Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Just Be Mindful

At year's end, I must say that I'm hopeful.

Yes, we have an obesity and diabetes epidemic. Yes, we have a generation of children who are less healthy than their parents were as children.

But as I read all new books and magazine articles emerging on healthy eating, I see that there's an awareness growing that being mindful is the necessary backdrop for any kind of personal transformation, including weight loss and becoming healthier.

"Awareness is the key to change. Once we are aware of something, it cannot remain the same. Awareness plus small changes in our automatic behaviors can produce large changes over time."
That, from "Mindful Eating ~ A Guide to Rediscovering a Healhty & Joyful Relationship With Food."

There you have it ~ a simple solution, yet a difficult practice ~ at first. But not forever.

As we realize there is no "perfect", there is no "end zone" or arrival point, we understand that every moment presents opportunities for change and greater happiness.

And no behavior presents itself as often as eating. It's something we all do ~ everyday.

If we take the time to appreciate that good food is a gift to us ~ we not only feed our bodies, but also our hearts ~ and our souls.

May you gather at your tables in that spirit with those you love and celebrate how very blessed we are ~ each and every one of us!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reflections on the Fiber Focus

What I love about this approach is that I don't think much about food ~ and the more fiber-rich foods I eat, the more I naturally gravitate towards them.

I don't find that I'm "makin' a list and checkin' it twice" like I often do when I obsess about food, and I don't drive myself crazy deciding whether I've been "naughty or nice" if I decide to have a piece of cheesecake!

Over the past week, I find I do have to "graze" and eat often just to get maybe 30 grams of fiber during the course of the day, and I feel pretty good as a result physically.

The surprise here is that I've felt much more calm and centered emotionally ~ pretty much within the week or so span I've been doing this. It's an unexpected bonus!

I feel more confident about my food choices, because I'm not struggling so often with the "should I" or "shouldn't I" debate, but rather know that my body directs me to eat what I need ~ and the choices are good!

This is a new dimension of the food journey that's well worth exploring!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Count Fiber Grams ~ Not Calories!

Here's a nugget of health advice ~ to prevent or improve heart disease, diabetes, or obesity ~ make those grams of fiber add up every day!

Fiber revs up your metabolism, helps stabilize blood sugars, optimizes what goes on in your intestines and reduces food cravings ~ and all you have to do is eat enough of it!

So gone are the worries that you'll weaken and eat a sack of Oreo's, or how you'll ever figure out complicated food exchanges ~ or that you have to keep counting calories.

The trick, I hear, is to eat 40 grams of fiber every day, and your body chemistry calibrates the rest.

I tried it out yesterday. It was enlightening. First of all, you won't find much fiber in fast food ~ so there's a benefit right there. It's mainly in fruits, nuts, vegetables and legumes (beans), but you have to eat a lot to tally 40 g ~ another benefit. Lastly, once you get six or seven grams of fiber under your belt (literally)for the day, you don't crave foods that offer NOTHING nutritionally.

So ~ I started with a serving of oatmeal mixed with a chopped apple. That's 9 g right there. (Most apples have 5 g of fiber, which probably is how the adage, "an apple a day" came about.)

A handful of almonds later on added another several grams, and for lunch I had two bowls of a soup that I had made the day before with chopped beets, cabbage, carrots and onions ~ so about 7 g for each bowl ~ or 14 g total.

Going into the afternoon, I had already had more than 20 g of fiber and I noticed that I felt pretty good. The other thing I noticed was I really craved more of the good stuff ~ so another apple was much more appealing mid afternoon than fiberless saltines or something sweet.

So as you "nickel and dime" your way along in terms of grams, you find it's really not that difficult to get to 40g at the end of the day ~ if you're eating the right stuff. Though you have to eat often and a lot (of good stuff!!) to get there, it's not so hard because your body naturally craves it.

Take this as a mantra for two or three days: "Focus on forty!"

Let's see what happens!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Is Healthy Eating a Path to Financial Stability?

... if you have any income at all, yes.

I just read today that Americans on the average spent $4,000 eating out last year. That breaks down to about $75 a week ~ so I'd guess they may even spend more than that. Americans also waste 40 percent of that food, which makes those excursions even pricier!

And of the food that gets eaten, how much is even good for them? Further, much of our health care spending goes to treat illnesses caused by the way we eat.

But this isn't out of control spending. It's all very much within the control of every person who eats.

Think about it ~ if you cut your trips to the restaurants by half, and then actually planned the meals that you have at home (because we waste 40 percent of kitchen food, too), you might end up with an extra $100 a week, or $400 at the end of the month ~ or enough over a year's time to buy a used car, make some home improvements, or take a vacation.

It would take some planning and some lifestyle changes, and the family would have to make a united effort (not a small challenge).

But if you end up healthier and wealthier for it, it may well be worth considering!