How to Eat Healthier – Part Three

One of the scariest true facts is that chemicals thought to cause cancer are often found in food and drink products in the U.S.

Not all chemicals in food and drink products are regulated. Most aren’t.

Awhile back I had no energy to get out of bed on most days. Without resorting to taking an anti-depressant (I wasn’t depressed just fatigued) I was willing to try any non-chemical method of regaining my vigor.

My primary care doctor had told me that emotional distress can cause physical fatigue.

One idea she told me was to buy Ubiquinol from the pharmacy. The pill was supposedly a better version of CoEnzyme Q10.

CoQ10 is thought to give a person energy. I thought nothing of popping this pill until I read the ingredients. The Ubiquinol was listed as having Red and Blue Food Dye.

No kidding. After that, I stopped buying and taking this supposedly healthful product.

The pills were coated in an orange color–which should’ve been a tip-off.

Shortly after I stopped taking this OTC product my energy started to get elevated again. So I was lucky the fatigue slowly slowly got better.

You might not know this: a lot of drugs that are prescribed like atypical anti-psychotics cause weight gain precisely because the pills cause a person to have a ravenous appetite.

I take a pill that I’m grateful didn’t cause weight gain.

To end this blog entry I want to give you a dose of common sense.

Alas, common sense isn’t at all common.

I’m 53 years old, so technically I’m living in mid life.

Yet I haven’t packed on any extra pounds in mid life and have maintained the same weight as when I was 40.

Part of this equation is that I don’t eat a lot of food. I eat healthfully 80 percent of the time. I wrote about the 80 Percent Rule in a long-ago blog entry.

When I’m not hungry anymore I stop eating. Often I leave food on my plate–not a lot yet there’s food left over.

Thinking that you have to “clean your plate” so as not to waste food is a mistake. Why are you cooking too much food to begin with?

It’s also not your fault that chain restaurants sell huge portions of food. The food they’re giving you is unhealthy most of the time: the food was bought cheaply and prepared cheaply.

Then it’s loaded up on the plate. You could be tempted to eat it all or take home the leftovers.

Taking home leftovers is better than eating the huge portion all at once. You’ll have a second meal the next day.

Eating healthful food in moderation–five a day of fruits and vegetables–is one sensible guideline I think is non-negotiable if you want to stick to the one best nutrition guideline.

In How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life Frank Lipman, MD goes so far as to recommend eating two servings of fruit a day.

Eating two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables isn’t that hard to do every day. I have an organic navel orange for breakfast and a serving of an in-season fruit for an afternoon snack. I have a salad three days a week for one serving of a vegetable that day. Mix in a vegetable for dinner on most nights:

Voila–you can see it really isn’t hard to eat healthfully 80 percent of the time.

How have I been doing in executing my sub-goals for Step Three Perspire with the  Changeology 90-day action plan?

Remember: I wanted to buy and bring salads to my job to eat for lunch 3x/per week. And I wanted to exercise at the gym 2x/ per week.

In the next blog entry you’ll find out whether I succeeded or not.

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How to Eat Healthier – Part Two

Natural flavor that is a chemical is in nearly every single food product in a supermarket. Even a bag of prepared clams in the frozen aisle. Even in rice cakes. Even in protein bars.

The biggest myth is that protein bars are healthy and give you energy.

They’re loaded with natural flavor and high in sugar. I refrain at all costs from snacking on protein bars anymore. As well, it’s because the bars simply don’t taste good.

I found out that Skinny Pop popcorn–again, a seductively named product–is made with a harmful ingredient. Sunflower oil is man-made.

The book How to Be Well: 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life exposes the real deal about this and other oils.

Coconut oil and olive oil and avocado oil are the best kinds of oil to use. Palm oil if you choose to use it should be labeled “conflict-free” because the harvesting of palm oil can cause harm to rain forest ecology.

The following are unnatural fats and should be avoided at all costs:

Vegetable oil ( there are no vegetables in it)

Margarines and spreads

Canola oil

Corn oil (GMO-laced)

Safflower and Sunflower oil (extracted with hexane, thought to be a neurotoxin) and high in inflammatory fatty acids.

Bet you didn’t think Skinny Pop was harmless. Now you know sunflower oil–one of its ingredients–is high in inflammatory fatty acids.

Peanut oil – also higher in inflammatory fatty acids.

America is a capitalist country. The prevailing business model for food companies and other big business is often “Anything to make a buck.”

Creating and manufacturing food and drink and other products is often predicated in this business model on using the cheapest ingredients and components to rush out quickly products that are sold cheaply.

