Sneaking Sugar at the Fair

We went to the local Fair this evening. I’ve been wanting to go and sneak a cotton candy ever since I saw Bethany Frankel have some on her show, “Bethany Getting Married?” (Yes, I watch it; it’s an enjoyable distracton).

After walking the entire fair, I couldn’t find one cotton candy vendor. Maybe they don’t make it anymore, or maybe they just don’t sell it at our local Fair. Well, I found a moment to get off on my own in the Commerce Display Building and lo and behold, there it was. A candy display with vanilla fudge.

I always think things go better with fudge; so I ordered a 1/4 pound piece for $3.50. The amount really was too much to pay the amount given I was desparate; or so I thought. I walked around the corner while my husband was deeply entrenched in learning about some item from another vendor. Hiding the fudge in my purse, I pulled off bits and pieces, savoring them as I walked. However, I did notice something distinct.

I’d figured the fudge was fresh but it just didn’t taste as good as I remembered. I could taste the artificial flavorings and it was too sweet. I kept thinking of the headache I expected to get and wondered how many calories I was consuming with that one piece of unnecessary candy.

Things had really changed. After that, nothing looked good. I shared a few bites of a Jalepeno and Cheese Pretzel fresh out of the oven that my husband got and left it at that. By the time I got home, the stomach ache started, the gurgling deep inside and reality hit. Guess my stomach didn’t want to house a so-called treat that was full of white sugar and artificial flavorings. The pretzel probably didn’t help either.

But I learned a painful yet needful lesson. I’ve gone through steps to start changing my body dynamics. I don’t like going backwards in life so I have to move forward. What was noticably obvious was that there was little to nothing to eat for a person who is seeking to be healthy at the Fair. Sweets, salt, sugar, syrup were the main fare. All I found was roasted corn on the cob and the pretzels but that was about it. Some vendors had a few items; a bag of natural almounds among the sugar coated, salted ones. Even the roasted peanuts are gone.

There’s a great opportunity to explore for the food entrepreneur.

Easy Steps to Change Your Bad Food Habits

Have you ever really asked yourself the question, “Do I eat to live or live to eat?” It’s amazing how so many people really live to eat thinking any food is better than no food. But what you put in your mouth today will have an effect on you body for a long time.

Certainly you have foods that that you particularly enjoy. These are most often comfort foods that are hard to give up. Not all of these are bad for you, in fact, some can be highly nutritious. But if you make food choices that aren’t the best on a regular basis, here are some suggestions for making changes.

1. Don’t Set Yourself Up. It’s common to sabotage your eating habits when you grab whatever is available when you are hungry instead of stopping to prepare a proper snack or meal. For instance, if you just happen to have a box of chocolate cookies in your desk drawer when you’re ravishing, it’s too easy to reach for them when stressed or you think you are hungry.

2. Stay away from the grocery store when hungry. Being around food when you’re hungry is a key to eating sabotage. You might have the intention to only get a few things at the grocery store but when your stomach us empty, it is easy to abandon the pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts that have to be prepared for the fried chicken wings at the deli that you can eat in the car on the way home.

3. Don’t snack while cooking. This habit that many of us have can be a real diet killer. It is really bad around the holidays. Depending on how much you snack you could consume an entire meal worth of calories before you sit down to eat the actual meal. Even if you are cooking a healthier meal, you can eat too much before the meal is even served.

4. Change one food habit at a time. Taste is a learned behavior and difficult to change. Don’t force yourself to go cold turkey in giving up foods but take it in steps. For instance, if you enjoy eating full-fat ice cream as well as macaroni and cheese, you know you need to cut back. Don’t drop them both at once; just give up one food at a time. You can start by eating a lower fat version of the food such as a lower fat alternative.

5. Get a Coach. A Health, Wellness or Nutrition Coach can help you to understand how to eat in a way that becomes a new lifestyle, not just for a diet. Coaching can help you get rid of your bad or annoying habits through a series of positive supports provided during your sessions.

6. Make a plan. It is not enough to say that you will change your bad eating habits. That is a vague statement that gets you nowhere. You have to write it down and commit to it. For example, say that you will begin eating whole grains instead of white bread, or using lower fat dairy products over full-fat ones with more calories.

7. Keep a food journal. Record everything that you eat for a week. When you go back to it you may be amazed at all of the sweet, salty or fatty foods you consumed. Use the journal to create a list of the foods that are and are not healthy for you so you can make a plan to make changes.

We don’t always make the best food choices. Use the suggestions here to get in the habit of eating healthier.

Does Your Diet Contain Healthy Foods?

You know that eating healthier foods is necessary for longevity, but knowing what to eat can sometimes be difficult, particularly if you’ve formed bad eating habits over a lifetime.

These few easy tips help you remember which foods to eat in order to have a healthier eating lifestyle.

1. There are six basic food groups that you should select your daily menu items from. The food groups are: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and other dairy products, protein, and lastly the group containing oils. A well-balanced diet will provide your body with all of the nutrients it needs to maintain health.

2. The food items in the whole grains group include whole wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain barley and millet. You should do your best to avoid eating refined grains which many breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals are made of.

3. The food items contained in the group known as vegetables include a variety of colorful vegetables. Remember that the deeper the color of the vegetable, the greater the concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are contained in the food item. Dark greens, orange vegetables, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, butternut squash and sweet potatoes are good examples of these darker colored vegetables.

