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10 "Healthy" Foods That Actually, Well...Aren't
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10 "Healthy" Foods That Actually, Well...Aren't

Wellness

Let me just prepare you out the gate. After reading this, you're probably gonna have a couple of moments of "Daaaaang. So exactly what can I eat?!" The thing is, if you're being even remotely intentional about the kinds of foods that you put into your mouth (and ultimately your system), you're already winning in a lot of ways. And, as far as "unhealthy" goes, if you try your best to avoid things that have a long list of ingredients on the packaging, you're already winning a lot of the battle.

As for the 10 items that I'm about to break down, the main thing to keep in mind is moderation is key. A lot of times, the mistake that we make is if we think something is healthy, we'll eat a ton of it, all day, every day. It's that lack of balance is what can throw things, well, off.

Bottom line, nobody is out here saying that you can't have these types of foods every once in a while (well, at least I'm not). But before you stock up your fridge and pantry with nothing but these items, check out why you should probably rethink that.

1.Fruit Juice

Yes, fruit juice contains Vitamin C and that's a vitamin that is loaded with antioxidants. That's the good news. On the other hand, there is plenty of research to support the fact that, for the most part, there's not much difference between fruit juice and your favorite kind of soda.

All you have to do is read the label of a soda can and then juice container and you'll notice that there may be a 10-15 grams difference of sugar between them (most have around 30 grams of sugar; your body only needs 10 grams per day). Plus, what goes into the process of making juice isn't the best for the environment either. 12 oranges alone make up one cup of OJ. That's a lot of pesticides, irrigation and fuel used to truck juice into your local grocery store. Just something to think about.

If you're wondering what some of the worst so-called healthy commercial juices are, Welch's 100% Grape Juice with Fiber, Simply Orange High Pulp, R.W. Knudsen Just Pomegranate, Ocean Spray 100% Juice No Sugar Added Cranberry and probiotic juices (unfortunately) top the list.

The moral to the story is you'd be better off juicing yourself, making some infused water or at least slicing your juice intake in half by mixing it with half a glass of mineral, sparkling or seltzer water.

2.Soy Products

As a doula, I'm constantly telling new moms that if they do decide to use formula, they need to avoid the kind that contains soy at all costs (especially if they have a son). Why? Soy contains phytoestrogen, which is basically a plant-derived form of the female hormone estrogen.

While soy does contain a decent amount of vitamins C and K, folate, iron, magnesium and potassium, it also tops the list of foods that create "man boobs". Plus, it's one of the most genetically-modified foods around. Another "ugh" thing about soy is studies reveal that it has the tendency to produce more bodily inflammation than cow's milk. Inflammation is never good.

3.Granola Bars

Last year, General Mills removed "100 percent natural" from the popular granola bars. Why, do you ask? Apparently their bars contained glyphosate. What the heck is that? It's a weed killer that has been linked to cancer. As if that's not enough of a reason to rethink eating granola bars (or to at least research the ingredients that are on the label before buying them), they also contain quite a bit of oil and sugar.

Does that mean you can never snack on granola again? No. Just go with making some instead of buying it. That way, you can control how much "extra" goes into it. (A pretty healthy granola bar recipe is found here.)

4.Flavored Yogurt

What could possibly be wrong with yogurt? When it's plain and Greek, not much. Problem is, most of us reach for the kind that is full of sugar and artificial coloring. In fact, many doctors say that not only is flavored yogurt pretty fattening, it also doesn't contain enough protein or fiber to be beneficial.

Before you pick up some Greek yogurt, what are some of the worst brands on the market? Activia Greek Vanilla, Yoplait Greek 100 and Dannon Light & Fit Greek Nonfat Vanilla. Some of the best? Fage Total 2% Greek Yogurt, Stonyfield Organic Greek Whole Milk Plain and Dannon Oikos Greek Nonfat Yogurt Plain. You can click here to read why.

Oh, and if you hate the taste of plain yogurt, remember that you can always add some fresh fruit and/or organic honey to make it more palatable. It's a lot healthier to do it this way than to trust what's on your grocery store's shelves.

5.Whole Wheat Bread

If after you eat pasta or cereal, you notice that you feel nauseated or have a headache, it could be because you've got a wheat allergy that you didn't know about. You can find out for sure by making an appointment with a local allergist. However, that's not the reason why wheat bread makes this list.

