5 Healthy Words Advertisers Are Using Against You

Photo by  Bernard Hermant  on  Unsplash   Cover Design by Amy Beth Bolden.

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

Cover Design by Amy Beth Bolden.

If you’ve read up about me on my website, you’ll know that I have a background in graphic design & advertising. Before moving to Colorado, I made a living designing advertisements for a corporate newspaper, built regional magazines, and even created billboards for museums, banks, and regional events.

It’s true. Check out my old design portfolio on Behance.

This was me in 2015 at the ADDY awards while working in Corporate as a Graphic Designer.

This was me in 2015 at the ADDY awards while working in Corporate as a Graphic Designer.

With this background, I’ve learned enough about the goal of what advertising is used for: making money. Companies are getting smarter about how to advertise certain ideas and labels to us that may or may not be truthful. Most of the time we don’t even notice. Qualifications like, “non-GMO,” “Organic,” and “Natural” have blinded us to the fact that most of what’s behind that cardboard box or plastic wrapping is fake, cheap, & easy.

Those definitely aren’t labels I’d tag as descriptions of my husband, nor the kind of lifestyle I want to lead.

I decided to go undercover to rediscover the meanings on these popular labels slapped on products you see all over US groceries stores so we could understand what to be aware of.


1. Non-GMO

The googled answer for what Non-GMO’s are is, “Non-GMO means non-Genetically Modified Organisms. GMOs are novel organisms created in a laboratory using genetic modification/engineering techniques. Scientists and consumer & environmental groups have cited many health and environmental risks with foods containing GMOs.”

Keep in mind, non-GMO is a claim that is loosely regulated… which means it’s not promising, at least according to US Standards. There are currently moves to make this label a requirement on all foods, GMO & Non-GMO alike.

Anything that says it’s non-GMO is also considered organic. Which leads to my next definition.


2. Organic:

When you hear this word, do you think that your food will be automatically healthier, or do you question if it’s even worth the money?

USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.” (usda.gov)

This means that non-gmo seeds were used in soil free of synthetic chemicals and additives. However, this does not mean that organic foods are pesticide free. Organic certified farmers are only allowed to use pesticides up to the government’s organic standards.

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3. Natural:

This is a overused word marketers use to depict a “fresh” product. If you ask me, I don’t think there’s anything natural about consuming food that comes in plastic or cardboard packaging. A food that is natural is a food that has undergone a minimum of processing or treatment with preservatives.

However, advertisers pull the rug from underneath you by claiming that parts of their product are natural while including some of those GMO, high calorie ingredients they failed to mention. It’s confusing to call a food natural if it still has high-fructose corn syrup in it, right?


4. Healthy:

If someone tells me those Nature Valley Granola Bars are healthy one more time, I just might hurl. Sorry, General Mills, but 11 grams of added GMO sugar does not qualify for a healthy breakfast, it just creates a sugar rush, crash, & burn. Don’t be fooled, vegan food can be just as unhealthy than most people believe, too.

So, what does healthy actually mean? Healthy Eating means eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals.

Where are you going to find those sort of foods with the variety you need? Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. There are many “healthy” options to choose from and make from these whole food sources.


5. No Sugar/Reduced Sugar:

Something that is claimed to be “sugar free” is required by FDA to contain less that 0.5 grams of sugar. However, what has happened is companies who claim their sugar-less eats are often using substitutes instead. I’m talking, sucralose, aspartame, maltodextrin, and even sacharin. Popular items like Pedialyte, Splenda, Yoplait, and even Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn are known to contain these chemically harmful substitutes.

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I have always believed that ignorance is bliss, but in the line of health: ignorance is ignorance. Maybe you weren’t taught these truths surrounding food and have a lot of learning to do like me, or maybe you enjoy being blind to the fact so your taste buds are satisfied. Either way, the truths still remain that whole foods are best and processed foods are not. You won’t find many of these misconceptions surrounding whether broccoli is healthy for you, I promise.

If you’re like me and need help in learning the How-To’s of switching over towards a greener & more sustainable lifestyle, check out the Realistic Holistic 6 Week Course or schedule a FREE consultation with me.

I’m here to walk you through this.

Are You a Micro-Macro-Manager?

We’ve all been there: standing confused in the grocery store reading ingredient labels on the packaged food we think we need. Protein, fiber, and carbohydrates in grams-per-serving trick us into thinking there’s not enough or too much as we decide, “to buy or not to buy?” That is the real question.

