5 More Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

5 More Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid

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5 More Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

Last time, we took a look at five foods to avoid in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and some alternatives to reach for instead.

But there are far more than five foods you should avoid.

As a naturopathic nutritional counselor, it’s my job to help you understand what to eat, and what not to eat.

Today we’re going to look at five more common foods which you may want to reconsider as part of your diet.

Keep reading to find out what they are.

1. Movie Theatre Popcorn Butter

There’s something about going to the movies which makes people want popcorn.

This tasty treat, long associated with theatres, may be a tradition, but it’s a tradition you might want to reconsider.

Why It’s Bad

Movie theatre popcorn is incredibly high in calories.

A small bag can have as much as 225 calories – and that’s without even adding butter.

And even the butter isn’t really butter. Most theatres use a partially-hydrogenated oil made from soybeans. This oil contains about 130 calories per serving and high amounts of trans-fats.

Of course it doesn’t stop there. Most people getting salty popcorn will want something to wash it down with, and the accompanying soda adds much more sugar to the equation. See last month’s article on foods to avoid for more about sugary drinks.

Combine this with the fact that it’s easy to overeat in a dark theatre where you can’t see how much you’re having, and you’re distracted by the film and it’s easy to eat an entire days’ worth of calories in one sitting.

What To Eat Instead

The best option is to bring your own healthy snacks to the theatre. But maybe you forgot, or they caught you in line and made you throw your snack out.

In this case, you’ll probably find yourself at the concessions counter anyways. Recognizing none of the options in a theatre are going to be great for you, some are better than others.

Chewy candies which take longer to eat are a good option, since it’s harder to get through a whole pack in one sitting. Consider options like Twizzlers or Starburst for this reason, but be aware these treats are also high in sugar.

2. Processed Cheese

In moderation, cheese is a great food. It contains calcium and protein. But not all cheese is created equal.

Why It’s Bad

Did you know processed cheese slices aren’t allowed to be called real cheese?

Instead they get the label “cheese products” because of the chemicals, additives, and preservatives they contain.

What To Eat Instead

This one is pretty simple. When you want to eat cheese, stick to real cheese, including feta, mozzarella, and cottage cheese.

If dairy is a concern, there are many vegan options on the market. They’re getting better and better as well, as more people seek to include less dairy in their diets.

If it’s calcium intake on your mind, there are lots of non-dairy options. These include leafy greens such as kale and spinach, or foods like almonds, tofu, and oranges.

more kinds of unhealthy foods to stay away from | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

3. Pizza

You may have heard that pizza is the perfect food. After all, it contains all the major food groups – breads, dairy, meat, and veggies.

Many people are proponents of cold pizza for breakfast. And let’s face it, it’s a quick and easy meal when you’re in a rush.

But pizza isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.

Why It’s Bad

Most pizza dough is made from white bread. It ranks high on the glycemic index.

This is a value which is given to food based on how quickly they increase blood sugar levels. The higher a food is on this index, the faster it releases sugar into the bloodstream.

Increased levels of blood sugar over a long enough timeline can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, for those with diabetes, this increase in blood sugar can result in not having enough insulin available.

What To Eat Instead

Don’t panic – you don’t have to give up pizza altogether.

Look for restaurants which offer higher quality and healthy ingredients, such as a whole wheat crust.

Making your own pizza at home can also be satisfying. Not only do you have complete control over which toppings go on it, but also you have control over what goes into the crust.

4. Gluten-Free Junk Food

More and more people are trying to avoid gluten these days. And that’s not a bad thing.

Whatever the reason, gluten-free lifestyles are on the rise. Along with them, is the sale of gluten-free snacks.

Why It’s Bad

Gluten isn’t the only bad thing in junk food. You might take it out, but that doesn’t make it healthy.

These alternatives are often filled with refined grains and high in sugar. As a result, eating them can trigger spikes in blood sugar. They’re also often low in nutrients.

Also, gluten serves as a binding agent. It holds your bread and cookies together. That’s why gluten-free buns are often so crumbly.

