Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tips on Reading Food Labels

Can you believe it's almost September?! Where did the summer go. It really feels like I just posted about it finally being summer. And now it's almost over..makes me very sad. I can say though, I really do like fall. I think it's beautiful with all of the trees changing colors, and not to mention all of the delicious fall flavors! I am so excited to have pumpkin EVERYTHING again. And this year, I can't wait to make all of the holiday foods healthy, but good! Last year around Thanksgiving I was just beginning to bake and cook Paleo. So now that I've gotten better, I'm really looking forward to remaking things and coming up with new ideas. I also like fall because when it's colder out, it's more fun to bake because it brings warmth into the house. Baking during the summer sometimes just isn't fun, I have just wanted to spend my time outside in the heat. Not next to an oven! But I don't like fall because of the cooler temps..and it brings winter...yuck. 

A little secret...if you are all for Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Coffee, beware that their syrup they use, is actually a sauce and it contains milk. So if you're sensitive to milk, or just don't want milk in your diet. I'll save you a headache(or stomachache)
I do know Panera's Pumpkin Spice is completely safe though. No gluten or dairy there! 

I have gotten a few questions about changing to eating Paleo, and just being healthier in general. Well, it may seem like it's really tricky and hard. Hence, why people give up changing their lifestyle. It's honestly not that hard. Yes, it takes a lot of determination and willingness to change. But those are the only hard parts. If you go to the grocery store and stay in the organic sections, and fruits & veggies, just pick out things that seem good to you! If you're following a diet that is gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, etc; just check the labels on foods. 

Here are some tips to reading food label ingredients:
1. If you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't be eating it.
2. Anything that says "Natural Flavors" stay away from. If it was natural, there wouldn't be any added natural flavoring. 
3. Avoid anything that has any color dye. Even if food dye is "safe" doesn't mean it should be consumed. 
4. Check how many grams of sugar are in the product. Even all natural products can contain large amounts of sugar.
5. Always make sure the food is NON GMO verified.
6. Any meat should be free range and antibiotic free. 
7. ALWAYS buy organic fruits and vegetables. Try to buy local. Many companies will spray fruits and vegetables with chemicals that are very harmful. 
8. Don't buy any boxed meals. Period. Even if they're in the organic section.

Those are just a few tips. Once you start shopping differently, you'll get the hang of it and how you used to grocery shop will be a distant memory. I honestly can't remember what it's like going up and down all the isles in the grocery store. But now, I love going to the grocery store and finding new products that they have! Make changing your diet and lifestyle fun, not stressful. If you make it stressful, you'll just go back to eating unhealthy. I'm not perfect, I have wanted to just give up and eat whatever I wanted to, But I didn't give in. There are SO many all natural companies out there making foods that you can purchase at the store that taste great, but you aren't sacrificing anything. 

Here are some brands that I purchase often:

Enjoy Life Foods

(some products do contain dairy, so read labels!) 

Udi's Gluten Free

Rudi's Bakery

(some products do contain dairy, so read labels!)

So Delicious

Earth Balance

Go Veggie
(Cheese alternative)


These are just a very small list of the brands out there. I have tried more, But so far, these are my favorites. I added links to the pages so you can check them out :) Also, I know all of these brands are available at most grocery stores!