The Fabulously Unfit Girl's Guide To Health & Wellness: don't you put it in your mouth

Hey homies! For this post I teamed up with my pal Kalli Youngstrom of KY Fitness & Nutrition to chat about bullsh*t marketing when it comes to "healthy" foods. This is something that really cheezes me off, and I'm thrilled to be able to colloborate with Kalli to bring some awareness to some of the crap that is lurking on your grocery store shelves. Kalli is a Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Management Specialist, Nutritionist, and IFBB Pro. I, on the other hand, have absolutely no business telling you about what to eat and what not to eat, but I'm going to anyway. So listen up. 

How many times have you been wandering through the aisles, reading labels (like you've been told to) and chosen things because you can immediately recall the ad telling you the product is a healthy choice, or because that product has a bunch of things on the package that say "Trans Fat Free!", "High In Fiber!", "A Good Source Of Vitamin C!", or my personal fav... "GLUTEN FREE!" Contrary to what these claims would have you believe, you shouldn't necessarily shove these products in your piehole.

Everyone is trying to make good choices for themselves and their families, but its super hard when companies create ad campaigns for products that primarily serve to increase the buckaroos in their bank account, rather the health of their customers. 

OK...we all know sugar is the devil incarnate. This is not news. Too much sugar can cause all kinds of greebly sh*t to shake down in your body, and things will likely be bad news bears in the long run. 

What people don't realize is how MUCH sugar is in all these processed foods, along with the equivalent of Santa's naughty list of other crap lurking within. Kalli and I set out to comb the aisles for some of the worst offenders for brainwashing consumers. 

Activia Yogurt 

Kalli's Info: The marketing behind this product is to “Take the Activia challenge.” which is Activia twice a day for 2 weeks. I would recommend a non-sweetened alternative, which will provide you with the same (if not more) benefits in relation to gut health and help you steer clear of the 2 teaspoons of added sugar that is in each single serving yogurt. 2 yogurts a day = 4 teaspoons of sugar, not far from the recommended 6 maximum teaspoons by the American Heart Association. Opt for 2% plain Greek yogurt for more protein to keep you fuller longer. If you’re worried about added fiber top with flax or chia for fiber + healthy fat.

My 2 Cents: Activia challenge? Let me get this straight... they are challenging me to purchase enough product to eat their yogurt twice a day for two weeks? Clever. As much as I love being challenged to an eating dual, I'm gonna pass on this one. 

#thanksbutnothanks ... however, I do challenge you to try the "prune" flavour and not gag. 

#thanksbutnothanks ... however, I do challenge you to try the "prune" flavour and not gag. 

Light/Fat-Free Cool Whip

Kalli's Info: Marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional Cool Whip and whipped cream, the lack of dairy in this “whipped topping” is concerning. Not to mention the lack of almost any natural ingredients that are recognizable to the general consumer. Stick with whole foods that you and your body recognize. Indulge in some homemade whipping cream from time to time by whipping 33% cream with stevia and vanilla,  you’ll save on the added sugars and your body will thank you for avoiding the preservatives that keep this product “fresh for two weeks in the refrigerator.”

My 2 Cents: WTF is this stuff? I guarantee your great-granny wouldn't even be able to pronounce the things in this, let alone would have ever used them in her delicious cooking. This product is an awesome option for anyone looking to incorporate a variety of jacked up ingredients in their diet. 

Beef Jerky

Kalli's Info: A “healthy” grab and go as a quick and easy protein source, but with more sugar than protein in the majority of store bought jerky, the consumer may not be getting what they’re paying for. Double check the serving size as often the serving size in comparison to the package can be misleading. If you’re reaching for an easy protein filled snack for the road opt for a jerky with no sugar added, make your own at home, or opt for an alternative like hardboiled eggs or sugar free protein bars. 

My 2 Cents: Dagnabbit, I am guilty of believing this was a good grab and go. Fake news. Might as well dump some syrup on your steak. Find a friend who shops at Cabela's. They likely think making jerky is fun and you can get it from them. 

Vitamin Water

Kalli's Info: With the second ingredient listed being sugar, it’s no surprise that one bottle of this “vitamin enhanced” beverage comes in at 32 g of sugar. For comparison, a can of Coke comes in at 39. With no fat, fiber, or protein in this drink, one bottle of this will likely cause a quick spike in blood sugar leaving the customer hungry and tired soon after. Get your vitamins through whole foods that will keep you satisfied longer, naturally include the fiber you need for beneficial digestion, and if you need to supplement use a multi-vitamin without added sugar in it. 

My 2 Cents: Some assh*ole came up with a way to sell sugar water to people and make them think they are doing a big healthy. Genius... and horrible. Don't touch this. 

Yessss... I've always wanted a way to justify chugging Kool-aid as an adult!!

Yessss... I've always wanted a way to justify chugging Kool-aid as an adult!!

Coconut Oil Cooking Spray

Kalli's Info: Most would be surprised to see the bottle with the label “100% coconut oil” also includes isobutane and propane on the label. Although these are “normal” additives in cooking sprays, avoid the propane and use 100% cooking oil out of the jar, or search for a label that has only 1 ingredient, coconut oil. 

My 2 Cents: Save the propane for your BBQ and buy a non-stick pan. Good news! You can also just put some regular coconut oil in the pan if you want to. 

