OT: Catalyst for change: 10 ways to eat healthier

Christina Loguidice's picture

Editor's Note: We at Armchair Arcade sometimes like to give voice to the occasional off-topic feature. With that in mind we present Christina Loguidice's "Catalyst for change: 10 ways to eat healthier", which was originally meant as an article for magazines like Women's World Weekly, and for which my wife has adapted for use here. We thank you for checking out this diversion from our regularly scheduled programming and both we and the author would love to hear your comments. So, read on and enjoy! -Bill

Catalyst for change: 10 ways to eat healthier

My quest to live healthier started with an EMS call. It was not your typical call, unless you have a very curious toddler who is prone to getting into trouble. While at my parent’s house, our daughter, Olivia, managed to pull her sister Amelie’s potty seat over her head and we could not remove it for fear of exerting too much pressure and injuring her. While we consoled her and waited for help to arrive, we did what any other parent would do—we took some pictures for the baby book. Seeing those pictures made me realize I needed to lose some weight and get serious about my diet. Interestingly, shortly thereafter, Bill told me about a study published in Obesity that suggests 100% of Americans could be obese (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher) by 2040. While the study has a myriad of flaws, there is no doubt that there are a lot of people out there struggling with weight issues. The World Health Organization reports that 1 billion people worldwide are currently overweight (BMI between 25 and 29.9), of which 300 million are obese. While some people can be overweight yet fit and healthy, many become prone to developing health problems, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol levels. These conditions are even being observed in overweight children, which is incredibly disconcerting. Because children learn by example, I wanted ours to see us eating healthy, nutrient-dense food, even if it is not always possible to get them to do the same.

Here are the top 10 things we’ve learned to do to ensure we eat healthfully, and the logic behind these choices:

(1) Read labels—This can’t be stressed enough. It is especially important to determine serving size and look at fat, sodium, and sugar content. Foods high in saturated and trans fats should be avoided as much as possible. Even a low-calorie small frozen meal will pack a lot of sodium, some with half or more of the recommended daily allowance. I was shocked to discover that even a slice of bread may have up to 10% of the daily recommended sodium allowance, mainly to preserve its shelf-life. This is not something I had previously considered because bread generally does not taste “salty.”

(2) Avoid sugar and especially artificial sweeteners —Artificial sweeteners have been shown to be detrimental in animal studies, causing everything from weight gain to bladder cancer. Even if they are considered “safe” in humans, why use something artificial when many healthy sweet alternatives are readily available? Honey is a great option that is packed with antioxidants and comes in an abundance of varieties. I prefer to buy darker honeys, such as buckwheat honey, as they are more nutrient dense. Honey has almost as many calories as sugar, at about 60 calories a tablespoon, so, if a calorie-free alternative is being sought, stevia (also known as sweet leaf) is a great natural option. Currently, stevia can be sold only as a supplement in the United States; however, Coca-Cola is looking to change that and has partnered with an agribusiness called Cargill to develop a stevia-based sweetener. Stevia is said to be 30 times sweeter than sugar and can be obtained as an extract or in little packets in most health food stores. Interestingly, stevia has shown promise in medical research for treating obesity and hypertension. This herb has a negligible effect on blood sugar levels, even enhancing glucose tolerance. A drawback for some is a slight licorice aftertaste at higher concentrations, but some manufacturers have produced versions with little to no stevioside, the property responsible for the aftertaste. I’ve also recently discovered dried cactus honey powder. It is healthy, delicious, can be used just like sugar, and has fewer calories than liquid honey, with about 54.8 calories for 0.5 oz.

(3) Eliminate sodas, even diet versions, as much as possible —This seems to be the biggest culprit to weight gain. One can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar. While it seems prudent to switch to diet soda, some studies indicate that even diet soda may lead to weight gain and the eventual development of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes. The reason for this is unclear, but theories abound. One of the researchers from the Framingham Heart Study theorized that the caramel coloring in diet soda may promote inflammation of the pancreas and insulin resistance. Another theory is that people who drink diet soda may be less likely to pay attention to what else they’re eating and therefore tend to eat more. Regardless, you are putting something artificial in your body, and while soda won’t remove the paint from your car, it will rob your bones of precious calcium by leading to higher phosphate levels in the blood. Milk, water, diluted juice (most juices have a lot of added sugar), and unsweetened iced tea are much healthier alternatives. We prefer to make our own iced tea, which allows greater variation. We simply brew the desired tea for the allocated time, usually 3 to 5 minutes, and then pour it into ice-filled glass pitchers; ours are made of a durable glass that can handle the variation in temperature without shattering. Tea has lots of antioxidants, and the flavonoids it contains are very good at combating free radicals, which cause cell damage that can lead to disease.

