Archive for December, 2010

You Are What You Eat

I am obsessed about food. Not in the way you might think. I am obsessed about the way Americans eat. I am aware that it sometimes annoys people when I do obsess, but I can’t help it. First and foremost, I obsess because I’m so fixated about my weight but also because of how good I feel when I eat properly. I feel amazing when I eat healthy; like shit when I don’t. Additionally, I don’t want to see my friends and family give way to this epidemic of putting things into their bodies that don’t belong there. Shoveling in the foods that cause diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, heart attacks, obesity, and that cause you to be big and bloated and, well, feel like shit. Let’s face it…you really are what you eat.

According to the latest article in Men’s Health, The Truth About Your Weight Gain, “Two out of three people in America today are either overweight or obese.” That’s mind blowing!! So is it only because we all eat more calories? Men 7% more calories and women 18% more. That’s part of it. But the real reason is THE FOOD. Check this out:

THE FAST-FOOD HAMBURGER
The great American staple. Don’t worry, burgers really do come from cows—but have you ever wondered how those giant chains process and distribute so much meat so cheaply? And . . . are you sure you want to know?

The Truth: Most fast-food hamburger patties begin their voyage to your buns in the hands of a company called Beef Products. The company specializes in taking slaughterhouse trimmings—heads and hooves and the like—that are traditionally used only in pet food and cooking oil, and turning them into patties. The challenge is getting this byproduct meat clean enough for human consumption, as both E. coli and salmonella like to concentrate themselves in the fatty deposits.

The company has developed a process for killing beef-based pathogens by forcing the ground meat through pipes and exposing it to ammonia gas—the same chemical you might use to clean your bathroom. Not only has the USDA approved the process, but it’s also allowed those who sell the beef to keep it hidden from their customers. At Beef Products’ behest, ammonia gas has been deemed a “processing agent” that need not be identified on nutrition labels. Never mind that if ammonia gets on your skin, it can cause severe burning, and if it gets in your eyes, it can blind you. Add to the gross-out factor the fact that after moving through this lengthy industrial process, a single beef patty can consist of cobbled-together pieces from different cows from all over the world—a practice that only increases the odds of contamination.

Eat This Instead: Losing weight starts in your own kitchen, by using the same ingredients real chefs have relied on since the dawn of the spatula. If you’re set on the challenge of eating fresh, single-source hamburger, pick out a nice hunk of sirloin from the meat case and have your butcher grind it up fresh. Hold the ammonia.

Are you as disgusted as me yet? I’ve had moms dogging me for years because I don’t take my little guy to McDonald’s. In your face, other moms. I’m proud to be serving my son healthy food that is ammonia free!! (We do lots of fun stuff…we’re just fast food free.)

To disgust you even more, and hopefully jump start your HEALTHY 2011, here is a list of the 20 Worst Foods in America. You will be shocked and horrified at the saturated fat content in some of these, not to mention the 7,600+ mg of sodium in the PF Chang’s dish. BTW, that’s enough sodium for a week. We should only consume about 1,500mg per day. Also brought to light in this article, the two restaurants to avoid altogether are TFI Friday’s and The Cheesecake Factory. About The Cheesecake Factory the author writes,

The troubling truth is this entire list of America’s Worst Foods could be fueled solely by the Cheesecake Factory’s atrocious fare. No restaurant combines elephantine portion sizes with a heavy-handed application of cheap cooking fats more recklessly than the Factory folk, resulting in dishes like the 2,582-calorie Chicken and Biscuits and the 2,455-calorie French Toast Napoleon. But it’s a relatively healthy-sounding plate of shrimp pasta that wears the tainted crown, delivering to your bloodstream more saturated fat than you’d find in three packages of Oscar Mayer Center Cut Bacon and as many carbs as you’d slurp down from 1½ cases of Amstel Light. Gross.

