Back to the Basics

Every morning, I have the same routine.  Hit the gym, sweat it out like a madwoman, stretch, and then scan my email while I wait for my coffee to brew under the gym’s espresso machine. That yummy little coffee is a tiny moment of zen for me and I find myself craving the routine of it more than the actual coffee itself (although my caffeine withdrawal headaches would say otherwise).

While indulging in this little ritual, I’ve noticed how many people at the gym use the substitute creamer when there is perfectly good half-and-half right there.  Not only is this stuff faker than a winter tan, it tastes awful! Then I wondered, do people think they’re actually doing themselves a favor by choosing this man-made concoction of sugar and hydrogenated oils over the fatness of half-and-half?

Sure, one teaspoon has only 10 calories but look at that ingredients list! Granted, a few of the items are fairly natural but with corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil as the top two ingredients, I reckon that choosing this over real cream is a dumb move.

…soybean oil depresses the thyroid–which lowers your energy levels, makes you feel less like exercising, and generally makes you fatter!

Excerpt from “What’s Wrong With Partially Hydrogenated Oils?

So not only are they loading up on sugar that’s going to have them crash later but they’re also ingesting trans fats! My two creamers might cost me 39 calories but at least it’s real!

Take a stroll through your average grocery store and you’ll find more man-made “foods” than ever before. Clearly, this dramatic shift in manufacturing food rather than naturally growing it is not working for us.  On average, we’re fat, unhealthy, and killing ourselves slowly through diseases we invited to the party. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, organ failures, and even some cancers are being attributed to our poor nutrition.

In the book In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan breaks down the demise of food over the last few generations:

What is driving such relentless change in the American diet? One force is a thirty-two-billion-dollar food-marketing machine that thrives on change for its own sake. Another is the constantly shifting ground of nutrition science that, depending on your point of view, is steadily advancing the frontiers of our knowledge about diet and health or is just changing its mind a lot because it is a flawed science that knows much less than it cares to admit.

…All of our uncertainties about nutrition should not obscure the plain fact that the chronic diseases that now kill most of us can be traced directly to the industrialization of our food: the rise of highly processed foods and refined grains; the use of chemicals to raise plants and animals in huge monocultures; the superabundance of cheap calories of sugar and fat produced by modern agriculture; and the narrowing of the biological diversity of the human diet to a tiny handful of staple crops, notably wheat, corn, and soy. These changes have given us the Western diet that we take for granted: lots of processed foods and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of everything — except vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

How have we become so desensitized to our bodies that we feed our kids chicken nuggets and think we’re just having a “treat”?  The only “treat” is that your little buddy’s insides just went ape-crazy trying to digest the toxic cocktail without shutting down their liver completely.  The truth is, a “treat” should make our body feel better, not worse. Or else it really wasn’t much of a “treat”, after all.

Even coming from a very healthy upbringing, I still didn’t escape the idea that “everything in moderation” was okay.  That might be true for most things but unfortunately, our idea of “moderation” is far from anything moderate.  And I think it goes without saying that drinking antifreeze, “in moderation”, is a stupid idea.  So why do we feed ourselves (and our families) toxic cocktails of preservatives and flavor enhancers?

I remember a line from Food Inc., where Director Robert Kenner said “every time you eat, you vote”.  And how true.  Every time an item crosses the cashier’s hands and into your bags, you have voted your approval of that company and their product.  Consumer habits alone will not change the food industry (since our governments widely subsidize crop production and that’s a whole other beast) but it sure makes a large dent in the problem.

So let’s read labels. Let’s shop local. Let’s buy organic. You think you can’t afford that? You’d be surprised at how much money you spend on processed or convenience foods.  Just changing that habit alone will boost your grocery budget while simultaneously trimming your waistline!

And for the love of all that is pure and holy, stay away from the freakin’ creamer substitute!

9 thoughts on “Back to the Basics

  1. Carrie says:

    Really great point and a wonderful reminder that real fat is not nearly as bad for you, in moderation, as processed crap fat.

  2. Heather Bauer says:

    Love this post Natasha! Very pleased to see a fellow Mom thinking these things through. Ignorance and convenience may just be the primary enemies of North American hunam species today.

    I’ll be referencing your post in my next one 🙂

  3. Kristi says:


    If you feel you are unable to afford a healthy diet you can bet that you cannot afford the health costs incurred from an an unhealthy diet.

    Turn healthy eating into a “need” and slash some of the “wants” in your life.

  4. Erin says:

    Oh Tasha, love it. Does this mean I have to permanently give up my chip binges which have included Doritos Cool Ranch of late? Why can’t the make a real healthy version of them? That would be my idea world. Oh, I probably should print such blasphemy on here should I 😉 xo

    • Natasha says:

      Oh dude!! Not Doritos!!!

      Here is the ingredients list:

      Corn, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: corn, soybean, or sunflower oil), buttermilk solids, salt, tomato powder, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, corn syrup solids, corn starch, whey, onion powder, garlic powder, monosodium glutamate (MSG), cheddar cheese (cultured milk, salt, enzymes), nonfat milk solids, sugar, dextrose, malic acid, sodium caseinate, sodium acetate, artificial color (including red 40, blue 1, yellow 5), spice, natural and artificial flavor, sodium citrate, disodium insinate, and disodium guanylate.

      First off, most of the main ingredients are definitely GENETICALLY MODIFIED. Bad news!! Secondly, it’s FULL of trans fats (hydrogenated oils) which is quite literally toxifying your body. These have soybean oil — look what I just wrote about soybean oil above!!

      And MSG!! REALLY?! I mean, is there any reason you SHOULD eat this crap?!

      Nevermind the fact that 12 chips have 140 calories. Think about how long it takes to burn 140 calories — at least 15 minutes of running. Now tell me that you have 12 chips at a time! AS IF! Those things are addictive (thanks to the sugars and chemicals) — I know I wouldn’t have just eaten 12! So is it really worth it?

      3500 calories = 1 pound of fat
      300 Cool Ranch Doritos (2 large bags) = 3500 calories

      So if you go through a few bags a week, you’ve just added one pound of fat to your body. If you’re not eating enough other calories to make it add fat, than you’re losing out on LOSING a pound of fat by eating that nutritionally deficient garbage.

      Okay! Done rant! 😉

  5. Erin says:

    hmmm, ok ok. That was a more powerful rant than Graham nagging me and saying that they stick like donkey’s ass. And if it’s any comfort it’s more like once a month that I indulge but, you have significantly reduced their appeal. I’ll have to print off your rant and read it every time I feel the urge. That should do it. Thanks Tash.

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