A family of friends is beginning a month-long adventure to eat a Vegan diet. They are doing that to try to improve their overall health. She and I were talking about how my life changed after I was diagnosed with diabetes. We started to think about how convenience is influencing people’s’ lives now, and how much of a good thing that is, except in the area of food and health.
She said I should write down some thoughts about convenience vs. healthy food. Since I’ve switched my whole lifestyle to attempt to control diabetes with diet alone, there is nothing convenient about the way I eat. And, controlling my diabetes with diet alone IS working, so maybe I should get some other people to think about convenient vs. healthy.
I’ve had high blood pressure, controlled by meds, for a few years now. But controlling that by meds doesn’t mean I can pick up the salt shaker OR eat a lot of the things in the frozen freezer section of the grocery store. I pick up a lot of that frozen food, read the nutrition label, and put it down quickly and move on to another area.
Our life moves f a s t >>>>>>> today. I believe that our human bodies and minds were not intended to go this fast, but that’s my thoughts, and another blog for another time. Now I’m writing about just food.
It seems so easy to “grab something quick” to eat, when you’re in such a hurry. Are you always in such a hurry? Do you always grab something quick? Do you know what you’re eating…..really, what you are giving your body as fuel, and what you are giving your body as health problems? Do you ever read the nutritional labels on your food? Food IS just fuel, but since so much of it tastes so good, it’s hard to think of it that way.
Here is a sample nutrition label, taken from a Wikipedia article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutrition_facts_label
These labels are on all foods now except fresh, unwrapped things like produce. What you put into your mouth often shows up ON your body (love handles?) and certainly shows up and acts on the inside of your body too!
If you come from a family that has high cholesterol or high blood pressure or diabetes, you may develop those problems later in life, even if you are young and healthy now. You can work on your health now, and some of those things that are genetically planned for you could take longer to happen. If you already have some of those issues, improving your health can improve the condition in some cases. Check all this with your doctor, but most doctors will recommend a healthier diet for most people.
I was surprised how much just switching to whole grains helped my diet and my weight. Whole grain pasta, bread, brown rice, all those things are less refined than their white counterparts and need to be digested more slowly than the more refined grains. So, you don’t get hungry as quickly and since you body doesn’t digest them so quickly, not as much of their ingredients is likely to store in your body as fat. Studies have also shown that whole grains will absorb some cholesterol from your body. No, that doesn’t mean you should stop taking those cholesterol meds, the whole grains only help!
Meat is good for protein, which we all need, but less fatty meat is better because the extra fat also stores in your body—-as fat! Fat is easy to put on and hard to take off, as any one who has ever dieted will tell you! There are other ways to get protein too, such as nuts, in moderation of course, because they also contain some fat. Seafood and more poultry is good, because there is less fat in the poultry and almost no fatty content in many seafoods.
Eating whole foods, foods as they come off their plant or out of the ground, is excellent. Fruit, vegetables, all those things can be easy if they’re canned or frozen, but some of the nutrients are gone. Some of the fiber is also destroyed in the preservation of those foods, and fiber helps keep your system operating as it should.
So, convenient is nice, but isn’t always healthier. You can choose what you want to eat, and what you want your body to be able to do with what you eat. See your doctor, read some books on nutrition, it isn’t that hard to learn how to eat healthier. There is a wealth of info about all this on line too. It takes more time, but you will feel different after you’ve made some changes and stuck to them for a while. Happy eating!
Here’s a link to my friends’ switch to Vegan, for at least one month. They’re hoping to all feel different after that month and keep the changes they’ve made, as a permanent way of life. http://lizzieswords.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/being-kind-to-myself-a-30/