True story. I’ve been ordering almond milk cappuccinos from this local coffee shop for ages. I routinely pass on the delicious looking biscotti because I don’t know what’s in it. Then one day I peek the label on their almond milk of choice and notice that is has cane sugar and sunflower oil in it. WTF!? No wonder it tasted so naughty.
Let’s be real, a little sugar is not going to kill you. But it’s frustrating when you make grand efforts to clean up your diet and still find sugar and processed oils hiding in your seemingly healthy foods.
Here are some top offenders, along with my favorite brands of refined sugar, processed oil-free foods. And if you’d rather not know, I get it, just don’t read any further.
When you’re not confined to the limited milk selection at the coffee shop, you’ve got a lot of options here. The best is, of course, to make your own, but if you don’t have time there are plenty of options at your local health food store. Look for dairy free milks (almond, cashew, coconut, rice, hemp, etc..) that have less than 5 ingredients and no added sugars. I’m really into Forager Project’s unsweetened cashew milk at the moment.
Kombucha doesn’t naturally taste that great. We drink this $5 refresher for the gut healing probiotics, but when sugar is added to the mix it’s literally feeding the bad bacteria that we are trying to combat. Not cool! I love GT’s Kombucha (the gingerade is my favorite) and I recently discovered Pilot Kombucha. Their Turmeric Aloe flavor has even more gut-friendly anti-inflammatory ingredients and it tastes great.
Nuts are naturally oily, so why people keep adding palm oil to their almond and peanut butters doesn’t really make sense to me (Justin, I’m looking at you). I don’t know much about the nut butter business, but I’m assuming it makes the product cheaper and have a longer shelf life. Look for nut butters that are 100% nuts! The Whole Foods brand is great and doesn’t break the bank.
I could spend hours grazing the protein bar aisle at my local bodega. Don’t judge, it’s fascinating. 99% of them are crap; they all have some sort of sugar (brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, plain old cane sugar) along with a slew of unpronounceable ingredients. I’m yet to find any low sugar bars that taste good (please let me know if you do!), but I’ll settle for dates as my sweetener, because let’s face it, it’s kind of a treat. My current favorites are RX Bars and the Juice Press’ Clean Green Protein. Both use dates, so they’re not sugar free but it’s a better alternative.
GLUTEN FREE CHIPS & CRACKERS
Food marketers are going crazy adding gluten free to every label they possibly can. Popcorn has always been gluten free, just saying. The problem here is that food companies are making gluten free products using other refined grains, oils and ingredients that are frankly no better for you. Do your homework and read labels. Mary’s Gone Crackers are my jam; delicious and packed with healthy nuts and seeds.
Oh, and if you’re curious what I did about the coffee shop debacle, I started drinking black coffee with a dash of stevia. Try it. It’s not that bad.