Top 5 Ingredients To Avoid + Healthy Food Swaps

I'm Cait Crowell

I'm a Colorado-based girl who turned my passion for nutrition into a multiple 6 figure business. I love gluten free pizza, outdoor adventures, going down research rabbit holes, and being honest AF. I'm here to help you master your health and your business, one day at a time. 

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Simplifying the complex world of functional nutrition

There’s SO MUCH NOISE these days around what to eat, what not to eat, “Good food”, “Bad food” and everything in between. But how can you parse through that information and get to the truth? How can you find sound information and apply it to your normal, everyday life without going crazy and feeling like you can’t eat anything without serious risk?

Today I’m going to be sharing with you the top 5 ingredients I try to avoid at all costs for optimal health, and some healthy food swaps you can implement to your daily routine for a vibrant life.

Let me start this off by saying I don’t think there should ever be fear created around the food we choose to eat. Fear mongering in the holistic health space is at an all-time high and I definitely don’t want to be on the list of crazy bloggers/NTP’s who is scaring the living daylights out of people for their food choices. My goal is to empower you to empower yourselves to make healthy choices that make you and your body feel GREAT! Most of you come here to learn and better yourselves, and that is the sole purpose of this blog post- not to SCARE you away from certain foods.

There are harsh truths about some man-made food additives/ingredients that have been proven to contribute to chronic disease when consumed consistently over time. The ingredients below are things you may want to be aware of the next time you go to your local grocery store and grab food wrapped in packaging shouting, “Healthy! Gluten Free! Organic! GMO Free! Heart Healthy!”

All of you reading this have taken the journey into learning more about your body and how to support optimal function, but the damn marketing industry is SO GOOD at tricking us into buying foods that APPEAR healthy for us, but are commonly still full of crap ingredients. I always tell my clients and followers the INGREDIENTS list is much more important than anything else on packaged foods- start there first!

Top 5 Ingredients To Avoid

  1. Artificial Food Colorings/Dyes: This is one of the most common chemical food additives you’ll find in most processed foods. They can be found on a food label written as “blue #1, blue #2, cirtus red #2, green #3, red #3, red #40, yellow #5, yellow #6”. These dyes are created synthetically from coal tar and often from petroleum byproducts like tartrazine and erythrosine. Artificial colorings are one of the most common chemical sensitivities I see on MRT food sensitivity tests with my one-on-one clients and they often times contribute to poor digestive function. In children, these artificial food colorings have been commonly related to behavior disorders like ADD/ADHD and places outside the US like the EU has completely outlawed these ingredients because of this.
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup: This ingredient kind of goes without saying at this point. Too much sugar of any kind can be damaging to the body’s many systems, but HFCS is a bit different. We all know the damage corn syrup + corn syrup byproducts can cause in the human body: diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, etc. Even though HFCS is chemically similar to glucose, “HFCS adds unnatural amounts of fructose to your diet, which the human body has not evolved to handle properly” according to healthline. HFCS has many names: Maize syrup, Glucose syrup, Glucose/fructose syrup, Tapioca syrup, Fruit fructose, Crystalline fructose, HFCS, Fructose
  3. Canola/soy/vegetable oils: Canola oil was created in the 1970’s by scientists during the “war on saturated fats” where the sugar industry was paying scientists for studies that linked fats to heart disease (source). Since saturated fats became “the enemy”, demands for canola oil went through the roof. Little did the public know, canola oil is laden with GMO’s + pesticides, chemical solvents, and harmful trans fats. Canola oil has been linked to various health problems such as inflammation, stroke, Alzheimers, memory problems, asthma and lung inflammation. If you haven’t yet seen how canola oil is made, you might be interested in the video at the bottom of this section. It will blow your mind!
  4. Artificial Sweeteners: We know too much sugar can damage the body on a cellular level, but what about artificial sweeteners like Nutrasweet, Equal, Sweet ‘N Low, Sugar Twin, and Splenda? These sugar-imposters are often chemically derived and can be up to 20,000 times sweeter than regular sugar but contain little to no calories. These sneaky ingredients can affect our pleasure centers of the brain and may cause us to continue to crave sweet foods even though we are not consuming actual sugar. If you’re trying to cut sugar, these products will not help you break the habit. Also, these chemicals (saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), sucralose, neotame, and advantame) may have possible negative affects on appetite and weight gain, brain function, insulin and blood sugar, and the gut microbiome.
  5. Nitrates/Nitrites as preservatives: According to Applegate, “Nitrates (NO3) are chemical compounds created during photosynthesis. When nitrates combine with certain bacteria they break down into nitrites. Sodium nitrate was first found in mines, and for centuries people used this salt-like material to preserve meat. In the early 1900’s, scientists discovered how to make sodium nitrite synthetically. Since this factory process was easily standardized, synthetic nitrite became popular. Today, these industrial chemicals are also used in products like fertilizer, pyrotechnics and rocket propellant, and can contain heavy metals, arsenic and lead.” Nitrates/Nitrites are considered hazardous (source), might react with dietary amines to form carcinogenic nitrosamines (source), have been linked to heart disease (source), and stomach cancer (source).

The Terrifying Process Of How Canola Oil Is Made:

How can we make better choices?

First and foremost, always read your ingredients list first! Next, use the chart below! I’ve created this chart as a cheat-sheet to finding high-quality products at Natural Grocers for some simple, healthy swaps! I shop at Natural Grocers because I can trust that they’ve done the homework for me. I know that I’ll rarely if ever find the ingredients listed above in their products, along with thousands of other harmful ingredients. Check out their list of things they won’t carry. It’s LONG:  The Things We Won’t Carry and Why

This post is sponsored and paid for by Natural Grocers, a local grocery store I visit frequently and truly love! All opinions are my own.

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