Unconventional tips to better eating…
By Tracy Shields - We all know that poor diet and lack of exercise are direct links to weight gain and diabetes. But here are a few unconventional tips to help you rethink the way you approach food.
- Shop smarter and purchase perishables: Don’t know where to begin? Can’t figure out what’s healthy and what’s not? Here’s a failsafe rule to keep in mind the next time you go grocery shopping: Real, whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy can be found around the perimeter of the store; fake, processed foods that have an extremely long shelf-life are found in the aisles in between. So the next time you head out for groceries, buy foods that don’t have a very long life! Stick to the perimeter and avoid going down the aisles. Of course, this makes it impossible to find and purchase things such as rice, beans, nuts, seeds and some mildly processed foods like canned tuna or olive oil. But you get the point. The more you purchase from around the edge of the grocery store, the healthier your choices.
- Set higher standards: Setting low standards for the foods you eat, or rushing to prepare meals, are a huge part of the problem. When we are rushed or couldn’t care less about what we eat, we make bad choices. You wouldn’t pick your husband or wife out of a line up within the span of five minutes, would you?! So why not put more time and effort into the foods you put into your body? When we have more time to create healthier dishes, we avoid things like frozen meals, fast food and boxed dinners that only ask you to add water to make them into a real meal. It’s like dating a guy who just shows up and adds nothing more to the relationship. Time to ditch your low expectations of food and start to realize that your body is a temple. It should only have the best. This doesn’t mean five-star dining every night. It could mean eating a simple apple over a donut.
- Sugar is the enemy: Don’t believe me? If you have time, watch Sugar, the bitter truth, a lecture by Dr. Robert Lustig, who has accumulated a massive amount of evidence on the evils of all sugar (not just high-fructose corn syrup) and how heartless it can be when it concerns our health. Did you know that a calorie is not just a calorie? In an article in the New York Times that reviewed Lustig’s lecture, the writer says that “sugar has unique characteristics, especially the way the human body metabolizes the fructose in it… We can eat 100 calories of glucose [sugar] (from a potato or bread or other starch) or 100 calories of sugar (half glucose and half fructose), and they will metabolize differently and have a different effect on the body.” 1
- Understand marketing: Much of the food we purchase at the supermarket comes from a corporation. And every corporation needs to make a profit. Profits can go up or down depending on competition and, let’s face it, there’s a lot of competition in the food industry. The way in which corporations compete is by the messages they associate with their foods and how well they can convince you, the consumer, to believe in their brand. Trouble is, many companies will say anything to get more business. A perfect example is the marketing history of high-fructose corn syrup. Everyone today knows that it’s bad for you, but that wasn’t always the case. In the 1980s, it was being marketed as a “healthful alternative” to real sugar because, at the time, real sugar was known as a “noxious nutrient.” In other words, it had no value, was lacking in vitamins and minerals, and was an empty calorie. Food and beverage companies marketed drinks with high-fructose corn syrup as being healthier than real sugar! Companies that sold real sugar (sucrose) fought back and, today, it is believed that real sugar is better for you. But again, this is all marketing. According to researcher Luc Tappy, the foremost authority on fructose, high- fructose corn syrup and sugar are nearly identical and processed by the body identically. So the next time you’re at the supermarket, beware of marketing words like “organic” (on processed foods like granola bars), “enriched,” “high-performance,” “good for you” and “whole grain.” Take the time to do your own bit of research. Why? Your life depends on it!
The object of the game is to eat more real foods, those that have rarely, if ever, seen the inside of a food factory or can be marketed in ambiguous ways. Farm-grown foods, homemade (whole grain) breads and fruits that can be plucked from a vine, bush or tree are your best defenses against diabetes.