Some Food For Thought-Is Your Diet Killing You!
I must admit that I don’t usually write articles with such a chilling headline, so I feel that I should give a little background on a relatively innocent experience which prompted me to write this piece.
I would also say quite candidly that there is nothing really new in the main context of it, in fact most probably, everyone is concious of these facts in some way or another.
What I really do wonder though, is just exactly how many of us are actually making any real attempt to seriously look after ourselves, healthwise that is!
I live in Central Scotland in the UK, and according to statistics, we have one of the highest mortality rates from such things as coronary heart disease, strokes, obesity, etc, etc, and I often wonder why this should be the case!
Of course many things are contributory factors to this, and I am no medical expert, but there is one very important factor involved which I have studied extensively, and that is diet!
In Scotland we are renowned for our love of deep-fried foods such as fish and chips, pies, takeaway meals, our alcohol consumption, and so on. Every region of the Western world has its favourite “goodies” I suspect, so I am sure that you get the picture.
I must hand it to our Health Authorities however, because for some considerable time now there has been an extensive and on-going campaign of Health Education, including some excellent TV and Radio ads, outdoor billboards, and similar such things.
It was one of the latter that really caught my eye recently, so much so, that I can’t quite get the image out of my mind. It is a large billboard, which contains a graphic picture of a human heart with two giant grey hands sueezing the life out of it. Very very effective,(at least I thought so),my congratulations go to the person who devised it!
This was the spur that prompted this article, and as I said at the beginning, there is nothing really new in it, but I think it bears repeating nonetheless. Life is a precious gift, and although we are not immortal, there are many many things that we can do to prolong it, and preserve our health.
As far as diet is concerned therefore, here are some of the important ones again:-
Cut down on the fat,and cut down on the carbs.
You’ve heard the popular advice on weight loss diets. Cut thefat! Cut the carbs! Cut the calories! Eat a balanced diet! But how can you cut though all of the confusion, and eat a diet that is balanced and healthy. Not always easy is it! Here is some advice from nutritional science,which might help.
Cut down on the junk fats.
Most people do not need an ultra low fat diet, but most of us could improve our diet by cutting out the junk fats. These are processed fats, hydrogenated fats, polyunsaturated oils that have been heated, and fats that are combined with junk carbohydrates. Processed fats are those fats most likely to put on flab and clog your arteries. We do all know this don’t we!
Cut down on the junk carbohydrates
The majority of people do not need an ultra low carb diet, but unfortunately, many people who do go on a low fat diet continue to eat highly processed foods. They switch from processed high-fat foods to processed low-fat foods, and then when the food manufacturers create low fat foods, they tend to replace the fat with junk carbs.
These can actually pile on the pounds, because basically junk carbs are low-fiber carbs, like sugar, fructose (and all the other *oses), flour, cornstarch, fruit juice, and such. Yes, fruit juice is a junk carb too you know!
After all, how much fiber is there in fruit juice. Virtually none, simply because it’s yet another junk carb. You would be better to eat the whole fruit instead, with its fiber intact.
Cut down on the junk calories.
Most people do not need an ultra low calorie diet, but just think what your diet could be like if you dropped the processed fats and the low-fiber carbs. You would then be eating mainly natural proteins, with lots of vegetables plus whole fruits, and the odds would be that you would be eating far fewer calories as well. That’s the kind of calorie cutting most of us should be doing!
Make every attempt to eat a balanced natural foods diet.
By natural foods, we mean those kinds of foods that would have been eaten by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. They would have had lots of whole vegetable foods giving them vitamins and fiber for instance, and also moderate to small portions of meats, fish, seafood, and other animal and protein foods. These they would have grilled, stewed or baked, not deep fried! They would also have eaten small portions of fresh whole fruit in season, which is the diet on which the human race evolved!
So the next time you’re about to order a meal with fries and a sugary soda, stop and think about how it could be improved. Replace the fries with a salad for example, and the soda with a mineral water say. It would probably surprise you, how much significant progress you have already made towards a healthier balanced meal.
Just simple sensible changes can work wonders!
When you are at home, look for recipes that use whole fresh foods, with a minimum of processing. Try and make sure that your meals include natural unprocessed foods, with lots of healthy vegetables, both cooked, and raw when in salads. Avoid processed fats and processed low-fiber foods.
Here is a little simple menu that I often use and enjoy.
Grilled fish with steamed green beans and peppers. Large mixed salad, dressed with small amounts of olive oil and,vinegar or lemon juice. Then a fresh fruit platter to finish off! A healthy balanced diet can actually be that simple you know!
Life is there to be enjoyed, but moderation in all things is the watchword in my opinion. I do hope this article has given you some food for thought however!