Investing in Yourself: Diet

investRecently, I discussed the value of investing in yourself – putting time and money into improving you, not building assets. Today, we’ll look at one area of investing in yourself as part of an ongoing series on the topic, spread out once per weekday over two weeks. If you’d like to review all the entries, look at the investing in yourself subcategory.

Just a week ago, I touted the benefits of investing in yourself via exercise, and it met with a lot of interesting discussion, including the astute point that exercise and diet are two halves of the same coin when it comes to managing your short-term and long-term health.

It’s true: the food you eat every day has a profound effect on your long term health. High-calorie and high-fat foods might be convenient now, but that time you save right now is taken away from you at the end of your life as a result of unhealthy eating. Even more so, bad eating reduces the quality of your daily life even now in your healthy years. It’s easy to witness this effect – try eating very healthy for a few days and you’ll notice a significant change in how you feel. I often notice it after just one meal – a very healthy breakfast (oatmeal and/or fresh fruits) makes a huge difference for me.

I’m not talking about dieting for weight loss here – I’m talking about eating well for a lifetime of good health. Such eating usually results in weight loss, especially as you transition to it from less healthy eating, but the best way to invest in yourself with your diet is to eat naturally nutritious foods in a balanced fashion.

But what is a nutritious diet? This concept has been heavily marketed over the last decade or so, often to the point that it’s hard for the average consumer to separate fact from perception. I’ve read a lot of books related to food over the last several years (and I’ve discussed a few on here, including In Defense of Food and Volumetrics) and I’ve found that time and time again, a few basic principles are all you really need to cover your bases for a healthy diet.

Prepare more food at home.
At a restaurant of any kind, you’re relying on the food preparers to make selections for you and their primary interest is providing a tasty meal at a fair cost (with different levels of taste and cost depending on the establishment). Most restaurants aren’t really concerned in the least about the long-term health implications of the food you eat – they’re mostly just concerned that it’s tasty and that it pleases you in the short term.

When you prepare food at home, you have more control over the stuff you put into your body. You can make choices that lead towards a healthier lifestyle. When you make pasta, you can substitute in whole wheat – or even make some of your own. You can choose from a wide variety of spaghetti sauces, or else boil up some tomatoes yourself. You can buy a cheap loaf of bread, an artisan loaf, or make one yourself from just a handful of ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, and yeast).

Here are some tips if you’re afraid to make that leap.

how-to-cook-everything.jpgGet a cookbook that focuses on teaching technique with a gentle hand. My favorite cookbook along these lines is Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. If there’s something basic that I’m unfamiliar with, this is the book I turn to for tips on getting started. Better yet, Bittman’s recipes tend to lean toward the healthy side (for the most part) and are quite simple to follow.

At first, focus on simple stuff that you’ll find tasty. Don’t try to make something intriguing but nearly impossible right off the bat. Also, don’t decide that the day you’re going to start cooking at home is the day you’re going vegan. Start off making comfort foods, even if they’re not the most healthy dishes you can make, and choose ones that aren’t overly complex. For me, spaghetti with a tomato sauce is the perfect meal for people just starting to cook at home – it’s very simple to prepare in its basic form, most of the stuff you’ll need is easy to acquire, and when you want to start kicking it up in complexity and healthiness (making sauce or pasta or breadsticks from scratch), the basic form is very adaptable.

Eat more vegetables, especially leafy ones.
Our bodies are designed to eat more fruits and vegetables than meat. This harkens back to our hunter-gatherer days, where our diets would consist of mostly gathered fruits, nuts, and vegetables and an occasional large helping of meat when a hunt would be successful. Millions of years of adaptation attuned our biochemistry to this – only in the last few hundred years has our diet changed significantly from that basic structure.

Eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, especially fresh ones. Try everything. You’ll find some you like and some you don’t – that’s okay. Just make sure you’re not eating the same vegetable over and over or it will get boring (and it’s not particularly the most healthy choice, either). You’ll also find some stuff that surprises you – my parents both hated okra and so I never tried it until I was in my mid-twenties, when I discovered that I quite liked it.

Eat at least one salad a day. I really, really enjoy a basic salad (lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots, etc.) with a bit of ranch or blue cheese dressing on it. It’s a very healthy thing to eat, very easy to prepare, and not very expensive, either. We eat one as part of our evening meal almost every night and I occasionally eat one as my lunch, too.

