Stop Counting Calories. Ingredients Matter.

Stop Counting Calories. Ingredients Matter.

Who else is over “hot girl summer”? 🙋‍♀️

This term, made viral by trending rapper Megan Thee Stallion in July 2019, was created to hype women up -- essentially telling them to be confident, and unapologetically themselves. We're all about confidence and being unapologetically bold, tenacious & resilient...But as sports editor, Amy Simon, wrote in her 2022 article: “the recurring goal of having a “hot girl summer” [has also encouraged healthy individuals to try] various ways of losing weight, whether it be from not eating, trying new diets, taking medication, or overworking our bodies with workout routines.” 

Clearly, this once encouraging phrase might have now taken on an additional meaning. Words have the power to perpetuate diet culture: a toxic concept that praises calorie restriction and focuses on appearance or in this case "hotness". Moreover, diet culture fuels the misconception that thinness is always better, and has played a detrimental role in the current eating disorder epidemic. According to NEDA (the National Eating Disorder Association), 30 million Americans are currently diagnosed with an eating disorder, and these mental illnesses are so severe that they kill an American every 52 minutes.

But that’s not all. Body dysmorphia and disordered eating (abnormal eating patterns that don’t fit all the criteria for an eating disorder) affect an even larger category of individuals. 42% of American girls between 1st and 3rd grade want to be thinner, and 81% of all 10 year olds are afraid of being fat. These toxic behaviors result in the shocking 75% of American women between 25-45 with disordered eating patterns.

But enough with this negative talk. Here, we want to focus on the HAES (Health at Every Size) movement and answer the question: Why is focusing on ingredients rather than calories the key to a long, healthy and happy life?

The HAES movement, founded in the 1960s, was the first monumental shift in how Americans viewed weight and its correlation with health. Rather than shaming fat and praising weight loss, supporters celebrated all body shapes/sizes and focused on the positive effects of healthy lifestyle behaviors, rather than weight loss. But many decades after HAES, our society is still struggling. In fact, one of the priorities of the movement, “eating for well-being,” is severely challenged by calorie counting and the low-fat movement.  It’s time to stop reading nutrition labels solely for calories, but instead for the ingredients that make up our foods. It's time to stop making wellness seem like a chore. We're here to simplify that, by taking the stress out of reading food labels.

While it’s terrifying, 80% of pre-packaged foods are loaded with potentially dangerous chemicals. In addition, the unhealthy levels of added sugar and sodium in these products are (literally) a killer combo. Low fat snacks pride themselves on taking out good healthy fats and replacing them with added sugar and random fillers. But as registered dietitian Alexis Joseph wrote, “Eating clean isn't a formula. It's not merely calories in and calories out. It's not 100 calorie snack packs, light "wheat" bread, and Fiber One cereal tainted with aspartame. It's not reduced-fat peanut butter solidified with trans fat, and it’s most definitely not cheese whiz from a can made with "real" cheese.”

As a society, we have fallen so deep into the misconception that fewer calories = better, that we are eating foods loaded with artificial sweeteners and toxic chemicals. And while it takes a serious mental shift to look at the ingredients rather than just glancing at a number, this simple practice can change your life. Whether your goal is clearer skin, fewer gut issues, reduced disease risk, better dental hygiene, lower blood pressure, or to finally feel 18 again, swapping that processed breakfast cereal with real food might just be a solution. 

I was drawn to B.T.R. NATION because of their emphasis on real food ingredients. For years, I had been looking for a protein bar that I could eat pre-workout or really any time of day that tasted delicious but also made me feel good, not bloated. A protein bar that had real ingredients that I could buy in a grocery store, not ingredients synthesized in a lab. And not only did I find it, but I'm part of the team!

 Psst...Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip BLISS is my favorite. You should give it a try if you haven't already.

holistic health expert

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