Nicki Anderson

A Disconnect With Food May Be Cause of Obesity

By Nicki On May 16, 2010 Under childhood obesity, cleanse diets, Diets, Exercise, Exercise Barriers, Extreme Weight Loss, family obesity, fast and easy weight loss, Fox News Chicago Weight Loss Challenge, healthy eating, Make you thin, Motivation, Nutrition, obesity, overeating, unhealthy dieting, weight loss, Weight Loss Pill
Garden Season is Finally Here!

Garden Season is Finally Here!

Ahh spring, good-bye chill, hello warmth. One of the reasons I celebrate spring is because it is officially garden season. Woot-Woot!  There is nothing more exciting than to watch the garden grow and ultimately bring  produce in to my home that is no longer from the store, but my own backyard. (O.K. I have to give credit, where credit is due, my husband Bill does all the planting, I get to harvest and cook. 🙂 )

Last week, as I gathered some fresh radishes, green onions and lettuce to make the first garden salad of spring, I started to think about the disconnect that many people have with their food.  In other words, it’s not about fueling (feeding) yourself,  it’s simply about filling the tummy. My guess is years and years of fast-food and processed food has contributed to  the disconnect. Additionally, people no longer pay attention to the importance (mentally and physically) that fresh, whole food provides for the body and soul.

I can’t tell you the number of people that have said, “Healthy eating means bland food and no taste.”  Not so. The fact is that so many processed foods and fast-foods are loaded with salt and saturated fats, that people have forgotten what “real” food tastes like. Herbs can take any meal from weak to wow, it just takes time and experimentation.

Case-in-point, I was talking to a client of mine that is an avid “out-to-eater” and is working to try and make better choices. I encouraged him to start bringing his own lunch or find ways to include more home cooked meals. “Ahh, I just don’t like that food. I like the foods I get at restaurants.” And the reason he likes that food is that his palate has developed a fondness for high sodium and fat so when he attempts to eat a meal at home, it doesn’t taste as good. But the truth is that once you get back on track with “real” food, you’ll begin to realize just how unhealthy restaurant/fast food makes you feel. He is slowly  making that connection and now realizes much of his lethargy has been due to his food choices.

It is my belief that  processed foods are not only contributing to the demise of health in our country, but our appreciation for the value of good food and how it can positively contribute to good health,  if we just give it a try. Think about how you feel when you’ve eaten well vs. how you feel when you’ve had a junk filled food day.

Hey look, been there, I get it. My diet used to consist of a 1/2 dozen chocolate filled donuts in the morning, Snickers for a mid-morning snack, a couple of tacos and chalupa for lunch, chips for a mid-afternoon snack and then whatever was being served for dinner. And then of course I went out with my friend later, a little alcohol and then a midnight snack which was typically huevos rancheros. Surprised? Sometimes I can’t believe the amount of unhealthy calories I used to consume. But once I made the connection between “mood and food,” my life changed and so can yours.

Start paying attention to how you feel when you consume healthier choices. Look, I’m not telling you to go out and start a garden, but why not start a little herb garden inside? When you go to the store, stick to the perimeter of the store as much as possible as that is where your healthier options are. Set a goal to start eating 2 vegetarian meals per week, or add a salad to 3 meals per week, etc.  There are TONS of resources and recipes for creating healthier meals. My book is a great tool for gradually implementing healthy choices both for food and exercise. Opt for fruit and nuts for snacks vs. boxed bars that are loaded with sugar and preservatives. Given what I used to eat and where I am today, it is doable, if you’re willing and ready to change. And that is the key my friends, the willingness to change.

I know that when I harvest from my garden and consume the food from it, I am grateful for it. I am grateful for the opportunity to consume food that positively contributes to the body I was given. I just don’t think people give a second thought to the food they’re eating much less how it positively or negatively contributes to their health and everyday performance. Bottom line, we take food pathetically for granted.

So the next time you think about dieting, switch gears to connecting. Connecting with the foods that contribute to a better, healthier you. You don’t have to have a garden to do it. Simply start by purchasing more fruits, vegetables (especially when they’re in season, they’re cheaper) and when they’re not, frozen can work. After you’ve finished a healthy meal, connect to how you FEEL. The same holds true when you choose unhealthy options, pay attention to how you feel. My guess is that it will be vastly different than how you feel when eating whole, good-for-you foods.

In addition to plenty of resources via web, I’ve got a ton of recipes on my website as well as my cookbook, Here’s to Health.

I encourage you to start listening to your body and how it responds when you make the choice to fill yourself with a better grade of “fuel”. I know for me,  the day I decided to choose health, that was the day I stopped dieting and finally achieved a healthier, stronger, leaner me. For that I am eternally grateful.

I want to hear your story. Have you struggled with healthy eating? Perhaps it’s because you’ve always used food for weight gain or loss. Maybe now is the time to use food for for it’s original intent, to fuel your body allowing it to perform optimally. That sounds a heck of a lot better than dieting, don’t you think?

Here’s to your health!

Nicki

P.S. As a side note, I know there is always the argument of how expensive healthy eating can be. THat comes from lack of education and it is my mission to see how we can change that. Be sure and check out Jamie Olivers effort in his show Food Revolution. A must watch!

2 comments - add yours
Susan

May 16, 2010

Those are the exact changes I have made in my diet. Fresh fruits and veggies. No processed foods. No packaged oatmeals, just plain oatmeal jazzed up with some fresh banana or other fruit. (You can still make it fast in the microwave.)

And while we still go out to eat every couple weeks, I am more conscious of my choices on that evening. And while I still find times when I may have to pick up something fast (for example, helping my mo took longer than planned and I don’t have time to pop home in between that and my next appointment), I also make researched decisions. I have a list in my purse of the things that are lower in fat, and far lower in sodium at different quick restaurants so I know what fits into my plan.

Overall, I have not found that eating healthy fruits and vegetables and fresh meats has cost more. In fact, I think it is costing less than it did when I was picking up frozen lasagnas and packaged mixes.

Between your recipes, Ellie Kruger’s cookbooks and show, and Cooking Light magazine, I am still enjoying food. And I am still enjoying many of the homemade things I have always made, the things that have been handed down from my mom and grandmother, I have just adapted them.

However, I think I will enjoy the farmers markets since I just can;t seem to enjoy gardening at all. I have tried a few times and it just didn’t take with me.

But overall, I feel great. My blood pressure is normal again. I’ve lost weight (just hit 45 pounds). And I am not starving. With three meals and two snacks a day, I am eating plenty. It’s just different eating.

Nicki

May 18, 2010

Susan,

You’ve got it my friend. You’ve seemed to have found the wonderful balance, and reality of healthy living. It’s not about perfection, it’s not about abstinence but finding that happy “middle ground” that works for you. It seems you’ve found it.

What a great inspiration you are. I hope others can read what you’re doing and understand it’s manageable and possible to change your life without being radical about it.

Thanks for the great post Susan!

Nicki