Don’t label yourself unhealthy

Lily Newcomb, Opinion's Editor

Lily Newcomb, Opinions Editor

The nutrition labels on food these days are jam packed with gibberish, and contradict themselves to a fault. After all, if this is ‘all natural’ why is there aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, and red food coloring swimming around with 200% of my daily sugar serving?

Food markets are the masters of deception. Labels will often say “100 percent natural” or “Certified organic,” only for you to flip it over and read a horror story where the ingredients should be. Plus, the serving sizes will be something ridiculous (for instance, who eats only 2 tablespoons of nutella?).

These days it seems like you have to choose between eating for taste and eating for health, a choice which isn’t easy to make for many people; including me.

After all, why can’t I have both?

When you break it down, whole foods are delicious and good for you. Raw raspberries are amazing, any cut of meat is incredible and savory and enough of just about any vegetable is enough to refresh the crap out of you (literally).

So why can’t we eat something tasty and nutritious all the time?

Why? Because we have no time.

Between high-school and work, I am just about ready to grab whatever I can to get. Before I started learning about nutrition, this consisted of microwaved “all natural” macaroni, burritos, four tomatoes a day, and to finish it off: Sour Punch straws and a Perrier.

There simply isn’t much time to cook up an extravagant meal when you’re running place to place.

However, after about my five-billionth cold/pneumonia/flu/bronchitis/stomach virus of the year, I was a little fed up with the affects poor nutrition was having on my body.

It took one change in my life to discover how terrible processed food really was for you.

I had decided to cut back to under 20 grams of sugar a day. There are 45 grams of sugar in one pack of sour punch straws.

I became surprised at how much sugar was in everything, and as I became more invested in nutrition, I discovered that sugar was not the only thing to fear.

Preservatives like Sodium benzoate, sweeteners like aspartame and high fructose corn-syrup, and processed wheat became the vision of destruction and free-radicals in my eyes.

But the problem was, it tasted so good.

I used to think I didn’t have time to make healthy food, but if you can spare 30 minutes before bed, and 15 in a grocery store, you can create anything you want to eat.

I usually make a parfait and pop it in a mason jar for my breakfast. Whole wheat sandwiches (or lundberg brown rice cakes) with peanut butter and bananas are easy to make also, you could craft one for lunch in under five minutes. Carrot sticks are amazing too- just wash and enjoy them with ranch for something crunchy to eat.

You can make virtually anything, and you can enjoy it all without any issue with just 10-30 minutes of preparation a night.

Plus, if you can, always find a backup for the nights you can’t prepare.

A great packaged snack is any Dr. Kracker snack, from their asiago cheese cracker to their organic pumpkin cheddar flatbread crisps. Plus, they sell them at Wal-Mart.

You don’t have to deny yourself anything either.

Any junk food you can name can become healthier if you make it at home.

Hamburgers can be made with free-range grass -fed beef, grilled cheese can be made with olive oil and wheat bread. Macaroni can be vastly improved with a simple homemade cheese sauce and some boiled whole wheat noodles.
When you’re crafting something in your kitchen, there isn’t a jar in your cabinet that says Sodium benzoate.

And, if you don’t know how to make it, use YouTube.

There is a recipe for everything, and YouTube makes it really easy to learn.

I wonder if 20 grams of sugar a day means 20 more years to live. I wonder this, but I can never know for sure until I make it there.

But one thing I never want, is to one day die of something terrible, knowing I didn’t do anything to at least try and stop it.

Things happen, and healthy people get diseases they don’t always deserve; but I know I could be at peace if I did know that I have done everything in my power to prevent it.

What is the use of a body that is only half of what you want it to be your whole life? I’m not talking about aesthetics, I’m talking about being able to run after your dreams without a sack of pills weighing you own. Pills that have become mandatory due to ignorance, due to the diseases we’ve
made ourselves contract.

I don’t want anything to hold me back.