Guest Writers, What's Cookin?

Four Simple Tips to Healthy Eating

2 Comments 21 October 2011

guest post by Gabriela

Have you noticed how often foods are labelled “healthy” these days?

In fact, I would venture so far as to say that now that we all know that natural means absolutely nothing anymore, marketers have gone and found a new word to entice us so-called conscientious buyers to purchase their products.

And that word is healthy.

For truly healthy and natural meals, the way to go is to cook everything from scratch. 

Of course most of us would love to have the time, energy and gumption to do that. But let’s face it: it simply doesn’t happen.

For those hoping to eat healthy while buying meals in the ready-made section of the supermarket, it’s important to remember that just because a food is labelled as good for you doesn’t mean it will boost your immune system, enhance your brain power or energize you.

However, it is possible to eat relatively healthily at any budget and no matter how busy we get.

Really what this all comes down to is educating ourselves and making the best choices within the realm of what’s possible in every individual situation.

There are a few ways to ensure that even when the food on our plates was prepared by someone else, we’re making the best choices for ourselves and our families.

  • Firstly, there is what I like to call the Rule of Thumb: when you’re looking at the list of ingredients of any product, if it is longer than your thumbnail, you probably won’t want to eat it. When you think about it, how many ingredients go into the meals you cook at home?
  • Secondly, there is the Rule of Semantics: if you don’t understand an ingredient, chances are your body won’t know what to do with it either.
  • Thirdly, I like to Rule Out: there are certain things that are simply not part of our food repertoire as a family. GMOs, for example, are not welcome in our house– so we’ve banished most mainstream, non-organic soy and corn products. We try to eat as humanely as possible, which means that we stay away from factory-farmed anything.
  • Lastly, though organic and local produce can be more expensive, we eat as much of it as we can afford. It’s important to know what fruits and veggies are worth investing in: for example, I will buy conventionally grown avocados but apples and celery are always organic.

When checking out foods and household products, I like to consult the Environmental Working Group website.

It’s a great resource for finding
out basically anything you need to know about toxins, pesticides, and other nasties in everything from sunscreen to wet wipes.

They have also put out a list of produce in terms of what is more pesticide-heavy and what is safer to eat non-organic.

Remember: nobody is perfect, and that includes our diets, but let’s do what we can to stay truly healthy – not because we are marketed health, but because we feel great!

I’d love to hear from the readers of Bring Birth Home! What are some of the tricks you use to ensure your family gets the healthiest food possible?


As a result of multiple health challenges, Gabriela left a lucrative career in television production to become a Holistic Health Consultant, writer and, most recently, a mother. These days, when she in not blogging about health, working on new and delicious recipes or spending time with her family, Gabriela is leading workshops and writing about nutrition both on and off the plate. She lives in New York City with her husband and baby girl as well as on the web at The Picky Foodie.

Your Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Jeremy says:

    I hear you! There’s another word food scientists like to throw around: NATURAL.

    Just because something has natural ingredients in it does not make it healthy. That is, highly processed foods with natural ingredients does not make for a healthy meal, though this is certainly better than some chemical-laden junk.

    What do we do to as far as diet to be healthy?
    Buy mostly whole foods. My attitude is the fewer ingredients the better. In other words, an apple is better than applesauce (although when I make my own it’s just apples and a touch of water).

    Lots of greens.

    Mostly organic. Do you know about the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15? My wife has an awesome post listing these:

    Healthy snacks. We lean towards fruit, nuts and nut-crackers and occasional potato chips. I’m not really down with all the little goldfish crackers and carby foods, especially for my daughter. Even if they are organic, it just seems like empty carbs with little nutrition. I consider these a treat, not a snack, though I see most parents at the park seem to consider these standard fare.

    I agree, it’s work eating healthy sometimes…Especially preparing 90% of our meals. It’s worth it though.

  2. Trbobitch says:

    Don’t forget the many alternate identities of MSG (particularly, Yeast Extract, which can be listed as “natural):

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