Recipe Idea Shop's Nutrition Labels:
Why Read Nutrition Labels? Get Healthy!
When I was around 30, I started to have quite a few distressing health symptoms. I would get weak, sweat profusely, feel sick to my stomach and feel like I was going to faint. I felt nauseous, so I didn't want to eat anything. I was thin—about 118 pounds and I'm 5 feet 5 inches tall—so I didn't think I could be diabetic.
Counting Exchanges Is Confusing
After my doctor determined that I was hypoglycemic, he sent me to a nutritionist to teach me how to manage my blood sugar levels. The nutritionist was excellent, but the diet was confusing and hard to follow. At that time, they were teaching "diabetic exchanges" and I had to have so many milk (dairy), bread, fat, meat, fruits and vegetables every day, spread out over 6 small meals. I couldn't eat a whole sandwich at one time. And I had to learn what counted as a serving of each of these categories.
The nutritionist also explained why reading nutrition labels is so important. I was surprised by all the chemicals that packaged foods contained. Did it stop me from eating them? I can't say that it did. I still ate my share of junk food. I think you become addicted to all this junk and it's a hard habit to break.
Cutting Out Fat Wasn't the Solution
I did make most of my foods from scratch, but I ate far too many calories. I cut my milk consumption back to 1% (instead of whole milk) to cut back on fat; I reduced how often I ate at fast-food restaurants; and I started to sauté my meats in water instead of oil. And I gained 2-5 pounds every year.
I found it so distressing. Until I was 30, I was able to eat anything I wanted and never gained a pound—even without exercising.
Dieting and Still Gaining Weight
I tried a few diets over the years and shed a few pounds here and there, but it would always come back, and my weight continued to rise. I ate what I thought was a healthy diet. Very little junk food, 3 meals plus 3 snacks a day, limited sugar and ate mostly whole foods. And I still gained weight.
Avoiding the Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
And then I learned how to cheat to keep from having symptoms. I could keep myself feeling well by combining a quick-acting food (like orange juice) with a slower-acting food (like fat-filled french fries). It prevented my symptoms but it caused other problems that I didn't know were happening. (So don't do what I did!)
This behavior went on for several years. Then, when I was 55, I had a heart attack. Luckily, I survived, but it hurt like hell. (And I'm NEVER doing that again.) The cardiologist put me on lots of medications, told me to take them or I'd die, and diagnosed me as diabetic (even though my A1C was only 6.8 (7 is generally considered diabetic).
What I Found Out
Even though I thought I was eating a healthful diet most of the time, I was not. I relied on tons of simple carbohydrates (i.e., not whole grains), lots of fat and too many animal products. My body couldn't handle all the fat and carbs and pretty soon I had fat globules floating around in my blood stream. The fat started to adhere to the arteries, narrowing the passage for blood, setting me up for a heart attack or stroke.
I also had chronic inflammation, which made it difficult to walk, especially after sitting for long periods of time. Did you know that inflammation is another cause of heart problems?
After my heart attack, I cut back on carbs and animal products, took my medications as prescribed, and started to walk. My medical numbers all came back to normal. In fact, they continue to be excellent.
I began to read every label, and watch my salt, fat, cholesterol, and carbs intake. But I still had pain in my joints.
My Solution: A Journal
I started to write down everything I was eating and how I felt after eating each food. It was a very enlightening process. Sometimes my reactions were immediate; sometimes they happened three days later! It's really hard to pinpoint cause and effect when reactions take so long to happen.
In the process, I discovered I am allergic to soy milk (it is the cause of most of my seasonal allergies, and severely exacerbated hay fever symptoms in the spring). I am super-sensitive to gluten—it not only gives me digestive issues, but it causes weird symptoms for me like hyper-ticklishness. And standard, commercial milk (A1 protein) makes my joints hurt. I stopped eating all three of these items—soy, gluten and commercial milk—and I slowly lost 35 pounds and regained my health.
I am still researching and testing the gluten problem. Until May 2016, I always got sick three days after eating commercially made (gluten) breads and other products, or if I ate something with a sauce that contains gluten. Lately, I have been wondering if it is a combination of foods that causes the problem, such as gluten + milk/cheese. I am still researching that idea.
Then odd thing is: I can make my own bread using Pillsbury Unbleached Wheat Flour and I don't get sick. If you have ideas about what is actually causing the problems, please email me your thoughts!
I still have about 20 pounds to lose to get back to a "normal" weight, and I am working losing it slowly.
Nutrition Labels With Every Recipe
Because nutrition is such a critical issue for choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, I include nutrition labels for every recipe on Recipe Idea Shop. I find it beneficial to know what each serving contains. I hope you do, too! Please read nutrition labels—get healthy.
For instance, take a look at the Roasted Sweet Potato Fries nutrition label below, and standard French Fries nutrition. Please comment below and let me know what you think about the nutrition labels. Are they helpful? What have you learned?