(4) Eat more fruits and vegetables—This should be a no-brainer, yet most individuals are lucky to eat 1 serving per day. Many people seem to have an aversion to vegetables, and I think this often results from not knowing how to prepare them properly. I always had a tough time knowing how to prepare vegetables in a healthful way that also tasted great. I was so used to eating boiled frozen vegetables growing up, and Bill, the often dully colored and limp canned variety, and while tolerable, it was never pleasurable. We found the trick to eating more vegetables is having fun with recipes and preparing them in unconventional ways. You don’t need a special cookbook to do this, as there are many Web sites out there (eg, allrecipes.com, foodnetwork.com) that allow you to freely search for recipes using a particular ingredient. These sites have the added benefit of allowing you to read consumer reviews, which often provide great ideas for healthful substitutions. We also buy our vegetables fresh or frozen, never canned, and steam or bake them so that we don’t boil the vital nutrients out of them. We try to buy as much organic produce as possible or buy from our local farmer’s market or farm stands; tomatoes, peaches, you name it, taste so much better when they are freshly picked rather than having ripened on a crate that has been transported hundreds or even thousands of miles before reaching the supermarket. We recently saw tomatoes from New Zealand in our New Jersey supermarket!

(5) Buy organic milk and dairy products, if possible—There is increased expense here, with organic milk costing almost $4 per half gallon in our area, but I don’t like the idea of consuming growth hormones (rBGH) or antibiotics, even if the USDA and FDA claim it is safe. Use of rBGH increases insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), resulting in greater milk production. Although IGF-1 occurs naturally in humans and bovines alike, higher concentrations have been linked to breast and prostate cancers. Treated cows suffer higher rates of mastitis (infection of utters) than nontreated cows, requiring greater administration of antibiotics. Increased exposure to antibiotics have been thought to result in super infections, so why be exposed if you don’t need to be, even if the traces are said to be minimal? Furthermore, children seem to be reaching sexual maturity much sooner than in the past, and pediatricians are increasingly encountering toddlers who are sprouting pubic hair! This seems to be especially prevalent in children who consume a lot of dairy. Because Amelie and Olivia drink milk like it is going out of style, I feel much better buying organic dairy products or those that come from farms that pledge to be hormone-free, even if they are not certified organic.

(6) Eat red meat sparingly, and buy antibiotic-free chicken—Colon cancer has been linked to eating lots of red and processed meats. Furthermore, most beef is treated with synthetic hormones, which can cause hormonal imbalances by increasing natural hormone levels. According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition, “No dietary levels of hormones are safe and a dime-sized piece of meat contains-billions of millions of molecules.” Again, why take any chances, especially when hormone-free options are available. When we buy beef, we tend to buy lean hormone-free beef, which is available at all of our local supermarkets. As an alternative, we sometimes buy ostrich meat. “Yucky,” you say? Don’t dismiss it unless you’ve tried it! Bill and I are no super tasters, but it actually reminds us a lot of beef and is very lean. Another fantastic option is bison. Like ostrich, this can be hard to find, but well worth the effort. The meat is delicious, guaranteed hormone-free, and very lean.

(7) Boost consumption of omega fatty acids—This can be done by eating more heart-healthy fish, such as herring, sardines, salmon, mackerel, trout, and tuna, which have the added benefit of containing very little saturated fat. While there are some concerns about mercury levels in fish, and studies on how much fish should be consumed are conflicting, especially by pregnant women, many Americans do not eat enough fish or opt for unhealthy processed fish sticks and patties that are devoid of nutrients. I think a lot of this stems from not knowing how to prepare fish properly or thinking the process is very involved. Fish doesn’t need to be breaded and fried to be delicious or require a lot of work to prepare, as perusing the countless recipe sites for healthy fish dishes will demonstrate. If you are not a fish connoisseur, another way to boost consumption of omega-fatty acids is to buy omega-3 enriched eggs or orange juice, which taste no different than the non-fortified variety and are also readily available at most supermarkets.

