Halo Top Ice Cream is the American Way
I will preface this post by saying, I am very sorry to anyone who loves Halo Top Ice Cream. After seeing the hype of the brand blow up on social media, I decided to give it a whirl a few months ago. After all, everyone is in love with it because it is made from "real ingredients" and ONLY 240 CALORIES! So, my husband picked a couple of pints up from the grocery store a few months ago, and I sat down with my spoon, ready to dig in. But, after a few bites and a weird after taste, I took a closer look at the ingredients and immediately rolled my eyes. Yes, Halo Top uses milk and eggs and sugar, but it also contains two horrible ingredients: soy lecithin, an emulsifier which is genetically modified and known to cause bloating, diarrhea, etc., and erythritol, which is a sweetening agent made from genetically engineered corn. Essentially, these are the things that make Halo Top "creamy" and "sweet" for less calories, but they are nutritionally void. So, consuming pints and pints of fake ingredients may be less calories, but I'd rather eat more calories of real food, dessert included, any day.
Here's the thing - everything is fine in moderation, and if you eat out or eat dessert, you will always encounter a fair amount of GMOs and crappy ingredients. However, the fact that a company has created an ice cream that makes you feel "no guilt" after eating the whole pint is the most obvious proof I have ever seen of our country's lack of knowledge surrounding food and nutrition.
We are immersed in a culture that tells us more is better and everything that feels good is good.
But the thing is, that philosophy holds no ground in any area of life. Living for what feels good is a surefire way to deplete your self-control and train yourself to indulge in whatever makes you happy. If you don't want to live that way when it comes to your finances, your marriage, or your parenting, why do you want to live that way when it comes to your relationship with food?
Two days ago, the Whole30 got called the "worst diet" by U.S. News and World report. I'm currently on day 6 of my third Whole30, and this report actually made me laugh out loud. The founder of the Whole30, Melissa Hartwig, responded with the following comment,
"How are diets based on calorie restriction, processed foods, supplements, and meal replacement shakes 'healthier' than an approach that encourages participants to eat real food to satiety without counting calories?" Hartwig says. "Our program's efficacy speaks for itself, as evidenced by the countless medical doctors who successfully use our program with their patients, and the hundreds of thousands of life-changing testimonials we've received."
Personally, I think this instance is a perfect example of the warped relationship most Americans, especially American women, have with food, and it hits the nail on the head by rating "diets" by their ability to help people lose weight vs. actually get healthy.
Just like Halo Top Ice Cream, we are trained to look for foods with labels like "low fat", "low carb", and "0 calories", completely ignoring the fact that good fats, healthy carbs, and guess what, calories, are exactly what our bodies need to be strong and healthy. Living your life on a "diet" isn't sustainable, which is why eating whole, nutrient dense food should be a lifestyle choice. Diets that encourage calorie counting, rather than observing the authenticity of ingredients, only reinforce the belief that being "skinny" makes you healthy and encourage a short term fix that produces long-term health repercussions.
When I become a parent, I want to raise my kids to understand that food should be fuel, completely real, and delicious. I want to create an environment where we don't have a sense of guilt attached to food and no one is "cleansing" or "punishing" themselves by restricting calories after enjoying treats the night before. The more fake food and fake knowledge we put into our heads, the worse our relationship with food will become.
All the information is out there, just take the time to learn it. Feed your body real food, and let it take care of the rest.