Friday, November 1, 2013
Avoid Junk Food or Eat Healthier Junk Foods?
As a fitness professional, I'm always amazed (and puzzled) with the conflict people seem to have with losing weight, yet they refuse to stop eating junk food. An interesting thing I have noticed over my many years helping people to lose weight is that almost every single person that has told me that they are "attempting" to lose weight, almost always has their house filled with all sorts of junk food instead of whole unprocessed natural food.It is not uncommon for people to tell me that they are trying really hard to lose weight, but I will still notice boxes of apple jacks and fruity pebbles on their counters, cakes, candies, and chips in their cupboard, and sodas or syrupy juices in their refrigerator.So the question that always stumps me is that if all of these people honestly wanted to lose weight so bad, why in the world do most people still have their houses filled with junk foods instead of healthy food?Interestingly, the answer usually is that they do not want to give up their favorite foods because they think that eating this junk food allows them to "live a little"... if you ask me, it sounds more like dying a little with each bite!My take on it is that eating junk foods has nothing at all to do with enjoying your life... In reality, when you give up junk foods you actually enjoy life more because you feel better and are more energetic every day. In addition, getting into better shape by not eating junk food can obviously help improve the way your body looks (and therefore increases your confidence), thereby making you enjoy life even more.One thing that many people fail to realize is that eating healthy does not have to mean eating bland and boring food. Instead, when you learn to enjoy natural unprocessed food and start exploring all of the varieties of natural food that this planet has to offer us, you learn that you can enjoy the natural flavors of real foods more than overly processed aggressive tastes that are so common with excessively sweet and salty junk food.An example of this is that the other day I wanted an unsweetened iced tea while out on the road, but all that the store had available was these bottles of heavily sweetened iced tea. Well, I have not bought a fully sweetened iced tea in probably at least a few years now... I have actually gotten used to drinking unsweetened iced tea and have learned to appreciate the natural taste of tea without needing sugar or other sweeteners.Whe I drank this bottled sweet tea, I almost gagged because it was so syrupy sweet, it was absolutely nasty.A similar example... I used to need a lot of sugar in coffee, but after a slowly reducing the amount of sugar I would use in coffe, I can now actually drink black coffee and enjoy the natural flavor of it without needing sweeteners (although I rarely drink coffee).These are just a couple examples of how once you start appreciating the natural flavors of real food, you find that you no longer need the super-aggressive salty, sugary, or artificial flavors that have been ingrained in us by the food companies and all of the junk food they push on us.My belief is that everyone should actually enjoy what they eat, and can do it without eating overly processed junk food... Actually, people are often surprised to hear that a lot of the foods that they think are junk food, I have healthy alternatives that they never thought of.A few examples:Junk food: a chocolate candy bar, a chocolate donut, or a piece of chocolate cakeHealthier alternative: a couple pieces of extra-dark chocolate (greater than 70-75% cocoa content only)... this is higher in fiber and much less sugar than milk chocolate or even dark chocolates that are less than 70% cocoa contentJunk food: Deep fried and breaded chicken fingers and fries on the side (loads of nasty trans fats)Healthier alternative: grilled chicken breast strips with peanut dipping sauce and vegetables on the sideJunk food: a cheap fast-food burger on a processed refined white bunHealthier alternative: A grass-fed burger (higher in CLA and omega-3 fats) with raw grass-fed cheese on a sprouted grain rollHow about that for eating healthier yet still very tasty foods!I hope that what you get out of this article is that there is more to life than eating junk food, and eating junk does not necessarily mean that you're "living a little" as so many people say. Instead, I feel the opposite is true.Eat healthier and discover the natural flavors of real foods (not processed) and you'll soon discover that you no longer need junk food. Enjoy!