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Thread: How can we eat healthy?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    How can we eat healthy?

    A news cast will tell us that we need to eat healthy or that the FDA changed the food pyramid again, only for the report to be followed by a commercial for McDonalds. To complicate matters, the idea of eating healthy is becoming increasingly confusing and is frequently plagued with a lack of information or misinformation. By now, many us understand that Chicken McNuggets are not actually chicken and the french fires donít much resemble a potato slice. But what about the food that we buy at the supermarket? What is actually healthy for us? Where does the beef come from? According to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, if they canít tell that they are positive that it came from a particular part of the cow, and that cow was free range and grass fed, donít buy it. I recently tried this at a local shopping market, and no one knew for sure. I think I need to find a butcher shop. If it comes from a Confined Animal Feeding OperationsÖ run.

    So then we wander over to the produce section and see all the green bananas, fresh ripe tomatoes, and a selection of lettuce that rivals any salad barÖ and it is late march! Something tells me that these fruits and veggies are not actually fresh. To top it off, those who pick and handle the produce need to wear gloves because of the massive amounts of pesticide used. But wait there is more. It is amazing how every tomato looks like it came out of a text book. Odds are they are from a genetically modified seed stock that emphasizes appearance and shelf life while often decreasing nutritional content. Monsanto makes most of the corn seed that you see, and donít see because it is in the form of high fructose corn syrup. Sad thing is it is everywhere.

    With baby number two on the way and mini-skis suffering from some crazy food allergies that where extremely rare at one point, we have been exploring how to do a substantial shift in our food habits. No, we do not have a Whole Foods nearby and yes, I do have a garden where all the veggies are grown organically and free of pesticides. In fact, this year I focused almost entirely on heirloom varieties. (need to find a different tomato that is not so crazy out of control).

    What do you do to eat healthy? If you donít eat as healthy as you would like, why not? I often hear people say convenience and cost are deterrents, but whatís more important than our health and the health of our families?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I don't have much of a solution. Because my wife is a survivor of whats thought to be an environmental cancer, we have tried to eat as healthy as possible- but the more you investigate the more you realize how difficult it is. There is bad stuff in and on almost everything nowadays, since even the "organic, healthy" options are mass produced by giant congolmerates.

    I recently read a disturbing report recently about fruit juices. Since fruit isn't in season all year they make a ton and store it all year without oxygen so it doesn't go rotten. But the problem is it loses its flavor, so they add chemicals that are manufactured by perfume companies back into it to give it the "fruit" flavor. Because those chemicals are trade secrets they do not have to tell you what is in them.

    I also read a nother disturbing report about how lots of food companies are now using cellulose - which is basically just ground up wood products, in their food instead of flour and other grains. It's cheaper and provides the same texture and filling effects of flour and the wood products are supposedly not toxic.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    It's difficult to eat healthy because food triggers the release of endorphins. Combine this with the amount of unhealthy food that tastes good, and you're in trouble.

    It takes major will power to eat healthy in today's society. 50, 100, 200 years ago it wasn't so difficult, mainly because there were less crappy foods and people did not have access (often becaue of their socioeconomic status) to the foods that would make them unhealthy.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    My primary objective in eating healthier is to eat - or at least start cooking with - as much fresh and raw foods as possible. Its true that access to all organic food all the time is both not always feasible and, in our case, not always affordable. So, we make comprimises. But I still think a head of lettuce from a major supermarket with all the issues of chemicals and GMOs, etc. you mentioned, while not an ideal choice, is still better than processed foodstuffs.

    You can also find online various lists that show what kinds of food absorb chemicals/pesticides.etc. more readily than others and, as we do, try to buy those items from an organic source (or avoid them). I can't recall all of them, but I know potatoes are a big culprit - a lot of the pesticides used in growing them ends up in the tuber. So, best to eat organic potatoes or avoid them.

    Meat consumption can be tricky as well with the cost of natural meats being quite high (depending on the meat in question). Here we have some nice options for beef and chicken and even fish (locally raised trout), but it can be hard to find good examples that are affordable. Again, we do the best we can, weighing cost and access against potenital health issues.

