I have an amazing community in a Facebook group who are positive, motivational, inspirational, supportive, and all striving to become a better version of themselves. I started the group 4 years ago and it is one of my favorites groups.
It’s a safe place to share struggles and triumphs and we always encourage every member to be open and honest. We also don’t judge or discriminate as we are all such different people.
Since health and weight loss are highly affected by nutrition, every week we run a nutrition challenge as a group. There are 8 challenges that run a total of 9 weeks. And then we repeat. The best thing about this process is that you can see progress from one challenge every 9 weeks. For example, one of the weeks is AVOID DAIRY.
When I first started the group, I wanted to be dairy-free, but was still having it 2-3 times each week. Even though my goal was always 7 days dairy-free, I would still have it a few times a week. After a few 9 week rounds, my dairy started going down to 1-2 times a week, and then to once a week. I eventually succeeded with my goal of 7 days without dairy!! Baby steps (of course) but in the end I accomplished what I set out to do. And as most of you know, I am now 100% dairy-free and have been since the beginning of the year.
Now if you don’t WANT to do all 7 days, you can set your OWN goal. For example, one of our weeks is AVOID SUGAR. I for sure want to cut down on sugar, but I like to have a treat now and then, and I love oatmeal with PB and Grade B Maple Syrup. So my goal is for sure to cut down, but not necessarily to cut it out. So I look at my week ahead and my activities and decide how many days I want to aim for. It’s usually 5.
I like to do the challenges from least to most difficult for most people so that we see some successes before the struggles set in.
Today we will talk about WEEK #7: AVOID ARTIFICIAL CRAP: Artificial Flavors
I like to group all artificial stuff into one challenge. CRAP = sweeteners, colors, flavors, etc. Basically anything artificial that is in our foods…which is WAY more than we think. In fact, there are many labels that read: natural and artificial flavors (colors, etc) so foods we think are all natural, actually have a mixture of natural AND artificial crap min them…BUMMER!!!
So this challenge is truly a challenge. Label reading is the key to getting this right.
There are so many artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors out there, I am going to divide this article into 3 parts…second up is artificial flavors.
Many of the processed foods that we buy today come with an ingredient label that lists “artificial flavors” as one of the key ingredients. Artificial flavors are simply chemical mixtures that mimic a natural flavor in some way.
Something you may not know is that both “natural” and “artificial” flavorings are bad for your health!
The only real difference between the two is the origin of the chemicals. Natural flavors are usually created from anything that is edible, while artificial flavors come from ingredients that are not edible.
Although natural flavors sound better, they can still be processed in labs and other chemicals can be combined to imitate real flavors. Currently, “natural” is too vague of a definition and is not closely monitored in the food industry. Don’t rely on the term natural when reading your labels. Use common sense when buying your food, avoid processed foods, read the label and buy products with ingredients that you recognize. Avoid any kind of flavoring, but if you must choose between the two, choose natural.
And again, an easy trick is to eat whole, real foods like fruit, veggies, and grains. Then you don’t have to read labels!! If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, your body PROBABLY won’t like it!
Here is an article I like on natural and artificial flavors…
And here are some comments from participants…
“I didn’t realize I was eating so much crap until I started reading labels. Thanks for making me aware of this!”
“My son gets a headache every time he eats anything artificial, so this challenge is helping our entire family.”
Here are deets on the avoiding artificial crap challenge…
And join us for info, articles, support, accountability, and education here…
And EAT MORE WHOLE FOODS today…
See you SOON!