Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Diary of Naughty Dietitian Part II

What better way to admit our flaws than through a New Years Resolution?  We can actually admit that we need to lose weight, eat healthier, spend time with loved ones or clean our messy house.
So what do I have to admit to you all during the first week of 2012?  I have had the same resolution every year for the past 10 years!  Surprisingly enough, it has nothing to do with my diet.  It has to do with my language, specifically my sailor mouth.  Try as I might, when I get worked up, those naughty words just slip right into my vocabulary, just like butter.
Once again, my resolution for 2012 is to clean up my dirty mouth and while I'm at it I may as well clean up some other "dirty" things I put in my mouth.  And by dirty, I mean the overly-processed, sugary, salty, and nutrition-less foods that sometimes slip into my diet -- Into ALL of our diets.  It's nothing to be ashamed of, if it happens rarely, but if things like soda (diet or regular), refined grains (bread/cereal that's not whole grain, crackers, tortillas), processed meats/cheeses (some deli meat, hot dogs/sausage, american cheese), sweets (cookies, candy, cake, mochas, granola bars...), and/or fast food dominate your diet, then it's time to make a change in 2012.  Take the first step.

Once I start letting these foods into my diet, it's like a downward spiral.  It can take over because these foods are everywhere!  They are at the coffee shop, gas station, restaurants, parties, and in our own pantry. If we all step back and take a look at these foods, what are they?  Most of them were "whole foods" at one point or another, for example, a hot dog was once a real piece of meat or anything with wheat in it was once a whole grain.  But our food industry has morphed our "real" food (meat, grains, etc) into something that resembles food.  In reality it's junk that has been processed until there is no nutrition left in it.  The only thing left is calories, carbohydrates and fat...which we all need, but not in these absurd amounts.  Much of our food is so heavily processed that nutrients have to be added back to them, this is called enrichment & fortification.  Take whole wheat for example, whole wheat has a multitude of vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.  However, when whole wheat is processed to make white flour, most of this is lost and must be added back to it.

So it seems simple, right?  Take out the processed stuff and replace it with real food ... whole foods like fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, meats, whole grains, and dairy.  But we have been trained to like junk food, so this is easier said than done.  Junk food is notoriously high in carbohydrates and fat, two things that our body needs to survive.  From an evolutionary standpoint, we may be more attracted to these foods because they provide lots of calories and instant energy to help us fight off that wild beast that's trying to get into our cave and steal our mortar and pestle....or whatever caveman story you can imagine.
Maybe that's why we are so attracted to junk food, but in reality we rarely use our fight or flight response and can usually be found in front of a computer, steering wheel or TV.

So what does the 2012 version of a human need to be healthy?  The same thing the caveman needed.  We need a variety of foods like fruit, veggies, meats, dairy, beans....we just need some more than others. Flash back to the caveman, he had a regular intake of thing like berries, veggies, grains, beans from gathering, plus the occasional meats from a successful hunt.  Let's also pretend that cavemen had cows/goats/sheep and had milk!  Plus, the caveman also ran across the occasional honey pot and whale blubber and he splurged because he couldn't help it!!! ;)
So there you have it, eat more fruit, veggies, beans, dairy, plus a modest amount of meat and the splurge occasionally.
It takes time to retrain your mind & body.... it's an ongoing process.  I struggle as much as the next person.  Be patient, be kind and be positive.  Evolution will come back to you.
And that's my sick-twisted diary entry for the New Year.

Enjoy the good life in 2012.
Dana, the "Naughty Dietitian"

PS. I have been practicing as I preach since Christmas and I feel like a million bucks.  You will too. Just do it!

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