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10 So-Called Health Foods You Should Stop Eating

10 So-Called Health Foods You Should Stop Eating

Eat because food is on the table and your last meal might just be that quick granola bar at lunch. You may eat it even though it tastes awful because you can’t hurt grandma’s feelings. You might eat because you’re bored sometimes, or because you’re sad. Sometimes you might feel like you eat because you earned it.

Whatever your reason for eating, a relatively agreed upon reason is that you’re eating to be healthy, or at least doing your best to become healthier. You gave up that super scrumptious looking ice cream with hot fudge and sprinkles for some low-fat or fat-free froyo because you’re trying to have the best health possible. I get it. You know what really isn’t fun? Eating the wrong foods that you deemed to be the health foods, and find out that it’s actually worse for you than before.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 different health foods we’ve sacrificed our other food for. These foods really aren’t doing us any favors, so we’ve provided some yummy and healthier alternatives for you to use instead.

1. Low-fat or Fat-free Yogurt

yogurt is not icecream

    Doesn’t this one just grind your gears? When you see fat-free or low-fat you instantly think, “This has to be better for me because fat is bad.” Wrong-o! For years, we have been trying to end this war on fat; when in reality, it is important to our health! Fat is what you burn when you’re not doing anything, fat gives us energy, and fat is a key part of our diet. When fat is supplemented with harmful chemicals and preservatives and SO MUCH MORE SUGAR, it actually hurts us more than it helps us.

    Healthy Alternatives:

    • Regular, original yogurt.
    • Try just plain yogurt, spicing it up with fruit yourself.
    • Everybody likes parfaits. Am I right?

    2. Fruit Smoothies

    Fresh milk, strawberry, blueberry and banana drinks on wodeen table, assorted protein cocktails with fresh fruits. ; Shutterstock ID 182683421; PO: Brandon for Food
      Fresh milk, strawberry, blueberry and banana drinks on wodeen table, assorted protein cocktails with fresh fruits; Shutterstock ID 182683421; PO: Brandon for Food.

      Jamba Juice, how could you? Fruit smoothies are more fruit juice and super sugared-up yogurt/sherbert than fruit these days. Although they taste heavenly, they really aren’t all that good for you! However, if you want to snag a Jamba on your way to work, make sure to get the smallest size, as this will keep the calories and sugar as low as it can go.

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      Healthy Alternatives:

      • Freshly squeezed juices.
      • Channel your inner chef and make your own smoothie!
      • Use some plain yogurt, milk, and your favorite fruits.
      • You’ll be so much more filled by the time lunch rolls around, cutting your snack time and adding more energy.

      3. Naked Juice

      naked juice

        In case you thought that you could get out of making your own smoothie and turn to the juice above all juices, think again. I’ve definitely snagged a Naked after a workout, thinking the fruit and veggies in my Green Machine were gonna give me power for the whole day! However, Naked packs a whopping 60 grams of sugar per bottle. While this isn’t added sugar, and the fructose within it comes from the fruit, it is still way more than your body should have at one sitting. Juicing your fruits also takes away the fiber within them, leaving you practically starving and itching for that cannoli you saw at Starbucks.

        Healthy Alternatives:

        • Eat the fruit itself, rather than the juice form.
        • Fruit will fill you up, while adding the necessary fiber to your diet.
        • Seriously – just squeeze your own juice or make your own smoothie.

        4. Flavored Milk (Soy, Almond, Coconut)

        flavored milk

          I understand that lactose intolerant people have it hard when morning comes around. All you want is cereal, but all that’s in the fridge is regular milk. However, these alternative milk companies pack in the sugar and preservatives like nobody’s business, otherwise almond milk would have a much shorter shelf life.

          Healthy Alternatives:

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          • You don’t have to cut out soy, almond, or coconut milk completely.
          • Just make sure you buy the “unsweetened” boxes, with 0 grams of sugar!

          5. Sports Drinks

          gatorade

            Are you serious Gatorade? Yes, you’re giving us all the electrolytes and potassium we want (so shoutout to you for that), but did you really need to load on that extra 21 grams of sugar as well? Look’s like I need to hit the treadmill again after that.

            Healthy Alternatives:

            • Try coconut water.
            • Or post workout powders.

            6. Energy Bars

            Granola Bars

              More like Reese’s 2.0, especially if we’re talking about the nutritional value. Energy bars sound like the greatest idea, but these otherwise healthy snacks are riddled with sweeteners, white flour, and high-fructose corn syrup.

