity crisis. If you want to NEVER eat meat again, watch “What The Health”on Netflix. Because it is now available everywhere, offered at a cheap price point, and supported by an ‘ish ton of marketing dollars, meat has become a cornerstone of the American diet. I understand that most people don’t want to give it up. If you plan to eat meat, it’s important to choose lean, low fat cuts. Try eating meat or fish at the MAXIMUM of once a day. Then, see if you can cut it back to 3-4 times a week. Replace the meat in other meals with substitutes like black beans, lentils or jackfruit. promise you’ll feel better!
  7. Refined Grains
    Refined grains have had a bunch of stuff taken out of them. They are not a whole food. Refined grains are missing natural fiber, making it very hard for the body to digest. Think: insulin resistance, diabetes: ALL the things you don’t want. The best way to go is 100% whole grain bread, freshly baked sourdough, or sprouted wheat bread. Luckily we have some really good grain options that have come onto the market. Get the list of HXH approved breads from the 80X20 PDF vol. 1!
  8. (Too much) Coffee
    Coffee isn’t the worst thing in the world, but I believe hot tea is a better option. If you have to have coffee, try not to have it everyday (4-5 times a week is much better). Also opt for decaf! Coffee can cause adrenal fatigue, addictive behavior, and dehydration, so tread lightly my friends.
  9. Sugary Foods
    If sugar is listed as the first or second ingredient, take a hard pass. The only exception to this rule is when the “sugary” ingredient is honey, dates, date nectar, date syrup or maple syrup.
  10. Natural Flavors
    The Food Babe explains it best.
    Here is an excerpt from her online blog about Natural Flavors: “Flavor in nature doesn’t come without nutrition. Why does real food have flavor in the first place? Why does an apple taste like an apple? Our brains associate a flavor with its nutrients. Foods naturally taste amazing to us because they contain the nutrients we need. Flavors are the cue that tells us where to find the nutrients we need.

    For example – the flavors that humans love in tomatoes are synthesized in tomatoes from essential nutrients like beta carotene, amino acids, and omega 3’s. The flavor in tomatoes is a chemical sign that tells your brain there’s good stuff in here – you should eat me. Our stores are full of food that taste like all kinds of different things, but don’t come with those nutrients. You can create a food that tastes like a tomato without the nutrients in a tomato – and that’s a problem.

    Flavors make you eat things you wouldn’t normally eat. Soda without flavors is just carbonated water and sugar. No one would drink that without the flavors. It’s not just the sugar… flavor is the missing piece of the puzzle.

    This is a way for the food industry to use fewer real blueberries and trick consumers into thinking they are getting the nutrition that isn’t there. They’re pulling a fast one on us! A good example is Gogurts… lots of sugar and flavor, but no fruit.”

Think These Foods are Healthy? Think Again! 

To finish up this post, I want to discuss a few items at the grocery that pretend to be healthy.

I really dislike calling out products like this, but I want all of you to know that some of these “healthy” options just aren’t what they appear to be.

  1. La Croix: brace yourself you bubbly water lovers..
  2. RX Bars: At first glance, these bars look amazing; the ingredients are listed on the front and are all good things. If you take a closer look, though, you’ll realize that the “egg whites” advertised are actually egg white protein powder, and the fruit is just a natural fruit flavor. They are not whole foods as the label promises.
  3. Kind Bars: Again, these are loaded with dried fruit that can cause insulin spikes because they are incomplete foods. Also, glucose is pretty high up on the list of ingredients. Yuck.
  4. Belvita Breakfast Biscuits: The second ingredient used in these glorified cookies is enriched flour! Canola oil and a bunch of other gross stuff are used too.
  5. Perfect Bars: These “perfect” bars are loaded with whey protein and dry milk powder, barf. No wonder they taste so good- milk is pure sugar.
  6. Pretty Much Any Sports Drink: So. Much. Sugar. Also, chemicals! Drink water instead.

I could keep this list going, and as I said, it is not my intention to put these brands or foods on blast. It’s my goal to bring awareness to consumers that just as not all that glitters is gold, not all that is labeled healthy is truly good for you and your body.

Read your labels, babes.

XX,

Helen

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