Yet the products still have a high markup–that is retail price–because the cost of producing them is mere pennies compared to the selling price.

Money is then spent on seductive advertising to get consumers to buy the food and drink and other products.

Alas, too many people if not most people don’t want to spent a lot of money on food and drink upfront.

Then when people become sick and ill they conveniently don’t make the connection between their diet and their disease.

And when most of us fail at maintaining our weight and health via the “calories consumed versus calories burned” guideline we could tend to feel like failures who were responsible for not succeeding.

I tell you based on my own experience: I can’t resist having a pastry from a bakery every two weeks or so. That’s it really.

If you ask me it comes down to common sense again:

If you’re not stuffing your face and going back for second and third helpings at a meal:

Chances are you’re not consuming too many calories in one day.

Like said you can weigh more yet eat fruits and vegetables and be healthy. Or you can be stick thin with a magic metabolism, eat junk, and be flabby and unhealthy.

I’m going to devote a third blog entry to How to Eat Healthier then move along.

After this trio of blog entries I’m going to update the results I’ve achieved in Step Three Perspire of the Changeology 90-day action plan for realizing goals and resolutions.

How to Eat Healthier – Part One

I’ve gotten on this kick to write about fitness and nutrition again.

There’s no complicated formula. And it’s not as simply as calories consumed versus calories burned off.

The secret to health lies in this one maxim: cut out the sugar, chemicals, and processed food and drink from your diet.

Without exception I can guarantee you that any food product company that makes an emotional claim as to why a boxed or wrapped food is good for you for is LYING.

Special K boasts that their cereal (made with artificial flavors) has 150 Nourishing Calories.

Funny, I didn’t know artificial flavors were nourishing.

Proving the point that 150 calories of junk isn’t worth eating when you can scramble an egg and have it with avocado for breakfast.

Kind Bars boast they have “Ingredients you can see and pronounce.”

Not so fast. Kind Bars are loaded with chemicals listed as “natural flavor.”

You can pronounce the word natural flavor. Yet it’s still a chemical.

The US government doesn’t regulate most chemicals used in food and drink products.

The USDA–whose staff are often food industry company insiders–allows food companies to use chemicals in products without having to list the chemical names.

So chemicals a mile long are listed as “natural flavor.”

Natural flavor is just as artificial as artificial flavor.

Readers, even Nutella isn’t real chocolate.

In the coming blog entry I’m going to talk about the real deal about other food and drink products.

What I’m going to talk about comes from the book How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life.

Remember: any product with a seductive name or slick advertisement claim most likely isn’t as healthful as it appears.

Food companies use oils and chemicals that aren’t good to consume because using these cheap ingredients lowers the cost of the product.

Which might entice you to plunk down money to buy the product because it’s so cheap.

Wait a minute.

There’s a better way to save your wallet and your waistline at the same time.

I’ll talk about this next.

 

 

 

Top Fitness and Nutrition Books

The following is a list of the top fitness and nutrition books along with cookbooks that I own and refer to in my own life:

Ballerina Body – Misty Copeland

Body for Life for Women – Pamela Peeke M.D., M.P.H., FACP

Foods for Health – Barton Seaver and P.K. Newby Sc.D., M.P.H.

The Organic Food Shopper’s Guide – Jeff Cox

Shape Your Self – Martina Navratilova

Strong is the New Beautiful – Lindsey Vonn

The Top 100 Fitness Foods – Sarah Owen

Transformation – Bill Phillips

What the Fork Are You Eating? Stefanie Sacks M.S., CNS, CDN

Cookbooks:

The Inspired Vegan – Bryant Terry

The Kitchen Shelf – Eve O’ Sullivan and Rosie Reynolds

Vegetables Every Day – Jack Bishop

Verdure: Simple Recipes in the Italian Style – Gioietta Vitale with Robin Vitetta-Miller

Losing Weight and Keeping It Off

In only ONE YEAR from the time I was 22 until I turned 23 I gained 20 pounds. In ONE YEAR.

When my mother is with me when I’m giving a talk she turns to the audience members and tells them: “Chris was a former chubby.” Thanks, Mom.

I wouldn’t use the term chubby  or the far worse term fat to describe a person.

The personal trainer at the gym gets it right: you can carry a few extra pounds and be healthier than a person who’s skinny and flabby.

You can be thin and in ill health because all you eat is chips and cookies and junk food. You can be heavier and eat mostly fruits and vegetables.

As I reported in this blog elsewhere maintaining your weight is not as simple as the number of calories you consume every day versus the amount of exercise you do.

