Word Count: 1452 words Reading Time: Between five and six minutes
Do you know what you’re eating? I don’t mean the recipes or what restaurants, but what your food actually is made of? Do you know if the cheese you are eating is real? How about that microwave popcorn? Most of us are aware that foods like the Twinkie or Zesty Cheese Doritos are bad for you, but do you know what’s actually in them? Well, just a warning, you may not want to know! And the food industry definitely doesn’t want you to.
Food is Now Science
Did you know that the Doritos are manufactured not to taste good or satisfy your hunger but to keep you eating more? Doritos are scientifically-designed to maximize pleasure – with little regard for nutritional value. Even the fact that the food is scientifically designed should give us all pause. Real food is not designed.
They use tricks such as flour grinding for their ‘cheesy’ powder, ensuring every nook and cranny is filled, maximizing the amount that will contact your saliva. In fact, food scientist Steven A. Witherly, author of the book Why Humans Like Junk Food, says that licking the dust off your fingers without a chip gives an even larger boost of flavour.
In fact, these food fraudsters (including Coca-Cola) balance the flavours so well that it’s actually unforgettable. That’s right, unforgettable! Though these fake foods have powerful tastes, they balance the flavour so well, no one taste lingers, avoiding sensory-specific satiety, or the feeling of fullness. That’s right – so you’ll eat more, and if you’re like most people, more often!
From artificial colours to the use of MSG mixed with salt (oh so much salt), food companies are just that, companies. They are no longer the farmers and grocers of our grandparent’s generation (or for you millennials, great-grandparents).
So, while you may be thinking, “ok, so Doritos are bad for you, I get it, that’s no surprise.” I write this to show how manufactured, and profit-driven the food industry has become.
What would you say if I told you that even foods you thought were healthy, well weren’t quite what you thought? Did you know that strawberries in Quaker’s Strawberries & Cream are actually apples with red food colouring? And while that may not sound ominous, just the fact they need to use food colouring when they could dehydrate actual strawberries shows how devious the industry can be.
Perhaps the best examples of fake food are Kraft Singles (cheese slices) – they don’t have just the three ingredients required for cheese (raw milk, salt, rennet), but have 24 other ingredients! In a disturbing self-experiment, CBC’s Sook-Yin Lee left a slice of processed cheese for a year and a half stuck to an outside window. And well, not much happened. It didn’t rot, it didn’t even attract insects or critters, it didn’t even mould – after 18 months!
If this doesn’t make you take a closer look at what you are feeding your body (your only body I might add), perhaps the pictures in this article that separately shows each of the ingredients in foods like Doritos (blue powder anyone?), Twinkies, and even Campbell’s Chicken Soup? Loading up soups with monosodium, a flavouring agent that boosts appetite and causes migraines, many popular soup brands are surprisingly unhealthy.
So, What Can you Do About it?
So how do you compete with the psychologists and food scientists at food companies? The most important thing you can do is educate yourself on what you are really eating. As you may remember from childhood, School House Rock said, knowledge is Power!
There is a lot of information out there regarding food. As so much is conflicting, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and settle for what is easy, familiar, or comfortable. But, it’s not hopeless, and with some education, everyone can begin to understand the types of foods we need and where to get them. Understanding the food industry and how food is made, sold, and kept from rotting on shelves will go a long way to improving not only your health but your mindset. Here are five tips to get you started!
Changing Mindsets and perceptions around diet and lifestyle
Did you know the word diet comes from the Greek word dieta, meaning “way of life?” Eating healthy isn’t what the word ‘diet’ has come to indicate. You can eat healthy and delicious food that both satiates your hunger and your taste buds and emotional needs.
Understand what food really is
While food is definitely fuel, it is so much more than that. While most diet programs and information about food often speak of the concept of calories in/calories out (basically, fuel and how we use it), food also plays a large part in affecting our health and future health by speaking to our genes and providing them instructions. By eating real and nutrient-dense foods, we send our bodies positive instructions. With foods such as Kraft Singles, Twinkies, and even yes, even our favourite soup brands, we send our bodies instructions that negatively impact gene expression.
