What to Eat…& What Not To

By Marsha Hudnall on 03/25/2009
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Joining Twitter has certainly put me in touch with the world at large.  I've been able to get an overview of popular thoughts about healthy weight, weight loss, diet, fitness…all those subjects that interest the women who come to Green Mountain at Fox Run. (Of course, I don't have any time to do anything else anymore, but that's a different story.)

This is a lead-up to the fact that today's post features my thoughts on a few items that came across my desk computer in the last week, most of them courtesy of those I follow on Twitter. (Thanks, Twitter friends!)

So if you're interested in…

  • whether we have to eat organic to eat healthy (& a great recipe)
  • whether we need to eat things we don't like if we want to eat healthy
  • how to eat like a French woman
  • the latest on weight loss supplements

…read on.

Do we have to eat organic to eat healthy?

I've loved Mark Bittman's recipes for a long time; recently, he has been bitten by the health bug, and he's doing some wonderful work on lighter recipes that taste fabulous. (Check out his great mixture of dandelion greens and potatoes; I made it last week for company, and we were all transfixed. Really, we did like it that much.  I left off the bread crumbs because I am gluten sensitive, and it's still very yummy.)

His recent New York Times article "Eating Food that's Better for You, Organic or Not" is a good brief on some of the issues surrounding organic foods, which he summed up like this, "…when Americans have had their fill of “value-added” and
overprocessed food, perhaps they can begin producing and consuming more
food that treats animals and the land as if they mattered. Some of that
food will be organic, and hooray for that. Meanwhile, they should
remember that the word itself is not synonymous with “safe,” “healthy,”
“fair” or even necessarily “good.”" 

Bottom line: Good doesn't always have to be organic, and organic isn't always good. 

Do I have to eat foods I don't like if I want to eat healthy?

A recent survey showed one in three Britons eat foods they don't like because they think it's good for them.  The article quotes a nutritionist saying she is astonished that so many people don't realize there are other choices for nutrients than foods they don't like.  For example, abhor spinach?  Try beef or dried apricots to get iron.  Bonus: iron from beef is even better absorbed than that from spinach so you might end up better off for it, at least as far as iron goes. 

Bottom line:  We don't have to eat what we don't like to be healthy.  (Caveat:  If we think we don't like anything but highly-processed food that's devoid of much in terms of good nutrition, we may need to work on changing our tastes.  It's worth it!)

French women do get fat but fewer of them do than Americans.

I love to read someone who is talking about really appreciating good-tasting food; this wasn't about that. :)  But it's where we can get to when we start paying attention to enjoying our food. Psychology Today featured an article with a title referring to the  French paradox; it was a discussion of mindful eating comparing French and American eating habits.  Has some useful tips for helping yourself slow down and start paying attention. So does our FitBriefing we wrote a while ago looking at the book French Women Don't Get Fat.

Bottom line:  Enjoyment is not just in the taste of what we eat, but also in how we eat it and how we feel after doing so.

One more reason not to use weight-loss supplements.

To end this discussion about what we eat I thought I'd focus on what a lot of folks do to help them not eat: diet supplements.  The Food and Drug Administration last week expanded its list of weight loss supplements that are tainted with drugs such as antidepressants, amphetamine, diuretics and experimental obesity drugs.

Bottom line:  Not only do weight loss products represent quick weight-loss efforts that don't work for most (any?) folks, now they come with additional risks.  Or maybe they did all along….

Have you recently read any interesting info about food and weight that's worth sharing?

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