Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What's Eating You?

A common expression used in society today is 'you are what you eat'.  If that's the case, then I should have legs made of Diet Dr. Pepper, a core made of ribeyes, Special K (vanilla almond) arms, a banana neck and a Cliff's Twisted Fruit noggin.  Maybe the expression is meant to be more figurative than literal.

While I am not a dietitian or a doctor - but you can trust me, I'm a Yoga Instructor - I have some great resources that teach wise eating habits.  I want you to understand the makings of a wholesome diet, and how to read the labels on the food you eat.  The information that I am presenting is some of my own opinion but also comes largely from Beth Shaw's YOGAFIT - Second Edition and also the ADA.  Also, http://www.mypyramid.gov/ is a great resource for meal planning.

Simple Tips for a Pure and Wholesome Diet
1. Emphasize fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
2. Choose proteins such as peanut butter, fish, beans, free-range eggs, free range poultry and nuts.
3. Chose foods low in saturated fat, trans fats, sodium, and sugar.
4. Eat more orange and dark green veggies.  Don't forget to include beans, peas and lentils.
5. Include calcium-rich foods in your diet, such as: broccoli, salmon, yogurt and cheese.
6. Go lean with protein.  Bake, broil or grill.  Don't fry it.
7. Focus on fresh, frozen or dried fruits.
8. Try to avoid canned and packaged foods.
9. If the back of the packaging looks like the science test you failed in high school, don't eat it.
10. Drink plenty of water (remember that when you add flavor packets to your water, it's no longer water) and consume fluid-rich foods such as: berries, milk, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, broccoli, yogurt, apples, grapes and oranges.
11. Choose meat that is produced from reputable local farmers that don't use growth hormones or unnecessary antibiotics.
12. Avoid excessive amounts of sugar and sodium.
13. Indulge occasionally.

Reading Labels
Obviously, the most important factors in getting healthy are exercising and making smart food choices.  But how do you know you are actually making smart choices?  It's important to know what is actually in the 'diet foods' on the shelves, and to know what all of the jargon really means.
Light - one-third fewer calories or half the amount of fat than the usual food (be careful of the spelling 'lite'... it means nothing).
Low Calorie - fewer than 40 calories per serving.
Calorie Free - fewer than 5 calories per serving.
Fat Free - less than one-fourth gram of fat per serving (I recommend avoiding fat free foods at all costs due to the added sugar and sodium added to make these products tastier -- Low fat diets do not provide adequate amounts of essential fatty acids your body needs).
Sugar Free - less than one-fourth gram of sugar per serving (these products will most likely be full of artificial sweeteners).
Reduced - 25 percent less of the specified nutrient than the usual product.
Good Source Of - provides at least 10 percent of the daily value of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving.
High In - provides more than 20 percent of the daily value of a specified nutrient per serving.
Low Sodium - less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Low Cholesterol - less than 20 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving.
Organic - grown free from antibiotics or pesticides (please note that if you aren't buying 'certified organic' you are probably wasting your money).
It's important to be your own advocate when it comes to your health, that means arming yourself with information.  Don't buy into fancy packaging and brightly colored labels promising weight loss.  Turn it over, read the label, know what you are putting in your bodyAfter all if 'you are what you eat', shouldn't you know what you are eating?
Be Healthy.  Love yourself.  And Remember... you're In Good Company.

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