Eat a larger portion of vegetables than meat at any given meal. It’s not very fair to give an exact amount for each one because there are so many variables, but you can rarely go wrong with simply making sure there are more vegetables on your plate than there is meat. Keep that as a constant rule of thumb and you’ll be doing fine.

Avoid heavily processed foods.
Again, the logic for this harkens back to the foods that our bodies are biochemically adapted to eat. We’re made to eat the nutrients found in fresh foods, not the ones found in heavily processed foods. Here are a few things to keep your eye out for.

High-fructose corn syrup appears in a lot of foods. It’s a sugar substitute in many industrial foods because it’s cheaper, easy to blend, and leads to a long shelf life. Because of these properties, HFCS appears in abundance in expected foods and even pops up in significant quantities in food you wouldn’t expect. The consequence of this is that it raises your sweetener intake significantly – and increased sugar intake is not a good thing. You’re far better off just sticking with naturally-occurring sugars – if you need a sugar fix, eat an orange or a banana and avoid foods with HFCS.

Startling health claims are usually a sure sign that a food has been significantly altered in an industrial process, quite often with additives of some sort that are very hard to figure out from the label. Don’t buy a processed food because it has plant sterols added to it – just go eat a vegetable instead.

A large number of ingredients that you can’t easily identify is another sign of serious processing. Again, staple foods have all of the nutritional value that a person needs, so why would you consume this stuff, especially if you don’t know what it is? When you buy a food, check the ingredients label and if you start seeing a lot of stuff you don’t know, reconsider putting it into your body unless you’ve done the research on this stuff.

Buy foods from people who care about food quality.
The best way to buy food is to buy it from other people: people you can talk to and can tell you how it was made or grown or produced. Around here, I’m a big fan of the local Picket Fences Creamery. They’re local, give public tours pretty much whenever you want, maintain a blog, have “Sample Sundays” where you can stop by and try lots of the things they make, and generally wear their passion for what they do on their sleeve. They make a quality product out in the open that I can witness and know what goes into the food.

Buy local. Whenever you have a chance, buy your food from a local source, particularly one where you can literally visit the place where the food came from and follow it every step along the way. This way, you know exactly what’s in that food. You can carry that even further and have a garden yourself.

Attend a farmer’s market. I love our local farmers market – I get a lot of produce there during the right season and I’ve even considered selling something there a few times. Here are some tips for newcomers – the best advice I can give is to just go, see what’s there, and talk to people. You might even consider getting involved in a co-op, where you pay for a share of a farm and in exchange they deliver vegetables to you on a regular basis.

Set time aside for meals if at all possible, and avoid eating on the run.
One of the true highlights of my day is dinner with my family. We all sit around the dinner table – even my six month old daughter in her high chair – and we eat together with conversation. My wife and I talk about politics and current events, my son tells us about his day’s adventures at daycare (usually involving a blue truck), and my daughter usually passes around a lot of smiles and gurgles at everyone.

Taking the time to devote to food is not only spiritually fulfilling, but it can be beneficial to your diet as well.

Never eat alone. Dinner conversation is the single best way to keep you from bolting down your food. Get engaged in the conversation and eat the meal slowly – you’ll find yourself enjoying the food more and not eating as much of it.

If you must eat on the road, avoid places where they bring the food directly to your car. It’s a pretty safe rule of thumb that food preparation that is put directly into your car is probably not the healthiest choice to make. If you do have to eat on the run, bring something from home or stop at a grocery store to get something remotely healthy. A drive-thru is a dangerous place for your health, no matter how yummy it is.

In a nutshell, I think Michael Pollan nails it when he says “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Live by that and you’ll be all right.

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  1. thordora says:

    I have to second the love for Bittman-I also received his vegetarian cookbook lately, and it’s just as awesome. Makes cooking so much easier.

  2. Andrew Greenberg says:

    Yes, I made some of the same points a few days ago when I wrote this post on what I tell my personal training clients about diet:

    http://aggfitness.wordpress.com/2008/02/23/what-i-tell-my-clients-about-diet/

  3. Tyler says:

    I have laready noticed a hige change in the way I feel after eating healthier for a couple of weeks and making sure that I get my exercise.
    You don’t really know the difference that it can make until you try changing.
    -Tyler

  4. !wanda says:

    It’s a good idea anyway to look up the names of common ingredients. Ascorbic acid, for example, is commonly used as a preserve; it also is half made up of vitamin C. HFCS is different from “corn syrup,” which is almost entirely glucose. (Some people think that the fructose/glucose ratio of what you eat is very important.)

