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Most Food Sold in the Health Aisle is Total BS. Here’s Why.

Most Food Sold in the Health Aisle is Total BS. Here’s Why.

Lyndi Cohen | October 21, 2019

I’m not sure why it’s called the ‘health’ food aisle…

Take a stroll and all you’ll find are: 

  • packaged foods (nothing fresh in sight)
  • sad, sugar-free imitations of chocolate
  • so-called ‘guilt-free’ indulgences
  • supplements
  • meal replacements and diet pills
  • overpriced, and almost always imported superfoods
  • processed foods designed with people with intolerances and allergies

Most of the products in the health food aisle are total BS.

Here are some examples: 

‘Alkalising’ anything

Your body does NOT need ‘akalising’. This is not a thing. Your body does a tremendous job maintaining the PH levels of your organs. If your body couldn’t regulate PH, no $60 green alkalising powder would fix that. 

Choose instead: Eat more vegetables. This one habit is far more effective (and scientifically proven) than any akalising product.

Start by adding in one more serving a day. Aim for 5+ a day and you’ll naturally crowd out less healthy options. Add a handful of spinach to meals, put cherry tomatoes on the kitchen counter to easily snack on and choose veggie-full meals when eating out. 

Diet products

There’s nothing healthy for you about diet pills, meal replacements or sugar-free chocolate (just eat the real deal and skip the diarrhoea!) 

Even if you lose weight with these products, which I don’t endorse, the weight will come back when you stop using them. I’ve been there, done that. Nothing healthy about it. 

Protein bars and powders

Manufactured protein powders are highly processed. Even the ‘better’ ones don’t even closely resemble the ingredient/s they are made from. 

Plus, they’re expensive and give you really bad smelling gas. Most people don’t need protein supplements. Read more here

Choose instead: Protein from real food like a handful of nuts, half a tin of legumes for lunch, a glass of milk or greek yoghurt. 

The Real HEalth Food Aisle

The real ‘health food aisle’ is you find where real, whole foods. 

Foods that don’t cost the earth or your weekly wages… foods like vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts. 

While most of the food in the health aisle won’t harm you, they can distract you from the things that really matter. 

So, you spend big $$$ on things that don’t fundamentally make you much healthier – but that takes up the most mental energy. 

Prioritise your energy on the healthy habits that make the biggest difference. 

Save your energy for things that actually ‘move the dial’ such as: 

  • Eating 1-2 serves of fruit every day.
  • Adding in one more serve of vegetables every day.
  • Leaving alcohol for weekends and special occasions
  • Choosing a healthier option like greek yoghurt with a bit of honey, your favourite piece of fruit or a smoothie instead of the daily treat of chocolate, lollies or biscuits when you get a sweet craving.
  • Cooking more at home. (Even one night a week will help).
  • Exercising several times a week, in a way that you enjoy.
  • Getting 8-9 hours of sleep.

Take home message

If you love getting products from the health aisle, please keep enjoying. When it comes to health, do what is right for you. Always. 

But don’t be tricked into spending your mental energy (and money) on the health food aisle. Cook more at home using fresh food, eat a bit of everything and enjoy. 

5 ‘Unhealthy’ Foods That Are Actually Healthy

5 ‘Unhealthy’ Foods That Are Actually Healthy

Lyndi Cohen | September 8, 2019

Are you confused about what you ‘should’ be eating?

 

Do you feel like every time you’ve finally got it all figured out, another health fad or diet no-no comes flying out of nowhere?

 

You’re not alone. I speak to so many women who are completely confused about what is a healthy diet – and it’s no wonder, really.

Every day, we’re bombarded with conflicting advice about what we ‘should’ be eating.

‘Fat makes you fat!’ ‘Carbs are the devil!’ ‘It doesn’t matter what your food sources are, as long as you hit your macros!’

Honestly, it’s enough to make you want to dive into a packet of chocolate biscuits.

There’s so much misinformation out there that even foods that are perfectly healthy for you are being demonised. But in avoiding these foods, you’’re actually missing out on many of the valuable nutrients that are key to a balanced diet.

Well, I say it’s time to welcome these foods back with open arms!

Read on for 5 so-called ‘unhealthy’ foods you should reconsider adding back into your diet.

 

1. Pasta

Pasta Bowl

Image: Unsplash

Pasta gets a bad rep for being too high in carbs, but there’s plenty of research to suggest it can actually be good for you and help manage your weight.

