Eating & Cheating: What is your Health Worth?

Alright I’m just going to say it, admit it up front… I am not perfect. Whew, I said it, for everyone to hear; and imagine that, the world didn’t blow up.

Everyday I share information about the healthy body; how to eat better, feel better, be a better gluten free-er and a slew of reasons why you should if you’re not. The main reason that I share the info I do, besides the thousands of hours of research I have done over the years, is because I know it works; I take my own advice and live a healthy lifestyle. Which I think is important and something people donning out advice about what you ‘should be doing’, are not doing themselves.

There seems a lot of people out there giving advice: doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, health advocates, bloggers, magazines, your next door neighbor… Who should you listen to?

The old adage, do as I say and not as I do, fits in quite nicely when it comes to preaching advice across the board. I tend to take advice from people who look like they are living their advice. If they look well, feel well, are aging well, they have to be doing something right, right?

No matter what anyone says though, I always take it with a grain of salt and do my research to see if it pans out and why. Not everything works for everyone but there are definite basics that work for everyone. Like, eating your daily rainbow, not eating foods with high fructose corn syrup; eating a high fiber diet and making sure you are getting enough healthy fats to fuel your body and feed your brain.

Those are the types of things I do 95% of the time, the other 5% I eat, I cheat and have fun doing it. Since most of the time I eat fresh fruit, veggies and whole foods not served up in a processed package, I don’t worry about counting calories or feel like I have to spend extra time in the gym the next day. Eating healthy most of the time gives me the luxury of enjoying those ‘bad’ foods that I have once in a while.

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No matter what anyone says though, I always take it with a grain of salt and do my research to see if it pans out and why. Not everything works for everyone but there are definite basics that work for everyone. Like, eating your daily rainbow, not eating foods with high fructose corn syrup; eating a high fiber diet and making sure you are getting enough healthy fats to fuel your body and feed your brain.

Those are the types of things I do 95% of the time, the other 5% I eat, I cheat and have fun doing it. Since most of the time I eat fresh fruit, veggies and whole foods not served up in a processed package, I don’t worry about counting calories or feel like I have to spend extra time in the gym the next day. Eating healthy most of the time gives me the luxury of enjoying those ‘bad’ foods that I have once in a while.

That is the key though, once in a while and moderation. Being diagnosed with Celiac disease is a great happenstance in my life because I have never eaten healthier; I eat for what my body needs instead of eating for what it thinks it wants, most of the time.  Let me clarify, I consume nutrient rich foods in spite of my disease not because of it; there are plenty of those who go from eating processed foods to eating GF processed food; gluten free does not equate healthy. Celiac opened my eyes to what truly is important, my health, without it I have nothing.

Before diagnosis I was eating ‘ok’ healthy, after diagnosis I started researching food, nutrition and the body. I read every label and became completely aware of what all those big worded ingredients, food dyes and chemicals that companies use to enhance food and tried not to eat it.

And you know what I realized? That most of the food sold today is shite, and even worse, there are more additives added than actual food. Now, consider the little bit of real food we have left and Monsanto wants to genetically engineer it all.

When I was a kid I would frustrate my mom because I was such a picky eater. Looking back at it now I think I was a smart eater, always going for the vegetable and fruits. I even loved sardines, which are super high in omega 3 fatty acids; now, not so much. As I reached my college years healthy turned into really unhealthy and continued in and out of my 20′s; soon after is when I believe my Celiac disease was triggered.

Like I mentioned earlier, I do eat some foods in serious moderation but still love like:

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The crazy thing is, it did not take long after I started eating for nutrition and reading ingredient labels, that I craved processed foods, sugar, and soda less and less; until I did not have a taste for it anymore.

It didn’t happen overnight, well it did partly, because of my Celiac diagnosis I couldn’t eat most of the junk sold and companies weren’t selling the gluten free version of the junk food yet. I had to retrain my taste buds and brain with fresh whole foods, forgoing the processed package and sugar.  

Why Obesity is Becoming Fashionable

This is an example of food that people eat everyday, courtesy of Chef Jason Robert’s new show, Junk Food Flip on the Cooking Channel, and some of the consequences: obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and the big ‘C’.

The Big Bad John Sandwich

 

Home made BBQ pork (butt- super fatty), mac n cheese, 2 pieces of cheddar cheese, caramelized onions with thickly sliced sour dough bread.

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The Ramifications:
1800 calories, 77 grams of fat & over 1000 grams of sodium

There is a full days worth of calories and fat in one sandwich. Are you eating this more than once a day?

According to How Stuff Works, depending on your age and exercise level, your fat & caloric intake is:

  • 1600 calories for older adults and less active women
  • 2200 calories for less active men, active women, children and teen girls
  • 2800 calories for teen boys, very active men & women

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Now let’s talk about sodium. The kidneys are in charge of balancing out the sodium in the body; when there is too much the kidneys excrete it as waste, when there is not enough the kidneys store it for later use.

If you are not very healthy to begin with, yet continue to eat tons of salt and processed foods, eventually you will set off a chain reaction in the body. When the body takes in too much salt over extended periods of time, it overwhelms the kidneys and the heart has to work harder.   This creates more pressure in the arteries, which if clogged up with bad cholesterol and damaging free radical cells, red blood cells cannot get through quick enough to bring oxygen to the body. Do you see where I am going with this? You are asking for heart and kidney disease or failure.