    I’m surprised you didn’t explicitly mention ditching carbonated sodas. Plain water, water flavored with lemon, or unsweetened iced tea (if you need the caffeine) all have fewer calories than soda and are better for your teeth. They also train you than you don’t need something sugary with each meal.

  5. Josh says:

    Excellent tips, very good article. -Josh

  6. KellyKelly says:

    !wanda,

    I second that carbonated soda comment, but I want to add my perspective as a recovering sugar addict.

    I can eat ANYTHING and not gain weight (I don’t sit still much, so I think I burn calories just in sheer restlessness). I got into a very bad habit several years ago of eating whatever I craved. And the more cane sugar I ate — Coke, ice cream, ginger ale, root beer, high-end chocolate, creme brulee, etc. etc. etc. — the more I craved it.

    I went on a total sugar fast and never went back.

    however, I have to say that the ONLY way I could succeed at this was to make substitutions that were somewhat close to the item I craved.

    If I was craving a Coke, water would NOT do. I came up with all sorts of good-enough substitutes, including lots and lots of different 100% fruit juices mixed with sparkling (FIZZING) club sode or mineral water etc.

    I had to have the fizz. Still do.

    When I was “detoxing,” in no way was a fizzing fruit juice “satisfying.” But it cut my cravings down enough that I did not go totally insane.

    Sugar is very, very hard on your system. It makes your pancreas overwork. It is hard on your joints. It makes you eat empty calories instead of nutrient rich calories.

    It can make you feel very lethargic. It can ruin your sleep. If you “have to have it,” then you might need to take a two-week break from it … see if you can, and see how you feel.

    I never, never in a million years thought I could crave an ORANGE. or that I could get through a weekend without one high-end dose of ice cream. You should see my now.

    My health is my greatest wealth. I do not feel deprived AT ALL. Changing your body’s food cravings is difficult, but it is very possible.

  7. RacerX says:

    It is interesting the the words “diet” and “budget” can illicit the same fear and loathing, when really they are describing a way of life, at least if you want to be successful!

    Neither should be viewed as a prison to be paroled from!

  8. squawkfox says:

    A diet rich in whole foods and void of processed crap is essential for healthful living. I don’t buy any packaged food. In fact, I even stopped buying canned food and cannot believe how much money I save by eating healthfully. My biggest (and strangest) frugal healthy food tip is to forget about canned beans and Soak Dried Beans! Seriously!

  9. JoeTaxpayer says:

    Eating right and exercise are the first steps, I’m with you there. At 45, I tell the young people I work with to take care of themselves, because one day they will wake up and be glad when nothing hurts. It’s tough getting older, but these things need to come first.
    JOE

  10. Jim says:

    Great article, with lots of good summary points.

    Your point on avoiding HFCS is very important. In fact, HFCS was introduced into the food supply as a cheap and effective substitute for sugar. The problem is that our bodies have not adapted to it, so we don’t process it the way we would sugar, so it becomes fat, rather than contributing to glycogen stores (used for energy). There have been some studies that correlate the increase in HFCS in the food supply to childhood obesity. In short, HFCS is evil, and it’s best to avoid it at all costs.

  11. guinness416 says:

    Excellent post, all great points. Here’s a financial advantage to farmers’ markets – at our local market, they know us, often serving us first and giving us a discount every time; support your local growers people!

  12. KMunoz says:

    I thought this “Investing in Yourself” piece was very well-rounded. The points were simple and things that everyone can do. I think you just inspired me to finally get my butt out of bed on Saturday mornings and check out the farmer’s market by me!

  13. Kari says:

    Trent, I do love your food-related posts. I hope you do make that food blog when you have more time.

  14. More and more organic ‘fast food’ alternative options are popping up around the city. I think more people would eat healthily, and willingly, if they had easier access. But it’s unfortunate when places like McDonald’s offer salads with dressing swimming in calories and ‘healthy’ is considered low-cal ice cream or bite-sized cookies.

    http://www.theinnovativetraveler.com

  15. !wanda says:

    @Jim: HFCS is only cheaper than sugar in the US because of import tariffs on sugar, which raise the price of sugar, and subsidies on domestic corn production, which lower the price of corn. In most of the world, including poor countries, drinks like Coca Cola are sweetened with sugar. If you want to see less HFCS in foods, tell Congress to promote free trade.

