Let’s talk about food marketing

Let’s talk about food marketing, and how companies trick people into believing that one particular thing is more healthier than another.

In this post I am comparing two different brands of potato chips, let’s not think about the fact that it is potato chips. If you want to eat good fats and a fibre rich diet potato chips are probably not the way to go. But I just wanted you to get an idea of how it works.

I found this one at a friend’s place and I was just blown away by all the claims it has on the front. Someone would easily believe that this one would be a healthier option compared to other brands.
First of all:
Gluten free – this is a marketing strategy a lot of companies use. I went to a café the other day and a cake said ”low gluten”, what even is that? Are they thinking: it’s just one little table spoon of flour, so that makes it less gluten? It Does Not Work That Way. It’s either gluten in it, or it’s not. There’s No in-between.
Anyway. Who knew that potatoes are gluten free? Who knew that potatoes are natural?
And 90% less saturated fat than what? Are they comparing it to a specific oil? Because, for example, both sunflower oil and olive oil are predominantly monounsaturated fats. Or are they comparing it to butter?

And then I absolutely love the top left corner ”no hidden nasties” – and then we turn the bag over…

 

Most ”original” potato chips contain three ingredients – potatoes, an oil and salt. This bag only contains 60% of potatoes – and it also contains sugar! I would call that a hidden nastiness, wouldn’t you? The sugar they have probably only added to make it taste better. But other brands that you might think are ”unhealthier” than this one do not contain any sugar at all.

People often don’t know what to look for when they read food labels. So let’s break it down for you: the ingredient list always starts with the ingredient that is of the greatest amount in that particular food. For example – when I go to buy a ”healthy” bar for example, I wouldn’t normally pick one that has golden syrup, fructose or something similar as an ingredient on top of the list – it’s still a sugar. I would pick something with a nut as the first ingredient, or something like oats, which is a good base for a bar.

When looking at the nutrition information where all the information regarding the amount of energy, protein, different type of fats etc. – Look at the 100 g column, because that makes it easier to compare it to other brands. Because serving sizes may vary depending on the brand.
I don’t have a good picture of the nutrition information of this particular bag – but it contained, for example, 7.3 g of sugar per 100 g, whereas Smith’s potato chips, another big brand here in Australia, had 1.0 g of sugar per 100 g. The Sodium content of Smith’s was also lower, but not that significant. However, the Smith’s bag didn’t say how much dietary fibre it contained – the bag in the pictures above contained 4.2 g of dietary fibre – which is good. The higher the fibre content, the better.

The Smith’s chips were made out of sunflower oil and canola oil, they did have higher saturated fat content – but not that much. They did, however, also contain greater amounts of mono and polyunsaturated fats compared to the ”healthy” one, which is much better! It is important to look at the nutrition information – people are often too scared of fat. The one type of fat that people should be aware of is trans fat. The ”healthy bag” contained 0.1 g, hardly anything. But Smith’s had 0.0 g. And people should be aware of this because trans fat are associated with different health issues, such as heart disease, which is why it is recommended to keep the intake as low as possible. Trans fats are often found in chips, store bought cakes etc.
The Smith’s chips were however higher in energy. But when I eat chips, I’m just gonna eat whatever chips I want to. If a person is mainly focusing on losing weight, the chips would probably not be included in their diet anyway.

I’m not saying that you should go and get a bag of chips now just because one is is better than the other one, I just wanted to show you how food marketing works. By just looking at the front of the bag isn’t enough to keep you informed about what is actually in the bag. Turn it over and look at the ingredients, how many ingredients does it contain? What does it contain?

I hope this helped you a little bit, and if you’ve got any questions just let me know!

 

Is it professional antibiotics?

That’s what I thought the first time I heard it.
Probiotics – which are ass-kicking, gut healing bacteria, without all the side effects of antibiotics.

We all pretty much know that the body is SO complex, or I was hoping that we all knew that…
Until I got a question the other day ”what is the healthiest thing you can eat?”
Do you expect there to be just ONE thing that would be the healthiest thing to eat? What would it be? Please, tell me! Or are you basically just looking for a quick fix when you’re standing there with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other?
Friends, it’s all connected. You can’t just do One thing for your health and you are going to be ”healthier than you’ve ever been”, it’s a work in progress, okay?
And you are doing a great job.

So lets talk about an important part for our health – our gut.

There is sooo much talk lately about microbiome, probiotice, prebiotics, and on the list goes. I thought I’d just break it down for you to make it easier for you to understand.
We all have bacteria in our gut, to help us function in a way we otherwise wouldn’t be able to.  But we also put our bodies through a lot of stress that causes inflammation, poor digestion and poor absorption. – Which we obviously want to prevent, but sometimes life gets in between – illness, antibiotics, environment – diet plays a big part in how our gut is doing, especially changes in our diet – (I’m definitely looking at you, you all ”jumping from one diet to the next”-people. That is definitely putting a lot of stress on your body).

