Wednesday, April 16, 2008

change your food, change your life

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I grew up in a household that encouraged the kind of healthy eating that is now advocated by almost any nutrition or health expert. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and few processed foods. Eating wholesome food like these bring with it a host of benefits - reduced risk of most chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. More energy for daily activities.

My brothers can attest to the table setting mantra - "bread, butter, salt, pepper, fruit, vegetable"- that my mom quoted to us each time we were assigned to set the table for dinner. I remember all of us sitting down for breakfast, and eating more than just cold cereal. We didn't have sugared cereals, or foods with lots of food coloring. It's not to say that we never had chips, or soda (I called it pop when I was growing up) fruit roll ups, or other processed foods. It was just far from normal. Except for the pop. We had a pop machine outside of our gift shop. But that's beside the point.

I'm sure some people think I led a deprived life. I am grateful for my upbringing, as it established the ground work for me to make healthy choices (now that I'm choosing to make the healthy choice - most of the time).

Not everyone has been raised in an atmosphere that encourages good food choices. There are some who grow up where soda, white bread, sugared cereals, twinkies, hotdogs, and frozen precooked dinners are the norm. When your taste buds have been trained to prefer the ultra-strong flavors found in such foods, it can be a challenge to exchange those foods for the different flavors found in wholesome, healthful foods that we really need.

I challenge you to take a look at your diet (diet, as in the foods that you eat). Here are some simple changes that can make a huge impact in your health and your life.

whole grains - Exchange the white flour products in your life for whole grain. Bread and pasta are two great places to start.

vegetables and fruits - Take a walk through the produce section, and bring home a vegetable or fruit that you haven't eaten in a long while (if ever). Include vegetables (especially lightly cooked ones) and fruits in every meal.

reduce the amount of soda you drink during a week - Try instead some water, water with a splash of fruit juice, herbal teas. The beverages we drink are an area many people struggle with. Some people say that it's impossible to give up soda, or they think that switching to "diet" soda is somehow better than regular soda. There's plenty of research to suggest that switching to diet soda is just exchanging one set of problems for another.

There are lots of other changes you could make - cutting out fried and processed food, reading labels for and avoiding certain ingredients like hydrogenated oils (trans fat), artificial food colorings and preservatives, Monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

There are lots of great, wholesome foods out there that can more than satisfy our taste buds. Try them out!


Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie,

I grew up eating pretty much the same way you did, especially since my dad is an avid gardener, acres of it. Only thing I also had was a mom who is an excellent baker, so I developed a sweet tooth (sugar addiction now - not blaming mom, the human body isn't built for refined sugar that's in just about all processed and fast food today).

It really is simple, isn't it? Eating regular food instead of the pre-made, boxed, dead food. I don't know about you but I sure feel a whole lot better when I'm eating clean, whole foods.

Thanks for the great post, I enjoyed reading it! :)

my4kidsma said...

Carrie this is great. I am going to print it to give to dh. He is home with the kids right now and I'm working all day. Our diet in the past year has been so bad that I'm sure we wouldn't decay if we were to die right now.

Love your pictures too!

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