By Linda Fodrini-Johnson, MA, MFT, CMC
Most of us learned about good nutrition in the first or second grade and why our bodies needed these nutrients. Much has happened in the production of food products over the years since we were in grade school. So, what is the best healthy diet these days?
Back in the 40’s and 50’s, our food was not bought already prepared and overly processed. Mom cooked from scratch and sometimes we ate canned or frozen veggies. There was the occasional TV dinner in the aluminum tray, as well. We didn’t have fat free items like crackers, cookies and other products. Nowadays, these products are overly sugared to compensate for the “no-fat.”
“Food is Medicine”, which is the title of a four-day conference I attended a few years ago. In attendance were about 500 doctors, nutritionists and other professionals such as myself. It truly opened my eyes to the importance of what we eat. It taught me about the micronutrients that our bodies need for health, healing and general well-being.
What has happened to our food production in the last 70+ years is the addition of fertilizers, weed killers and the caging and use of hormones in animals that are food sources. This has helped produce more products. Which, I agree is needed to feed the world, but at the same time affected the nutrients and safety of our food. During this same period, we saw a growth of fast food chains. Prepared foods started becoming attractive to busy, tired, impatient people (me, some days) who have little time for “whole fresh food cooking!”
Another concern is the dramatic rate of obesity has risen as our food production, and choices of what to eat have changed. Many of the new food choices say “low fat” or “gluten free”, which are a good idea for many. However, look at the increased sugar in these products. Sugar is more damaging to our bodies than most other food nutrients.
In late 2016 the CDC (US Government Center for Disease Control and Prevention) said that 36.5% of Americans are obese. This rate of obesity is higher in the middle age group (40-60) it is 40.2%, and over age 60 it is 37%. Obesity is something we can control as it contributes to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. These diseases cost $147 billion dollars and can highly affect the quality of life for those that have them and those who love them!
Food is our fuel, and we need to make healthy choices. We choose premium gas for our cars . So, why not for your body? It does cost more and takes a little more time to prepare whole organic foods to ensure you’re eating the best healthy diet. However, in the end avoiding diseases that lead to dependence and premature death might just be worth the extra cost. Remember, you are worth it!
What is the best healthy diet? This will differ for most of us, but I think one diet that can meet most of our needs is an “anti-inflammation diet”. How do you do this and get all the nutrients you need and make changes that move you from that “obese category” to a healthy one? Be sure to always consult with your primary care physician before changing your diet.
Best Healthy Diet?
In every meal have at least 4 ounces of a healthy protein (plant or animal), a serving of vegetable or fruit, a healthy grain (oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain bread), a good fat (nuts, olive oil, avocado) and limit your sugars (a small amount of dark chocolate can be good for you). For snacks, eat a handful of nuts, fruit, cut up veggies with hummus, or apples with peanut butter. Limit your alcohol consumption. Try to eat cage free meats, wild fish, limit red meats, cage free and free range eggs. Remember beans and legumes are an excellent source of protein. Try to have a meatless day once a day once a week.
Emotional eating is when someone turns to food for comfort in times of sadness, anger, boredom and depression. If that is you, it is good to join a program that supports your eating healthy. Increasing your exercise could be a good diversion from eating. When you get an emotional urge, take a walk and delay the eating, call a friend, or read a chapter in a book.
Eldercare Services has professional licensed counselors that are also Care Managers. Give us a call to talk about your diet concerns and we will help you design your own diversion plan. Our bodies condition themselves and create “set” point weights. So, if you are trying to lose t extra pounds and keep them off, you need a lot of discipline and a support system!