One of my pet peeves is when brands market themselves as “100% healthy”, but they’re really not. When you look at the list of ingredients, it’s a mile long and filled with tongue twisters you can’t even pronounce.
It’s no wonder many people feel exhausted trying to decipher whether their food choices are healthy.
My guest today is Jen Smiley, and she’s here to help you cut through that noise and give you the cold, hard FACTS on what companies put in their food and how that wreaks havoc on your body and mind.
You’ll learn how to decode those sneaky ingredients that are zapping your energy and vitality and, instead, choose foods that leave you feeling amazing every day.
- Why you don’t need a medical degree to discern which foods are good for you.
- Finding alternatives to the foods you love without all the harmful ingredients.
- Why inflammation is the greatest nemesis to your health.
- Why you’ll actually spend and eat less if you make the right food choices.
- The sneaky “healthy” foods you’re likely having that cause inflammation.
- The common foods people eat daily that zap their energy levels.
- Why you should avoid omega-6, and what to use for cooking instead of oil.
- The deceptive marketing tactics companies use to get you to buy their products.
THIS EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Organifi makes the highest quality nutritional products, which are made from whole food ingredients (not synthetic vitamins) that I enjoy nearly every day, and have for many years. Visit Organifi.com/Hal, and use the code HAL at checkout to get 20% off of your entire order. I hope you find something there that you love! :^)
Rise by CURED Nutrition is a natural supplement made from CBD, Lions Mane and Ginseng (among others) that helps boost energy, performance and cognitive function. There’s no caffeine, no jitters and most importantly, no crash. Visit CuredNutrition.com/Hal and receive 20% off of your entire order. They have tons of other products as well, hopefully you’ll find something that works for you. :^)
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Hal Elrod: Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. And today we’re talking about reading food labels. Now wait, before you go, that’s not what I came here for. Listen, so I follow this gal, Jen Smiley, on Instagram. Her Instagram handle is WakeUpandReadTheLabels. Highly recommend you follow her. I don’t know where I came across her, just organically, randomly, a few weeks ago. Maybe somebody recommended her, I don’t know, but I love her content. In fact, I probably have been sharing her stories on Instagram more than anybody else’s because I personally am very thoughtful about the food that I eat. And we’re going to talk today with Jen about the deceptive marketing in our food. Right? So, you look at a package and you go, “Oh, it says gluten-free, super healthy, no added sugar,” whatever, and you go, “Great. I’m going to buy it. I’m going to eat it. I’m going to drink it.” And that’s how most people do their shopping. But when you turn that food product over and you actually read the label, you go, “Oh, wait a minute, there’s all sorts of inflammatory ingredients and preservatives and this and that and things that I don’t want to put in my body.”
And so, what I love about Jen is on her Instagram, she posts, “Hey, here’s what it shows on the front,” and then she shows, “Here’s what’s actually in it, and here are the effects of those ingredients on your body.” And then what I love is that she goes, “And here’s an alternative. Here’s a brand, here’s a product that’s the same type of product, but let’s check out their ingredients. They actually don’t put any preservatives or inflammatory seed oils or anything else that you don’t want GMO ingredients, things you don’t want in your body.” So, I literally just reached out to Jen on Instagram. I’m like, “Hey, would you come on my podcast? I love your content. I love the topic. I think it’s so important. It’s not being talked about, the ingredients that are actually in our food.” And I think you’re going to love today’s episode. Jen’s just got a great energy. It’s funny, my mother-in-law is here at our house hanging out and after I talked to Jen, I walked out and she goes, “Who was that?” And I go, “Oh, her name’s Jen Smiley and she’s the food label gal.” And she goes, “I love her. I loved her energy and her voice.” I go, “Me too. She’s great.” So, if my mother-in-law loves her and I love her, I’m sure you’ll love her, too.
Let me give you a quick bio. Jen Smiley is the founder and expert food coach at Wake Up and Read the Labels. She’s helped thousands of individuals conquer fatigue, skin issues, stubborn weight, and so much more through her innovative, sustainable, and most importantly, simple approach to eating clean. She believes that real food is medicine and that many of the struggles people face on a daily basis can be attributed to the fake ingredients found in seemingly “healthy foods.” Not only does she shed light on the food industry’s deceptive marketing tactics, but she has proven solutions and recommendations for nearly every product imaginable so that people can continue to enjoy their favorite foods free of restriction and guilt and still feel their best. Again, I think you’ll love this.
