The Calorie Concept is huge.
Recently, I was in conversation with someone regarding a popular fitness app that helps you track your caloric consumption (amongst other “diet” factors also, of course). I happened to be in a particularly honest mood, and flat out said: “Who Cares?”
Well… obviously hundreds of thousands of app users care enough to make this particular app a hit. Dieters, in every direction certainly care… but could a “calorie focus” be one of the factors that is confusing us so greatly and contributing to our health problems?
With kids and adults, if we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.
If we change the way we understand food, we can better understand why “calories in, is not equal to calories out.” A “low cal” diet is not particularly healthy either.
The body eats for nourishment. It finds “life-sustaining”, “health-generating” nutrients in real foods. Real foods are that from Mother Nature. The majority of “real foods” do not need a disclaimer (save you: a poisonous berry, or mushroom, etc.). Real foods do not need an instruction manual. Real foods do not even really need a nutrition label.
If we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.
Lets break down a pita chip– as pita chips and hummus are often thought as a healthier food…
Typically the ingredients will start with: enriched wheat flour. Truthfully, we need not go any further. The most common wheat flour used in baking and packaged products is only a relative of what made any form of grain “nutritious” in the first place. So, with your first ingredient, already the grain has been processed and stripped of the most nutritious part of the grain (the wheat germ). What a way to start a snack. The “enriched” part means that because it was stripped… and “nutrients” were added back. Unfortunately, the body does not absorb and utilize these nutrients in the same way it would the nutrients from a real food– say, anything in the produce aisle.
Next up in our “chip” there are some other ingredients– mainly the “nutrients” that have been added back: Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, yadda yadda… the list continues on with an assortment of other flour type products, oil, sugar, ascorbic acid as a preservative, etc.
So even though 28 grams of pita chips may only have 140 calories and 5 grams of fat… and even though you may be able to limit yourself to 9 chips (which is the allotted serving size– 28 grams)… and even though these chips may stave off temporary hungry, and even though you can easily burn off 140 calories without deliberate exercise– This snack is not a real food. The vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are not “naturally occurring.” There are no beneficial enzymes to help in the digestive process (which also affects assimilation and absorption of nutrients). So while you may be able to maintain and even lose weight “calorie-counting,” one can never truly find health in focusing on the calorie (fat gram, carbohydrate, sugar, etc.).
Calories are so old school.
If you change the way you look at things, the things you like at change.
Instead of viewing something like “carrot sticks dipped into a homemade fresh guacamole” as something high in sugar, calories, and fat (heck, you could eat a whole batch of guacamole), view it as something from Mother Nature– ripe with real nutrients.
- No one has stripped the avocado of its nutrients. It is raw, live, and loaded with plant proteins, vitamins, minerals, and beautifying fats. It will keep you satiated far longer than a whole bag of pita chips. Why? Because the body actually recognizes real food far beyond its nutrition label. It recognizes what’s not necessarily listed.
What we need to be focusing on is what TYPE of food we are literally fueling our body with.
Let’s stop confusing ourselves with talk of calories. Sure, it’s a great way to understand certain packaged goods, (like if they are adding way too much sugar and/or oil) but we need not do that in the produce aisle. Ah hah! SO maybe we should spend our time in the produce section.
We need to be teaching are kiddos what foods are going to make them feel good, give them energy, and make them smart and strong– not attention deficit, sick, and plump.
They need to know that bran muffins are usually a bunch of sugar and flour, and that they should start their morning with a potassium packed, energizing, and delicious fruit and green smoothie, a banana decorated with raw almond butter and raisins, or a bowl of fresh fruit.
Kids don’t need to know about “100-Calorie” packs, and they most certainly do not need to focus on calories.
Oh. And P.S. Best Selling Author, Celebrity Nutritionist, and Friend– Natalia Rose is throwing a party. I am so bummed I will not be able to make it from Dallas, but if you are on the east coast, don’t miss out on this delightful evening. Please check out the information here.