(8) Use healthy oils for frying and cooking, and use sparingly—Olive oil (including extra-virgin olive oil) and canola oil are the best options, as they are high in monounsaturated fat and lowest in saturated fat. Monosaturates have the most beneficial effect on blood lipid levels, protecting against cardiovascular disease. I prefer to use olive oil because it is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed right after it is pressed, whereas other oils, including canola oil, require processing to remove toxic chemicals and are also stripped of antioxidants in the process. In baking recipes, I often cut down on fat by substituting some applesauce or fat free yogurt for all or a portion of the oil or butter. I’ve found that this healthful substitution does not compromise taste or texture, and no one ever complains.

(9) Learn portion control and eat smaller meals more frequently—The adage of “everything in moderation” holds true, especially when it comes to food. Our portions are far from moderate these days; order a meal at any restaurant and you’ll likely receive enough food for 3 or 4 meals, if not more. One serving of meat is only 2 to 3 ounces, so that 12 ounce steak on the menu is at least 4 servings. Because most of us do not carry a scale in our back pocket, we must visually determine what constitutes a proper portion. Generally, 1 serving of meat would be roughly the size of a deck of cards or bar of soap. One serving of pasta is 1 cup cooked, yet some restaurants serve dishes that contain up to 6 cups. Along with eating proper portions, smaller meals eaten more frequently help keep blood sugar levels steady, boosting metabolism and preventing muscle loss. If you require 2000 calories daily to maintain your weight, splitting those calories between 5 or 6 smaller meals, instead of 2 or 3 larger meals, may prove beneficial according to numerous studies. While this may seem complicated or time-consuming, it really isn’t, but it does require some planning. There are lots of online and print resources that help with planning such meals, and once you develop some understanding of the caloric and nutritional content of food, it becomes much easier.

(10) Don’t let yourself feel deprived—If you have an overwhelming desire to eat that donut or chunk of cheese that has your name on it, go ahead. The key is not to do it on a daily basis or give in every time that urge hits. I find when I eat smaller meals throughout the day, I am also considerably less likely to have such cravings. Eating clean is important, but it will be most effective if such habits can be sustained, and sometimes that may mean making allowances. The point of eating clean is to eat as healthfully as possible and to keep portions in check as much as possible.

The term “diet” is synonymous with “deprivation” to many people, and there are countless gimmicks out there that have banked on this. While such plans, methods, or pills may work for some individuals, the gains are generally short-term and may do more harm than good; one need only recall the ban on ephedra-based diet pills that occurred after the ill effects of ephedra came to light. The key to keeping weight in check and living healthier is to eat cleaner by being cognizant of what is being consumed. If more of us did this, there is no doubt in my mind that we’d have a fitter and healthier America.

Comments

Rowdy Rob
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So much to say, so little time!

Christina, about the "vinegar" thing: according to a few articles I've read, as well as the book The Healing Powers of Vinegar, various vinegars have various uses (weight loss, antioxidants, detoxification, immune system boost, memory improvement, blood pressure control, etc.). I don't know how much of all that is true, but I feel better after drinking a glass of water with a touch of vinegar in it. It's got to be better for you than drinking sodas, if nothing else, plus it's MUCH cheaper than just about anything else to drink other than plain tap water.

BTW, Matt, perhaps a vinegar drink might be what you're looking for as an alternative to decaf Pepsi and beer. Even unsweetened, it has a tart kick to it that feels good going down the throat, and can be drank ice-cold. Of course, you can't drink vinegar straight without heaving, so some experimentation is in order (I use an approximate 10-to1 water-to-vinegar ratio). It tastes better than beer, in my opinion, which is nasty swill in my book (how do people drink that stuff?).

I think a common theme we're seeing in this thread is the COST of eating well. It's just plain expensive to seek out many of the "healthy" alternatives to processed foods. And if you're trying to "bulk up," you throw in the cost of protein powders, creatine, etc. and soon you're a healthy person living under a bridge!

Here's a few strategies I developed back in the day helped me (before the "organics" craze kicked in) in the grocery store.

I'd buy 100% apple juice (preferably not made from concentrate: "White House Premium" is a non-concentrate brand) and pour half of it into another empty apple juice jug (cleaned, of course!). Now I have two half-jugs of apple juice, and proceed to fill the rest of the jugs with water! Straight apple juice is too strong and sweet for me, so this cuts down the sweetness and halves the cost!

Fresh vegetables are more expensive than the canned kind, but are actually much cheaper than meats and make your dollar-per-meal ratio go further. A lot of people hate vegetables for some reason, but I can't think of any I don't like! Onions and eggplants are two "faves" right now.