Give me a couple of minutes. I want to thank our sponsors that help support my family, bring you the show every week. First and foremost is Organifi. Organifi makes some of the healthiest whole food organic supplements, which is rare. Most supplements are crap. They’ve got all sorts of synthetic kind of like this gal, Jen Smiley, and talking about reading the labels of your food, you have to read the labels of your supplements because most of them have all sorts of binders and fillers and preservatives and synthetic ingredients that you don’t want your body that might be doing more harm than good. Again, they’re marketed well on the front of the bottle that says it’ll help you with more energy and boost your immune system and this and that. But you’ve got to read the labels of your vitamins. So, Organifi makes, again, they’re from whole foods. They’re organic. There are no preservatives, no fillers, no binders. In fact, they’re all in powder form and everything from protein powder to boost your protein and help you put on muscle to their Immunity and their Critical Immune to help you boost your immune system to their Pure, which helps you with your cognitive ability, there are a whole variety of products that will help your physical and mental and emotional health at Organifi.com/Hal and use the discount code “HAL” at checkout for 20% off your entire order.
And last but not least, CURED Nutrition. I’ve been using CURED’s products for about six, seven, eight months. I love two of their products more than any other. Their Rise is a nootropic to boost your mental clarity and focus in the morning. I take it every morning, literally every morning. Occasionally, I’ll take a day or two off so I should say I take it at least five days a week. Sometimes I take the weekends off. And I take their Night Caps when I travel, which helps you fall asleep. It’s got CBD and CBN oil with a sedative effect, and I take their Night Time Oil every night. So, the Night Time Oil is like my nightly thing, which is also the CBN oil, but it’s in a dropper form. So, not to mess with the liquids on the airlines, I take the Night Caps when I travel, but the Night Time Oil when I’m home. So those are, I guess, three products, not two. But if you want to wake up and have that rise, focus, mental clarity boost, or help you fall asleep at night, head over to CUREDNutrition.com/Hal and use the discount code “HAL” at checkout for 20% off your entire order. And that is my one-two punch for daily nutrition in addition to eating healthy which we’re going to talk about now with my new friend, I love this gal, Jen Smiley.
Hal Elrod: Jen Smiley, it is so great to meet you finally.
Jen Smiley: Cool. I’m so excited to be here with my pal, Hal. So, thanks for having me on. Hopefully, together, both of us can help bring awareness to this problem of not understanding what’s really inside of our field.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I told you before we started recording that I think I share your stories more than anyone. In fact, real quick before we even get started further, what’s your Instagram handle so people can follow you?
Jen Smiley: Hey, it’s an easy one. Everybody, listen up, it is called wakeupandreadthelabels.
Hal Elrod: Wakeupandreadthe labels, very straightforward. You know exactly what it’s about. So, it’s crazy, I just organically found you. And I am such a freak about reading the labels. Freak is probably not the right word. I’m very mindful, that’s a much better word about reading labels. And for me, when I found you, I’m like, oh, my gosh, she’s doing the work, She’s helping people. She’s waking them up to the fact that what it says on the front of the packaging, low fat, all natural, super healthy, change your life, help your focus, right? It’s all these marketing buzzword benefits and that’s what people buy most of their products by it without turning it over and being like, what’s actually in it?
Jen Smiley: Yeah.
Hal Elrod: So, actually, I got this, before we forget, you told me a story about your husband that was endearing to me. It was Miracle Morning related. So, before we dive into your work, real quick, can you retell that story?
Jen Smiley: Absolutely. So, my husband, Seth Smiley, who now works with me at Wake Up and Read the Labels, he acquired a law firm and he was still going through having clients from when the former owner had it, but then he had a downfall where he didn’t know how to get clients anymore. And so, he was really struggling with– I was a stay-at-home mom raising two babies and he’s the breadwinner. And so, he’s trying to figure out how am I going to keep making this work.
And so, all of a sudden, he attended this conference for lawyers and he came home with this book called The Miracle Morning and he started waking up at the crack of dawn. It was maybe 4 a.m. And I see him lying on the couch. I see him have a journal, all these things. And I would wake up. I love to sleep and I’m rolling out of bed, trying to make my coffee, looking at him saying, “What the hell are you doing?”
And so, it got brought to my attention that he does the Miracle Morning. And then when you reached out to me, he told me, “That’s what I’ve been doing,” and his life has completely turned around. He’s even got a guy running his law firm for him, so that he really helped me with this. So, he’s more doing it on the side. But with that being said, he let me know before we got on this podcast, “Hey, Jen, I went and I did the Miracle Morning today,” and he looked at his last entry, which was December of 2022, and the last thing he wrote was, I’m going to get Jen in the Miracle Morning. And I said, “Oh, my gosh, the Miracle Morning and I have found each other.” The affirmation works. It’s meant to be.
Hal Elrod: It is, in God’s perfect timing. It’s serendipitous. Yeah, I love it.
Jen Smiley: Absolutely. Yes.
Hal Elrod: So, let’s talk about you and your work. Where did the idea of reading the labels, or Wake Up and Read the Labels, where did that start?
