Not as Healthy as You Think

March 14, 2012
At Whole Foods

At Whole Foods

Snack break at Whole Foods

Do you know that I have been to three different OBGYN doctors during my pregnancies in 3 different major cities (one in Japan) and not one has asked me about my diet? Not one has given me guidance on what to eat. I have also had 4 pediatricians in Tokyo, Singapore, New York City, and New Jersey and not one has asked me what I feed my children. The question has been, “are they drinking enough…about x amount of milk?” That’s it!! We have to do the asking.
I consider myself pretty healthy and educated in basic healthy eating habits for my family; I read a lot on what to buy, I watch the news…but yet, once in while I fall into a marketing trap! I realize that some people trust their local supermarkets and brands that label things as “healthy” or “low-sugar!” (heck, I trust EVERYTHING Whole Foods says). Knowledgeable friends help out and suggest different choices and articles. I recently came across an article on The Washington Post which is making the rounds right now, “5 So-Called Health Foods You Should Avoid”. People do their best in trying to eat right, some things are not so obvious and we shouldn’t be so trusting. In a nutshell, here is what Katherine Tallmadge writes:

1. Don’t avoid regular peanut butter Buying reduced-fat peanut butter takes away the best part of the nut…the oil. A lot of things labeled “reduced-fat” have more calories and more sugar (!). The ingredients on the back or your peanut butter jar should only say, “peanuts and salt”.

2. Avoid Enhanced Water Let’s just drink regular water please. Water with vitamins may or may not be good for you. Everyone’s body and how much of an “enhancement” one needs might not be good for another.

3. Tsk tsk on Energy Bars They are fillers and “calorie bombs”. We should snack on fruits, veggies, nuts, yogurt…

4. Whole Grain instead of Multi-Grain I didn’t know this! “Be sure a whole grain, such as whole wheat, whole oats or brown rice, is the first and preferably the only grain in the ingredient list.” This is great to know when shopping for healthy packaged snacks for kids. I thought if it said multi-grain we were good to go but apparently not. Avoid “enriched wheat flour”.

5. Avoid the “baked”, “low-fat” or “gluten-free” labels People really want to believe this marketing strategy when buying a bag of chips. Once again we have to read labels. 100 percent whole grain or chips fried in a healthy olive or canola oils are better options.

It’s so hard to keep track of all the changes in dietary recommendations! We should ask or doctors more questions, we should read all labels, and try to eat the best fresh and whole foods we can. Do you have any other recommendations to share?
Your Friend,

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  • Reply Jenny March 14, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I am completely shocked that they didn’t ask you about what you eat. My girls pediatrician asks about everything they eat since day one. He will ask the girls what they eat (likes/dislikes) what we can do about the one who doesn’t eat as many veggies as we like.

  • Reply Liz Aldana March 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I had two pediatricians. One was young and the other older close to retirement but very respected Dr. Both were very different, but I like my kids current Dr because she asked us questions. I was concerned about my son being such a picky eater (it’s easy to compare the differences between our kids and my daughter loves to eat) and we went over the kinds of food he eats (he doesn’t eat meat except breaded chicken) and she said not to worry he’s getting his protein from other foods. He loves his beans! πŸ™‚ She has brought up things that I would have either not have asked or forget to ask. She’s great with kids and a new mom herself. I don’t know about other pediatricians but maybe they don’t say some things because parents might get too sensitive about being told what they do or do not recommend. I don’t know, but I like that she has the initiative to ask questions (how much tv they watch, etc)…. We do need to read food lables. There are so much garbage in the list of ingredients. Today I signed a petition against genetically modifying corn. What’s next, genetically modified cereal?

  • Reply Bertha March 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Daniela’s pediatrician always asks me what she eats. My mom is always concern that I don’t feed her enough, she’s too skinny, she needs to eat more. I asked the doctor and she said she’s perfect! She also told me that she doesn’t need to drink the 2% milk me and Daniela can finish a gallon of milk in 3 days) skim milk is perfect because they don’t need the extra calories. She doesn’t like peanut butter, however she loves her nuts!

  • Reply Julie March 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    love this blog Betty! Healthy eating… one of my favorite topics. Nutrition Action Newsletter does a great job covering things like these. We subscribe. Check it out. BTW I hear many pediatricians don’t ask about diet. Mine doesn’t.