You don’t see me in the grocery store confused if veggies are good for me…

You don’t see me in the grocery store confused if veggies are good for me…

For years, diet-culture has trained us to look at macro-nutrients as the next big thing we should consume (or avoid) in order to host a leaner figure. Advertisers over sell audiences in outrageous proportions and have confused the modern consumer about what is healthy and how much of what we should be eating. When did it become so complicated? Another real question.

[In Usher Voice] These are my confessions of a former “Micro-Macro-Manger:”

Calories. For some, these are numbers to live by, and for others they’re the bane of our existence. While science will forever remain true to “calories-in-calories-out,” the types of calories we actually need to thrive are hardly emphasized.

Since my later college years, it seemed that I was rotating through diets emphasizing different nutrients that were supposedly “good & bad” for me. One day, I’m not allowing myself potatoes and the next week I eating lots of potatoes. One month I’m giving up all sugar, and the next month I’m adding tons of protein. It seems like a 100-yard dash to the next faddy food craze these days, if you ask me.

Even though I’ve gone yo-yo for fad-diets in the past, I’ve learned more about the food I’m consuming and have switched over to a more intuitive & sustainable way of living allowing me to have what I’ve always wanted:
Freedom from Food.

The start of something tasty.

The start of something tasty.

A calorie is not JUST a calorie.

“Calories in, calories out,” they say, but counting a perfect amount of calories doesn’t make that idea a true assessment of healthy gains. Just focusing on the calorie content of foods and disregarding the metabolic effects they have is a highly flawed way of thinking. (HealthLine.com) All calories are not created equal, in fact there are many different factors to health other than your consumption of a certain amount of calories.

No food label, no problem.

You know that one area of the grocery store called the “produce section?” Most of the food you’ll find in that area doesn’t even have a food label. That’s because it doesn’t need one. An apple is simply an apple, but contains all the macro & micro-nutrients in order for the body to process it thoroughly. When eating whole food sources, there’s no need to count exactly what you’re eating because plant synergy works together and your body knows what to do with it.

Bell Peppers are easy whole foods to add to any veggie-heavy dish!

Bell Peppers are easy whole foods to add to any veggie-heavy dish!

Let go of that stressful thinking.

Does counting your food intake give you hives? Are you worried about what your next meal will look like? Is going out to social gatherings something you have to strategically plan for? Then you might be a micro-macro-manager. While there are exceptions to precise eating (i.e. body building), I don’t believe that we were created to count calories and macro-nutrients as a lifestyle. For some people, the simple diligence of counting your intake can encourage eating disorders & obsessive behavior. Been there, done that, and it’s kinda stressful. Your mental health is vital for body changes. Don’t take your intake TOO seriously.

A real life picture of me NOT counting calories or macros.

A real life picture of me NOT counting calories or macros.

So what should you be looking for on packaged food labels? First of all, stick with whole foods as much as possible. If you must get something packaged (like pasta, plant-based milk, and vegan-extras), instead of counting the grams of proteins & carbs, make sure the ingredients are what they say they are, and avoid overly processed ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, enriched flour, MSG, and make sure to buy the non-GMO stuff.

Still deciding if you need to continue Micro-Macro-Managing as a daily practice?

Check out these three questions from FitnessBlender.com:

  • Is it sustainable?

  • Does it make you feel good; energetic and healthy and like your best self?

  • Does it interfere with your quality of life or cause you stress? For instance, during a dinner out with friends, would you find yourself stressing out while eating foods that you haven't had a chance to calculate values for, or don't know the macro breakdown of?

Mindfulness matters.

XO,

Amy Beth

**Professional side note: I know there is a lot to cover on the topic of nutrients and how food affects our bodies. Not only does each food interact with our bodies differently, each of our bodies interacts with food differently. Hormone levels, genetics, and environment play a big factor into how are bodies interact with food. So if you’re at your wits end of “healthy solutions,” please see a super-duper professional who can help you get educated on your own body. Physical awareness is a big step in the right direction.

Schedule a FREE consultation with me if you need a place to start.

Supplement + Nutrition Labels 101

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A Few Things to know about Supplement & Nutrition Labels

A few years ago I was trying to do that "weight-loss thing" which meant I tried anything I could just to shed a few pounds. This included a strategic regimen of products that were all replacing "what I was not getting in my food."

While I was reminded to eat colorful meals when I wasn’t drinking my meal-replacement shakes & teas and was encouraged to consistently work out, I was also was led to believe that these weight loss products would be the key to my success.

