Happy New Year!
I hope you’re well on your way to reaching your goals and resolutions. This year, Peter and I have set a goal to help more of our fellow entrepreneurs improve their health and well-being while running their business.
In order to do so, I had to find out what things are keeping them from reaching their goals.
So, being the foodie I am…
I wanted to start with food!
Once I dove in, I found diet was a big part of the problem. It was causing extra weight and lack of productivity. I reached out to some of my friends and used Facebook groups to gather up some research.
From that research I found that entrepreneurs have some serious goals about getting healthy in 2016, and some unhealthy foods they want to remove from their diet.
I polled 100 entrepreneurs and found 11 of the most popular foods they want to kick in the year ahead. Below I’ll share some ideas for how to easily replace them.
Top Foods to Kick in 2016
#1 – Bread
I heard carbs, baguettes, buns, rolls, and sandwich bread. Just too many grains in general. The problem with grains in any form is that they’re harder to digest and don’t have many nutrients. A lot of time they leave you bloated and unsatisfied.
Try this: Try to limit your “bread” to once a day, instead of having grains (what bread is made out of) at every meal. For breakfast, rather than a piece of toast, have a green smoothie. Instead of a sandwich at lunch, have collard wraps. Or, skip the wheat pasta for dinner and give black bean pasta a try instead… It’s delicious.
#2 – Cheese
Fancy cheese, nacho cheese, cheese & chips – entrepreneurs are seriously addicted to this stuff! And well, I’m not too surprised.
Before I switched to a dairy-free diet 5 years ago I was definitely into the stuff as well:) And it’s really not surprising that studies are showing cheese is just as addictive as hard drugs.
I found this explanation about the why (why is the stuff so hard to kick?) in the LA Times…
“Cheese happens to be especially addictive because of an ingredient called casein, a protein found in all milk products. During digestion, casein releases opiates called casomorphins. Casomorphins really play with the dopamine receptors and trigger that addictive element”.
Try this: Stop buying the stuff. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh, but it worked for us. Or you could try some of the non-dairy cheeses on the market, they’re actually pretty good. They’ve come a long way in the last few years. We share the best alternatives + how to live cheese free in this podcast.
#3 – Chips
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos came up a number of times… Really? So I had to Google them because I don’t know I’ve ever had that flavor.
I was a little worried when the Google search results popped up with: Why Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are sending kids to the ER… Come on guys, that’s good enough reason to give them up… Right?
Other chips that came up were: Tortilla chips (my weakness as well), Lays potato chips and any chips that are salty and crunchy (pretty sure that’s all of them)!
Try this: Only buy them when you plan on eating them. Don’t keep a bag of chips at your house at all times, or you’ll always be eating them. Try to find a more natural alternative, one that doesn’t include red dye 40. We really like the brand Beanitos (they have an amazing BBQ flavor). Or Jackson’s Honest, they use coconut oil on their chips, which we love and they have a nice website.
#4 – Coffee
This is a funny one, because it has a love-hate kind of thing going on. I heard things like “I’m addicted to it, it makes me more productive, but I hate relying on it”.
Personally, I gave up coffee a few years back. Recently I had a cup after it’d been a few years, and boy did it do a number on my stomach. I felt heavy and weighed down.
Coffee is alright in moderation, but if you’re using it as energy you’re asking for trouble.
When you drink coffee you get an instant burst of caffeine, often followed by jitters and a then a crash. You have to keep increasing your consumption to get that buzz, and that can wreck havoc on your adrenal glans over time.
Try this: Start by cutting back, first the size and then the frequency. Try adding other natural low-caffeine options such as green tea, or Yerba Matè.
#5 – Soda & Diet Soda
Everyone knows soda is a no-no. I feel like this needs no explanation as it’s just sugar and empty calories. I was surprised seeing a lot of people said diet soda is an issue. I myself used to be a big fan of diet coke, but the chemicals in the stuff are flat out scary.
Try this: Stop buying soda and only have it on special occasions. If you really want to kick the habit (and I hope you do), try healthier alternatives like Zevia (soda sweetened with stevia, which is a plant!), or my personal favorite Kombucha.
#6 – Sugar
This is one everyone could work on. Here in America, on average, we eat roughly 22 teaspoons a day. It’s recommended that we have no more than 6! Yeah, I’d say this should be on everyone’s list.
Sugar is another one of the super addicting foods on this list, and studies are linking sugar to more and more diseases every day.
Try this: Start reading packages, limit dessert to 2-3 times a week and start making your own food – this way you can control the ingredients. If you’re curious how we justify sugar, you can read about it here.
#7 – Wine
Wine, Wine, Wine! This one came from all ladies:)
Well, wine contains sugar, so just see above.
That being said, if you’re going to drink, I think organic wine is the best option. However, it’s not a health promoting food, as much as wine companies like to promote it as such, it should be an occasional treat not a method for relaxation.
Try this: Pick 1-2 nights where you indulge, have a glass of wine with your dinner. On other nights, try a yoga class, go for a run or take a bath – use the time you’d usually have a glass and fill it with something else you enjoy.
#8 – French Fries
French fries, a weakness for sure. I think this one ties back to eating out because I have a hard time believing entrepreneurs are making french fries at home?
I should have asked, but here’s the thing… fries are usually made from white potatoes, salt and oil (cheap oil), so there aren’t really any positive nutrients going on. No nutrients means empty calories, and most likely, over-eating.
Try this: Sweet potato fries, these have more nutrients and taste just as good. Stop eating out, if you cook more of your own food, I guarantee you’ll lose weight and save money!
#9 – Ice Cream
This one brought up some good memories from my teenage years. All I have to say is Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked.
That exact ice cream came up a few times.
One look at the ingredient list and I knew, yep, it has to go! The first ingredients are: Dairy, Sugar, Gluten, Natural Flavors, Artificial Flavors… So pretty much everything that we’ve learned isn’t so healthy, is in this ice cream!
Try this: So Delicious Cookie Dough… That’s it.
#10 – Popcorn
Movie Theater popcorn, with all the butter! Hmm, I can’t remember the last time I went to the movie theater, who has time for that?!
With popcorn, you really have to watch out for GMO’s. Corn is heavily covered in pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers – so you should absolutely get organic popcorn. I don’t know of any movie theaters that serve organic popcorn, then again, I haven’t been to the movies in ages.
Try this: Make your own, find organic kernels at the grocery store and make it on your stove.
#11 – Pizza
Pizza?! That’s something that I’m sure as heck not giving up…
But at least 10 people said it was a big one for them. Pizza can be pretty darn bad for you, if you go the traditional route with cheese, meat and gluten.
However, these days you can get a pizza however you like, the options are endless. I would recommend tidying up your order rather than cutting it out all together.
Try this: Make it at home. You can make the same pizza at home as you would order out, and it’s going to have less calories, oil and fat. Or, try limiting your pizza intake to once a month, going gluten-free or… skipping the cheese. I promise the pizza without cheese is still pizza, just make sure you add some extra toppings.
So there you have it, the top 11 foods busy professionals want to cut out this year.
I think some of these foods really need to go, where others could be limited or just modified. I for one am not giving up my chocolate or pizza.
One thing that really helps Peter and I eat clean and take care of ourselves is starting our day on a healthy note, We find we don’t crave sweets or carbs as much.
It’s including something as simple as a green juice or smoothie first thing in the morning.
If you’re interested in cleaning up your diet, check out our Morning Makeover 5-Day Challenge. It’s free and a great way to start making some healthy changes to your diet.
One Last Thought: Little changes add up. Start small, but get started right away.