Choosing to be healthy is always a good decision and to make it work, the decision should always start with the gut. As Hippocrates famously said, “All disease begins in the gut.” A healthy gut is now a key ingredient in keeping a healthy and full functioning brain, one that is more positive, more efficient, and definitely more sustained in the years to come, fending off more progressive dreaded brain illnesses such as dementia, brain cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
The fight for healthier body then is waged not in the gym, but in the kitchen. The secret to having a better gut today is to remove common items in your menu that can cause long-term negative effects on your body and wreak havoc to your own gut.
Foods to Remove From Your Daily Diet
Here is a list of what you should banish forever from your pantry (and your life!) and be on the path to total and holistic wellness for life:
This popular condiment is notorious for packing on empty calories. Just a teaspoon can contain as much as 40 calories. Imagine how much you’re consuming when you put it on everything during a meal? It is also made with high fructose corn syrup (read: the main culprit for diabetes and obesity!).
What to do instead: If flavor is what you are looking for, go for Himalayan pink salt to season your food or create your own guacamole dip to ease yourself off ketchup.
- Cream-based canned soup.
Although getting a cream-based soup out of a can is convenient, these pack empty calories and do nothing for your health as they contain a lot of sodium, food dyes, and corn syrup—the perfect recipe for kidney damage.
BBC also reports that the lining of the tin can may also pose a chemical risk as Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used to coat the can, may leak into the soup. BPA is common found in plastics and has been linked to reproductive disorders, heart disease, asthma, and type 2 diabetes.
What to do instead: If you are feeling hungry, go for a homemade sandwich with the freshest ingredients such as cucumbers, avocado, drizzled with some balsamic vinegar and chia seeds for some crunch. It fills you up longer, it doesn’t make you bloat, and it has more flavors and textures, making lunch or dinner a more enjoyable activity.
If you’re craving for creamy soup, I recommend preparing your own creamy chicken and vegetable soup or squash soup. Zucchini and mushroom also make a great combination for cream-based soups.
- Store-bought fruit juice and smoothies
Store bought fruit juice and smoothies contain a lot of sugar, artificial colors and flavoring, and high fructose corn syrup.
What to do instead: Juice 100% fresh fruits and veggies. They taste great, plus they help you maintain a healthy weight. Get my delicious, fat-burning juicing recipes for FREE here.
- Granola or energy bars
These energy bars are much like fruit juices and smoothies; they’re empty calories that only do more harm than good. Although advertised as “natural” or “healthy”, they pack in so much sugar no thanks to the coating of corn syrup to bind them together. It also contains a lot of preservatives to make them last for months or years.
What to do instead: Have your own snack bag of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, organic dried prunes, and even dark chocolate. Pumpkin seeds, in particular, are great for weight loss.
- Diet soda and artificial sweeteners
If you are on the run in the morning, diet soda as your source of caffeine is bad as you are setting yourself up for failure. Before I lost 55 lbs., I was consuming one or two diet sodas and orange juice per day. These were making me fat and tired. You will boost your sugar levels and make your liver and kidneys work overtime to get it out of your system. Using synthetic sweeteners found in diet soda such as aspartame, sucrose, or saccharin has been linked to possible health concerns, including cancer. Saccharin in particular, has been found to cause bladder cancer in lab rats.
Another bad effect of consuming artificial sweeteners is they make nutritious foods like fruit and vegetables unpalatable, since your taste buds have already been accustomed to intensely sweet foods, explains a Harvard Health Publications article. It also makes you crave for more sweets.
What to do instead: Drink energy-boosting and fat-burning oolong tea or have some hydrating coconut water. Opt for raw honey to sweeten your drinks and food. If you’re craving for sweets, have some sweet fruits like mangoes, grapes, and melons in moderation after breakfast or lunch.
Popcorns may seem like a healthier alternative to chips and candies, but they can actually be worse than these two. Popcorns, especially the microwavable kind, are loaded with sodium, artificial flavoring and saturated fat. A bag of movie theater popcorn can contain as much as 1,200 calories and the saturated fat can be as much as what you should be consuming in 3 days.
What to do instead: A better alternative to popcorns is your own trailmix of unsalted dried fruit and seeds. Cauliflower popcorns are good, too.
- Sugary cereals and cookies.
Sugary cereals and cookies both have excessive levels of sugar, refined carbohydrates, saturated fat, and zero nutrients. Some may even contain trans fats, the type of fat that increases your bad cholesterol levels.
What to do instead: Make your own delicious granola using whole grains like quinoa or oats. You may also add in dried fruit. Another filling breakfast that’s quick to make are grilled veggie sandwiches with balsamic vinegar or pesto sauce.
With a conscientious effort to keep your gut health in top shape, removing these items is easy and the health rewards are immense. Toss these out of your kitchen and you’ll be on your way to good health.