Metabolism and Eating Habits

He body’s metabolism is a unique process for each individual person.  No two people metabolize food at the same rate therefore no two people have the metabolism.  We all use our calories at different rates, with different results.  Our metabolism, like our fingerprints is unique to each of us.  But the need to understand and accommodate this metabolism is an issue that we all face.

The dictionary defines metabolism as the sum of all biochemical processes involved in life, or the sustaining of life.  In application concerning our health, metabolism is related to the intake and use of food.  In reference to the case in point it is our ability to utilize our food to the fullest extent.

Some people have really high rates of metabolism.  In other words, when they consume food, their bodies burn it up almost as fast as then consume it.  Then there are those of use who use our food intake so slowly, as to not even notice that we’re burning calories.  These people who burn quickly are often slim and trim, the people who burn more slowly are the people with a tendency toward obesity.

Right now, the greatest results in raising our metabolism come from exercise and building our muscle mass, while reducing our body fat.  Adding more muscle to the body, in turn causes us to burn more calories, and this helps to elevate our metabolic rate.

What determines our metabolic rate, as far as our genetics?  Generally, we tend to inherit the same tendencies for metabolic rates, body frames, and other related body functions from our parents.

All of this metabolic process is related to our calorie intake, our vitamin and nutrition needs, our thyroid and endocrine production, and how well all of these processes come together.  For years, people have sought ways to raise the metabolic rate.  If you can raise someone’s metabolic rate, you are then better able to control the burn of calories, especially for overweight or obese people.  This would make the goal of better or improved health a much easier reality for those people.  Efforts to date have produced very little results.  There are foods that we can consume that naturally raise our metabolic rate, but not to a great extent.  What we need is a way to directly alter the rate.  We need to be able to raise our metabolism to a point where we can actually see a benefit.

The only recourse we have in trying to control our body weight, metabolic burn and health is through our thorough understanding of the role food plays in our calorie consumption versus our calorie need, and control how much of the calories we take in.

Our metabolism functions also depend on how well we have taken care of our nutritional needs.  The process of burning calories and creating energy is a delicate one, and one which must be carefully tended, or it can become imbalanced.  It is often through these natural imbalances that we tend to “inherit’ our metabolic rate.

I believe through careful analysis, and attention to each person’s unique needs, we could bring about a more natural balance of the metabolic burn vs. the calorie intake. To a level where optimal health and weight control are in equilibrium.

Unhealthy Eating Contributes to Health Disorders

As a teen, most of us don’t even care if we’re eating right, or begin to understand the implications of poor eating habits.  As we age, however, we do begin to notice the effects of improper exercise, poor eating habits, and how they affect our health.  Today, as the baby boomers begin their retirement years, health concerns and questions are on the rise.  These aging boomers are more concerned than any previous generations about their good health, their ability to keep their good health, and how their diet affects their health.

You don’t have to be a doctor to understand the relationship between too much consumption of food, and health disorders.  You simply have to look around at a nation approaching an obesity epidemic to understand what happens when you over consume in general.  One a smaller scale we wonder about the over consumption of just certain kinds of foods?  What happens when you overdo in the sweet department?

There are all kinds of health issues related to over consumption of sugar.  Diabetes would be the number one health concern.  But, diabetes isn’t the only ill effect from over consumption of sugar.  Obesity, thyroid dysfunction, kidney malfunction, and intestinal problems can all be directly associated with too much sugar consumption.

What about too much alcohol?  The ravaging effects of alcoholism are a continual struggle and medical expense to many companies and citizens in this country, and indeed the whole world.  Lost youth, liver problems, brain deterioration, the speeding of other age-related diseases are all side affects of too much alcohol consumption.

Then, we can talk about the effects of too little food consumption.  What happens when we don’t consume what we need to maintain our health?  Gum diseases, heart disease, muscle deterioration, vision loss, and anorexia occur when we don’t get the necessary food our body needs.

Even when we can’t consume enough actual food, we can supplement the vitamins and minerals our bodies need in order to maintain some healthy functioning.  You have only to walk down the aisle at your local supermarket to discover that there has been a vitamin revolution.  Every possible vitamin and mineral needed by the body is available in capsule, pill, tablet, or powder form.

Once your body has reached the point of unhealthy functioning, or you have placed such a strain on your body from over consumption that one of the related diseases has taken hold, it’s almost impossible to correct one problem without creating another.  Once you have become a diabetic, there are so many complications, that simply choosing to diet and exercise is no longer an option. The health concerns you now have far outweigh the easy solution of diet and exercise.   Can you begin to see how important maintaining your health is to your quality of life?  How important it is to the quality of your spouses’ and children’s’ lives?  Your choices directly affect situations with their lives.  You should make every effort to keep your health; don’t you owe it to your family, if not yourself?

Fight Stress With Healthy Eating

Whenever we get too busy or stressed, we all tend to make poor food choices that will actually increase stress and cause other problems. To get the most of your healthy eating and avoid stress, follow these simple tips.

Always eat breakfast Even though you may think you aren’t hungry,  you need to eat something. Skipping breakfast
makes it harder to maintain the proper blood and sugar levels during the day, so you should always eat something.

Carry a snack

Keeping some protein rich snacks in your car,  office, or pocket book will help you avoid blood sugar level dips, the accompanying mood swings, and the fatigue. Trail mix, granola bars, and energy bars all have the nutrients you need.

Healthy munchies

If you like to munch when you’re stressed out,  you can replace chips or other non healthy foods with carrot sticks, celery sticks, or even  sunflower seeds.

Bring your lunch

Although a lot of people prefer to eat fast food for lunch, you can save a lot of money and actually eat healthier if you take a few minutes and pack a lunch at home. Even if you only do this a few times a week, you’ll see a much better improvement over eating out.

Stock your home

As important as it is to get the bad food out of your house, it’s even more important to get the good food in! The best way to do this is to plan a menu of healthy meals at snacks at the beginning of the week, list the ingredients you need, then go shop for it. This way, you’ll know what you want when you need it and you won’t have to stress over what
to eat.

 

Changing How You Eat

As you may know, not fueling up with the right nutrients can affect how well your body performs and your overall fitness benefits. Even though healthy eating is important, there are myths that hinder your performance if you listen to them.

Below, you’ll find some myth busters on healthy eating.

1. Working out on an empty stomach. If you hear a rumbling noise in your stomach, the rumbling is trying to tell you something. Without listening to them, you are forcing your body to run without any fuel. Before you exercise or do any physical activity, always eat a light snack such as an apple.

2. Relying on energy bars and drinks. Although they are fine every once in a while, they don’t deliver the antioxidants you need to prevent cancer. Fruits and vegetables are your best bets,as they are loaded in vitamins, minerals, fluid,
and fiber.

3. Skipping breakfast. Skipping breakfast is never a good idea, as breakfast starts the day. Your body needs fuel as soon as possible, and without it, you’ll be hungry throughout the day.

4. Low carb diets. Your body needs carbohydrates for your muscles and the storing of energy.

5. Eating what you want. Eating healthy and exercising doesn’t give you an all access pass to eat anything you want. Everyone needs the same nutrients whether they exercise or not, as well as fruits and vegetables.

6. Not enough calories Although losing weight involves calories, losing it too quickly is never safe. What you should do, is aim for 1 – 2 pounds a week. Always make sure that you are getting enough calories to keep your body operating smoothly. If you start dropping weight too fast, eat a bit more food.

7. Skip soda and alcohol. Water, milk, and juice is the best to drink for active people. You should drink often, and not
require on thirst to be an indicator. By the time you get thirsty, your body is already running a bit too low.

Changing how you eat is always a great step  towards healthy eating and it will affect how your body performs. The healthier you eat, you better you’ll feel. No matter how old you may be, healthy eating is something you should strive for. Once you give it a chance, you’ll see in no time at all just how much it can change your life – for the better.

 

Changing How You Eat

As you may know, not fueling up with the right nutrients can affect how well your body performs and your overall fitness benefits. Even though

healthy eating is important, there are myths that hinder your performance if you listen to them.

Below, you’ll find some myth busters on healthy eating.

1. Working out on an empty stomach. If you hear a rumbling noise in your stomach, the rumbling is trying to tell you something. Without listening to them, you are forcing your body to run without any fuel. Before you exercise or do
any physical activity, always eat a light snack such as an apple.

2. Relying on energy bars and drinks. Although they are fine every once in a while, they don’t deliver the antioxidants you need to prevent cancer. Fruits and vegetables are your best bets, as they are loaded in vitamins, minerals, fluid,
and fiber.

3. Skipping breakfast. Skipping breakfast is never a good idea, as breakfast starts the day. Your body needs fuel as soon as possible, and without it, you’ll be hungry throughout the day.

4. Low carb diets. Your body needs carbohydrates for your muscles and the storing of energy.

5. Eating what you want. Eating healthy and exercising doesn’t give you an all access pass to eat anything you want. Everyone needs the same nutrients whether they exercise or not, as well as fruits and vegetables.

6. Not enough calories Although losing weight involves calories, losing it too quickly is never safe. What you should do, is aim for 1 – 2 pounds a week. Always make sure that you are getting enough calories to keep your body operating smoothly. If you start dropping weight too fast, eat a bit more food.

7. Skip soda and alcohol. Water, milk, and juice is the best to drink for active people. You should drink often, and not
require on thirst to be an indicator. By the time you get thirsty, your body is already running a bit too low.

Changing how you eat is always a great step towards healthy eating and it will affect how your body performs. The healthier you eat, you better you’ll feel. No matter how old you may be, healthy eating is something you should strive for. Once you give it a chance, you’ll see in no time at all just how much it can change your life – for the better.

 

The Healthiest Foods You Can Get

The following is a list of The Healthiest Foods You Can Get. This will help you get an idea as to what foods are the best for your body.

 Fruits

The Healthiest Foods You Can Get Apricots
Apricots contain Beta-carotene which helps to prevent radical damage and also helps to protect the eyes. A single apricot contains 17 calories, 0 fat, and one gram of fiber. You can eat them dried or soft.

The Healthiest Foods You Can Get Mango
A medium sized mango packs 57 MG of vitamin C, which is nearly your entire daily dose. This antioxidant will help prevent arthritis and also boost your immune system.

The Healthiest Foods You Can Get Cantaloupe
Cantaloupes contain 117 GG of vitamin C, which is almost twice the recommended dose. Half a melon contains 853 MG of potassium, which is nearly twice as much as a banana, which helps to lower blood pressure. Half a melon contains 97 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 2 grams of fiber.

The Healthiest Foods You Can Get Tomato
A tomato can help cut the risk of bladder, stomach, and colon cancers in half if you eat one daily. A tomaton contains 26 calories, 0 fat, and only 1 gram of fiber.

The Healthiest Foods You Can Get Vegetables

The Healthiest Foods You Can GetOnions
An onion can help to protect against cancer. A cup of onions offers 61 calories, 0 fat, and 3 grams of fiber.

Broccoli
Broccoli can help protect against breast cancer, and it also contains a lot of vitamin C and beta- carotene. One cup of chopped broccoli contains 25 calories, 0 fat, and 3 grams of fiber.

Spinach
Spinach contains carotenoids that can help fend off macular degeneration, which is a major cause of blindness in older people. One cup contains 7 calories, 0 fat, and 1 gram of fiber.

Grains, beans, and nuts

The Healthiest Foods You Can Get Peanuts
Peanuts and other nuts can lower your risk of heart disease by 20 percent. One ounce contains 166 calories, 14 grams of fat, and over 2 grams of fiber.

The Healthiest Foods You Can Get Pinto beans
A half cut of pinto beans offers more than 25 percent of your daily folate requirement, which protects you against heart disease. Half a cup contains 103 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 6 grams of fiber.

The Healthiest Foods You Can Get Skim milk
Skim milk offers vitamin B2, which is important for good vision and along with Vitamin A could improve allergies. You also get calcium and vitamin D as well. One cup contains 86 calories, o fat, and 0 fiber.

The Healthiest Foods You Can Get Seafood

The Healthiest Foods You Can Get Salmon
All cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which help to reduce the risk of cardiac disease. A 3 ounce portion of salmon contains 127 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 0 fiber.

The Healthiest Foods You Can Get Crab
Crab is a great source of vitamin B12 and immunity boosting zinc. A 3 ounce serving of crab offers 84 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 0 fiber.

 

Tips For Healthy Holiday Eating

When the holidays arrive, many people forget all about their diets and healthy eating. Weight  gains of 7 – 10 pounds are common between  Halloween and Christmas. To make the holidays easier, these tips will help you with healthy
eating through the season and not gaining weight.

Most traditional foods can be made low fat. Turkey is very lean without the skin, and gravy can be made without any fat. Potatoes that are served without butter can be very healthy. The beloved pumpkin pie is nutritious, although it
can be made into a fatty dessert with the adding of whipped cream.

Even though the holidays are in, don’t forget about the exercise. Keeping weight off during the holiday season is burning off the extra calories. You should plan a walk after meals, park farther from stores when you shop, and
take a few walks around the mall before you begin shopping.

During holiday parties and at family dinners, feel free to sample foods although you shouldn’t splurge. Decide on what you plan to eat in advance, then stick to your plan. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruit and low fat dressings, and slices of lean meats. Before you go to a party,  eat a small snack to help curb your appetite.