According to Mayo Clinic, the average person takes in a whopping 3,400mg of sodium a day. The recommended daily supply is less than 2,300mg for the average person and 1,500mg for people over 51.  Hidden sodium is everywhere, even in low sodium products; so keep in mind by the time you start feeling symptoms of high sodium diets, you are already in trouble.

Eat Healthy Be Happy

Changing your lifestyle into a healthy one is not going to happen overnight, especially if your brain and body are addicted to sugar and processed foods.   As you wean yourself off you will start craving, adding healthy fats to your diet instead like avocados and nuts, cooking in healthy oils, will actually curb your hunger and make you feel full longer.  

Eating fresh foods with a diet high in natural fiber are two essential ingredients the body needs to keep the digestive system clean. Fresh foods are the fuel we need to feed our body and fiber is our daily oil change. Fiber also helps to regulate the blood sugar by slowing down the rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream, keeping it from spiking and dropping throughout the day.

Your body is like a car, keeping up maintenance with regular oil changes will keep you chugging along with minimal problems for years to come.  But, put off maintenance of your car, ignore the oil & engine lights popping on, and you’ll end up stranded on the side of the road with smoke billowing from the hood.

Do your research and start reading labels; that alone might give you the extra push to work harder on your health. Whatever your choices, keep your eyes open to what you are putting in and on your body.  Take care of your body and it will take care of you.

 

Ditch the Diet Live the Lifestyle

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5 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Hi, what do you suggest about a 4 yo who was diagnosed about 3 months ago with Celiac and she’s EXTREMELY picky? We went from boxed food to GF boxed food because I’m trying to give her what her friends eat because she comes home from school crying about how she’s “weird” and “different” so I match the crap they consume to make her happy and not “different.” There are no support groups here in KC so we’ve been winging it ourselves. I’ve gotten her to successfully eat one vegetable – carrots – and only one “kind of” meat – pepperoni and beef, only if it’s in a taco. Any other suggestions? She basically lives on “bars,” Fruity Pebbles and dairy products.

    Reply
    1. Kati I am going to elicit help from other mothers on this one. I posted a new blog called, help by toddler won’t eat.
      http://www.glutenfreegal.com/help-my-celiac-toddler-wont-eat/

      Reply
    2. Hi Kati,
      Kirsten asked me to respond & well, this is something I could talk about all day. My little guy is almost 4 and was diagnosed celiac 2 years ago – so I know what you are going through. I also have a 7 & a 9 year old and can tell you… It’s a transition but they will be so much easier and better off in the long run if you make the changes now! So it takes some extra work for momma – one more thing for your plate, but eventually you’ll get used to it.

      Since your daughter was recently diagnosed, here’s a few things to keep in mind and some advice….
      • she probably has some bad feeling towards food. These feeling might not be something that she even knows how to express but food made her feel icky. You almost need to reestablish trust in food again. And eating the processed crap isn’t going to make her feel good about food again because it isn’t making her better. Dairy is often super hard to digest for a newly diagnosed celiac too, so too much dairy is going to keep her feeling ick!

      * right now she needs healthy food, and a lot of it, to rebuild her system. Celiac causes all kinds of problems, turns the digestive system into a mess and blocks the absorption of key nutrients. This not only causes stomach problems but can affect mood and behavior too. Sometimes it takes a little time to get over the hump but the right balance of food can make everything better

      * it is hard to be different than everyone else!! But it also can be cool. Something that makes a child unique. Gets then a little extra attention & tlc. The secret is to make being GF a Good Thing. It’s so easy to focus on what they can’t have or how hard it is – but try really hard to fight that. Focus on feeling good and Get her involved in the food decisions. The shopping. And the cooking. And the snacks. 4 is the perfect age to start! Go to the farmers market & find stuff to try together. Go apple picking. Let her help make scrambled eggs or mix up some gf pancakes. Bake together. It can be kind of cool to become an kid expert and good mother-daughter bonding. And it’s way more fun to eat an apple that you picked yourself!
      * be creative with meal planning. If she loves chicken nuggets – make a big batch from scratch with a healthy gf flour & homemade gf breadcrumbs. Make homemade potato chips and homemade gf Mac & cheese. You can still eat those things but without all the other crap that goes into the packages! Make a list of the food she thinks is “normal” and try to find similar, healthier substitutes or a better way to use them… For example – my little guy could eat a bag of gf pretzels, but we discovered he loves to dip them – so when served with peanut butter or hummus or fresh salsa, it becomes a fun healthy snack.

      Good luck mom. There is a lot to figure out and can feel super overwhelming & stressful. Take it day by day and keep asking for help, someday you’ll be the one dishing the advice!

      Reply
  2. Hi there, I enjoy receiving and reading your emails. Today’s one was good about nutrition, although I think it’s imperative that you clarify what ‘cheating’ you actually mean! It does not seem clear to me. Do you mean cheating with ‘junk, gluten free food’?

    I personally don’t believe there is a place for cheating (ie. foods with gluten) with celiac disease. It’s serious and it also harms the way the community views celiac disease. I look forward to your further clarification on this.

    Reply
    1. No I wasn’t referring to cheating on GF, I am very clear about that when I write about it. This is general cheating and how that is what becomes a persons lifestyle. People get so caught up and focused on what they can’t eat, GF or not, that they continue to make unhealthy choices for fear they will never be able to eat their favorite foods again.

      And thank you for your support, it is much appreciated. Is there anything in particular you would like to see a future article about?

      Reply

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