The biggest problem with this kind of bread is one, that it's bread. Bread is a high-carb kind of food that is able to raise your blood sugar levels. Bread also contains lectins and phytates; those are toxins that are found in grains. Another problem with a lot of grocery store brands of bread is they're loaded with high fructose corn syrup (which is basically the devil). And, as far as the wheat part goes, most whole wheat bread actually isn't made from whole wheat. Since the grain is ground so finely that, by the time it's ready to eat, it's not much better than (gasp!) white bread. Hmph.

6.Agave Nectar

Some people are hyped about agave nectar because it's a natural sweetener. Problem is, although it registers low on the glycemic index due to its amount of fructose (a hexose sugar that's found in honey and fruit), believe it or not, it contains a greater amount of fructose than high fructose corn syrup. Consuming too much fructose can ultimately lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver disease too.

Organic honey or even blackstrap molasses is a way better bet. Leave the white sugar and agave nectar alone.

7.Veggie Chips

If lately, you've been snacking on veggie chips because you thought they were a better alternative to standard potato chips, I hate to rain on your parade but that's not really the truth. Sure, veggie chips contain vegetables but most of them are so highly-processed with sugar, salt, oil, artificial colors and preservatives that you might as well have a few Lay's if that's what you really desire.

What's the true healthy alternative? Baking your own veggies at home. DIY kale, sweet potatoes and zucchini chips are all really easy to make and pretty delicious too. Plus, you know how healthy they are (or not) because you made them yourself. (Click here for some great recipes.)

8.Meat Substitutes

Aside from the fact that a lot of meat substitutes contain a lot of soy (and we've already covered what's wrong with that), most of them also contain quite a bit of gluten. The problem with gluten is that it's a gooey kind of protein that can put you at risk of being diagnosed with celiac disease. It's a condition where your small intestine is damaged due to the consumption of gluten. Some other challenges with gluten is it can cause bloating, constipation, fatigue, psoriasis and iron-deficiency anemia too.

So, before you reach out for some vegan bacon or a Morning Star griller, check out the labels to see how much soy and/or gluten they contain. The answer just may surprise you.

9.Store-Bought Smoothies

Smoothies are a quick and convenient way to "drink your fruits and veggies". The challenge that comes with a lot of them is one, we tend to consume 20-24 ounces per sitting (that's a lot) and two, if we buy them at a store, the amount of sugar and carbs can be literally off the charts!

Something else that a lot of people don't know is although a lot of the fruit in smoothies contains fiber, because it's close to liquified, having one smoothie typically makes you hungrier in a shorter period of time than if you ate a whole piece of fruit.

Long story short, if you're looking to lose weight, a smoothie a day will not automatically or necessarily keep the sugar content or fat cells at bay. (Yeah, this is another kind of food that you'd be better off making at home.)

10.Gluten-Free Foods

OK, so we already touched on where too much gluten will get you. Now check out what having none has the potential to do. Aside from going vegan, probably the most popular health trend is eating gluten-free. However, CNN recently published an article that this trend isn't the best idea for everybody. And with good reason.

While one study revealed that going gluten-free can actually be bad for your heart over time, other data supports that a lot of foods that don't contain gluten are loaded with fillers that are no more than junk. Also, your diet needs to be comprised of about 50 percent carbohydrates, which is what gluten contains. So, when it comes to this final unhealthy healthy food, it's much smarter to eat healthy than to decide to kick carbs altogether. Feel me?

Yeah, this was a lot. But now that you have the knowledge that you do, hopefully you'll rethink buying something just because it's packaged—which means marketed—as being healthy. Eat wisely, y'all.

Want more stories like this? Check out these xoNecole related reads:

9 Healthy Breakfast Dishes For Women On-The-Go

My Obsession With My Health

10 Foods You Should Eliminate From Your Diet If You're Trying To Lose Weight

Featured image by Getty Images

Five Things To Know Before Becoming A Dog Mom

This post is in partnership with Blue Buffalo.

So you’re thinking about becoming a dog mom? We love that for you! Having a happy, furry friend to greet you at the door each day, cuddle up on the couch with, and keep you in touch with the great outdoors is one of life’s greatest joys. And that’s before we get into all the cute puppy outfits there are to buy! But there are some key and non-negotiable things to know and consider before saying yes to bringing home a fur baby.

