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Mommy Musings: Thoughts and Opinions, PROJECT ME, Uncategorized

How I stopped counting calories and started counting chemicals

If you can't pronounce it why are you eating it?

If you can’t pronounce it why are you eating it?

You would not believe the amount of chemicals we put into our bodies every single day. Especially in so-called “diet foods” that you eat feeling better about yourself for having a 100 calories snack. Here is my shocking realization and how I decided to change my life and how you can too.

I am a smart, well-educated woman. I have always paid attention to what I eat and check the labels of the items I purchase. I have stood for hours in grocery store isles reading the fat and calorie counts on several items, as well as the sodium, protein and iron levels.

I figured that as long as I was thin that was all that mattered. Plus as long as I ate a somewhat balanced diet I would be fine. I never once actually looked at the ingredients of the foods I was buying. I didn’t care. If a food had 80 ingredients but was now half the fat that was good enough for me. And then there is my diet pop addiction. I drank on average 10+ cans of diet pop a day. In 2008 I switched to caffeine free after realizing how addicted to caffeine I was but still kept on drinking. After all, I would argue, water has no flavour! And yes, I was well aware that all that aspartame can actually become carcinogenic in the body (it can actually become formaldehyde which meant I was embalming myself alive) but I didn’t care. I have been living this way for 20 years and I am fine, why change now?

I don’t know exactly what happened or what made me decide to finally open my eyes and accept the reality of what I was doing to my body. Maybe it was y health, maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t happy any more, but something prompted me awake and you would not believe what I realized. I have literally been consuming hundreds of chemicals a day, every day. Honestly I can’t believe I am still alive!

You see, when it comes to food common sense doesn’t apply. For example take a peanut butter cookie. You can make them at home from just peanut butter, an egg and sugar. But when you buy them at the store there is a long list of chemicals added to do things like add colour, texture, make them stay fresh longer etc. There are over 40 approved chemical food additives and let’s face it, while some may not be believed to be harmful you’d better believe they aren’t good for you!

I dare you right now to go in your fridge or pantry and pick and item, and item. I bet you there is at least one ingredient on that list that you can’t pronounce. If you can’t pronounce it, why are you eating it?

As I researched more and more I realized that especially in my case, all those light and diet foods were doing nothing for me. Sure I could eat a pack of cookies for just 100 calories but other than calories they have no nutritional value whatsoever! And experts agree that while vitamins and supplements are great, the best source of nutrients comes from food itself.

My work snacks and infuser bottle.

My work snacks and infuser bottle.

So, as of last week I have made some BIG, BIG changes in my life. And I am already seeing results! I feel better, have more energy and I feel good knowing that this also benefits my family because I am helping them to eat better and setting a good example of positive eating habits.

Here are some of the changes I have made:

1. Cut back on the pop.  I think to decide to quit completely would be setting myself up for failure so instead I am cutting back.  Considering the amount I drink, to get down to 3 cans a day would be a huge improvement and maybe eventually I will cut it out all together.

2. Drink more water.  The more I drink water the more enjoyable I am finding it. I have an infuser bottle from work which is great too because I can infuse my water with lemon or orange to give it a little pep.

3. Cooking.  Everything that is processed has chemicals so the only way you can be sure they don’t is to cook it yourself.  By loading up on the veggies and making my own means I can really reduce the amount of chemicals. Also I buy organic whenever I can.

4. Eating nutrient dense foods rather than low calories foods.  Low calorie foods provide little to no nutritional value leaving you feeling hungry later on and ultimately eating more.  Eating nutritionally dense foods like whole grains, vegetables, nuts etc. takes your body longer to digest leaving you fuller for longer. Plus you get all those awesome vitamins and minerals.

5. Reading the ingredients.  Yes, grocery shopping took a long time! For example, take yoghurt which is generally considered healthy.  I spend 15 minutes trying to find one where sugar is not the second ingredient!  Not to mention a laundry list of chemicals or artificial sweeteners. 

6. Eating probiotics.  Speaking of yoghurt did you know that your gut bacteria plays an integral role in your overall health?  Poor diet, chemicals, stress, antibiotics can all harm the flora in your digestive system.  So I am helping to replace some of that with a probitoic yoghurt (and maybe at some point supplements).