But when you take the gluten out, you have to replace it with something. Usually, that ends up being either potato starch or tapioca starch. And these aren’t great options either.

What To Eat Instead

If eating gluten is an issue for you, look for naturally gluten-free foods.

Potential naturally gluten-free snacks to reach for include:
● Gluten-free whole grains such as quinoa, wild rice, and buckwheat
● Fresh fruits and vegetables
● Legumes
● Nuts and seeds
● Cottage cheese
● Yogurt

5. Diet Soft Drinks

So you know sugary drinks aren’t the best choice, and maybe you’re thinking “I’ll just drink diet soda instead”. Not so fast.

Why It’s Bad

A 2017 study in the journal Research in Nursing and Health found subjects who consumed diets high in aspartame to be more irritable, and show more signs of depression.

Do you think trading out your regular pop with a diet version will help you lose weight?

A 2017 study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found no evidence that diet soft drinks had any effect on weight loss.

What To Eat Instead

Feeling thirsty? Stick to low or no sugar options such as water, coffee, or tea. If you crave something bubbly, sparkling waters can be a great choice.

Call The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are you trying to eat healthier? Are you dealing with food restrictions which make meal-planning tough? Or are you concerned about high blood pressure, cholesterol, or obesity, in yourself or a loved one?

The Mindful Healing Clinic can help. Contact us today to learn more about our nutritional services.

5 Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

5 Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid

By Blog

5 Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

As a naturopathic doctor, I regularly see the proof as to why having a healthy diet and eating the right foods is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Knowing what to eat and what to avoid, though, can be tricky.

And no wonder it’s so confusing. There’s conflicting information everywhere you go. So-called healthy options are anything but. Fat doesn’t make you fat? And fat-free options can make you fatter? What’s going on?

On top of this, there are all sorts of so-called experts telling us what we should and shouldn’t eat. But what does the science say?

Today, we’ll break down some of the worst foods for your health, why they’re so bad, and give you alternatives to reach for instead.

Keep reading to learn more about 5 common foods which you should avoid.

1. White Bread

Although a favourite for many children, and a staple of the classic “PB&J”, white bread is something which should be avoided.

Why It’s Bad

White bread is highly processed. It’s made from refined flour, which is lacking many essential nutrients. It’s also low in fibre – one of the benefits of bread.

Because of its low fibre content, white bread is rapidly digested which can lead to spikes in blood sugar.

What To Eat Instead

When looking for the essential building-blocks of your next sandwich, ditch the white stuff. Instead, reach for whole-grain bread.

An even better option is sprouted grain bread. Ezekiel bread is a popular brand of sprouted grain bread you may have seen at your local health food store.

2. Agave Nectar

Agave is often marketed as a “healthier” alternative to honey. This is because it has less sugar, calories, and carbohydrates than honey per serving.

Also, it contains some vitamins and minerals which honey doesn’t, such as vitamins E and K.

But though it has its benefits, it’s not the healthy alternative many make it out to be.

Why It’s Bad

A 2012 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry looked at the nutritional profile of 19 different agave syrups.

The study found agave to be incredibly high in fructose. It has a concentration of nearly 85%. By comparison, even high-fructose corn syrup is only 55%. And it has “high fructose” in the name.

What To Eat Instead

There are natural and low-and-no calorie sweeteners you can reach for, to get added sweetness without the calories. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol which has only 6% of the calories of sugar, but 70% of the sweetness. Another great option is stevia, which comes from a plant – and could even be grown in your home.

Avoid these types of unhealthy foods | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

3. Sugary Drinks

This one won’t come as a surprise to most people. Drinks filled with added sugar, such as juice and soft drinks, are not the best option for hydration.

Why They’re Bad

A 2007 study in the American Journal of Public Health reviewed the effects of soft drink consumption on public health.

They found a clear link between the consumption of soft drinks and increased body weight. In other words, the more soft drinks you have, the more likely you are to be overweight.