If at all possible, avoid alcohol. Having too many drinks can cripple your will power, and also add excess calories to your diet. In the place of alcohol, drink water with lemon. Water can help to limit your appetite and keep you from bringing. Also make sure to avoid eggnog, as each glass can have up to 300 calories.

Be flexible with your healthy eating, as one bad meal won’t ruin your diet. Try to balance your calories over a few days and don’t just look at one meal or day.

 

Eating Healthy When Eating Out

If you go out to a restaurant to healthy  eat, you probably watch your calories very closely. To assist you with your calorie watching when Healthy  dining out, these tips will help you make the most of it.

– Always order salad dressings or sauces on the side,  as this way you have control over how much you add to your meal.

– When you order grilled fish or vegetables, you should ask that the food be grilled without butter or oil, or prepared with very little or either or.

– Anytime you order pasta dishes, be on the lookout for tomato based sauces instead of the cream based sauces. Tomato based sauces are much lower in fat and calories, and tomato sauce can even be counted as a vegetable!

– You should always try to drink water, diet soda,  or tea instead of soda or beverages that contain  alcohol.

– If you order dessert, share with a friend. Half  of the dessert will equal half of the calories.

– When you choose a soup, remember that cream  based soups are higher in fat and calories than other soups. A soup can be a great appetizer, as most are low in calories and you fill you up pretty fast.

– When ordering a baked potato, ask for salsa instead of sour cream, butter, cheese, or even bacon. Salsa is very low in calories and provides a healthy alternative with plenty of flavor and spice.

– When you are full, stop eating. Listen to your body and what it tells you.

– If you get full, take half of your meal home.  The second portion of your meal can serve as a second meal later. This way, you get two meals for the price of one.

– If you’re looking to eat less, order two appetizers or an appetizer and a salad as your meal.

– If you get a choice of side dishes, get a baked potato or steamed vegetables instead of french fries.

– Always look for food on the menu that’s baked,  grilled, broiled, poached, or steamed. These types of cooking use less fat in the cooking process and are usually much lower in calories.

– Plain bread or rolls are low in both fat and calories. When you add the butter and oil, you increase the fat and calorie intake.

– As key ingredients to your meal, choose dishes with fruits and vegetables. Both fruits and  vegetables are great sources of dietary fiber as well as many vitamins and minerals.

– Choose foods made with whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and dishes made with brown rice.

– If you crave dessert, look for something with low fat, such as berries or fruit.

– Always remember not to deprive yourself of the foods you truly love. All types of foods can fit into a well balanced diet.

Eating Healthy On The Run

Whether your traveling on the go or around the home, you don’t need to give up healthy eating simply because you are on the run. The fact is, healthy eating is even more important when your trying to keep up with a busy schedule.

Having a good diet will help your body to handle the stress better. As you hustle about, a healthy meal is probably the last thing you think about. The following tips can help you eat when your on the go.

Restaurants

With tempting menus, large portions, and a festive atmosphere, it’s easy to skip eating. It’s
okay to splurge every now and then, although you’ll pack on a lot of weight if you make it a habit.  When you eat out at restaurants, always be smart  about it.

Airports

An airport can be a very stressful place, although you shouldn’t scrap your diet because of it. Eat because you are hungry, not because of stress, boredom, or to kill time.

In your car

Keep some healthy snacks in your car at all times,  so that when you get hungry – you have them.

At home

Evenings and mornings are busy times in most homes. Making the time to eat can be hard, although you shouldn’t run out the door without eating breakfast first. The cereal with milk, a banana, muffin, or even  a bagel is a great way to start the day.

Anytime you are on the go, always make sure that you make the right food decisions. You can take the healthy food with you if you need to, so that you have it when you need it. Eating healthy on the go is easy to do, once you know how. Never sacrifice healthy food for the junk, as your body will regret it later.

 

Facts About Nutrition Labels

The nutrition label located on each and every food item, will tell you all the information about that food. For some however, this information isn’t exactly that reader friendly. Fear not, as it’s actually easier than you  think.

Serving Size This size is based on the amount people eat. Similar food items will have similar serving sizes, thus making it easier to compare 2 foods of the same category.

% Daily Value This indicates how food will fit in a 2,000 calorie diet. This will help you to understand if the food has a lot, or just a little of the important nutrients.

The middle section The nutrients you’ll find listed in the middle section are the ones that are most important to your health. This information can help you to calculate your daily limit of fat, fiber, sodium, and other nutrients.

Vitamins & minerals The percent daily value found here is the exact same as the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamins and minerals.

Now that you know what the nutrition label actually means, it’ll be a lot easy to eat healthy. Eating healthy is a great thing – especially when you use the nutrition label to assist you with your food choices.

 

Healthy Food Choices

Eating healthy is something we all would like to do,  although it can be hard. In order to eat healthy, you must first make the right food choices. Eating healthy is all about what you eat, which makes the choices very crucial to your results.

Grains

You should consume 6 ounces of grains per day. To do this, you can eat 3 ounces of whole grain cereals, breads, rice,
crackers, or pasta. You can get an ounce of grains in  a single slice of bread, or 1 cut of cereal.

Vegetables
These should be varied, as you should eat 2 1/2 cups of them each day. You should start eating more of the dark
vegetables, such as broccili and spinach. Carrots and sweet potatoes are good as well. You should also eat more dry beans such as peas, pinto beans, and even kidney beans.

Fruits

Fruits are very important. You should try to eat 2 cups of them each day. Focus on eating a variety, such as  fresh, frozen, canned, or even dried fruit. You can  drink fruit juices as well, although you should use  moderation when doing so.

Milk

Milk is your calcium rich friend. For adults, 3 cups is the ideal goal. For kids 2 – 8, 2 cups is where you want to be. When choosing milk products or yogurt, you should go for fat-free or low-fat. Those of you who don’t like milk or can’t have it, should go for lactose free products or other sources of calcium such as fortified foods and beverages.

Meat and beans

Eating 5 ounces a day is the ideal goal, as you should go lean with your protein. When eating meat, always bake it,
grill it, or broil it, as this will prevent grease from  adding to the equation. You should vary your protein  as well, with more fish, beans, peas, and nuts.

When cooking your food, you should also limit solid fats such as butter, margarine, shortening, and lard. These foods may add flavor to your dishes, although they can also help raise your cholesterol as well. Therefore, you should try to add these foods and any foods that happen to contain them.

To help keep your saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium low, you can check the nutrition facts label. This label can be found on the food package and will tell you all the information you need to know about the food item.

By picking your foods wisely and watching what you eat, you’ll help control your lifestyle. Exercise is great as well, as it goes along perfect with a healthy eating lifestyle. No matter what your age may be, eating healthy will help you keep your active lifestyle for years and years – even help you and your health in the long run as well.

 

Vegetables: The Healthier Snack

The easiest place to affect our health is through our eating habits; in fact it’s the most effective solution to better health, sharing the spotlight with exercise.  What about our food intake?  What choices do we have to make eating a healthier occurrence?

Vegetables are a great place to start.  There are so many choices in the filed of vegetables, being picky isn’t even a problem here. It does not matter where your location, the time of the year, or the method of preparation, there are vegetables to suit the most discriminating taste

As a teen, most of us don’t even care if we’re eating right, or begin to understand the implications of poor eating habits.  As we age, however, we do begin to notice the effects of improper exercise, poor eating habits, and how they affect our health.  Today, as the baby boomers begin their retirement years, health concerns and questions are on the rise.  These aging boomers are more concerned than any previous generations about their good health, their ability to keep their good health, and how their diet affects their health.

The choices in vegetables run the gamut in color preference, leafy versus bean, fresh and raw, or freshly picked and cooked.  There are vegetables high in beta-carotene, high in flavonoids, anti-oxidants, or just plain high in flavor.

What about as a snack?  Do vegetables meet the snack requirement for taste?  We already know that vegetables are good for us, but if we’re going to snack, we want something that tastes really good.

There are vegetables that fill that bill, quite successfully.  What about celery?  Celery with pimento or peanut butter is quite delicious.  Or, you have the broccoli and cauliflower combination with ranch dip.  That’s a snack that any other snack would be hard pressed to surpass.

Then you have the dill pickle.  This is such a successful snack that manufacturer’s put it in little plastic bags with juice and sell it.  The dill pickle can be found in convenience stores everywhere.   Past the pickle, you have carrots, sweet potatoes, and onions.  These wonderful vegetables can be fixed in so many different ways to snack on, that it would take several papers to touch on all the possibilities.

One of a southerner’s favorite snacks would be baked sweet potato.  Now, this is normally consumed with large amounts of butter, but doesn’t have to be, in order to be good.  The baked sweet potato can simply be peeled and eaten straight from the oven and it’s still delicious.

Onions can be fried whole as blooming onions, or cut into rings, battered, and served with dip as a snack or appetizer.  Many restaurants carry them as a staple on their menus.  Jalapeno peppers are often stuffed with cheese and served in this way.

Then you have the little carrot.  This wonderful little finger food is full of beta-carotene, flavonoids, and anti-oxidants that make it one of the most healthful snacks we can consume.

You should have enough options now for snacking, that healthful snacking can become a standard, not an exception for you.  These ideas do not by any means encompass all vegetable options; these are just simply the most popular local favorites if you live in the South and in Alabama.

Unhealthy Eating Contributes to Health Disorders

As a teen, most of us don’t even care if we’re eating right, or begin to understand the implications of poor eating habits.  As we age, however, we do begin to notice the effects of improper exercise, poor eating habits, and how they affect our health.  Today, as the baby boomers begin their retirement years, health concerns and questions are on the rise.  These aging boomers are more concerned than any previous generations about their good health, their ability to keep their good health, and how their diet affects their health.

You don’t have to be a doctor to understand the relationship between too much consumption of food, and health disorders.  You simply have to look around at a nation approaching an obesity epidemic to understand what happens when you over consume in general.  One a smaller scale we wonder about the over consumption of just certain kinds of foods?  What happens when you overdo in the sweet department?

There are all kinds of health issues related to over consumption of sugar.  Diabetes would be the number one health concern.  But, diabetes isn’t the only ill effect from over consumption of sugar.  Obesity, thyroid dysfunction, kidney malfunction, and intestinal problems can all be directly associated with too much sugar consumption.

What about too much alcohol?  The ravaging effects of alcoholism are a continual struggle and medical expense to many companies and citizens in this country, and indeed the whole world.  Lost youth, liver problems, brain deterioration, the speeding of other age-related diseases are all side affects of too much alcohol consumption.

Then, we can talk about the effects of too little food consumption.  What happens when we don’t consume what we need to maintain our health?  Gum diseases, heart disease, muscle deterioration, vision loss, and anorexia occur when we don’t get the necessary food our body needs.

Even when we can’t consume enough actual food, we can supplement the vitamins and minerals our bodies need in order to maintain some healthy functioning.  You have only to walk down the aisle at your local supermarket to discover that there has been a vitamin revolution.  Every possible vitamin and mineral needed by the body is available in capsule, pill, tablet, or powder form.

Once your body has reached the point of unhealthy functioning, or you have placed such a strain on your body from over consumption that one of the related diseases has taken hold, it’s almost impossible to correct one problem without creating another.  Once you have become a diabetic, there are so many complications, that simply choosing to diet and exercise is no longer an option. The health concerns you now have far outweigh the easy solution of diet and exercise.   Can you begin to see how important maintaining your health is to your quality of life?  How important it is to the quality of your spouses’ and children’s’ lives?  Your choices directly affect situations with their lives.  You should make every effort to keep your health; don’t you owe it to your family, if not yourself?

What Foods Make Us Healthy?

The foods of the food pyramid are necessary for our optimal health.  But in what quantities and which ones are the best?  These are questions that must be tailored to our individual needs.  So must the answer to what foods make us healthy be a unique one.  Healthy for me, is not the same as healthy for you.  Everyone’s nutritional needs are different, and everyone’s level of calorie consumption is different.

We can examine some of the better foods, and offer advice as to what particular formulas make us the healthiest on average. The average person needs an hour of physical exercise, six to eleven servings of grains, two to four servings of fruit, three to five servings of vegetables, two to three servings of meat, two to three servings of milk, and enough water to make it all work.

This could be the formula for an eighty year old man, or a fifteen year old girl. The recommended daily calorie intake is just as vague and generalized as the daily food intake pyramid. Can you see how this might not work for either one?  When a guideline published is this general, it is up to the individual to determine what food regimen will keep them at their healthiest, and then implement such a plan.

According to the guides published by the USDA, calorie needs vary from one age group to another, one gender to another.  So how do you determine what your individual needs are?  You can setup a journal for recording your daily caloric intake for about a month.  Make a note of your weight each day.  If you don’t gain any weight during the course of that month, you’re eating your recommended calorie level in order to maintain your weight.  Now, take that calorie information, check with a nutritionist about the recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals that you need.  Take both pieces of information, calorie intake and nutritional requirements, use the food pyramid and comprise a combination of foods that will help you achieve these recommended daily intakes, and still be enjoyable food. You now have an individualized healthy eating plan.

