Sneaky Food Labels

The Truth Behind Diet Foods and Packaging Labels!

While doing a killer full body HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) this morning, I was listening to another episode of the Fit2fat2fit podcast. This time, the person being interviewed was Jeff Scot Philips. He is the author of the book, Big Fat Food Fraud: Confessions of a Health-Food Hustler. I haven’t read his book, but the message of the podcast got me all fired up. I just knew that today’s post needed to be a warning to be cautious of diet food products out there!

Did you know that marketers look for the healthy buzz words of the day, and plant those onto our food products as a way to draw in more customers and make more money? We are hearing and seeing diet buzz words like these everywhere: keto, gluten free, dairy free, omega 3’s, protein, grass-fed, electrolytes, soy free, sugar free.

These approaches can be legit nutritional needs for some people. People with Celiac disease have gluten allergies, and need to avoid gluten in food. Those who have dairy allergies and sensitivities need to have a dairy free diet. Those with type 2 diabetes, are morbidly obese, or are fighting cancer and other diseases might need to adopt a ketogenic lifestyle. Some people are disposed to soy allergies or sensitivities and need to avoid products containing soy. We all benefit from watching our sugar intake, getting enough protein, omega 3’s, and electrolytes.

Many people dabble in the keto approach, or choose to live a gluten free lifestyle to help with weight loss or just to be healthier.

But, as Jeff Scot Philips reveals, the food marketers suck in buyers by placing these buzz words onto their product packaging. Sometimes what you see is what you’re actually getting. But often, these companies deceive people into thinking they are getting a healthier product. Some of these products have ingredients on the nutrition label that are counterproductive. We might not be getting gluten, but we’re getting an over abundance of sugar. We might not be getting sugar, but we are getting a mix of artificial sweeteners that really might not be doing us any favors.

I took a little field trip through the grocery store, after my workout this morning. I wanted to lay eyes on these sneaky marketing ploys, for myself.

Check these out:

While this fruit juice is loaded with beneficial nutrients, one of the added protein sources comes from soy protein isolate which can have negative effects for some people.

This is a better hot dog option, for sure. Grass-fed, no added nitrates, but at the end of the day, it’s still a hot dog. Also, it contains celery powder which is a natural nitrate.

Keto bread! Awesome! But two of the ingredients on the list, modified wheat starch and soybean oil, can lead to increased risk of stroke, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and fatty liver!

A dairy free protein bar! Perfect for a dairy free diet! But wait, palm oil is on the list of fats which aren’t heart healthy. Also, does anyone even know what “natural flavors means?”

A Soy free, vegan mayonnaise option! But wait, ingredient #1 – Safflower oil, is one of the highest inflammation causing vegetable oils out there!

A dairy free cheese option! But hold on, are you sure you want to be eating modified food starch? Very little nutritional value comes from this cheese alternative!

Gluten Free Oreos! They might not have gluten in them, but you’re getting 1/4 of your daily value’s sugar recommendations.

Yessssss! Gluten free brownies! But look, ingredient #1: sugar! And 20% of your recommended daily value. Better not eat more than one serving!

So what are you supposed to do?

Now I completely get that there are circumstances which call for these types of food substitutions. Someone with a gluten allergy is absolutely allowed to eat a gluten free birthday cake!

But that doesn’t mean that these foods are automatically healthy for you! If it is a habit to throw these type of diet foods into the cart on a regular basis, I urge you to be cautious. Look at the ingredient labels. Are you staying within the recommended daily allowance for the macronutrients and micronutrients nutrition label? Do you know and understand what everything is on the list of ingredients? In most cases, you are substituting one thing for another, but are you really trading for something better?

If your goal is weight loss, processed foods (even diet friendly ones) aren’t your quickest route. Your best bet will always be to eat real food from unprocessed food sources. If you need to live a gluten free, keto lifestyle, vegan, dairy free, etc lifestyle, make your own meals, treats, snack bars, etc. The internet is swimming with great recipes. In fact, you will find a bunch here in the weekly meal plans! Wherever you decide to get them, trust me, you’re body will thank you!

