Steven Macari, founder of the SLVRBK mat and a New York based holistic health practitioner, breaks down the afternoon cravings that are only masquerading as healthy. See if you're embracing the hype.
Most energy bars are loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners and poor quality ingredients. While they may give you a quick or false boost in energy they leave you craving more sweets within a short period of time. When looking at the label if you see more than 7 ingredients and you can't pronounce half of them you probably shouldn't be eating it. Instead, look for a bar that is made of organic ingredients and real foods.
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Fruit Stand Fruit
While that fruit stand on your local corner may look nice, the fruit is probably of the lowest quality around. This fruit is likely conventionally raised on farms outside of the US. This means they have been sprayed with loads of pesticides, herbicides, have been grown in poor quality soil, which makes for a less nutrient dense product, and have been irradiated when being imported (the use of which kills any of the few nutrients that would have remained). If you are going to have a can of soda or a candy bar, this is obviously a better choice, but if you really care about your health, go the distance to buy organic fruit.
Most yogurt comes from cows that have been raised on grains (cows should eat grass). Grain-fed cows produce an inferior quality of milk to start. Then the milk is pasteurized and homogenized which kills any of the good enzymes that may have been present in the milk. If you are eating low fat yogurt there is another layer where they strip out the fat globules in the milk which make it taste strange. In order to combat this, the manufacturer adds natural sweeteners. Check out the label, low fat dairy products usually have more sugar than full fat products. If you are eating yogurt with fruit there are additional artificial sweeteners added. Often times the fruit that is reserved for cereals and yogurts are the rejects from the farm.
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Most brands of granola are not gluten free and are made of poor quality grains. Like the fruit in yogurt example, most commercial granola manufacturers use the lowest quality grains they can find to produce their product. These grains are often contaminated with mycotoxins (a substance produced by a mold and fungus) which can cause a variety of health issues from digestive disorders to auto-immune issues. On top of that they add a variety of artificial sweeteners to the product. This makes for a blood sugar rattling snack that will leave you craving more sugar and/or a nap. Make your own granola or buy a high quality organic version.
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Peanuts are very susceptible to mold which produces a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin. Since this is impossible to remove (or incredibly costly) this will show up in your peanut butter. In addition, most store bought peanut butters also include poor vegetable oils that are highly unstable due to processing and are often hydrogenated. Most peanut butter also includes iodized salt as opposed to sea salt--not to mention are very high in sugar. Lastly, people often associate food poisoning related recalls with meat, but there have been a variety of issues over the course of the last few years with peanut butter. Make your own nut butters from almonds, walnuts or cashews or buy a high quality brand made in small batches.