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6 Unhealthy “Healthy” Foods to Avoid in Your Healthy New Year

6 Unhealthy “Healthy” Foods to Avoid in Your Healthy New Year

The beginning of the new year is the time most of us take resolutions to improve our health, avoid harmful food, start working out and so on, with dietary changes being by far the most popular symbolic change for the better. However, many foods that are commonly believed to be wholesome are, in fact, nothing of the kind. Here are five foods that pretend to be healthy but should be avoided.

1. Banana and Plantain Chips

We all know that fried potato chips, overflowing with fat and salt, are not exactly the healthiest food around. Those who cannot resist the temptation of their alluring crunchiness often resort to their more wholesome-looking banana or plantain analogues, believing that they make a big step towards healthy eating. Unfortunately, fried chips remain fried chips, irrespectively of what they are made of: they are still high on fat, sugar and salt content.

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2. Juices

People often believe that fruit juices they buy in supermarkets are a cheap and easy source of vitamins and nutrients, especially during cold winter months. In reality, they are worse than useless – for the simple reason that pre-packed liquids going under the name of juices have very little in common with the fruits they are supposed to be derived from. They don’t do you any good and may serve as one of the main reasons of weight gain, as their main ingredient is sugar. If you want to improve your health, you have to invest into a juicer and make your own juice from real fresh fruit.

3. Foods with “Fat-free” Label

“Fat-free” label is just yet another means of influencing healthy-conscious but not very savvy byers. “Fat-free” doesn’t mean calorie-free – what it means is that a food in question is often heavily processed and full of sugar (often in the form of notorious high fructose corn syrup) to compensate for the lack of taste caused by the elimination of fat content.

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4. Gluten-free Pastas and Snacks

Again, the gluten scare tactic is often used by food manufacturers to attract those who want to eat healthier food but don’t want to learn anything about what they are eating. In reality, unless you have a medical reason for avoiding gluten, you would do better to stick to normal pasta or, better yet, not eating pasta and snacks at all. Gluten-free products often contain less nutrient-dense flours and fat instead of gluten, which means that you pay more for less nutritious yet fattier food.

5. Granola

What can be more innocuous than this mix of rolled oats, nuts, and dried fruit? A lot of things, as it turns out. It is alright if you prepare it yourself; but pre-packaged granola suffers from the same ailments as most processed foods: it often contains high amount of sugar to improve its taste, and a single bowl of this stuff may contain up to 500 calories – even without milk.

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6. Dried Fruit

Another staple of all health-conscious foodies that turns out to be not all that beneficial under close scrutiny is dried fruit. Compared to fresh fruit they are made of, dried fruit such as apricots or plums contain a lot more sugar, tend to stick to the surfaces of teeth, get into spaces between them, and eventually may cause damage of tooth enamel and cavities. The general opinion among doctors is that you are much better off eating fresh fruit instead.

The best rule for those willing to improve their diet in the new year would be this: avoid pre-packaged and processed foods whenever possible, read nutrient labels carefully and pay attention to your health – every day!

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Hope this list was useful for you. Good luck with your healthy diet!

Featured photo credit: Suco de frutas – Fruit juices/Roberto Guglielmo via flickr.com

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Melissa Burns

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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