If you’ve got an athlete or a health buff in your life, you know how difficult planning something special can be. Between counting carbs and maximizing protein it can often be a dance not worth dancing. Few recipes are designed for flexibility to accommodate multiple concerns. Quality of experience is often compromised, which has left “healthy” with a tainted reputation. The good news is that quality iS possible, with a little flexibility and understanding of the complex nutrition debate.
When considering “healthy” food claims here are some tips:
Sugar free: despite not using white sugar, many products may not actually be lower in sugar if fruits, honey or syrups are added. These can be high in natural sugars, arguably better than nutrient void processed sugars, but they still spike blood sugar just like their white washed crystalline cousins. Sugar alternatives are another degree of debate altogether and for another article.
Low Carb: Carbs are also converted to sugar once eaten. Net carbs are the best measure for diabetic friendly and low sugar measures; total carbs – total fibre = net carbs. Net carbs are easily lowered when high fibre products like coconut and flax seed are used!
Fat free: despite several fat types being presented on the food label, the information is still extremely limited. Processed oils stripped of their whole food nutrition are not ideal. Whole food fats like nut and seed butters, avocado and whole coconut milk or coconut oil maintain the nutritional value of their naturally grown state, providing naturally rounded out nutritional content.
From an internal and proactive disease prevention perspective, the following may be of higher concern according to a growing crowds of practitioners of many sorts:
Natural: This term is unregulated and used loosely. It is best used to indicate non-lab created ingredients and plant based colors and flavours. it does not reflect degrees of processing a naturally occurring food.
Whole Foods: Using a naturally grown product in its original form, including all edible parts, ensures naturally occurring nutrition remains present.
Organic: Ensures minimal intervention and processing done by modern chemicals. Even with it’s shortcomings it appears to be the most rounded term to ensure the least amount of processing of basic ingredients. Not everything needs to be organic though. The popular listing known as the “dirty dozen” is a great outline for what matters and what doesn’t.
If you want just one rule to make decisions by, I suggest you eat meals with a lot of content variety and where you can see and recognize the individual ingredients 80% of the time. The 80/20 ratio is worth considering for the well being of your relationships! Unless there are serious consequences, bending “the rules” in favor of sweet indulgences and romance certainly seems like a balance that could be worth striking!