Calories. When you read that word you probably went into a slight panic attack. From being bombarded with false advertising to diet books to unhealthy photo models, we no longer know how to cook and how to eat. All we know is "calories are bad!"

And that has turned us into a nation that doesn’t know the basic knowledge of how to care for ourselves, how to cook, how to eat. In the film Hungry for Change, they said it best "we are a nation that is overfed, but undernourished". Sadly, that is true. We have more food than ever before but we also have more disease than ever before.

What is a calorie? In very simple terms, it is energy.

A few facts about calories:

  • All calories are not created equal. All calories are not the same.
  • Calories are not points, portions, restrictive, free.
  • Calories are energy.
  • Your body needs the right calories in order to thrive.
  • A calorie is not “just a calorie”.

Our nation is filled with millions of people who do not know how to eat. They have been relegated to counting points (thanks Weight Watchers) instead of teaching people how to nourish themselves with real, nutrient-dense food. Lean Cuisine might be x points, but it is not real food. It is a box full of chemicals and disease. People should be counting how many toxins are in their food instead! It is horrifying appalling.

In America our food supply is filled with very toxic and deadly ingredients (that are banned in other countries). Products (note I didn’t say food) are designed to keep a customer for life by making them addicted and sick.

You want to eat foods that nourish your body, prevent disease (and most importantly don’t give you disease!), strength, strong immune system, and give you energy. Those calories are the best kind of calories!

Instead of thinking of calories, think real, life-giving nutrients. Nutrients are vitamins and minerals from real food that give your body life and wellness and health.

When deciding what to eat (and buy) you always want to think what are the real nutrients in this? The vitamins listed on the back of a cereal box nutrition label are not a nutrient-dense food choice. They are enriched, fake, lab-made "vitamins". Nutrients from a fresh, raw organic bunch of kale contains authentic vitamins and minerals that your body needs to fight disease.

Any product that says “fat-free, sugar-free, zero calorie, calorie free, low-calorie, enriched” is a sign to run away. Very, very fast. These are lab-made products and will give you horrendous health disease (from weight gain/obesity to cancer to heart disease to brain tumors).  (Remember: gum/mints, cooking sprays, Jell-O, etc are included on this toxic list!)

photo (69)
photo (69)

Lesson: stop counting calories. If you count anything, let it be nutrients from real food that will give you life.

Substituting one toxic ingredient or product for another is neither smart nor effective. Get rid of the junk entirely! Drink pure water, never soft drinks (and do not add liquids or powders to your water either). Eat real food.

What is real food?

Real food is organic, whole, fresh foods. If you eat meat (beef, pork, chicken, fish), it is humanely raised and killed, it ate grass, it’s not frozen for months on end, you know where it came from. If you eat eggs, you eat the whole egg, not half the egg (i.e. egg whites from a box). The eggs come from chickens that were pastured, roamed, fed organic feed, humanely raised (no chicken prisons). And lastly, real food is never, ever, EVER, ever GMO.

Here are some nutrient-dense, real food options:

  • Homemade kale chips for chips, crackers
  • Quinoa, sweet potatoes, bok choy instead of frozen crap (dinners)
  • Carrots, red+yellow+orange bell peppers, cucumbers with hummus instead of chips & dip
  • Raw nuts & seeds instead of Planters Nuts
  • Hemp Hearts for fish
  • Red lentils and brown rice for chicken
  • Kidney beans and brown rice for beef
  • Whole eggs+sauteed veggies instead of boxed cereal, toast, bagels
  • Chia seeds instead of sports drinks/Gatorade, MiO, Crystal Light, etc
  • For beverages the answer is always, always pure water. No soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee dessert beverages.
  • Get used to not having something in your mouth instead of gum. There is no need to be chewing all day long! Give your gut a break.

There is so, so much power in real food! Hint: if it came in a package, box, can, wrapper, frozen section via Big Food this is a sign that isn’t real food.

How can you feel better? How can you lose weight? Look better? The answer is pretty simple*: eat real food, drink pure water.

Go make healthy choices, stop counting toxic calories, start living!

*daily exercise, healthy thoughts, balancing hormones, absorbing nutrients from real food are factors to losing weight as well.

Cover photo credit: Jeff Kubina