This year, so many people are considering ways to get healthy, but in the midst of good intentions, it’s important to remember certain health schemes not to fall for. Many “quick fix” approaches to getting healthy or “miracle routes” to new found health are nothing more than marketing tactics. Also, it’s important to remember that what works for one person might not work for you, and vice versa. Health schemes not to fall for are pretty easy to spot once you see what they are. Most promise a lot, but deliver very little. Find out what they are and what to do instead this year, to be your healthiest self.
1. The “Miracle” Supplement
One of the most important health schemes not to fall for is that “miracle” supplement you hear on a television show or see in a magazine. Any single supplement you hear about that promises you the perfect route to health is nothing more than a scam. No matter who endorses it, remember, the marketing company is simply looking forward to making money from you, not getting you healthy. Besides, no single supplement can undo an unhealthy diet or lack of exercise. Also, don’t fall for those “sprinkle” products you put on your foods to make you lose weight. Really, now, do you know what is actually in those? Food additives, salt and artificial sweeteners. I don’t know about you, but that’s not healthy if you ask me! It’s much better to take a multivitamin and eat plenty of healthy sources of protein, healthy fats and low starch vegetables. Some women also need Vitamin D, calcium and magnesium for bone, digestive and nerve health. Don’t take any supplement to lose weight. It’s not smart, and it’s not practical, and mostly, it’s a waste of money.
2. A Juice Cleanse
Another health trend right now that is as popular as ever is juice cleansing. Juicing is not a bad thing, but it should not be seen as the holy grail to getting healthy. Juicing is a great way to provide the body with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but be aware of what else you’re consuming as well. Because there are no fibers in juice, or very little, you’re consuming a large amount of sugar, natural or not, which affects the bloodstream immediately. Juicing greens and herbs is much better for your glycemic index than juicing fruits, but both can mess with your blood sugar levels without eating. If you decide to juice, do so for the extra nutrition, and have it 30 minutes before a meal, not in place of it. No matter what anyone says, juice cleansing can lead to serious blood sugar issues, and once you start eating, you gain weight right back.
3. Grain-based Diets
Many diets, such as macrobiotic diets, promote eating a large amount of grains in the diet. While grains are not the devil, they can cause issues for many people, and contribute to digestive issues, weight gain and blood sugar issues. Personally, I love oatmeal, after recently adding it to my routine, but only eat it once a day. Most people do much better with a single serving of grains, or a couple small servings a day, instead of basing their meals off of them. While grains have a large amount of benefits, they’re also high in carbohydrates, which can cause excess weight gain, and indigestion, gas or bloating.
4. Salt-free Diets
If you’re looking to get healthy, I definitely suggest cutting all added sodium from your diet. Put down that salt shaker! Yet, don’t fear sodium in natural foods, or even mostly unprocessed foods like plain Greek yogurt, unsweetened almond milk and even veggies like celery, which are high in sodium. You should not aim for salt-free, but instead, less added sodium through the salt shaker. This will help you maintain a healthy metabolism and control your blood pressure. Without salt in the body, your metabolism can take a huge hit and you can become deficient in minerals, including sodium. Your body needs sodium to function well, but it just doesn’t need an overabundance. Most people get just what they need through eating a clean, mostly unprocessed diet. Don’t fear salt because it isn’t all bad; it’s all in how you consume it.
5. The Raw Food Diet
I’m all for raw food, but what I’m not all for are raw food diets. Most raw food diets emphasize a large amount of nut and dried-fruit based recipes. While a fruit and nut bar occasionally is not going to hurt you, a large amount of dates, nuts and seeds in your diet will cause weight gain, digestive issues and it isn’t the right route to getting healthy or slim, for sure. Instead, focus on eating mostly vegetables and leafy greens, and if they happen to be raw, great! Stick to low sugar raw fruits like berries, cucumbers and tomatoes, and be sure to eat lean protein. Just because a cup of cashews is raw doesn’t mean it will make you healthy or thin. Use common sense when it comes to food, not “holy grail” type diets such as raw food diets.
6. 3 Meals a Day Diet
Another health scheme not to fall for is anything that says you shouldn’t snack. Eating three meals a day works for some people, but you shouldn’t neglect your hunger levels just to do so. In fact, not snacking on something healthy when you’re hungry is one of the worst things you can do for your metabolism and your blood sugar. If you’re truly not hungry in between meals, that’s one thing, but starving yourself in between meals isn’t the answer. If you do snack, choose something healthy that’s low glycemic, has a little protein and includes at least one piece of produce in it. This will tide you over, and keep you from starving or reaching for the cookies!
7. Fat is Bad
Any health scheme that says you should avoid fat is just plain wrong. While choosing small portions of fat is not a bad thing, completely avoiding it is. In fact, avoiding fat can not only slow your metabolism, but also contribute to depression. You should be sure to choose healthy fats, such as raw nuts and seeds that are unsalted, as well as avocados, plant-oils that are cold pressed, dark chocolate that’s low in sugar and also raw coconut foods. All of these fats will help your body burn fat and keep your metabolism in high gear. Do be sure to eat smaller servings throughout the day instead of mega-dosing in one meal. This will be easier on your digestive system if you’re not used to fat, and ensure proper portion control.
8. Calorie Counting
I’m sorry, but I despise calorie counting. I know many people swear by it, but in my opinion, it’s no way to live. It also isn’t accurate. Eating 300 calories of processed food is much different than eating 300 calories of real, fresh food. Your body can actually use real food for energy, but the fake stuff does nothing for you. Just because it keeps your diet in calorie check doesn’t mean it’s good for your health. Besides, doing math before a delicious meal sure doesn’t sound like an exciting life to me! You don’t have to worry about counting when you choose quality at each of your meals, so put away the calculator in your mind already!
Lastly, don’t go carb-free as a way to lose weight quick. I do think it is important to cut out all high glycemic foods, even natural ones like dried fruit, if you’re looking to drop weight and manage your blood sugar. Yet, don’t get rid of healthy foods like oats, quinoa, butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and nuts and seeds because they have carbs. You should never count the carbs in green veggies either. Instead, choose low-glycemic and no sugar added. That’s the key to losing weight, staying healthy and managing your blood sugar.
Now, I’d like to hear from you. Do you have any health scheme out there that just irritates you?