Thursday, July 1, 2010

HEALTHY choices?

Some people equate feeding themselves calorie-dense/nutrient-light processed foods as “enjoying life”.  I beg to differ.  Food manufacturers spend TONS of money trying to convince us that their food products are necessary in order for us to live a full life.  "Why bog yourself down making food from scratch", they ask us, "when you can be in and out of the kitchen in seconds with a beautiful meal that makes everyone at the dinner table happy and enthusiastic night after night?"  Their products promise to make us happy (think of the kids with the mom who brings everyone in the neighborhood Kool-aide on a hot summer day, or the candy bars and frozen snacks that leave everyone smiling and hugging) or smart (ever notice how the kids' cereal commercials equate eating their products with performing better in school?).  A big market right now is for the products that promise to make us healthier, conveniently (SlimFAST, SPECIAL K, HEALTHY Choice, LEAN Cuisine, SMART Balance, etc.).

Too often we confuse “going on a diet” with “getting healthy”.  It’s little wonder, then, that “getting healthy” carries with it the misconception of giving up this or that; of restricting these particular things; of weighing and measuring and rule-keeping ad nauseum.  “Getting healthy” is viewed as living a life imprisoned.  Held captive by the “I can’ts” and the “good food/bad food” inner cops. 

We’ve been deceived and misinformed by savvy marketers and companies who understand that there is only so much room in the human stomach and they want to make sure their product gets in there on a regular basis.  The dieting industry is a $30-$40 billion per year industry.  PER YEAR.  Someone keeps convincing us that this new way is THE way to go, and many of us follow. Most diets are full of lists and restrictions and measuring and promises of quick results.   If these methods are so effective, why aren’t we a nation full of skinny people?  These restrictions usually make us want more of what we “can’t” have.  Not less.  90% of all dieters who lose weight will actually gain it back.  Of those, 95% will end up weighing more than when they began dieting. 

I challenge you to rethink how you view “getting healthy”.  Ditch the diet books and bars and shakes and embrace REAL food – food that is as close to its natural state as possible rather than created in a lab or factory.  Only a small portion of the elements in our foods have been identified and a smaller portion of those are able to be synthetically replicated by chemists.  When you opt for food that has been created and fortified and enriched, you are missing out on all of the REAL benefits of food created naturally (in a way that coincidentally is conducive to optimal health for us).  A tomato has more than 10,000 phytonutrients.  Each of those elements are working in harmony with the others to deliver every beneficial thing in that food to our bodies, just where they are needed.  They work to create healthy blood, cells, tissue and organs.  Each element is something our body knows how to use, whether we can name it or not.  That can’t be said for each and every element in your favorite chips or fortified cereal.  How on earth can we expect the makers of our Corn Flakes to be able to copy even just a fraction of those elements?  What are you missing out on by not consuming 9,950 of those nutrients that have yet to be identified, named or replicated?  If you can obtain a fraction of those elements in fortified foods, how do you know that the rest of the elements are not needed to help them do their intended jobs?

Skip the foods with labels like “Smart”, “Lean”, or “Healthy” in their brand titles.  Opt instead for the actual foods they are attempting to impersonate.  Smart Butter sounds like an intelligent option, but BUTTER is a better choice (compare the ingredient lists).  Lean Cuisine presents itself as food to eat if you want to become leaner, but broccoli, tomatoes, carrots and legumes are actually LEAN-inducing foods (what’s in those sauces, anyway?).  Making truly HEALTHY CHOICES is not about choosing those green packages of frozen convenience foods or tantalizing looking sweets and crackers, it’s about choosing foods as close to their natural state as possible, or with as few ingredients as possible.  Don’t be fooled by food companies and marketers who are really nothing more than modern-day versions of covered wagon road-show shysters trying to sell you their equivalent of “magic tonic” in a little bottle with a fancy label.

 A healthy life is a LARGE and full life, not a limiting one.  Do all you can to make the most of it! 

“You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.”   Joe Lewis

If you are curious about how to incorporate more REAL foods into your daily diet, or if you would like some help setting and reaching goals for improving your overall health, contact me for a free health consultation.  I'd love to hear from you!

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