To simplify this, I like to look at this like we have a bunch of levers we can pull to affect the genetic code we were born with. Some of us have genes that are predisposed in specific ways, and the food we eat instructs our genes to behave in certain ways – what message do you want to send to your body? Foods like Kraft Singles confuse your body with the manufactured ingredients – our bodies have not evolved to consume these foods. For even more information on how food impacts your body, check out Dr. Mike’s video (on the Healthy transformations blog) about the Glycemic Index and the Glycemic Response.
Once you understand what food is and the instructions it provides your body, shopping and meal planning become so much easier. Depending on how your grocer is set up, you really only need to shop in a few aisles and sections, mostly around the perimeter, to get all the food you need to help your body. By keeping to the aisle or “U,” as some suggest, you will stick to the real food areas such as fruits and vegetables, the meat section, and a few of the aisles with pantry staples such as nuts and seeds. Remember, companies use bright colours and logos to capture your attention with labels that suggest health, but upon closer look, are anything but.
Understanding that the marketing usage of words such as “natural,” “whole,” or “heart-healthy” are all subjective and are meaningless without reading the ingredients and nutritional label. As well, make sure you check the source of the “organic” label and the different claims, so you understand what you are paying for.
Listen to your body
This is so important. When we have eaten poorly for longer than we care to remember (or admit), we forget that how we feel isn’t natural. Is your brain foggy? Do you often feel tired, even after a full night’s rest? Do you feel weak? Achy? Maybe it’s those pesky last ten pounds that you want to shed that you just can never seem to lose. Your body is sending you signals (physically, mentally, and emotionally).
A good way of thinking about what you are eating is to think of the process like traffic lights. Companies try to make it so easy to sail through all “green lights” to get their product into your bellies and craving more. The end result, remember, is always for them to make money off your eating habits. When you build in yellow lights between the emotion and thought of eating and actually eating, we can slow down our impulses and habits. This is especially helpful when these habits have been years in the making. By giving yourself time to process the feeling connected to eating, you begin to understand what it is your body truly needs.
Lastly, support is vital in anything we do. Humans are social creatures and not only want but thrive with proper social support. Make a goal with your spouse or best friend to learn more about food together, share recipes, and hold each accountable.
If you want expert support and knowledge that will help you learn not only the basics but to also become a food expert so that you will never doubt what your body needs again, we run the Healthy Transformations program annually. Our comprehensive program is based on a scientific and behavioural model to teach what food is, its impact on our bodies, and the behavioural connection to our food.
Check out www.healthytransformations.ca for more information or to sign up for one of our Info Sessions.
Christopher James Lawrence is a Co-Founder of the Healthy Transformations Program with Dr. Mike Breen. He is also the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching — a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind. He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker that truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him here.
Ten Most Powerful Ways to Curb Your Sugar Craving
Sugar is the enemy. Yes, yes. I know we need a certain amount of carbohydrates in our bodies; however, when it comes to sugar we overconsume.
Health professionals have discovered that many people experience sugar cravings, and this habit has made it impossible for them to stick to a healthy diet.
Cravings are said to be as a result of your brain’s need for a reward and not necessarily your body’s need for food. It’s ok to indulge a little, but over time it tends to become a habit and from there an insatiable craving. The dangers and disadvantages of too much sugar are something I am sure you are well aware of. Hence, there is a need to put a stop to those cravings.
In this article, we take a look at the ten most powerful ways to curb your sugar cravings, they include:
Eat a healthy, filling meal rather than junks
It’s one thing to crave something; it’s another thing to be hungry. Craving is not your body’s message that you need energy; it’s instead the dopamine saying you need a reward. When you crave for junk food when hungry, the best thing to do is to consume a healthy filling meal as soon as possible.
Rather than stock your kitchen with garbage food, stock it with nutritious snacks or pre-made food. Foods rich in proteins such as egg, meat, fish, and leafy greens are ideal for curbing hunger. This may not seem like such a good idea when all you want to do is woof down a sugar-filled snack, but when you consider the side effects, it will help you resist the temptation.