What those foods might be, are entirely dependent upon the unique guideline you have just established.  This guide will not work for Cousin Bob, or Aunt Tilley, but it is the unique blueprint for you.  It is at this point in the process that we seem to lack the direction or the discipline to finish what the government started.  Maybe we need to incorporate these techniques into a class taught at school.  Maybe this would give our young people the direction and tools they need in order to begin such a process, make it a lifetime habit, and pass it along to their children.

Once the importance of a particular food is understood by us, it is a simple as learning our multiplication tables.  We simply memorize the benefit, and incorporate it into our daily intake as needed.  As you take the time to incorporate a healthy food plan, don’t’ forget the necessity of exercise in our daily lives.  In order to keep our bodies healthy and functioning off of healthy food, we need to keep it fit.  This comes through proper amounts of exercise.

What Does Water Provide in our Daily Digestion?

What happens to the food and water as they enter our digestive system?  They are both necessary components of the digestive process.  Our bodies need to effectively digest food and perform all the necessary functions we ask of it each day.  You don’t stop to realize what we ask of this marvelous machine, we just take it for granted that it’s going to function properly. Do you know that your body is 98% water?  Do you find this fact hard to believe?    Most all of our body fluids are water, and many of our organs are mostly water.  Do you suppose water is important to our daily functions?  I would hazard a guess of YES

Let’s take a look at the relationship of healthy eating and our body’s daily intake of water.  There is a direct correlation between eating healthy and consuming enough to absorb the vitamins and minerals we need from the healthy food we’ve eaten.

During the course of consuming our food, we drink water with our meals.  We don’t even stop to think about the role this plays in our digestive process.  We drink it because we become thirsty when we eat.  Stomach acids need the water in order to properly breakdown the food as it travels through our stomach, and nutrients are absorbed by the blood.  The food continues down the path of the intestines, still being broken down and absorbed through the lining of the intestines, still requiring the presence of water.  All of the digestive process must have water in order to happen as designed.

Proper flushing of the body, filtering of the blood, and transmission of waste from our bodies can only occur when there are enough fluids present.  The only way for enough fluids to be present is in our consumption.  Only through the intake of necessary amounts do our kidney’s function as designed.

Many of the body’s organs depend upon fresh blood supplies in order to function properly.  The kidneys and intestines require vast amounts of water in order to accomplish the difficult task of flushing the waste from our body.  Now, if you don’t realize the importance of this task, you need to stop and think about waste.  Wastes are produced from the daily processes your body goes through, toxic by-products that we don’t need to live, and don’t need to retain in our bodies.  As a general rule, whatever we might need for our body should be absorbed as the food has passed through the intestines, whatever is left, is not needed.

At times, there are imbalances in our intestines that create an environment that won’t allow for proper processing of food particles, or doesn’t allow us to absorb any of the nutrients we need at all as they pass through our intestines.  Stepping up our consumption can often correct this without the need for medication.  We simply need to flush our system, as you might flush a slow drain.

Many of the processes our body performs each day, each hour, depend upon our digestive system to supply the needed nutrients and fluids.  Proper digestion, from beginning to end, cannot take place without water, lots and lots of water.

Water and Healthy Eating

Our bodies need the water to effectively digest food and perform all the necessary functions we ask of it each day.  You don’t stop to realize what we ask of this marvelous machine, we just take it for granted that it’s going to function properly.  Let’s take a look at the relationship of healthy eating and our body’s daily intake of water.  There is a direct correlation between eating healthy and consuming enough water to absorb the vitamins and minerals we need from the healthy food we’ve eaten.

Do you know that your body is 98% water?  Do you find this fact hard to believe?    Most all of our body fluids are water, and many of our organs are mostly water.  Do you suppose water is important to our daily functions?  I would hazard a guess of YES.

During the course of consuming our food, we drink water with our meals.  We don’t even stop to think about the role this water plays in our digestive process.  We drink it because we become thirsty when we eat.

What happens to the food and water as they enter our digestive system?  They are both necessary components of the digestive process.  Stomach acids need the water in order to properly breakdown the food as it travels through our stomach, and nutrients are absorbed by the blood.  The food continues down the path of the intestines, still being broken down and absorbed through the lining of the intestines, still requiring the presence of water.  All of the digestive process must have water in order to happen as designed.

At times, there are imbalances in our intestines that create an environment that won’t allow for proper processing of food particles, or doesn’t allow us to absorb any of the nutrients we need at all as they pass through our intestines.  Stepping up our consumption of water can often correct this without the need for medication.  We simply need to flush our system, as you might flush a slow drain.

Proper flushing of the body, filtering of the blood, and transmission of waste from our bodies can only occur when there are enough fluids present.  The only way for enough fluids to be present is in our consumption of water.  Only through the intake of necessary amounts of water do our kidney’s function as designed.

Many of the body’s organs depend upon fresh blood supplies in order to function properly.  The kidneys and intestines require vast amounts of water in order to accomplish the difficult task of flushing the waste from our body.  Now, if you don’t realize the importance of this task, you need to stop and think about waste.  Wastes are produced from the daily processes your body goes through, toxic by-products that we don’t need to live, and don’t need to retain in our bodies.  As a general rule, whatever we might need for our body should be absorbed as the food has passed through the intestines, whatever is left, is not needed.

Proper digestion, from beginning to end, cannot take place without water, lots and lots of water.

Our Daily Food Intake Requirements

What do we really need as far as daily food intake?  Are we determining this need based on calorie needs alone, or do we factor in our vitamin and mineral needs?  If you were to ask the average person, the only consideration given would be to his or her calorie needs.  Vitamins and minerals are still a fairly new topic for everyone, and not really considered when determining food intake needs.

Calorie consumption on the other hand, has obsessed our nation for the last several years, and is the only factor we consider when determining our food intake requirements.  This factor will probably not be changing anytime soon, since most everyone in the medical, health, and fitness professions equate food requirements with calorie needs, also.

So, what contributes to our determination of our daily food intake requirements, from a purely caloric standpoint?  What do we use as our guide to determine these levels?  Most everyone looks at your current body weight, your physical activity, your age, and your gender.  There are established guidelines for combining each value from each category, and then being able to configure your needs.  It’s amazing that this much effort has been given to calorie and food intake alone.  Could you imagine the possibilities if as much time was dedicated to deterring vitamin and mineral values as well, and then working with each person to accomplish these levels.

Since obesity is marching aggressively to the front of the “current epidemics” line, we should take a moment to address the number one cause of obesity.  It isn’t the improper functioning of the thyroid gland, or any other system in the body.  It is our problem of overeating.  We simply eat too much.

In the area of medical inventions, an arm band has been created that can tell you your caloric burn, through every daily activity. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take that one step further, and be able to distinguish caloric intake, caloric burn, how many calories you actually need, and how many you have left to consume.  If you had such an instrument, persons wearing them would be more conscious of their food intake, and if it were equipped with loud sirens if you were to overeat, do you think anyone would overeat?  No.  You can bet they wouldn’t.  Who wants to be accused of overeating, especially if they know that they have reached their limit?

It’s the regulation of our food intake, the provision of tools we need to make healthy decisions, and preventive education that would prohibit many of the health problems we are experiencing today.  A population that is health conscious and controls their daily food intake is not an obese population. Nor are they a population with extreme hypertension, diabetic, and cardiac problems.  All of these problems can be associated with obesity and nutritional abuse.

Can you imagine, however, how many doctors and prescription drug companies would have far less income, if our nation were healthier, leaner, and had fewer diseases?  As our baby boomers age, and strive to retain their youthful looks and health, more and more emphasis will be placed on educating ourselves about our food intake and what we do and do not need.  Maybe at some point, someone will say, “hey, what about an armband to help control caloric intake?”

What Do We Really Need to Eat?

Today’s food diet consists mostly of meat and starch.  The fast food drive thru at your local burger joint doesn’t offer a menu of fresh fruit and vegetables.  We’ve become a nation of massive carbohydrate consumers.  But that wasn’t the original plan.

During the days of hunting and gathering, the daily diet consisted mostly of fruits, vegetables and other plant life.  Meat was a scarcity, and bread was virtually non-existent.  During this period in time, there was no problem with obesity.  Of course, hygiene was a problem.  It seems now we’ve solved many of our personal hygiene need problems, and forgotten that in order to survive and enjoy the fruits of our labor, we must pay attention to our eating habits. Our health is the most important asset we have.

Our physical makeup, metabolism, and nutritional need dictate a far different diet than we have come to enjoy.  Cakes, cookies, colas, and kool-aid are not on the healthy diet plan.  Vegetables, fruits, nuts, and plenty of water are the key ingredients to a healthy person.  Even the food pyramid put together by the USDA doesn’t accurately reflect our daily need for optimal health.

Meat is necessary for protein consumption, but it can be obtained from other plant sources.  Peanuts and other nuts contain high quantities of protein.  Eggs and cheese also contain protein.  If meat is to be consumed, fish would be a better choice.  It is high in the omega acids and actually contributes to our health.

Red meat, pork, and chicken were never intended to be our daily staples.  They were luxuries, to be consumed in small doses, only a few times a week.  Today, we will have meat before we have vegetables.

And, then you can take a look at the vegetables we do consume. The starchier the vegetable, the more ways we can invent to prepare it.  Look at the potato, we’ve found more uses for this food, than any other on the planet. It also has the highest level of starch, and can send our blood sugar levels soaring.

Even our medical profession is still researching what our bodies should consume.  Everyone thought they had it figured out when the food pyramid was put together. But now some fifty years later, we have a nation facing an obesity epidemic, and although we are living longer, our hearts are not as healthy as they should be given all the healthy foods we have to choose from, and the exercise facilities available.  Maybe we still have long way to go in coming full circle with what our ancestors had no choice in doing: a diet of mostly vegetables.  The vegetarians may be way ahead of the rest of society.

The other side of this coin has to do with our calorie intake. Consuming fewer calories keeps us leaner and healthier.  All of our body processes function better, when we cut our calorie intake to a level this is about 2/3 of the daily recommended intake of 2000 calories. So how did we arrive at 2000 calories per day? This figure was taken based on the average consumption of a physically active, middle-aged male.  Does anyone female see a problem here?

What we really need to consume for optimal health is a personal formula.  Each and every person is different, calorie and exercise needs are unique to every person.  When our medical profession, our health experts, and any other concerned organization come to realize this fact, and formulate a way for individualized programs to become commonplace then we, as individuals, will be eating what we need to eat.

You Are What You Eat, Right?

To say that our diet/eat contributes to our health and makes us the people we are is an understatement.  The daily diet of every individual helps to determine the quality and length of our own lives, and quite often it affects the quality of our children’s lives.

Everyone has heard your mother say, “You are what you eat, so eat right!”  How many of us have ever stopped to really consider what she was saying?  You become a product of what you put into your body.  Food is not the only contributing factor, but it is one of the major ones.  Your genetics plays a role in your health, too.  But you can turn the tide even with poor genetics if your diet is a healthy one.

The diet factor becomes an even more important aspect of our health as we age.  Quite often, as our bodies begin to deteriorate, our food and exercise become the reason that we continue to enjoy a quality life, or the reason we are bedridden or otherwise incapacitated.   Medical advances have helped to lengthen the life span of the average person by almost 15 years.  Along with those advances, have come better living conditions and a better educated public about their food choices.  Today’s consumer is more health conscious than ever before, but that doesn’t mean we’re actually eating healthier than ever before.  In all actuality, the obesity rate in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. If we are exercising, eating healthier and receiving better medical care than ever before, why are we still fighting obesity issues?

The answer may be found in the statement made previously.  You are what you eat.  Our daily diet consists of a low intake in fat, and a higher intake of carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates turn to sugar once inside the body’s digestive system.  Excess sugar is stored as fat.  It’s that simple.  Fat doesn’t make you fat.  Carbohydrates make you fat.  Even the most health conscious consumer can get caught up in the “low fat” misleading labels.  Just because it is low fat, doesn’t make it healthy eating.  Take the time to know your body, your energy needs, and how to read food labeling for the best health results.

Eating healthy means eating what your individual body needs to keep it running in optimal condition.  That often consists of more fruits and vegetables and less processed or manufactured food.  The processed and manufactured food is often faster to prepare or consume, but it is not always the healthy choice.

Did you know that your metabolism affects how much food you need, and when?

Metabolism plays a huge role in determining the burn rate of your calorie intake.  Your body runs off fuel, just like your car.  And, just like your car, if your body’s injectors are clean and efficient, you burn your fuel more effectively.  The more effectively we digest our food and turn it into fuel, the healthier we are.  Usually, we need less food if we’re making the most of our daily intake.

So, in order to eat healthy for life, we need to understand our individual needs, the role each part of the food group plays in keeping us healthy, and make adjustments as necessary.

Fast Facts On Potatoes

Throughout America, potatoes are the most popular vegetable, even being ahead of other well known vegetables such as lettuce and onions. You can cook potatoes in a variety of ways, and they are included in one out of three meals eaten by almost all Americans. When they are prepared in a healthy way, a potato can be an excellent source of energy and also pack a nutritional punch.

Like oranges, potato is very high in vitamin C. The fact is, one medium potato contains 45% of the vitamin C that’s recommended for good health.  Potate is also high in fiber and carbohydrates and contain more potassium than a banana.

A potato is naturally low in calories and contains no fat, sodium, or cholesterol. The skins of the potate provide a helpful dose of fiber, iron,  potassium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and several B vitamins.

