Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
But the food in the day of Hippocrates didn’t come with labels!

All food is meant to supply us with energy, vitamins, and minerals for our bodies to function.  So, food is like medicine, right? Think vegetables, fruits, and proteins.  This is fuel for your body that comes from the farm.

Try to eat more and more whole foods and, when you can’t, then start reading labels and become a label detective.

If You Really Have to Buy Something Processed:

Don’t be fooled by marketing.
Remember, packaging is designed to make you buy something.  It may contain exaggerated health claims like “healthy”, “low-fat”, or “whole grain”, bright colors, and an emotional pull.  Isn’t a basket full of crisp, colorful vegetables and fruits more appealing?

Discover if any “functional-food ingredients” are being added to the food product.
Again, this is marketing at it’s best. I’ve seen candies labeled with added Vitamin C or live active cultures added to high-sugar, artificial color-filled yogurt with cartoons all over them. Most of the time, these are added as a marketing gimmick and are present in small amounts with minimal value.
Bottom line: don’t buy nutritionally empty foods that have been doctored up to look healthy with additives.

Check the order of ingredients and identify additives
The most plentiful ingredient is listed first.  Then, in descending order by weight, the other ingredients are listed.  If high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, etc. are listed first, put it back on the shelf.

Check out serving size
A cereal label may indicate that a serving is 3/4-cup but most people eat close to double that.  In addition, some labels may say that the product contains two or more servings when often it’s packaged to look like a single serving (just look at a soda can for example, or a pint of ice cream).

More on label reading soon!

P.S. Congressman Tim Ryan, author of A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance and Recapture the American Spirit thanked us Health Coaches with aspecial recognition letter, in which he states, “It is vital that Health and Wellness Coaches continue to expand their good work, the nation needs it.”

Thank you for helping me expand the work!

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