    Also, I don’t think there’s an evolutionary argument for fructose versus sucrose or glucose: fruits have a lot of fructose, and primates definitely evolved to eat a lot of fruit. (For example, primates have lost the ability that nearly all animals have to make our own vitamin C, indicating that our ancestors had access to a year-round supply of vitamin-C-rich food, probably fruit.) The science on the effects of fructose vs. glucose or sucrose is pretty tentative, with a lot of studies concluding that fructose is just as bad as other sugar. The problem with HFCS is that it makes it easy for manufacturers to add loads of sugar to their products.

  16. liz says:

    seeing as you are on the path to investing in yourself, after you quit your job and turned to full time writing, i guess better(quality) food was a necessary and expected follow up.

    i would like to recommend a website, called savingdinner dot com, which has a lady quite interested in the healthy eating mantra. just browse the site when you have time, and be sure to test a free sample dinner or two.

    i guess you two will gel pretty well.

    thanks for the excellent site

  17. John says:

    Trent,

    You received Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” book for Christmas and I was wondering if it is completely new or he has a lot of material from “How to cook everything” in it.

    John

  18. Great read!

    Any specific recipe recommendations?

  19. 144mph says:

    “Millions of years of adaptation attuned our biochemistry to this – only in the last few hundred years has our diet changed significantly from that basic structure.”

    FYI, the human species, Homo sapiens, has been around for considerably less than millions of years. DNA evidence points to 200,000 years and the fossil record (which is necessarily incomplete) dates to 130,000.

    However, if you were talking about our ancestors, Homo erectus, other species within the Homo genus, such as Homo neanderthalensis, or even other hominids like Australopithecus millions could be appropriate.

  20. Kate says:

    Great post Trent! I lurk a lot around your site, and as ever, the advice here is spot on.

    I’ve actually found that by eating healthfully, I’ve reduced my food budget; when I started tracking every penny (a la YMOYL), I was spending close to $400 a month on food (there are two of us in my house); lots of stupid stuff, like lunch at work, grabbing something on the run, etc. Now we’ve joined a local food co-op and we’re down to $150 per month for the two of us! Everything’s organic and local, and we also get to attend free cooking seminars once a week. Pretty good stuff.

    Has anyone else ever read the book ‘Skinny Bitch’? (I swear I’m not making up that title). Short read, kind of crass language, but VERY thought provoking. It really makes you think about what you’re putting into your mouth.

  21. Cynthia says:

    Trent, Recently found your blog and have learned much and would like to return the favor. On the issue of diet… I LOVE http://www.sparkpeople.com as a way to lose weight. It is FREE and it allows you to track your food. You can also join communities with like minded people. For example, Trent you can start thesimpledollar community on Sparks! It is a great web based support system and they have recently gotten some awesome press because people who are using the system are really losing weight. I am disabled and there is even a community for people with disablitiies and people with MS and so we help each other figure out ways to lose weight while not being able to exercise so much. They have food plans BUT you can use whatever one you want. They also have great articles on eating healthy and motivation, etc. Pretty much everything you would need to lose weight plus you can ask for a “buddy” if you want.

    Trent, keep on keeping on and doing what you love… you passion comes shining through!

  22. Fran says:

    If anyone out there has any doubts about healthy eating and exercise, check out the cost of bypass surgery or chemotherapy!

  23. Phil A says:

    I enjoy pizza. It is the greatest of all foods.

  24. Once again you’ve done a great job connecting personal finance with food, nutrition and health. It’s really amazing how getting one of those aspects out of whack can lead to problems in other areas.

  25. Phil A says:

    Fried chicken and bacon cheeseburgers are also excellent. Make sure to add a salad.

  26. Empress Juju says:

    I used to be the freelancer who was so busy that I never felt like I had time to eat well. There would be days when all three meals came out of drive-thru windows.

    Now, I prepare and eat the majority of my meals at home, pack healthy lunches, and when I do stop for convenience foods, you can bet that what I’m ordering hasn’t been in a deep fryer.

    I see the crazy-busy ones look at my lunch-sack longingly, and tell me how much they admire how organized I seem, but when I suggest not scrambling to take every job that’s offered, maybe taking a day off to get to the grocery store or just rest, The Fear flashes behind their eyes as they talk about the bills, the mortgage, the private school payments.

    Taking the time to shop for and prepare my own meals saves me money, and better nutrition helps my body handle stress better. Now I’m the freelancer that people love to hire, because they know that I’ll arrive early, alert, and prepared, not spacy and tired like I used to be, and like so many of my colleagues still are.