Jen Smiley: Yeah. So, you kind of hit the nail on the head when you said that you found me organically because I too started this very organically, and it started with everyone thinking we were eating freak food. So, you hit the nail on the head saying, “Hey, this is a freak thing,” whatever. So, when it happened was my husband and I got married in our mid-20s and we both are slightly overweight, inflammation is high. He’s taking Nexium for heartburn for breakfast, lunch, dinner. I am struggling with my weight. My hair’s falling out. All of a sudden, I’m going to get breathing test because I can’t breathe when I lay down. I have silent reflux. I’m looking for inhalers at the bottom of the bag.
So, I like to tell people like, “Do you have a moment in your life when you see a picture of it or you remember it, that this was a pivotal moment, everything changed for you?” For me, it was leaving a workout class. I used to be the girl in the back of the class, out of breath, red face, look at everybody else thinking, why can you do this, and I can’t? Can I just not do cardio? And so, I have one pair of workout pants that fit. My sports bra is hanging on by one hook and I’m defeated every day.
But this one day, when I kind of woke up, I’m walking home from my workout class. I have a Premier Protein shake, and I’m sure a lot of you listening can agree that you probably drink protein before or after because the society has created this protein shake and this protein bar mission that we should all do it. Not that it’s not right or wrong, but as I’m drinking it, I’m very detailed. So, I read, I’m eating so many carbs or I’m eating so much protein and not eating much sugar. Well, I actually flipped it over and realized that the ingredients list went from the top to the bottom. And it’s the tiniest font ever, but after the third or fourth word, I no longer could even pronounce these ingredients. I could not recognize them.
So, at that moment, I felt my heart drop. It felt like gray clouds came over me and I felt kind of betrayed. I thought, have I been doing all the wrong things? What’s going on? And so, Hal, do you want to know what happened next?
Hal Elrod: Yes, I do. I’m on the edge of my seat.
Jen Smiley: Yeah. So, I run home, I open my pantry, I start to look at my salad dressings, all the condiments, my milk, my everything in there, the prepackaged salads I used to get from Trader Joe’s, thinking I was being healthy. I started realizing a lot of these ingredients are on these labels. So, then that started the wake-up mission. Every morning I woke up kind of like, you have your Miracle Morning. My mission was to go to the grocery and find foods made with ingredients I could pronounce.
Now, that took five, six, seven years, going to different groceries, trying out different ingredients, different brands, all these things. But when I had it all together, I actually had a family member, 56 years old, diagnosed with prostate cancer. All of her family thought my husband and I ate like freaks, right? But her inflammation went down. I’m not looking for an inhaler. I have confidence now. My skin is glowing. My husband, he went down two belt sizes without really losing any weight. It was inflammation.
So, the family is looking at us now going, huh? You look happy, you look energized. Maybe there is something in the freak food you eat. So, with this family member, I just went to the grocery, loaded up eight bags and like, here’s your biscuits, here’s your barbecue sauce, here’s your pasta, here’s your ice cream, all the food you love, this is it. Within three months of waiting for robotic surgery, there was no treatment during this time, he lost 35 pounds, got off of blood pressure and cholesterol medication. And his PSA number, which tracks your prostate cancer levels, it actually was decreasing in his bloodwork every two weeks. So, when that happened, I thought, I think I might have a responsibility to share this with more people.
Hal Elrod: I just resonate with so much of what you’re saying. It makes me so happy.
Jen Smiley: Yeah, which just matters into my own hands. Organically helping him. I was also a spin instructor, so people, I had 200 followers on Instagram and I started posting, here’s my turkey sandwich after I work out. Here’s my pasta I’m making tonight for my family. And these women started coming up to me saying, “How are you eating pasta and turkey sandwiches and you’re looking and feeling good?”
So, I started taking them grocery shopping, filling up their cart. They said, “This looks foreign to me.” And I thought, “Really?” And within three days, their bodies start changing. Their inflammation is going down. They now have endurance. They’re coming from the back of the class to the front of the class and word of mouth spread in the gym. I develop groups, I develop an online course, and here I am now on the Miracle Morning.
Hal Elrod: That’s amazing. That’s amazing. You mentioned inflammation a couple of times. And I know that when I had cancer and was doing all the research, I was doing on, what causes cancer and how do you beat cancer naturally and how can you set your body up to be free from cancer and all these things. What makes someone susceptible to cancer? And the word inflammation came up that cancer is essentially a response to inflammation and it’s the body’s response to excessive inflammation. And so, you think about how many foods are inflammatory and how many people have cancer, and you go, “Could there be a correlation?”
Jen Smiley: A connection that nobody’s talking about.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Yeah, that people aren’t talking about, exactly. So, in fact, let’s talk about it right now. One of the things you do is you shed light on the food industry’s deceptive marketing tactics. The front of the packaging says all the right things so you buy it, you drink it, you eat it, and you never think twice about it until you’re at the doctor, until you’re dealing with– you’re overweight, whatever the problems are. Can you talk a little bit about the deceptive marketing practices that you shed light on?