              Healthy Alternatives:

              • Just look for bars that have LESS THAN 15 grams of sugar.
              • Also look for as little saturated fat as possible (less than 2 grams).
              • Sprinkle with tons of fiber and protein, and then you’re ready to go!

              7. Reduced- Fat Peanut Butter

              peanut butter

                Peanut butter is absolutely fabulous. Nut butter is filled with healthy fats and proteins that provide enough energy and fullness to help you go about your day until your next meal without feeling famished. However, whenever fat is reduced it just adds oils with the worst types of fats and even more sugar to keep it yummy.

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                Healthy Alternatives:

                • Reduce your protein size of a regular peanut butter.
                • Slather that on some celery and you’re good to go!
                • Snag some natural peanut butter next time, where peanuts are the only ingredient.

                8. Prepared Salads

                salad haterz

                  I’m not going anti-leafy-green-veggies here, but rather anti-everything-else-in-the-salad. The bacon, the deep-fried meats, the cheese, croutons, and creamy dressings are a lot of carbs and calories you really don’t need. The lettuce isn’t enough to make that salad healthy, my friends.

                  Healthy Alternatives:

                  • Just saying “No” is a wonderful principle, especially when it applies to croutons or any of the other no-no’s listed above.
                  • You can do a dressing, but ask for it on the side, so you are in control of how much you’re using.
                  • Tip: Dip your fork into the dressing first and use what’s on it to cover your salad with each super healthy bite.

                  9. Margarine and Butter

                  butter and margarine

                    It’s got trans-fat. It’s completely artificial. It’s got loads of vegetable oil. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a big welcome to margarine! Margarine came into play when butter was accused of having too much saturated fat. Margarine is supposed to be better for your heart health, but is also loaded with trans-fat out the wazoo. Actually, butter (as unsalted as you can make it) is totally fine. The fight between the two honestly comes down to trans-fat versus saturated fat, Meanwhile, neither option is very good for your body. Honestly, your best shot to eat healthier would be to avoid both margarine and butter if you can.

                    Healthy Alteratives:

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                    • Unsalted butter, whipped.
                    • Whipped, trans-fat free margarine.
                    • Olive oil.
                    • Avacado.
                    • Nut butters.
                    • No matter what, try and limit your intake and monitor your portion sizes.

                    10. Fake Healthy Chips

                    chipsiez

                      Veggie chips are the absolute worst. You gave up your Cheeto Puff’s for some fake health food that is literally just the color of whatever veggies are listed. Sadly, dye is the only difference between both types of chips. It’s still just potato starch, corn flour, and deep-fried lies being serving to us. Pita chips are baked rather than fried, so props to them for that, but the healthiness ends there. Pita chips are made from refined grains and enriched wheat flour, giving them next to none of the nutrients they are trying to peddle at you.

                      Healthy Alternatives:

                      • Pita chips with whole grain flour.
                      • Make your own (like in the picture above).
                      • If your craving that satisfying crunch, try and eat the actual veggies rather than the fried/baked kind, as they retain all their nutrients this way.

                      Conclusion

                      Watch for sneaky sugars and unhealthy fats, and you’ll be on your way to spotting unhealthy health food in no time!

                      Did any of these foods fool you and sneak their way into your pantry? Sound off in the comments below. Also, let us know your own healthy alternatives!

                      Information courtesy of Shakeology.

                      Featured Photo Credit: Yogurt gif, Fruit smoothies, Naked, Flavored milks, Gatorade on reporter gif, Unhealthy granola bars, Peanut butter toast, Parks and Rec salad gif, Butter/Margarine, Homemade healthy chips

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                      Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                      In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                      Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                      Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                      Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                      Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                      The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                      There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                      How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                      According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                      Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                      Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                      The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                      Listen carefully:

                      We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                      The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                      Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                      8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                      There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                      Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                      1. Pray Daily

                      You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                      When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                      Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                      Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                      2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                      A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                      By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                      Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                      If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                      This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                      How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                      3. Smile Often

                      Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                      Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                      Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                      The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                      4. Organize Your Working Desk

                      A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                      When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                      Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                      Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                      5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                      I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                      Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                      What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                      6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                      God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                      I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                      I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                      7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                      You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                      How do you do that? This is my formula:

                      First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                      If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                      If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                      If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                      Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                      8. Go Exercise

                      Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                      The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                      You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                      12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                      The Bottom Line

                      It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                      It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                      Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                      More Resources About Mindfulness

                      Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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