Category: Health & fitness

Food Rule: Born From Love?

Here it is folks, I’ve come up with a simple rule to help you choose foods that will keep you on the path of health.

As a Dietitian, I am constantly asked ” What should I do to lose weight?”.   I’d always relay to them the simple message from author Michael Pollen “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”  Its a practical statement ringing with truth and clarity and shifts the focus on health instead of the guilt that arises from weight issues.  If only I’d thought of it myself.

I figured it’s about time for a Dietitian to come up with a statement of simplicity for our community.  We can’t let the journalists take over all our authority.   I’m here today to reveal my food mantra and explain the meaning behind it.  Here it is:

If you think about where your food comes from, there are two general paths.  Either it comes from loving situations or non-loving situations.  And there are two ways in which food is consumed – loving and non-loving.

Non-Loving Situations

by lu_lu
by lu_lu

Non-loving situations lack care for the environment and care for the consumer.  These are the factory farms, the dirty feed lots, the crowded dark hen house, the fast food restaurants , and the chemically showered fields.   These are the animals injected with growth hormones and antibiotics to the point they can no longer stand on two feet.  The plants and animals that don’t receive the love and respect that human interactions demand.

And the consumer loses.

Our health declines and disease become more common even in the midst of scientific breakthroughs.   We might save a couple bucks at the grocery store, but we end up spending it on material items that clog our life and mask happiness.   The burden on our health and the health of the environment is  shifted from producer to the consumer or government.

It’s also possible that we are not consuming our food in a loving manner.   To me, love is about pleasure and acting with care.  It’s a feeling thats hard to describe and easy to debate.   One thing I do know:  Scarfing down a plate of food in less than five minutes is not love.   Making no attempt at tasting the individual ingredients is not love.   And stuffing yourself until you feel sick is not a loving situation.

Loving Situations

Many of us choose to nourish our bodies with  food that is born of love.   Vegetables fertilized with healthy compost and handled with care come from love.   Animals given room to run and fresh air to breath are loved.   Cows and pigs raised primarily on grass and allowed to naturally come to maturity are living a life of love.   Chefs who prepare our food with pride and attention are dishing out the love – and the really great ones always use the freshest local foods when possible.

Wild antelopes running through the prairie breeze feel the love.  Farmers that return waste to the very soil the animals graze on instead of  letting it pool and leach into our precious water supplies are showing love for the environment.   And growing our own food is the ultimate gift of love – its like getting to raise quiet, happy children year after year.

And the consumer wins.

Eating food from our garden is a magical, appreciative experience.  Meat from pastured or wild animals is lower in total fats (especially the saturated kind),  lower in calories, and two to four times higher in omega-3 fatty acids.  It’s higher in vitamins and minerals, and bigger on flavor.

Pastured meats are more expensive, and its a good thing.  Farmer’s undertake preventative measures for the health of the environment and our government’s liability is reduced.  They understand that we want to pay more for our meat because we know it’s healthier and that our investment will pay dividends down the road in the form of reduced medical expenses.

When we choose to only eat meats raised with love, we afford less and will gradually shift our dietary reliance to heart-healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains.  These fruits and vegetables should be free of the chemicals that can negatively affect our reproductive systems and brain function.  This will probably result in less calories consumed and a gradual return to a healthy, maintainable weight.

We should be consuming our food with more love.

Take some time to consider where it came from as you sit at the dinner table.  Taste the different flavor sensations – the bitter, sour, and sweet.  Try to decode the individual ingredients and notice how they play off each other.  Notice how the acid from our wine perfectly cuts through the sweetness of our roasted carrots.   Put down the fork for a minute and engage in conversation with your friends and family.  Appreciate how it nourishes our bodies.  Smell your food!  Chew your food!  Love your food!

Categories: Food Rules Health & fitness

4 Unconventional Tips for Healthier Eating

We’ve been told a million times to eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce processed carbs and sugars. Oftentimes, healthy eating advice can be boring and ineffective. What follows are four actionable ideas that are not conventionally preached as eating advice. Some may even help you save a buck.

1. Get Smaller Plates

The main reason people gain weight is by simply eating too much. We forget to watch our portion size. Although I definitely don’t advocate fast food, an interesting video documentary by James Painter called Portion Size Me proved that even a 30 day diet of nothing but fast food can make you lose weight and lower cholesterol. The key is proper portions.

Want to automatically trick yourself into eating less food? Get smaller plates. Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, refers to studies that show you eat less food with smaller plates. The average plate size in America has been steadily increasing since the early 80’s, resulting in national weight gain.

