Natural does not always mean it's healthy and good for your body - make sure to check your food labels!
Health, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, Printables, Recipes, Uncategorized

The Importance of Reading Labels on Healthy Foods |My Week 1 of No Takeaway April, and Week 2 Meal Plan

This is Week 2 of the No Takeaway April challenge, moving away from purchasing any takeaway for the month and slowly incorporating healthy choices to a clean eating lifestyle. If you’d like to jump back, you can find the Week 1 No Takeaway April Meal Plan here.

Hello Hello!!

How are we all doing? Ahh, the heat here in Australia has been so annoying lately. My bro mentioned that this time last year we were all starting to wear jumpers – good ol’ Facebook memories right? And here we are sticking to the 30’C on most days..

I can not WAIT for winter! 33 weeks pregnant today and I just feel the heat so much more. I’m looking forward to the cold mornings in my dressing gown, and giving my newbie some cuddles! It’s not long now, and I just think I’m wanting all of it to be over – autumn,… pregnancy!

Natural does not always mean it's healthy and good for your body - make sure to check your food labels to ensure you are eating the healthiest options possible! I couldn't believe what was in one of my purchases last week!

So this past week, I’ve been focusing on sugar substitutions as part of my No Takeaway April Challenge I’ve created for myself (and for you as well!). If you’d like to know more on how this came about, you can read my blog on How Much Takeaway We Spent In A Month!

It’s been going really well, although I had one mix up at the start buying some stevia through my online grocery shopping – mistake 1.
My normal natvia replacement wasn’t available, so at quick glance, I saw stevia, and grabbed this one instead, thinking it was the one I had purchased a while back which was 100% stevia – the bottle looked the same. I wasn’t too impressed when I went to put it away after my delivery and gave it a look over.

Photo 28-3-18, 1 39 05 pm

Now let me put it down as to what is wrong with this product.

  • False advertising, without illegal false advertising – using the word ‘naturals’ and ‘sweetened naturally with stevia’ lures you in without it actually being a natural product, due to the fact it has ‘flavourings’ (which are what?), and it has Maltodextrin in it;
  • Maltodextrin is a thickener, highly processed and has a lot of health risks (unless your an athlete with adequate nutrition to work alongside it) – it spikes blood sugar levels (big no no for me with gestational diabetes), suppresses the growth of probiotics in the body, it’s made from GMO corn (not a clean alternative – genetically modified foods have shown that they may toxically affect several bodily organs and systems, including the pancreatic, renal, reproductive and immunologic parameters Ref), can cause skin reactions, has no nutritional value – pretty much, its crap (Ref);
  • The rest of the product is Equal – which includes aspartame (SOOO many health risks – you can read them here), and Acesulfame Potassium (can disrupt metabolic processes and interfere with appetite regulation, body weight and blood sugar control, potential to cause cancer and affect the early development of babies during pregnancy (Ref) – that last bit scares me being pregnant and having used this product!!)
  • The amount of actual stevia in it is 2.2%. WHAT IS THE POINT, except for a marketing scheme? The whole paragraph on the back of the product is about the wonderful plant Stevia, and let’s not forget the beautiful natural colours of the bottle.
  • When i put it in my coffee, it foamed it up. All i added besides the sweetener, was coffee, water and milk.

This is what makes me crazy about marketing and health products. It is so easy to think you’ve got a great healthy product when really you’re not doing any good for your body, you’re just loading yourself up with more toxic chemicals, all because they thought they’d chuck in 2% (!!!!!) of a healthy product to spin you sideways.

And sadly, this wasn’t the only type of product I found, especially going through some “healthy eating” magazines!

Skinny Sugar – It’s Sugar but it’s Skinny!!! “Naturally guilt free”. It’s…..