Okay. Rant over! Talk to you soon!


Experience the new found confidence in yourself! Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Diet Foods and Packaging Labels Diet Foods and Packaging Labels Diet Foods and Packaging Labels

Meal Plan

Meal plan for week 8: Comfort food!

Who’s hungry!?!? The meal plan for this week is loaded with comfort food. But like, 5 star restaurant comfort food without any guilt, whatsoever. Don’t be scared off by this next sentence: A few of the recipes will require a bit more time to prep. But, I promise, you’ll be so happy that you put in the time and effort to get these dishes prepared. Once they’re ready, you won’t have to think about what you’ll be eating for the next 6 days! The macronutrients are all lined up to provide you with a high protein, low carb approach.

Do you remember, last week, when I brought you and Lillie Biesinger together? Well, we’re hanging out with Lillie, again, this week. We’re making an adaptation of her zucchini lasagna (you won’t even miss the pasta!), and her Weeknight Bolognese (this is the recipe that takes the longest).

But seriously, take advantage of this free meal plan, that is sure to make your waistline shrink while still catering to your tastebuds!

Week 8 meal plan:

Click here to download this weeks meal plan

Serving sizes for this week:

This meal plan and grocery list is intended to feed one person through the whole week. The Weeknight Bolognese and Lasagna are the only recipes that provide a little bit extra to share (the lasagna only provides two extra servings, but the Bolognese might feed the whole fam one night and just you the rest of the week). So if you have extra mouths you are feeding with these same foods, plan accordingly.

Grocery items that might be easier to find online:

Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener

Bone Broth Powder (There are a bunch of products out there. I find that this one tastes best. Plus, it’s low sodium, which is hard to come by in bone broth!)

4 oz storage containers and 8 oz storage containers.

Meal prep storage containers

Nutritional info for this week’s meal plan:

That’s it for today! Happy feasting!


Experience the new found confidence in yourself! Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
colorful doughnuts

My First Indulgence Meal

We made it! Here we are, at the end of week three. And you know what that means!?!? Indulgence meal!!!

I was texting Adam (my hubby) earlier in the day, yesterday, telling him of the places we would be stopping to pick up food for date night/indulgence meal night. His response, “I’m not sure which you are more excited for. Date night with me, or Crumbl and Cava!” (Don’t worry, I told him that date night with him outranked the indulgent food that I was really really excited to eat)! I don’t blame the guy for wondering though… My upcoming indulgence meal has occupied a dominant amount of my thoughts in the last few days. And the outcome was just as fantastic as the anticipation! (But don’t worry, the evening out with him was even better!)

Cava and Crumbl. I know I’ve already talked about Crumbl (multiple times) in these posts. But do you know about Cava? Holy Moly! Think Mediterranean food with a Chipotle-esque concept. (Walk through the line, pick which ingredients you want to walk away with). They have about 80 stores throughout 13 different states in the US. We figured out, last night, that we’ve already spent around $250 on Cava since our Highlands Ranch location opened this last spring (maybe that’s not something I should fess up to?).

Anyway, Cava has these “greens and grains” bowls that have come to be something I can’t live without. I have probably thought about this food, almost daily since I first tried it! Without fail, I always choose the “super greens” (kale, brussels sprouts, chicory, and broccoli), a mix of brown rice and black lentils, 2 scoops of tziki sauce, 1 scoop of hummus, double servings of chicken (to make the bowl last for two meals, it really is a ton of food!), cucumbers, tomato and cucumber salsa, tomato and onion, (yes, they do have a variety of options that include tomatoes and cucumbers), kalamata olives, a yogurt dill sauce and almost the most important addition: the pita crisps on top.

