Thursday, February 16, 2012

Diet: Noun or Verb?

I read this statistic on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution website today: "Globally, obesity related illnesses count for as many deaths in young and middle aged adults as HIV/AIDS." That was obtained from the World Health Organization.  The site also stated that currently obesity in the US costs $10,273,973 per hour.  PER HOUR!!! Hearing these facts just makes me crazy!  There is just one (well, two) more reason(s) to get ourselves and our families on track.  There are plenty of creepy things going on in the world and this is one of the few that we can have some immediate control over.

Perhaps it's time we all take a good look at our diet (noun) so that we don't need to diet (verb).  It definitely isn't an easy thing to do but totally worth the effort (and easier than trying to diet all the time I'm sure).  I think if we pay attention to what we eat (and how much and how often) and exercise regularly there would be a wealth of positive change for any of us. 

I'm not a nutritionist or dietitian but I think it's pretty clear that the majority of fast food offerings are something to stay away from.  Did you see that picture recently on the Internet of the pink goo that was being pumped into McDonald's hamburgers?  I told the kids about it and they were thoroughly grossed out.  They haven't been to McDonald's in at least a couple of years (we opt for sub's on those rare occasions when fast food is the best option) but they certainly have mentioned their desire to go.  Until now.  Now they're like "that's disgusting" and the other says "chicken nuggets are made from all the parts that we don't eat".  Thank goodness, let's hope that sticks with them.

If you are a person/family that relies on fast food or take-out often, consider making an effort to eat out less and cook whole foods (not from a box) more.  Your children might not be overweight at this time, but if they don't ever learn the importance of eating good food then they will be set up for a future of dealing with weight issues like a large portion (approximately 65% of adults if I'm not mistaken) of our population.  If you or your children are overweight, why not set a good example and start working on it today.  Plan a couple of meals for this week and get off the couch.  Make the time, before work, during your lunch break, while the kids are at practice (I find that while the kids are at soccer practice it's the perfect time to jog or speed walk around the school, field or neighborhood that is near by).

We talk about food quite a bit in our house (I love food!) and the kids are really interested.  They are definitely learning every night when we sit down to dinner about what foods are healthy and how they are good for us.  Hayden asked the other day where mustard comes from. I explained that its made from the seeds of a mustard plant.  After a little thought, he asked if we could plant some mustard this summer.  I love this for so many reasons, one of which is that he doesn't really care that much for mustard, but it interests him anyway.  There's a good chance that after this summer he will be a fan.  What a perfect and practical learning opportunity.

Don't get me wrong, we do like to eat things that are bad for us too (once in a while I just really need some queso), but we've learned to balance it out with plenty of the good stuff and making sure we're moving too.  Although I am a self-proclaimed pizza snob, I often prefer homemade pizza to most of the pizza places around.  Part of the reason is because mine is way less greasy...what a difference part-skim mozzarella can make.  It doesn't taste different, just less greasy.  Plus Phoebe and I are total suckers for chicken and potato pizza (even better with pepperoncini's on it!) and aside form that killer joint in Boston's North End, I'm not sure where to get one. 

So consider starting with baby steps, no more soda in the house.  Buy chips/snacks in individual servings for lunches instead of having an open bag to graze on.  Find a couple of recipes that are quick and easy that use fresh ingerdients.  Add a salad to dinner when you make something that might be a little on the heavy side (like that meatloaf we had last night).  Make it a family can be really fun!

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