I am happy to share my daily mantra: Eat Real Food! For that particular reason, you might consider spending more time in your kitchen.
There are five reasons to do it.
Become Aware Of What You Are Eating
When you are preparing your own meals you know exactly what you are putting into your body. Go for the whole food, avoid foods that contain preservatives, additives, artificial sweeteners, and other wired chemicals. Avoid food that passed through a chemistry lab or factory. Calorie counts and sugar content is irrelevant. Focus on actual ingredients.
Promote Health And Well-Being
There is no more nourishing meal than a meal prepared in your own kitchen. Use the rainbow color vegetables to provide different benefits. Think quality over quantity. If you are a meat eater go for hormone-free, antibiotic free, humanely raised meat. Provide nourishment, no additional chemicals.
Save Your Money For Other Fun Stuff
Eating at home is not only healthier but also cheaper. Even when you go with organic ingredients it is still cheaper than eating in the restaurant where the ingredients are not high quality but you are paying high bucks for them.
Reconnect With How Food Makes You Feel
Some meals will energize you, calm you, nourish you or overwhelm your digestive system. Learn to pay attention to how you feel when you finish your meal, how you feel an hour later and how you feel next day. You might start your own food journal just for that purpose. You might be surprised what you learn about your own body and its reactions to different food.
Moderate Your Portion Size
There is a lot of food served in restaurants, it is way too much what your body needs. If you compare the amount of food served on your plate in Europe vs here, you have twice as much food on your plate in US. Some people think that because it is on your plate, you need to eat it all and it is an easy step to overeat. When you eat at home it is easier for you to control portions. You reach the satiety and you do not indulge yourself just because you have a pile of food still present on your plate.
Reading labels is FUN if you know what you are reading. Let me help you a bit and go through the most popular words:
MADE WITH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS – at least 70% needs to be organic and cannot carry USDA organic or COS
NONE – OR – FREE – less than 0.5 gram of fat, 0.5 gram of sugar, 2 milligrams of cholesterol, 5 milligrams of sodium
LOW – less than 3 grams of fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium
REDUCED – 25% less of the given components that are typically found in this kind of food
LIGHT – less than 50% of calories coming from fat
HIGH, RICH IN, EXCELLENT SOURCE OF – all products with at least 20% of the recommended daily amount per serving
GOOD SOURCE, CONTAINS, PROVIDES – the product must have more than 10% but less than 20% of the daily amount per serving
LEAN – generally less than 10 grams of fat
EXTRA LEAN – less than 5 grams of fat
CERTIFIED HUMANE – a label for products made by non-profit organizations dedicated to humane treatment of animals. No growth hormones or antibiotics; not lived in cages, crates or stalls; must have had access to sufficient, clean and nutritious feed and water.
NATURALLY RAISED – no growth hormones or antibiotics
NATURAL – regulated only for meats and poultry: no artificial flavor, colors, or chemical preservatives.
FARMED OR WILD CAUGHT – referred to seafood. Farmed fish is raised in a captive environment, often eating carnivorous diet and tend to be fatter. Wild caught refers to fish that were caught in their natural habitat and tends to be healthier.
” We can make a commitment to promote vegetables and fruits and whole grains on every part of every menu. We can make portion smaller and emphasize the quality over quantity. And we can help create a culture – imagine this – where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them.”
– Michelle Obama
Reading the labels is a skill.
The ingredients are listed in the order of the percentage of them used in a product. Sometimes at the end you might stumble upon those words that are difficult to pronounce. Some of them are ok but others not that much. Here is a list of 10 most popular additives and how they might influence your well being.
butylated hydroxy-anisole (E320), BHA, BHT – used in high-fat foods such oils, butter, meat, cereals, chewing gum, beer, snacks, baked goods to prevent from going rancid – hormone disruption, tumors, genetic mutations, BHA/BHT might be carcinogenic
calcium benzoate (E213) – preservative in drinks, meats, low-sugar foods and cereals – may inhibit enzyme function, serious respiratory issues for those suffering from asthma or allergies
calcium sulphite (E226) – preservative in many different products (burgers, biscuits, frozen goods, etc) might be used to refresh old produce – cause flushing, bronchial issues, low blood pressure, tingling, and anaphylactic shock
potassium nitrate (E249) – preservative in meats – may lower oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, form carcinogens in the body, destructive to adrenal glands
sodium benzoate (E211) – preservative in carbonated drinks, pickles, sauces, some medicine – suspected to be a neurotoxin and carcinogen, associated with fetal abnormalities, worsens hyperactivity
sodium metabisulphite (E223) – used in wine, beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, vinegar, potato products, condiments, processed fruit and vegetables, deli meat – may provoke life-threatening asthma
sodium nitrite (E250) – used to alter color in smoked meat and fish – highly carcinogenic with stomach acid
sulphur dioxide (E220) – preservative in wine, carbonated drinks, fruit juices, dehydrated potatoes, dried fruits – gastric irritation, nausea, diarrhea, asthma attacks, skin rashes, may contribute to fetal abnormalities and DNA damage
all colors: Allura Red (E129), Amaranth (E123), Brilliant Blue (E133) Carmoisine (E122), Red No 3, Indigo Carmine (E132), Ponceau 4R (E124), Quinoline Yellow (E104), Sunset Yellow (110) Yellow no 5 – found in most types of food – associated with DNA damage, tumors, cancer risk in humans