Cava, Indulgence meal
How it started

Cava
How it’s going

While enjoying this delicious spread, Adam asked, “If this is such a healthy meal, what makes it indulgent?” I told him, if I were going to be picking up food from there on a day that wasn’t a planned indulgence day, the bowl would be much more simple. It would only include the veggies, chicken, maybe a half serving of black lentils (because I absolutely love those!), and only 1 scoop of the tzatziki sauce. Since it was a planned indulgence meal, I wanted all of the goodness, especially the pita crisps up top. The good news is that it is absolutely a place where I can still order a dish, with modifications, to help me in the process of weight loss.

So Cava was the first round of the indulgence meal. Since we are heavily laden in a COVID world, and Cava isn’t one of the local restaurants which have been approved for indoor dining, Adam and I enjoyed a moonlit meal from the car in the parking lot (talk about romantic!). But hey, when the oldest child is geared up to be the babysitter, you take full opportunity to spend even a few minutes away, right!?

Before picking up Cava, we picked up our online order of Crumbl. I did this to ensure this meal could all happen within the designated hour long time frame. Since this is me we’re talking about, I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity for a few tastes of one other item which has been screaming at me from the beginning of this adventure. I had a pan of cinnamon rolls all prepared for when we came home with the cookies.

Cookie
Is this Heaven? No, it’s Crumbl!

Don’t worry! Binge eater Amy stayed locked up nice and tight, last night. I did allow myself to eat a little more of the Cava bowl than I typically do, leaving just enough of the protein, veggies, grains, and one scoop of sauce to be an appropriate mini meal for another day. With the cookies, we cut them up into 6 pieces. I took 1 corner of each of those cookie flavors. As I bit into each individual flavor, I made the decision in that first bite if it would be worth it to eat the whole piece, or leave the rest on my plate. There were only two flavors that I really wanted to eat the whole thing: The Biscoff cookie (Holy smokes! This one is going down as a favorite Crumbl cookie flavor!), and the chocolate chip cookie. The other flavors were just kind of “meh”, so I intentionally chose to not finish them. I also picked out the smallest cinnamon roll in the pan. Because I was on the brink of having too much food, I even left some of that on my plate!

Cinnamon Roll
cookie

Now, this is probably the most important part of this whole post. Since I’ve had three solid weeks of eating non processed, no added sugar, no simple carbs, etc. It was within 20 minutes of eating my Cava bowl that the bloating and gassy tummy set in (TMI? Reminder: I promised full transparency). Sure it was healthy food, but the combination of pita crisps, extra sauces and grains put my digestive system in overdrive. Although I didn’t eat until I was sick, I was able to observe that the types of food I allowed myself in quantities larger than usual aren’t the types or quantities of foods we function best on. It’s way more work, and way harder on the body, when we consume these types of indulgent foods. We just might not realize it when our body is so used to constantly working as hard as it is to digest the excess less strategic foods.

Don’t get me wrong, the indulgent meal actually does more for us than just giving us a break from the boring weight loss food. It helps to reset our hunger hormones. It gives us a psychological break from the rigidity of following rules, it acts as a reward for going a certain period of time with sticking to your plan. It teaches you to respect the rules of weight loss. Lastly, it helps you to recognize the progress you make in the way that the non-strategic foods make you feel.

If you want some science backed reasons in favor the indulgence meals read these two articles: https://legionathletics.com/science-backed-reasons-why-you-should-have-cheat-meals/ and https://greatist.com/health/cheat-days-explained#physical-effects.

Overall, I am giving this indulgent meal experience a 10 out of 10! It served all the right purposes. I felt like I kept myself reigned in, and it provided a much needed date night with the hubs! Coming back from the indulgent meal feels hard! I already had to stop myself after eating about 1/8 of a leftover cinnamon roll. There’s a special kind of challenge in allowing myself to be liberal in my food intake one meal, and then reigning it all in back to a strictly strategic mindset the next. I can do this! I’ll just be giving myself a million little pep talks to not eat even one more taste of the remaining cinnamon rolls and cookies left on the counter! I’ve got this!