Have a hot or cold bath
This has proven to work wonders for those who crave sugar. The water to be used for bathing shouldn’t be just cold; it must be hot but not so much that it burns the skin. Allow the water glide over your skin and your back, stand in the bath for about ten minutes, and after that step out of the shower. Or do the opposite and make it cold. You will experience a kind of dazed feeling as though you have been in a sauna for far too long or as though you are schoking your body into alertness. Before you are done with your bath, your sugar craving will be gone.
Go for a walk
This is another effective way of dealing with a sugar craving. Go for a brisk walk, and if you can jog or run, then that’s better.
This serves two purposes, first is that it helps you keep a distance from that sugar you are craving, the second is that the exercise releases a feel-good chemical called endorphins which enables you to lose the craving.
Your craving could be caused by dehydration, but by taking at least a glass of water, you not only keep your body hydrated, but you also get to deal with the cravings.
Desist from consuming artificial sweeteners
If what triggers your craving for sugar are artificial sweeteners, then it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Have a support system
While trying to curb or stop your cravings for sugar, its best to have someone who understands what you are going through and is willing to help you scale through. It’s not going to be easy stopping what you love, but with determination and a sound support system, it can be done.
Have enough rest
Getting enough sleep daily is vital for your overall state of health; it also helps you prevent sugar cravings.
If you are aware of the things that trigger your craving for sugar, then its best to avoid it. It may be certain activities like walking past an ice-cream parlor or French fries.
Have a reminder
It is essential that on this journey of trying to curb your sugar craving that you have a list of the reasons you have decided to stop taking sugar. Regularly read the list to be reminded that you have a purpose and goal; this will help you stick to the plan.
By taking multivitamins, you prevent any deficiencies that may occur with sugar withdrawal. If you can take junks now and then without having a relapse then it’s ok, otherwise, avoid it altogether.
Christopher James Lawrence is a Co-Founder of the Healthy Transformations Programwith Dr. Mike Breen. He is also the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching — a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind. He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker that truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him here.
Lisa – When did we meet? Several years ago through friends.
Karen – We’re now ex-neighbors, but we are friends for a long time now. A dozen years or so, maybe longer.
Lisa – And when I was in the process of selling a house, and buying a house Karen was there for us. (chuckles) I’m Lisa, I’m a teacher but I’m also a mom of two kids and a wife and yeah, that’s me.
Karen – I’m Karen Jardine, I’m a real estate agent with CIR, and I have a chaotic and unusual lifestyle. So part of the reason I joined was also to help keep that under control.
Lisa – I think, well we first noticed it on Facebook and so we were quite interested in finding out more information about it. When they talked about the information about reducing inflammation, I had a big problem of a lot of bloating and so, for me, it was hopefully I could solve that problem for the rest of my life. So that was my big interest of coming to Healthy Transformations in the first place.
Karen – And I started, what brought me to Healthy Transformation, was a mortgage broker actually recommended it. It’s someone I know, like, and trust. So I actually picked up the phone, I called him, and said, “What do you know about these people?” And then I met you, Christopher, as well as Dr. Breen, and he said, “I know Dr. Breen very well. “I would recommended him 100% and anyone Dr. Breen would recommend, I would be 100% on board with whatever he said.” So as soon as it was that, I had clicked my little interested, Lisa clicked her interested, showing the power of social media. And I got the text saying, “Are you going?” And we went.
Lisa – I think the easiest part was, for the program, coming to Healthy Transformations, was coming to the meetings. At first they were a little challenging, ’cause about the sharing. I wasn’t good at sharing sometimes but I think after a few meetings went along, it’s like, you know, these guys are pretty cool. And they shared with us, so it left us, well, myself, be a little more open. I think that actually was one of the best parts. I’m going to miss coming to the meetings, which is why I’m continuing on with the grad program after.
Karen – The best part, I tend to agree. Because I found the best part, I thought there’s no way that we’re gonna sit and talk about food and that’s gonna be the best part. And it isn’t all about food. It’s about behavior, food, rituals, there’s so much more that we learned in the program. So I was really thrilled about the program itself and coming to the meeting. These are a group, every single person is different, a very diverse group. I think the meeting was actually the best part and the food part ended up being, I had lots to eat, and that was always the scare. But the meeting was definitely, definitely number one.