  • Natural Cane Sugar and Erythritol, also known as, it’s just plain old sugar, and sugar alcohol which may cause ‘side effects such as diarrhea, stomach upset, and headache after consuming regular amounts of erythritol in food or beverages (Ref) -yum! (This also goes for xylitol and maltitol so use in small amounts and see how it goes with your body). Natural does not always mean it’s healthy and good for your body!

Whole Earth Sweetener Baking Blend – It’s great tasting, 100% natural sweetener * (** – watch out for those!). It’s…..

  • Raw Cane Sugar and Organic Stevia Leaf Extract – it’s sugar, but hey, we have some organic stevia in there too to make it better! But they don’t tell you on the website just how much stevia is in it. It’s probably like the sweetener I purchased with a HUGE 2%.

Now, these products may be great as alternatives to white sugar, but cane sugar is still a form of sugar, and although it’s somewhat better as it’s less processed than it’s white sister, it’s still in the same family.

Adding a little bit of the good stuff doesn’t counteract the bad stuff in there too. BUT, if I can say one good thing about the two products above, is that they have ingredients in there that are at their most natural form, so the body can recognise them and digest them easier.

This product isn’t like that though.

I found an ad for Nuttvia in a magazine, and thought hmmm.. could be a healthier version to Nutella (that lovely hazelnut spread we all love and dream were healthier). And when you jump on their website, it is crazy kid cartoony and screams out 97% less sugar than other market products (which ones??) and PALM OIL FREE (compared to Nutella). BUT.

nuttiva nutritional information

Although it does have stevia in it, it also has erythritol (the diarrhea causing stuff), maltitol (which has the same affects as erythritol (Ref)), maltodextrin (that GMO corn derived stuff that can disrupt a ton of body systems).

And, not to mention that ingredient lists go by weight so the largest amounts are at the start, which are the sweeteners. Next is the vegetable oil, not stating how much coconut oil compared to the yuck sunflower oil. MALTODEXTRIN. The hazelnuts are only 10% of the product, cocoa powder is 7% and who knows how much cocoa butter is in there (which isn’t a good sign). It’s a third fat (4.8g out of 15g, or 31.7g out of 100g).

The point I am trying to make is don’t be fooled by marketing strategies and always check products that have ‘natural’ plastered all over them. They may have some good sugars in there that are plant based, but they can also have the common sugars in there too that aren’t so great for your health!

Read your product labels!!

Even better, just don’t eat out of boxes, don’t even worry about eating sugar – sweeten with fruit!


Takeaway foods have been linked to large weight gain around the mid-section, the worst kind of fat deposits you want. Visceral fat clings to your organs and stops them from working effectively. Your liver gets fat and your kidneys have troubles, but that's not all. Click to read more on the nasties of takeaway foods and how you can fix it all!

Sunday calls for Week 2 for April, and for this week, we are concentrating on substituting carbs to healthy carbs – no processed refined carbohydrates.

Photo 4-4-18, 11 32 55 am
How seriously good does this sandwich look? I made it the other day with rye bread and it was AMAZING.

This morning, I wrote up about carbohydrates and the healthy substitutes you can eat for clean eating. It was going to be wayyyy too much for me to put in one post, alongside the label marketing stuff I just told you about before (which I think is just as important to learn right now!)

So to help you out with Week 2’s goal of substituting to healthier carbs and also learning about the healthy portion sizes to keep control, jump on over to How to Eat Carbs for Good Health and Weight Loss.

I’ve found that a lot of clean breads can be quite mushy, or very dense in texture and taste. I choose to eat rye bread for taste and texture although it’s not “so clean”, but it is definitely better than white bread, wholemeal and multigrain varieties you get from the grocery store.  I have however included a 25 Best Paleo Breads pin in the Pinterest board, so I’m going to be trying out a few of those options, and if you’re up for it, do the same!

Who knows what healthy recipe you might like and want to stick to for yourself and your family (and psst, there are some cake recipes in there too)! The only trouble is sourcing some of those healthy flours – some definitely aren’t at the local grocery store.

