Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Only Natural

If I had a quarter for every time someone insisted that what they were eating was healthy because it's "natural," well, let's just say street parking would not be a problem for me.

Here are two thoughts about "natural" products:

1)  There is no-- I repeat, NO regulation on the word "natural" in products.  All it means is that some portion of the product, at some point in time, came from a natural source.  It sounds healthy and lovely and whatnot, but theoretically, one could claim that Pop-tarts are "made with natural ingredients," since they have wheat in them.

2)  A lot of things are natural.  Sugar is natural.  Lard is natural.  Arsenic is natural.  Just because it's natural doesn't mean you should ingest it.

Also, "natural" and "unprocessed" are two different things.  I like the latter.  As a general rule. the closer it is to nature, the better it is for you.  So, for instance, an apple is better than apple juice is better than Apple Jacks.  Stick with veggies (lots and lots of veggies!!), fruits and (preferably raw/sprouted) nuts, minimally processed, healthy oils like coconut, olive, and avocado, sprouted beans and grains, and, if you eat meat, organic, humanely-raised, naturally-fed meat.  If it comes in a box or a bag and has a lot of ingredients, chances are it's not as "natural" as you think it is.  

On a side note, "Granola" also does not equate to "healthy" most of the time.  Most granolas are extremely high in sugar, and if it's from one of the major cereal companies, chances are, it's also fairly highly processed.  So make sure you check labels and stick to low or no sugar granola with high-quality, minimally-processed ingredients. 

Questions?  Comments?  Post 'em here!


  1. What are your thoughts about processed protein shakes and the such. I know lots of runners like to use "recovery" drinks and what not, for me...after a long run my favorite drink is just plain chocolate milk. Sure it has sugar, but also lots of calcium, potassium, protein and carbs. I never use any powdered stuff, I do use things like GU and GU chomps when I'm doing long runs or rides. Just wondering.....thanks in advance!

  2. I actually use protein shakes a lot, but they're pretty unprocessed as far as these things go. I use Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer and Sun Power raw brown rice protein. Sun Power goes great in recipes, so I like making high protein pancakes with it on weekends. :)

  3. Thanks! Maybe I need to look into these a little more....maybe you could post a post about them?

  4. I did mention at least the Vega here: