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Posts tagged ‘food’


by Logan

Which is more expensive – Healthy Foods or Bad Foods?

If you are like most people I know, food and you have a weird relationship in your life. On one hand, you love to eat it. On another, you hate what it does to your wallet.  But, there are some people, who see food as a necessity and are much more comfortable spending $50.00 on eating out and have trouble spending $50.00 on a pair of jeans or a shirt that is needed.

Whatever your relationship is with food, you have to admit it is expensive.  But, food also determines how healthy you are.  No matter how much you exercises or avoid the topic, a healthy person eats healthy food. This isn’t saying that we can’t indulge or even have a bad week or two. But, overall we are what we eat.

So, if this is the case, why don’t more people purchase healthy food from organic stores and such. The prevailing belief is that healthy food costs more.  This is really the basis of many things. The thing that pushes people over the top is price.

This may be the case when comparing organic tomatoes to regular tomatoes. We often see  the single extra dollar we are spending and we say to ourselves, “Healthy food is too expensive.”

But…if you were to really look at your spending; you would come to find that on average, most people spend far more on unhealthy foods than healthy foods. We purchase many foods that are high in saturated fats and added sugars.

I really think that when it comes to food, we get tunnel vision. When we are concentrating on our grocery bill, money is the primary concern. But when we are out eating, tastes, food choices, and our emotional standing plays more of an issue.

Be honest, have you ever needed a break from work or from kids and the best option was a good lunch moment with some bad food. We often exclude this little expenditure in our overall viewpoint of the cost of food.

The USDA looked into this very argument. They compared near 4,500 different types of food both healthy and less healthy.  They compared price per calorie, edible weight, and average portion size.

If the researcher is based on edible weight and price per portion – it is easy to see that healthy food such as fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, yogurt and other healthy foods are more affordable than roast beef, chicken, or canned tuna.

When it comes to price per calorie – healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables are slightly more expensive than chocolate, candy, ice cream, and chips.  But barely. The interesting thing is that based on the edible weight – the cost is about the same.  The discounts that are given at stores are largely due to the desire to sell more foods. Vegetables and Fruits don’t last forever on the shelves as does most candy and ice cream. That should tell you something right there.

How to overall improve your diet and save money

Money is often lost due to lack of preparation. If we don’t bring food with us to lunch – we tend to spend large amounts of money for food that is unhealthy. Fast foods are often the haven for the unprepared.

1.)      Plan meals ahead of time to cut out cost

2.)      When cooking – make leftovers and minimize waste. An entire meal could be saved and not wasted in some cases.

3.)       Since meats are so expensive – use other items as the main course and meats as a side to the meal.

4.)       Buy fruits in season – they tend to be less expensive

5.)      Build a garden.  Save money by planting a garden. This pushes you to eat the food that you’ve grown.

 

Food prices are increasing dramatically. Be more conscious of good food and good prices. Planning is really the key.  Good and healthy food is well within our reach, both price wise and availability.


by Logan

Are You Healthy? Part I

This is a very interesting question, one where the answers might surprise you. This discussion will be divided into two posts. Please look at both to see the Ten Factors of Being Healthy.

Imagine the five healthiest males and females you can think of. Would they be healthy for the same reasons?  What does “being healthy” actually mean?

A healthy person is expected to live a long life full of happiness. But how exactly is that accomplished? Food and exercise alone!?! There are several aspects of your health – including health, emotionally and spiritually.

Can a fit person be unhealthy because they are not emotionally healthy?

Can someone be called healthy who is completely happy but who has a severe medical condition.  For me, this changes a lot about what is healthy?

Every year, new diets come out that promise a new you.  A change in your weight and a better outlook on life are preached by almost anyone you can think of.

Therefore, I believe that healthiness is a level of understanding. There are tons of aspects that come into it.  I’ve broken these down into ten important factors.  When looked at, as a whole, our chances of being healthy and happy are greatly improved.

