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Label Reading for Numpties.

This shit is hard as fuck and food companies are allowed to get away with all sorts of fuckery to trick you, so don’t feel stupid here. Just chill for a sec and check it. We got you.

To quote the great Bobby Digital,

“Lot of people, youknowhatI’msayin, they be gettin misinformed
thinkin everything is everything, that you could just get yourself
a little deal, whatever, youknowhatI’msayin you gonna get on you
gonna get rich. And all these labels be trying to lure us in like
spiders, into the web, knowhatI’msaying. So sometimes people gotta
come out and speak up, and let people understand, that you know you
gotta read the label, you gotta read the label. If you don’t read the label you might get poisoned…”

The RZA is right, you guys. The keys to nutrition is all right there, conveniently placed on label. Seems legit, right? Sounds easy enough, right?

Right?

Naw, son.

You gotta really look at the content, but also the serving size labeled. Labels, by law have to list the nutrition facts, but can get away with sneakily saying a serving size is actually half of what is listed.

But wait, there’s more. Food companies will also title things to make them seem healthy but they really aren’t. “Light”, “Gluten Free”, “Smart” are a couple you might see. Other companies will straight up name their brand to sound healthy with words like “Nature…”, and “Active…”. Be wary, they’re trying to dupe you. Here’s a few hoodwinks you might see.

Light

This usually refers to lower fat, but have sneakily added refined sugar. Not all fat is bad, in fact some unsaturated fat is super helpful in our diets.

Gluten Free 

This is all the rage right now, but most of it’s bullshit. Quite often sugar is added to these products to make up for the missing flavour of the glutens.

Smart

This is usually heavily processed. It comes from Semolina flour (refined white wheat). Usually the wheat germ is removed, removing all the fibre and nutrition from the grain leaving just the starch. Then it is fortified (fibre, vitamins, minerals and inulin added back in). This shit breaks down super easy, has some nutrition added back in, but is still processed to shit.

All Natural

This is common. ‘Naturally smoked’, ‘Natural flavours,’ etc. What a crock of shit. Sure, that lunch meat could have been smoked with real wood, but the pig/turkey/cow it came from was also kept in a feed lot its whole life, over eating soy, corn, and food wastes. Then it’s washed in ammonia to kill all of the infections it got from living in squalor, and is injected with sodium nitrites for the curing process. Natural my eye. Other Natural ‘flavours’ might include High Fructose Corn Syrup, under the argument that corn is ‘natural’. I assure you, corn as we know it today is anything but. It could even be on juice, which, let’s be honest, is the same as pop. Whether it’s Fructose, Lactose, Maple Syrup, Honey, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Raw Cane Sugar, it’ all breaks down to the same molecule; sugar. If you want ‘All Natural’ flavour, get your ass to the produce section.

Multigrain 

Don’t get this confused with Whole Grain, because it’s not. This is fucking white bread posing as healthy, but I assure you it’s a hustle. Sure it looks all grainy and brown and stuff; because it’s unbleached or dyed. Here’s the difference;

Multigrain – means more than one type of grain was used in the making of this product. Why is this bad? It’s mostly made with refined flour, meaning the germ, bran & endosperm (fibre, vitamins, minerals) have been removed. It’s still easily broken down into sugars by your body with little to no nutrients.

Whole Grain – means the grains used were whole, as in not stripped of their Germ, Endosperm and Bran. Why is this good? Because all the fibre and nutrients are there. Your body is going to have to work to break this down, meaning a slower release of insulin in your blood stream. Less spike and crash. You’re gonna get essential vitamins and minerals.

 

Putting it all together 

  • Stick with Whole and Ancient Grains (Spelt, Millet, Barley, Oat, Farro and Quinoa).
  • Watch out for hydrogenated oils, High Fructose Corn Syrup, MSG, Sodium Nitrites and high sugar levels.
  • When you look at a label, check out the Carbs section. This breaks into two sections. The fibre (which your body won’t absorb) and the sugars (which your body will absorb). Take the total carbohydrates on the label, subtract the fibre, and you’re left with the usable carbohydrates. Go for high fibre products. Your body will have a harder time breaking down those carbs, creating a slower release of insulin as you digest. Less fibre, means your body will break it down like it’s nothing and will store that shit like an episode of Hoarders.
  • Look for words like ‘unsaturated’ or ‘polyunsaturated’ fat, and stay away from words like ‘trans’ and ‘saturated’ fat.

Better yet, focus on buying foods that have no labels; whole foods, like meat and vegetables.

 

Be Healthy,

Chris.

Outside The Aisles

They say “Abs start in the kitchen”. Fuck Abs. Nutrition starts in the grocery store.

When you walk into the grocery store, what’s in the middle? Aisles. Aisles upon aisles of deliciousness. It just so happens that most of that shit is processed garbage that’s full of refined sugar, and trans fats, and if it isn’t, your body will turn all that deliciousness into sugar and eventually fat anyway, so same fuckin’ thing.

It just so happens, all the “good for you” shit, for whatever reason, is universally placed around the perimeter of every fucking grocery store in the god damned world.