You can prepare the potatoes by boiling them, steaming them, or even roasting them. If at all possible, you should avoid putting the potate in the refrigerator or freezing them, as cold will turn the potato starch to sugar and cause them to turn dark when they are cooked.

When you store potatoes, keep them in a cool, dark place. Too much light will cause them to turn green. You can store them in the basement if you have  one, as the basement is the best place to keep the potatoes.

From mashed potatoes to baked the potatoes, a potato is something we all know and love. They serve  many different tasty foods, and they provide our bodies with plenty of healthful benefits. We all eat potate, some of us even the grow our own. Whether you grow your on or buy them, the potato is the one vegetable that makes everything just a  little bit better.

Healthy Breakfast foods Ideas

A lot of studies and research has shown that kids who eat breakfast perform better in school and have a healthier diet. Eating breakfast will help promote the proper growth and the maximize the school  performance as well.

Breakfast is often times a victim of the morning  time crunch. Even though you may be tempted to  skip the breakfast, you can simplify your morning  routine by following these 8 tips:

1. Finish homework and pack school bags at night.
2. Decide on what your children will  wear to school before you go to bed and locate  lost shoes for the following day.
3. In the morning, get up 15 minutes earlier.
4. Give up computer games and morning  television.
5. Have healthy foods on hand. You should also shop for breakfast foods with your kids and take into account their personal preferences.
6. Set the cereal out the night before. For younger children, fill a zippered plastic bag with her portion, then add the milk in the morning.
7. Allow your children to use the microwave often, as most the breakfast foods can be prepared in under 5 minutes.
8. Allow your kids to eat in the car or on the way to school.

There are several foods that you can eat for  the breakfast, even leftovers from supper if they  are sufficient. You can eat bagels, pizza with fruit juice, pretzels, or the normal bacon and eggs that breakfast is known for. Most foods are a snap to prepare, and won’t take you but a  few minutes.

The next time you are in a hurry in the morning,  remember that you are probably about to skip the most important meal of the day. If you follow the tips above, you’ll find that you have plenty of  time for breakfast.

Eating Healthy On A Budget

If you have problems serving healthy foods because of the prices, you’ll find these tips to be just what you need to eat healthy on a budget.

1. Eliminate junk food

Doing your shopping on your own is the easiest way to shop, as children and sometimes spouses are  usually the ones requesting junk food. Shopping alone will prevent this, and ensure that you only buy the foods you need.

2. Water or milk instead of soft drinks

You can still enjoy your favorite drinks at a sporting event or night out, although you shouldstick with the smallest size when shopping to save money and calories. Children and even adults need milk or milk products on a daily basis. Milk will also help you get strong and provides calcium for healthy bones and healthy teeth.

3. Buy fruits in quantity

When they are in season, buy fruits in quantity and freeze any extras. You can buy several pounds this way, and freeze extras to have them when the fruit goes out of season. Wash the fruit well,  remove any spoiled pieces, dry thoroughly, then freeze in plastic zipper bags.

4. Meats and beans

Meats and beans are the best sources for protein. Lean meat is more expensive than meats with a lot of fat. Canned beans are a great deal as well, as they give you protein at a great price.

5. Beans as a substitute

You should use beans a substitute for meat on a frequent occasion. There are several varieties,  so you can prepare them in a crock pot, so when  you return home they are ready to consume.

The USDA recommends eating beans at least 4 times per week. If you experience gas after eating  beans you should try washing them, covering them with water, bringing the water to a boil, then
draining it off and refilling the pot.

6. If you live in a coastal area or an area

where fish are around, make that an integral part of your diet. You can catch them from the lakes or rivers, saving money in the process.

7. Peanut butter is great for those on a budget

as it’s popular with almost everyone. You can  use it for sandwiches instead of eating hot  dogs. It does need to be refrigerated, although bigger jars can last you for weeks.

8. You should fill up with foods that have a high

content of water. Watermelon, salads, and even sugar free gelatin are all great examples.

Eating healthy is always something you can’t go  wrong with. You can eat healthy for just a few bucks, which makes it perfect for those on a  budget. Now, you don’t need a lot of money to have the lifestyle and health you’ve always wanted.

 

Becoming A Healthy Eater

Being a healthy eater requires you to become both educated and smart about what eating  actually is. Being food smart isn’t about learning to calculate grams or fat, or is it  about studying labels and counting calories.

Healthy eating is all about balanced and moderate eating, consisting of meals at least three times per day. Healthy eaters eat many different types of foods, not limiting themselves to one specific food type or food group.

Eating requires quite a bit of leeway. You might eat too much or not enough, consume foods that are sometimes more or less nutritious. However, you should always fuel your body and your brain regularly with enough food to keep both your mind and body strong and alert.

A healthy eater is a good problem solver. Healthy eaters have learned to take care of themselves and their eating with sound judgement and making wise decisions. Healthy eaters are always aware of what they eat, and know the effect that it will have on their bodies.

When someone is unable to take control of their eating, they are also likely to get out of control with other aspects of life as well. They could end up spending too much, talking too much, even going to bed later and later.

You should always remember that restricting food in any way is always a bad thing. Healthy eating is a way of life, something that you can do to enhance your body or your lifestyle. If you’ve thought about making your life better, eating is just the place to start. You’ll make life easier for yourself, those around you, and  even your family.

Healthy Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is something we all have to do, even though choosing the right foods can be very hard  indeed. To assist you with your healthy grocery shopping, the tips below can indeed help make things easier than ever before:

1. Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.

2. Select canned fruits and tuna that are packed in water, not oil or syrup.

3. Look at the labels for the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated”. The earlier you see them appear on the list, the higher the amount of unhealthy trans fatty acids the food will contain.

4. Don’t buy turkey with the skin on it, and if  you plan to buy chicken – buy a chicken breast meal.

5. When you select frozen dinners, select those  that are not only low in fat, but low in sodium and cholesterol as well.

6. If you aren’t consuming enough dairy products, go with calcium fortified orange juice instead.

7. Go for whole grain breads, cereals, and rolls.

8. Give cantaloupe a try. With just 95 calories, half of the melon will provide more than a day’s supply of Vitamin C and beta carotene.

9. Don’t be tricked into buying yogurt covered  by nuts or raisins, as the coating is normally made of sugar and partially hydrogenated oils.

10. Get some of the low fat treats, such as  pretzels, ginger snaps, and angel food cake.

By following the above tips when grocery shopping, you’ll avoid the bad foods and get those that you need. There are many different healthy foods at the grocery store, all it takes is the will power to go past the bad foods and on to the good ones.

Eating Healthy For Students

For students, eating at college is an entire new ball game, with late night pizza delivery and food from buggies. Even though some of these quick and simple options taste great, they are probably  not healthy for a student’s body.

The food choices students make can affect whether or not they are able to remain awake during class and whether or not they will come down with  mononucleosis when it hits campus. The problem is not only about eating junk food, it’s more about not getting the proper proteins, carbs, vitamins, and minerals that people need.

When it comes to defending against illnesses, vitamins and minerals are very important. Just because they are important, isn’t a reason for students to run out and stock up on vitamins and supplements. It’s best for students to get their nutrition from food.

You can find vitamin C in citric fruits, Vitamin A in milk and diary products, and vitamin E in  nuts, whole wheat products, and even green leafy vegetables. This is the ideal way to get  nutrition, as your body relies on these vitamins for many reasons.

When you eat on campus, skip on the soda’s and  go right to the juice machines. Explore the  different entrees available and go to the salad bar where there are fresh vegetables. You can also try putting some broccoli and cauliflower in the microwave for steamed vegetables. There are always healthy cereals and plenty of fresh
fruit available in dining halls as well.

Always remember that eating healthy isn’t just about avoiding greasy foods. Eating healthy involves getting a balanced diet and getting the right nutrients and vitamins to keep your body in peak performance – or at least awake during  your classes.

 

Eating Healthy During Pregnancy

Starting off your with a healthy well balanced diet is the best thing you do for yourself and your baby. This way, you’ll only need to make a few adjustments during your pregnancy.

Your first trimester

If you find it tough to maintain a balanced diet  during your first trimester, you can rest assured that your not alone. Due to queasiness, some  women will eat all of the time and gain a lot of  weight in the process. Other women have trouble getting food down and subsequently lose weight.

Preventing malnutrition and dehydration are your most important factors during first trimester.

Calories

When you are pregnant, you need to consume around 300 calories more than usual every day. The best way to go about doing this is listening to your  body when you are hungry. You should try to eat as many foods as possible from the bottom of the food pyramid.

If you gain weight too slow, try eating small  meals and slightly increase the fat in your diet. You should always eat when you are hungry, as you are now eating for 2 instead of one.

Calcium

By the second trimester, you’ll need around 1,500 milligrams of calcium each day for your bones and your baby’, which is more than a quart of milk.  Calcium is something that’s missing from many  diets. Along with milk, other great sources for calcium include dairy products, calcium fortified juices, and even calcium tablets.

Fiber

Fiber can help to prevent constipation, which is a common pregnancy problem. You can find fiber in  whole grains, fruits, and even vegetables. Fiber supplements such as Metamucil and Citrucel are  safe to take during pregnancy.

Protein

Unless you happen to be a strict vegetarian, your protein intake is not normally a problem for women who eat a healthy diet.

Iron

A lot of women will start their pregnancy off with a bit of iron deficiency. Good sources of iron  include dark leafy green vegetables and meats. Iron supplements should be avoided, as they can cause internal symptoms such as cramping, constipation, or diarrhea.

Vitamins

Seeing as how you get a majority of the vitamins you need in your diet, you may want to discuss prenatal vitamins with your doctor. Folate is one of the most important, and if you are getting enough of it, you may be able to avoid vitamins all together – just ask your doctor to make sure.

 

Eating For A Healthy Heart

Bad cholesterol or a bad diet is something we all experience at some point in time. It’s impossible to eat healthy our whole lives, even though we may try hard to do it. Eating healthy for your heart is something everyone should try to do, especially when it comes to restoring health and reducing heart attacks.

Your heart and food We know these things for sure – a diet high in  saturated fats will help raise your cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease. People that are obese are more prone to heart disease. A diet high in sodium may elevate your blood pressure,  leading to inflammation and even heart disease.

To help prevent heart disease and improve your health, put the tips below to good use.

Eat plenty of fish

Herring, sardines, and salmon are all excellent sourcesof Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Other fish are great to, although Omega 3 may help to get your cholesterol down to a healthier level.

Choosing healthy fats and oils Saturated fat will increase the risk of heart disease. It’s found in meat, butter, and even coconut oil. You should avoid them until your cholesterol levels are down and you are at a healthy weight. Even those that love red meats can enjoy seafood and nuts for their main sources of protein.

Monounsaturated fats such as olive oils will help  you to protect your heart. Olive oil is an ideal  choice for cooking, dressing, or even as a dipping sauce.

Plenty of fiber

Fiber can help you control your cholesterol. You  can find fiber in whole grain products to help control sugar absorption as well, which will help you keep your digestive system healthy.

Choosing carbohydrates

Eating for your heart involves staying away from sugary foods such as candy, cookies, cakes, and pastries. Eating a lot of sugar isn’t good for  your heart disease at all. Healthy carbohydrates involve whole grain breads, whole grain pasta, brown rice, and a lot of vegetables. You should make fruits and vegetables the main aspect of your diet.

Healthy cooking methods

Stir frying and sauteing with olive oil or canola oil are both great methods, as you shouldn’t dip your food in batter and fry it anymore. If you cook chicken, remove the skin and bake it in the oven in foil.

Instead of frying your fish you should always bake it. Steaming your vegetables can help maintain the most nutrients. You should use cream sauces or lots of butter anymore either. When you eat vegetables,  try squeezing lemon juice on them or using your  favorite seasonings.

As you make the proper changes to your diet, keep in mind that it takes time for them to become habits.  Eating healthy is always great for your body and your lifestyle, especially when it comes to your heart and the prevention of heart disease.

Cooking with Oils

Everyone knows the foods to eat that improve health, although how we cook the food can be just as important. With there being so many oils and butter products claiming to be the best, it can be quite difficult to know which ones to use and which ones to avoid.

1. Canola oil

Canola oil is a popular oil, with many physicians  claiming that it has the ability to lower the risk of heart disease. The oil is low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fat, and offers the best  fatty acid composition when compared to other oils.

You can use canola oil in sauting, as a marinade and even in low temperature stir frying. It has a bland flavor, which makes it a great oil for foods that contain many spices. Unlike other oils, this one won’t interfere with the taste of your meal.

2. Olive oil

olive oil offers a very distinct flavor with plenty of heart healthy ingedients. The oil is rich monounsaturated fat, helps to lower cholesterol  levels and reduce risk of cancer. It’s also rich in antioxidants and has a very long storage life.

Even though it can be used in cooking, it’s the  healthiest when uncooked, such as with a salad or dipping sauce. When you use it with cooking, you should heat it on low to medium temperatures, making sure to avoid high heat.

3. Butter

Butter is one food that has been around for many, many years. Butter tastes good, and offers sources of Vitamin A and other fat soluble vitamins such as E, K, and even D. Butter is also made from natural ingredients and not chemically or artificially processed.

