One of the reasons I love Thanksgiving is that it’s not about the gifts, it’s about family. Coming together, sharing a meal, sharing stories and realizing what really matters. However, thanks to this crazy world of consumerism, we can’t even forget about the world around us for one day because stores have decided to open. I don’t know about you, but I really hate the idea.
If you look at the evolution of Christmas, this once very sacred holiday has become more about everything other than the historical meaning. People have become obsessed with shopping and getting the perfect gift. Money, greed and stress have replaced, peace on earth. Kind of crummy.
I know there are some people that cherish Black Friday as a family tradition. They wake up at the crack of dawn and begin their shopping marathon. Given that it’s AFTER Thanksgiving I figure to each his own. But now it seems no holiday is immune to the marketing ploys of big business. The one day a year when people come together, the good, bad and the ugly of holidays feasts and it’s now compromised because the world of retail has come up with one more tactic to part you with your money and your family.
Personally, I will not even think about going out shopping on Thanksgiving, it’s the one day out of the entire year where we sit down as a family, with no agenda, no place to be, no rushing off to work and we can just be a family. No cares, no worries. I always considered Thanksgiving the calm before the storm. The big exhale of the holiday season.
I don’t know about you, but I plan to stay toasty and warm without any plans other than being with my family. I owe it to them and to the holiday. It’s is a time to be THANKFUL. The idea of putting shopping before family just doesn’t sit well with me. As much as people have complained about losing Christmas or Chanukah to the world of retail, that loss now includes Thanksgiving, the one holiday I thought was immune. Sadly, I was wrong.
What will you be doing on Thanksgiving?
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.
By Nicki On November 9, 2013 4 Comments
It was almost 20 years ago when I started reading about the dangers of consuming foods containing trans fat. I was raised in the age of Crisco and fake butters. My Grandmother used Crisco freely knowing that as long as it was homemade it was good for you. That’s what the ads said, so it must be true.
This week the FDA made it official, trans fats are in fact bad for your health. Well, it’s preliminary, so we’ll have to wait for a solid decision. ‘sigh’
By the time I started studying nutrition, I discovered some of the foods that I fed my children were in fact harmful to their health. Wait, you mean to tell me that fruit roll-ups aren’t made with real fruit? And, McDonalds isn’t serving my family good-for-you foods? Outrageous I tell you!
Yep, when I started digging in to the truth behind the foods being pushed, advertised and promoted to our country and kids, I was shocked. I couldn’t understand how it was o.k. to push food that clearly caused heart disease, obesity and diabetes. I understand all too well now, M-O-N-E-Y.
Given that smoking (though it took years) is finally recognized as dangerous and banned in restaurants and the workplace, it seems foods that cause death and disease should have the same red flags. But you know and I know there’s not only money to be made in the world of food, the pharmaceutical companies are making out like bandits.
Do you know that the United States and New Zealand are the only two countries that advertise prescription drugs on television and in magazines? And we wonder why prescription drugs are so ridiculously expensive. Don’t blame the pharmacies, blame the big advertising pharmaceutical budgets.
Any way, back to trans fats. So this week, the FDA as made a preliminary decision that a major source of trans fats– partially hydrogenated oils– is no longer “generally recognized as safe.” Apparently, if the preliminary decision is deemed final, than foods cannot contain partially hydrogenated oils without approval. In my humble opinion, if a food is not safe, what would ever constitute approval?
If you look at any snack food, basically anything in a box, anything processed it will contain trans fat. And beware of labels touting “No Trans fats” as there is a formula that companies can get away with and still use trans fat. Although over the last few years, manufacturers and restaurants have made small strides in reducing trans fats in their food, it’s still out there and it’s still a health concern.
I have to go back to what I’ve been preaching for a long time. The closer your food is to nature, the healthier it will be for you. Frozen fruits and veggies are fine for those that don’t have access to fresh. And there are plenty of healthy options for busy, on-the-go people.
Read your labels and start cutting out processed foods in your diet. The truth is that our country, a very advanced, smart country is extremely unhealthy. Poor diet is the norm. After 30 years in the fitness industry, I saw the bodies of women change. I saw their health issues change and I feel very strongly that it was mostly food related.
Just like smoking, the truth is finally coming out about trans fat. For years the nutrition experts have warned against consuming trans fats and they were dismissed as fanatics.
When things sound too good to be true, they often are. “Eat all you want and don’t gain weight. Cookies that are only 10 calories each! 100 calorie snack packs.” All of those likely carry trans fats and are not a natural source of food that your body can digest and utilize properly.
There are some great websites to learn more about healthy nutrition. Remember, changing your diet doesn’t mean deprivation. It means paying attention to the foods that work well with your body and make you stronger and healthier. The current American diet only serves to weaken our body and house disease. You can be a catalyst for change not only for yourself but for future generations.
What do you think?
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On August 7, 2012 No Comments
Though the Olympics play a rather large role in getting people active again, it’s a bit of a paradox when these average every day folks see Olympians touting their devotion to fast-food restaurants and junk food, primarily McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. These companies are the proud Olympic Partners.
Wait, let’s see if I’m getting this right, the most stellar physical athletes in the world claim that junk food is their go-to food when training and performing? I’m not buying it, but unfortunately plenty of other people will because, “Heck, if it’s good enough for Olympic athletes, it’s good enough for me!”
In my opinion, there’s a sense of responsibility on behalf of the Olympics and the athletes. Remember the scuttlebutt over American Olympic uniforms being made in China? People were aghast. Doesn’t the fact that hamburgers, fries and soda are being condoned by athletes and the Olympics ruffle a few feathers, somewhere?