Naturally trusting the best in people, I assumed that what I was being told was valid and that I shouldn’t worry too much. So, I didn’t because I really just wanted to look better in my clothes. The real problem with this was that I had never actually looked into quality of these products further than what my friend was telling me. With my uneducated decision, I started using them unknowingly causing more harm to my body than good. Did they work? Heck yes they worked, and I looked good on the outside, too.

That lack of personal research & cold turkey weaning of those healthy-ish products back in 2015 led me to my 50 pound weight gain over the span of 4 months where I was left to pick up the pieces of a failed goal.

While the goal of losing weight is never a bad thing, the way in which we attempt that goal can be even more detrimental to our health than what was originally intended, especially if not fully understood. It wasn't until I was introduced to & educated on whole food nutrition that my eyes started to open up to the idea of a whole-hearted "health & wellness" lifestyle.

After some professional education on how our bodies receive & process what we feed them, I was shocked to learn that I had not been told this information that could’ve saved me from such a tremendous rebound effect I had gotten myself into with the the "health regimine" I had been reccommended & products I had been consuming.

While I'm not completely against the idea of supplements or technology that helps in achieving our health goals, I am not for under-researched, over-processed products that are going to cause harm to our bodies in the long term.

What I am for is bioavailable, whole food sources of nutrients.

SO. What's the difference between a "Supplement" & "Nutrition" label, and how can I know that it's safe to consume?

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1. Read the Label. Like, read the back of the item, not the just Advertised "value" on the front

Coming from an advertising background, I understand the psychology behind tricks companies pull when it comes to catching the consumer's attention. There's lots of nutrition-ism's out there bombarding our brains with "kinda true" information, but if you look at the label on the back, that's where the real story is told...most of the time. For instance, did you know that cereals, dressings, and even dairy products are some of the most popular places sugar & other additives like to hide? Yet, companies promote “high fiber” in order to cover the truth up, and we are quick to fall for faulty ads. "High fiber/High sugar cereal?" You're basically asking for a trip to the toilet! All in all, make sure what you’re reading on the front matches the nutrition label on the back. If it's promoting healthy food, then it needs to be simple and readable ingredients.

2. Nutrition Labels indicate FOOD

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The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of food ingredients that have been tested and determined to be 'Generally regarded as Safe.' If a product uses ingredients that are on that list in quantities determined to be safe by the FDA, then the product is considered a food and can be labeled with a Nutrition Facts label. However, if a product uses ingredients that are NOT regarded as safe or in the quantities have not been determined to be safe, then they are generally labeled with a Supplement Facts label. That’s scary, but that just means whole foods are the best foods.

3. What research can be found about your supplements & products showing they are bioavailable?

What do I mean by "research?" I mean, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, tested on the product itself, human clinical trials, published in peer-reviewed journals, ETHICAL research. For real. What does your supplement regimen have to back it up that it actually WORKS? And if it doesn’t have research, who’s recommending this product to you? Have you looked into it yourself? Also, what do I mean by "bioavailable?" That means, does this product get into your body at a cellular level and make change. A LOT of supplemental products are just expensive pee because often if not, the body doesn't know how to process it.

4. The power is in the plate-- not the pill.

According to WebMD (and the health professionals I've worked with/learned from), "Vitamins and other dietary supplements are not intended to be a food substitute. They cannot replace all the nutrients and benefits of whole foods." That’s because our bodies know exactly what to do with the whole food that we're eating, and not so much when it’s an extracted, highly-concentrated supplement. If your struggling in your health, my first questions would be: “What are you eating? Are you eating the FDA recommended 7-13 servings of fruits and veggies a day to offset oxidative stress? Are you drinking the water your body needs to break down the food you're eating?” So while supplements have their place, food is number one!

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Are you like me? Not feeling the healthy "lifestyle" fads that people are talking about lately? Me neither.

Want to step out of the "overfed & undernourished" lifestyle? Try getting more of the good things into your body, and over time, your body will start to change for the better!

Need something to help jumpstart you into a better lifestyle: check out the clinical research on the Juice Plus+ whole food products. Inquire about Juice Plus+ by setting up a free consult on my calendar!

 

30 Day Omega Challenge

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In 2017, the Juice Plus+ company released their Plant Based Omega Blend capsules and I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Honestly, I had never been educated enough on the importance of omega nutrients until recent because food education had always surrounded the very basics of the Food Pyramid (which is out of date, btw). However, after educating myself further on the importance of omegas, how the are important to our functioning bodies, and also getting to try some for myself, I am confident that my body has been missing out for years.