Lisa – Well, for me, the reason I initially came to Healthy Transformations was to get rid of the bloating and not to have that anymore ’cause I was tired of looking seven months pregnant when I really wasn’t.
Karen – Me too, by the way. Both of us together, we both complained about significant bloating.
Lisa – Quite uncomfortable. So that’s gotten under control and I am not seeing any of that anymore, thank goodness. It was nice to create for myself a better relationship with food and to understand, yes, that food is instructions for my body and I need to put in what my body needs. So I think through this program that taught me a lot as well. To be able to do that confidently. And, like I was saying earlier tonight in our meeting tonight, that I am a priority and that I am in-charge of what I put in my body.
Karen – Very similar, what happened with me was, I ended up losing about 20 pounds but that was never the goal. The goal was about bloating. I had severe issues, lactose intolerance, I’ve seen everybody under the sun. Lisa knows that I’ve been part of, from naturopaths to acupuncture. You name it, I’ve probably already did it. I’ve been to allergy specialist, and trying to figure out my stomach, and I’m severe lactose intolerant. It wasn’t just my stomach, my skin, et cetera. Dr. Breen assured me, on day one, that was going to go away and I didn’t believe him. I really, complete skeptic on that’s not gonna happen and he’s right. It’s nothing, zero, nada, no response to lactose. It’s crazy, I can’t believe it, I still am a little bit in awe that this has happened. The weight-loss was a benefit on top of it but it’s the bloating thing that was making my life so miserable. So, nice to fit in clothes again.
Lisa – Lots of good stuff.
Karen – You do!
Lisa – Lots of shopping to do. All year, lots of shopping to do.
Karen – Now we need to go get clothes that fit. (laughing)
Lisa – But I think one bonus too–
Karen – Skinny girl problems.
Lisa – Skinny girl problems. (laughing) I think one thing as well, over this past year is that my brain, my thinking has become much more clear. I’m very much more confident as a person to make decisions and great choices. Healthy gut, I guess, healthy brain.
Karen – I’ll take that one.
Lisa – Okay, I can’t remember what I (laughs)
Karen – The toughest part, for me, was the absolute beginning. The beginning, the first two to three months, was really, really, stressful for me. I didn’t realize that I did have such an addiction, I want to call it, to chocolate. My group heard me lament about chocolate over and over, and over, how much I missed chocolate. I could really take it or leave it now, but the first few months I didn’t just have chocolate. I was not having my dairy, I wasn’t getting enough calories. I was kind of miserable at the beginning. This is what you have to sort out. So that’s why you have Christopher, that’s why you have Dr. Breen. They’re onboard to help. I got sorted, two or three months, and it’s not an issue now. Nothing is, I find it quite easy.
Lisa – Yeah, it is easy for sure. For me, I like the chocolate too, but I’ve shifted my chocolate enjoyment to 85% chocolate, but very little, and that’s all I ever really need. But I think one of the tricky parts when we first started was the idea that we couldn’t have a treat. As we went through our meetings, it’s like, you know what? The treat is actually eating well and my body’s happy, that’s my treat. That’s what I’m realizing now. It just makes everything better. I did talk about how the meetings were easy. That was an easy thing as well, attending the meetings. But what would I say with someone who’s considering joining the program? I say just do it. Just do it, as that Nike ad says. But just do it, don’t think about what you have to lose but look at what you have to gain. And there is so much more to gain from it. For myself, gaining better understanding about food, feeling great, that’s very, very, very important. Clear mind, more confidence, and as a last one, losing weight. Even though I lost almost 40 pounds, which blows my mind, even to this day, that I lost that much. But I just feel great, that’s what’s important to me.
