* This is part of a year-long series called “52 Weeks to Eating better than Ever”. Click on the side bar for more information and to read the previous essays.
I hesitate to write this, because I don’t want to seem like I’m elevating this list of “bad” foods to the level of a moral decision. Eating may have somewhat of a moral dimension, when it comes to gluttony, or the treatment of animals, but the idea that certain foods are “evil” is ridiculous. That aside though, it can be of great use to have a list of foods to generally stay away from.
Why these foods made the list:
- Common to the American Diet
- Little or No Redeeming Quality
- Cause Health Damage if Eaten in Excess
Disclaimer: I enjoy most all foods from time to time, but try to limit them (with varying degrees of success) to rare occasions.
- Pizza– high in calories, carbs, fat, and sodium, with often very few vegetables. If you are stuck with it, eat plenty of vegetables, or salad, and drink lots of water. Avoid the processed meats and order extra sauce.
- Anything with Trans fats– Believe it or not, these things are still out there on the store shelves. Look at processed foods before you buy them and avoid Trans fats, because they destroy arteries and spike inflammation.
- French Fries or Tator Tots– If you were going to create the perfectly unhealthy food, this would be it. High in reused oil fat, high fat overall, high in high-glycemic carbs, and high in sodium. Avoid at all costs.
- Chips– The only thing that makes chips better than fries is that they normally don’t have quite as many calories, but they are almost equally as bad for you.
- Soda– No, I don’t believe in a soda tax. I do believe however, that soda has no redeeming nutritional quality, and even worse it is very addictive. Choose the diet soda, and better yet, break the addiction by choosing club soda, tea, or coffee.
- Mainstream Fast Food– Ok, ok, so I know that this isn’t a food. But I included it just to get you to stay away from it. So many bad choices, and so few good ones.
- Sugary Starbucks – like Coffee Drinks– High in calories, low in nutrients, and high in addictive caffeine, and expensive. One question- Why? I know they taste good, but so does ice water with lemon or cucumber or a sparkling club soda, or plain coffee with cocoa.
- Sweet cereals– Too much sugar, too many empty carbs, too many empty calories.
- Pastries, cakes, and cookies-See #8 above.
- Fried Pastry or Bread– Imagine taking something inherently unhealthy, like white bread or white flour, and frying it to make it even less healthy. This is what you get with things like beignets, certain pastries, and hushpuppies.
It’s not that you can never choose these listed foods, but do so on a rare occasion. Because they have no redeeming quality, other than the indulgence factor.
And plus, once you start to eat healthy, you will start to crave healthy foods:
- Watermelon will taste better than cookies.
- A lean steak with broccoli will taste better than Burger King, much better.
- Celery with hummus will taste better than chips and dip.
- And a salad with olive oil and sunflower seeds will taste even better than french fries, believe it or not.
That’s the bottom line:
When you eat, eat to enjoy, be healthy, and then…
enjoy being healthy!