Hmm, running out of time, so much to say. Personally, I try to take a balanced view of eating healthy, and try not to get too caught up in all the controversies and such ("Milk does a body good!" versus "Milk will KILL YOU!", etc.) If you get too caught up in it, you're paranoid about eating anything!
Obviously Christina is much more the authority on this stuff, but basically the closer to natural, the better....

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Bill Loguidice
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Personal Philosophy

My personal philosophy these days, one which Christina obviously more or less agrees with, is to first off try to avoid trans fats entirely and take in saturated fat only in moderation. The other fats, the healthy fats, are inconsequential when considering a food choice. So, simply put, food with little to preferably ZERO saturated fat is what I strive for. The other key nutrition-wise is to try and avoid drinking your calories. While most drinks are fat free, they may be high in carbs or calories from the sugars. Still, it's better to drink 100% juice or unsweetened teas any day over some sugary or artificially sweetened beverage, caffeinated or otherwise. I personally drink mostly water throughout the day.

It's also important to space out your calories as much as possible, trying to avoid large meals in one sitting. If you do have large meals, try to limit them to breakfast and lunch, rather than later meals, because you'll be more likely to "process" all those calories with the day's activities. Eating for what you're going to do, rather than what you did, is a very simple and effective strategy.

Obviously working out on a regular basis is important. We have a full bodybuilding gym in our basement as well as some stuff for cardio. We also occasionally do things like Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Fit, mixing in various things to complement the weight training.

With all that said, real life does get in the way of eating healthy and working out regularly, but we still always make an honest effort. I truly believe improving mind, body and soul (in a non-religious context) in harmony. It's a shame to develop your mind at the expense of the vessel that carries it around or to develop your body at the expense of having fulfilling thoughts, etc. Thinking of yourself holistically is the best strategy in my opinion, that no one element is more important than the other and each element in fact requires the other.

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Matt Barton
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Vegetables = Yuck

I'm definitely one of those people who doesn't like vegetables, and apparently Elizabeth hates them as well. I was trying to develop a taste for beans, but the kind I was eating (Bush's Beans canned) was loaded up with brown sugar, so I doubt they were that good for me. They were good, though!

I like string beans okay, but Elizabeth doesn't. She likes broccoli, but I don't (unless it's been steamed to the point of falling apart). I eat squash and zucchini in restaurants, but not sure how to cook it at home. Same for asparagus. I do like guacamole, but I'm sure that's not good. I've always hated mustard and collard greens. Funny thing, I can eat cabbage if it's in some sauerkraut; the old "beer brats" are very popular here and usually quite good.

I did have a friend cook some Brussels sprouts one time that were delicious, but every other time I've had them, they've been gross. I also hate okra, tomatoes, and eggplants freak me out.

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Christina Loguidice
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Vegetables = delicious
Matt Barton wrote:

I'm definitely one of those people who doesn't like vegetables, and apparently Elizabeth hates them as well. I was trying to develop a taste for beans, but the kind I was eating (Bush's Beans canned) was loaded up with brown sugar, so I doubt they were that good for me. They were good, though!

I like string beans okay, but Elizabeth doesn't. She likes broccoli, but I don't (unless it's been steamed to the point of falling apart). I eat squash and zucchini in restaurants, but not sure how to cook it at home. Same for asparagus. I do like guacamole, but I'm sure that's not good. I've always hated mustard and collard greens. Funny thing, I can eat cabbage if it's in some sauerkraut; the old "beer brats" are very popular here and usually quite good.

I did have a friend cook some Brussels sprouts one time that were delicious, but every other time I've had them, they've been gross. I also hate okra, tomatoes, and eggplants freak me out.

I used to think vegetables = yuck, but the trick is to get fresh ones and knowing how to prepare them. There really is something to be said for being a "locavore"--eating as much local fare as possible. While we do most of our shopping at the local supermarket, and are perfectly content doing so, the produce is often considerably more expensive because it was trucked in from the other side of the country, or globe for that matter, and it also does not taste as good as farm-fresh produce gotten from local farmer's market. You said that you hate tomatoes, but I wonder if you've ever had a really ripe one off the vine. The ones at the supermarket can be quite hard and woody (almost powdery), and those tomatoes really can't be salvaged. Anyway I do have some recipes for asparagus and cauliflower that I can post. Basically they are baked/broiled variations to the more bland boiled or steamed versions most people are accustomed to.

