Are You an Emotional Eater?

Maybe you are and you don’t even know it.  That’s how I felt today while doing some grocery shopping.  Here’s the story.

I found myself doing some grocery shopping this morning and the first place I hit up was the snack aisle – OK, the “natural” snack aisle, but snack aisle nonetheless.  Normally I go right to the produce section, spend most of my time there and then move on.  Not this time.  I completely bypassed the produce section even though I walked right into it upon entering the store and went straight to the snack aisle.  After about 5 minutes of picking up packages, reading labels and filling the cart I asked myself, “What are you doing??  Why are you here and why are you doing this?”  

This is the answer I came up with.  It was a gloomy, rainy day here.  Strike one.  I can’t stand rain, especially cold rain.  On days like today I just want to curl up and sleep all day, but I have 2 small children, so that’s just never going to happen.  Strike 2 came when I realized that I was hungry because I did not eat a proper breakfast.  But big strike number 3 came when I remembered that for the next 5 days, while my husband is away on business, I’ll be alone.  Not really, alone, alone, but without him.  It may not be a big deal to some people, but it’s a big deal to me and I don’t like it.  So I was just reaching for easy stuff that I would normally not reach for.  In the end I took some time to think about my decisions right then and there, put most of the packages back on the shelves (I did buy a few – without the guilt) and turned around and headed to the product department. 

Today was the first day that I was mindful of how my emotions try to control my decisions when it comes to food.  I could have purchased all of the snack foods and eaten all of them before my husband gets back home, but how would that make me feel?  I would feel disappointed and guilty that I sabotaged myself.  

Next time you’re feeling gloomy and you find yourself in the grocery store, take some extra time to ask yourself a few questions before making your purchases.  Is this something I would normally purchase?  Why am I buying this product?  How is this product going to make me feel after I eat it?

The Great Pantry Clean-Out

Below are a few chemicals often found in packaged products on the supermarket shelves. All you have to do is get to your pantry or refrigerator and start looking at the labels. If you see a product that contains one (or more) of these chemicals in it, trash it.

#1 – High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

HFCS is a highly refined form of sugar. It’s cheap and addictive and that’s why it is added to pretty much everything on the shelves. I would LOVE to tell you to get rid of any kind of refined sugar totally, but right now, I won’t do that. (I’m still working on this myself and it is taking a really long time. That is how addictive sugar is).

#2 – Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Are you suffering from headache, flushing, sweating, facial tightness, heart palpitations, chest pains, shortness of breath, nausea, muscle weakness; and numbness, tingling or burning in the mouth, around the face and in the limbs? Check your labels!

It’s everywhere! There are so many other names for it, you may think that a product does not contain MSG, but it could be in there, just in another form. Here are a “few” names code names: Glutamic acid, Glutamate, Monopotassium glutamate, Calcium glutamate, Monoammonium glutamate, Magnesium glutamate, Natrium glutamate, Yeast extract, Yeast food, Autolyzed yeast, Whey protein, Whey protein concentrate, Whey protein isolate, Soy protein, Soy protein concentrat, Soy protein isolate, Soy sauce, Soy sauce extract and the list goes on and on.

#3 – tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)

In the clean eating world the rule usually goes, “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.” Seriously?! Why would this be allowed in our food supply? You won’t see it on the label as such. You’ll see it as “TBHQ” and you’ll never question it because TBHQ is just so easy to pronounce. Well, start questioning!

“TBHQ is a synthetic antioxidant that is used to extend the shelf life of oily and fatty foods. In processed foods, it’s sprayed on the food or on its packaging to prevent discoloration and changes to flavor and odor. Others products, such as cosmetics, perfumes, varnishes and lacquers, contain TBHQ to maintain stability.” (www.livestrong.com)

#4 – Sodium nitrate

This chemical is commonly found in processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon and lunch meats.