You can use butter with cooking, baking, or even as a spread. You can also pair it with creamy sauces, marinades, baked dishes, or even bread.

4. Margarine

Margarine was first introduced as an alternative tohigh fat butter. When it was first created however, it was loaded with trans fat, a substance that we  now know raises bad cholesterol.

As a cooking oil, margarine tastes good, it’s lower in fat than most oils and butter, and it’s quite  easy to spread. It’s available in a variety of different products and a good source of vitamin E.

When it comes to cooking with oils, there are  several at your disposal. There are many more than what is mentioned here, although the ones above are the most popular. Eating healthy involves cooking healthy food – which is where your cooking oil really takes center stage.

 

What Happens to Those Carbs Once Inside?

When a person consumes a meal high in carbohydrate content, have you ever noticed how sleepy they become? Have you ever questioned why?  Most of the effect comes from elevated blood sugar levels, this condition then makes us sleepy.  Why do carbohydrates turn into sugar?  Whenever you begin to break down carbohydrates, they turn into starch or cellulose.  The starches can be broken down into simple sugars called monosaccharides, or complex sugars called disaccharides.  Our body uses these sugars for the production of energy. When we consume food, our body turns the food into some usable form of energy.  The food may go through a couple of other processes before it reaches the energy stage. Since carbohydrates are starches before they are saccharides, if your body doesn’t need the energy, starch is a great storage vehicle for unnecessary glucose.  Perhaps a simple explanation of the carbohydrate sugars and where we find them might help.

The sugars known as monosaccharides are glucose, galactose, and fructose.  Glucose is the sugar produced by our bodies.  Galactose is absorbed through our milk and yogurt consumption.  Fructose is a sugar found in honey.

The sugars that are classified as disaccharides are sucrose, lactose, and maltose.  Sucrose is common table sugar, lactose is the combination of glucose and galactose found in milk, and maltose is a product of starch digestion when combining glucose and glucose.

So what effect does this have on the body?  Well, once you consume more sugar or starch or carbohydrates than you need, your body stores the excess as glycogen.  The only people who actually benefit from excessive glycogen storage are marathon runners, who load up on carbs prior to a big race in order to be able to sustain extended period s of excessive exercise. Stored fat can become extreme, and your body reaches levels that classify you as morbidly obese.  This is just such the case in America today.  A vast majority of our population has reached obesity, and we are experiencing epidemic levels.

Over indulgence in carbohydrates therefore lends us to a tendency to become overweight. What happens in our bodies when we become overweight?  Once our bodies are obese, many organs have trouble functioning, due to fat surrounding them, or simply the fact that we are too large for them to properly support.

Either way, too many carbohydrates leads to problems for our bodies.  We can limit our intake of carbohydrates by consuming more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Less bread, rice, cereal, pasta, and grains lowers our intake of carbohydrates.

The other option we have is to simply increase our daily physical activity.  Carbohydrates as previously pointed out are the fuel producer for the body.  If we want to rid ourselves of more carbohydrates, we simply need to pickup our daily activity.  If you aren’t exercising, now would be a great time to start.

Responsible eating habits, proper nutrition and exercise, and an understanding of the foods you eat and what they contain that your body needs or doesn’t need is the basic building block for overall good health.

What About Salads?

In case you’re not a salad lover, let me be one of the first to tell you that you’re missing one of the most delicious foods a person can consume.  Salads come in all sorts of styles, combinations, and are served with so many various toppings, that you could probably find a different salad for every day of the month.

One of my most favorite choices in dining is to go to the local buffet (they have a fabulous salad bar) and eat till my heart is content of the salad choices offered.

If you’re going to build a great salad, you have to start with a great lettuce.  There are more types of lettuce than automobiles, but my personal preference is iceberg and romaine.  Once you have the proper foundation, your salad is a breeze.  All sorts of toppings can be added, to build the gourmet salad. Fit for even the most discriminating taste.

Usually you find onions, tomatoes, green pepper, jalapeno pepper, banana pepper, ham, eggs, turkey, and cheese.  Mushrooms, olives, pickled okra, bacon bits, and macaroni salad.  Pepperoni, salami, croutons, and crackers.  Cottage cheese, three bean salad, broccoli and cauliflower.  If at this point, you haven’t already filled the plate too full, you might want to consider simply adding another.

Now we approach the salad dressings.  There are so many choices here, that it is often quite difficult for me to choose.  I love blue cheese and ranch.  I also love balsamic vinaigrette and Italian.  Catalina is another favorite of mine.

Alright, we’ve built the perfect salad.  Now would you like to hear about the wonderful health benefits of a salad?  You might have to seek a little further than this article.  The dismal truth here, is that although you would like to believe all that wonderful produce has provided you with the healthy eating award of the week, it simply is not so.  Salads can be as high in calorie and fat content as a cheeseburger from the local McDonalds.  That’s quite disheartening news isn’t it?

How can you eat a salad and still eat healthy?  Lay off the cheeses, the meats, the cream based salad dressings.  Stick to the pickled, the fresh produce, and the vinegar based dressings.  Then you will have provided yourself with a wonderfully nutritious and healthful meal.

It is interesting to note here, that although the salad of your dreams may not be quite a healthful as you first thought, it is still a much better alternative than some of the other lunch options.  For instance, pizza and pasta are worse than cheeseburgers for calorie content, and much higher in fat.  The salad won’t leave you feeling sluggish and sleepy as the cheeseburger would have done, thanks in part to the many vegetables you consumed along with the fat and calories.

So, go ahead, look forward to that next wonderful salad, and maybe don’t pat yourself on the back quite so quick for your healthy choice, but you can be satisfied that you made a better choice than many of your peers.

Vegetables: The Best and The Worst

As a teen, most of us don’t even care if we’re eating right, or begin to understand the implications of poor eating habits.  As we age, however, we do begin to notice the effects of improper exercise, poor eating habits, and how they affect our health.  Today, as the baby boomers begin their retirement years, health concerns and questions are on the rise.  These aging boomers are more concerned than any previous generations about their good health, their ability to keep their good health, and how their diet affects their health.

The easiest place to affect our health is through our eating habits; in fact it’s the most effective solution to better health, sharing the spotlight with exercise.  What about our food intake?  What choices do we have to make eating a healthier occurrence?

Vegetables are a great place to start.  There are so many choices in the filed of vegetables, being picky isn’t even a problem here. It does not matter where your location, the time of the year, or the method of preparation, there are vegetables to suit the most discriminating taste.

The choices in vegetables run the gamut in color preference, leafy versus bean, fresh and raw, or freshly picked and cooked.  There are vegetables high in beta-carotene, high in flavonoids, anti-oxidants, or just plain high in flavor.

Do you prefer consuming your vegetables in a salad? On a sandwich? Or in a simmer pot?  Maybe you would prefer a fresh salsa to eat with your main course?  As I stated earlier, it matter not about your individual taste, there is a vegetable to suit.

Exotic vegetables from Asian countries, tried and true vegetables from the backyard, or the latest from the Farmer’s market, the choices can seem at times overwhelming.  We should never run out of new recipes to try, new dishes to put before our families and friends, or just simply to fix and eat for our own enjoyment.

Summertime brings a rich bounty of vegetable choices, so many in fact, that most people preserve some in canning, freezing, and pickling.  As a child growing up in the south, summertime meant fresh vegetables straight from the garden.  Fresh peas, corn, and tomatoes on the dinner table with cornbread is a feast fit for a king!  I will have to admit here, that cornbread would not be the healthiest choice in bread, but it’s unbeatable in the taste department.

What about wintertime?  Thanks to greenhouse growers, and improved methods for winter crops, we now have many choices for vegetable consumption even during the winter months.  Soups and stews that abound during the colder weather are filled with wonderful vegetables to add just the right flavor and texture to a snowy, cold afternoon.

So, you see, healthy doesn’t equate to a lack of taste, or zestful appeal.  Healthy just means that while we’re enjoying the wonderful Cobb salad, we can also delight in the fact that we did a double whammy, good and good for you!

Nine Facts About Fiber

If you’ve been looking for a way towards a high octane diet, you’ll find fiber to be exactly what you need. Even though research has shown fiber to be powerful, many people aren’t taking this nutrient seriously.

To help you fuel your health with fiber, here are 10 facts to help.

1. Fiber fights diseases. A diet high in fiber can help to prevent colon cancer and heart disease. High fiber helps the body to eliminate cholesterol by  binding it in the digestive tract. For thousands of years, fiber has been used to stop constipation.

2. Fiber can actually help with overeating. All high fiber foods will take longer to chew and digest, making you feel satisfied longer

3. Most popular foods don’t have enough fiber. If
you like the more popular foods, you probably need
to increase your intake of fiber.

4. Grains offer the most fiber. Dietary fiber is actually plant matter that we cannot digest. The best sources are whole grains and concentrated grain products.

5. Kids need fiber as well. Children that are older than 2 years of age should consume a daily intake of fiber. Kids are most receptive to fiber found in fruits, vegetables, and even fortified breakfast cereals.

6. More fiber needs more water. In order to keep fiber moving through your digestive tract, you’ll need to consume a lot of water. With your diet of fiber, you’ll need eight or more glasses of water every day.

7. Fiber cannot be cooked out. When you cook your fruits and vegetables, don’t worry about cooking the fiber out, as it stays. The fiber found in fruits and vegetables aren’t just in the skin or in the peel.

8. You can get enough fiber. If you eat more than 50 grams of fiber in a day, you can get diarrhea and bloating, which can interfere with your body’s absorption of other key minerals.

9. Getting the right amount of fiber in your diet doesn’t have to be hard. Even though you may think so, getting the amount of fiber you need isn’t very hard to do. All you have to do is eat the right foods and you’ll be well on your way to a fiber rich lifestyle.

As one of the key ingredients to healthy eating, fiber is something you don’t want to skip. Fiber can serve many different purposes, which were coveredabove. If you aren’t getting enough fiber in your diet – you should do something about now instead of waiting until it is too late.

 

To Eat, or Not to Eat?

To eat or not to eat?  This is a question that confronts us daily, as we go from home to work, work to home, and back again.  We have designated times for breakfast and lunch. Dinner would be the only place where we really have any freedom as to the time we consume our meal.  But do we really want something to eat? Are we really hungry? Or do we eat simply because the time to eat has arrived?

With generations prior to the 20th century, eating was an opportunity to stop and rest, and actually consume nutrition because your body told you it needed nourishment.  Physical energy expenditures had used up whatever resources you had provided earlier.  Physical work and a real lack of nutritional supplements kept the body in constant need of nourishment.  That is a time past.  Today, with the advent of the computer, physical activity is no longer a part of the work equation.  We no longer lack for vitamins and minerals, thanks to the boom in the vitamin market.

Information is more readily available for us to learn about our individual needs, and regulate what we consume.  But consumption and “programmed eating” is more rampant than ever.  We watch television, and see something good to eat. What do we do? We go to the refrigerator and hunt something to eat.  Our body hasn’t notified us of any real hunger.  But our visual senses say, hmmm, that looks really good. I believe I’d like to consume some food.

There is a real difference in what we need to eat to stay alive, what we need to eat to stay healthy, and what we want to eat thanks to advertising and designated lunch hours.  What we need to eat to stay alive is such a small portion of food; it surprises even the most prepared reader.  Your body must consume only five to six hundred calories and lots of water to stay alive.  When faced with life-threatening situations, your body will revert to a “starvation” mode.  In other words, it cuts back on bodily functions to just bare minimums necessary for life.  In this way, it cuts out any excess need for extra calories.

The calories intake necessary for healthy functioning is a level unique to each individual person and can range from around 1200 calories to over 2000.  The amount of food we need to satisfy the advertising and programmed eating habits is over 3000.  In other words, thanks to advertising and “It’s time to eat lunch” programming, we consume at least 1000 more calories than we need each day.  This is why our nation is facing an obesity epidemic and our children need medically prescribed diets to lose weight.

If we could take a week and pay attention to what our body really says to us about its needs, we would be a healthier society without a lot of effort.  It is because we listen to the advertisements, the restaurant menus, and the call of “it’s lunchtime, where are we gonna eat?” that we have problems now.

The Young People and Obesity

Today’s young person faces not only the challenge of acquiring an education, learning to interact with their peers, and surviving their parents, but they must also escape the national epidemic of obesity.  Thanks to better medicine and foods supplemented with vitamins and minerals our young people’s overall health has never been better.  The problem they now face is in controlling their eating and developing good eating habits.

It’s no wonder that our youth are overweight.  We demand less of them physically than ever before.  If they have any household responsibilities, they aren’t physically demanding.  If they are hungry or thirsty, we have cabinets stocked to the brim with sugary snacks, sugary cereals, and sodas packed with calories.  Mealtime is a trip to the local burger or pizza store.

Free time is spent in front of the television or the video game.  These activities require no physical exertion.  The only thing that moves is the finger or thumb.

We haven’t consciously set out to ruin our children’s health.  In fact, we were trying to accomplish just the opposite.  As parents, we wanted our children to have better lives, to have an easier time of it.  We just didn’t stop to think about the consequences of these desires. To most parents, making life easier meant less hard work for our children.  We didn’t realize in eliminating many of the physical demands of hard work, we would arrive at the obesity clinic.

