Sunday, October 5, 2008

Nutrition and Your Body

I don't think you need me to tell you that good nutrition habits will help keep the doctor away, as well as any medical bills or even money for cold or flu medicine. There are awesome ways to plan out your diet on and of course, books galore on the subject. I often found myself discouraged with eating right because I didn't have the time or the money to do so. "That means making meals I don't know how to make and spending a lot of money at the Co-op for organic foods" I would tell myself. Not necessarily true. I know most of my meals are "on the go" types. Rarely do I get time to actually sit at the dinner table to eat (and then again, I do not have children to feed either). A good strategy for preparing on-the-go lunch types are one word: leftovers. On Sunday night, when I actually have time to prepare a meal, I make it larger than usual, and then use the remaining leftovers as my lunch for the rest of the week. Easy, microwavable, and likely to be healthier than fast food or a bag of potato chips. In addition, good lunches can consist of some excellent sides that come in bulk, like buying a large bag of pretzels, and putting them in a sandwich bag and then a REUSABLE lunch sack everyday. I also buy a large sack of string cheese or yogurt, and possibly some canned fruit into a small tupperware container. This is also where your reusable water bottle comes in handy. Lunches like this can generally cost (depending on ingredients) less than 50 cents!

Not everything has to be organic to be "green" or healthier. I always thought you would have to shop at the Co-op to be eating healthier, and I have often strayed away because their prices are generally very expensive. I wish I could afford to be a regular patron, but being a student does me no favors here. There are many items in your grocery store that already offer organic options, and you might not even know it. Even making switches from white rice to brown rice, white bread to wheat bread are going to be steps in the right direction. After eating healthier foods for a while, I notice that I can't go back due to the awful taste. Lays Baked Chip options have already turned me away from most regular fried potato chips...they just taste different now. Your produce section by far will be your healthiest, and likely provide more organic options. Kashi, usually found in the cereal aisle, offers some great granola bars that I have almost everyday for a mid morning snack. They offer a lot of great (and tasty, I might add) options for high dietary fiber intake. Kashi is one of many companies known for its organic nature, and natural gravity towards wellness. Right now they are offering coupons for a free cookie, one of their new products. I have also been noticing grocery stores are now adding separate "Natural Food" or "Organic" sections to the store. It will all be coming together before we know it, as grocery stores are now seeing the value of providing customers with healthier choices.

Beyond this information, if you have not seen documentary films like Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me, or Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, I would highly recommend either. They examine so much of what is going on in the food industry with corporations, and you can see the physical and psychological effects of bad eating habits, and the effects of this lifestyle on the environment, in Super Size Me. Consider either my "green recommendation for the month". BBC America also has a show, You Are What You Eat, which each show examines a generally overweight, British citizen every show, and shows them how their diet is effecting their behavior and life, and how to make positive changes in the right direction, which includes basic recipes as well as exercise routines. Think of eating healthy as a long term investment in your health.

I'd also like to invite you to take part in Vegetarian Awareness Month. Give it a try for a day if you aren't a vegetarian already. Many studies have shown that vegetarians are generally healthier and live longer than the rest of us meat eaters. Although I am not a vegetarian, I do appreciate vegetarian options and their lifestyle, and do occationally take part.

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