Mayo Clinic says, “Sodium nitrate, a preservative that’s used in some processed meats, such as bacon, jerky and luncheon meats, could increase your heart disease risk.

It’s thought that sodium nitrate may damage your blood vessels, making your arteries more likely to harden and narrow, leading to heart disease. Nitrates may also affect the way your body uses sugar, making you more likely to develop diabetes.” (http://www.mayoclinic.org/…/exp…/sodium-nitrate/faq-20057848)

#5 – Food Dyes

OK, I know this is going to be a rough one, especially for those of you with children so I understand if this one takes some time. Honestly, we’re still working on it in my household too. These dyes are everywhere – and not just in candy and cookies, sprinkles and brightly colored sweets. Check your white marshmallows. Do you see Blue dye in there? Check your vanilla ice cream. Yellow dye, maybe? Check your jar of pickles. Yellow dye, again.

“Artificial food dyes are linked to hyperactivity in children, asthma, allergies, and skin issues. They are banned in certain countries and require a warning label in Europe.” (Vani Hari, The Food Babe Way)

If you can cut back dramatically, that is a start – a baby step.

#6 – Artificial Sweeteners

We have a severe sugar problem in the world. I’d like to say in the United States, but our thinking and our piss poor food practices have infiltrated the world. Before I started my clean eating journey I was a Diet Coke addict, so I know how difficult breaking the habit can be. We are tricked into thinking that because it is “sugar-free” it is better than the alternative. Anything artificial is definitely not better than natural, but when it comes to refined sugar, both options pretty much poor.

NutraSweet, Sweet’N Low, Equal, Splenda – toss ’em. A better choice would be pure stevia leaf powder or liquid (in small amounts).

Again, this is going to be a rough one to let go off. These are addictive substances so withdrawal symptoms are common when you cease ingesting them.

#7 – perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

This is a chemical that lines the bags of….MICROWAVE POPCORN. So this one is easy. Go to your pantry, grab your stash of microwave popcorn and toss it in the trash!

PFOA is the non-stick chemical also found in Teflon pots and pans and the EPA has classified it as a carcinogen. With no studies done on humans, the FDA allows this in our food. Lucky us!

Recipe – Pickles

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Do you know that the majority of your immune system resides in your gut?  Millions and millions of good bacteria reside in your gut helping to keep you healthy.  It is your job to make sure that you have ample supply of good bacteria so that you can optimally function.  Some things will deplete the good bacteria in your body – food, environmental agents and antibiotics are just a few.  They will constantly try to take over your body, until one day, BOOM!  The gut can’t take it anymore, the lining of the gut breaks down, irritants start invading your body, activating an immune response and you literally start fighting yourself.  This can present in many ways, eczema, allergies, asthma, a host of digestive issues, etc.

One source of good bacteria is fermented foods – pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi are a few examples.  I LOVE pickles.  Store bought vinegar pickles have little benefit for the body and most of them contain artificial colors and preservatives (read the labels, I’m not lying, yes, pickles have artificial color in them).

Here is a super easy recipe for homemade pickles:

  1.  Soak small cukes in ice water to maintain freshness.
  2. Dissolve 1-2 tablespoons of pink salt or celtic salt in 1 quart of water.
  3. In a quart size mason jar place 5-6 small cukes, 1 tablespoon of dried dill, 2-3 smashed garlic cloves. You can also add any kind of spices you desire.
  4. Pour salt water into mason jar making sure cukes are covered. Seal jar and leave on counter 3-7 days depending on taste.
  5. When they taste they way you like, place jar in refrigerator. These will last for months, but are so good they will be gone in a few days!

Career Fear

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Only you have the power to change your life, and you only have one life. Make it count!

Are you unhappy in your current career? Do you feel stuck where you are?  Are you fearful of what could happen if you decide to make a change for yourself?  I’m sure you are because you are probably focusing on the negative “what if’s.”  What if you switched your thinking and put your focus on the positive possibilities?