This blog’s intention is not to tell you to lose weight. The point with this blog, as with all of my blogs, is about HEALTH. We have become a society that eats with reckless abandon and then relies on pharmaceutical companies to provide a pill to take care of everything. Well, I have news for you. Our life expectancy has stopped expanding and is now shrinking. Pharmaceuticals are no longer helping us live longer. Drugs are designed to work with lifestyle modifications. Diabetes drugs are designed to work with diet and exercise, not while you continue to eat however you please. The same goes for cholesterol and triglyceride medications. People who are depressed now just take pills to feel better and make no effort to DO anything to feel better. Doctors have stopped directing their patients to eat better, exercise, get involved in therapy sessions, etc. It’s time to stop taking a pill for every ailment and once again become accountable for our own actions..and our own health. Even for those times when pills are warranted, healthy living can help supplement those pills and help you heal even faster.

New Year’s Eve is just a couple days away. Is being healthy one of your goals for 2011?

Still Rockin’ It.
Scarlet Mom

How to Avoid the Holiday Weight Gain

First off let me say thank you for your patience. I know it has been a while since my last post. Life has been extremely hectic. Between my job (don’t get me started) and my darling son (who I love dearly but is giving me a run for my money) I haven’t had the time or the energy for anything else. Thanks for sticking with me!

Geez…is it the holidays already? The decorations are up (many have been up since before Thanksgiving) and the parties are in full swing. You can’t walk into any establishment without Christmas carols blasting away. If you’re not into the Christmas cheer…too bad. Commercialism will shove it down your throat. And if you’re trying to watch your waistline it is so much harder during this time of year. Walk into any Starbuck’s and the first thing they ask you is if you want to try their latest calorie-laden drink of the holiday season. Nevermind the fact that some specialty coffees have more fat than a cheeseburger from McDonald’s. (Yes, they really do.)

Holiday parties are the worst. By the time you get there you are starving and maybe stressed and ready for a drink…or three. If you’re anything like me, when you drink you tend to eat more. (Do I care less about what I eat or actually get hungrier? I haven’t figured that one out.) Below are some tips to help you through this holiday season without gaining 10-15 pounds.

Before descending upon that holiday party, eat a healthy, high protein snack. A grilled or boiled chicken breast is perfect. It helps fill you up, is low calorie, and part of a nutritious, high-protein diet. You will be less likely to binge when you arrive at your party.

Drinking. Choose low calorie drinks versus egg nog or holiday concoctions. Vodka and water with a lemon twist is the lowest calorie drink you can choose, or choose a glass of wine if vodka is not available. Avoid creams like egg nogs or juices. There are 120 calories in one serving of juice; four drinks and you have almost 500 calories. It adds up fast.

When going through the buffet line load up on items that you know are healthier and serve yourself just one or two bites of items that you know are calorie or fat-laden. That way, you fill up on vegetables and high-protein items but still get to savor the yummy items.

Also on the buffet line, use the big plate for your salad (low fat dressing on the side) and the smaller plate for your main course. Study after study has shown that we eat less from smaller dishes because our brain equates that to a full plate.

At your favorite coffee shop, avoid holiday specialty items. These items are full of fat and calories. Be especially weary of items that are blended and are topped with whipped cream. Choose the “lite” versions or “skim milk” varieties. You will be cutting at least half of your calories and probably 3/4 of the fat.

When shopping carry snacks with you like nuts, pretzels, and even gum. It’s a fact that if you have gum in your mouth you are less likely to grab a sample, even if you’re hungry. (Besides, do you know how many people have touched, coughed and sneezed on those samples?? Keep moving!!)

At family or office dinner/lunch parties, offer to bring a healthy dish. Even if you don’t have to bring a dish, the host or hostess will probably be most grateful and you will then have a safe “go to” dish.

As you head out into this festive holiday season, leave those extra pounds out in the snow (or just outside, for those of us in the south). You will be so grateful on January 1 when one of your resolutions does not have to be to lose those added pounds. Happy Holidays!!

Still Rockin’ It.
Scarlet Mom