Today, we are looking at the food retailers, the food industry and how we can make better food choices on the go.
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With all the irrefutable evidence on how unhealthy food choices can damage the body, it’s incredible how many smart people I see making terrible choices on a daily basis.
What is causing millions (billions?) of people to actively choose to damage their health on a daily basis?
It can’t be the knowledge, we all know salad is healthier than pizza. It could be the stress of modern life, as stated above, the body craves energy when stressed. It could be deeply rooted unconscious behaviour that needs challenging and rebuilding over the long term.
But what about a conscious decision to eat crap food?
We all love to eat takeaways, pig out on holiday and have sugary desserts, and I think that in moderation this is important to do. Eating foods you like is fun and you must do it to live a good life. But some people may be choosing to eat crap all the time, consciously and when not stressed. This is typically a problem of a poor mindset, a negative outlook on life.
This presents a massive obstacle to the individuals health, and sometimes I just can’t save a person from themselves.
Every time a client of mine has had a mindset of, “yeah well I’m going to train at your gym but good luck taking my daily glass of wine and chocolate bar away” - they got zero health improvement. I no longer train people unless they take responsibility for their own health, we can’t make progress without it. Surely that's the solution - take responsibility for your own life - nobody is going to make the change for you.
In the past 5 years the UK food industry has seen a massive increase in healthy food choices. Gluten and dairy free ranges are in almost all supermarkets. High protein snacks are everywhere: yoghurts, protein bars, flapjacks and more are all vying for your attention.
Vegan and vegetarian options are in most restaurants and supermarkets. On the whole, this is amazing for our health, but the industry is obviously focused on increasing it’s profits.
If I want to make more money, and I could sell 100 cheeseburgers at a lunchtime, or choose to sell 10 vegan burgers (given the same profit margins), I’d choose the 100 cheeseburgers every time. Which do you think I’d put at the front of the store and which would get tucked away down another aisle of the supermarket? Whilst there are good choices out there, don’t expect them to be obviously marketed.
Another pitfall to watch out for are ‘high protein’ products, we all know protein is good for us and is most likely to be undertaken in a typical day. Yet in order for a food to be labelled as “High Protein” only 20% of the calories have to come from protein. Therefore if you buy a high protein flapjack and it gives 200 calories, only 40 calories have to come from protein, this is only 10g of protein. Most people will require approx. 100g of protein per day at a minimum, or 1.3 multiplied by your bodyweight in kg for a more accurate, yet still approximate, estimate - so how many protein flapjacks is that at 10g protein each?
Rather than eat 10-15 protein bars per day we need real nutrition, meals with practical amounts of protein in them and enough calories to fuel intense training that will change our bodies and reduce stress in the right way. For example, I weigh 82kg. Protein requirement is about 110g per day. If I eat 4 meals today I need about 30g in each meal. Convenient junk food is one thing, a healthy meal with inadequate protein is another thing that may lead to poor recovery, training plateaus, sore joints and even muscle loss.
Here are a few things to do which will help you increase discipline and buy healthier food:
> Plan to eat crap food 10% of the time - 2 cheat meals per week. A wednesday lunch time, a saturday night.
> PLAN the cheat meals to fall when you’re travelling for work, or socialising with clients, or going to weddings.
> PLAN and take responsbility for it
>Otherwise you are CONSCIOUSLY choosing to NOT plan, so you’re choosing to eat crap food.
WATCH THE SALES METHODS
> Play a game today and spot as many emotional sales manipulations as you can in the supermarkets
> Typically, when you see the following claims the reality is very different
Low fat = high sugar and low protein
Low in calories = low in nutrient density
Cheap and tasty = full of shit
BOGOF = really poor quality product
Good rule is If it’s marketed as cheap and/or magical then it’s shit
> Find good value foods that have ONE ingredient, mix with some veggies and you’re good to go:
Carrot sticks and hummous
Olives and feta cheese
Gluten free wraps and pitta breads
Instant rice pots or porridge pots (potential for processed/low quality ingredients)
Cooked Chicken kebabs
Hit up the reduced section - most people aren’t buying healthy foods! So you can find some bargains.
Up your discipline
Up your commitment to you improving your life
Anthony Shaw Head Coach
Raw Strength Gym, Warrington
PS - if you want help, we have a 6 week program called RISE. You get teamwork, support, advice and a solid direction for your life so that you can feel good, look better and live a life of purpose.
Click here to find out more: http://rawstrength.co.uk/built/
HIGH PROTEIN https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/nutrition_claims_en
A claim that a food is high in protein, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where at least 20% of the energy value of the food is provided by protein.