TLC Library of Healthy Thoughts
February 24, 2012
Remember as a kid filling your mouth with something partially chewed and turning to your best friend and saying “see-food”!! Ah gross! Well that exact act came to mind recently when I was reading a study about overeating. We, as humans, seem to consume what we “see”. Whether we are hungry or not.
Here is a summary of the results of a few interesting studies:
People ate 45 percent more fresh popcorn from extra-large containers than those who ate out of the large size. The size of the container mattered. They ate more simply because it held more. .
Children given a 16 ounce cereal bowl and found they were more likely to serve themselves twice as much cereal as those given an 8 ounce bowl. And they ate twice as much. Childhood obesity has soared in the last decade and the containers in which our children are served food seems to matter.
People who were fed bottomless bowls of soup (pressure fed from the bottom) ate 73 % more than their counterparts who ate from regular-sized bowls.
As humans we are hard wired to eat that which is in front of us. But few can afford the extra calories of “see-food”. It seems our only defense for overeating is to decide how much we want to eat before we begin eating. Just say no to “see-food”!
January 18, 2012
Happy New Year!
Most of us look at the New Year with optimism and hope especially when we are considering our health. New Year's Resolutions abound at the beginning of the month, and then seemingly disappear by the next.
How about tackling resolutions one month at a time? At least for the first half of the year. Then incorporate them all in the second half. Here are my thoughts.
January: Rate Your Plate
By now you have probably heard that the USDA has moved us from a food pyramid as an eating guide to a plate full of food to help us choose healthy foods. I, for one, really appreciate the plate idea because it is so simple and really points us in the right direction. Choose Your Plate suggests we fill half our plate with vegetables and fruit and the other half be divided between a protein or lean meat portion and whole grains with a low fat dairy on the side. This design is meant to get us thinking about our portion sizes (today’s portions are generally much larger than what we grew up on) and the importance of eating lots of fruits and vegetables to promote health and prevent disease. Easy enough?
February: Buy Superfoods
I don’t know about you, but I am interested in living healthy and for a very long time. I also know that certain foods will help me get there. Blueberries, salmon, kale, spinach, green tea, red and orange bell peppers, to name a few, all provide us with vitamins, mineral and tiny chemicals called phytochemicals that we now know will protect our cells and help to prevent disease. Fill that half a plate with vegetables and fruit that are full of color. The richer the color the better! Colorful vegetables and fruits are Mother Nature’s way of calling us over to pick and eat superfoods! Commit to buy and then include a few superfoods everyday this month.
March: Go Meatless
Raise your hand if you grew up eating meat every single night of the week. And probably lunch meat in your Wonder Bread sandwich and an egg at breakfast. Right? Well, that was then. This is now. We know too much to continue eating as though our life depended on half a pound of protein a day. In fact we need far less than that. Our bodies need protein to be sure, but we don’t need the saturated fat that accompanies the animal protein we consume. This month try to eat at least one meatless meal a week. That meal might be a big warm pot of meatless chili with cornbread and a spinach salad, or stir fried broccoli with diced baked tofu on a bed of brown rice, an omelet with sautéed mushrooms, kale, avocado and cheese, or a pizza loaded with fresh basil and tomatoes with a Caesar’s salad. Sound good? It’s likely you already enjoy meatless meals, but if you are a real meat eater, this month commit to at least one meatless meal per week.
April: I Spy Salt!
Not so many years ago we thought only people with high blood pressure needed to avoid salt. As with many things related to health we know so much more today. Taking in too much salt, or sodium, can actually lead to high blood pressure and even diabetes. If you simply steer clear of processed foods, fast foods and canned foods you will have fought half the battle since sodium is hidden in all those foods. Begin reading labels and look for foods with less than 300 mg of sodium per serving for starters. And of course, while you wean yourself off of the powerful attraction to the taste of salt, hide that salt shaker !
May: Enjoy Good Fats
The fat we eat might easily be labeled: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Knowing what kind of fat you eat is important for your overall health. This month try focusing on eating the Good fats. Enjoy eating avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, canola oil, salmon, peanut oil, and olives. These fats help to actually lower cholesterol levels, help your gut absorb vitamins and keep your stomach satisfied hours after eating. The Bad fats are, of course, the fats that are in animal products such as beef, pork, chicken, butter, and whole fat dairy foods and should be limited depending on your health. The Ugly fats are trans fats. Trans fats originally came from a Good fat but then manufactured to not leak out of our foods as they sat on the shelf for long periods of time. The conversion of a Good fat to a Trans fat actually creates a fat perhaps even worse for us than a Bad fat! Trans fats can be found in a number of processed foods such as French fries, donuts, cakes, cookies, crackers and margarines. Scour your food labels to find out if your favorite foods should be replaced with a better fat choice that will set you up for better health.
June: Eat Whole Food
Ever look at a food and wonder “where’d that come from?”. I think that when I look at baby carrots. They often look suspiciously like large carrots whittled down into smaller junks and sold as “baby”. True baby carrots, are well, not adult carrots! I imagine a warehouse full of old carrots with old wrinkled outsides and someone had the great idea to just carve off some of the outside and save what’s left and sell it as, well, something not so fresh. This month seek to understand just where your food came from and how different it is from the time it came out of or walked on the earth, to the time it goes into your mouth. Foods that aren’t whole are, for example, potato chips, soda, onion rings, hot dogs, Velveta, fish sticks! Think is terms of eating whole foods as much as possible. This of course means eating fresh! If you include fresh at every meal your plate will slowly crowd out the processed questionable foods that do little to improve our health.