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To us, it’s very simple AND very obvious. Eating a healthy diet AND drinking plenty of water are one of the cornerstones of good health. After all, if we don’t put the correct “fuel” in our tanks, how on earth can we expect our bodies to function in the way we would like? Or, put another way, “rubbish in, rubbish out.” 
Despite this, many people seem to find deciding what to eat completely confusing and overwhelming. Let alone what may – or may not be (!) – a good choice. 
And, as a quick aside, we learned long ago never to ask a Client whether they have a healthy diet. Why? Well, to start with, no one has ever admitted their diet may be a little – or a lot (!) – less than healthy. Whether that’s down to sheer optimism or lack of knowledge / commonsense, we’ll let you decide… 
However, it goes much further than this. Many seem to have little idea of what a healthy diet actually consists of, let alone why their current choices may be a long way from this. Too easily swayed by the latest – and often contradictory – government advice on what’s considered “healthy” or a “good” lifestyle option. Not forgetting the scare stories in the press and relentless advertising of the latest “wonder” food and confusing labels. “Healthy”, “natural”, “low fat”, “low sugar” and the like. 
No wonder many people give up completely and fall back on the offerings of their local shop, whether a supermarket, 24 hour garage or convenience store. Sadly, the assumption that, if it’s on the shelves then it must be good to eat, is far from the truth. The stark – and unpalatable – truth is that it’s ONLY on the shelves because it makes the producer and supplier a profit NOT because it’s what the consumer – or their body – actually needs. And you may want to stop for a moment and let that sink in. We have become a very consumerist society, much of which is not in our best interests… 
So, this week, we’re going to give you a few simple things to look out for that indicate whatever “food” you’re looking at may not be the best thing for you – or your body. And, if you’re wondering, the reason we said “food” not food, is that much of what is described as “food” these days really isn’t food at all. Low or completely lacking in nutrients and containing things we’d never add if we were preparing it at home. Preservatives. Food additives and colourings. Taste enhancers and the like. 
Ready? Then here we go! 
Anything with more than five ingredients UNLESS you recognise what they are, such as basil, tomato, onions, garlic and the like. Yes, we know it sounds a bit extreme, but long lists of ingredients don’t tick the “more is better” box. We’ve talked about the dangers of ultra processed foods before, if you need a quick reminder click here
Continuing in a similar vein, anything with ingredients you don’t recognise or can’t pronounce (!). They may give a good score at Scrabble (!) but that’s about all. A good rule of thumb is that, if you can’t pronounce it, then don’t eat it. 
Anything that didn’t exist in your Grandparents’ day. It wasn’t that long ago when we didn’t need a label to tell us what we were eating OR that it was local, organic and grass fed. At that time, EVERYTHING was local, organic and grass fed. 
Anything containing refined vegetable oils. Not only do they contain high amounts of Omega 6, which is toxic in larger amounts, but also undermines every aspect of good health. We wrote about the hidden dangers of vegetable oils a couple of weeks ago and the post can be found here
Anything containing high fructose corn syrup. HFCS has been linked to a huge number of health problems including Heart Disease, Obesity, Diabetes, Cancer, Dementia and, of course, tooth decay. Added sugar, in ALL its forms is NOT something our bodies need BUT can easily become addicted to, hence the problem. For a reminder why sugar is such an issue, click here
And, if you think that artificial sweeteners are the answer, think again. They’re not and also linked with a large number of health issues. To find out about the bitter taste of artifical sweeteners, click here
Anything with “hydrogenated” in its name. The message that trans fats are a poor choice is, thankfully, starting to get through. However, wily producers are getting round this by using “hydrogenated” instead. Don’t fall for this trick! 
Anything containing Monosodium Glutamate. Not only does MSG increase hunger AND induce cravings for carbohydrates, it’s also an excitotoxin which destroys brain cells. Again, we’ve written about this before, which can be found here
Now here’s one that may hit a soft spot.  
Anything advertised on mainstream media, particularly during popular shows or live events. If you stop and think about it, how often do you see anything healthy or unprocessed advertised in mainstream media?!? Perhaps it’s time to consider why… 
Anything with a catchy name. The obvious and infamous example are Froot Loops, which are NOT a good substitute – or source – of fruit… 
Anything with bright unnatural colours or flavours. 
Anything you can buy at fast food outlets or drive throughs. 
Hopefully, no more needs to be said on these two! 
We know, at first sight, this may seem like a long list but we’ve found that people often need specifics of what to avoid, even though it seems very obvious to us. Which takes us back to a healthy diet high in wholefoods, fruits and vegetables with small amounts of good quality protein and healthy fats. 
And, before we go, let’s quickly dispel the response we hear most often. How this will be much more expensive and complicated. Well, the good news is that the exact opposite is true. 
As soon as we start eating better quality food, our bodies require less of it. Why? 
Well, for the simple reason that the main driver of overeating is poor quality food. Our bodies simply require much larger quantities of it to obtain the required nutrients. So, smaller amounts of better quality food is all that’s needed to keep us – and our bodies – happy and healthy. 
As always, the choice is yours. 
Photograph by unknown author 
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