The thing we should note here is that you don’t have to take this route.  As parents, we have a real responsibility to teach our children good habits.  Good work habits, good parenting habits, and good eating habits. We often fall short in our efforts to teach good eating habits because we don’t have them ourselves.  We work late and then don’t’ have time to cook.  We work all week, why not a night out for pizza on Friday?  These are good ideas, but they fail to take into account that we aren’t fulfilling our role as healthy eaters, if we skip health for convenience.

Our children have learned well.  They too, skip breakfast and then eat large lunches or dinners.  They eat in between meals.  They do not exercise regularly, and they often make bad food choices.  The watch television while they consume sodas and sweets.  They choose to play the video game rather than go outside and play ball.

Now, we have over half of our young people that are overweight.  Many face self-esteem issues, health issues, and simply give up before there lives are ever begun.  We have teenagers committing suicide because they don’t know how to cope with weight issues that have spiraled out of control.  Somehow, we must come together as a nation and provide a solution for so many of our young people.  If we give them the means, they can provide the desire.  I believe we should search for alternatives to television and video games.  We should find ways to provide healthy snacking choices and encourage their participation in school sports.  Sports are a solution for not only increased physical activity, but a tremendous boost to their self-esteem.  We were the leaders in reaching this place we must be the leaders in seeking a solution.

The Lesson We Learned from Carbohydrates

Over the last thirty years, food nutritionists and the food industry as a whole have embraced the idea of lowering our fat intake by raising our carbohydrate intake.  This belief was a direct result of the information published by the government that encouraged less egg consumption because of the cholesterol found in eggs.  After that particular piece of information, doctors began to discover that when we consume fat, we have higher incidences of cholesterol problems.  The logical conclusion: fat must be bad for you.  And so, an entire generation as grown up with fat-free foods.  A whole generation grew up believing that fat was what made us fat, clogged our arteries, and generally caused ill-health.

So what did we do? We turned to carbs to make up for the loss in taste in foods where the fat had been removed.  For you see, fat is what gives many of our foods their delicious taste.  When you remove the fat, the taste must be artificially injected into the food.  The end result is a food that is higher in carbohydrate content, but lower in fat.  Hence, all the wonderful labels displaying  the claim of “fat free” but neglect to mention the higher level of carbohydrates.  Lowered fat should have created a population of slim, trim, healthy people. Right?

We could not have been further from the truth.  As it turns out, fat is a necessary part of our metabolic processes.  We need the fat in order to properly utilize many of the vitamins and nutrients we consume.  When did we make this discovery?  Probably some thirty years too late for some people.

Over indulgence in carbohydrates therefore lends us a tendency to become overweight. What happens in our bodies when we become overweight?  Once our bodies are obese, many organs have trouble functioning, due to fat surrounding them, or simply the fact that we are too large for them to properly support.

Either way, too many carbohydrates leads to problems for our bodies.  We can limit our intake of carbohydrates by consuming more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Less bread, rice, cereal, pasta, and grains lowers our intake of carbohydrates.

Perhaps Dr. Atkins, the renowned diet doctor, was right, better to consume more fat than more carbohydrates.  If you’ve read about this diet, it encourages the consumption of fat, while almost eliminating the consumption of carbohydrates.  I, myself have lost weight using the Atkins diet.  I don’t believe however, that it is good for your body to swing from one extreme to another.

The other option we have is to simply increase our daily physical activity.  Carbohydrates as previously pointed out are the fuel producer for the body.  If we want to rid ourselves of more carbohydrates, we simply need to pickup our daily activity.  If you aren’t exercising, now would be a great time to start.

Responsible eating habits, proper nutrition and exercise, and an understanding of the foods you eat and what they contain that your body needs or doesn’t need is the basic building block for overall good health.

The Four Food Groups

With the release of the new food group pyramid, there are officially five groups.  Oils and butters are now included as a food group; but for the purpose of this paper, we are still going to consider ourselves to have only four.  The four food groups are grains, fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy.  Let’s take a look at each group and discuss a few of the more important points from each group.

Grains cover a broad range of food: breads, cereals, rice, and pasta.  That’s quite an array of food.  Breads come in so many varieties; pita, rye, white, and wheat are the more popular varieties.  Cereals are so numerous there’s not enough room on fifty pages to discuss the varieties offered.  Rice and pasta are a little more limited in their offerings, but are still quite varied.  Almost every choice we make in this group will have vitamins and minerals added for our nutritional supplementation.  That’s a good thing, since most of us won’t consume our recommended dietary allowance, or even get close without the fortification of our milk and grain food group.

The next food group to be discussed is the vegetable group.  Okay, here is the opportunity to score real nutritional “brownie” points, since it’s almost impossible to make a bad choice, or even overeat.  The only members of this food group that we must be careful to not overdo are the starchy vegetables.  These vegetables have a tendency to turn into sugar once consumed, and we usually don’t need an excess of sugar.

Fruits are a healthful category, so long as we remember to watch our consumption of fruits that provide too much sugar.  Most fruits contain naturally occurring sugars; although these occur naturally in the food, it doesn’t mean we need to consume uncontrolled quantities.  A healthy daily allowance of fruit includes about 4 servings.

The meat, poultry, fish, dry beans and eggs food group contains the protein your body needs in order to develop properly.  Without protein, your brain and many other body organs do not properly develop.  If not properly developed, they will not work properly.  Protein is one of the most important pieces of our growth and development needs.  The down side in this food group, would be the fact that animal meats have naturally occurring cholesterol, and although some cholesterol is good for us, too much is unhealthy.

The last food group we’re going to discuss is the dairy food.  Milk, yogurt, and cheese belong to this group.  Again, one of the most important vitamins we need can be found in this group.  Calcium is essential to the optimal functioning our cell processes, and the growth of our bones.  Calcium has a tremendous effect on the health of our heart and other vital organs.  Inadequate consumption of calcium can lead to long-term life altering consequences.  Osteoporosis is the leader among crippling of post menopausal women, and it is simply due to a lack of needed calcium during the earlier years.

It is absolutely necessary for everyone, children and adults to understand the importance each of these four groups plays in our healthy development, from childhood to old age.

The Food Pyramid: Good or Bad?

When the USDA established guidelines for our daily food requirements and set up the “food pyramid” the entire nation embraced the information and took it for absolute divine truth.  I’m afraid, however, upon further examination, maybe we should have thought about this a little more.

The food pyramid did do more than anything prior to educate people about the need for consumption of some items from each of the food groups.  We need something from all of them in order to eat healthy and maintain our health.  That fact no one is disputing.  What we, as a population are beginning to question, however, are the daily caloric levels and recommended daily intake levels.

Thanks to a growing awareness of individual needs, and the pressure from all areas of medicine, traditional and alternative, the USDA has now researched and republished their food pyramid.

The original food pyramid had four food groups; the newly established pyramid has five.  The new pyramid addresses many different issues, from age, weight, and gender requirements to overall health issues.  Limiting the amount of intake and advice about the health concerns when we overeat is also included in the new food pyramid.  It is now color coded, so that it is easier for children and adults to find where they fit.

The new food pyramid is much improved in the area of individual concerns, and cautions to readers about individual considerations.  For clarities sake, let’s take a look at each food group and offer a bit of explanation.

The bread, cereals, rice and pasta food group has always been at the bottom and is meant to represent the food staples, the foundation of our diet.  The next two groups, vegetables and fruits, are pretty much the same as they have always been.  The next level of meats, poultry, fish dry beans, and eggs, as well as the milk, yogurt and cheese groups are where the reader will find some definite changes to the suggested consumption.

The addition of information as far as suggested caloric intake, depending upon your lifestyle, and calorie content for fast food items was a demanded and welcome addition to the pyramid food guide.  Other items of interest are suggested recipes, food substitutions, and tips on food selection.  I think the USDA did a much better job with the new guide, than with the old one in creating an atmosphere of “you create your own plan from this information”.

What we have seen as far as changes to the food pyramid and the addition of usual information is a direct result of some of the health conditions facing our population today.  The inclusion of varying recommended levels depending upon your gender, lifestyle and age group is a result of further medical research and information reported by fitness and health facilities across the country.  All this goes to reinforce the proof that your good health is an individual concern, and must be given individual attention. The pyramid food guide is just that, a guide.  It is not your personal plan of required eating levels.  It’s up to you to tailor the plan to meet your specific needs.

Our National Obesity Epidemic

You see it everyday, news and information that bring to the front our problem with our weight.  It is a national problem.  It’s not just your older sedentary population; it’s not just your overworked middle-age population; and it’s not just your nerdy teenage population.  It is a national epidemic.

The first question I always have, is how did we get here?  How did we go from one of the most physically fit nations, to just wallowing in our weight?  The answers I believe lie in an observation I have made watching people as they go about their daily lives.

The first thing you notice about everyone today, is how blessed we are as a country.  That’s just a wonderful thing to observe.  But stop and think about that, for just a moment.  What happens when you have everything you want or need?  You become complacent, in other words lazy and fat.  Alright, you have contributor number one.

The next thing you notice is how well organized we are with out time.  Everyone is an expert on multi-tasking. We can accomplish so much with our day that we have organized ourselves right down to bedtime.  What have we left out?  The time we need for appreciating what we have and reflecting upon the things that make us happy. No time for family time, cooking meals, and eating as a unit. We are in a hurry to get to our next scheduled activity.  We have also created amazingly high levels of stress.  Stress is the second contributor.

The next thing you need to notice is what wonderful jobs we have and how educated our workforce has become.  The vast majority of Americans have jobs that require very little physical activity, thanks to the mental activity that is taking place.  What does this do to our bodies?  We no longer need to use them to provide our necessities.  Our mind is our money earner.  The physical body just gets us there.  Contributor number three: no physical activity

The last contributor to this epidemic is our business world, our insatiable keep up with the Jones’ attitudes and the advertisers who play on this.  Let’s face it; our eating habits usually are a product of the last best selling food item.  McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell are living proof that we are a nation of advertising junkies.  We don’t eat because we know it’s good for us, or even because we’re hungry.  We often eat just because of the commercial we saw on TV.

When you combine all of these contributors into one huge problem, do you know what you have? You have an obese population, with an ever increasing list of health-related issues.  This is where we are today.  We have a population that doesn’t really realize how they got here, or where to go to correct the problem.  Half of them don’t even think we have a problem.  Many of the obese will tell you they are satisfied with their weight, and don’t intend to do anything.  They don’t intend to do anything until they are diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes, or thyroid conditions.  Then they realize maybe there is a problem.  The down side to this?  By the time you reach this stage, it is often too late and too difficult to correct one health problem without creating another.

Our Growing Weight Problems

You see it everyday, news and information that bring to the front our problem with our weight.  It is a national problem.  It’s not just your older sedentary population; it’s not just your overworked middle-age population; and it’s not just your nerdy teenage population.  It is a national epidemic.

The first question I always have, is how did we get here?  How did we go from one of the most physically fit nations, to just wallowing in our weight?

Over the last thirty years, food nutritionists and the food industry as a whole have embraced the idea of lowering our fat intake.  This was a direct result of the information published by the government that encouraged less egg consumption because of the cholesterol found in eggs.  After that particular piece of information, doctors began to discover that when we consume fat, we have higher incidences of cholesterol problems.  The logical conclusion: fat must be bad for you.  And so, an entire generation as grown up with fat-free foods.  A whole generation grew up believing that fat was what made us fat, clogged our arteries, and generally caused ill-health.

So what did we do? We turned to carbs to make up for the loss in taste of food that had the fat removed; for you see, fat is what gives many of our foods their delicious taste.  When you remove the fat, the taste must be artificially injected into the food.  The end result is a food that is higher in carbohydrate content, but lower in fat.  Hence, all the wonderful labels displaying  the claim of “fat free” but neglect to mention the higher level of carbohydrates.  Lowered fat should have created a population of slim, trim, healthy people. Right?

We could not have been further from the truth.  As it turns out, fat is a necessary part of our metabolic processes.  We need the fat in order to properly utilize many of the vitamins and nutrients we consume.  When did we make this discovery?  Probably some thirty years too late for some people.

Now, we have an entire generation of young people, who have because of their high carbohydrate food choices, become a nation of obese adults.  Never before has a nation recorded the kind of obesity problems this nation is facing now.  Never before have we ever had so much, to have so little.  These young people are experiencing low self-esteem, weight related health problems, and whole host of emotional problems, thanks to obesity issue.  How can we try to help them correct this problem?

According to the guides published by the USDA, calorie needs vary from one age group to another, one gender to another.  So how do you determine what your individual needs are?  You can setup a journal for recording your daily caloric intake for about a month.  Make a note of your weight each day.  If you don’t gain any weight during the course of that month, you’re eating your recommended calorie level in order to maintain your weight.  Now, take that calorie information, use the food pyramid and comprise a combination of foods that will help you achieve this recommended daily intake, and still be enough to be filling and please the palette. You now have an individualized healthy eating plan.  This is the safe sure way to reach weight loss goals.  It didn’t become a problem overnight, and it won’t go away overnight.

Nutrition: The Bottom Line

Nutrition as it applies to our daily lives means that we take in what we need to maintain our body’s healthy state.  Nutrition has become an important word thanks to the involvement of the USDA in our daily food requirements, and the FDA’s involvement in determining what is and is not dangerous for us to consume.

