There is no time like the present to make healthier choices. Nearly everyone is on a quest for self-improvement and a healthier lifestyle. In 2022, it was reported that 2 out of every 3 adults planned to change their dieti.
While many people making a positive change focus on calorie intake or exclusively look to foods labeled “healthy,” the importance of quality ingredients is often overlooked. In fact, not all healthy foods on the shelves or in your kitchen are created equally. Some may even be doing more harm than good. To better understand the disparity and complexity of healthy foods, we are digging into what to look for when committing to transformation.
1. Packing a Potent Punch
At GT’s Living Foods, we believe in the healing properties of whole foods. We believe in eating as close to the ground as possible (stay with us here), which results in nutrient-rich energy. GT’s Living Foods products are made with the highest quality ingredients. From the superfoods in SYNERGY Raw Kombucha and the adaptogenic mushrooms in ALIVE Ancient Mushroom Elixirs to the two raw young coconuts in COCOYO Living Coconut Yogurt, these foods are living.
But what does that mean? Well for starters, living foods are rich in nutrients and minerals. Foods that are not living can be considered dead foods. Living foods are not shelf stable, they expire, they are made with whole ingredients and have nutrition labels with ingredients you recognize and can actually pronounce.
By focusing on the quality and abundance of nutrients in the foods we are eating, you are more likely to eat better for you foods. In this case, you end up counting nutrients and their benefits, instead of calories or eating foods with additives and preservatives.
2. Creating a Colorful Plate
Eating a vibrant diet indicates a biodiverse diet. Many packaged, so called, healthy foods like smoothies, pasteurized yogurt and protein bars rely on processed versions or imitations of foods with preservatives. When you eat directly from the earth, you are likely to eat whole foods; think leafy greens, root vegetables, grains, and freshly sourced protein. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and color. Research suggests that eating a wide array of foods creates a larger array of microbe in our guts improving their function and resilienceii.
Prepackaged or dead foods, however, tend to lack vibrancy and therefore nutrients. Consider rice cakes, chips, and cookies that are all the same neutral color. Even healthy foods can lose their nutritional value over time or through over cooking. Consider broccoli that has been "nuked" instead of lightly cooked. The leafy green tops become slightly brown or yellowish signifying a loss of nutrients.
The freshest and most nutrient rich foods are bright and colorful. A variety of colors represent antioxidants, important for fighting the oxidative effect of aging and are rich in nutrients, which are essential for immunity.
3. Decoding Your Label
Organic, low fat, low sugar, gluten-free, vegan are all labels that we have been taught to associate with health or healthy foods. While of course, plenty of nutritious foods (hello again, broccoli) are naturally low in fat, many of the processed low fat options contain added sugar, stabilizers, and mystery ingredients. A common culprit is low fat dairy yogurt which is often sweetened with added sugar.
A better and healthier alternative at that point would be a full fat yogurt eaten in moderation or a plant-based yogurt made from simple ingredients, like COCOYO Living Coconut Yogurt. Optimal health means eating minimally processed foods that in turn are naturally low in fat, low in sugar, and more.
Similarly, labels with long lists of ingredients typically include lab created ingredients that stick out like a sore thumb. They have complex names and can be 20-25 letters long. GT’s iconic SYNERGY Trilogy has kombucha (brewed with tea), raspberry juice, lemon juice, and ginger. That’s it. Other “healthy’ juices or natural sodas products might have ingredients like Potassium Benzoate or Phosphoric Acid, which would leave you with questions as to what those even are or where they came from. (Spoiler alert: they are preservatives that have been shown to irritate the lips, tongue, throat, lungs, and stomach.iii)
4. Embracing Living Food
Fermented and living foods are known to boost the healthy bacteria (probiotics) in our guts which improve digestion and support immunity. When eating fermented foods, you are eating high quality ingredients that have transformed the nutrients in the original food source to now provide additional benefits.
Beyond the initial ingredient's nutritional value, authentic raw kombucha is a living food and its bacteria and yeast are alive, producing nutrients that support health and wellnessiv. This also means living foods are sensitive and need to be kept fresh. Other “healthy” foods that are shelf stable add preservatives to keep for weeks or even years, which begs the question, how healthy can those items really be? Living foods are not over-processed or refined; they continue to produce nutrients that support health and wellness after packaging and need to be kept refrigerated like any other fresh food.
Similarly, the probiotics in living foods are healthier than those in capsules or non-fermented drinks which use inactive probiotics that are in a deep sleepv. Living microbes are essential for supporting your immune, digestive, and even cognitive systems.
The Healthy Foods Right for You
Making healthy choices can be a transformative lifestyle change. From the foods you eat, to how you shop and prioritize other needs. In times of uncertainty, whether economic, health-based, or political, the only constant is our health. Understanding what healthy foods are and how you can best incorporate them into your diet, sets your mind, body, and spirit up to weather any storm. But even as the cost of groceries rise, there are ways to get the nutrient-rich foods needed to feed your health.
Consider meal prepping so the whole foods and fresh ingredients you do buy don’t go to waste. Also, look for multipurpose, functional foods like SYNERGY Raw Kombucha or COCOYO Living Coconut Yogurt. These items are made with potent servings of the highest quality fruits and vegetables. SYNERGY offers 8X the probiotics of any other kombucha, providing a nutrient-filled serving without the need for extra probiotic pills.
While all healthy food may not be created equally, GT’s Living Foods is created with love, potent ingredients, and ancient tradition for whole-body health.
- Slavin J. Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients. 2013 Apr 22;5(4):1417-35.
- Hannah Wilcox, Charles Carr, Shannon Seney, Gregor Reid, Jeremy P Burton, Expired probiotics: what is really in your cabinet?, FEMS Microbes, Volume 1, Issue 1, September 2020, xtaa007,