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Health & Savings

Category: Articles Published: Thursday, 26 May 2011 Written by Administrator

Health and Fitness Corner

In a former article, called “Fitness Facts,” we took a look at exercise. In this issue, it’s all about food. Next, we’ll address mental health.

Slim into summer with these tips.

By Steve Wightman, CFP

In today’s rushed lifestyles, people often find themselves eating out. Unless you’re careful, meals on the fly can pack on weight with hidden calories and hidden health effects.

Unlike food labeling at the grocery store, restaurants aren’t required to tell you what’s in the food you order. When is the last time your waiter stood by your table and recited the fat, cholesterol, sodium, allergic qualities and lactose food contents?

Fatty foods, for example, are deceptive, but potentially deadly. Sure, they often taste great, but unless you work like a lumberjack, they stimulate your body to pack on fat. Fat in turn stimulates clogging of your cardiovascular system, making it increasingly difficult for the heart to pump. In addition, extra weight that afflicts the majority of adults today adds more heart strain and less of a chance to recover from a heart attack. Interestingly, once adipose (fat) cells form, they become somewhat self-perpetuating, increasing your appetite for more fatty foods. One of the many reasons people have so much difficulty losing weight is the lingering demand by millions of these hungry fat cells.

What’s one to do? Fight fat! First, skip the appetizers! Many pack fat and will fill you up before your meal arrives. Further, the more appetizers you eat, the less you’ll taste your meal. Your sense of taste and smell are most acute when you're hungry, as a stroll by a bakery after a one-day fast will attest. Ice those fat cells with a glass of calorie-free water instead. Now, watch those salad bars! They are full of all kinds of things that can get you, but most of all FAT hidden in sauces and in pasta and potato salads. Choose fresh veggies and fruits instead. American diets are poor in both. The USDA recommends 3 servings of fruit daily. How much do you and your family eat?

Main course. White fish is rich in protein, vital fish oils, and low in fat. New England natives were living healthy on fish as their primary protein source for millenniums before the Vikings and pilgrims landed. With so many kinds to choose from and so many ways to prepare it, fish is becoming ever more popular today. Shellfish too are low in fat, as long as they are prepared sans oil, like steamers.

How is the food cooked? Lower your calories by choosing baked or broiled over fried or foods prepared in cheese or cream sauces. Avoid cream in soups too. Ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side so that you are in control.

Food that is rich in fat won’t make you rich, but health-poor – the cruelest form of poverty. The cost of one restaurant meal for two could easily eclipse a weekly grocery bill. If you eat out once a week at a moderately priced restaurant, you’re close to doubling your food bill. What would a quiet meal at home do for your friendships and your family? With so many great recipes, like the quick-to-prepare ones we offer in Ear to the Ground, why not create more of your own masterpieces? At least now you can read the label. Smart eating is like smart investing: it is the learned art of being very picky. Eating less and smarter when you're out and having more meals at home - what better recipe for both your health and your wealth.

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