But what is our responsibility in the nutrition game?  Do we understand what our nutritional requirements are, how to fulfill those requirements, and how to look for real nutritional value in our foods?  I’m not sure that nutrition has been successfully addressed in its own right.  We hear nutrition in relation to our vitamin intake, our fortified cereals and milk, and in the context that we need “nutritional value” from our food choices.  But what really is nutrition when applied to our daily bodily functions?

Nutrition refers to the nurturing of our body, in our ability to keep it healthy and functioning as it is supposed to do.  Our ability to provide the body with all the necessary food, vitamins, and minerals so that we continue to thrive in our daily life processes.

How do we determine that we are providing the essential nutritional needs?  That knowledge comes by educating ourselves about what our individual needs are, the needs of our family, and then taking that knowledge and applying it to the foods we buy, that we prepare, and that our families consume.

Quite often, our vitamin and mineral needs outweigh our caloric needs.  In those instances, we turn to manufactured vitamins and minerals to fill the gap.  This is a part of our nutritional needs, also.

Complete knowledge of the nutrition spectrum takes some time to absorb.  The body contains so many different elements, some in large quantity, and some in only trace amounts.  How do you know what you, much less everyone else you might be responsible for, needs?  As of today, there is no good way to determine each individual’s specific needs.  What we have is an average consumption based on your gender, your age, and weight.  This is like saying, ok, one size fits all.

Nutrition is one of the most complex areas to gain useful knowledge about, because there are so many components, and because each person has their own individual needs.  Women needs differ from those of men, and older women’s needs differ from those of a young girl.  As we age, our needs constantly change; therefore continual education about nutrition is a fact of life.

The nutritional needs of a cardiac patient are different than those of a healthy, middle-aged hiker.  Can you see the complexity of the situation now?  What we really need is to develop a scale that determines the nutritional needs of our bodies on a cellular level, so that as we age, as our physical condition changes, or our health changes, we can recalculate our needs, based on cellular changes and content in our body.  Individuality is the key to understanding each person’s nutritional needs, and then working to educate ourselves is the key to fulfilling those nutritional needs.

Nutrition and Healthy Eating

 

 

Nutrition as it applies to our daily lives means that we take in what we need to maintain our body’s healthy state.  Nutrition has become an important word thanks to the involvement of the USDA in our daily food requirements, and the FDA’s involvement in determining what is and is not dangerous for us to consume.

What about eating habits?  What about vitamins?  What role does our daily intake play in our health?  More than you have been lead to believe or understand.  The body’s ability to remain well under anything other than ideal conditions is a direct result of the nutrition received on a daily basis.  The mind’s ability to remain well is, again, a direct result of our nutritional intake.  For instance, the human brain doesn’t develop well without the necessary input of protein in our daily diet.  No protein, no intelligence.

Nutrition refers to the nurturing of our body, in our ability to keep it healthy and functioning as it is supposed to do.  Our ability to provide the body with all the necessary food, vitamins, and minerals so that we continue to thrive in our daily life processes.

How do we determine that we are providing the essential nutritional needs?  That knowledge comes by educating ourselves about what our individual needs are, the needs of our family, and then taking that knowledge and applying it to the foods we buy, that we prepare, and that our families consume.

Health is taught as a science course, and addresses matters of personal hygiene, diseases, and the broad spectrum of health as it applies to the masses.  No individual attention is given to how to attain optimal health via our eating habits.  It’s funny that we skip the most important, fundamental building block to good health: our nutritional and caloric consumption in our food.  I personally believe we should have the field of nutrition and physical activity married into something combined to provide every person that enters the school system with a personal knowledge of their bodies’ needs, caloric, and nutritional, so that they complete their education with mental and physical competencies, as well as analytical and mathematical competence.

Nutrition is a concept that should be as important to our educational process as our ability to count. The ability to recognize our nutritional requirements, find the foods we need to fulfill those requirements, and differentiate between healthy food consumption and “unhealthy” eating habits is not an option.  Not for a healthy, happy, long, and quality life

What we should absorb as we travel along life’s daily path is a way to incorporate good nutrition into our lifestyle.  There is generally just as much room for good as there is bad, it just so happens that bad nutritional habits hold more appeal.

Bad nutrition receives more advertising dollars than healthy nutritional options, and is often more visible.  But that doesn’t mean it’s any easier, more convenient, or cheaper.  Habits, generally take about two weeks to make the switch from conscious action to unconscious thought.  Two weeks is not long, it’s not long at all for decisions that will affect you for the rest of your life.  It’s also not long for the potential reward that comes from setting an example your children can follow, and you can be proud for them to follow. You teach them daily about the good habits you want them to develop, and then you demonstrate a bad one in your nutrition choices.  C’mon, mom and dad, let’s practice what we preach.

Nutrition and Eating: Friends for Life

I’ll bet you’ve never even taken the time to consider what your nutritional needs might be, or the importance of that nutrition on your health.  Did you know that if the brain doesn’t get enough protein, it doesn’t develop correctly, or if the healthy female body doesn’t get enough flax oil, omega-3 and omega-6 her body’s metabolism will not function correctly and she is more susceptible to weight gain?  All these pieces of information and many more are contributing factors to our nutritional needs, and our nutritional needs are met through our eating habits, good or bad.

Nutrition as it applies to our daily lives means that we take in what we need to maintain our body’s healthy state.  Nutrition has become an important word thanks to the involvement of the USDA in our daily food requirements, and the FDA’s involvement in determining what is and is not dangerous for us to consume.

But what is our responsibility in the nutrition game?  Do we understand what our nutritional requirements are, how to fulfill those requirements, and how to look for real nutritional value in our foods?  I’m not sure that nutrition has been successfully addressed in its own right.  We hear nutrition in relation to our vitamin intake, our fortified cereals and milk, and in the context that we need “nutritional value” from our food choices.  But what really is nutrition when applied to our daily bodily functions?

Nutrition refers to the nurturing of our body, in our ability to keep it healthy and functioning as it is supposed to do.  Our ability to provide the body with all the necessary food, vitamins, and minerals so that we continue to thrive in our daily life processes.

How do we determine that we are providing the essential nutritional needs?  That knowledge comes by educating ourselves about what our individual needs are, the needs of our family, and then taking that knowledge and applying it to the foods we buy, that we prepare, and that our families consume.  Our nutritional needs and caloric needs change as we age, the nutritional needs of a 13 year old teenager are much different to those of a 30 year old woman.

Quite often, our vitamin and mineral needs outweigh our caloric needs.  In those instances, we turn to manufactured vitamins and minerals to fill the gap.  This is a part of our nutritional needs, also.

Nutrition is one of the most complex areas to gain useful knowledge about, because there are so many components, and because each person has their own individual needs.  Women’s needs differ from those of men, and older women’s needs differ from those of a young girl.  As we age, our needs constantly change; therefore continual education about nutrition is a fact of life.  The information we have available about the health choices and alternatives available to us change daily.  Very few medical doctors ever address our nutritional needs, past the needs of a pregnant woman, or an already ailing patient.  What about the needs of the well patient?  In order to stay healthy, there is nutrition, exercise, mental, and emotional needs that must be met.

Muscle vs. Fat and Your Energy Level

Right now, the greatest results in raising our metabolism come from exercise and building our muscle mass, while reducing our body fat.  Adding more muscle to the body, in turn causes us to burn more calories, and this helps to elevate our metabolic rate.

What determines our metabolic rate, as far as our genetics?  Generally, we tend to inherit the same tendencies for metabolic rates, body frames, and other related body functions from our parents.

All of this metabolic process is related to our calorie intake, our vitamin and nutrition needs, our thyroid and endocrine production, and how well all of these processes come together

The body’s metabolism is a unique process for each individual person.  No two people metabolize food at the same rate therefore no two people have the metabolism.  We all use our calories at different rates, with different results.  Our metabolism, like our fingerprints is unique to each of us.  But the need to understand and accommodate this metabolism is an issue that we all face.  I said all of that, to say this, our metabolism affects our energy levels, and our muscle mass and body fat also affect our energy levels.  When you bring the two together, you have the opportunity to create lots of energy, raise a person’s self-esteem, and give them a new lease on life.  But all of this isn’t easy to attain.

Some people have really high rates of metabolism.  In other words, when they consume food, their bodies burn it up almost as fast as then consume it.  Then there are those of use who use our food intake so slowly, as to not even notice that we’re burning calories.  These people who burn quickly are often slim and trim, the people who burn more slowly are the people with a tendency toward obesity. The people with really high metabolic rates are generally the people who feel better and have the most energy. Their body is using the food intake to its maximum, and the body feels alive and full of vitality.  The sluggish metabolism on the other hand, can have almost the opposite situation; low energy levels, with very little motivation to make lifestyle changes.

The only recourse we have in trying to control our body weight, metabolic burn and health is through our thorough understanding of the role food plays in our calorie consumption versus our calorie need, and control how much of the calories we take in.

Our metabolism functions also depend on how well we have taken care of our nutritional needs.  The process of burning calories and creating energy is a delicate one, and one which must be carefully tended, or it can become imbalanced.  It is often through these natural imbalances that we tend to “inherit’ our metabolic rate, our body weight, and the lower energy levels.

I believe through careful analysis, and attention to each person’s unique needs, we could bring about a more natural balance of the metabolic burn vs. the calorie intake. To a level where optimal health and weight control are in equilibrium.

More Fat, Less Carbs

Over the last thirty years, food nutritionists and the food industry as a whole have embraced the idea of lowering our fat-intake.  This was a direct result of the information published by the government that encouraged less egg consumption because of the cholesterol found in eggs.  After that particular piece of information, doctors began to discover that when we consume fat, we have higher incidences of cholesterol problems.  The logical conclusion: fat must be bad for you.  And so, an entire generation as grown up with fat-free foods.  A whole generation grew up believing that fat was what made us fat, clogged our arteries, and generally caused ill-health.

So what did we do? We turned to carbs to make up for the loss in taste of food that had the fat-removed; for you see, fat is what gives many of our foods their delicious taste.  When you remove the fat, the taste must be artificially injected into the food.  The end result is a food that is higher in carbohydrate content, but lower in fat.  Hence, all the wonderful labels displaying  the claim of “fat-free” but neglect to mention the higher level of carbohydrates.  Lowered fat should have created a population of slim, trim, healthy people. Right?

We could not have been further from the truth.  As it turns out, fat is a necessary part of our metabolic processes.  We need the fat in order to properly utilize many of the vitamins and nutrients we consume.  When did we make this discovery?  Probably some thirty years too late for some people.

Now, more in-depth research has revealed that maybe it wasn’t the fat that created the cholesterol levels that were out of control.  Maybe it was a combination of lifestyle and food habits that created dangerous levels of cholesterol.  The startling discovery that there are two kinds of cholesterol: HDL and LDL. There are certain kinds of fat that contribute to the overall health of our arteries, not to their detriment. How could we have been so wrong?  Because, just as many times before, the doctors performing these tests, found what they wanted to fine, not necessarily the truth.  Further testing could have produced the same results in the beginning that they produced in the end.

Now, we have whole food industry formed around low or no-fat food alternatives. These companies have large amounts of money invested in the production of these foods, and is not going to be able or willing to turn around on a dime.  It’s because of corporate investment that current knowledge about the “good” fat has been suppressed as long as it has.  It is a very expensive piece of knowledge that is being passed on to the public today.  So expensive, that some companies would be out of business were they to try and reverse their food processing.

Some of the fat that our bodies produce protects us from sickness and disease, and some forms of fat that we produce are necessary for our organs to function correctly.  Many of the carbohydrates that we artificially inject into food become stored fat that creates obesity.  It would seem to me, that we have traded the normal, necessary good, for the artificial bad.

Metabolism and Eating Habits

The body’s metabolism is a unique process for each individual person.  No two people metabolize food at the same rate therefore no two people have the metabolism.  We all use our calories at different rates, with different results.  Our metabolism, like our fingerprints is unique to each of us.  But the need to understand and accommodate this metabolism is an issue that we all face.

The dictionary defines metabolism as the sum of all biochemical processes involved in life, or the sustaining of life.  In application concerning our health, metabolism is related to the intake and use of food.  In reference to the case in point it is our ability to utilize our food to the fullest extent.

Some people have really high rates of metabolism.  In other words, when they consume food, their bodies burn it up almost as fast as then consume it.  Then there are those of use who use our food intake so slowly, as to not even notice that we’re burning calories.  These people who burn quickly are often slim and trim, the people who burn more slowly are the people with a tendency toward obesity.

Right now, the greatest results in raising our metabolism come from exercise and building our muscle mass, while reducing our body fat.  Adding more muscle to the body, in turn causes us to burn more calories, and this helps to elevate our metabolic rate.

What determines our metabolic rate, as far as our genetics?  Generally, we tend to inherit the same tendencies for metabolic rates, body frames, and other related body functions from our parents.

All of this metabolic process is related to our calorie intake, our vitamin and nutrition needs, our thyroid and endocrine production, and how well all of these processes come together.  For years, people have sought ways to raise the metabolic rate.  If you can raise someone’s metabolic rate, you are then better able to control the burn of calories, especially for overweight or obese people.  This would make the goal of better or improved health a much easier reality for those people.  Efforts to date have produced very little results.  There are foods that we can consume that naturally raise our metabolic rate, but not to a great extent.  What we need is a way to directly alter the rate.  We need to be able to raise our metabolism to a point where we can actually see a benefit.