It also just so happens, that’s mostly all you fuckin’ need. Veggies, meats, maybe the dairy section for yogurt, and the bulk foods nuts.

That’s not to say everything in the middle aisles is garbage. You just gotta tread lightly.

The Frozen section.

Full of 5 dollar pizzas and ice creams… let me tell you something about those god damed fucking pizzas. I love pizza. I have a pizza tattooed on my body. It’s a couples tattoo my wife and I got together to profess our love to one another. Pizza LITERALLY signifies love for me. Flash back to when I was a broke ass student and those 5 dollar pizzas were the backbone of my diet. I went from being 190 lbs and healthy to 240 lbs diagnosed with G.E.R.D from eating that processed fucking garbSHIT. Every time you eat one, you remember, “oh yeah, this is rubbery shit and I hate it, now I hate myself, and now my tummy hurts”. Fuck a 5 dollar pizza.

Back to the frozen section.

Blueberries. You need that shit in your life. And peas – In case you hurt yourself. Actually, frozen veggies are fucking awesome. It’s even debatable that they’re more nutritious than the fresh shit. WUUUUUAAAAAAATTTT??? Yea, think about it. These veggies are picked and frozen in the height of their harvest. They don’t even have a chance for the nutrients to deteriorate in them.

The Novelties section is for 6 year old’s birthday parties. You want dessert, check out the Recipe Modification blogI know you want waffles. Those are shit too, if you want em, make em yourself.

Don’t even think about a BOX of chicken wings, nuggets, strips or anything else of the like. Check out my meat worship post about that fucking bullshit. There’s a big difference between “Frozen Meals” and frozen things you use make into meals. Spoiler alert, boxed shit is bullshit that will make your shits shitty.

The Spice Aisle.

Spices are also in an inside aisle, which is also usually the baking aisle so travel with caution. Spices offer tons of micronutrients and flavours essential for creating dope shit in the kitchen. Just say away from pre-made spice blends which are sodium & MSG laden traps. If you want some spice blend ideas, head over to the recipes section. When buying spices, be sure to go for companies that don’t irradiate their seeds. This process strips any and all nutritional value out of them. 

The Bakery.

Gywneth Paltrow is single handedly responsible for the death of the baking industry. Or at least that’s who I blame. Baked goods are fine, just don’t fucking eat that shit all the fucking time if you can. If you’re celiac (the 1%), I feel bad for you son, but theres a lot of fakers and perpetrators out there that will say they’re gluten intolerant, while drinking a craft beer. When company comes, break bread. Literally. It’s a tradition as old as time and it’s a fucking important one. There’s lots of healthy options in the baking aisle; keep it whole grains, which are super important in our diet. Plus, who hasn’t been dubbed the ‘dessert guy’, ran late and been bailed out by the bakery? If you can, support the local independent bakery (if Gywneth Paltrow hasn’t axe murdered their business with a blog post yet). That’s where the quality shit is. All said, most of the bakery shit does turn to sugar inside of us and inflames our guts, so keel back, eh? Whole grains with seeds and shit. That’s what’s up. 

Oil.

This is level 5 shit here, because fat is a tricky subject.  I’ll only scrape the surface, because I have a whole post on it’s own about this.

If you’re cooking with it, look for high smoke point oils like grapeseed or cold pressed (non hydrogenated) canola.

If you’re making a salad dressing, use olive or sunflower.

Don’t heat olive oil. And fuck coconut oil. That shit is for lube, new tattoos and beard health. It’s high in saturated fat and it’s like cooking with chap stick. Coconut oil can sit and spin.

Canned Goods and Pasta

Like the RZA says,

“You gotta read the label, if you don’t read the
label you might get poisoned…” 

These are the tricksy fuckers. There’s plenty of healthy and convenient options in these aisles, but they’re mostly full of Sodium, Sugar, and Saturated Fat. A can of beans could unexpectedly be keeping those beans in a brine (that’s full of salt). A Gluten Free pasta could be full of added sugar, etc.

Look for Whole or Ancient Grain pastas, low sodium soups, veggies, beans and legumes. Purchase fruits that are’t kept in syrups. Keep your serving sizes small or at least on par with what the label says.

There is always the option to buy dried beans, and soak them yourself, or to make pasta yourself from scratch. Its more work, but way cheaper and healthier.

The “Natural Foods Section”

This is a new one, but a wolf in sheep’s clothing all the same. This is where they have all the expensive organic shit, that’s still processed all the same. Look, if you buy into the organic thing, the dirty dozen/clean 15 thing, or none of it all together, that’s none of my business. This section has a higher price tag, some of it’s bullshit, some of it isn’t. Tortilla chips are tortilla chips, any way you slice it. They’re still fried and they’re still shit you don’t need. That being said, sometimes you gotta junk out and that’s the place to go. There’s some dope salsas and nutrient shakes in here that will improve your nutrition without totally fucking your shit up, but they’re still processed and you still have to read the labels all the same. The thing here to remember is they’re still a food company with a board of directors and they want your money just as much as the next guy. They don’t owe you anything and they don’t have your best interests at heart. They simply followed all the rules in the legislation and shelled out the money to get organically certified because it sells. Hence, the added price tag.

