Grocery shopping is one of the most exciting and disheartening parts of my week. I love dreaming up the meals I’ll create with the foods I’m tossing in my cart. However, it saddens me to see all of the lies we’re so blind to on various food labels. Often, I have to laugh when people tell me they don’t eat healthy because it’s so expensive. The way food is marketed, we are led to believe it’s crazy expensive; we think the food in the “healthy” section is all we’re left with. Diet culture leads us to believe that “healthy” is just fruits, vegetables, and 5 wicker-flavored crackers for $20.
I have great news for you. The wicker crackers probably aren’t even that healthy for you! Healthy eats can be found in almost every department of the store. Knowing how to read and decode food labels will make grocery shopping a breeze. You can be confident in your selections and reap the best benefits from your investments.
Lie #1: Gluten-free
When my daughter needed a gluten-free lifestyle, it was incredibly taxing on our finances and our emotions. This was a new concept to my husband and me; we felt like we were in over our heads. Our grocery bill went up 5 times!!! At this time, Chef Boyardee and Ronald McDonald were the sous chefs in our household. We were desperately trying to replace our normal foods with things in the store labeled “gluten-free” because it was all we knew. Bread, premade pizzas, fries, all the things.
If I could go back in time and tell that struggling mother that it didn’t have to be that way…that’s why I’m sharing this with you now! First, gluten-free doesn’t always mean the product is totally free of gluten, it means the gluten levels are low enough that the FDA doesn’t require the company to list it as an ingredient. How is this legal? Well, lawmakers sat in a room and took the time to draft and vote on a bill making it illegal to kill bigfoot, so this is what we’re dealing with right now.
Anyway, the most expensive way to go gluten-free is to buy pre-packaged goods. Not all, but a lot of these gluten-free options have premium prices simply because of the demand. Choosing to make these foods on your own can take some getting used to if you’re used to boxed goods, but I assure you with practice it’ll quickly become second nature to you, and the food will be so much tastier!
“I used to buy this $12 gluten-free cauliflower pizza with vegan cheese for the nutrients. It tasted like glorified cardboard. It turns out there were so many preservatives and crap in it, it was still killing me. Sakinah’s cauliflower pizza recipe saved mine and my family’s lives!” – 90 Day Reset Student
Lie #2: Sugar-free
Sugar, sugar, sugar! Don’t even get me started on this hot mess. The history of sugar’s evolution is dark. Its addictive nature, lack of regulation, and unnatural effects on our bodies are just crazy. Not only is it more addictive than oxy, cocaine, and heroin combined, but it’s also responsible for more death than these drugs. Overconsumption of sugar significantly contributes to avoidable conditions such as:
- Heart Disease
- Mental Disorders (depression, anxiety, memory loss/Alzheimers, etc.)
- Allergies (seasonal and environmental)
Sugar causes inflammation, which leads to aches, pains, and more serious diseases like the ones mentioned above.
So how much is too much? The average suggested amount of sugar is 6 teaspoons a day. On the conservative side, the average American consumes 22-24 teaspoons of added sugar each day. To put it into perspective for you, Gatorade, a “healthy” sports drink, contains over 7 teaspoons of sugar. It’s funny how half of our caloric and sugar intake can easily sneak into our drinks.
Also, sugar has over 250 names approved by the FDA. So when you see a label that brags about their product being sugar-free, if it’s sweet, there’s most likely still sugar. The popular granular and syrupy substitutes also can have harmful effects, being just as addictive. Reducing the sugar in your diet is not only doable, it’s life changing!
Lie #3: Organic/Natural
Although not interchangeable, in our minds it may seem that these terms are. What does organic mean? It’s a buzzword in the health and wellness space, but its meaning and purpose is less common information. All “organic” means is that the food is made without harsh pesticides. This is important because the majority of the pesticides used in the United State are banned in most other countries for causing cancer among a slew of other dangerous effects. Organic food may still be made with pesticides, but they’re believed to be safer and the regulations on those pesticides are said to be far more stringent.
If we’re being real here, toe jam is natural. There are no added pesticides to beetle dung. You might think “I would never eat such vile things!” but if you’ve ever indulged in a slice of red velvet cake, there’s a good chance it’s too late. Beetle dung gives leading pastry brands a richer red color. Many popular high-end tea brands include woodchips and low-quality herbs grown in sewage. My point is, natural and organic are helpful terms, but it’s not all you need to know about your food.
This type of misleading information is what holds us back from our health goals. It’s not just about what’s not in the food, but what is in it. What we don’t know does hurt us. I’m here to help you pave the path to a future wealthy in health. If you’d like to learn more about reading food labels and along with my tips and tricks for feeding my family healthy meals on a budget, check out my Sugar Detox Reset and 90-Day Reset links below.
Bringing the family back to the table,
Sakinah is an Army Veteran, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Wellness Advocate, Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker, and Home Grown Chef.
After the untimely death of her husband and business partner and autoimmune complications suffered by her daughter, Sakinah realized life was no longer business as usual. She made the collective decision to redefine how she and her family approached health and healthcare. She has a passion for helping families come back to the table by restoring healthy relationships with food, others, and self. Sakinah believes when women, the cornerstone of the family, learn to restore healthy relationships with food, others, and themselves, it creates a ripple effect for the entire family and generations to come.
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