Jen Smiley: Yeah, for sure. So, you got to think of a product as the brand for the product’s billboard, 98% of it is selling tactics. And that’s really what you see, right? First of all, no one’s revolutionized the way you grocery shop. You go to the grocery, you likely buy the same brands, or you’re driven to something that says dairy-free, zero grams of sugar, gluten-free, assuming it’s healthier. And those options can be. However, the companies also know that so they can make the product gluten-free or dairy-free, but they can still have those inflammatory oils and flowers and mostly preservatives. It’s the preservatives that are getting us.
In the 90s, there were 10,000 grocery items on the shelves. And today, there are over 50,000. So, the fact that we are actually confused, that’s very real. The food industry has created consumer confusion. If you go to the grocery and you may see 10 rows of Oatly and let’s say it’s two columns, 10 rows wide, and it’s sinner, it’s eye level. Well, there are people like Oprah who have invested in it. So, there’s a lot of money. They actually go to the grocery and they can pay to be at your eye level. They can pay to be there at the end cap. When you’re making a turn around the aisle, they can pay to be there right there by the register.
But you’ve got ethical and clean brands that are trying to go against the grain and use real ingredients such as MALK or Three Trees. They don’t have the funds to put their stuff to compete with something like Oatly or Silk. So, unfortunately, we’re at a situation where there is a lot of consumer confusion. You go in to your doctor, you’re hiring a nutritionist, a dietitian, and they’re giving you a piece of paper that still says, watch your calories, watch your carbs, eat dairy-free, eat sugar-free, and then you are alone at the grocery looking at 20 different dairy-free yogurts, probably picking it if it’s a lower price or has no added sugar. And so, it’s really not your fault that you’re trying to be healthier, but you’re not seeing any difference in your fatigue or inflammation when you wake up in the morning.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, you mentioned, it was funny. I just took my last sip of Three Trees oats, the oat milk of the day. And MALK is my favorite. In fact, I don’t know if they’re making anymore, but they used to have their maple pecan MALK which was to die for.
Jen Smiley: Christmas time, oh, that warmed my heart.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, yeah. It’s like it’s heaven. It’s so good. So, what are the problems that you see that people face while reading labels?
Jen Smiley: Yeah. Well, I think we’ve been trained and we’ve been conditioned to believe and there are even apps out there if you track your calories and your carbs and the calories in and exercise and that’s going to get you where you want to be. Now, if you restrict your calories, sure, you can lose weight, but you can still be inflamed. You can still have IBS. Your skin can still be screaming red, rosacea. You can still have headaches, you can have joint pain, all these things.
So, until you actually start focusing on what no one is talking about, which is the ingredients, you will still feel signs of inflammation. And I know you brought up inflammation. I think inflammation has come on the radar more since COVID has happened. And so, what is inflammation? Well, it looks different for everyone. It’s basically your body screaming or talking to you and telling you what’s going wrong.
And so, a lot of people don’t realize that the symptoms they feel every morning, every day, after every meal, maybe they don’t sleep well at night, all these things are your body’s inflammatory markers or response. And likely, it’s being triggered by the food you’re eating. There are definitely other toxins we’re exposed to, but food is something that we’re constantly putting inside of our body. And food and health are very connected.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I want to address something that you– I think you said this before we started the recording, and that is, you said, “I’m not a doctor. I’m not a–” say that part again.
Jen Smiley: I’m not anything. I’m just Jen Smiley. I’m a mom and a wife. No, I said, I like to let people know that, hey, I am not a doctor, I’m not a nutritionist, and I’m not a dietitian because people will ask me that. And we do need those people and they do a lot of great things. But I want people to feel empowered to know that what I’m doing, they can do themselves as well. There actually is nothing out there that will certify you in ingredients and reading the labels. There are only these programs that teach you one medicine or they teach you how to read the nutrition facts. So, I’m just kind of taking it upon myself, seeing the client results. The results speak for themselves, and we’ve changed thousands of lives that I’m like, I need to keep spreading this message and let people know they can spread this message as well.
Hal Elrod: Completely. And this is why I asked you to repeat that and I want to highlight it is our society, for probably a century, I don’t know the exact time frame, has conditioned us to only trust authority or to trust authority. Like, oh, they’ve got the coat, they’ve got the title, they’ve got the acronym or the letters after their name, like these are the people, but there’s a problem and it’s that our society has been corrupted. Industries have been corrupted based on wanting to make money.
And I’m going to give you a really solid real-life example. When I was in the hospital and I had cancer, I asked my doctor and this was almost a retort– it was a question I was asking him to test his understanding of nutrition versus just prescribing chemotherapy. And I said, “Doctor, can you tell me what part diet plays in my recovery and in healing my body?” And he said, and mind you, on paper, this is one of the most well-known successful oncologists for leukemia in the world. And he said, “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make a difference as long as you do the chemo.” And I just kind of nodded in my head and just took the info and left his office.