That legislation (in Canada) states that in order to be certified organic, 75-95% of ingredients have to be organically grown, they aren’t allowed to use synthetic pesticides, but “Organic practices and this standard cannot assure that organic products are entirely free of residues of substances prohibited by this standard and of other contaminants, since exposure to such compounds from the atmosphere, soil, ground water and other sources may be beyond the control of the operator.”

There’s still bad shit in here, and there’s also good, so take it for what it’s worth. If eating organic makes you feel healthy, fuckin eh, power to ya bud.

Miscellaneous

Coffee. Tea. Low sugar/sodium condiments like mustard, hot sauce, vinegars; get that shit. You can make a ton of healthy salad dressing out of these essentials.  Store bought salad dressing is for lazy people. Make your own (hit up the Recipes section).

Fuck a granola bar aisle. That’s processed sugar. Straight up. Protein bars give you bitch tits. Take it from a guy who got bitch tits from protein bars. Eat a chicken breast or better yet, a bean salad.

Oh, and Vitamin Water is fuckin soda pop, okay? There is 30 fuckin grams of sugar in one of those things. You want vitamin water drink water with a fucking vitamin. You want flavour, try some slices of cucumber, or watermelon chunks in your water bottle. 

 

When it comes to optimal nutrition, it’s not something that is going to happen over night. It’s taken me years to to figure out proper label reading, serving sizes and what’s good and what isn’t, and I’m still not there. You can’t expect to just give up all your favourite foods all at once, but in no means does making sacrifices have to suck. Make compromises. The main thing here is that you try.

 

Make good choices,

Chris.

The thing about Raw food diets.

So you’re considering eating a raw foods. GREAT! There’s so many great enzymes, nutrients and other ill shit in raw fruits and vegetables that you’re gonna get. You’re on the path to a totally healthy lifestyle like a fuckin’ G.

Before you jump in, know this; Raw food diets (especially that vegan shit) are fucking hard. Look, I get you want to save all the animals, but are you really prepared to do the work that is involved with it? Plus, even vegetable harvests cause deforestation and accidentally kill animals like deer, grouse, pheasant, and more all the time. And if you’re going to go raw Vegan be warned about anemia (iron deficiency), or worse. If you’re going to go for it, I’m happy for you, and it can be SUPER healthy, but you have to put in work.

Talk to your doctor, a nutritionist and other vegans before doing so.

Aside from anemia, going raw vegan can raise all sorts of ailments like fatigue, inflammation, poor gut biome, weight gain, bloating, and toxicity in your body. If you’re doing the raw thing, you may not even be absorbing important nutrients found in your food.

Green Leafy and Cruciferous Vegetables. 

Kale, Cabbage, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

These are all super good foods, packed with antioxidants, B vitamins like folate and other rad shit, while making you poop real good. However, to get anything out of them (beyond undigestible fibre), you have to apply heat to them.

Our bodies are simply not equipped to break the cell walls of some vegetables where the nutrients are hiding out. We will simply digest them and poop them out faster than we can absorb most of what they have to offer. Basically, you’re eating indigestible fibre, which is great for bowel function, but does fuck all for absorption.

Even breaking them down in a blender and putting them into smoothie form won’t do it. Plus, fuck raw Kale. It’s not good. Okay, maybe its pretty good slathered in caesar salad dressing, but then again, what isn’t? It’s bitter, hard to chew, and pushy. It takes over the whole conversation in your mouth when tasting things. Stop pretending to like it, because we all know you’re full of shit. Cooked Kale however, is fucking delicious. Also, keep these to a moderate intake. Eat it, but not every fucking day. Overdoing the intake on cruciferous vegetables can even block nutrient absorption and lead to hyperthyroidism.

Fruitarianism and Juicing. 

Stop it. It’s expensive, not healthy and in the case of juicing, wasteful. Steve Jobs was a Fruititarian. He’s also dead now. Coincidence? Probably.

Fuck yea fruit is tasty. It’s full of simple sugars that give you a surge of energy and you feel refreshed eating it. What’s happening there is your body is rapidly pumping out insulin and happy thoughts super fast but with that, comes a crash.  The carbs and starches in fruit don’t sustain those sugar energies long enough for you to benefit from it. It ends up being sent to the liver to be stored in glycogen later for energy – fat yo.

Fruit simply doesn’t cut it for energons (kcals) and when you juice you lose fibre.

The solution: Eat fruit. It’s good for you, especially if it’s on the Low glycemic list. However, limit daily intake of it and include fibrous vegetables and whole grain carbohydrates when you consume it to slow the digestion and insulin release. Your energy from consuming them together will be expended better than it would if you just crushed an all fruit smoothie or Juice.

 

There’s lots of food we can eat raw and get tons of nutrients out of, but a little steam or dry heat from roasting is only going to make those things taste better and help you digest them easier and fully. I hate to discourage anyone from eating vegetables, raw or otherwise, but some of them need a little TLC and preparation. Now get your ass to the produce section and get rad.

Be healthy,

Chris.