Today I woke up and went to Safeway with the following goal in mind: eat processed food for a day and assess how I feel, a la Supersize Me. Now, mind you, I didn’t want to just eat Cheetos all day; I tried to pick some stuff that seems “healthy.”
Normally I feel pretty darn good during the days. I may have a smoothie with spirulina and maca for breakfast; a salad with chicken for lunch; and maybe some fish and kale with cultured vegetables for dinner. (throw some dark chocolate in the mix with plenty of green tea throughout the day). I buy 90 percent organic, from the farmers’ market when I can, and I avoiding eating boxed food. I make almost everything using whole foods (i.e. not refined or processed).
The payoff? Stable blood sugar, good energy, I sleep well and am focused (most days). So today, I decided to experiment first hand how eating processed food could influence my mood/energy level/well being for the day.
First off, it’s worth noting that Safeway is a scene of crowded despair, but they have great prices on wine! And some organic stuff. No wild fish though, shame on you, Safeway! With that said, I decided to attempt to shop what people may think is healthy and not just choose what most would consider junk foods.
For breakfast, I choose a yoplait yogurt paired with trail mix that contained white chocolate chip looking things that I assume are meant to be “yogurt” but are really white chocolate candy. I see a lot of yogurt and granola for breakfast on my new clients’ diet journals.
Yogurt is healthy, right? It even says it has live and active cultures! And it’s 99% fat free! Here is the ingredient list:
cultured, pasteurized grade A milk
high fructose corn syrup
modified food starch
artificial flavor, red #40, yellow #6, blue #1 ( i feel ill already)
Since when does yogurt need high fructose corn syrup? Artificial flavors and colors? High fructose corn syrup is highly processed and will spike your blood sugar so fast it’ll make your head spin, kind of like mine right now. It’s also toxic to the liver. Ug, I feel nauseous. I fed part of this yoplait to the dog, and she wouldn’t even eat it. It was kinda good at first though.
On to lunch. I pick out a box of Thai Kitchen Curry Stir-fry Rice Noodles with sauce.
I love noodles, and the ingredient list is somewhat non-threatening (meaning I could pronounce everything, and it can be found in nature), so I give it a go. I decide to add spinach, so I grab a bag of that too. I boil the noodles, add the spinach, and add the sauce. Yowza! Too sweet! Yuck. Boy, this really tastes like it’s from a box. 500 calories and 20 grams of sugar later (why do my noodles need sugar?), I feel like crap again. Good thing I didn’t pick the Hamburger Helper.
Just to top it all off, I have an oatmeal cranberry cookie for dessert. It’s almost 2pm now and I don’t even want to think about dinner. I need a nap, and I predict I’ll be hungry soon since I’ve not had adequate protein with my refined carbs. Probably all that sugar – 20 grams in my yogurt and 30 grams in my lunch – and all those refined carbs have put me to bed and are going to fatten me up since they’re not satisfying and leave me craving more.
Your meals should energize you, not fatigue you. Aside from feeling bloated and tired, I also feel kind of depressed that processed foods marketed as healthy are still filled with all this junk. I am also reminded that anything I cook tastes 100 percent better than anything in a box for about the same amount of time. The payoff? I get to feel good. Right now? I feel like shit.
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