  • Reply Cristina March 15, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Thanks for sharing Betty! this is right up my alley. As you know, I have been on a healthy adventure for the past year or so, exercising, team training, and taking nutrition classes at my gym. So a whole year passes up and yes, I felt good as I was working out and running races but my mid section was very thick and it didn’t match up the rest of my body. I’ve been irregular with my period for quite a while and my obgyn couldn’t really give me an answer to what was going on with me. I was eating ‘healthy’, until one day my Mom suggested that I see her natural means doctor for a consultation…oh my, was I in for a treat. He recommended for me to do a 30 day detox, which consisted of drinking an all organic carrot, granny smith apple and lettuce juice 4x’s a day, in between juices, eat only fruits and vegetables, no sugar, salt, caffeine or alcohol. He prescribed dietary herbal supplements from nature sunshine and ionic minerals, etc… . I laughed when he said I’d loose all the excess fat in my mid section and that my body was going to learn how to burn fat and that my period was going to become normal. I took a whole week to go through a mental process in preparing myself for this adventure, once I made that choice, I wasn’t going back, I had invested a lot of time, energy and money for about a year, I had only fat to loose, lol. So I did it. My 30 day detox began in early December and I lost 10lbs. We decided that I was doing great and could do another 30 days, so in January I lost 12 more pounds and my period came regular and ovulation was in full fledged. Since then I’ve been really watching what I eat, educating myself and reading labels, not to mention having a great support group and attracting other peeps with the same mission. Since the detox, I’ve given up many things I used to enjoy but not only because my stomach doesn’t like it but because I cannot regress knowing what I know now. I still make my juices and since then learn how to make other very healthy juices, which I truly enjoy. My detox was doctor prescribed and thru natural means, which to me, was the best decision I could have made for a chance to a better, healthier lifestyle!!! good luck ladies.

    • Betty
      Reply Betty March 15, 2012 at 11:31 am

      Thanks so much for sharing Cristina! Best of luck on this lifelong adventure because it is truly something to think about and learn about every day! xoxo

  • Betty
    Reply Betty March 15, 2012 at 11:37 am

    In defense of pediatricians, I do think they worry when a child is “below the American” average weight. Diego has always been under and Santi is slightly under. They worry so much yet their height is “average”. But what is average? How can we all fall under “American” standards when we are all from different backgrounds?
    Also, OBGYNs have told me what to avoid (sushi, deli-meat, etc.) but haven’t given me any guidelines such as what you read when doing your own research.
    I think Liz is right. Maybe doctors don’t want to offend? They are assuming you know best?
    Thanks for all the input!

  • Reply Yvette S March 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Great topic Betty! Thanks for sharing Cristina!! Keep up the good work and congratulations on working so hard!!

    p.s those oranges look deeeelish! πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Bea Zimmermann March 20, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Did you see that Jessica Alba (fellow Latina!) is publishing a book called The Honest Life about creating a healthy lifestyle for your kids? Check out the link on,,20579896,00.html

    • Betty
      Reply Betty March 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      Ooooh! Thanks Bea! Can’t wait to read it! xoxo

  • Reply Veronique March 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    My obgyn always asked me what I was eating during my pregnancy. As I was having twins, nutrition was even more important to avoid diabetes and high blood pressure. I gained 60 pounds, almost 30 of them being the babies, water, etc. πŸ™‚

    now with the boyz, the doctor asks if they eat veggies, fruits and whole grains too. Here, they don’t mind if they are below average or not. They look at their growth curves. Alex have always been in the top curves for height and slightly above average for weight (I have tall and slim boyz!). When he became below average in weight, this is when he the doctor started to worry. Why was he getting slimmer? They always tell you how much nutrition is important.

    Speaking of which, do you know the cookbooks by Jessica Seinfeld? They are absolutely awesome. She puts veggie and fruit purees into recipes to “upgrade” their nutritional value. For me, giving the boyz a dessert is the only way to make them eat their meal. But when I bake cookies with carrot, sweet potato or spinach puree, reduced in fat and sugar, I don’t feel too bad about bribing them with a dessert! Also if they don’t eat their side veggies, they get a serving in their meat balls or mashed potatoes… πŸ™‚

    • Betty
      Reply Betty March 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      How awesome that you have had a great experience Veronique! And yes, I love Jessica Seinfeld’s tips. There are ton of good cookbooks with the same idea…maybe a future blog post? wink thanks!! xoxo

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