If having a pet is new to you, then naturally you might have tons of questions not only about how this new responsibility will transform your lifestyle, but also about how best to nurture your four-legged friend. Few things compare to the joy and companionship that a dog’s loyalty and love bring, but learning how to nurture and train them is a learning curve that requires equal parts preparation and patience. Once you find your rhythm, you and your furry new boo will form a bond that will add the brightest spark to your life.

If you ask any member of the canine crew you know, they’ll tell you they don't play about their babies! They’ll also probably give you a laundry list of things they wish they knew before bringing their new dog home for the first time. If you’re thinking about opening your doors to a new pup, there are a few things to prepare and assess. With the help of Blue Buffalo, a natural pet food brand trusted by millions of pet parents, we’ve rounded up five key things to know before joining the dog mom club.

1. Staying Active Is Key: Let’s keep it real — we all have days where we want nothing more than a 24-hour Netflix binge fest from the comfort of our couch. That’s especially true on a day where the weather is trash. We feel you on that. However, dog moms should make it a point to keep their pups active each day. Influencer Dynasti Hunt considers her Goldendoodle Aiden part of the family, and she loves to find creative ways to keep him moving rain or shine. “Aiden and I have realized the importance of staying active at home, even when the weather is bad outside,” says Dynasti, who loves spontaneous yoga and dance sessions with her adorable doggie.

2. Keep An Eye On Their Diets: Just like humans, our pals have to maintain a healthy, balanced diet in order to live long and quality lives. You might find it easy to tell what’s healthy to eat for yourself, but it can be a bit trickier to know the difference when it comes to pet food. Just because you see a product label with the words vegetarian, grain-free, or certified organic doesn’t automatically mean it’s the healthiest for your buddy at this particular stage in their life. Finding a trusted pet food brand like Blue Buffalo is key. They offer recipes for specific breed sizes, life stages, needs and preferences — this definitely comes in handy for picky eaters or dietary restrictions. For example, Aiden Da Doodle is allergic to chicken-based products, and thankfully BLUE allows Dynasti to choose from a variety of products that are formulated without chicken.

3: Use Treats Creatively: Are doggie treats the golden ticket to getting your pooch to act right? Yes, but they’re also good for so much more. Treats are great tools for positive reinforcement, whether you’re trying to potty train a young puppy or get them to learn tricks. Influencer Sauve Xavier, an Instagram comedian, who has gained over a million Instagram followers for his hilarious videos with his Dobermans Knox and Bear, says he plans clever scavenger hunts around his house as an incentive to keep his dogs active and challenged. Using BLUE Treats made with healthy ingredients, he’s able to dish out rewards without feeling guilty. Take it from the guy who can actually get his dog to help with chores.

4. Know That Planning Ahead Is Everything: If you are a first-time dog mom or thinking about becoming one, keeping your buddy on a schedule is going to be key. For example, potty-training puppies need to be walked every few hours so that you can keep the habit of going outside in and the possibility of them peeing on your precious rugs out. Most pets also need to be fed twice a day (morning and night.) What does this spell? Sacrifice. You’ll need to be present and arrive home in time to keep your dog’s routine going. So know that you won’t be able to indulge in spontaneous plans the way you might have before. This is most certainly a lifestyle change if you’re used to coming and going as you please, but the reward of raising a well-behaved pup is well worth it. You might also want to think about how you can recruit your partner, roommate, friends, or family to share in the responsibilities for those days when life happens and you’re ever in need of a little dog sitting help. You can also search the web for hired help if you’re in a pinch. Remember — it takes a village to raise a child (even a barking one)! Pro tip: Download the Buddies by Blue Buffalo app to get advice and tricks and plan for your pet parenthood adventures ahead.

5. Research Dog-Friendly Activities in Your Area: As you move about through life, you’ll find yourself looking for more and more dog-friendly places to go and things to do beyond just the local dog parks. Round up a list of bars, breweries, brunch spots, and shopping centers that welcome pups into their establishments. This will allow you to make the most of your days while being able to bring your pup along for the ride. It’ll also create opportunities for you to meet up with other dog moms and dads and arrange future play dates (or real dates with a fellow dog parent? Who knows)!

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