The only recourse we have in trying to control our body weight, metabolic burn and health is through our thorough understanding of the role food plays in our calorie consumption versus our calorie need, and control how much of the calories we take in.

Our metabolism functions also depend on how well we have taken care of our nutritional needs.  The process of burning calories and creating energy is a delicate one, and one which must be carefully tended, or it can become imbalanced.  It is often through these natural imbalances that we tend to “inherit’ our metabolic rate.

I believe through careful analysis, and attention to each person’s unique needs, we could bring about a more natural balance of the metabolic burn vs. the calorie intake. To a level where optimal health and weight control are in equilibrium.

Men versus Women: Who’s Healthier?

Study after study has been done to determine the answer to this question.  Time after time, the results do not point to a clear winner.  Have we stopped to question why this is so?  Why is there no obvious choice between genders?

The answer is simple, there are too many other factors to consider that really affect our state of health that have nothing to do with male or female characteristics.

Our overall state of health is dependent upon several factors: our diet, our exercise, our work habits, and our genetics.  The first three contributors cross all gender lines, and we find we have males and females in all sort of occupations, with all sorts of eating habits, and exercise habits.  The only factor that contributes to our health that might possibly be gender based is our genetic disposition.

When you talk about our genetic disposition, you really have to understand that as a person, we received input from two parents: a mother and a father. While it is true that we normally take many of our traits from our mother if we are female, and from our father if we are male, it is not a 100% guaranteed fact that if we are male we inherit only our father’s traits and if we are female we inherit only our mother’s traits.

Our health is the culmination of inherited possibilities, and daily consistencies.  We might inherit the potential for heart disease, but if we live a life of good eating habits, good exercise habits, and attend to nutritional and rest requirements; we can often overcome the inherited potential.

This is why the line between, who’s healthier, is a hard one to draw.  Men versus women usually have nothing to do with the healthier side.  A better question might be to ask, who’s healthier, the person who exercises daily, or the couch potato?  Here it is possible to draw definite conclusions based on one party or the other’s distinct choices and lifestyles.  These are the genuine contributors to the health questions.

We are able to say with certainty that women have longer life spans than their male counterparts.  But does that equate to healthier? No, it just equates to longer lives.  Quantity is not equal to quality.  It is true, that the healthier you keep your body, the greater your odds of living a longer life.  But one does not always equal to the other.  There are other factors that come into play about life span that have nothing to do with health.  Men are often greater risk takers than women, thus they have a higher death rate at a younger age, simply because they aren’t the careful cautious creatures that women often are.

Women have longer life spans, but spend more of their time in sedentary activities.  Does this contribute to a healthier individual? No. Sedentary lifestyles make us less healthy.  It is the need for physical activity that contributes to our healthy state.  The more we sit, the less muscle we develop, the less we are able to condition our bodies for optimal health.  So as you see, it’s not a simple yes or no question.  No matter which gender would prefer to be the victor, it’s not a male versus female issue.

Lowering Your Calorie Intake, Eating Healthier

The foods of the food pyramid are necessary for our optimal health.  But in what quantities and which ones are the best?  These are questions that must be tailored to our individual needs.  And the answers will benefit our unique needs.  Healthy for me, is not the same as healthy for you.  Everyone’s nutritional needs are different, and everyone’s level of calorie consumption is different.

As you study the food pyramid published by the USDA, we can examine some of the better foods, and try to decide what particular formulas make us the healthiest on average. The average person needs an hour of physical exercise, six to eleven servings of grains, two to four servings of fruit, three to five servings of vegetables, two to three servings of meat, two to three servings of milk, and enough water to make it all work.

The guidelines found on the general chart of the pyramid are as listed above, and this could be the formula for an eighty year old man, or a fifteen year old girl. The recommended daily calorie intake is just as vague and generalized as the daily food intake pyramid. Can you see how this might not work for either one?  When a guideline published is this general, it is up to the individual to determine what food regimen will keep them at their healthiest, provide the caloric intake necessary, but not excessive.

According to the guides published by the USDA, calorie needs vary from one age group to another, one gender to another.  So how do you determine what your individual needs are?  You can setup a journal for recording your daily caloric intake for about a month.  Make a note of your weight each day.  If you don’t gain any weight during the course of that month, you’re eating your recommended calorie level in order to maintain your weight.  Now, take that calorie information, use the food pyramid and comprise a combination of foods that will help you achieve this recommended daily intake, and still be enough to be filling and please the palette. You now have an individualized healthy eating plan.

If your goal is to cut calorie consumption, you would be among the latest wave of health conscious individuals who believe that a low calorie intake keeps us in our healthiest condition.  There have been studies done with rats that lend credibility to this claim.  Lowering the rat’s body weight by only 10% yielded a longer life; longer life spans were noted for up to a 30% cut in daily calorie intake.  Anything past that point produced unhealthy consequences.  Now, exactly how this translates into human life spans, we’re not sure.

Once the importance of a particular food plan is understood by us, it is a simple as learning our multiplication tables.  We simply memorize the food requirements, and incorporate it into our daily intake as needed.  As you take the time to incorporate a healthy food plan, don’t’ forget the necessity of exercise in our daily lives.  In order to keep our bodies healthy and functioning as expected, we need to keep it fit.  This comes through proper amounts of exercise

This guide will not work for Brother Bill or Sister Sue, but it is the unique blueprint for you.  It is at this point in the process that we seem to lack the direction to finish what the government started.  Maybe we need to incorporate these techniques into a class taught at school.  Maybe this would give our young people the direction and tools they need in order to begin such a process, make it a lifetime habit, and pass it along to their children.  Whatever the formula, your food intake and level of calorie content, will affect your general overall health everyday.  Overeating can bring on obesity, under eating can bring about anemia; you need to find that one right guide for you, and plan, plan, plan.

Lower Fat Means Higher Carbs

Over the last thirty years, food nutritionists and the food industry as a whole have embraced the idea of lowering our fat intake.  This was a direct result of the information published by the government that encouraged less egg consumption because of the cholesterol found in eggs.  After that particular piece of information, doctors began to discover that when we consume fat, we have higher incidences of cholesterol problems.  The logical conclusion: fat must be bad for you.  And so, an entire generation as grown up with fat-free foods.  A whole generation grew up believing that fat was what made us fat, clogged our arteries, and generally caused ill-health.

Now, what many of you do not realize is that fat flavors our foods, when you remove the fat; you remove much of the good taste. So what did we do? We turned to carbs to make up for the loss in taste in the food.  When you remove the fat, the taste must be artificially injected into the food.  The end result is a food that is higher in carbohydrate content, but lower in fat.  Hence, all the wonderful labels displaying the claim of “fat free” but neglect to mention the higher level of carbohydrates.

Now, we have a whole food industry formed around low or no-fat food alternatives. These companies have large amounts of money invested in the production of these foods, and is not going to be able or willing to turn around on a dime.  It’s because of corporate investment that current knowledge about the “good” fat has been suppressed as long as it has.  It is a very expensive piece of knowledge that is being passed on to the public today.  So expensive, that some companies would be out of business were they to try and reverse their food processing.

So what is the trade off for foods higher in carbohydrates?  Well, part of the trade off is that carbohydrates turn into sugar fast during the digestive process.  What happens when sugar levels become too high too fast?  Diabetes would be the number one bad effect.  Others can include insulin related problems with the pancreas, and hyperactivity in young and old.  Diabetes has been on the rise for the last twenty-five years, and can probably be traced directly to our increased level of carbohydrate intake.

When you combine the fact that food lobbyists and pharmaceutical lobbyists are two of the largest lobby groups in existence, it is astonishment that this news ever made it to the general public.  But it has, and it will continue to be a source of research and concern as many of the baby boomers continue to age and experience health problems thanks to the high levels of carbohydrate consumption.

Lower fat was not the answer many thought it to be.  As it turns out, we would have been much better off to have left our food as it was, and spent billions of dollars in the exercise industry.  Now, there is an area that would have benefited all of the population, more exercise.

Less Food A Healthier You

The foods of the food pyramid are necessary for our optimal health.  But in what quantities and which ones are the best?  These are questions that must be tailored to our individual needs.  And the answers will benefit our unique needs.  Healthy for me, is not the same as healthy for you.  Everyone’s nutritional needs are different, and everyone’s level of calorie consumption is different

As you study the food pyramid published by the USDA, we can examine some of the better foods, and try to decide what particular formulas make us the healthiest on average. The average person needs an hour of physical exercise, six to eleven servings of grains, two to four servings of fruit, three to five servings of vegetables, two to three servings of meat, two to three servings of milk, and enough water to make it all work.

The guidelines found on the general chart of the pyramid are as listed above, and this could be the formula for an eighty year old man, or a fifteen year old girl. The recommended daily calorie intake is just as vague and generalized as the daily food intake pyramid. Can you see how this might not work for either one?  When a guideline published is this general, it is up to the individual to determine what food regimen will keep them at their healthiest, provide the caloric intake necessary, but not excessive.

If your goal is to cut calorie consumption, you would be among the latest wave of health conscious individuals who believe that a low calorie intake keeps us in our healthiest condition.  There have been studies done with rats that lend credibility to this claim.  Lowering the rat’s body weight by only 10% yielded a longer life; longer life spans were noted for up to a 30% cut in daily calorie intake.  Anything past that point produced unhealthy consequences.  Now, exactly how this translates into human life spans, we’re not sure.

Once the importance of a particular food plan is understood by us, it is a simple as learning our multiplication tables.  We simply memorize the food requirements, and incorporate it into our daily intake as needed.  As you take the time to incorporate a healthy food plan, don’t’ forget the necessity of exercise in our daily lives.  In order to keep our bodies healthy and functioning as expected, we need to keep it fit.  This comes through proper amounts of exercise

According to the guides published by the USDA, calorie needs vary from one age group to another, one gender to another.  So how do you determine what your individual needs are?  You can setup a journal for recording your daily caloric intake for about a month.  Make a note of your weight each day.  If you don’t gain any weight during the course of that month, you’re eating your recommended calorie level in order to maintain your weight.  Now, take that calorie information, use the food pyramid and comprise a combination of foods that will help you achieve this recommended daily intake, and still be enough to be filling and please the palette. You now have an individualized healthy eating plan for weight maintenance.  To produce a reduction in body weight, simply begin to cut calorie intake, without cutting too much from the daily recommended servings.

This guide will not work for Brother Bill or Sister Sue, but it is the unique blueprint for you.  It is at this point in the process that we seem to lack the direction to finish what the government started.  Whatever the formula, your food intake and level of calorie content, will affect your general overall health everyday.  Overeating can bring on obesity, under eating can bring about anemia; you need to find that one right guide for you, and plan, plan, plan.

How Does Our Intelligence Affect What We Eat?

This is a double sided coin.  Does health affect intelligence? Yes.  Does intelligence affect health? Yes.  This is one of those wonderful situations where the cause and effect works both ways.  What happens in one area, will generally affect the other.

It is a known and proven fact, that the eating and health habits we use as children, directly affects our level of development.  This includes the brain.  Protein, one of the most important basic life building blocks, works directly in the brain’s development.  No protein, no proper development.

Well, it doesn’t take very much intuition here, to notice if the brain doesn’t develop to optimal operation levels, you will not have a health conscious individual. Generally, you do not have individuals develop to become productive, prosperous citizens, and certainly not healthy, productive, prosperous citizens.

Past the consideration of intelligence development, our level of education and intelligence plays a tremendous role in our ability to educate ourselves about the health options we should exercise.  With generations prior to the 20th century, physical energy expenditures used up whatever nutritional resources you had provided earlier.  Physical work and a real lack of nutritional supplements kept the body in constant need of nourishment.  That is a time past.  Today, with the advent of the computer, physical activity is no longer a part of the work equation.  We no longer lack for vitamins and minerals, thanks to the boom in the vitamin market.

Today, we must determine how much nourishment we need, how much physical exercise we need, and how best to accomplish those ends.  Calorie needs, nutritional needs, physical needs, and education about those needs now is information we should all understand, at least as it applies to our individual self.

Our level of income directly affects our eating habits.  Did you know that?  How much money you make helps to determine what you will choose and how healthy you will be.  Doesn’t really make sense, if you don’t’ look at the broader picture.  In the big picture, however, here is the view: you are educated, have a degree, and are exposed to tons of information during your college years.  You are exposed to health classes, athletes, and all sorts of professional people who already understand the importance of healthy eating habits in your life.

You graduate college, your income levels are quite nice, and you have the opportunity to purchase magazines, health and fitness of course.  Can you see how your education and intelligence levels affect your health now?  This is a generalization that has proven itself time and again.  All you have to do is observe your developed countries versus the third world, underdeveloped countries.  Standard of living and health are directly related.

If the evidence presented above is not enough to satisfy your curiosity concerning the role intelligence plays in our health, take the time to visit the US Census.  This information is available through the internet. There you will find all kinds of statistics, from income averages in areas of the United States, to education levels in those same places.  Also available is information related to the household.  Check for yourself.  You can see a direct relationship in many areas of the country between income levels and health statistics for that area.