But in my head, I’m going, you understand that’s completely false. You understand that the food you eat arguably has the biggest impact on your body, and wait, I’m not a doctor. And I love– I saw someone the other day in this debate and they were winning the debate. And I forget the details, but the person said, “What credentials do you have? What qualifies you to speak on this?” He said, “I’m a father, a human being that cares and I can read.” And I think about you, like “I’m a human being, I’m a mom who cares and I can read, I can read the labels. I don’t have to have a certification or a degree.”
And here’s the thing, if you have a certification or a degree from an institution that’s funded by an industry such as the pharmaceutical industry that profits off of sick people, do you see the conflict of interest and do you see that while your doctors, and I know I’m getting passionate, but while your doctors may be wonderful humans that are brilliant and that want to help, but they weren’t taught how nutrition is going to heal you because there’s no profit in them teaching about nutrition? Jen, what I love is what you’re doing. It’s an unplugging from the matrix that we’re all living in that I think more and more people are waking up from.
Jen Smiley: Yes. I have a couple of things about that. I love how you summarized that, but I had someone tell me one time, I forget who it was, they said, “We don’t have health care here in America. We have sick care. And the only way to get cared by a doctor or like you said, someone with the credentials is to be sick. And so, when you are sick, they treat you, they treat the symptoms with some medicine, and then they go away. It’s like, hey, you got diagnosed with cancer. We’re going to give you chemo and goodbye. Good luck.”
Doctors have historically received no nutritional training. In fact, in their four years, most of them spend fewer than 20 hours on nutrition. And I can’t tell you how many doctors follow me because they’re like, this stuff is mind-blowing. I’ve never seen these things. I would love to send some patients to you or they send their patients to a nutritionist or a dietitian because it’s in the system and they’re like, our nutritionist and dietitians aren’t even talking about that. I have registered nurses come in and join our programs because they say I’m so tired of seeing these children suffer from constipation or prescribing the ADHD or they have skin irritations. And it’s also relative to what we are feeding our children, which, by the way, did you see Lunchables got some type of contract now? They’re going to be in all the schools.
Hal Elrod: No.
Jen Smiley: Yes.
Hal Elrod: No.
Jen Smiley: I don’t know if it’s public schools or what, but you’ll start seeing them in schools next year. I’m like, really? We’re feeding our kids that? I want to have a reading the labels lesson at schools. I’ve tried it with my own schools, my children, but they are like, “Mom, we are freaks. We don’t need to let everybody know about that.” But I think it would be very valuable to watch fourth graders stand up and try to read the ingredients on their Goldfish or their Ring Pops, their Twizzlers, and then give them something made of real ingredients and they see the difference.
Hal Elrod: And that is what I love that you do, by the way, in your videos. Your Instagram story videos is that you say, “Hey, here’s a product that’s very popular like Oatly or a yogurt, and look at the front of the label. It tells you, this has got no sugar added, blah, blah, blah, blah, all these great things and no dairy.” And then you turn it over like, so here’s what’s really in it. But what I love that you do is you go, “Here’s the alternative. Let me show you a similar product,” like you did this, you showed an almond yogurt that was full of a bunch of preservatives, and then it was Cocoyo, which I also eat Cocoyo, right?
And by the way, I have to, on a personal note, have you– I don’t know if they have this where you are, but I used to eat Cocoyo until I discovered what I believe is the best tasting, not just coconut yogurt, it’s the best tasting yogurt on the planet, it’s called Cocojune.
Jen Smiley: Oh, Cocojune, that’s a good one. I agree. I love it.
Hal Elrod: Oh, you have tried that one?
Jen Smiley: Yes. That’s a good one.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, that’s my favorite. So, Cocojune, and then I buy these organic coconut chunks that are just chunks of Thai young coconuts. And I put that in the Cocojune for a little bit of– so that’s my favorite. That’s my dessert every night. But I wanted to mention one other thing on the topic of, you’re not a nutritionist, all of those things. And the point of this is not to bad mouth anybody, it’s to empower people to realize that you need to take responsibility for your health. It doesn’t mean you don’t trust your doctor and you don’t let your doctor help you in the ways that they can and that they’re more qualified than you are. But at the end of the day, you cannot delegate your health. You cannot close your eyes, go to sleep and go, I’ll just do whatever they tell me to do. And that’s all I’ll do.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, okay, it seems like I have to do chemotherapy. The best holistic doctors in the country won’t see me, like they said that that’s my best chance. But I’m going to relentlessly research and apply every holistic practice known to man, known to mankind because it’s my health. I have to take ownership. But what I wanted to mention to you was the nutritionist aspect. So, I was sent a nutritionist in the hospital. And they have a degree in this and the advice they’re giving me, I’m like, how can you tell me to eat these things? And I’m looking at the cafeteria menu.