As for pasta, there are many enriched varieties that are healthier for you, and they are not that much more expensive. I'm not sure what kind of sauce you use, but vegetables can be incorporated fairly easily into any sauces. I bought the Sneaky Chef cookbook because my oldest daughter, Amelie, is such a picky eater and I hoped I'd get some good ideas. The concept of the book is to make various fruit and vegetable purees that can be added to normal dishes without compromising taste and texture. One macaroni and cheese recipe in the book calls for adding white bean puree. I tried the recipe and it worked quite well. I am anxious to try it again because this weekend was the first time Amelie actually ate macaroni and cheese, which was a major breakthrough for us.

I don't necessarily think that eating healthy has to be expensive, unless you only buy organics or products from the health-food aisle. A large part of eating healthy is having control over how your food is prepared. When you buy prepackaged foods, you have no control over which preservatives and additives go into it. For instance, if you bought your own chicken to roast, which may cost anywhere from $7 to $15, which seems expensive, you could most likely get several healthier meals out of it (such as salads, soups, etc), decreasing its cost. Compare that with a bucket of chicken at KFC, which costs more per pound, is not as versatile, and unhealthy. That is not to say I don't enjoy KFC every now and again. :o)

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yakumo9275
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Matt, what on earth do you

Matt, what on earth do you subsist on?? :) We cook and eat fairly healthy in my house, well I do all the cooking. We eat a lot of bush beans (black eyed, red kdiney, etc), green beans, lots of rice, rice is one of our staples. turkey/chicken, sweet potatoes/yams, etc.

we try and grow stuff with our veg patch, and now we have chickens for fresh eggs...

lots of crockpot cooking too. one of our favs in winter is leek + potatoe soup.. its good for using up all that chicken stock I seem to be making every other week, or whenever I make roast chicken, we make at least 6-8 x 4cup bags of chicken stock.

oh I could go on and on, since I do all the cooking + growing :)

One of the biggest failures was trying to avoid HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), but the USA lives on corn syrup instead of raw sugar so its basically impossible.

no soda in our house either.

did I tell you how good homemade yoghurt is? especially when you add homemade applesauce or applebutter or homemade strawberry jam ;)

-- Stu --

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Rowdy Rob
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Whoa! Let's not beat up on Matt too much! :-)
yakumo9275 wrote:

Matt, what on earth do you subsist on?? :)

We don't need to be piling on Matt here! :-) It sounds like I'm the second most unhealthy eater in this forum, so that means I'm next!!! :-) It's not like the average person (particularly a videogamer!) is known for their health-food habits! HEALTHY EATERS are the odd-balls! :-) Seriously, though, healthy eating is very important, getting too preachy is probably not helpful! (Not directed at you personally, Yakumo, I'm guilty too, which makes me a hypocrite in retrospect!).

My previous posts made it sound like I'm some health food nut, but I do occasionally consume sodas, sugars, pasta, chicken (not free-range, not organic, just "chicken"), and occasionally red meat! Plus, I eat lots of white rice (not instant, though!) and a fair amount of soy sauce (heavy in sodium!)! A lot of my eating habits are in compensation for my other poor eating habits, not necessarily in addition to them.

That being said, I do not actually drink a lot of sodas, or eat a lot of processed sweets (never, actually), but often in the office your only options are coffee, soda machines, or the water fountain, and most people want something that actually has a flavor to it, so water's out. (I'm probably the biggest frequenter of the water fountain in my workplace, but I do consume a fair amount of sugared coffee too, particularly in the morning hours). Then there's the snack machine: if you're hungry, and the potato chips or Snickers bar is staring at your from behind the glass, and there are no other options available within a 100-square-mile radius, what do you do?

One thing about sodas and coffee: I never consume these things at home, only at work. And when I do consume sodas, I can actually feel the "syrup" clogging my throat, making me gag a little. That has a bit to do with why I consume my "vinegar drink" at home.

Probably the only reasons I eat as healthy(?) as I do is the fact that it became habit and that I'm not a picky eater. It's easier to make a salad than a pot roast, it's easier to cook salmon than a BLT Hamburger, and I have a "George Foreman" Grill which, while making meats easier to cook, drains off a lot of the fat. And I never fry anything, simply because I'm afraid I'll burn my face off in the attempt! If Christina Loguidice is a PHD in nutrition, I'm probably a fourth grader in comparison.

