I’m pumped to share this special guest article by Andrew Thomas of “NUTRITION WITH DREW“. Drew touches on a component of weight management that is often overlooked…enjoy!
By: Andrew Thomas, Registered Holistic Nutritionist
If you’ve ever attempted to lose weight, chances are you’ve tried some sort of “diet”. With fantastic claims of being able to “strip away pounds effortlessly!”, “drop a pound per day!”, or “transform your belly into six-pack abs!”, it’s hard not to get excited and hop on board. And there is clearly no shortage of diets to choose from. Everything from Weight Watchers to the Atkins diet, the raw foods diet to the Paleo diet, celebrity-endorsed diets, fast food diets, I mean you name it! Chances are, if there’s a way to differentiate a diet, it’s going to be marketed as a “weight-loss plan”. But the question is, are these “diets” sustainable? Are these “diets” designed to be adhered to for year after year? And is there any chance that we would realistically stick to the many rules and guidelines for the rest of our lives? For 99% of us, the answer is a giant resounding NO! This is strongly evident with the number of people whom gain weight after they’ve “finished” following their diet. We need to focus on a long-term, sustainable approach.
So what’s the secret for permanent weight control? Well, I’d like to sum it up in 3 words: EAT REAL FOOD. Now, this statement may seem pretty obvious and simplistic to most people, but the truth is, there’s a lot more (or a lot less!) to real food than meets the eye. Real food is NATURAL food. It comes from our natural world. But what does that even mean? We see “All Natural” plastered over every kind of supermarket item imaginable. Heck, even chocolate chip cookies can be labeled as “natural”! Well, here are some questions I like to ask myself to decipher real food:
- Did it come from the wild, a garden, or grown on a farm, or was it mass-produced in a factory somewhere halfway across the world?
- Does it have an ingredients list, and if so, how many ingredients can you even recognize? And is sugar the first ingredient on the list?
- Was this food available to our ancestors, or our grandparents’ generation?
You see, one of the biggest reasons why we have such a tough time controlling our weight is because we’ve stopped eating REAL food! Instead of home-cooked, made-from-scratch meals, we eat microwave dinners and fast food. Instead of snacking on fresh fruit and vegetables, we eat candy, chips, and cookies. We are also eating most of our food from 3-4 genetically modified, hybridized crops: those being corn, wheat, soy, and vegetable oil. They’re literally in every kind of packaged food imaginable. And all of these foods are primary culprits in promoting weight gain! So it really is no wonder why we are struggling to maintain a healthy weight.
But there is hope! There’s indeed a growing demand for healthier food products as we become more aware of the impact that food has on our bodies. Organic produce is becoming more widely available, and more and more health food markets are opening up, making it a lot easier to find REAL food. Especially at this time of year, we can take advantage of the many farmers markets, which offer fresh, local produce, meat, and eggs. We just need to be a bit more savvy when we shop. So here are a couple of tips for seeking out REAL food:
- Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where you find your produce, meat, eggs, etc. AKA REAL food. Buying the majority of your food from these areas is a huge step in the right direction.
- Take advantage of fresh, local food whenever possible. This means growing your own fruit and vegetables, participating in a community garden, shopping at farmers markets, even harvesting wild edibles! This is the best food you can feed your body.
- If you are going to buy a packaged food, be mindful of the ingredients. Do not simply look at the calorie content and grams of fat. Look at the actual ingredient list, and see if you can recognize them. Notice which ingredients come first (oftentimes its sugar, wheat, soy, or corn). Make this a habit.
- Ask yourself, “Is this something that was available 100 years ago?” If not, there’s a good chance that it’s less than ideal for you. Prime example: margarine.
Healthy eating and weight control need not be complicated. We simply need to change the way we view food, and ask ourselves, “Is this REAL food?”
Andrew (Drew) Thomas is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) from Oakville, Ontario. He received his B.A. (Hons.) in Communication, Culture, and Information Technology from the University of Toronto and obtained his RHN designation from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Drew is an avid researcher of nutrition and natural health, and has a voracious appetite for continually expanding his knowledge and expertise. Drew has been immersed in the nutrition world since 2006, when he began to drastically reconstruct his daily diet of Kraft Dinner, cookies, fast food, and ice cream in pursuit of optimal health. Upon buying his first nutrition book, he was immediately hooked and thus began his ever-evolving passion for nutrition and healthy living. Drew’s mission is to empower you with the facts, and the knowledge that is necessary for thriving in our modern world!