Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How about a "Let's Talk Eats" Series

Hi Friends!  How are you all doing today? (and holy cow, it's September already!!) 

I haven't really talked about food here yet, other than a few recipes I've shared (Hummus and "cool down" water).  It really is a personal subject, as food is really more than just fuel.  It reminds us of our childhood, it comforts us, is a part of our culture, it's a social thing for some, and a private thing for others.  Everyone has their own personal experience with food, what works for them and what doesn't, what they crave and what they can't live without.  

One thing that you'll never hear from me is that in order to be healthy you have to totally cut out "xxx."  If someone tells me I can't have carbs, or sugar, or wine (oh, please no!), basically anything, what do you think is the first thing I'm going to crave?  Yep - tell me no sugar, and all I can think about is sugar. I'm fairly certain I'm not alone here, right?  

I'm not a proponent of any one particular diet but I also am not against different ways of eating (within reason, of course), because again, what works for me might not work for you.  The one "diet" that I do NOT support is the Standard American Diet or "SAD."  The SAD refers to the way Americans eat today as a whole.  I looked around and there isn't a specific definition of the SAD, but I thought this was a really good summary (from the Ask Dr. Sears website):

What’s in the Standard American Diet (SAD)?

If you were to list the factors that increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, intestinal disorders – just about any illness – the Standard American Diet has them all:

  • High in animal fats
  • High in unhealthy fats: saturated, hydrogenated
  • Low in fiber
  • High in processed foods
  • Low in complex carbohydrates
  • Low in plant-based foods
I think we can all understand this. We eat way too much sugar, way too many packaged or processed foods, and just not enough of the real, whole foods that help our bodies to run the way they were made to.

To reinforce the gravity of this, here are some facts from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website:
  • Almost two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and fewer than than 13% of doctor visits include a discussion on nutrition
  • Medical costs linked to obesity were estimated to be $147 Billion (yes, Billion!) in 2008, plus an additional ~$3-6 Billion on obesity related absenteeism
  • Chronic diseases are among the most common, costly and preventable of all health problems. 86% of all health care spending in 2010 was for people with one or more chronic medical conditions, and 7 of the top 10 causes of death were chronic diseases
  • Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for a variety of chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, certain cancers and arthritis. (source)
The below charts show the % of adult Americans that are either Overweight (BMI 25-30) or Obese (BMI 30+).  Note that the national average for Overweight adults is 35.5% and Obese adults is 28.3%.   Not one state had less than 20% obesity in 2013.   

So, we know have a problem.  

What do we do, or more importantly, what can each of us do? Prevention is one of the greatest things we can do for ourselves, our kids, and our country (think of what good could be done with all that money - billions of dollars! - if we could spend just a portion of it elsewhere). And it's not just about money - it's about being healthy, feeling great and being able to do the things we want to do to have a long, full life!

Prevention in the form of what we choose eat

Instead of becoming an unknowing victim to the "SAD," how can we be more mindful and make better choices in what we eat?  As I mentioned earlier, I don't like to think about it as cutting out "bad" food. Instead of focusing on what not to eat, let's think of it as what can we add in, of what we can eat MORE of.  Doesn't that just sound better?  Sure, I want to eat MORE, don't you? 

I thought it might be fun and helpful to start a series talking about some of these foods we can add more of called "Let's Talk Eats."  A few ideas of what I'll focus on: 

  • Veggies
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein
  • Healthy Fats
In each of those posts I'll include some basic reasons why this category is important, ideas on how you can incorporate more of these foods in your daily routine, as well as some recipe ideas.  There's so much great information out there, but I know it's not always easy to find when you're in a pinch or trying to figure out what to put on the table for your family when you just got home from a long day of work, etc.

Stay tuned for more fun info on how to eat MORE in my "Let's Talk Eats" series!

How can
 you add in another fruit or vegetable to a meal or snack today?  Do you have any ideas or requests for me to include in the "Let's Talk Eats" series?   Please share with me in the comments!

I have a few spaces remaining for my Coaching program, so if you're interested sign up here, or contact me at: (502) 608-4281 or Becky@MacDonaldWellness.com.

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