Fruit + Veggies Juice

Kalli's Info: Although there is no added sugar in the fruit and veggie juice on the grocery store shelf, a small serving of this juice contains 25 grams of sugar and only 2 grams of fiber. It’s recommended that you opt for whole fruits and veggies instead. The natural fiber that is in fruits and vegetables add many health benefits, along with keeping your hunger at bay. A fruit and veggie juice with no fiber is likely to have the opposite effect, quickly spiking your blood sugar and leaving you hungry soon after. 

My 2 Cents: An evil genius devised a way to market "healthy" sugar water to, what I would bet, primarily moms trying to feed their kids their more fruits and veggies. The worst kind of assh*le marketing. Boourns. 

Apparently "plus veggies" means inserting a picture of a carrot on every bottle... *eyeroll emoji*

Apparently "plus veggies" means inserting a picture of a carrot on every bottle... *eyeroll emoji*

Protein Bars

Kalli's Info: With more carbohydrates than protein in almost all of the bars on the normal grocery store shelf, many of these bars include as much added sugar as a chocolate bar and are better to be swapped for a sugar-free version. There are many options on the market, such as Quest bars, that include sugar free options... some even being naturally sweetened if you prefer to avoid artificial sweeteners. Read the label and ensure that you’re getting more protein than carbohydrate and steer clear of added sugars. 

My 2 Cents: Might as well buy a Snickers. 

Special K Nourish

Kalli's Info:  Marketed as “Simply good, no artificial flavors or colors.” and “A high source of fiber.” High is a relative term, with most people needing around 25-30 grams of fiber today, 4 grams of fiber per serving is a long way from a daily recommended intake. With 43 grams of carbs and about 7 different types of sugar listed in the ingredient list I would recommend starting your day with a more natural carbohydrate source that will keep you fuller longer and keep your blood sugar down. Remember when reading cereal boxes that the listed serving size is likely not what goes in your bowl. Try weighing out a serving v.s. eye balling it and see if you’re eating more than you really know.

My 2 Cents: This sh*t is the worst. "Nourish" yourself with a big ol' bowl of all the sugar in town. Except don't.

Because... quinoa. 

Because... quinoa. 

Green Goddess Juice

Kalli's Info: With a title and visual emphasis on green, its surprising to note that the first 4 types of juices included in this green juice are actually fruit juices, some of the fruits most naturally rich in sugar out there, such as pineapples, banana, and mango. Although there are beneficial vitamins and nutrients in the juice and more “green” ingredients listed towards the very end of the label, 250 calories and 50 g of sugar would be much more satiating and appetite suppressing in the form of whole foods. Get your greens in a salad or make your own green juice with greens being the main ingredient. 

My 2 Cents: 50g of liquid sugar does not a Goddess make. Big no nos. 

Olive Oil Mayonnaise

Kalli's Info: Although there is olive oil in the mayo, its not the only oil included. Avoid the added inflammatory oils and make your own mayo using whole eggs, olive or avocado oil, and lemon. Did you know that most mayos have sugar added as well? The second ingredient in this mayo is sugar. 

My 2 Cents: There are lots of surprises in this mystery goop. Olive oil is a good time, but this is not. 

Fiber One Bars

Kalli's Info: With sugar as the first ingredient and sugar listed in a variety of forms at least 8 times on these fiber focused bars I recommend getting your fiber from a better source. The beauty of whole natural foods is that they naturally include the fiber your body needs! We shouldn’t have to add fiber to our foods. 100 calories from your favorite fruits and veggies can add the 5 g of fiber that these bars do while avoiding the laundry list of sugars and unrecognizable ingredients. 

My 2 Cents: Might as well eat some oreos wash them down with a tiny bit of your grandpa's metuamucil. Sorry folks. 

Now BIGGER chocolate chips!!! #healthy

Now BIGGER chocolate chips!!! #healthy

So there you have it. The sad thing is, we could have gone on all day with this!! There is so much garbage out there geared toward getting you to spend your money on things that are supposed to benefit your health. IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT!! We rely on companies to provide accurate information to us, but unfortunately its rarely the case. Business is business, and business doesn't always have the consumer's best interest at heart. We've all been duped by marketing time and again. (I had a Slap Chop, how 'bout you??)

When I shop, with a few exceptions, I try to stick to the perimeter of the store. I'm sure you've heard that a million times, but its still the best advice out there. With boxes and boxes of things that can live on the shelf well beyond the zombie apocalypse, it's best to stick to stuff you can pronounce, and that your old-timey granny would likely approve of. 

When in doubt, talk to a professional... and by professional, I don't mean consulting the Google Machine to read a plethora of god-knows-what articles written by various interweb "doctors". Find a real life doctor, nutritionist, naturopath, or health coach and make sure they have some edumacation. 

We are thrilled to have Kalli holding a sold-out workshop at The Modern Woman Show & Exhibition this year. There are gifts in the door-crasher AND fashion show swag bags from her so make sure to get there early and check it out. Also, did I mention you can see her strutting her stuff during The Runway fashion show as a model? Pick up your VIP tickets to the fashion show at www.modernwomansaskatoon.com! See all the spring styles at Prairieland Park on April 22 at 6:30pm. Hosted by Chantel Saunders and DJ Kush, its sure to be a great time! 

Until next time, my fellow Modern Women, don't let the marketing campaigns dupe you, and don't you put those icky products in your mouth!
Katie xoxo