Then I would go to the cafeteria at the hospital and I’d see people that were on chemotherapy, dragging their chemo tower around, drinking a 32-ounce soda, eating pizza, cake, pie, hormone-infested hamburger meat. And the doctor told them that was healthy, that was fine, that was okay, and so did the certified nutritionist.
Jen Smiley: Yes. We just had a team member have a baby. And I’m looking at this now. Check this out. This is Oreos, Coke, Grandma’s cookies, some peanut butter, munchies, peanut butter crackers. This is what she got after she had a baby. And it’s like at this moment when your body’s supposed to be healing and…
Hal Elrod: Need to replenish all the nutrients that it just…
Jen Smiley: And you’re breastfeeding. I’m like, OMG, this is sad. But I do thank you. I’m very appreciative that you mentioned how I formulate my social media content showing what people are attracted to and what they’re buying. For a certain amount of time, people are like, “Stop showing us all the things we’re buying wrong, show us what you’re buying right.” But the issue with that is if I just come out and say, “Hey, drink Three Trees for all these reasons,” it does not resonate with people because they don’t know it.
When you call out what they think is healthy, like Oatly and Silk and Blue Diamond, then they stop in their tracks and say, “Oh, my gosh, I drink this, what’s wrong with this?” And then I like to show them that, hey, there actually is a swap for everything and these options are becoming bigger. There is more brands showing up on the market. Just one of the issues is that they’re not able to go to every grocery store. So, a lot of it is you have to order online, but also, it can be good because I think after COVID, people are moving to more rural areas, and so you can get these things shipped to your door and not spend time at the grocery.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, that’s funny. So, I moved 30 minutes outside of Austin to acreage to a rural area. And so, I have urban remedy, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO salads delivered to me every week. So, those are my lunches. I have Stoke organic juice delivered to me every week. Yeah, so I live out in the middle of nowhere, but you can still get all the things.
Jen Smiley: Yeah. Because you’re informed and you’re aware and you know what you’re looking for and you figured it out and that’s all it takes. It’s a little bit of work in the beginning and then you just cruise control through it.
Hal Elrod: That’s it. And that’s like, in general, that’s what I always say for people that are– when it comes to eating healthy, it’s like you first have to decide that you want to eat healthy and then you can find countless options that taste amazing because people have that idea like, I want to eat things that taste good. I go, I only eat things that taste good, but they’re all organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, grass-fed, pasture-raised, all those things.
Now, I want to ask you this, because I’d imagine some people listening, I know this is a common objection, it costs more to get the healthy stuff. I’m on a budget. It costs more. What would you say to that?
Jen Smiley: Okay, let’s start it off with this. I say that it costs money to be healthy, but it’s expensive to be sick. So, what most people don’t realize, they are spending a lot of money on food and it’s because they are starving all day, meaning they’re waking up, they’re having their morning ritual coffee, tea, protein shake, and they can’t even make it to lunch because (a) they’re either tired and they need another cup of coffee or they need a snack because they’re starving, or maybe they feel like they’re going to pass out. They’re feeling flu-like, they don’t feel good. So, right there, they’ve had three meals or drinks and it’s only lunchtime.
Well, then you get to lunchtime. You want another snack. Maybe you’re craving something sweet. And then you get to dinner. And so, if you abstractly think about it, you’ve consumed maybe 10 items or six different meals or snacks. When you eat clean and you choose real foods, you actually eat less food, you take less time off of work because you’re not dealing with aches, pains, going to the doctor, you’re taking less medication, and you’re happier, and so, you are achieving a more optimal life. So, that’s it.
It’s overall, you actually save money because you eat less, your blood sugar is more balanced. You’re not craving food as much. Society has created this idea we need three meals a day. General Mills told us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you wake up and you’re starving, that’s indicating that your blood sugar level is out of whack. And you should look at what you ate the day before.
Hal Elrod: Interesting. Now, it’s such a good point. And I think that for anybody listening, I think that what you said in the beginning, which is that, yes, it’s more expensive to eat healthy, but it’s more expensive to pay the doctor. And in fact, the number one cause of bankruptcy is health issues, right?
Jen Smiley: You pay the farmer or you pay the pharmacy. It’s a choice.
Hal Elrod: Yes. There you go. That’s a memorable one. I like that. You pay the farmer or the pharmacy. And so, here’s the thing, I’d rather pay the farmer because, yeah, you feel better, you have more energy, and then you don’t have to deal with cancer and this and that, like I did. And I wish I would have known this earlier because when I was in my 20s, I did not read the labels and I fell for all of it. I thought I was so healthy because I was vegan, so I ate vegan ice cream, which if you look at the back of vegan ice cream, unless I’m sure you’ve got alternative, but it’s like 30 ingredients, 80% of which are preservatives or sugar, right?