When I do make chicken, I also make chicken stock using the bones (trimming off the surface fat after boiling), which is allegedly a great source of "hyaluronic acid," a beneficial supplement for bone and joint health. That's a clue to why I seek "health foods;" I'm always looking for that extra edge. Chicken stock might not be healthful from a "fat" standpoint, though (is it?).

One thing to say about myself: I'm a horrible cook! If I ever invite you over to dinner, find some excuse to get out of it! When I eat something, I'm thinking more about the nutritional aspects of the meal than the taste ("hey, this is a great source of protein, vitamins, OPC's, antioxidants," or whatever) than the taste of the meal. I can eat a plain salad (no dressing), or plain just about anything actually.

On the flip side, my "logical" eating habits at home means that whenever someone else cooks me dinner (or I, God forbid, actually eat at a restaurant), it's a 100% guarantee that I'll enjoy the meal, simply because my "logical" cooking tastes like dog food in comparison. This is not to put down "healthy" cooking; if I cook anything (even the most fattening meal) it'd taste like garbage.

There's always inspiration to better your habits, which is why it's excellent this subject happened to come up in this forum. How does one begin at healthy eating, particularly if they've never had a good diet before and doesn't like vegetables? Christina's "Tips" are a good start, but there's a whole lifestyle choice to be made.

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Matt Barton
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Well, I won't bore you guys

Well, I won't bore you guys with the details of the situation, but let's just say Elizabeth never learned how to cook because she is entirely happy subsisting entirely on plain ol' pasta with no sauces or seasonings whatsoever. I've never met anyone with so unrefined a palate, which is surprising considering how much I enjoy these things. I hate to go to a big deal of trouble cooking up a scrumptious meal knowing that only one person--me--will appreciate it in the least. Not to bitch, but I'm really lonely here in St. Cloud, with no real friends (only colleagues), and certainly no one ever comes over here. I try to be friendly and outgoing, but just don't seem to click up here. I guess I prefer this to having random people dropping by all the time, but it has made me extremely depressed from time to time. I'm not a hermit, damnit!!!

You guys have made me think of something, though. I ought to get together with colleagues in a similar boat and have dinners over at their places every so often. That'd give me a chance to keep my cooking skills sharp as well as enjoy something other than a burger or pasta dish.

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Mark Vergeer
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Vegatables = Delicious when they are not overcooked!

The right preparation is key to eating lovely vegetables. They can taste just as hardy and nourishing as a fatty greasy meal that is bad for you. It's even possible to fry vegs and not die because of clogged arteries!
You don't want to end up feeling/behaving like some rabbit eating only raw vegs and salads. There's tons you can do with vegs.

But seriously Matt, aren't you just egging it on here to provoke some sort of discussion? If not you really should be looking into your health more seriously. It is fairly easy to develop serious health problems like high cholesterol or high blood pressure or even diabetes just by eating the wrong foods, not exercising enough without even being overweight. So not being fat but eating like crap and moving too little is just as risky as being overweight.

The key to good health is moving your butt. Studies have shown that even obese people can decrease their metabolic syndrome symptoms or sometimes even remove symptoms of onset diabetes. Or at least push back the progression. All just by moving around and doing what our bodies are meant to do - MOVE!



Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc.
www.markvergeer.nl

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Matt Barton
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I definitely get exercise. I

I definitely get exercise. I take tang soo do (karate) classes twice a week, and try to get in at least a few hour long DVD workouts (Tae Bo with Billy Blanks). I still have some padding around the middle, though, which is really discouraging. I guess the only way to lose it is to eat less, but I hate feeling hungry.

I definitely see the value in spreading out meals. With my schedule, I typically have to go long stretches without food, and then get so hungry I devour a huge meal, usually late at night (after 6 or even 9!) I should definitely snack more, I guess.

I'd like to look at that mac and cheese and asparagus recipe if you don't mind posting or linking to them. I can't imagine liking the white beans, but heck, I'll try anything once. As for tomatoes, yes, I have had fresh ones, because my grandparents grew them. My grandpa still has a garden and grows all kinds of greens and stuff I can't stand. ;)

I think my aversion to vegetables might have something to do with my childhood. My dad was very much into the "eat your vegetables or get a spanking," and I remember loathing the vegetables so much they made me literally vomit when I was forced to eat them.

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Catatonic
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Ha... it was always the

Ha... it was always the other way with me. Being told to eat a steak or a pork chop or some other slab of meat that I hated. My parents must have been raised with the "clean your plate" attitude and think you will waste away if you don't eat lots of meat.

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