My name is Lisa Tsakos, Registered Holistic Nutritional Consultant, corporate speaker and author. This blog provides professional advice from a nutrition and weight loss expert (me!) about corporate and family health. Here you'll find recipes and articles that address work-related challenges like eating on-the-go and maximizing your productivity with the right foods. You'll also find out about how you can help your children develop strong immune systems and healthy bodies. As a nutrition instructor, I often found myself thinking, "When I have kids, this is how I will feed them." With two toddlers, I have the opportunity to practice what I have been preaching and to try out my theories. So far, they seem to be working! Follow me on my journey and also on Twitter @NuVitalityHW.

3 Feb 2012

Not Just About Junk Food


What people are saying about Unjunk Your Junk Food!

"Unjunk Your Junk Food looks great - interesting, informative, easy to read, and best of all, fun! I know many people will use your book as their go-to guide when shopping for groceries. You've certainly made me more aware about the food that my children and I eat and the effects it has on our body and mind." -Maria Shriver 

 "Unjunk Your Junk Food is a very attractive and informative book. For anyone embarking on the often daunting path of trying to clean up their diets, this book is a really fine place to start." -Alan and Suzanne Arkin

"It is time to Unjunk Your Junk Food! This handy — and don’t-be-fooled-by-its-small-size masterpiece — of healthy alternatives to conventional snacks is packed with need to know “do’s” and “don’t’s”. If you like to nosh -- and who doesn’t -- it’s a must read!" -Bryce Wylde 

As a nutritionist who had my own battle with weight for many years (until I discovered the oh-so-logical principles of a natural, whole foods diet) junk food was not very welcome in my home and it was especially unwelcome in my body, so when my colleagues at www.naturallysavvy.com first mentioned the idea to write a book about junk food, I was resistant. Sure, I enjoyed the occasional plain tortilla chip with salsa, some dark chocolate or home baked cookies, but bagged, processed, over-salted snacks... no thanks, no chance. The idea of being involved in a project that sounded like it was going to promote junk food eating didn’t sit right with me.

Two things changed my mind.
1.    I was pregnant with my first child. As most nutritionists (and logic) will tell you, one’s emotional connection to food plays a powerful and life-long role in food choices. I could write a whole other book relaying the accounts of adults with horrible eating habits that are a direct result of their restrictive parents. It was just a matter of time before my child would be exposed to MSG-laden chips, bowls of artificially-coloured candy, and sugar, sugar, and more sugar, and knowing I wasn’t far off from being a food-Nazi parent myself, this concerned me.

2.    Like most people concerned about the foods they eat, I avoided packaged foods listing lengthy, unrecognizable ingredients. The thing is, it was easy enough to avoid the chemical-sounding ingredients, but even I – a nutritionist with fifteen years experience – couldn’t explain what many of them actually were.
When we turned our manuscript in to the publisher, Unjunk Your Junk Food wasn’t really about junk food after all, but a reference guide to artificial additives (and nowhere will you find more additives than in junk food) as well as an opportunity to share an assortment of healthy eating and living tips and even some food trivia.

Here is a small sampling of some of the tidbits scattered throughout the book for your amusement and edification:

·         Carbohydrates should always be paired with protein, so top plain crackers with some cheese, tuna, or peanut butter. (pg. 153)

·         Slim-Fast Peanut Butter Crunch Time Snack Bar: Notice that the first two ingredients in the Slim-Fast diet bar are sugar? How is this a diet bar? (pg. 144)

·         Some 50% of women claim to prefer chocolate to sex. (pg. 103)

·         Treats are best eaten early in the day so that you have all day to work off the extra calories. Treats eaten at night are just a recipe for weight gain. (pg. 119)

·         Ninety percent of tooth decay occurs within ten minutes of eating sugary or acidic foods. Drink water while or immediately after you eat candy to neutralize the acids. (pg. 173)

·         The technical term for brain freeze is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. It results when something cold touches the roof of the mouth. (pg. 47)

·         With more electrolytes than leading sports drinks and 15 times the potassium, coconut water keeps your body hydrated and prevents cramping. (pg. 207)

·         If you love to bake chocolate chip cookies, use baking powder rather than baking soda. Baking soda is much more alkaline and increases the pH of cocoa significantly decreasing chocolate's antioxidant activities. (pg. 77)

·         When you’re buying probiotics, the minimum dose you should take is 1 billion colony forming units, or cfu. For therapeutic use, look for a product with 10 billion cfu. (pg. 63)

·         One ounce of dark chocolate contains about 20 milligrams of caffeine. One ounce of milk chocolate has about 6 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison, an average chocolate bar contains about 30 milligrams of caffeine and a cup of coffee has 80 to 155 milligrams. (pg. 95)

·         Why is chocolate poisonous to dogs? Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, members of a class of compounds called methylxanthines. In animals, theobromine can induce cardiac arrhythmias and seizures. The toxic dose for pets is 100 to 200 milligrams per kilogram (2.2 pounds). (pg. 107)

At the heart of Unjunk Your Junk Food is a comparison of unhealthy junk food products versus similar or identical tasting junk food made with ‘clean’ ingredients, along with explanations of what the ingredients are and how they impact human health.

Now a more enlightened parent, I’m food-dictator no more (well, maybe just a little). My two year old is extremely grateful. 

The Unjunk Your Junk Food Team: Lisa, Randy & Andrea

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