Jen Smiley: And I tell people, “Imagine you go into the grocery store and everything is a clear box or a clear product and it has no brands, no colors, would you know what to do?” Like, everybody would just stop and go, “Oh, my God, all the cornflakes look alike and all the ice cream looks alike. What do I do?” And so, you have to be aware that the vegan word is drawing attention to that ice cream. And that may be why you’re falling for it thinking it’s healthy, but my gosh, yes, what if all of it said made with 43 ingredients or made with 78 ingredients, kids’ snacks made with 140 ingredients, you’d be like, no, why would I want to eat something with a hundred ingredients? But it’s getting late and get a meal with a drink, you’re going to be eating 100 ingredients.
Hal Elrod: Totally. I saw you say something on your– I think it was on your social media once that food labels help to create the life of your dreams. What is that about? What do you mean by that?
Jen Smiley: For sure. So, just like you with the Miracle Morning, you kind of set your day up in the morning. When you are choosing food labels made with real ingredients and you’re starting your day with real protein or a base in your protein shake, real coffee made without mold and toxins, real coffee creamers made with real ingredients, the day is yours at that point. You’re not going to be starving, you’re not going to be fatigued. You’re able to get more stuff done. You’re going to have more optimal or optimistic outlook on your day.
Hal Elrod: That’s a great way of putting it. One way I’ve said it before is most people eat for taste first. That’s all they eat for. You think when you go to the restaurant, you look at the menu, what are you doing? You’re going, “Oh, that looks good. Ooh, ooh, ooh, that would really hit the spot.” It’s an emotional decision.
And for me, the shift is that you need to decide that you’re going to value the consequences of what you put in your body first and the taste second. And yes, the taste can be a close second. Like I said, I only eat things that taste amazing, but all whole food, organic, on and on and on. I’m curious, what’s your typical breakfast, lunch, dinner? Do you have a general flow to what you eat?
Jen Smiley: I mean, it varies. I’m not super ritual. Every day, yes, coffee. I’ll either put some ghee in there, Bulletproof Ghee, or I love a mocha, so I’ll put some cacao in there with either maple syrup or some raw honey, and then…
Hal Elrod: Not artificial chocolate flavoring?
Jen Smiley: Exactly. No, I once read that chocolate is not candy. Chocolate is food. And so, Tootsie Roll and Hershey have made us, conditioned us to have this certain texture and flavor when we eat chocolate. But no, it should come from the cacao, being the cacao tree. And there are tons of benefits of the raw cacao, but it makes an amazing mocha. Like you said, it tastes better. It doesn’t taste artificial anymore.
And so, I generally don’t eat breakfast, but I tell people, be in tune to your body. So, for women, if you’re on your cycle and you’re craving more sugar food, then you’ll often find me eating some type of pasture-raised pork or some pasture-raised eggs in the morning for breakfast. There are also clean bagels out there, such as Susie’s and bagels. So, for everyone that loves bread, there are plenty of really good options.
They don’t get it until lunchtime. Lunchtime could be– it’s usually leftovers. So, I like collard greens with bacon. I love a good turkey sandwich. I’ll do a salad, but my real meal of the day is dinner. Dinner could be lasagna, some etouffee, some gumbo. I’m here in New Orleans. We have a lot of Southern dishes but meatloaf. We love fried fish. My kids love Taco Tuesday. So, all of the foods we’re all eating, we’re just grocery shopping a little different and finding those foods made with real ingredients.
Hal Elrod: Awesome. What oil do you use to cook? Because I know seed oils is one of the most inflammatory things we put in our body, and it’s in most foods that we buy, potato chips, snacks, you name it.
Jen Smiley: It’s everywhere, yeah. The American diet is super high in omega-6, which is promoting the inflammation. It’s coming from the seed oils. It’s also why people go out to eat and they order grilled chicken or grilled fish and they get vegetables and they still feel terrible the next day. Eyes are puffy, headache, ribs are tight. It’s because of the oil it was cooked in.
So, for listeners, make sure you request they cook in butter. Even if it’s not good clean butter, it’s going to be better than that oil. But I use avocado oil mostly, and then I also have extra virgin olive oil. And the best one comes from Greece.
Hal Elrod: Oh, the best olive oil is from Greece?
Jen Smiley: Yes. I just went to Greece last summer and I was like, “Whoa, I need to elevate my extra virgin olive oil.” They were going, like, instead of a wine tasting, you were doing olive oil tasting. It was amazing.
Hal Elrod: Wow, That’s really, really cool. Do you have any client transformational stories of people that you’ve worked with that have read the labels and how that’s impacted their life?
