Beware: Tips on reading labels and ingredients

What is healthy for my body? Who should I trust with my health? Do I know what digests cleanly through my system? Do I have any allergies or sensitivities that I am unaware of? How can I decipher between naturally-nourishing and no-nutrient foods? These are important inquiries to address when looking to improve your health. Yet how should we go about finding the answers? Being proactive kids, we knew we had to get down to the nitty gritty on these nutrition questions. This set us on a path to creating our own nutrient dense workshops, wee (and free) eGuide, and even specialty foods to sell.

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We’ve been creating nutrient dense Happy Dough (clean, easily digestible energy bites to fuel your sport, travel & proactive lifestyle) concoctions. After sharing the dough with family, friends and trusted community influencers and receiving positive feedback, we feel it is time to introduce these tasty and hearty treats to YOU! 

We want top quality food products that the human body recognizes, absorbs, and digests. Simply put – we create food that is organic, non-GMO, plant-based, unrefined, dairy/gluten/soy free, and free of common allergens (minus tree nuts and peanuts because we can’t deny the health benefits and taste of them!).

Organic-vs-Natural03

Want to avoid being sick, feeling fatigued, achy in your joints or craving sugar and other stimulants like coffee to get energy? It’s a safe bet to stay away from chemicals, additives, processed “void of nutrients” junk (sugar being the main culprit), most forms of dairy, and genetically modified organisms (e.g. soy, corn, etc.) that are in a majority of grocery stores and restaurants. Stay natural, whole, fresh, clean, local, raw (if possible) and real. This is the short of it.

A good place to start is asking yourself: How many whole foods do I eat compared to denatured (i.e. processed) foods throughout the day? For example, a whole food would be an entire apple. A denatured version of that would be the apple juice you buy at the store. Whatever the percentage may be, can you add one whole food item into your day? We like to think of the positives. Don’t freak about cutting foods out. Simply add a whole food item (e.g. vegetable, pseudograin, legume, fruit), which will increase your daily nutrients. The more nutrients you consume (and absorb), the less you’ll crave the “other stuff”.

Below is a list of some common ingredients we have found in various energy, protein, “healthy” balls or snacks during our research along with general information on what we term (un)healthy. While these balls & snacks aren’t close in mass production to their counterpart of the protein / energy bar industry, there’s a common theme of unnatural, less nutrient and highly (chemically) processed crap put in products. It is rather disturbing (understatement). When someone tells you an energy bar is healthy and it’s great for athletes – shouldn’t it, in fact, be healthy and free of chemicals? Doh!

This is our condensed and to-the-point list of not-so-awesome items you might find in today’s energy bars, powders, and supplements:

  • Natural flavors – just as Carl’s Jr. and Burger King advertise their burgers as “All-Natural”, when you see “Natural flavors” on the ingredients list, be suspicious. The US, unfortunately, allows the labeling of Natural flavors, which can still be artificial and modified. (refer to USDA chart above)
  • Whey Protein isolate & concentrate – a big hit within the protein market and sports community, Whey is an animal by-product. It goes through a chemically, heated process to breakdown the protein, thus losing a majority of nutrients along the way. Is this a natural 8-15 grams of protein per serving? Does your body recognize and digest this easily? Don’t think so.
  • Soy Protein isolate & concentrate – similar to Whey. 90% of soy is GMO, the most of any food in the US. Yikes.
  • Any Corn Syrup, Canola Oil, and many other oils – highly processed and GMO. Organic is better, but check with a trusted google search / site. Corn products are in abundance with all types of foods, preservatives, oils, etc. Corn is highly modified and denatured these days. 
  • (Nonfat) Milk powder – processed with chemicals and heat. Long shelf life and cheap to process. Doesn’t seem natural at all…maybe hold off until the zombie apocalypse.

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  • Ingredients label – as you read each product’s label, make sure you recognize each ingredient. Does it sound real? For example, Organic Almonds vs Fructooligosaccharides. Hmm, which one would you choose? Why risk putting something in your body you can’t pronounce or know its origin? 
  • Go for the least amount of ingredients. This is typically a great rule of thumb. But again, if you recognize the ingredients, you’re on the right track.
  • GMO or genetically modified organism – there is still a big debate on the processing of GMO foods. We have not seen any unbiased studies out there to sway for or against the GMO industry. Safe bet – stay away, simply because we don’t have the facts to prove (or disprove). One major fact, GMO foods are NOT natural. 

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  • Most animals in the US are raised in insanely tight living quarters, injected with hormones, anti-biotics and eat GMO food. Look for grass-fed, humanely-raised, organic meat when purchasing. Meat (and poultry for that matter) ain’t the same as it was years ago…
  • Sensitivities…you don’t know, until you know. Two great options to check if you’re sensitive to certain foods or allergens. One option is to get a (blood) test or Nutritional Muscle Activation Technique done with a doctor qualified and experienced in either area. Secondly (something we can speak from experience) is to take a specific food completely out of your daily diet (e.g. dairy, gluten, meat, etc) for at least 2 weeks. Re-introduce this particular food back into your diet and see if you have any stomach, head or body reactions. Be on the lookout for bloating, cramping, headaches, foggy-head sensations, even skin rashes. You might be amazed at how you react to a food that you’ve been eating your entire life!
  • Don’t believe everything you read or hear. Look into it yourself, experience it for yourself…then see what’s best for you.

Do you think chemicals, genetically modified, isolated, pesticides, processed, refined, denatured “things” are what your body craves? Hmmmm. KEEP IT REAL, my friends. As with our Happy Dough ingredients, look for these labels:

usda-organic-label-in-black-537x442Certified-Gluten_Free-Logo300 non-gmo-product-certified
icon-soy-free icon-non-gmo icon-free-dairy

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