Ferndale Yoga, massage, meditation and wellness
There's on old English proverb, 'don't dig your grave with a fork and a knife'. In an economy where processed and fast foods have become staples and good, nutritional food like fresh produce has become somewhat of a luxury it's no wonder we are the unhealthiest people in the world. With our busy schedules, limited time and sometimes money keeps us from eating they way we should, and quite frankly some of us don't have much of either. One portion of my education at IMI that I especially liked was the Food Science and Health series by Dr. Kerri Saunders. Here she discussed how we are on the Standard American Diet (also known as S.A.D.; fitting) which is high in animal & saturated fats, low in fiber and complex carbohydrates and low in plant-based foods. All of these factors in one's diet increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and intestinal disorders. Cultures who eat the opposite of the SAD show a significant decrease in all of these pathologies. It's a SAD statistic that one out of two Americans has the chance of dying from a heart attack. The truth is all we need is a little TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Change).
Some say that the USDA Food Pyramid is just a marketing ploy designed to fuel the American economy and has no real value for optimal health. Now I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but like I say knowledge is power-and the more I learn the more I discover what the body needs and what it really doesn't. I am not a vegetarian and I love red meat, but seeing what is on the shelf at grocery stores and what I think is healthy I am shocked at how sneaky marketing really is. There are so many diets these days, between fads, whole foods, raw foods, vegans, vegetarians, semi-vegetarians (pese-, pure-, ovo-, lacto-, pesco-) high carb, low carb....oye vay! According to a new study, called Nutriginomics and the PCRM (physicians committee for responsible medicine) we can get all of the nutrition we need with whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits. It is said that humans digestive system is most closely built like that of giraffes, cows and deer as opposed to tigers, lions and wolves. It's also said that an average American on the SAD diet is responsible for the death of 14-22 animals a year. I've heard the argument that the only milk we should consume is that of our own mother's after birth to deliver the proper nutrients we need to grow. Truth be told we receive the most calcium from green leafy vegetables rather than cow's milk and dairy products, and quite frankly after hearing certain things I have strictly switched to almond milk-which is quite delicious!
Back on the subject of food labels, I usually pride myself on shopping healthy and checking labels for things like 'fat free', 'low sodium' and 'sugar free'. I'm always checking calories and cholesterol and making a valiant effort to not buy junk. But food labels are just as sneaky it seems. The SAD truth is that if something is fat free, it's usually full of sugar and if it's cholesterol free it's full of saturated fats or hydrogenated oils. Most things labeled 'fat free' are based on weight, not nutritional value.
When reading food labels and you look at fat, check out total fat and then check out the saturated fat. Our diets should be no more than 30% fat, and monosaturated fats are the best. These come mostly from plants oils such as olive, peanut and canola oil. Other good sources are avocados, nuts and seeds. People eating a Mediterranean diet that consists of many monosaturated fats are said to suffer much less cardiovascular disease.
Omega 3 fatty acids are so good for us, and can help reduce risks of dementia, depression and cardiovascular disease. Best source of these are flax seed, walnuts and fatty fish like salmon. Supplements are good, just do your research and if you take fish oil be sure it is standardized and purity certified for heavy metals. So what is trans fat? "A trans fat is a normal fat molecule that has been twisted and deformed during a process called hydrogenation. During this process, liquid vegetable oil is heated and combined with hydrogen gas. No amount of these trans fats is healthy - if your diet doesn’t contain enough good fat, your body will use the deformed trans fats instead, which could possibly contribute to major health risks from heart disease to cancer." -helpguide.org. So careful of trans fats, these are mostly found in things I love like tortilla chips, microwave popcorn, baked goods and fried foods.
If you have high blood pressure like me you know you need to watch your sodium intake. Sodium is most high is packaged, frozen foods-and watch for words like smoked, cured brined and sodium bicarbonate. These are all very high in sodium. Recommended sodium intake is 2400 mg/day, so if you must dash some salt on your nightly dinner (even before you taste it!) try and use sea salt-it has more mineral salts than just sodium chloride.
Carbs, carbs, carbs. To eat or not to eat?! The truth is, carbohydrates are one of the most important elements of a balanced diet and primary source of energy to the muscles and the brain. They are consumed as complex or simple sugars and broken down into glucose, fructose and galactose. They are used by the body as fuel, but just be careful as an excess of glucose will be stored as fat. Fiber is a special kind of carbohydrate the body cannot break down usually found in the outer layer of plants. Fiber is so important because it aids in digestion and helps in absorption or foods nutrients and regulating blood sugar levels. It slows down the eating process and helps you feel like you are full, therefore preventing overeating. The best sources of fiber include whole-grain breads, fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and all natural cereals.
And finally protein. Protein is essential for proper function of the body and for its proper repair. Protein contains amino acids that help repair muscle and bone and aids in growth and the production of hormones and antibodies. A great source for protein other than processed meats are green leafy vegetables, nuts and beans like black and garbanzo.
The best diet we can eat would be high fiber, low fat, low cholesterol, low protein and high carbs. To see more check out my book recommendation below by Dr. Kerri Saunders.
So to recap, taking the time to pay attention to what you put in your mouth can really pay off to you overall health. This guideline by holistichealing.com lists the terms of packaging to pay attention to while shopping.
*If it's '_____' free-means that none of the listed item is present, however something else is compensating. If it's cholesterol free it probably has hydrogenated oils. No good.
*'Good Source' means 10-19% of your daily value.
*'High' -to be high in a certain element every serving must contain 20% of nutrient listed.
*'Lean'-means less than 10 grams of fat, less than 4 grams of saturated fat & less than 95 mg cholesterol
*'Extra lean' -less than 5 grams fat, 2 grams sat. fat & 95 grams cholesterol
*'Light'-can either mean it's fat content has been decreased by 1/2 or more, or been altered to have about 1/3 less calories than original.
*'Low fat'-3 grams or less per serving
*'Low Sodium'-less thank 140 mg/100 grams of food
*And finally % fat free-pertains to the weight of the item fat free. Suppose a hot dog package says 85% fat free. Well, it's based on weight. So the hot dog is 7 grams of fat/serving & 90 calories.. Each gram of fat has 90 calories, which means the dog has 63 calories, or 70% of calories, from fat. Not too fat free if you ask me.
The more we know the better decisions we can make on a daily basis to lead a healthier life on a REGULAR basis. We all cheat, we all binge. We all don't care sometimes. But if we start caring a little bit more we can make all the difference in our overall health and hopefully lead a preventative lifestyle. As always I hope this info was helpful, I enjoyed revisiting this subject. If you have any questions or concerns I can get you in contact with Dr. Kerri Saunders who is a food consultant; and can even go shopping with you to show you how to read labels and eat wisely! Next time I will talk about one of my new loves which is Reiki, I can't wait to tell you all about it. Be well everyone!
Nurture your mind, body and spirit~Namaste
'The Vegan Diet as Chronic Disease Prevention' by Dr. Kerri Saunders, MS, LLP, PhD (aka Dr. Food)
In my blog I will share much of the information I've learned on my journey to becoming a wellness ambassador. I will share the healthy tips I've received on living a healthier life, essential oils, meditation, yoga and anything else I feel will help you along your path to wellness. I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist or yoga therapist so always consult your doctor before starting any new regimen. I hope to pay it forward to help create a healthier, happier community-or at least pass on a good habit or two. Be Well!