Nearly as soon as I gained those 20 pounds I felt poorly. I made an appointment with an actual M.D. who had a private practice focused on nutrition. She wasn’t a dietician or a nutritionist.

Her name is Rama Z. Koslowe and she practices in Staten Island, NY–one of the boroughs of New York City. I’ve recommended her to other people.

How did I lose a total of 15 pounds and keep this weight off for good?

Once a week I replaced unhealthful food with a nutritious alternative: skim milk instead of whole milk. Skinless chicken instead of eating the skin. And so on.

In 2011 when I turned 46 I stepped up my efforts. That’s when I started to lift weights at the gym. Within a year of doing this I dropped one pant and one skirt size.

In my life I find that lifting weights that is doing strength training was the most effective exercise out of any kind I ever did.

Other people swear by spinning classes or Pilates. That’s fine if you find these kinds of workouts help you better. I haven’t tried spinning. I used to do Pilates years ago.

You can view my blog entry on setting up a home gym.

It took me 6 years to lose those stubborn 20 pounds I had gained in one year. As the years rolled by I read every reputable fitness and nutrition book I could check out of the library.

In a coming blog entry I’ll give a list of my Top Fitness and Nutrition Books of All Time.

I’ll end here by saying that the New York Times has indicated that engaging in 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week or 150 minutes of moderate exercise is perfectly fine.

Inspiration and Perspiration

Thomas Edison is quoted along the lines that achieving a goal is “One percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

The Changeology Step 3 of Perspire lasts at least 30 days. It’s followed by the Persevere and Persist steps which round out and end the 90-day action plan.

Two prior goals I’ve already achieved using the Changeology method.

One was to wear makeup every day to my job. The other was to wear jeans to my job only 2 days a week. In fact I rarely wear jeans at all to my job anymore. And I do apply makeup in the morning before I go there.

Controlling the environment as regards these two goals was simple:

Placing my makeup in a cosmetics case and keeping the case on the bathroom sink ledge for easy and quick access.

Storing the jeans in an out-of-the way rack. Placing the pants front-and-center hanging in my everyday closet.

While I buckle down in the Perspire step I’m going to write in here about other fitness and nutrition topics.

I want to write about these things to give readers hope.

There’s a lot of confusing, conflicting, and downright contentious information about health that is passed off as the only right approach to living your life.

Remember: my claim to fame is that I wrote a book titled Left of the Dial. I see things differently and think differently from most people.

What I know to be true is that a dose of common sense is required when tackling problems that seem insurmountable.

Isn’t a 90-day action plan a short time frame in which to accomplish a goal that has the potential to become permanent for the rest of your life?

In a coming blog entry I’m going to focus on how I lost 20 pounds as a young woman and kept most of that weight off.

In fact I weigh the same at 53 as I did at 40. This indicates I know something about which I speak.

You could get toned lifting all the dozens of diet books that are published each year.

My goal is this: to empower readers not only to dare to dream but to actually do what you dream of.

More on how I lost weight and kept it off in the coming blog entries.

Changeology: Step Three: Perspire

In the third Changeology step of Perspire you start to act on your goal or resolution.

Here you use techniques: rewarding, countering, controlling the environment, and helping relationships.

My goal was to go to the gym 2x per week and eat salads 3x per week at my job. This week I was only at my job two days and I did have salads for lunch on those days.

Last week I trained at the gym twice. This week I’m going to the gym 2x as well.

Along the way you’re supposed to reward yourself for achieving your sub-goals leading to the destination goal.

Countering is engaging in the health opposite of the prior behavior. Controlling the environment is the way to reduce the temptation to revert back to your old habit(s).

Helping relationships are the bonds you have with your change support team members while working on the 90-day action plan and beyond the 90 days.

Controlling the environment in terms of bringing food to my job is as simply as placing the insulated tote bag where I can see it in the morning. For quick access to it to store the items in and then dash out the door.

A member of my change team is a personal trainer.

From reading this you can see how the 5 steps of the Changeology action plan play out in detail.

I have a friend whose goal is “to be healthier.” That raised a red flag with me.

Your goal has to be S.M.A.R.T. How exactly are you going to execute your plan if you only have a vague notion of what you want to do that isn’t supported by specific measurable achievable relevant and time-sensitive sub-goals?

Trust me when I tell readers that the Changeology 5-step action plan has a greater probability of working than simply wanting “to lose weight” or “to be healthier.”

I’ve already achieved 2 other goals using this method. And I haven’t reverted back to the old behavior since achieving these goals.

You can do it. I cheer you on in any goal or resolution you have in the New Year.