I think we all want to improve our health in some way. Whether it’s striving for more energy, hitting our ideal weight (and staying there) or enjoying deeply restorative and uninterrupted sleep. As we age our hormones aren’t as kind to us as they were in our younger years. Many of us can’t eat what we once could, move as we used to and seem to get by with batteries on half-charge.
Dr Google will offer a dizzying array of suggestions that all promise to wind back the years, kilos and grey hairs, that include everything from the latest diet, supplement or bio hack of the week. After spending over a decade in the health space and connecting with 1000’s of experts on our podcast ‘The Health Sessions‘ we believe there are a set of common rules that can deliver amazing results.
These 3 simple rules can help crowd-out the foods that could be stalling your health goals …
1. Ditch the Ultra-Processed Foods
Ultra-processed foods are easily identified with a quick glance at the ingredients list. If you see a very long list with lots of chemical-sounding names, that’s probably a good indication it almost definitely is an ultra-processed food. Many ingredients in ultra-processed foods will be hard to decode but often include an array of additives such as dyes and other colours, stabilisers, flavours, flavour enhancers, man-made oils and non-sugar sweeteners. If you’d like to learn more about reading food labels this is a great place to start: 5 Tips For Reading Food Labels. These chemical-based ingredients can impact our metabolism, hormones, energy, sleep and satiety levels which is less than ideal.
We’re not saying that ALL processed and packaged foods are bad, just that real ‘whole foods’ can be an incredibly powerful tool that we have available to control our health.
Simple Swap: Make a conscious effort to minimise ultra-processed foods in favour of real ‘whole foods’.
2. Reduce The ‘Refined’ Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are getting bashed at the moment and low-carb diets are all the rage, but it’s important to note that not ALL carbohydrates are the same. You can dig deeper into this subject on this article here: What Makes a Carbohydrate Bad?
On the flip-side, many whole foods that are high in carbs are incredibly healthy and nutritious. These include vegetables, fruits, legumes, root vegetables and some whole grains.
So how can you tell if a carbohydrate is refined? Refined or simple carbs have had most of the nutrients and fibre removed. They can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and only make you feel full for a short time. These signals make you crave more food, and can cause overeating. The main dietary sources of refined carbs are white flour, white bread, white rice, pastries, sodas, snacks, pasta, sweets, breakfast cereals and added sugars. Are these foods common in your diet?
Simple Swap: Switch from refined carbs to whole food sources which can offer great sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals and never fear the humble banana again.
3. Change Your Oil
Many of us were raised on the concept that vegetable oils were good and butter was bad. We were told, even by government and medical associations, to use more vegetable and seed oils (like sunflower, canola, corn, safflower). Current science is now showing that they were completely wrong! Consuming these refined oils which are high in omega-6 fats have been shown to fuel our body’s inflammatory pathways and scientists have hypothesized that eating too much omega-6 can lead to increased inflammation in the body and potentially contribute to disease.
Vegetable oils are commonly found in processed and packaged foods (think ultra-processed foods) and it pays to always check the ingredients list if you are wanting to reduce the consumption of these oils.
Simple Swap: Change your vegetable oils in favour of traditional fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee or lard.