To ‘unprocess’ your diet or reducing your intake of heavily processed and packaged foods seems daunting, but it is one of the most important steps you can take for your health, and your weight. This includes a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer, in addition to a significant reduction in body fat.
At Motivation, we truly believe that the problem is not that we’re simply eating too much food, but it’s more about the fact that we’re eating the wrong type of food. All calories were not created equally – the calories from an avocado do not behave in the same way as those from a can of Coke. Also, we know that certain foods, which we are eating in larger quantities, actually makes us hungrier. Read more here.
We know that highly refined and processed foods have infiltrated our supermarkets and it is this that has contributed to the global obesity epidemic that we face. It is this that has led to chronic inflammation and life-threatening illnesses. Since the 1990s, we may have more choice on our supermarket shelves but, sadly, the quality of that food has seriously deteriorated. It’s time. Time to take back control and ‘unprocess’ your diet.
Start by Moving away from Processed Carbs
The reality is that the majority of the carbs we are exposed to today – foods such as pastries, bread, muffins, cakes (even rice cakes), biscuits, bagels and crisps – are ultra refined and processed. They have been stripped of most of their fibre and are pumped full of sugar. But, shockingly, they have become a daily staple for so many of us and for our children.
I’m guilty of this too – I regularly give my children bagels in their lunchboxes. I don’t want to sound extreme or alarmist, but this is compromising their immune systems. As I write this, it’s a reminder to myself to move away again from bagels and back towards wholemeal, unprocessed bread. No, my children don’t have a weight problem and yes, they do need energy, but not from refined, processed sources that nature did not intend.
It’s everywhere though, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to resist, which is a little intimidating. Now, when we enter a petrol station in Ireland, we are often greeted with a ‘coffee stand’, complete with pastries, doughnuts and muffins. This used to shock me when I was on a J1 Visa in the US back in the mid 90s but we have unfortunately followed suit. How can we ever expect to fight the obesity epidemic when our environment is so overwhelmingly ‘obesogenic’. In other words, it’s an environment that almost promotes fatness and is one in which it is much easier to be overweight than to be slim.
Become More Conscious & Take Back your Power
We do not need to be passive consumers who do not think and automatically respond to clever advertising and marketing ‘tricks’ that lure us in to buy and keep buying. We need to take back our power and to make decisions that serve our health better. You can start by choosing foods that don’t have a long list of ingredients. Start with the vegetable section and then move to meat, nuts and pulses and already you’ll be well on the right track. It’s not complicated. But it’s not easy either, because temptation is everywhere.
I’m becoming more conscious again myself today (I admit it sometimes is a process of bringing ourselves ‘back’ again and again, but that’s okay). I’m making a pact with my husband today that we won’t buy the bagels and muffins and white baguettes for our children’s lunchboxes but, rather, go for wholemeal or brown versions, such as brown pittas and wholemeal sliced pan sambos. Also, for a long period last year we only offered Weetabix or porridge to our children (both unprocessed carbs, still in their whole state), yet I’ve noticed Cornflakes, Special K and Rice Krispies sneak back in. These aren’t ‘demon foods’ but they offer little nutrition-wise and, as we now know, can cause inflammation if eaten regularly.
Armed with a new consciousness, we are the ones in control of our health. And this is the attitude we encourage our clients to have when they embark on their weight loss programme:
- We ask them to rid their cupboards of processed carbs.
- We also suggest they develop new habits, such as avoiding that petrol station on a hungry drive home from work.
- We remind them to always have a healthy, high protein snack to hand (and to have intervals of only 3-4 hours between snacks and meals so that blood sugars are stabilized).
This means it becomes easier to make a good decision rather than reach for a pastry or chocolate bar in order to ‘fix’ low blood sugar. We work with our clients, as coaches, to help them to make better choices in this obesogenic environment where refined, high sugar carbs are always to hand. To find out more about how this coaching relationship works, read more here.
Inflammation is the way the body defends and repairs itself. However, it is meant to be a short-lived process (such as the swollen ankle when we sprain it). However, it becomes a real threat to health once it becomes longstanding and unresolved; this is what’s known as ‘chronic inflammation’. It is what is taking place in so many of our bodies as a result of our modern lives and the choices we are making. Our lifestyles are sending out stress signals that basically trigger our body’s defence systems and, in doing so, put our health at risk. This leads to all kinds of illnesses such as type II Diabetes, as well as automimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s (read our blog ’10 Steps to Prevent Alzheimer’s’ here.)
Instead, we recommend a diet that will help you lose weight and reduce inflammation. That is one that is reliant on whole, ‘real food’ ingredients that our parents and grandparents ate; meat, fish (particularly oily varieties), lots of veggies (particularly green), eggs, nuts, seeds, some fruit, some wholegrain rice and and pulses, such as chickpeas and red kidney beans. These foods help keep us full and also help to keep inflammation down. We now know that even low levels of inflammation, on a chronic basis, can lead to disease so it’s time to do something about it. We can show you how to eat an unprocessed diet in a way that will dramatically improve your health, and your waistline. Get in touch with us today.
To learn more about healthier carbs to choose, download our free report, The Truth about Carbs: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly here.