It’s not a question we really think about. What does my diet say about me? When I go to the grocery store, what are my priorities? When I counsel my clients in their nutritional choices though, it’s something that I need to know in order to help them in making the right choice.
Example: My client asks me "Should I be eating soy?"
Well, the answer to that is much more complicated than a straight yes or no. What are the reasons behind you asking this question? Some questions that would determine the answer are:
- Are you trying to reduce your carbon footprint?
- Are you concerned about the amount of protein you’re getting in your diet?
- Are you vegetarian or vegan?
- Are you trying to reduce the amount of animal products in your diet?
- Do you like soy?
- What are your thoughts on processed foods?
Yeah – I know. That last one doesn’t seem to belong to the rest of the questions. But the truth is that the manufacturers of many foods would have us believe that their foods are better for us because the original ingredient is touted as being healthier.
Another example of this would be the debate between bacon & turkey bacon. Bacon is clearly not a health food. It’s a cured meat & the real danger there are the nitrites are a preservative used in processed food to help maintain its color.
Nitrates can be found in bacon, hot dogs, sausages, and cold cuts. The reason they are so bad for us is that when we cook them at high temps, they form Nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. In the news, nitrite-based preservatives were found to be linked to pancreatic cancer.
So then, turkey is better for me right? I can eat turkey bacon without the health risks. Right? Well, maybe. But maybe not. Again, I ask, what is your goal when choosing foods:
- Low Calorie?
- Minimally processed food?
- Low sodium?
Turkey bacon might be slightly lower in calories (20 calories per strip, which really isn’t a lot), but it’s certainly not less processed than natural bacon.
Ingredients: (White Turkey, Mechanically Separated Turkey, Dark Turkey), Water, Sugar, Salt, contains 2% or less of Canola Oil, Sun Flower Oil, Natural Flavor, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Nitrite.
Okay – I don’t know what the heck "Mechanically Separated Turkey" is. As far as the flavor goes, all the flavor is chemically added to the product because turkey doesn’t naturally taste like bacon.
I don’t mean to pass judgement on turkey bacon or soy. There isn’t any judgement on food. We all are on our individual journeys & have to make decisions based on our priorities. I find it interesting when someone says that they eat clean, only natural and organic foods, but then adds Spelnda to her coffee. Perhaps Natural, Organic, and Minimally Processed foods aren’t the number one top priority as stated, and rather, low calorie is.
There are lots of debates going on & eating has never been so confusing! Sugar vs. sugar substitute. Cows milk vs. Soy milk. Organic vs. Conventional. And food manufacturers thrive on adding to the confusion! Examples are: Healthy Choice frozen dinners, "Baked" chips & "Natural" Cheetos, and products "made with Organic Ingredients" (which isn’t organic!)
So, again I ask, What are your priorities when making food choices? And the answer to that question will help answer the question of which product to purchase when making those decisions.