BIG Nutrition: Even the Healthy Eaters Can Make Mistakes


BIG Nutrition: Even the Healthy Eaters Can Make Mistakes

Do you know a super healthy eater? Eager to adopt all of the latest trends in health food, they sprinkle flax seeds on their food and swear by kale avocado smoothies. Even these individuals can make a mistake or two and not get all of the benefits from their food. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune covered some potential mistakes when:

  • Adding flax seeds to your intake. Flax seeds need to be ground to receive the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in them. Unfortunately, chewing them is not sufficient. Buy them ground or grind them in a coffee or spice grinder.
  • Believing that smoothies are the answer. They can be very helpful if you can’t stomach eating before a WOD or a competition. For most people, though, chewing is an important indicator for your body that you are eating. Drinking a smoothie may not elicit the same valuable signal.
  • Missing the probiotic in your yogurt. Thankfully, companies know that people expect active cultures in their yogurt, so this is a rare. However, it does not hurt to double check for the phrase ‘active cultures’ on your container of yogurt.
  • Choosing food that is labeled ‘low-fat.’ These foods are typically filled with tons of sugar which is not satiating like fat.

I would add to this list:

  • Avoiding all carbohydrates. Carbs fuel your muscles. Choose about three servings per day (~1/2 cup cooked) of whole grains or starchy vegetables as close to their natural state as possible—sweet potato, steel cut oats, brown rice, barley, farro, Quinoa, corn, peas, and more. The higher the fiber in the food, the better. It is less likely to have been processed, in other words, stripped of its nutrients.
  • Drinking nut milk and thinking it offers what cow’s milk has. Unlike cow’s milk, nut milks are low in protein (unless specifically added), low in Vitamin D, and usually low in calcium; the exception is almond milk which does have calcium.
  • Thinking that food has to be organic and grass-fed to be healthy. There is a lack of research to support that eating organic foods and grass-fed meat is more nutritious than eating non-organic foods and non-grass fed meat. Can you choose to eat these with the hunch that research may show the future that organic and grass-fed is better? Yes. However, if you cannot afford or do not choose to eat organic, you can still be healthy. What research shows is that not eating vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and nuts is associated with poorer health. Thoroughly washing non-organic vegetables and fruits is recommended and does reduce the pesticides that are on non-organic vegetables and fruits.
  • All preservatives are toxic. All preservatives are not toxic or created equal. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is vocal about the additives issue, and they have a ranking list (safe, caution, cut back, etc.) that you may find helpful.

Now you are ready to either take your healthy eating to the next level or help your health conscious friend avoid these healthy eating mistakes!

Drum Roll Please!

Join us on Saturday at the BIG 2 Year Anniversary Celebration where the winners of the Nutrition Challenge will be announced! It will be a fun, community event and somehow I was convinced to bring the cake!? I look forward to seeing you there!

Happy and healthful eating,

Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN

Ready to fuel your life? Contact me at [email protected]