Let’s look at Ten Things that can factor into your health:

1.)     Control over your diet

The question here is who controls who.  As we look at our foods and beverages we often overlook our cravings and secret stashes. Is it unhealthy to sneak a bowl of ice cream every once in awhile. It certainly isn’t. But if this becomes a daily battle, then a measure of unhealthiness comes into play.  What are your fatal food sins?

2.)     Ability to perform daily activities

Daily activities include washing yourself, preparing your own foods, walking down stairs, getting your clothes on, and much more. Think about it…you’re not even close to healthy if these things are difficult. Medical issues, accidents, injuries, and a list of other things may prevent you from doing this.  Some of these reasons are surmountable and some are not. But if you work hard, maybe you can see some improvement in this area.

3.)     Emotional well being

One of the areas that is often overlooked is the emotional well being of an individual. The problem here is where do we draw the line of normal?  Because you are female or male and cry occasionally, this doesn’t say that you aren’t healthy. It doesn’t even say that you are emotional stable. But, often we protect emotional by saying that it is our personality to be emotional.  Whatever is normal for you, this is what is most important. Then try to do things that improve your emotional well being. As anyone can improve their running time in the one mile run, so can we all improve or emotional stability.

4.)     Mind Activities

You’ve heard that the mind is a muscle so use it!  This is especially true when considering your level of healthiness. If you are stagnate in improving your mental capability, you are risking that all will turn to mush.   This also pushes us to find a hobby that can allow us to improve. It doesn’t always need to be something that affects our mind like chess or word puzzles. Guitar, singing, dancing, and many other hobbies, allow our minds to shine.

 

My next blog post will look at the next 6 factors.  They aren’t things that should be overlooked when considering if we are indeed healthy.


by Logan

The Health Facts Behind the Calorie?

The Law of Thermodynamics states in general terms: That energy cannot be created nor destroyed.

Everything that we see comes from an energy source. That energy source is transferred but not created. Energy from the sun and the soil helps create a plant. There isn’t anything that creates something from nothing.

Energy can be seen in several different things or forms such as: Temperature (heat), force, substance, and others. If you can grasp this concept, it becomes  easier to understand that food, when consumed, releases energy.

Food energy is essentially what a Calorie is. In the Unites states, a calorie is a label used to quantify energy. In the United Kingdom it is called Kcal. Another measurement used in this energy word pool is kilojoules. Joules are used to describe energy of lights and are also a unit of measurement to describe energy or work.

With that said, when you measure the energy in a piece of food, you come to calorie. Food products such as: Fats, Proteins, Carbohydrates, fiber, molecules, and several other compounds are all broken down, or released into energy. Oxygen itself is important in the process of creating energy from food particles. As oxygen reacts with these nutrients, energy is released.

ATP or Adenosine -5’-triphosphate is the transporter of energy in the body. Every cell has ATP. Through several cellular biochemical responses, ATP becomes “charged” and when it releases its charge, energy has caused something to happen. Sometimes, energy is lost in the form of heat and other times energy is lost in the process of creating more energy.

A breakdown of several important Food sources is below:

–   Fats have a large amount of energy released, almost 9 kcal/g.

–   Ethanol, a molecule consumed produces 7 kcal/g.

–   Protein produces 4 kcal/g

–   Carbohydrates produce 4 kcal/g

–   Polyols [including sugar alcohols] produce less than 4 kcal/g

–   Organic acids produce less than 4 kcal/g

–   Fiber produces much less

–   Lactose produces much less as well.

In the late 19th century, it became mandatory for the labeling of food products. This helped to both identify what was being put into your foods, and helped define a calorie number for consumers to see what they were eating or drinking. How does a food item obtain a calorie number? This is a very scientific process. Needless to say, a piece of food is dried and burnt, the energy it releases is measured and a number is given. Calories on food labels are done in a slightly different way. Chemical tests and a process to analyze known ingredients within a food source are done. Through this process, they can estimate a product’s calorie value.

