Monday, May 5, 2008

Nutrition and the Foodie

Food is a passion for me, a way to express myself, something I can actually do fairly well and I love learning everything I can about it. But there is a downside, you can't be passionate or interested without needing to sample your work. This has caused an issue for me, a weighty one. So now the challenge is to get it off, keep it off, all the while continuing to enjoy my passion.

Of course one of the obvious solutions is to introduce more healthful, low-calorie foods into the process. I am constantly looking for ways to take some of my favorite dishes and find a lower calorie solution, without compromising healthfulness or taste. Healthful is a big issue for me. On the surface, all these low fat/not fat solutions seem to be a good alternative, and where calories are concerned this is true, but the story doesn't end there. Read the labels of the foods you eat, do you recognize all the ingredients, can you even pronounce all the ingredients? What about the sugars, remember they can be disguised in the _ose words, you know fructose, sucrose, etc. all sugars. Or how about hydrogenated oils? Yikes, stay away from those! I am not a big activist that likes to go on a rampage of my beliefs, but where these items come into play I do have a very strong opinion. High fructose corn syrup was invented to allow food companies to save money by concentrating the sweetness in a smaller quantity, and making a less expense overall product. In reality HFCS is nothing more then an agent that doesn't act like a sugar at all, it acts like a fat. Without getting into the technical chemistry lesson, I will just say that it tastes sweet, but the way that your body sees it from the inside is similar to the chemical composition of a fat, meant to be stored for the long haul, unlike sugar which is available immediately.

Hydrogenated oils are another story, first created to increase the shelf life of products that it's in. First of all, any chemically altered food is a little off putting, but as an experiment, put an open tub of margarine or crisco outdoors. Pick a place where flies might hang around. Notice that a few days later, the product is virtually melt and bug free. Anything that will not even attract a fly, frightens me and any product that is this solid, is having a tough time breaking down in your body as well. There a serious health issues with this item, high cholesterol, heart disease, to name a couple of biggies!

I guess the bottom line is this,
#1 The fewer ingredients listed on any food, chances are you are looking at something worth trying.
#2 Read the labels and start shooting for items where 90% of the ingredients are recognizeable, real foods.
#3 Start from scratch, there is no better way to be assured of real ingredients then to be in control from the point of creation. Experiment, make your own homemade ice cream, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla - simple!
#4 I will take extra calories over an unhealthy choice any day of the week, I can burn off calories, but I can't figure out how to expel the chemically created foods from my body.

Well let this one sink in and see how it sets with you, do your own research, the internet is full of facts and information. Be proactive and find out for yourself what is best for you!

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