That’s a wrap! Talk to you soon!

Experience the new found confidence in yourself! Get New Content delivered directly to your inbox.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Meal Plan

Meal Plan #4: Bacon and Blueberry muffins!

Snacks, Candy, Sugar

What do your cupboard and pantry shelves look like? Do you fill them to the brim with only whole foods (foods consisting of only one ingredient, i.e. fruit, vegetable, nuts, seeds, etc.)? I sure don’t! I have one, fairly small corner of the pantry which contains protein powder, bone broth powder, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, nutritional supplements, etc. Don’t judge me, but the rest of my pantry is filled to the brim with processed foods, sugar cereal, chips, snacks, candy, Nutella, etc. There is even a bowl of candy right at my three year old’s level so that he can just help himself as he pleases (How’s that for awesome parenting!?!?)! I do ensure that my family eats their veggies and protein. I prepare healthy meals for them and I work to teach them principles about good nutrition. But I don’t subject my own weight loss rules on them.

You and I both know that I could be quite happy pulling out a spoon and digging into the jar of Nutella, without abandon. So how do I avoid goal sabotaging behaviors when I allow myself to be surrounded by the non-strategic foods, you ask? It’s all about the mental and physical preparation. Knowing your goal (what it is you want) and the steps you need to take to get there are the keys to success. And one of those steps is your meal plan.

Following a meal plan will provide an assurance that you’re taking the steps required to attain what you want. And It really is quite enabling as you get to the store for the items on the grocery list, spend a couple hours food prepping and separating into individual containers, and know exactly what you’re going to be eating for the following six days. Doing these things set you up for success. When you don’t have a plan and your prep work isn’t completed, you will FOR SURE find yourself gravitating to the chips/crackers/(insert favorite processed junk food here). Do yourself a favor, follow these steps and watch your health improve for the better!

As mentioned in previous posts, this is the week that I’m decreasing calories and carbs. This is the epitome of a low carb meal plan. The macronutrient range for this meal consists of about 35% protein, 45% fat, and 20% carbs. If you are new to a low carb diet, you might experience such symptoms as fatigue, weakness, lightheadedness, “brain fog,” headaches, irritability, muscle cramps, and nausea. You may even find yourself peeing more (I promised to be straight forward, didn’t I?). These symptoms will pass within 2-10 days (how’s that for a broad range of days?). If after this point you still don’t feel like you’re back to feeling good, feel free to eliminate 20-25 grams of protein. In it’s place, you can add in 20-25 grams of carbohydrates from a healthy source (no spoonfuls of Nutella!).

This week’s meal plan has a smaller amount of food prep, but you do get to bake! Meal number two is a low carb blueberry muffin! Yum! Also, who loves bacon? You get to eat that every day this week! (Insert double high five emoji here). You might notice that this meal is dairy free and grain free. You might even say this meal plan qualifies as paleo. As mentioned before, I’m eager to clear up any potential inflammation. Dairy can actually cause inflammation in the body, so we are experimenting here, to see if we might feel better without it.

Only the muffin recipe gives your directions to make enough for the whole week. The rest of the meals are laid out as individual servings. For the items that require prepping, like grilled chicken and bacon, go ahead and cook all of it at once. This makes for an easy grab throughout the week.

*EDIT ADDED:

  • The blueberry muffins are not very sweet as the recipe is written. Feel free to double the monk fruit sweetener for added sweetness.
  • After making the recipe in my own meal prep, I wish I had added 1 tsp of almond extract or vanilla extract.
  • I used mini muffin pans. It took about 11-12 minutes in the oven.
  • When using mini muffin pans, the serving size becomes 7 mini muffins
  • Refrigerate your muffins after they have cooled down. These aren’t the type of muffins that can be left out on the counter. They’ll begin to spoil within a few days, out of the fridge.

