Tricky, "Healthy" Foods That Aren't as Healthy as You Think

Many people are starting to become more aware of the marketing claims and labeling that stretch the truth about our foods and food product. Some of these foods are simply not good for us and some of them have better alternatives that are just as easy to choose. Below are a few to pay close attention to. 

This is a list of food items that may sound like a good option, but are really unhealthy choices and should be avoided:

  • Soy protein powder or other protein isolates, any protein powder that is mostly chemicals or full of ingredients you cannot pronounce, these can be very hard to digest

  • Farm raised fish and factory farmed meat (replace with local, sustainable, and organic options)

  • Microwave popcorn (not all popcorn is made the same, always buy organic or make your own at home on the stove)

  • Frozen vegetables in microwave steam bags, opt for fresh or frozen and cook in another way besides the microwave, it zaps all the nutrients from your food

  • Margarine and vegetable oils, choose organic butter or ghee, organic avocado, olive and coconut oil instead

  • Table salt, use sea salt instead

  • Agave nectar, which is very processed, instead choose organic maple syrup or honey

  • Overcooked or burned meat, charred food has HCAs, cancer-causing carcinogens

These items below are tricky, as not all of them are good or bad and take a little more work to figure out how they work for your body.


Foods containing gluten can be well tolerated by some and not for others. Not all grains contain gluten and not all gluten-free grains are guaranteed to be easy to digest or work for you. Pay attention to your body and how you feel after eating specific foods to learn what works for you. Avoid stocking up on a lot of processed gluten-free foods if you are avoiding gluten, they are still processed foods. 


it can be a very healthy food choice (as long as you feel well when you eat dairy, note that yogurt can cheese can feel different than straight milk, creamer or dairy, as they are processed differently.) Avoid flavored, including vanilla, and low-fat or fat-free options. Aim for organic, Greek, plain and full-fat yogurt whenever possible (finding that particular combination is not as easy as it sounds!)

Protein Powder

Not all protein is created equally. Aim for vegetarian, vegan, bone broth or collagen protein that is gentle on your digestion and has additional health benefits. It’s a good idea to make this an actual meal rather than a snack if possible. Select one that is organic that you enjoy and use it meal replacement while adding in healthy fats and fiber (like fruit) to make a shake/smoothie.

Ultimately, always ask yourself, is what I'm eating a whole food? Is it fresh from the ground, a plant, or an animal? Was it highly processed? Does it make my body feel well and thrive? Instead of focusing on carbs and calories, what you can and can't have, start thinking about what makes you feel your best and how it was made. This is a much more intuitive guide and is something you can use forever.