Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2014
Written by  John Sowinski, RPh

Change your habits: avoid “red foods”

“Just let me get through the holidays and I will start to eat right and lose weight.” Have you said this before? Are you saying this now? According to, the number one New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to lose weight. They also say that 45 percent of people “usually make” New Year’s resolutions. The problem is, without the right tools and a plan, many people
will fail.

The number one way people usually try to lose weight is to eat less. They may do this a variety of ways. They put less on their plate or they leave the table with some food left on their plate. The problem is you don’t feel satisfied. Have you ever heard that you just need to burn more calories than you take in and you will lose weight? It sounds so simple. Of course, if it were so simple, why do we have an obesity epidemic? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of Americans are obese.

Think about how you eat. How often do you think about food? Do you think about the next meal as soon as you are done eating? As you approach a meal, do you think about how you don’t want to overeat, but you do anyway? If you are faced with a table of things to eat at a party, do you stay at the table and mindlessly eat? Do you eat something even as you are telling yourself you shouldn’t be eating this? Do you eat even when you are not hungry?

Unfortunately, many of you will be thinking: that is me. Whether you want to use the word “addiction” or not, many of these cravings are similar to addictive behaviors. The question is; how do you break this cycle?

I believe the best way to break this cycle is to stop eating the foods that are causing these behaviors. I call them “red foods.” You probably can make a list of foods that cause you problems. Let me give you the list I’ve come up with for myself as you think about what you eat. My list includes bread, bagels, pasta, tortilla chips and cereal. This list is not all-inclusive, but if you think about the foods on it, there is one common theme: flour. Another list of red foods I’ve come up with includes cookies, cake, pie and doughnuts. These all have another thing in common: sugar. The final food item that I believe should be avoided is trans fat, recently declared unsafe by the FDA.

Many people will then ask, “What do I eat?” The simple answer is: lots. Notice that proteins do not appear on these lists. Beef? Not on either list. Pork? Not on either list. Vegetables and fruits aren’t on the lists either. But be careful about what fruit you eat. For example, bananas are high in sugar. Fruit juice is high in sugar. Apples and berries, however, are excellent fruits to eat.

Essentially, think of anything that contains grains or added sugar and eliminate it from your diet. You may find it hard in the beginning, but after a while you will find that it is not that hard. You will start feeling better.

John Sowinski, RPh, is the owner/pharmacist at Custom Health Pharmacy, 1011 S. 10th St., Manitowoc, your source for quality compounded medications. For more information, please call 920-482-3145 or visit

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