Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Most of us enjoy eating, whether it's warm soup on a cold evening or a slice of cake to end the day in bliss. As busy as our day may be, we usually find time to feed our faces.

Once in a while we may slip and allow ourselves a few extra calories. Of course, we realize that eventually we will have to pay the piper for any overindulgence.

This isn't about how much we eat. This is about WHAT foods we eat. There is a big difference between having a fresh, crisp apple and an entire box of Oreos. You know that's true. Just sayin'.

For the past several decades, nutritionists in-the-know have warned us about being fooled by fake food, things which might resemble edible products but are comprised of nasties. Shoppers can buy many things in a grocery which are not actually "food" and do not profess to be food, including items like cat litter, bird seed, kitchen towels and sunglasses. Keep that in mind the next time you are in the grocery and don't be lulled into believing that store owners have your well being in mind. Stores simply sell items to make a profit.

Advertising agencies have large budgets which allow them to design cereal boxes adorned with dancing birds, squirrels or cute bugs to tempt the kiddies and get our attention. Boxes may be decorated with swirls of color and big bowls of breakfast goodness but that doesn't automatically mean the contents have any nutritional value to help little bodies grow strong.

Nutritionists watch eating habits and realize that many of us are on the wrong track. These are not frivolous folks. They have seen the problems with our food intake. Perhaps we should listen to what they have to say. There are as many theories and suggestions as there are people who want to tell us what to do.

A few of the more basic suggestions include the following:

  • Eat no food after 7:00 p.m.
  • Eat nothing that originates from a box.
  • Drink eight large glasses of water every day.
  • Learn to read the ingredients on the package. If a product contains a number of items which sound like chemicals compounds or whose names are not easily recognized, be careful about purchasing that item.
  • Beware of sodium. Sodium is contained in nearly everything, often in outrageous amounts. Opinions on our daily sodium intake vary from source to source but seem to agree that adults should consume no more than 2300 mg (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt). People with hypertension and older adults should consume even less.
Improving our eating habits doesn't require drastic steps. Little improvements can make a big difference. If the kiddies insist on stopping for a particular fast food favorite, try persuading them to opt for sandwiches and fruit at the park. "Fast food" is another topic altogether and far too complicated to go into here. I swore off "fast food" several years ago. Enough said for now.

Of course, we all know that Americans are becoming obese and suffering in large numbers from diabetes and heart disease. We all need to be a little more vigilant about what we consume. Food is the fuel that powers our vehicles [bodies]. Most of us take better care of our cars and pay more attention to noises in their engines than we do to noises in our own engines.

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