Think about it. You probably spend more time working than anything else.  8-10 hours or more per day is a lot of time to be unhappy.  Plus most people are constantly plugged into their job via e-mail on some sort of mobile device.  You can’t even go on vacation these days without feeling like you have to check-in with work.  That’s a little ridiculous.  It’s no wonder that all of the negativity manifests itself into other areas of your life, including your eating habits.

Let’s do a little exercise:

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Take a deep breath in and slowly let it out.
  3. Picture yourself in your current career and how it makes you feel.
  4. Now picture yourself in your dream job. Think about what is holding you back.  What are you afraid of and if you make a change, what are the chances that those fears are really going to happen?
  5. Now push through the fear, make the change! What do you see?  How do you feel?  How do you think those feeling will manifest into other areas of your life?
  6. Take another deep breath and slowly let it out.
  7. Open your eyes.

If you’d like a little more help with a change in lifestyle, consider reaching out to me for a free, no obligation health history consultation. If this sounds interesting, please e-mail me at babystepstocleanliving@gmail.com.

think, do, be positive

 

Accountability

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Wow!  What a week.  Part of clean living is holding yourself accountable for your choices.  We make choices about what we are going eat and what we are going to drink throughout the day.  We also make all kinds of other decisions that affect us and those around us (and these choices have a great effect on our eating and drinking choices too – more than you know).  If you tend to lean more towards negativity, you will, no doubt, make poor choices when it comes to food and drink.  These choices will affect your health in negative ways.  If you lean more towards seeing the positive and making good choices, you and your health will benefit.  It’s a win, win for your physical, mental and emotional well being.

Do you hold yourself accountable for the words you speak?  Do you ever stop and think how your words affect other people?  Do you care?  I have been called a racist, sexist, homophobic, ignorant deplorable person multiple times during this week.  I assure you that I am none of these.  I hold myself accountable for the decisions that I made this past week.  I focused on issues that were important to me and my family and I based my decisions on those issues.  My issues were not more important than issues that other people focused on, but they were important to me.

Please start holding yourself accountable for your words and actions.  You’ll feel so much better, you’ll make others feel better and your physical, mental and emotion well being will thank you for it.  YOU are responsible for what YOU say, what YOU do, what YOU eat, what YOU drink.  Of course you are influenced by others on the outside, but rise up and be the person YOU want to be.  If you want to be filled with anger, then expect to be alone.  If you want to be filled with love, then love will come back to you in more ways than you know.

Processing

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Originally written on September 6, 2016.

Today I did a lot of thinking about processing.  My first born took a big step towards independence – he boarded the bus to kindergarten.  It was a big send off with 10 of his closest family members gathered together to watch him go.  Would he cry?  Would I cry?  How would it go?  And after all was said and done my phone blew up with text messages from friends, “How did it go?”, “How did he do?”, “How did YOU do?”   The problem I had with that last question is that I don’t even know how I did.  I had no time to process what was happening.  You see, the bus arrived early so we rushed to take some pictures and then ran across the street to send him on his way.  Thirty seconds later, he was gone, and five minutes later everyone had gone on with their day, including me.  I retreated downstairs to my basement and got started on working because I had offered to work from home to alleviate the short staff in the office.  I made a mistake.  I should have taken the day off completely.  I gave myself no time to process what had just happened, and I was pretty upset all day, not that he was in school, but that I had no time to actually think about it.  I can’t relive the moment, but at least I know what to change in a few years when my youngest starts kindergarten.  Processing is important.  We process our feelings, we process our thoughts and do you know what else we process?  Food.

Do you ever process what you eat or what you are about to eat?  How do you think it will taste?  How do you think it will make you feel, during and afterwards?  Is eating something that is in front of you going to help you reach your goal of living a healthier lifestyle?  These are all questions that I actually ask myself before I eat.  Yes, it take a lot of thinking, but after so many years of doing it, it has become routine.  I don’t want to feel bad after I eat, because if I do most likely I will make poor food choices.  So if I know that something will make me feel bad I simply don’t eat it.  But to decide not to eat it takes a lot of thought.  Are you with me?  I know, it’s a lot to process.

