I gathered up some munchies and beverages from the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim. I found good examples of healthful and not so healthful products.
Unhealthy “Health” Snacks
A really popular snack lately are different varieties of puffy bits in a bag. They are advertised as a healthy replacement to chips or popcorn, but they are loaded with refined carbohydrates and little protein, and should be thrown to the curb! However, I did find a similar puffy product, Nature’s Options by Olympian Labs, that is a healthier choice, because they made a conscious effort to make it low glycemic and high in protein by adding pea protein as a main ingredient. I haven’t seen it on the market yet, but keep on the lookout for it. FYI, I do not recommend this as a regular part of your diet, but as an occasional treat.
Unbelievably popular products are bars, and clients often ask me which ones I recommend. I would recommend staying away from bendable, gooey, chewy bars because the first ingredient listed in them is typically sugar or syrup. Actually, I’ve found four to seven different kinds of sugars listed in one bar, such as cane sugar, brown sugar, honey and brown rice syrup. These are a definite indication that a food is not healthful! Also, advertising on the packaging use key words like “nourishing” and “high in vitamins A and C” — but beware, because that does not always mean that a food is healthy, so be sure to look at the list of ingredients on the back of the package, rather than the advertisement on the front.
Refined Sugar & Healthy Sugar
Scientists report that eating too much refined sugar will not only make you gain weight, but it also damages the collagen in your skin causing wrinkles and sagging prematurely. Collagen is essential in maintaining the skin elasticity. The scientists recommend dates, stevia, xylitol, and agave. Beauty truly does come from within.
Larabar is better than many kinds of bars on the market because it’s made of all natural whole foods, but eat them sparingly because it does contain alot of dates and nuts. Also, watch out for bars with chocolate and refined sugar. I recommend bars from a company called GoRaw (see earlier videos for an interview with the owner). The bars are low in calories and high in omega fatty acids,which most people are deficient in. Some ingredients in the GoRaw bars include sprouted seeds, dates, pumpkin seeds, bananas, sesame seeds, spirulina, sometimes a touch of agave and easily digested protein sources. GoRaw also makes healthy bite size snacks, which include chocolate and lemon-flavored cookies, with dates instead of refined sugars. Their products are made with all living ingredients and are high in enzymes and easy to digest. Rawnola bars are also a favorite of mine, containing only about 5-7 wholesome ingredients as opposed to up to 25 ingredients in other processed snack foods.
I saw so many varieties of beverages, such as coconut water, teas, waters that are alkalizing, high in oxygen and electrolytes and I would like to talk a little bit more about them. I have been drinking coconut juice for over 8 years and enjoy bringing them home fresh, cracking them open and drinking directly from the coconut. Coconut juice is becoming extremely popular by professional athletes and is now being substituted for other sports drinks that are high in sugar.
Coconut juice is high in electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium and sodium, helping with hydration and feeding your red blood cells; it further acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Coconut water drinks are one thing I recommend to take with you to the gym for re-hydration after a workout. One coconut beverage I saw at the expo contained a little cranberry juice and stevia for extra flavor, but still maintains low sugar.
Be Aware – I also saw flavored teas that taste oh-so-good, but with 34 grams of added sugar per bottle, I do not recommend drinking them. With so many bottled tea companies out there, beware of added sugar and make it a habit always to check labels.
Chia Seeds are from South America are the last product on the list for today. Chia stands for strength in the Mayan language, many Aztec and Mayan warriors would eat chia seeds for endurance. The easily digested seeds are high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, help to balance blood sugar and cut cravings for food! They can be added to smoothies and salads. They are entirely organic, which is good for your body and for the planet.
If you would like to lose weight in a healthy vegetarian manner, go to easyveggiemealplans.com and pick up my easy 90 day low calorie vegetarian meal plan.