What Will People Look Like in 2020?

If you watched the film Hungry for Change, you saw the negative consequences of a bad diet and the many benefits of a

Diet and Nutrition

Diet and Nutrition (Photo credit: fantasyhealthball)

good diet. What do you think people will look like in eight years because of what they eat? Do you think people will take all this talk about poor eating habits in our country and make changes in their diets or will they continue on as before?

I will make a prediction. I feel people still are not realizing the power of food and therefore will not pay attention UNLESS they are affected by sickness and disease. Then it may be too late.

We need to make better-informed decisions about what to eat. But what is a good diet, you ask? You probably know, but here are some main points:

  • Includes pesticide free fruits and vegetables eaten as close to their fresh, natural state as possible.
  • Minimizes meat or animal products, including milk.
  • Includes beans and legumes in moderation.
  • Includes nuts and seeds in moderation.
  • Eliminates or greatly reduces foods that have been processed, manufactured, or microwaved.
  • Eliminates fried foods or those cooked at a high temperature.
  • Eliminates genetically modified food such as corn, soy, or sugar from GM sugar beets.
  • Eliminates all sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Eliminates aspartame or other chemical food additives.
  • Eliminates modified, unnatural ingredients such as hydrogenated oils.
  • Eliminates soda pop – adds more water.

Think what changes a healthy diet would make for our country. Health care cost would go down. Many of current diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. would be eliminated or greatly reduced. Less sick leave and a more productive work force. Children better able to learn in school. Lack of good diets and proper nutrition may even be a reason for losing world leadership ability.

There are many health-conscious individuals who are concerned about what goes into their food and into their body. However, we need to continue to spread the word to more people and take action ourselves.

I challenge you to see what others are putting in their grocery carts at the store. I’m often mind-boggled by all the pop and chips going out the door.

Do you think we will make healthy changes by 2020?

To your good health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson
Child Nutrition Advocate – author
http://healthykidseatingtips.com

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Sugars, Sodium and Fats – 3 Factors in Healthy Diets

From left to right: bottle of soy oil, canola ...

Image via Wikipedia

You’ve all heard the advice, “cut down sugars and sodium and trim the fat”. You say: I know sugar when I see it”, but do you know you’re eating sugar when any of these ingredients appear on the food label?
corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, honey, molasses, syrup, lactose, mannitol

Any of the following ingredients indicate the food product contains sodium:
salt, baking soda, baking powder, monosodium glutamate, sodium caseinate, sodium nitrate, sodium saccharin, bouillon, meat tenderizer, and any of the flavored salts such as onion, garlic, celery.

Fats in food have received a great deal of press. “What are the good fats and the bad fats” we want to know. What about saturated and unsaturated fat? Very confusing.

Fat in food is composed of two major types of fatty acids: saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fatty acids are further classified as either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. Foods contain combinations of the three types of fat. However, most foods contain a majority of one type.

Here is a list of saturated fats, which are said to be the least heart healthy as they raise the blood cholesterol more than anything else in the diet:
lard, butter, cream, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, poultry fat, bacon fat and other meat fat.

Polyunsaturated oils are: safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil.

Monounsaturated fats include: canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil.

I like to reduce or eliminate my intake of nearly all vegetable oils, including corn, safflower, sunflower, canola, sesame oil, soybean oil, and related products such as margarine and vegetable shortening.

The two best oils I believe are high-quality virgin coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Although coconut oil is a saturated oil, I feel it’s good points of being derived from a healthful food, helping regulate blood sugar, causing the body to burn up more calories,  and its stability under high heat tend to outweigh its saturation concerns.

Avoid products that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. This means that the oil has been heated to such a high temperature that the structure of the molecules have been changed to make it more stable at room temperature. This, however, makes it more harmful for the body.

Despite all the criticism of fat, it is an important nutrient and serves important functions in the body. It is a source of energy, helps protect important body organs and is necessary for growth and body maintenance.

Diets in our country are high in animal products, fat, salt and sugar and low in vegetables, fruits and fiber. Cutting down, or eliminating the big three: sugar, sodium and fats –  is a real challenge. It is worth the effort because our health depends on it.

To your good health and that of your family’s,

Lee Jackson
Health and Nutrition Advocate
http://HealthyKidsEatingTips.com

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Choose Wisely When Food Shopping on a Budget

Grocery Shopping

Image by Bruce A Stockwell via Flickr

With a little planning and effort, choosing foods at the grocery store can be simplified while still saving money and keeping nutritional values up.

Food for the week (or more) depends on how wisely you choose at the grocery store. The first step is planning nutritious menus before you go to the store. Make sure you keep in mind store specials and any coupons you use. Decide on the amount of money to spend based on your budget or food plan.

Then the next step is shopping carefully to assure that what you will have at home is nutritious, tasty, and stays within your allowance – this is no small task.

  • Try to shop only once a week or less frequently. The more you go to the store the more you will likely spend on food and other products.
  • Don’t go to the store hungry. You will probably buy much more than you need. Try to leave young children in the care of others while you shop.
  • Compare the cost of small and large containers of the same product. In most cases the larger size will be more economical. However, it will be more expensive if you won’t use it or don’t have room for it.
  • Consider the cost of convenience foods, that is, foods that are already prepared versus those you have to prepare yourself. For example, can you season the rice at home rather than buying packaged herb rice?  On the other hand, some foods such as cake mixes may be cheaper when found on special than making a cake from scratch. However, look at the ingredients and see whether any food coloring or additives are included, which are less desirable.
  • You gain a great deal of information by reading labels. The ingredient list will give you information about a product’s sugar, sodium, and fat content. Ingredients on labels are listed in descending order according to weight. Therefore, if sugar is the first item on the list, you know it is high in sugar.
  • Choose whole-grain bread and cereal products over white bleached flour products.
  • If you are buying canned fruits, buy those in their own juice rather than those with sweetened juice.
  • Make sure fruit juices are 100 per cent juice. Fruit drink and punches have too much sugar added.
  • Many canned soups, sauce mixes and packaged entrees have high sodium. Do you really need them?
  • Nobody needs pop or soda or cola, or whatever the regional dialect calls it – too much sugar!
  • Encourage the drinking of water. Flavor it, if necessary, with lemon or other fruits.
  • Choose a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. They are usually less expensive in season and are higher in quality. If you can’t choose these fresh, then buy them canned or frozen. If possible, compare the cost of fresh, frozen, canned, and dried forms of the same food.
  • Many snack foods are high in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium.  See whether you can find lighter versions that contain less of these components. Or, just eliminate them from your shopping. If they are not in the house, they won’t be a temptation.
  • Try the “Meatless Monday” schedule for awhile. This promotes healthier eating by emphasizing fruits, vegetables and alternative sources of protein such as beans and lentils that are free from saturated fats. Reducing meat consumption has been shown to provide many benefits, including limiting cancer risk, reducing risk of heart disease, as well as helping to fight obesity and curb diabetes. Chances are, you will not miss having meat at your meals for one day. Besides, meats are usually the most costly foods in a meal and make a huge ecological imprint on our planet.

When you shop for food you have lots of important decisions to make. Wise shopping is not just a matter of spending as little as you can. It means getting the most value for your money while keeping the health benefits of foods at  center stage.

To your good health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Food and Nutrition Specialist
http://HealthyKidsEatingTips.com

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