Tag Archives: nutrition

It’s not that simple

I watched the beginning of a show on my local public television station last weekend. Staged as kind of a talk show, it was really about the people in the show trying to make themselves look smart and caring by telling us how bad sugar is.

That was really all I saw, and all I heard. Sugar is bad… that was the message.

The problem with that statement, or that sentiment anyway, is that sugar, by itself, is not bad. Sure, Americans eat too much sugar. It’s not the healthiest thing in the world. But it’s also not the source of everything wrong with our society.

And saying that sugar is bad has the added effect of making some people feel bad for eating any sugar at all. It’s a by-product, if you will, of demonizing an ingredient for the sake of trying to make yourself look smart.

But people aren’t bad for eating sugar. Heck, people aren’t bad for eating too much sugar. Let’s stop demonizing people too, okay? Things just aren’t that simple.

Eating well, eating healthy, is something all of us would like to do. We’re not trying to go out and eat crap every day. Some of us eat healthy and still gain weight. I’ve been told that most of my weight gain over the years can be attributed to the fact that insulin analogs, while good for people who need them to live, cannot be completely metabolized. So I’ve kept some of it behind in the form of fat. Yay.

My point, however, is that all of us have reasons for why we do, or don’t, have perfect bodies. And it rarely has anything to do with sugar.

Stress. Lack of access to good ingredients. Knowledge of how to create a healthy meal. We had a bad day at work. These reasons and others are all why we may not eat well on a given day, a given week, or a given year. What do any of those things have to do with sugar, or with the kind of people we are?

It’s just not as easy as blaming an ingredient or blaming a person. Instead of finding something or someone to blame, maybe we should be searching for innovative solutions so that ingredients are improved, and choices in eating them, and the people eating them, are more informed and less infused with guilt.

That’s something that I think we can all be proud of and happy to live with.

Getting a start on New Year’s Resolutioners

Since we’re a little less than two weeks away from Halloween here in the USA, I guess we can start talking about the holiday season.

That’s not because I consider Halloween to be part of the holiday season. To be honest, I don’t really like Halloween that much.

Most of my adult life, I’ve followed kind of a baseball schedule of fitness and nutrition: start working out a little in January, work out a lot in February, get into decent shape by April, keep up the activity until October. Once October hits, rest and allow myself some leeway when it comes to fitness and nutrition, something that lasts a little later than New Year’s Day (leftovers).

That brings me to October. The beginning of October, I’m still doing pretty well. But we always throw a party on the day our neighborhood hosts its Halloween trick or treating (on the Sunday before Halloween). I make what has now become the traditional Cincinnati Chili recipe, which isn’t always the healthiest thing in the world. Especially if it goes on a hot dog. Throw in a few snack here and there, and before you know it, I’ve started a bad annual habit.

Generally, I work hard all year to stay in shape and keep my weight from ballooning. But inevitably, beginning with Halloween and ending after New Year’s Day, I let myself down.

It doesn’t matter what I’m loading up on, or whether this behavior might have potentially dangerous consequences in the future. It’s simply something I’ve made an effort to curb going forward.

I’m not trying to say No to everything now. I’m just trying to moderate, and this year, I’ll be trying to moderate even more than before. Thanks to increased insulin resistance and lower metabolism (Hello, aging), this becomes more critical for me each year.

The good news is, I’m at a point in my life where I’m not motivated by food in general. Most of the time. But not all the time.

I don’t have a strategy that I employ. I just try to eat less, drink less, and eat less and drink less of the things that make it harder to stay in shape and maintain my weight. I also try to remain active, or increase activity, like walking more or doing more yard work, especially in December. It makes me feel like I’m getting a head start on all the New Year’s Resolutioners (Resolutionists?) out there.

Whatever you want to call it, this will be my second year of doing it. Last year, I really dreaded the idea. Now, I’m not so afraid of it.

It’s not about denial… it’s about adding years onto my life, instead of pounds onto my waistline. Is that a bad way to think about it?

Why choose January?

You know… People always want to start a big diet or dinner-table-lifestyle-change on January 1st. Or the second, if you want to give yourself an extra day. But I think that in America, this may the best time of year to change eating habits. Know why?

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That’s right… This is the time of year when the freshest, most flavorful, most good-for-you offerings are available. How can I not eat well?

This is prime bing cherry, blackberry, and zucchini season, to begin with. And even though my “local” corn isn’t really local for another month, I know that my local farm truck is getting it from a lot closer than where it was coming from two months ago. Tomatoes grown in hothouses are ripe and full of nutrients (and huge this year). The ones grown outside will be ready very soon. Even my cherry tomatoes are ripening now, as are my jalopenos and poblanos. My green beans are going crazy, and I’ve even dug a few potatoes out of the ground. Cantaloupes and watermelons become a fixture at breakfast tables for a couple of months. So I’ve already changed my diet a lot since June, without really trying hard. If I can keep it up, I’ll be thankful for what I started later in the year instead of in January. I know my BG is already thankful.

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I’m definitely ready to dial down the carbs, pump up the nutrition, and even explore some alternative ingredients (ramps, anyone?). Now is the time. For me, it’s much easier to start eating right when it’s easier to eat right.

Summer only lasts so long. I’m going to enjoy it while I can. Find a local farm, farmer’s market, or farm truck in your area. If you do, I’ll assure you of two things: It will be hard to leave empty handed; and you’re going to like the taste of summer this year.
 
 
 

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