Week 3 Meal Plan

Grocery List

Here are some of the items from the grocery list that might be more expensive or harder to find at your local grocery store:

Nutritional info for this week’s meal plan:

And that’s a wrap! Talk to you soon!

Experience the new found confidence in yourself! Get New Content delivered directly to your inbox.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Meal Plan

Week 3: Meal Plan & shopping list

Are you familiar with the epic cookie and “dirty soda” shop scene that is going on in the state of Utah? That is where my little family is from, and where our parents and siblings still reside. We moved away from there in 2013, not long before these cookie/soda shops started popping up everywhere. Now, every time we go back for a visit to see family, we tend to make a stop or two at these shops. The soda doesn’t do much of anything for me (they call them dirty sodas, because they take your regular Coke, Sprite, etc. and add different flavored syrups into it). But if you dangle these cookies in front of me, I turn all shark feeding frenzy mode on them! And that Dirt Ball cookie from Swig?! Holy smokes (It’s a chocolate on chocolate cookie and I’m drooling just thinking about it!)!

One of these shops, Crumbl, has made it’s way out here to Colorado. Just yesterday, they opened up a brand new location only 10 minutes from my house. I swear, in the last few days, I haven’t been able to escape having Crumbl and their Twix flavored cookie at the forefront of my mind (insert salivating emoji here!). I walked into work yesterday morning and there was a giant box of them on the supervisor’s desk. Our neighbor was given some at a work meeting, and she brought one over for my boys to split (they’re giant cookies!). I am proud to say I was able to successfully avoid masochism by refraining from taking my boys to their grand opening free cookie day! But you guys, the temptation is real! And it is heavy!

But don’t you worry, I know what I want in the long run, and it is not to be weak in the face of the baked goods! I want to continue to nurture this side of me which stays focused on the efforts required to meet goals; to practice what I preach; to show myself that I can do this. And if we’re being really honest, I want to find some ab muscles which I believe are down there somewhere. The cookies that are now 10 minutes away from me can have their place as a “once in a great while” indulgence, and that will be enough. I just need to decide if I want to include that as part of my first indulgence meal which is coming up next Friday… We’ll see.

Since we’re in the business of doing the work required for losing weight, let’s shift focus to what is really important. I’ve created another meal plan which promises placing the body in an environment conducive to weight loss. In a perfect world, I’ll be posting these meal plans every Friday. That’s what I’m shooting for so that you can do your shopping and meal prep on the weekend.

I had a few particular objectives with this next week’s meal plan.

  • First was to keep things simple. Since these meals happen 6 times a day, I wanted very little time to be required prepping in the kitchen. There are way too many other ways I want and need to spend my time than slaving away at the stove. These meals will require a dedicated few hours on one day, but the rest of the week, you’ll be able to grab and go.
  • Second objective was to decrease the calorie content to just below 1700 calories per day. If you aren’t currently very active, you’ll want to eliminate an additional 100 calories, give or take, in order to be in a weight loss calorie range. If you are really active, 6 days a week for more than an hour, you might need to increase your caloric intake.
  • Third objective was to decrease the carbohydrate ratio down closer to 100 grams per day. I’m slowly inching my way into a carb range of 50-100 grams of carbs each day. This meal plan lands at about 108 grams of carbs each day. (Next week, I’ll begin decreasing protein quantity just a bit, and increasing fat intake.)
  • Fourth objective was to include almost no dairy. I’m still getting headaches and vertigo, like crazy, from my concussion in October. I love my cottage cheese, but since dairy can cause inflammation in the body, I’m ready to see if I might be able to decrease headaches by decreasing the amount of dairy that I consume. This will also help to keep saturated fat intake a little lower, as animal fat is a source of saturated fat. Do you have aches and pains, or chronic conditions? You might notice this to help you feel a bit better, as well.