Plus, it’s incredibly affordable and versatile — just add in a protein source and veggie-rich sauce and voila, you’ve got yourself one beautifully balanced meal.

However, not all pasta is created equal. Wholegrain pasta is typically higher in fibre, as well as rich in vitamins like manganese, selenium, copper and phosphorus. I also particularly love pasta made from legumes and pulses, which you can find in any major supermarket these days.

My trick with pasta? I see how many serves of veg I can add. This is what I call crowding. Crowding in more veggies to help you get to your 5+ a day. I normally aim for 2-3+ serves in a bowl of pasta by adding tomatoes, onion, shredded carrot, baby spinach etc.

2. Cheese

Parmesan Cheese Salad

Image: Unsplash

Many people avoid cheese when trying to lose weight. But I’ve got good news for you: cheese isn’t actually bad for you and you shouldn’t feel guilty for eating it!

Cheese contains calcium (essential for healthy bones), protein and vitamins and minerals like zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin B2.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not recommending you eat an entire wheel of Brie in one sitting (mmm brie…).  But adding cheese to healthy foods makes them tastier, meaning you’ll eat them more often.

Try adding feta to your salads, finishing a homemade soup with parmesan or stirring ricotta through a pasta in place of cream.

3. Bread

Healthy bread

Image: Unsplash

Due to the popularity of low-carb diets like keto, it seems to have become public enemy number one. But there’s no reason you have to cut bread out of your diet completely if you’re not allergic or intolerant to gluten.

In fact, like wholegrain pasta, bread is high in many nutrients and vitamins, as well as fibre to keep you full for longer. Whether it’s wholemeal toast with a smoosh of avocado and poached eggs for brekkie or a wholegrain sandwich with chicken and loads of veggies for lunch, bread can be a super convenient vessel for a healthy meal. The key here is moderation — eating bread once a day isn’t going to hurt you.

4. Rice

Super foods bowl

Image: My lunch bowl with SunRice SuperGrains

Rice often gets lumped in with bread and pasta categories. Unlike bread and pasta, though, rice is a plant-based food which is minimally processed and naturally gluten-free.

It also happens to be one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, as it is high in fibre and contains B minerals and magnesium.

Other varieties of rice, such as brown, black and red rice, basmati and jasmine as well as other grains like millet, buckwheat and quinoa are all loaded with the healthy stuff and make the perfect base for a nutritious meal.

5. Peanut butter

Pear and peanut butter

Image: Unsplash

Many people wrongfully label peanut butter as ‘naughty’. However, this isn’t the case. Our beloved PB can actually have its place in a healthy diet — and it’s an ingredient I enjoy often. Not only is it a source of  protein, but it’s got lovely nutrients like with vitamin E, potassium, magnesium and other minerals and vitamins. 

I always go for the more natural, unprocessed varieties you can find in most supermarkets. Team it with sliced banana or apples or roll it into some bliss balls for a super satiating, delicious snack.

Ready to take the confusion out of eating healthy?  You’re going to love my new book, The Nude Nutritionist. It’s available for pre-order now!

Eat Yourself Beautiful: The best foods for your skin, hair and nails

Eat Yourself Beautiful: The best foods for your skin, hair and nails

Lyndi Cohen | August 22, 2019

Face lotions and creams help your skin, hair and nails become more resilient but what you eat and drink really does make a big difference. 

What foods should you be eating for healthy glowing skin, stronger hair and nails? Here is an overview of the foods that can help you get the glow. 

 

What are the best foods to prevent acne and redness?

Acne is caused by many things, one of which is hormonal fluctuations. That’s why you get more breakouts when you’re a teenager. As you get older, not getting enough sleep, stress and an unhealthy diet can cause hormonal issues. 

Including whole grains and slow-burning carbohydrates into your diet like oats, chickpeas, lentils and beans, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato and corn will help stabilise your blood sugar levels and prevent the highs and lows that can contribute to acne and cause skin redness. 

 Best foods for skin hair and nails beauty

What foods help reduce eczema? 

Eating foods high in antioxidants can help manage eczema. Basically, all those bright and colourful vegetables and fruit will be loaded with antioxidants, to reduce eczema-contributing inflammation. However, stress is on the biggest causes of eczema.

That said, you can eat salads all day, but if you’re perpetually stressed, you’ll continue to get flare-ups. When I get stressed, I get eczema on my fingers… Which I affectionately call my stress fingers. When they flare-up, I use it as a sign that I’m pushing too hard, not sleeping enough and need to slow down. Thanks, body!

