Originally posted July 28, 2011
If you’ve ever read a women’s magazine, then you’ve probably come across an article about “good” foods versus “bad” foods. What if I were to tell you that most “bad” foods aren’t bad for you—that there are no good foods or bad foods?
All foods have health benefits and many of the foods that we as a population consider to be “bad” are actually quite good for you…not to mention delicious!
Here are my top 4 good for you “bad” foods:
1. Egg Yolks
A few crazy scientists once told us that the dietary cholesterol in egg yolks was giving us high blood cholesterol and heart disease. It turns out that eating food items that contain cholesterol does not influence the levels of cholesterol in our blood. Egg yolks are jam packed with nutrients including 100% of your daily value of carotenoids, vitamins A,D,E, and K, and essential fatty acids. Egg whites, on the other hand, do not contain 100% of any nutrient and are nutritionally incomplete without their yolks. Next time you have eggs for breakfast make sure to eat the whole egg! Your body will thank you.
Those margarine/butter substitutes may taste like butter, but they are actually far from it. These highly processed butter-like spreads are actually made from poor quality vegetable oils that have been partially hydrogenated to make them solid. Studies show that using butter substitutes can increase heart disease, and you may have read that margarine is only one molecule away from being plastic. Butter, real, high quality, pastured butter (like Kerrygold) can be delicious and nutritious— a great source of fat soluble vitamins and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to protect against cancer and play a role in building muscles.
Okay, so I know that bacon is a controversial breakfast item: conventional health nuts shun it, while primal rebels seemingly eat pounds of bacon per day. My stance is this: while bacon is not the healthiest choice, eating 2 slices of bacon has more health benefits than eating a blueberry muffin. You’re getting fat, some protein and, most importantly, you’re choosing a whole (hopefully minimally processed) food over a baked good.
Eating bacon with your meal every now and again will not hurt you. You might even enjoy your breakfast more if you allow yourself to indulge without guilt. Aim for bacon made from pastured pigs– the animals were humanely raised and the meat/fat is healthier. Eating fat doesn’t make us fat, so enjoy your delicious bacon with a smile.
You’ve heard it before: chocolate is good for you! Dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) is full of healthy antioxidants and flavonoids that can help reduce free radicals and lower blood pressure.
The physical health benefits of chocolate aren’t the reason it’s on my list. I believe that instead of depriving yourself of chocolate in an effort to be “healthy,” it’s important to be kind to your body and to eat the darn chocolate if you’re really craving it. Two squares of organic dark chocolate will not make or break the weight loss bank. It’s important to feel satisfied and to have fun while striving to reach your health goals!
What are your favorite good-for-you “bad” foods?