By eating probiotics you are providing your body with the healthy bacteria which will (surprise!) improve digestion and nutrient absorption, and improve your overall health.
A classic definition of probiotics is ”live microorganisms which, when administered in Adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host.”

So where do you find the probiotics? Well, you can find them in supplements, and you might also have heard any of these fancy terms going around lately: sauerkraut, kim chi, kombucha, kefir. (#guthealth) And if you’re not feeling all that fancy and want to try something easier (not so unfamiliar), you could just go with yogurt.
These are basically fermented products that contains live microorganisms that improves health.

But to feed these probiotics, to support their growth, you also need prebiotics – ”a non-digestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon and thus improves health”. Banans, asparagus, leek, garlic, oats, legumes – just to mention a few.

 

So basically, if you want to support your gut you don’t NEED to spend heaps of money on supplements, or fancy foods that you don’t like. You can simply eat some yogurt (preferably with no added sugar), with some banana. Great way to start your day!
But remember, even if #guthealth is a big thing right now, that you can have too much of everything. Don’t go and buy all the fermented products I just mentioned because you really, really, really want to improve your health. My advice to you if you think, or you know you, you really need to improve your gut health – go see a naturopath. They will run tests, they will help you figure out what is wrong with you, as an individual. We are all individuals with our own gut, just because one thing worked for your friend doesn’t mean it’s the same thing that is causing you to feel bloated, sluggish, or just very fatigue.
Look after yourself and your health, because it is important <3

 

 

Variety, baby

Long live the smoothie bowl. It’s pretty, it’s yummy. But I am just getting so tired of all the hype around it, aren’t you?

If I see one more perfect smoothie bowl I’m gonna suffocate myself on the peanut butter I have stashed in my cupboard (there are worse ways to die).
No, I want to see some other dishes, something inspiring (but still easy to make).  Sure, your bowls look pretty and they probably taste amazing. Anyone can make them which is great, maybe not make it look as pretty as yours (obviously, because you’ve had a great amount of practice with all the failed smoothie bowls you managed to make before you took that perfect shot), but a smoothie bowl is not that impressive.

It is easy to make, I give you credit for that – because easy-making nourishing food is what I’m all about.
I am not saying I am a great cook, and that is why I am asking for inspiration. And I most definitely do not have the artistic smoothie bowl skills that you have.
But what about variety? Do you eat anything else?

Today I made lasagna.
I used to hate lasagna, every time we got it in school I would pull a face (you know the face) and it probably took me a decent amount of time to finish the plate.
But lasagna does not have to be in a certain way.
What do you think of lasagna?
It’s yummy?
It’s too ”unhealthy” because of the cheese?
There is too much carbs in it?

I decided to make it my own way, and so can you.

First of all, all home cooked food is better than fast food any day.
It’s made with love, you took the time to make food that nourish your body. 
There is cheese, and who doesn’t love cheese? (which you do not have to use if you do not want to)
In my lasagna I used:
Tomato sauce made by frying garlic, onion and tomatoes together, adding sour cream and whatever spices you want. I used basil, + salt and peppar.
Chickpeas
Capsicum (peppers)
Eggplant
Lasagna sheets
Cheese

I’ve modified the ”traditional” lasagna, and even if you were to make a traditional lasagna that is awesome. Because you made it yourself, and as I was saying – that beats fast food any day. And store-bought food – because they have a tendency to add heaps of things that doesn’t necessary have to be in there.
The thing is if you modify it slightly you might get away with ”hiding” certain foods from yourself.
I used to hate capsicum, now I love it warm (still working on the cold part).
I used to hate eggplant, now I use it in my lasagna because I can sometimes crave it.
Isn’t it funny?
And it contains sooo many things that are good for you – vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates and protein. Your body needs it, everyday.

You can also make it with a kick-ass salad on the side.
I made mine on kale, fried in a little bit of olive oil, green beans, red cabbage and some pepitas.

Good luck creating!

The problem is when we become afraid of food

Do you ever get overwhelmed with all the nutrition information out there?
Yes, me too.
And I am a soon to be graduating nutritionist. In less than a month, I just want to add that. (yaay!).

But it is just so confusing, am I right?
Low carb, high fat. Ketogenic diet. Don’t eat this, do eat that. One day it is different information compared to the day before.

I was listening to this very great podcast the other day and then the lady that was being interviewed started giving nutritional advice. She has no nutritional background what so ever. She is an author regarding something completely different..
And she has sooo many followers. And they are of course going to believe everything she says as they look up to her.
I am not going to go into what she was speaking about – but it is just frustrating how someone with so many people admiring them gives advice on what they should eat. Because it works for her.