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A couple of facts about Omegas & the body:

  • Omega 3’s support conditions like Asthma, Diabetes, some cancers, high cholesterols, & even depressive disorders. They also play an important role in brain function as well as may help fight cardiovascular disease.

  • Omega 5’s, which are rare in nature (but easily found in pomegranate), are shown to effectively fight off cancer cells in prostate & pancreatic cancers. This myristic acid also acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps to promote appropriate inflammation in the body.

  • Omega 6’s combined with Omega 3’s have some great health benefits, but this is often the one we get too much of.

  • Omega 7’s help regulate fat & blood sugar metabolism, and it helps promote faster healing and tissue recovery. Sea Buckthorn is shown to improve eczema, acne, oral, ulcers, stomach ulcers, and even vaginal health.

What’s awesome is that Juice Plus+ Omega Blend has 5 different types of essential omega oils!

Let me preface this before I get into the week-by-week transformation:

Back in middle school & high school, my skin was in terrible shape. It seemed that every week I was covering up a new blemish on my face, and it wasn’t until my senior year of college that my face finally started to even out… for a little bit. I tried all the things when it comes to healthy, glowing skin, but never was able to be consistent at them, nor did I have good results when I tried them. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I really started to take control of my what I was putting inside of my body that I started to notice a change in how my skin looked and felt.

Fast forward to our move to Colorado where my skin easily became dry and rashy that I started to see the need for some major help with my money-maker. Moving from the wetlands to the dry mountain air was a big shock for my skin, as I felt that I was having to put moisterizer on my face every few hours. It was time for another shift in my skin care routine where I began making the switch to a more holistic approach when it came to my face.

While I am still new to this whole “omega-thing,” I am positive that my outsides are reflecting what I put on the inside. Here is my 30 day journey with using plant based omegas.

***Disclaimer: This post is from experience, not professionally educated expertise. I am not a trained Esthetician nor do I have all the answers when it comes to my own skincare. I would recommend this 30 day challenge as a "once in a while" thing, not something to be done all the time. Sometimes are skin needs a little extra help, especially when you move from a humid environment to a very dry environment.

BEFORE:

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Okay, got to admit… this before picture is not taken in the best lighting. It was late, I was excited, and I wanted to remain true to how long I said I would add omegas into my routine.. So here it is. You can see that my cheeks, chin, & nose have the most redness. And you can’t tell from my not-so-well-lit photo, but I was beginning to see fine lines on my forehead. This is not a self-depreciation, just an observation.

So what’s the beauty routine?

At night, I would wash my face with Coconut Oil, use the Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner, and follow up with the Juice Plus+ Omega blend oil as a leave-on mask. In the morning I washed my face with the BeautyCounter Charcoal Bar, Thayer’s toner, & BeautyCounter Countermatch Adaptive Moisturizer.

WEEK 1:

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Wow. So the redness in my cheeks has DEFINITELY gone down. I am also noticing that my face is starting to STAY moisturized, even as the weather gets colder and the wind becomes brisker outside. This is HUGE. I have been having issues getting my face to STAY moisturized, and wow… just wow.

WEEK 2:

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At this point, I have never felt more comfortable to NOT wear makeup out. While my skin isn’t perfect by any means, and I am starting to get some of that hormonal acne, I am still able to leave the house without thinking about my face. I am also noticing that my face is starting to firm up on my forehead, and the fine lines are starting to lessen. YES!

Week 3:

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That moment when you are really bad at selfies and don’t realize your eyes are closing. Awkward. However, I am still noticing significant changes in my skin. At this point, I have MAYBE worn makeup out of the house 2 or 3 times per week, and my night time routine is really starting to pay off. The redness is almost completely gone, and even though I have a few blemishes, they aren’t as severe or painful as before. This is awesome.

WEEK 4:

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I am SO glad I took pictures for this. Not only do I have firmer, glowing skin… I can also see some changes in my nails and hair too. After getting a major haircut for the first time in a while, I am noticing how quickly my hair grows without me noticing. However, my skin is the biggest transformation I am feeling & noticing.  If you are interested in your own 30 day Omega blend challenge OR have questions about what I'm doing, please send me a quick message or schedule a free consultation.

**Since this post, I have began a new process of transitioning to green beauty, if you have any suggestions on vegan makeup fit for sensitive skin, please shoot me a private message!