The meals in the plan, list the quantities that you’ll consume in a single meal. As you’re prepping, multiply the recipe by six in order to make food for the rest of the week. The grocery list includes enough groceries to make meals for six days. Food doesn’t always stay as fresh as we want if we try to extend it beyond that time, so be sure to use the seventh day to eat what ever leftover protein and veggies you might still have from the previous week.

Day Seven can be a “wing it” day, as long as you stay within a similar calorie and macro range as the previous meal plan. This will ensure you continue to be successful in your weight loss efforts. Also, whatever you do, don’t make that seventh day a “cheat DAY“. Remember, a pre-planned Indulgence meal is perfectly acceptable! But we don’t do ourselves any favors turning the entire day into a free for all!

Week 3 Meal Plan

Grocery List

Here are some unique products from this weeks grocery list. To make it easier on you, you can snag them on Amazon via the links below:

I have and use collagen protein powder regularly, it’s flavorless and provides fantastic nutrition. That said, I want to try this collagen protein powder (because chocolate!).

Here is a “cleaner” whey protein powder. As you may already know, there are so many whey protein powders out there! Many of these are filled with ingredients that we really don’t benefit from putting into our bodies. It can feel overwhelming to know which powder to choose. I’m still researching “the best” protein powder that I am excited to fully promote (I’ll be sure to let you know when I’ve found it!). If you have a favorite whey protein powder, let us know in the comments!

And finally, pumpkin seeds. I love these little things, like mad!

That’s it for today! For the entire food Journal for this meal plan, and nutrition information (see below). Happy meal prepping, and eating from a nutrition plan that our body can thrive on!

Experience the new found confidence in yourself! Get New Content delivered directly to your inbox.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Meal Plan

Meal plan #2-Way more simple!

This is proving such a good learning experience for me as I’m coming to understand my capacities, or lack thereof! I was reminded, this last week, about my disdain for meals that take way too long to prepare. I mean, I adjusted the first programed meal plan on this site because it required way too much of me! Like all moms, I’m a busy gal, and I need simplicity when it comes to my food prep and consumption.

This next meal plan promises just that! You’ll still be required 2-3 hours of meal prep at the start of the week. The rest of the week, it’ll only be work at dinner time. This plan still follows a 6 meal a day program, but the 6th meal is something different you can make each day for dinner (or eat leftovers!). A bonus, you’re also ensuring that you’re making a dinner for your family that you know is loaded with the best type of nourishment for the body. I only suggested recipes that I’ve tried, and know that my kids all like. Believe me, I’ve searched high and low to find recipes which cater to all my picky eaters, and these suggested dinner recipes are winners!

Meals 1-5 on this meal plan make enough food to have meals for six days. It takes a strong minded person to endure much longer than that eating the same foods on repeat! I’m not there yet, so I’m only suggesting six days worth of meals.

Here are a few of the products listed in the meal plan and other product options that can help make your meal prep even easier:

  • Don’t feel like cracking and separating 35 egg whites? You can either use a carton of liquid egg whites, or this egg white powder and just add water.
  • LAKANTO Monkfruit sweetener is the top artificial sweetener that I recommend.
  • I’m a huge fan of Muir Glen marinara sauce for both it’s flavor, and ingredient list that I feel great about consuming.
  • When I’m not making my own bone broth, this is the bone broth powder that I like.
  • I find that it’s way more cost effective to purchase almond flour in the larger size bags on Amazon or Costco than at the local grocery store. You’ll need almond flour for both the turkey meatballs and grain free chicken nuggets.
  • Snag some of this sugar free, paleo, whole30 approved Primal Kitchen BBQ sauce to go with those grain free chicken nuggets.

And there you have it! I’m doing all my shopping and meal prep on Monday morning. I’m excited to put my best foot forward and win at week two of weight loss!

Like what you are reading? Enter your email below and get automatic updates every time I drop a new post!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.