I would never tell anyone ”this is how you Should workout, because that is what I am doing at the gym. And clearly this works, look at my boobs”, kind off. But at the end, I have to freaking idea why You are going to the gym. I am not a personal trainer. I have other people in my life to help me with that.
It’s like saying: everyone should paint their walls pink because it makes me feel so much more energetic in the morning. So you feel very tired in the morning, but do You even like pink?

Look at this picture:

Yummy, right?
Some of you are going to think: Oh, she is so healthy that Penny (she’s a freaking beast).
Some of you are going to think: That is just too much sugar.
Some people: You should just quit as much carbohydrates as possible, because they are not good for you.
Another one: Oh, I wish I could eat like that. I have this problem (whatever it is), and my body would not react very well after eating that.

And these are legit thoughts that are going through my reader’s minds right now, because We Are All Different.

When I mentioned sugar what was your thought? 
Yes, fruit contains fructose, which is a sugar (carbohydrate). And just like refined sugar – It contains the same amount of energy per gram.
Just because I say this you might think: Am I going to become fat if I eat too much fruit?
No.
The difference is that refined sugar has no nutritional value what so ever. It does not give you any of that goodness that makes your body thrive and heal. (Maybe not heal a heartbreak, but that’s a completely different story).
However, I am not going to tell you not to eat refined sugar. The problem is when the intake of refined sugar becomes too high and it starts to contribute a lot to your daily intake.
Because it does not contain any of the amazing components that fruit contains – Fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Fruit also contains a lot of water.

However, too much of anything may be bad for you – but seriously, how much fruit can you eat before your lips become all sour and they hurt?

But when someone tells me we should cut out all carbs and pretty much all fruit – ”Because My body will feel so much better, just because Their body feels better” – I am like; WTF?!

Are you with me?

The problem is when we become afraid of food, sugars especially, because a lot of us are. Because it is made out to be the only enemy that is contributing to overweight and obesity.

But it is all about balance and moderation.

What you put into your body have to be used up as energy otherwise you will gain weight.
I went to the gym today, so I can have that chocolate bar. But it doesn’t matter. I should not beat myself up over it if I decide to eat that bar tomorrow instead when I don’t go to the gym.
Or I can choose on that gym-day to eat a lot more carbohydrates (veggies, rice, potato), or protein (contains the same amount of energy as carbs) – because they are nutrient dense, feeding your body with nutrients.

Take home messages:
– Look where you get your nutrition information from. Do you know how many celebrities that have written books about nutrition and that they actually are actresses?
– Everyone is different.
– If you don’t have someone to turn to with your questions – I am happy to help. I do not know everything, but I can always look into it for you.

Creating healthy habits – Part 2

I know a lot of you reading this know how to eat healthy, but a lot of people don’t.
Take my dad for example. I was talking about how expensive avocados are in Australia and he said ”What is an avocado? Is that the brown/green thing with the big seed in the middle.”
I thought it was funny that he barely knew what an avocado is, but I can bet you that he is not the only one.
My dad eats cucumber and tomatoes, at his best. And that was what I was brought up with.

I’m studying nutrition and I find it really hard to eat enough fruit and veggies everyday for example, cause I don’t know how/when to eat them. I just end up snacking on carrots throughout the day, not lot of variety if I may say so myself.

Some people probably know that they should eat healthier, but they don’t. Why is that? Are we afraid of trying something new? Are we too lazy to actually make an effort to make healthier food? And to be honest, some people actually seem scared of a nice looking salad instead of fries.

So today I want to talk about fruit and veggies.
Both fruit and veggies are fantastic sources of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, which is needed for an optimal health. The Australian Dietary guidelines suggests that you should eat 2 to 5 – at least 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of veggies everyday. This increases the chance of maintaining a healthy weight and may decreases the risk for chronic disease, such as cancer.
It is also important to eat a Variety of this goodness to get all vitamins and minerals that the body needs. So no, snacking on a bag of carrots everyday is just gonna turn me orange.
Some studies also show that eating vegetables and fruit with your meals increases your satiety, especially if they are high in dietary fibre.

I just want to say to you: – Just the smallest step towards a healthier lifestyle is enough, and it is also important – for you current and future health.
Maybe start by adding spinach to your lunch and dinner, as this contains iron and magnesium. And it is easy to eat, at least for me.
Or why not make a fresh salad with spinach, tomatoes, kidney beans and some melon. – This is something I like, mixing fruit into my salads. Also add some pumpkin seeds to give your salad some crunch and additional protein.
It might not be a lot of an add/change, but remember – a small step to your healthier life. Also, creating a healthy sustainable lifestyle will in the long run promote a better well-being.

For more information click on this link:
Eat for health

And for my Swedish followers:
Livsmedelsverket