  27. kitty says:

    Good advice for the most part but a bit outdated in that it doesn’t distinguish between good and bad fat and between good and bad carbs. Not all fat is bad and not all vegetables/grains are good.

    Example – omega 3 fatty acids in fish like salmon is good fat; same with avocados and olive oil (raw), nuts is good fat. Starchy vegetable (potatoes) and refined grains (white bread, spaghetti) get converted to sugar quickly; and can lead to insulin resistance so even though they have no fat they are still bad for you. Whole grains are good. Yes, I am about to hear the chorus of “this is not potatoes or spaghetti it is what you put on it” — this information is outdated; this is what doctors used to think, but this isn’t what they think now. Check out the link I provided – this is to Harvard School of Public Health where there are top researchers and doctors in the field.

    Here is a link to a food pyramid from Harvard School of Public Health. Unlike FDA pyramid this one is not influenced by special interests and reflects the latest research: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/pyramids.html

  28. Jen says:

    Two other guidelines I like to keep in mind:

    The Japanese concept of hara hachi bu, which means, “Eat until you are 80% full.” I was a skinny kid always being told to eat more, and now I’ve had to re-teach myself how to listen to my stomach.

    Also, one of my favorite sayings: “All things in moderation. Including moderation.” The occasional (occasional!) splurge helps. A lot.

  29. Dana says:

    You know, everything I’ve read that “proves” high-fat diets kill people has analyzed diets that also had a lot of sugar and starch in them. So far as I know they did not control for the sugar and starch. What kicked off the “cholesterol causes heart disease” idea was feeding cholesterol to rabbits, which by definition do not eat cholesterol in their natural diets. The only fat that’s been proven to cause damage is trans fat; every other kind is necessary. And as far as I can tell, I feel healthier, I have less edema, and I lose weight when I eat a high-fat, low-carb diet where the carbs I do eat are in fruits, nuts, cheese, and veggies. Going low-fat has never done anything for me, full stop.

    I read another blog by a vegan who documented thirty days on a raw diet with less than fifteen percent of his calories as fat and he wound up, at the end of it, with extremely dry skin and cracking and bleeding of the hands. He mused that it could have been caused by the low fat content. Gee, y’think?

    I also think it’s interesting that along with the media oversaturation (pardon the pun) of how evil dietary fat is for women in particular, we’ve seen an increase in the numbers of women suffering from hormonal and reproductive distress and mood disorders. I’m sure there is a connection, as fat is not only used for energy but is necessary in the construction of hormones, cell membranes, and nerve tissue, including in the brain. (Contrary to what has historically been believed in the medical community, the brain does not stop producing new nerve cells when we mature.)

    Most of your advice was spot-on but I tend to speak up when I see people blaming fat intake for obesity, because from what I have seen in my own experience, that simply isn’t true. And from what I know of cell respiration and metabolism from taking honors biology in high school–and as far as I know there haven’t been any material changes to that information–glucose calories are a lot more important in weight gain than fat calories, full stop. You can’t do anything with glucose (which comes from carbohydrate and, to a lesser degree, from protein) except burn it for fuel, but you use fat for other things and you burn fat differently when using it as a fuel. So we’ve been looking at the wrong macronutrient in terms of what causes health problems, all along.

    Note I did not say “what causes weight gain.” All body fat really is is stored energy. Why we attach such meaning to it is beyond me. If someone suddenly gains more weight than they should need to gain, though, there is obviously an underlying medical condition going on. The low-carbers introduced the notion that overweight is more of an endocrine problem than a metabolism problem (although endocrine issues lead to metabolism problems), and the rest of the scientific community is starting to fall in behind them, too.

  30. Dana says:

    It’s also not true that we’re better adapted to vegetables than meat. There are indigenous people who live almost exclusively on animal foods and for them, vegetation is a condiment or is nonexistent in the diet. They turn out healthy, slim, tall, and have very good teeth.

    Indigenous peoples being able to live their traditional lifestyles are a rarity anymore, but if you look at the traditional foods of the Maasai and the Inuit you won’t find salad one. It was thought the Inuit used to eat vegetation out of the stomachs of the animals they killed but I have heard stories to the effect that they just told white explorers that to play jokes on them.

