Saturday, July 30, 2011

Food, and Stuff we eat that Really Isn’t

Get a group of 10 people together, and ask them about diet.  You will get at least 11 different definitions of good nutrition.  Health science is constantly evolving.   

Yesterday’s miracle food is today’s diet disaster.  Many “studies” are funded by groups that benefit from the results (think calcium studies funded by the dairy council). More people than ever, including kids, are overweight or obese than ever.  Diseases of excess are at an all time high.  What should you do?

First, a basic rule:  eat food. That seems simplistic, but a lot of what we eat is not really food.  Anything that comes in a package is as much chemicals as food.  Read the label on your favorite “healthy meal replacement bar” and you will see that it is nothing more than a glorified, and expensive, candy bar.  Become a label reader.  Don’t eat anything that has ingredients you can’t pronounce.  You will spend a lot of time wandering the aisles at the grocery store, but your body will thank you.

Eat everything.  We are omnivores.  People can survive on diets as varied as those eaten by arctic populations, herdsmen, fishermen, and gardeners.  Try not to leave entire food groups out of your diet (The exception to this is probably dairy.  Cow milk is for baby cows, not for people.  Most of us won’t be hurt by dairy, but it’s probably not really necessary.  More on this rant later.)   

Try new foods.  We tend to stick to the same few foods all the time.  There are many new nutritious foods you’ve probably never heard of.  So try a new vegetable, or shop in an ethnic market and discover new tastes.

Breastfeed your kids (this is the rant!).  A former surgeon general, Jocelyn Elders, said that all babies should be breastfed for a least a year, and the lucky ones get to nurse for 2.  

Cow milk is for baby cows. Human babies drink human milk.  If you start your kids right, they are less likely to have weight and health problems later. 

Eat only when you are actually hungry.  Don’t eat  because the clock says its lunchtime, or because you are sitting in front of the TV (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway!).  

Unless you are doing serious endurance training, like high milage, multihour runs, you don’t need special sports drinks or bars.  They are just useless, mostly chemical, calories.  

Drink some water, and eat some real food if you are hungry.

Work out every day.  (This isn’t really nutrition advice, but it will keep you healthy!)

Suggested (admittedly biased) reading list
(click on the title for more information on the books.)

Why We Get Fat  Gary Taubes

(Taubes talks about why "calories in calories out" is a true but useless)

Twinkie, Deconstructed  Steve Ettlinger

(I Love to Eat Chemicals)


This is a Guest blog, written by Master and Sr. Instructor Laura Petsching.
from Mccoy's Action Karate in Auburn and Strubridge MA

Laura is also a certified Beach Body Coach, a Cardio and MMA instructor and a runner, as well as an RN.  Click where it is blue for more information.

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