 

What are the best foods to prevent wrinkles and lines?

Tomatoes may help prevent skin damage from the sun. The part of the tomatoes that makes them red is called lycopene, an antioxidant that buffers ‘free radicals’. Those are the things that cause premature signs of ageing. A study found that those who consumed tomato paste 33% more protection from the sun. Don’t skip the sunscreen but do add tomatoes to your meals like this breakfast. 

Oranges, kiwi fruit and cauliflower are great sources of Vitamin C. Yes, vitamin C is good for boosting immunity but it’s also needed by your body to produce collagen. That’s what helps your skin stay plumper. Loads of fruit and vegetables have vitamin C, just another reason to eat the rainbow and practice crowding out less healthy options for more fruit and veg. 

Berries are also a great source of antioxidants, which can prevent free-radical damage helping to reduce redness, inflammation and create a smoother skin surface. 

Lyndi Cohen The Nude Nutritionist

What are the best foods to help grow strong hair?

A lot of the foods that are good for your skin are also good for your hair and nails (as they are all connective tissue). There are a lot of reasons to include healthy fats in your diet and strong, healthy hair is just one of them. People who don’t get enough essential fatty acids find their hair breaks and falls out.

Healthy fats can help your scalp and hair shiny and hydrated. I like to include salmon about twice a week, I’ll eat around an avocado over the week and eat seeds, nuts and extra virgin olive oil daily. I also buy a dozen eggs once a fortnight. I always include the egg yolk which contains biotin, a B-group vitamin that may help your hair, skin and nails. 

Iron is also important for stronger hair (and energy!) so make sure you aren’t low on iron, especially if you get heavy periods or are an athlete. 

 

What are the best foods for stronger nails?

Pumpkin seeds, walnuts and brazil nuts are all great sources of zinc, selenium, healthy fats and fibre. These nutrients help you grow stronger nails. White spots on your nails can indicate that you might be low in zinc. 

Because your skin, hair and nails turn over quite often, you need to keep getting enough zinc in your diet. My tip? Add pumpkin seeds to your yoghurt and muesli in the morning, toast and put on a salad or include it in your nut and fruit mix. 

I have brittle nails (naturally). I found applying a nail strengthening top coat on my nails every other day for 1 month made a big difference to my nails. 

Healthy berries

What about probiotics for healthy skin?

Having a daily probiotic is a great way to boost your skin health (as well as your digestion, immunity and potentially, mood and concentration). Probiotics help your body buffer from free-radical damage. By boosting your gut health, you might also notice an improvement in your skin. 

You don’t need to take a probiotic supplement. Personally? I prefer to eat real food than take supplements for health. Greek Yoghurt is the best source of probiotics in the diet so have plain greek yoghurt every day with your smoothie, wholegrain muesli or enjoy as a snack. 

Not sure how to find a healthy yoghurt? This blog post might help. 

What about supplements for skin, hair and nails?

  • Some people take biotin for better hair health but there really isn’t much evidence that B-group vitamins are a magic bullet for better hair. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it.
  • What about collagen? Many people are fans of collagen to boost the appearance of skin. There is limited research out there to support thing. Take it if you want, but personally, I prefer to get collagen naturally in my diet by eating fish, plenty of brightly coloured fruits and veg (red, orange and yellow ones especially) and including a moderate to small amount of meat in my diet. 

Healthy fats salmon

Take home message

  • The best diet for your skin, hair and nails includes variety. Include whole grains, seeds and nuts, healthy fats, eggs and yoghurt, and plenty of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables.
  • Drinking too much alcohol, stress, not enough sleep and eating highly processed, sugary and fatty food will not be good news for your blood sugar levels, mood or skin, hair and nails. 
  • Probiotics are the only supplement I recommend but I like it best in the form of plain Greek yoghurt.
  • Take supplements if you want but I recommend eating a balanced diet where you get all the nutrients you need. 

Remember: You don’t have to look perfect to be healthy. 

Sure. Topical products can help. Eating the right foods can boost your hair, skin and nails but let me keep it real. There are a lot of things that are completely outside of your control.

Some people naturally have more brittle nails and hair whilst others are really sensitive to hormonal fluctuations so their skin flairs up. Take care of your body but at the same time, be kind to yourself. You don’t have to look perfect or be beautiful to be healthy. 

 

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