7.  Bringing my lunch.  You know those fresh baked muffins from Timmies?  Well guess what?  Loaded with chemicals too!  So really the only way you can be safe and know what’s in your food is to bring your own from home.

8. Spice it up.  Skip processed condiments like ketchup and mayo that are full of added sugar and chemical and flavour your food with herbs spices.  Spices like cinnamon, turmeric, and herbs like basil and cilantro can not only make your food taste great they are full of nutrients and minerals and some even considered to be anti-oxidants.

Just reading this I can’t believe I am doing this.  But, if a stubborn girl like me can do it that means you can too and believe me it will be well worth it for both you and your family. 

If you have any tips about how to eat healthier and eliminate processed foods and chemicals from your diet please share in the comments below.



About Shannon

I am a university educated full-time working mother of four children. Proudly Canadian, I freeze my butt off along with my loving partner, two dogs and a cat. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them, but if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.


8 thoughts on “How I stopped counting calories and started counting chemicals

  1. If the food has more than 5 ingredients than it is probably bad for you. If your Grandmother wouldn’t recognize what the ingredient is, than it is definitely bad for you. Meghan

    Posted by Finding Hope's Sunshine | March 5, 2015, 7:57 am
    • Thanks! Keep in mind many spices etc are healthy so it can have several ingredients and be healthy, which is why you have to take it on a case by case basis, however that is a good general rule of thumb for sure. Thanks for commenting

      Posted by Shannon | March 5, 2015, 9:25 am
  2. I usually eat only home cooked, doing one big round of cooking once a week. Yesterday I let myself have a treat day and, oh! How Ifeel the difference! I feel hungover, but from foodlike substances instead of alcohol. It was agreat reminder why I now eat the way I do … because it feels so much better!

    Posted by Deborah the Closet Monster | March 5, 2015, 8:13 am
    • That is so true! I am shocked at how quickly the processed foods I used to love don’t even taste good anymore! I think it’s good though because seeing immediate results is helping to spur me on since its not always easy (and more expensive!) Cheers!

      Posted by Shannon | March 5, 2015, 9:28 am
  3. I’m taking a Nutrition class, and wow is general dieting/ nutrition grossly distorted in favor of consumers…The public is told that to one specific thing that usually comes with a line of products to help us accomplish weight loss.. It’s really sickening
    If I had any real solid advice.. it would be to say that your body needs to get energy from 3 sources, carbohydrates, fats, and protein.. Around 60% of your diet should be coming form Carbohydrates. Of those carbohydrates well more than half should come from complex carbs… 15-25% should be protein based. The rest should be fats and I can’t stress how important consuming healthy fats (polyunsaturated and omega-3s and omega-6) are crucial to keeping your body healthy. If you make healther options in line of these percentages AND excercise you have a better chance of losing weight and keeping it off…

    Posted by ninjasinstitches | March 5, 2015, 8:16 am
    • Thanks for the advice! I am not actually trying to lose weight though. I am 5’5 and 110lbs which is right on the edge of a healthy bmi. I am just trying to be healthier (likely I will gain weight). So far everything is good but omegas are tough because I am a vegetarian and I don’t eat anything with meat or fish, but I am going to stock up on the flax seeds LOL. Thanks so much for your comment and good luck with your class.

      Posted by Shannon | March 5, 2015, 9:32 am
  4. Hi, I just started following your blog today. I started a mindful eating exercise today. I am doing it for 5 days, basically, I wont put anything in my mouth that I cannot pronounce or doesn’t know in a farm. I love Tim’s and am honestly worried when the 3:00 PM crash sugar crash occurs. That’s when I eat whatever I feel like without a thought.

    Posted by hopingonhope | March 23, 2015, 1:21 pm
    • I have realized that eating before you are hungry really helps you ale better choices (although that concept was foreign to me). Good luck. For me it’s been almost a month and I feel better but have gained at least 6+ pounds lol

      Posted by Shannon | March 23, 2015, 5:56 pm

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