Karen – I had said that the program actually sets you up mentally, not just physically, on how to maintain a lifetime. That’s when we originally joined saying, if we could spend a year with this program and actually set us up for life, that we could feel better, was it worth it? And I think as the year is coming to a conclusion, it’s 100% worth it. Well worth time, effort, money, everything. It’s not just a change for today, or every other diet we do. You do a three month stint on Atkins, or you do a three month stint on something, this is a lifetime change. And we both agree that it’s been a challenge and then it’s been easy. It’s been actually quite easy.
Lisa – I agree.
Karen – I think we had a lot of help though. (laughing)
Lisa – I don’t know, I already mentioned about going shopping. That’s important. I had a lot of shopping this year to do.
Karen – I want to just conclude and say, around the anything else, I’m really grateful to both Dr. Breen and to Christopher. They didn’t just come and put together a program, they wanted everyone to succeed. So each and ever person’s success was important to them, so very grateful to both of them for helping us.
Lisa – And as well, the accessibility to both of them and anytime we had questions, we can send our questions.
Karen – Questions, questions.
Lisa – ‘Cause it comes up all the time. I just sent one the other day to Dr. Breen ’cause I wasn’t sure. So having the availability and the support, and the support of the group as well, from everyone, Facebook and everything else that we’re connected to. So I think having all that support behind us got us through for sure.
Karen – Yup, 100% success.
Lisa – And we’re well on our way.
Amrit – I’m Amritpal Grewal and I’m a mortgage broker for Iverico Mortgage Solutions and I process mortgages for a living. What brought me to the Healthy Transformations program was,
I was unhealthy at the time when I had joined. Unfortunately I had tried multiple different diets, a lot of different exercise programs and it was unfortunately filled with a lot of trial and error and a lot of failure unfortunately and I was just ready to try anything at that specific time, and that’s what brought me here.
The sum of the results that I had achieved in this program, the number one that sticks out in my mind is obviously the weight loss. The weight loss for the entire year was actually more than 60 pounds. So from my heaviest at 253 pounds, to coming down to 190 pounds and still counting. So that’s number one for me. The other things that I achieved were realizing a lot about my triggers. The triggers meaning what things are kind of going ahead and setting me off, what things I need to really watch out for that drive me off the program altogether. The foods specifically and how they made me feel, okay. So when we talk about greens, how they actually make me feel and then my thinking, how it actually goes ahead and changes. Learning a lot about my body and learning about the nutrition and what it does to my body on a day-to-day basis is what I really took away from the program altogether. The toughest part of my program was actually breaking the old habits that I actually had. So when we’re talking about socializing with friends, how to get past some of the challenges there that drive you away from the program. When we actually sit down and learn a lot about food and nutrition and some of the specifics about what goes into your body, automatically you really start to realize about how much you’re harming yourself with your old habits. When you actually put those goals on paper, when you put those achievements that you see yourself attaining through the entire year, that specifically really puts a lot of pressure, a positive impact of pressure on you to achieve what you set yourself out to do.
The best part of the program I think was the support that we have, so I mean continuously being on the program, you’re meeting every two weeks to talk about your struggles, to talk about your positive outcomes, to talk about what works, what doesn’t work. You’re in a team environment and you’re all here to achieve the same result, is to get healthy and so for me I think the easiest was just showing up. When you show up, half the battle is already done. So you’re learning so much about exactly what needs to be done and the other half is applying it,
so which comes naturally when you have all the support around you.
What I would say to somebody considering to join the program is don’t think about the cost point of view, think about what you really want to achieve out of the program. I would strongly encourage anyone to write down your goals, to really put it on paper, and to read them over and over again. If you think that it’s something that’s possible, it is definitely possible. For someone that like myself who had tried everything with trial and error. We used to go to the gym two times a day, morning for cardio and evening for weights. And we did a lot of gym training, unfortunately that didn’t even bring me close to my goals. What really did was the knowledge, the actual application of that knowledge as well, that really got me down to the weight that I wanted and is getting me to the body that I want as well.
I think anything else that I wanna add is do the program. It’s priceless, the knowledge that you actually are acquiring and to go ahead and be someone that your family goes ahead and looks up to. You’re doing your family a huge service in terms of being an excellent role model for them and I think it has so many different benefits, I can’t even list them right now, so join the program.