Let’s keep it simple.  Next time you are offered something that you “know” you should not eat, stop and think about.  How will is make you feel and will it help you continue on your journey of a healthier life?  If the answers are bad and no, take a pass.

Networking

Flogel_Nature_big (1)It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  We’ve all heard this in terms of career advancement and job searching.  Well, taking care of your body is a 24/7 job and when you decide to start changing your lifestyle from toxic to healthy, one of the best things you can do is create a network to help you get through it.

The internet, although it is a great source of information, provides so much information that you just don’t know where to start or what to believe.  You hear someone say something, you research it online and you find supporting information followed by conflicting information.  How do you go about hashing it all out and making a decision that is best for you?  Not that is best for everyone, but is best for you.  No two people are the same and what works for you, won’t or can’t work for another person.  You go to your network – people you trust, people who don’t have anything to gain from you, people who care about themselves (because if people don’t care about themselves, then why the hell would they care about you?).

Who is part of your network?  Your family, your friends, your medical professional, your natural professional, and most people these days have some kind of online family that they belong to.  Facebook is loaded with groups of like minded people.  Not everyone agrees on everything all of the time.  Come on, that would be too boring, but the support is there.  What you will usually find is that you are not the only one going through whatever you are going through.  Someone else out there is too.  You will also find that you are not the first one to go through something.  Someone else out there has already been there, done that.  It creates a comfort level.  If they can do it, you can too!

What do you think Alcoholics Anonymous is?  It’s a network.  Weight Watchers – network, job fair – network, grief support groups – network.  Everyone out there needs and depends on someone else.  You’re not alone.  Surround yourself with like-minded people.  Walk away from those who are toxic to you.  Your body and brain will love you for it.

Read the Labels

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The time you spend in the grocery store just doubled.  Have no fear!  It’s temporary.  Once you know what you are looking for that time will decrease.  I spend the bulk of grocery money on items that do not have labels, i.e. fruits and vegetables, but for those products that I use that do contain labels I now spend 5 seconds turning the products around, reading the label and deciding if it’s OK to buy.  What am I looking for?  I’m not looking at calories or fat.  First and foremost I look at the ingredients.  Second I look at the sugar content (we’ll get to that in the future).  If those two criteria check out, then the product gets put in my cart.  If not, back on the shelf it goes.  I will say that if I need a product and it doesn’t check out I do get infuriated in the store.  I’m sure people have looked at me while I’ve gone on a mini-rant in the middle of the aisle.

What ingredients do I look for?  These were the first ingredients I looked for when I started reading labels.  They are pretty easy to find and will jump out at you.  Again, this is just the beginning.

High Fructose Corn Syrup – you cannot believe where is lurks.  It’s EVERYWHERE!  It’s maddening.  Seriously, just go to the store and count the number of products you pick up that contain HFCS.

Artificial colors – Blue #, Red #, Yellow #, etc.  Pretty easy to know where they are.  If it’s a bright pink, green, blue color, they colors are probably there.  BUT did you know that marshmallows also have these colors in them?  And pickles!  WTF!?

Artificial flavors – conveniently lumped into just one category.  Have no idea what ingredients make them up (same thing goes for natural flavors, but that’s another story).  The positive note is that most products will tell you right on the front of the package that it is artificially flavored.  Check those flavored potato chips.

Artificial preservatives – Sodium benzoate and anything else that is added to “maintain freshness.”

Next time you’re shopping, take note and find an alternative.  The alternatives are there, it just takes a few extra minutes to find them.  Might take a few extra cents to purchase them too, but it’s worth it.  I’d rather spend the extra on staying healthy than giving the money to the doctors so that they can buy healthier foods for their families 🙂