When you get your calories through juices and soft drinks, your body doesn’t register them the same way as it does solid food calories. As a result, it’s easy to drink far more calories than you realized.

Sugar intake is also linked to insulin resistance, liver disease, and type 2 diabetes.

What To Eat Instead

The best thing you can drink is pure water. But drinking nothing but water all the time can get boring.

Adding fruit to water can add flavour. You may have seen lemon or cucumber water offered at your favourite spa. Soda water is a great option for people who still want a little “fizz”.

Coffee and tea can be great options as well. Just watch how much sugar you are adding and do not add sugar or artificial sweeteners.

4. Low Fat Yogurt

Some types of yogurt can be very good for you. But just because it has“low fat” on the label doesn’t mean it’s the best option. Fat is not a bad thing. Healthy fats are an important component of a balanced diet, but many of us have been led to believe fat is the enemy.

Why They’re Bad

Often times, when yogurt is low fat, it means extra sugar has been added to improve the flavour. While natural fats are healthy and an important part of a balanced diet, sugar is something which should be avoidedlimited. Also, in pasteurized yogurt, much of the beneficial bacteria which can be vital for a healthy gut has been killed off.

What To Eat Instead

This one is easy – skip the low fat yogurt in favour of full-fat yogurt which contains probiotics. Look for yogurts made with milk from grass-fed cows, and compare the labels for sugar content; it is better to get plain yogurt with no added sugar and add some fruit. If getting enough protein is an issue for you, consider Greek yogurt as well.

5. Processed Meats

For those who choose to include meat in their diet, there are options to choose from. One of the important options is whether to buy processed or unprocessed meat. Processed meats have been shown to be unhealthy in many ways.

Why They’re Bad

There are a wide variety of studies which show the undesirable health effects of processed meat.

A 2005 study showed a link between consumption of cured meats and high blood pressure.

Another study, from 2010 showed a link between processed meat and heart disease.

Processed meat was shown to be linked to a 42% higher risk of heart disease.

Finally, a 2005 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found a positive association between consumption of processed meat and colorectal cancer.

What To Eat Instead

Avoid processed meats as much as possible. The evidence is clear they’re horrible for you.

If you absolutely can’t live without things like bacon and sausage though, at least get them from your local butcher or farmer’s market. They generally use fewer additives and provide healthier options.

Call The Mindful Healing Clinic

Are you worried about the food you’re eating?

Do you need some guidance to help you choose the best foods to fuel your body?

Are you concerned about high blood pressure, cholesterol, or obesity?.

The Mindful Healing Clinic can help.

Contact us today to learn more about our nutritional services.

How To Improve Your Gut Health | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

How To Improve Your Gut Health

By Blog

How To Improve Your Gut Health | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

The human body is truly a wondrous thing – scientists, doctors and researchers are still making major discoveries all the time, constantly improving our understanding about how it functions.

It’s complicated – and the gut turns out to be one of the most complicated functions – which is why it’s good to have a digestive health naturopath in your back pocket.

Why Is Your Gut Important?

Although doctors once thought it was merely a food processing organ, it turns out your gut has an impact on numerous other systems, including the immune system and autoimmune diseases, mental health and mood, skin conditions, endocrine disorders and even cancer.

Your gut microbiome is where all the magic happens: it’s where 300 to 500 different species of bacteria live, all throughout your gastrointestinal system.

Some of these bacteria aren’t friendly; most – however – are not just beneficial, they are necessary.

How To Tell If Your Gut Is Unhealthy

If it’s that important, it should be cared for carefully and kept under a watchful eye for signs of strength or distress.

Here are some ways you can tell if you might have an unhealthy biome.

1. You Eat A Lot Of Sugar

Sugar has been linked as the most dangerous factor causing cancer, possibly because of the inflammation it causes.

Processed foods and added sugars reduce the good bacteria in your biome, and this imbalance can, in turn, lead to increased sugar cravings.

In the end, you need only remember that sugar is hazardous to good bacteria, and that bacteria is a huge part of what’s keeping you healthy.