    This is where the high-fat eating comes in. If you’re not getting plant calories, meaning carbohydrates, you must get energy from fat or you will make yourself sick. One explorer who went to the Arctic and ate like the Inuit for a while did really well until he was asked by a researcher to experiment with eating a low-fat meat diet. He started experiencing health problems until he re-introduced fat. It’s something called “rabbit sickness,” where eating too much protein with no energy source added to it causes your body to go haywire. It was so named after people who had tried subsisting on nothing but rabbit, which is a lean meat.

    It is not practical for six billion people to go on an all-meat diet and you are correct that at least some vegetables are healthy (although I would disagree about things like cruciferous vegetables, which have a hypothyroid effect on the human body), but I think we have gotten completely upside-down about what we think is required in the human diet.

    For what it’s worth, we as a species have had pretty good luck catching that meat, by the way. This is why we had hunting parties way back in the day. One guy going out to shoot rabbits by himself wouldn’t have had a lot of luck, but a party going after a mammoth would almost always be successful–and that mammoth had enough fat to sustain at least some of the energy needs of the tribe and keep the food stores stocked, as well.

  31. Laurie says:

    Great post! We’ve gone down the road of having no transfats, corn syrups or byproducts, msg or anything else we can’t pronounce in the house. The kids and husband (who grew up eating everything non-fresh) hated it at first, but my kids now choose strawberries over cake and cookies!

    I also love “How to Cook Everything”, it is my standard gift to anyone graduating college or getting married (along with a gift card to our local Whole Foods).

    @Dana – have you read “The Mood Cure” or “The Diet Cure” by Julia Ross? I recently read “The Mood Cure” followed by “Your Fat Can Make You Thin” by Dr. Carl Ezrin and had some serious AHA! moments about the quality of our food in relations to the quality of our lives (and moods) and why dieting make us feel to terrible.

  32. Bella says:

    It is so impresive how finances, alimentation, time, moods and other life aspects all work a similar way! Balancing inputs and outputs pretty much is the key!

  33. LC says:

    Years ago, our grandparents cooked everything in butter or deep fried it and they all turned out ok. Now that saturated fat is “evil,” we have an obesity problem, and diseases like cancer and diabetes are on the rise… I don’t think that’s a coincidence. It’s not fat intake, even saturated fat, that is the problem. It is trans fat and processed food.

  34. Minimum Wage says:

    Diet, schmiet. I’m living on pasta, potatoes, and rice.

  35. !wanda says:

    @LC: I’m not pushing one diet or the other. I’m really not. I’m not convinced one way or the other what an “ideal” diet is or if one really exists. What I like to do best is point out inconsistencies.

    I’d like to point out that your grandparents may not have lived as long as we do today. A lot of diseases, particularly most cancers, show up more and more as we age. Years ago, when only half the population lived to 65, we just wouldn’t have seen a lot of these diseases in the population, regardless of diet. Plus, early medical care and infectious disease control is better now. People who were congenitally unhealthy or predisposed to illness were more likely to die early then; they’re living now and being sick in old age. Any comparison between rates of obesity and associated illnesses now and then need to take these facts into account.

    Also, the word “processing” is so vague. I’m glad there’s iodine in my salt and folic acid in my bread even though adding these ingredients make the food more processed. I’m glad that there are fewer people with goiters and spina bifida because more people are automatically getting their vitamins. Canning and drying foods is processing. Cooking foods, to some people, is processing. What are you really against? Can you define it?

  36. I’ve gotten on a health kick again and I must say that I feel better now than I ever have. Exercising even helps me thinking more clearly and stay focused. It’s good too with a 19 month old you need all the strength you can get!! lol!

  37. cs says:

    I found reducing salt, oil/butter and sugar in my food to be helpful..Not only did it help me lose weight, it also reopened my eyes or should I say my taste buds to the true flavor of vegetables etc.. I did miss the salt et al initially but once I got used to it, I preferred this to the standard/higher salty dishes…

  38. cs says:

    I found reducing salt, oil/butter and sugar in my food to be helpful..Not only did it help me lose weight, it also reopened my eyes or should I say my taste buds to the true flavor of vegetables etc.. I did miss the salt et al initially but once I got used to it, I preferred this to the standard/higher salty dishes.

    CS
    http://www.vegetarianhomecooking.blogspot.com

  39. Polly says:

    You’re right that there are a lot of processed foods out there. I try not to overindulge in these kind of foods, but when I do have them I don’t worry about it too much.

    As far as HFCS goes, I agree with Wanda that there really haven’t been conclusive studies that fructose is worse than sucrose or that it affects the way your body metabolizes food. I just try to limit my sugar intake in general.

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