March 27, 2009

We Need an Alternative to Refined Sugar

Here is a scary fact:

On average, Americans consume about 175 pounds of sugar a year - that is almost a half pound each day.

Find it hard to conjure up what a half pound looks like?

Well, it is about 46 teaspoons.

46 teaspoons each day.

I find this figure unbelievable and it is no wonder that diabetes is on the rise in this country.

And we are lead to believe that artificial sweeteners are the answer to this problem.

Well, since I am not an artificial human, eating artificial food is not an option.

In the past I have used fructose, which is about 70% sweeter than sugar, so you don't use as much.

It is still a refined sugar though.

I do know that if I eat very little sugar, the body quickly adapts to the intake amount.

Where you wouldn't notice a sweet taste in a certain food before, when you eat very little sugar, the tongue picks up it's taste in the food. When you actually add more, it becomes too sweet.

I think our bodies develop a tolerance - over time you need more of it to taste it.

There is no nutritional value to sugar at all. It hits a pleasure sensor in us, and naturally we want to consume more of it.

It's hard, but try cutting back on it. You will discover a whole new taste to food.

That romaine lettuce is a sweet treat, but you will not know it unless you go without all the added refined sugar in your diet.

Celery and carrots are also sweet.

Who would have guessed the alternative to refined sugar is none to little in the diet!

March 19, 2009

Strength or Endurance Exercise - Which is Best?

Strength or Endurance

ten pound barbell weight

From reading, I have found that there are basically two types of exercise - endurance or stamina training and strength training.

I was trying to find out which is the best so I could concentrate on building my exercise routine around it.

But what I found is that they are very entwined and you really cannot do one without doing the other.

I have always considered walking to be my endurance or stamina building exercise, and I found I was correct in thinking that.

But what I didn't know is that walking also builds strength, and if you were to use small hand or ankle weights while walking, it increases the strength part even more.

The terrain, speed, and distance of the walk all work for building endurance and strength.

The more you walk, the greater the endurance gets, but the strength will eventually begin to reach a plateau.

So, doing some strength building exercise is also needed to keep those muscles performing and burning the calories and fats.

I have always used hand weights and ankle weights for my strength training, which I try to do at least twice a week.

From what I have been reading, if I walk 30 minutes each day for endurance, and do the strength training for 30 minutes each week, then I have the correct basic formula for retaining my current weight and keeping a healthy body.

By increasing the walking just a few minutes, and adding another day to the strength training, it will go a long way towards loosing these extra pounds over time.

And slowly, over time, is the best way to loose those pounds and keep them off.

These are inexpensive and easy things that I can incorporate into my daily routine.

Keeping it simple is my motto, and these exercises fit my plan for working towards a healthy lifestyle - frugally, of course.

March 15, 2009

Real Food Ingredients

Real Food Ingredients

ham sandwich on a small plate

I once read something years ago that has stuck with me and makes me think each time I look at something new in the supermarket.

I don't know who said it or who came up with the idea, but it made sense to me.

It's called the Rule of 1900.

This rule states that if a food ingredient didn't exist before the year 1900 as a food ingredient, then it doesn't belong being consumed by the human body.

This brings to mind all the artificial flavorings, colorings, and fillers that are in many of the processed foods today.

Also, the ones we do not think about - the partially hydrogenated fats, and the numerous artificial sweeteners that are on the market that are supposed to be a "good alternative" for us.

All this modern knowledge and all our high technologies, and we do not have the sense enough to consume real food.

Food is a precious commodity in many countries, and finding ways to increase the production and amounts is a necessary thing, but pushing "fake" food isn't doing any of us any good in the long run.

Take a minute to scan the food ingredients on the next package or box before you put it in your cart and try to keep the ones that only contain real food.

You'll feel better in the end!

March 10, 2009

Plate Size for Portion Control

Plate Size for Portion Control

ham sandwich on a small plate

A smaller dinner plate just may be one of the tricks to consider when trying to loose weight.

Looking at a large plate with meager portions in it can make one feel deprived, which is a main reason for a diet failing.

Just using a plate that is two inches smaller makes those portions look larger.

It fools the brain which in effect keeps the emotional side of dieting a bit happier - without even trying to.

I have noticed in a couple of restaurants that we dine in, that the serving plates have shrunk in size.

I haven't seen where the food looks like there is any more though - must be their way of saving money in this economy - serve less and charge more.

I suppose I could look at it as portion control, but since the pocketbook doesn't respond well to this style of thinking, we will be portion controlling ourselves at home without the extra charge.

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March 7, 2009

Scratch is Best

Scratch is Best

broken egg shells in a carton

In my last post, I stressed the importance of trying to shop only along the perimeter of the grocery store.

One of the big drawbacks of this for most people is the time spent on preparing this unprocessed food.

We have become a fast paced society and preparing food from scratch is something that takes time.

But it is time that is well spent if you prepare enough food to last for a couple of meals.

Instead of the chicken nuggets, bake a whole chicken - there will be leftovers for sandwiches the next day. And for even more meals, just remember that a turkey isn't just for Thanksgiving. Leftovers from that go a lot farther than sandwiches.

Macaroni and cheese from scratch makes much more than the package, and it tastes so much better.

Salads are so easy to throw together these days too - most of the ingredients can be purchased already cut up. Of course, they are a bit more expensive than cutting them up yourself.

Fresh veggies usually require just a wash and cutting before they are cooked.

Other than an orange, I can't think of a fruit that really takes any time to prepare. Washing them under the water is usually all it takes.

Preparing foods with the idea of leftovers makes good sense in this economy also. It really spreads the dollar a bit farther.

With a bit of time spent on weekends or days off, it is easy to fit in a few extra minutes for preparing meals that save time and money during the busy, working days.

And if one needs assistance for cooking preparations, or uses for leftovers, there is a whole internet available to answer any question that comes along - usually within a couple of minutes!

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March 3, 2009

Stay Away From the Aisles

a glass bowl filled with red cherry tomatoes

The grocery stores are really set up quite conveniently to make shopping a fairly quick task - and to make the most of eating healthy.

The produce is usually located on one end, and the dairy is usually situated on the other end.

All along the perimeter of the store, the meats and other fresh items are arranged accordingly too.

All those aisles - where we usually get behind the inconsiderate or extra-slow shopper - contain mostly prepared or packaged foods.

The aisle foods contain a lot of salt, and sugar, and fat, and artificial ingredients that we really need to watch if we are going to be making healthy choices.

Just about the only aisle I visit is the one with the raw grains - cereals, rices, and pastas - and I have learned to choose the unprepared whole grain varieties.

The bread aisle also gets a visit - but only for a whole wheat or multi-grain loaf.

Shopping along the perimeter of the store gives us the best choices for a healthy lifestyle - the aisles want to rob us of our time, our money, and our health.

The temptation for packaged foods is great, especially when time is short. Sometimes they really are a good deal too when compared to scratch preparations.

But if it seems too good to be true - it usually is - and it's the health that suffers in the end.

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