As it goes with eating carbohydrates, and learning about portion sizes, changing those habits can mean you get a little bit hungry after your meals. If you are finding that this is the case, amp up your protein and veggie intake to fill you up with nutrition!

This will also keep you from eating those things your craving and thinking about in the cupboard. Get rid of them!

I’ve also included more snacks in this meal plan, including two types of bliss balls (the choconut bliss balls contain nuts as an FYI for an allergy sufferers, but the raspberry smoothie ones don’t!) and some choc chip cookies – YUM!

There is also a recipe in the Pinterest board for making your own bone broth, which is also another fantastic way to stop yourself eating your cravings after meals, and fills you up with some great nutritious vitamins and minerals for your gut, and collagen (which is good for your skin and bones!).

For the few recipes that are not on the Pinterest board, I’ve included them at the bottom of this post so be sure if you are saving these to your desktop or phone, you also save the link to this post for easy access! These include the Banana and Egg pancakes, my favourite Banana Bread recipe, and there is also how to cook quinoa and poach chicken breasts, which you can find here.

You have the ability to improve your health and increase your life expectancy because your body is running properly - all you have to do is eat clean and I'll show you how!

Just like last week, the meal plan for the week is nutritionally adequate for women aged 19-50 years old (serving suggestions per day as to the Australian Dietary Guidelines). To adjust the nutritional requirements for men aged 19-50 years, you will need to either include or reduce the serving sizes by –

Men (aged 19-50 years) – 

Servings/day Carbs  – 0 Fruits – 0 Vegies – +1  Protein  -.5 Dairy – 0

If you’d like to also look at the servings per food group recommended for other age groups, please reference the Australian Dietary Guidelines. The guidelines also give you recommendations for serving sizes which will help you when serving up your meals.

Please also do remember that we are transitioning to clean eating, so not all options in the Week 2 meal plan are ‘clean alternatives’. If you would prefer to jump straight in, you can always research and find healthy options, and I have also included some in the No Takeaway April Pinterest Board for you such as the bone broth recipe, and marinara sauce (a great tomato sauce alternative).

So let’s get to it, and grab your Week 2 Meal Plan by clicking on the banner below!


And here are the recipes that haven’t been included in the Pinterest board, so save away or copy and paste to print out and keep in your own recipe folder! You’re going to want to keep the banana bread recipe, that’s for sure!

banana bread

Unfortunately, I grabbed this recipe off my sister 5 years ago, and so don’t know where it originates from. If you know the original author, please give me a shout so I can credit their great creation!

Banana Bread

Serves 14.
Cooking time – 35-55 minutes.

Ingredients –
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp xylitol
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
2 cups almond flour (meal)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method –
Preheat oven to 175’C.
Mix wet into dry.
Grease loaf tin with leftover coconut oil.
Place mix in tin and cover with xylitol and cinnamon.
Cook for 35-55 minutes, checking regularly.

Time tip: Check regularly from half an hr. As the mixture is quite wet, it can take a while to cook but you don’t want to overcook it and dry it out either.


Banana Pancakes

Ingredients –
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 eggs

Method –
Mix the banana with the eggs.
Heat pan to low-medium heat, and place small amounts of the mixture in, cooking as you would normal pancakes.
Enjoy with fresh berries and some maple syrup or honey for extra taste.

Come and join the H&G Health Friends Facebook Group!

I hope you thoroughly enjoy the recipes from this week’s meal plan! Be sure to keep track of how my No Takeaway April is going on my Instagram and join in on the conversation by jumping over to the Healthy and Golden Health Friends Facebook Group! I’d love to see you there!

For further inspiration and healthy eating advice, don’t forget to check out my Fundamentals of Healthy Eating series, with the first post all about mindset! This will keep you on track with clean eating!

Much love,
Emily xxx

Before changing any health and lifestyle habits, please consult your practitioner. This is not health advice, but merely a reference of healthy foods and what they can do for the body, but each body and it’s nutritional requirements are different.

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