A Caloric daily value has been identified

In the United States, 2500 calorie for men and 2000 calorie for women is recommended.

How to burn Calories during the day?

The amount of calories that burn for a man sitting on the couch is surprisingly high. The body, even when at rest is active. Breathing, heart pumping, brain activity and more are done each and every day. But in addition, exercise can burn calories. But remember…oxygen is essential.

Exercise with good oxygen consumption is referred to as Aerobic. This typically is a light-to moderate intensity. Larger calorie burn can be seen. Anaerobic exercises still use energy but in a different manner and at a different rate. This builds muscle and strength. The energy used is still very intense.

Understanding a calorie, that energy is transferred, and that each food item differs in calories will help you understand the needs and the process of weight loss, proper nutrition, and body mechanics.


by Kaylin

Health Signs Of An Eating Disorder

Eating Disorders are very serious and if left untreated can be fatal. More and more we find a higher number of people suffering with eating disorders. Since all the magazines are showing young girls abnormally small and skinny women, they seem to be more common these days. And since eating disorders are a very secretive thing, you usually can’t tell if someone has an issue. Plus, usually those with suffering aren’t willing to admit they have a problem. So if you think someone you know and love might be suffering from Bulimia or Anorexia there are a few things that can give you a clue if they have a problem.

-Bad body image. Usually girls who talk badly about their body (even if they are slim) might have an issue. If they are always talking about how they want to lose weight and talking about how much weight they need to lose ( which is usually very unreasonable) that could be a sign that they have an issue.

-Obsession with food.  if someone is always talking about calories, fat content of foods, or just talking about how they can’t eat certain things, they may have an issue with food. Usually girls who have eating disorders, especially those with bulimia, think about food for a majority of their day. Their life pretty much revolves around it. If someone you know has a weird obsession with food, they may have an issue.

-Frequent visits to the bathroom after or during meals. Most likely a girl with bulimia is going to eat and then purge her food in the bathroom. If she is is taking alot of trips to the bathroom she might have a problem with throwing up her food.

-An excessive weight loss in a small amount of time. It is a known fact that if you don’t eat or don’t get enough calories, you will lose weight. And if you are reducing your calorie intake by a lot, which people with eating disorders usually do, you will lose weight very quickly. If you notice that a friend has lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time, they could potentially have a problem and you probably want to investigate further.

-Baggy Clothing. Since people who have a problem with an eating disorder usually lose  a lot weight, they sometimes try to hide it by wearing baggy clothes. Most girls with anorexia or bulimia have a distorted body image and even though they believe they are fat, they are usually abnormally skinny.  So they are usually embarrassed and don’t want anyone to know how skinny they are, so they wear baggy clothes.

-Hair Loss. Since those with anorexia or bulimia aren’t getting the nutrients they need, the first thing that you will be able to notice is that they are losing hair. Since your hair uses the left over nutrients to grow, those with an eating disorder don’t have enough nutrients for their body and their hair starts falling out. If you notice an abnormal amount of hair loss in your friend, you might want to see if they have a problem with their eating habits.

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by Christel Swasey

Mental Health Hazard, Advertising Leeks

With cold weather keeping us indoors and Christmasey television shows attracting us to our couches, winter families (at least mine) end up watching a lot of television.  We know there is a naturally occurring junk food-and-couch connection.  But watching loads of television can be hazardous to health in more ways than one.  I’m talking about the unhealthy side of  t.v. ads to body and mind.

First, there’s the mental health hazard of t.v. ads’ economic brainwashing. How does anyone maintain mental (not to mention economic) health in the face of such ad-brainwashing culture?  It goes:  “Jingle-shop!  Jingle-spend!  Spending-equals-love!”  (If you really love someone, you will dive into strangulating debt to get them expensive gifts)  Or try another favorite t.v. ad-brainwashing sermon, which goes sort of like this:  “If –and only if– you buy this product, (insert any product here) you will be permanently, absolutely bulletproof” (i.e., pretty/handsome/healthy/rich/well-traveled/tidy/efficient/famous/happy/immortal etc.)  If only it were true.