4. The fruit group contains foods that are more enjoyable to eat and we do so in many different ways such as eating them fresh from the garden, canned, frozen, dried, whole, cut-up or pureed. We can even make fruit juices from fresh fruits. Fruits can dress up a salad or become a tasty after school or mid-afternoon work break snack.

5. To stay healthy choose low-fat dairy products. Nowadays you need to be sure that your dairy products do not contain rBST (bovine growth hormone) by choosing organic dairy products. Individuals, who are lactose-intolerant, can choose lactose-free and lower-lactose dairy products, such as the harder cheeses, and yogurt so that they can get the calcium they need in their diet.

6. Protein is a very important ingredient in any healthy diet and to get enough protein from a variety of sources choose from fish, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. Try to minimize your selection of red meats that contain higher levels of saturated fats.

7. The oil group provides an excellent and necessary source of healthy fatty acids in your diet and should not be avoided. High quality fats from olive oil, avocado, raw nuts and seeds, coconut and fish are all important parts of a healthy diet.

8. A healthy diet needs to contain vitamins, which are organic compounds that our bodies need for normal growth, and to maintain good health. Certain vitamins are not good to take in too large of quantity, for instance, fat-soluble vitamins like A and D tends to accumulate in our bodies and become toxic when we ingest large amounts of them. Water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C are flushed through the body on a daily basis, so there is no concern for these vitamins. Mineral is inorganic substances and is also necessary to include in our daily diets in order for our bodies to function properly.

Children, pregnant women and boomers especially benefit from a well-balanced diet that provides for all of the needed vitamins, minerals and oils that the body needs.

9. Water is another very important ingredient to healthy eating. Water is essential to the proper function of our bodies. The typical individual should drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water each day. Individuals who are overweight, pregnant, breastfeeding, or very active should drink more than eight 8-oz glasses of water each day.

Add Legumes For a Healthy Diet

Legumes are a healthy and very versatile food that are in the vegetable group. They have been a part of healthy diets all over the world for more than 10,000 years. You’ve heard of legumes if you know about soybeans. Other common legumes include black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lentils, black & red & navy beans, and also kidney beans.

Legumes provide many essential nutrients that the human body needs for growth and cell building. Legumes contain nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium and B vitamins. Legumes are also high in dietary fibers, are low in saturated fat, and are cholesterol free.

Legumes are seeds that can be eaten fresh or they can be sprouted, dried, or ground into flour.

Legumes contain many nutrients that are important to preventing heart disease, cancer, obesity and other chronic diseases. Legumes are nutrient-dense and nutritionists recommend that we eat several servings each week of legumes.

Tips for adding legumes to your healthy diet:

When purchasing legumes look for those with deep colors.

Soak large, or dried legumes such as beans and chickpeas in room-temperature water overnight in order to rehydrate them before cooking them. They will become soft as they soak.

Use legumes in soups and casseroles. Use pureed beans in dips or spreads. You can also use chickpeas and black beans in salads.

Legumes are a great source of protein for vegetarians.

To add flavor to beans season them with garlic, onion, spices, salsa, even cheeses to bring out the flavor in any bean dish. There are many varieties that you may not have tried yet such as garbanzo beans, adzuki beans, broadbeans, butter beans, mung beans, mungo beans, snow peas, winged beans, yam beans, yellow or white beans.

You can teach your body to overcome the unpleasant side effect (gas or bloating) of beans in your diet by slowly increasing the amount you eat over a period of weeks. You can also slow cook them to reduce the gas-forming compounds. If you add a little baking soda while cooking them this will also help. When eating legumes it is important to drink a lot of water to avoid constipation.

You can add legumes to salad, soup or casseroles. Beans are great in chili too.

Legumes add taste and texture to your healthy meals while they reduce your risk of heart disease. Soybeans are the basis for tofu and are definitely part of a healthy diet.

Enjoy fresh or roasted soybeans as a snack or meal after you have boiled them in lightly salted water for 15 to 20 minutes.

You can add soy flour (grounded roasted soybeans) to baked goods but caution should be used to NOT replace all flour in a recipe with soy flour because soy flour lacks gluten, which is needed to help dough to rise.

Cut Fat By Cutting the Fat

Fat is an essential part of the diet that provides your body with energy for daily activity and helps supply vitamins a,d, and e. But too much fat makes you fat. Reducing fat also helps reduce cholesterol and improves heart health which is my goal from now on. You probably heard that reducing fat in your diet will help reduce fat on your body. Here’s some ideas on how to make that happen.

There are three kinds of fat = monounsaturated polyunsaturated and saturated. Unsaturated fats are found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oil products and similar products. Saturated fat is particularly bad for you and contributes to heart disease. Saturated fats are found in many meat and dairy products and these are the artery clogging fats. Eat these in moderation. By the way, certain vegetable oils contain lots of saturated fats so choose carefully and check labeling.

Moderation is more important than elimination when it comes to reducing fat for weight loss. Here’s some tips for reducing fat

* Use nonfat salad dressing and herbs for your salad, fat can sneak up on you in condiments and relishes

* instead of frying food in butter or oil try using broth, tomato juice, or even wine cooking this way also adds a great deal of flavor

* bake, don’t fry

* use egg whites instead of whole eggs in your cooking

* avoid fast food or drive thru food

Taking simple steps to reduce your fats will pay off over the long run. You’ll not only look better as the pounds come off, you’ll feel better and have more energy too.