Jen Smiley: Absolutely. So, one, she was going to a GI doctor, getting scopes, having reflux, having issues, and they kept prescribing her medication and she says, “Doc, is there anything I can do about my food? Could that help this?” “Oh, no, nothing can happen with the food.” So, it’s a two-year-long GI pain. Now, she joins, and within two weeks, it’s just completely gone. She said, “I’ve never felt better after colonoscopy, endoscopy, multiple imaging, and trial on meds,” food healed her. That’s GI.
There are other ones who have gotten injections for psoriasis. She used to wear a long sleeve. She was super self-conscious about her psoriasis. She went from creams to pills to actual injections. She was Cuban. And she says, “I love my rice and beans,” and she loves to cook all her ethnic foods. So, she started switching out all of her stuff. It is completely gone. She has confidence. She’s wearing short sleeves now.
There’s definitely the depression, one lady, her husband passed away. She would go to work, her mid-60s, come home, just sit on her couch, watch TV, vegetate, waking up every night. She said she would throw up in her shower. She went to the dentist because she was starting to have trouble with her teeth, I think from the vomit. And the dentist told her, got to be a biological or holistic one because they said, “We think this could be food-triggered as well. Why don’t you look into a gluten-free diet?” She tried gluten-free, felt a little better, but nothing ever changed, started reading the labels, understanding what she was looking for, no longer waking up, no longer throwing up. Got her teeth fixed from that dentist. But the most important thing was after work, she said it was the first time in her adult life she looked for a hobby, and so, she started taking up tennis and becoming happier instead of sitting on the couch vegetative.
Hal Elrod: Amazing. Have you written a book yet, Jen?
Jen Smiley: I have not.
Hal Elrod: Write a book. The world needs that book. You said something earlier that really resonated with me, which is when you experience the benefits of reading labels, you felt a sense of responsibility to share it with others. And like for me, when I did my Miracle Morning, the reason I was like, I have a responsibility to share this with other people because it’s helping me, it’s helping those I shared it with, I have to write a book. And so, I’m passing that on to you now that I think that you writing that book is…
Jen Smiley: I started the process with two companies. And then I was just like, oh, my gosh, it’s going to be so time-consuming, but I know it’s something that has to be done.
Hal Elrod: Guess what? The Miracle Morning is how I wrote the Miracle Morning, is I did it during the morning, and so, you wake up an hour earlier. I think your husband’s right. Watch the movie, read the book, check it out, and then get that book out there because I do think that– I mean, like, I could talk to you all day and you and I could like, yeah, we could start our own podcast on this because I’m so passionate about it. You’re so passionate about it, you’re so knowledgeable, and I’m so grateful that you are doing this work. Where can people follow you, find you, work with you? What’s the best spot?
Jen Smiley: Absolutely. You can check us out on all social media platforms – YouTube, Instagram, Facebook where you can just look up, Wake Up and Read the Labels. You can also go to FreeMorningGuide.com to discover three common foods killing your energy and ruining your day.
Hal Elrod: Free Morning Guide, I should have got that. That’s a good URL, FreeMorningGuide.com. I’m going to get FreeMiracleMorningGuide.com.
Jen Smiley: Guess what? The guy that I do my marketing with, he’s been a blessing to me. Become a really good friend. His name is Hugo Fernandez. And he told me, he worked with you a long time ago.
Hal Elrod: Totally. I worked with Hugo for years. That’s amazing.
Jen Smiley: Yeah, I found Hugo about two years ago and I was just like, you are amazing. I mean, he’s brought so much value to help me grow as a business person and get my voice out and everything.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. If you look, so many of these book covers on the wall, Hugo designed those.
Jen Smiley: Wow.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Jen Smiley: Beautiful.
Hal Elrod: Tell Hugo I said hello and it was great to hear his name. I haven’t talked to him in a while.
Jen Smiley: I will.
Hal Elrod: Jen, Wake Up and Read the Labels, everybody, this is so important. You can’t just read the front and read the marketing messages that are deceiving and then trust it. You’ve got to read the labels and follow Jen because she does it for you and she does it better than anybody I’ve ever seen. So, Jen, I appreciate you. I’m so grateful we connected. I want to keep our relationship going because I love what you’re doing.
Jen Smiley: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure and I appreciate your reaching out.
Hal Elrod: Awesome. All right. Goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community, follow Jen on all social media channels, Wake Up and Read the Labels. I follow her on Instagram. And check out FreeMorningGuide.com to find out the three foods that are what, Jen, what are they doing?
Jen Smiley: They are ruining your day and killing your energy, and they got a clean swap. So, it shows you a protein, a milk, and a bread, a bagel, and it shows you all the things that are wrong with it, but also it shows you a clean swap so you can keep eating those foods you love and feel good.
Hal Elrod: Perfect. Awesome. All right, goal achievers, I love you so much. Thanks for tuning in today. Keep reading the labels or start reading the labels, and we’ll talk to you all next week.
Jen Smiley: See ya.