The athletes are doing their fair share of getting the junk food message into the living rooms of families watching the events. LeBron James, Loul Deng, Apollo Ono, Shaun Johnson and others are pitching foods that just don’t connect to their performance and physical fitness. It doesn’t make sense to me. Oh wait, I hear a “ching,ching” in the background- money. That’s right, that silly little thing that often trumps just about everything else, integrity, health of our country (which by the way has a huge obesity issue) and well, good old fashioned conscious.
Though we are incredibly proud of the performance these athletes have executed, the blatant promotion of “carbage” is somehow disheartening. I will say, Subway stays away from deep fried foods and does offer veggie sandwiches. But for the most part, junk food is NOT what allows these athletes to perform at such a high level. Basically, it’s false advertising.
Some will ask, “What’s the big deal with having junk food once in awhile?” Well, the fact is that there are those who understand moderation, but tell that to an 8 year old who loves the gymnasts and sees them promoting McDonald’s, suddenly that is what she’s going to clamor for. If he or she is lucky enough, she’ll have a parent that understands moderation. But for many others (remember the obesity issue I mentioned earlier?) not the case. Bottom line, it’s a mixed message, pure and simple.
I have to give kudos to Ryan Lochte, who obviously didn’t let the endorsement cash get to him. He gave up junk food two years ago. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard anyone praise his efforts not only from a physical fitness and health standpoint, but for someone who didn’t get sucked in by a multi-million dollar contract.
I’m certainly not a purist, but when it comes to inspiring the next generation of athletes, there is some responsibility that should be realized by the Olympics and the athletes. In my opinion, promoting fast-food restaurants and soda is no different than promoting Marlboro reds after a long workout. (Yes, junk food can contribute to cancer). LeBron, got a light?
Here’s to your health!
By Nicki On November 13, 2011 2 Comments
I typically focus my blog on health and fitness related issues, but the beauty of blogs is speaking what’s in your mind and your heart regardless of who is reading.Therefore, this week, I’m going to deviate a bit.
I cannot ignore the happenings this week at Penn State as a mother, and an American. Abuse of any kind is unquestionably troubling, and when children are the victims, it is downright incomprehensible. I’ve spent 26 years of my life protecting my children, and teaching them the dangers that lie in unsuspecting situations. Of course, you don’t want your children to be paranoid, but today, you almost have to. It’s unfortunate that we’ve had to educate our children about the dangers of very sick people like Sandusky. And for me, sick is a weak description of such a psychopath that has robbed many boys of a piece of their life they will never get back. He has stolen their trust, their self-esteem, self-worth, and perhaps their ability to ever function normally again.
So what do we as adults, parents, teachers, neighbors take away from this horror? We look at Paterno and the young grad student, McQueary, that are currently under fire. I know as a mother, if I saw anything like what McQueary saw, I would have scooped that child up in my arms and ran to the nearest police station. My hope is that police would take that child, call his parents and place him in an environment where he can recover with love and trust. But then there’s the fear factor, Penn State has a reputation of winning, at any cost. “Tattling” on a winning teams indiscretions may fall upon deaf ears, and then what? Perhaps McQueary was a victim of Sandusky’s, and he lived with such fear he did what he was programmed to do, “keep it in the family.” That’s where dysfunction comes in. This group of men held on to way too many secrets, destroyed too many lives simply to keep the “win” alive. It makes me wonder what has happened in this country, where “the win” trumps everything, everyone, every situation, regardless of who is destroyed along the way.
When I was a kid, neighbors looked out for their neighbors. You always knew that someone was looking out to make sure you were safe. Don’t get me wrong, child abuse and assault has gone on for longer than I’d like to think, but there are sick people out there that go undetected. However, today with the internet, media, chances for getting caught are somewhat better. But, there is also this thing that has taken over our sense of obligation to protect our fellow man/woman, and it’s fear. People don’t want to say anything for fear of getting in the middle. Another story came out recently about a cover-up at the Citadel, where abuse had been going on from a camp counselor, people knew, and he still kept his job. The church, that’s a whole other mess, but again, why was it covered up for so long? People in jobs of power, abusing their position and not getting called on the carpet will simply use money to buy silence or power to buy fear, either way, it goes unpunished. Fear of losing power, fear of losing a job, fear of losing a lifestyle that has come to be more important than the morals or values our country was built upon.
As I see things like this Penn State issue come up, I can’t help but see the consistent growth of dedication to money and power while relinquishing the really important things, compassion, moral responsibility. Even the Madoff mess, greed and power. I believe that power, money and greed have topped the list of the “most wanted” things. We’ve lost our way and you can blame a hundred other things on what has been the demise of our country, but at the end of the day, I have to ask myself, have I gotten lost in this web of livin’ the dream? Am I an available mother for my children? Have I recently reached out to my neighbor? Am I giving back to my community? Am I doing my part to protect those that may be at risk of abuse, violence, harassment?
I’m hopeful that this situation at Penn State does a lot to make people think and perhaps act. Though we can’t change the serious damage that’s been done, we can certainly make a difference in our communities, churches. local organziations and schools. Are you doing what you can to protect children and give them the love and respect they so need and deserve? I’m hopeful that greed and power become less popular and volunteering and looking out for our neighbors comes back in vogue.
There was never a generation that didn’t have their share of challenges and horrors. But now more than ever we see our politicians divided, Pregnant and 16 and The Kardashians are #1 most viewed shows. We need to stand back and regroup as a country and redefine what it means to be an American. Could that young grad student have changed the situation and saved that young boys innocence? Perhaps, but not knowing the circumstances, or the fear that was instilled in him, I can’t say. I k now what I would have done, and I’m sure you would have done, but he didn’t. All we can do is pray for those boys and hope that justice prevails. Those boys will never get that part of their life back, but if they have shaken people up enough to make them think and be more aware and look more closely at unusual situations, their painful experience will not have been in vain.