2. You’re Having Trouble Sleeping

People often wonder why they’re experiencing poor sleep, chronic fatigue or even insomnia, and they rarely consider their gut in answering that question.

However, serotonin is manufactured in the gut, and it’s responsible for mood and sleep – so a healthy gut will absolutely predispose you to a good sleep.

3. You’re Gaining Or Losing Weight Unexpectedly

If you’ve noticed a change in your weight that can’t be attributed to a change in either exercise routine or diet, then you may have a gut issue.

If you’re losing weight, it could be caused by SIBO, which stands for “small intestinal bacterial overgrowth”.

If you’re gaining weight, it might be due to insulin resistance – this is when your body isn’t absorbing the nutrients from your food properly, and it causes you to want to overeat to try to replace them.

4. You Have Eczema

Skin conditions such as eczema are often a sign of damage to the gut.

This could be caused by inflammation: poor diet or food allergies that irritate the skin.

5. You Have An Autoimmune Condition

Autoimmune conditions are being studied from a perspective of gut health, and researchers have been successful in finding evidence that they are interconnected.

We’ve talked about inflammation caused by poor gut health, and this inflammation can alter how your immune system works, causing the body to attack itself instead of the actual harmful stuff.

things that improve your digestive health | Mindful Healing | Mississauga Naturopathic Doctor

How To Improve Your Gut Health

Improving your gut health doesn’t have to be overly complicated, but it does require some lifestyle changes.

1. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

Most importantly, start by cutting out sugars and also artificial sweeteners .

These often hide in processed foods, not just desserts or candy, so make sure you keep an eye on your food labels.

2. Breastfeed Your Baby

One of the many benefits a breastfed baby will enjoy is a solid foundation to a healthy gut biome.

Their microbiota don’t start to actually develop until after they are out of the womb, and formula has altered microbiota in it, meaning the infants develop the beneficial Bifidobacteria poorly.

From this perspective, it’s never too long to breastfeed, as well: their biome is developing continually for the first two years of their life, so any amount of breast milk will help.

Here’s why it’s great for them: breastfeeding has been linked with a reduction in allergies, obesity, and other diseases whose foundation is gut bacteria.

3. Eat A Diverse, Plant-Based Diet

It probably won’t surprise you at all to learn that animal-based diets or foods result in different intestinal bacteria than vegetarian or vegan foods.

One of the reasons so many people move to plant-based diets is because of the amazing physical results they enjoy – vegetarian diets have been proven to
benefit your gut biome, while cooked meats can actually cause disease.

Studies show that the vegetarian diet helps reduce inflammation, cholesterol and weight; it also leads to reduced levels of disease-causing bacteria.

4. Eat Prebiotic and Probiotic Foods

Prebiotics and probiotics are different things: probiotics are the live bacteria that you ingest through food, while prebiotics are the foods that you eat that are also food to beneficial gut bacteria, allowing them to thrive.

By eating these foods or taking supplements, you can improve your gut health, but if you go with supplements, be sure to do your research, because not all are as effective.

Also, folks with bacterial overgrowth should not take probiotics.

This is why it’s easiest to simply consume them: kimchi, kombucha, natto, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut or others.

5. Pay Attention To Your Lifestyle

Lifestyle is the more complicated of the changes needed for gut health, but it’s an extremely impactful one.

Even though gut health can impact sleep, it needs that very same sleep to stay in balance, so try to figure out a way to get enough rest.

Chronic stress is very hard on your gut, even though you may feel it more predominantly in another area of your body (shoulders, back, neck, head).

Lower stress by walking, meditation, social time with family, or decreasing your caffeine intake.

Contact The Mindful Healing Clinic

We acknowledge that gut health is a very complicated issue, and it’s why we’re subject matter experts in this – because so many of our clients come to us for help with it.

Call now to book your consultation with The Mindful Healing Clinic, and we’ll have a look at your lifestyle, your diet, and we’ll tailor a plan specifically around what works best for you.