To get back to the way things should be, get yourself some nice 8-10 inch diameter dinner plates and donate the big ones in your cupboard to your local charity or throw them off train tracks (I’m kidding, I swear!).

2. Start Gardening

Most everything that comes out of a garden is healthy and delicious. You will be eating the freshest food on the planet resulting in a maximum amount of nutrients.

And BONUS- you will be saving money! According to Vegetable Gardening for Dummies, a garden that is 20 feet by 30 feet requires an initial investment of $70 for things like seeds and soil, and produces more than $600 worth of vegetables over the course of a season.

There are several ways to get started depending on your situation. You can start small by potting plants in containers on your porch or just growing herbs from your kitchen window. Take it up a notch by creating raised beds in your backyard or at a friend’s house. You might also look into joining a community garden, where you’re sure to get expert advice and meet friendly neighbors. You can find more tips and links in my article “How to Start Gardening“.

3. (Beef Eaters) Organize a Cow Share

If you’re a beef eater who has seen documentaries such as Food, Inc that expose the horrors of factory farming, you’re probably interested in getting more of your beef from local farms raising animals on fresh pasture. You may also have noticed that grass-fed beef is more expensive.

For some, the high price of grass-fed can be beneficial by causing you to rely more on fruits and vegetables. For many people however, it’s a deterrent which causes them instead to choose factory farmed beef that’s higher in saturated fat and lower in good fats and omega-3s. To make the switch to grass-fed without killing your wallet, buy in bulk.

Get a few friends together who prefer grass-fed and go in on a whole or half cow from a local farm and store it in your freezer. With whole butchered cows typically selling for less than $3.00 a pound, you can stand to save a lot of money over time. Visit eatwild.com to find an ethical farming operation in your area.

4. Read a Compelling Book

Sometimes, a well-written compelling story is needed to drive a point home and solidify it in our minds. Over time, these ideas can turn into habits that shape our actions. I think one easy way to eat better is to read about healthy food and the surrounding industries. Here are 4 books you might consider to get started:

Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. Great information! If you haven’t already, check out Darya’s thorough review of this life changing book.
The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan. One of the most talked about food books of the last few years and for good reason. A beautifully written book that is part policy and all heart.
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan. This is a great follow up to The Omnivores Dilemma, loaded with fascinating information I hadn’t a clue about.
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, Ph.D. It shows why you might not realize how much you’re eating, what you’re eating, or even why you’re eating.

6 Ways To Naturally Speed Up Metabolism

We have all heard that the metabolism is the rate at which our body burns calories and converts fuel into energy, but also affects how easily we will be able to part with the excess weight. Metabolism can be fast or slow and it depends not only on heredity, age or sex, but still largely on our lifestyle. Change your lifestyle, you can literally speed up the process of learning materials and, as a result, lose weight.
It is important to note that the metabolism cannot be solely responsible for the weight gain or loss – someone with a super-fast metabolism can remain slim, if not follow the diet and not doing, and people with a slow metabolism does not automatically doom to being overweight.
Even tiny adjustments human metabolism may provide significant health benefits over time. These six ways to give your metabolism a natural boost.

1. Turn on the pace

Sleep in a cool room in the body helps to increase the percentage of brown fat – a type of fat that acts more like a muscle, helping burn fat and the other increases the metabolic rate. This was confirmed by recent studies, so you try to lower the temperature in the bedroom nice and lose weight!

2. Drink a cup of coffee

Several small studies have shown that there is a link between caffeine consumption and increasing metabolism, as well as reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This may be because it helps the body to break down fats. But do not overdo it: too many drinks with caffeine may cause nervousness, nausea and insomnia, and some coffee drinks are also high in fat and sugar.

3. Keep your stress level low

Even if stressful situations do not cause your cravings for fatty foods, your body may require more time to process all the calories that you eat. Each stress pushes you to the desired result, and if you look over a long period, you will only gain weight, but not cleared. So this is another reason to try not to succumb to stress and to eat properly and regularly.

4. Adequate sleep

Sleep is desirable not only in the cool room, but also a fair amount of time. It has been shown that the lack of sleep slow metabolism in both women and men.

5. Strength training

Any type of physical activity – even just walking for 30 minutes – can help speed up the metabolism. But the best option is to weight training, which helps to burn and increase muscle mass, as it is known, spends calories even at rest. Try adding 2-3 weight training a week to improve metabolism and beautiful sports figure.

6. Snack something spicy foods

As has been proven, spicy foods also helps to speed up metabolism and burn fat faster, even though only temporarily, and only a small percentage. Such chemicals called isothiocyanates, is present in foods such as spicy mustard, horseradish, and can help to activate brown fat and speed up the metabolic rate.

Categories: Blogging Health & fitness