But  this year, the ads that are driving me the most crazy and making me wonder about our national health seriously, are the medicine ads.  It seems there are more ads for –of all things– medicine, than ever.  Medicines for depression.  Medicines for high cholesterol.  Medicine for headaches.  Medicines for anything!  Of course, in the ads, any scary or deadly side effects of these medicines are minimized, while horrific symptoms of the ailments (and the medicine’s curative benefits) are trumpeted loudly and clearly.

Meanwhile, (no coincidence here!) there are the food advertisements.  Ads for hamburgers and fries.  Ads for cookie dough.  Ads for caffeinated, sugary soda pop.

Do you think, possibly, by any chance, there could be a connection between our culture’s proliferation of junk food ads and our ever-increasing numbers of medical ads?

Think about it.  Healthy looking, disease-free, fat-free ad models are promoting the very foods that, eaten habitually, are proven to create obesity, disease, depression, and death.  Lies, lies.

It’s almost as if someone is simultaneously creating and solving a problem.  For money. Hmmmm.

My point is simple:  we have to stop swallowing the brainwashing so passively and use our brains.  These are ads, not advice from mom, and not contextually honest scientific research results.  They are ads, designed to make us spend.  That’s all they are.

But advertising works, so healthy wanna-bees must think smart.  Admit that no one (not even you) is immune to the multi-faceted messages in ads, not even though we think we are immune, and not even though we all make fun of ads.  Advertising has been proven to work; that’s why advertisers pay the millions.

And realize that we have to go out of our way to think of healthy choices.  We’re probably not ever going to see an ad for anything Mother Nature designed.

The miraculous properties of plain water will not be advertised (unless it’s part of some political environmental agenda).   The curative powers of herbs and vegetables will not be advertised, though they are real.  You won’t be seeing a million dollar Christmas Season ad for hot, homemade, inexpensive, cancer-defying leeks.  Nope.

Can you even imagine it?  –An ad that went like this: “Yummy leeks!  Super leeks!  High in Vitamin K and A!  And lots of manganese!  Plenty of fiber, low in calories, totally fat free!  Find out why leeks were the favorite vegggie of Emperor Nero!  Come and get your warm and zesty leek soup today!”

Ha!

But that kind of ad, over time, might –if it existed– cancel out the need for so many medicines and medicine ads.

Just saying.

Anyway.  In case this (agenda-free) leek ad got your taste buds going, here’s my extremely uncomplicated recipe for leek soup.

Easy Leek Soup

1. Rinse and chop leeks into 1/2″ slices) Use about four large leeks. Chop off any part you don’t want to eat.  I use all the white to dark green.

2. Sautee leeks in 2 tablespoons olive oil.  (Complication alert: if you have time, add fresh pressed garlic here; if not, use garlic powder later.)

3. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, and whatever herbs you like.  (Anything!  I like thyme, marjoram, dill, cilantro, or parsley)

4. Cook until the leeks are softened but not brown.  Puree half of them.  Pour all of them into a soup pot or crock pot.

5. Add 3-4 cups low sodium chicken broth.

6. Add a pound of sliced mushrooms, if you have them.

7.  Cook, sample, serve.

 

P.S.  I’ve always thought that most any vegetable, sauteed in olive oil, cooked in chicken broth, sprinkled with herbs, will turn into a yummy soup.  I like to puree part of the soup, to keep it simultaneously creamy and chunky.  But that’s up to each cook for him/herself.  Another trick that I personally love:  add some raw veggies in to the soup at the very end, for texture and color.  And, if you want to trick non-lovers of veggies into loving your veggie soups, add cheese or heavy cream just before serving.  (Not as low-cal, but still very nutritious.)

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