    I don't buy fruit juices at all, so I'm glad to hear I dodged that bullet.

    We also get, every two weeks, produce from a local CSA. They go all through the winter and, even though not everything is from that farm (they are part of a regional consortium that shares produce among several CSAs) the quality is very high. Its expensive, though, thus the every other week. Again, we do what we can on a limited budget. But its kind of fun to get some weird vegetable and then have to find a way to cook it. Horizon expanding and all of that.

    On top of all of that I am pretty dedicated to being an active person and I think, health wise, that is another important aspect. I find it relates to healthy eating because what I crave, and what I succumb to eating, tends to be much higher quality when I am exercizing regularly. I crave sugar far less, for example, and my portion sizes tend to be smaller or at least better matched to my needs. When I've been sitting on my a$$, its very different - I want cake and cookies and eat bigger meals.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  5. #5
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    Echo what wahday said.

    I try to eat as close to the food chain as possible. Lots of fiber from whole grains, veggies, and fruit, and some lean proteins. Go unprocessed as much as possible. The bulk of what we buy that does not come raw is the occasional canned bean, tahini mix, soup when we are sick, tortilla chips, and ice cream. We have the healthy diet down to a pretty good routine. Our issue is how to drink healthy. I know I drink too much coffee and tea, and we both love an adult beverage after work which is typically ginger ale and gin/rumónot the healthiest stuff in the world.

    As a general rule, if you cannot identify the ingredients as part of the food chain, don't eat it.

    I also agree with wahday's assessment of cravings and how they relate to exercise. I definitely need to get off my butt more.
    Occupy Your Brain!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    wahday's and Terra's observation are spot on.

    But how do we do this today? This was so much easier when there was less processed crappy food. People didn't have to be as disciplined 75 years ago because they didn't have all of the choices.

    It's easy to say that you just need to be more disciplined, but our relationship with food is like no other. We need it to live, but it can kill us as well. Is there anything else like this? We don't need cigarettes or alcohol or recreational drugs to live. We NEED food.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    even at upscale places like whole foods and local co-ops it can be tricky to purchase truly healthy products, but for the majority of Americans they have no such options. Most American communities only have one or two major chain supergroceries.
    Buying local is not an option for most people.. Some barely have anything besides a walmart superstore for purchasing groceries. It's nearly impossible to purchase truly healthy groceries at a typical Safeway or Albertsons.

    The whole grain pasta and bread often contain various additives that are unhealthy. Anything canned has way too much sodium and other unatural preservatives. Even packaged raw rice and beans are often contaminated. There are of course different ideas of how to eat "healthy". I think most people consider "fresh" vegetables purchased at a major grocery store to be healthy - but in reality they have often been genetically modified with who knows what, have been sprayed with all kinds of pesticides, and had various chemicals added after the harvest to make them appear fresh long after they aren't any more.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    The whole grain pasta and bread often contain various additives that are unhealthy. Anything canned has way too much sodium and other unatural preservatives. Even packaged raw rice and beans are often contaminated. There are of course different ideas of how to eat "healthy". I think most people consider "fresh" vegetables purchased at a major grocery store to be healthy - but in reality they have often been genetically modified with who knows what, have been sprayed with all kinds of pesticides, and had various chemicals added after the harvest to make them appear fresh long after they aren't any more.
    This is true, but as someone earlier mentioned, it sure beats McNuggets.

    I buy organic when I can afford it, which is not often enough. I trust that the fruits and veggies I get at the farmer's market are actually grown organically, though they aren't all certified.
    Occupy Your Brain!

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    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    My friend also used a phrase a few years ago that stuck with me - Recreational Eating. All that snacking, opening and closing the refrigerator door a thousand times a day to see if this time maybe there is something more delicious (and having a taste of whatever you find). I try to avoid recreational eating if I can, but it can be damn hard. The ready availability of food at any time of day and night certainly has changed our relationship with food dramatically.

    Also, I read somewhere about healthy eating (maybe that Dr. Weil guy) that you can go ahead and eat junk food, so long as you make it all yourself from scratch. Which really cuts down on frivolous eating. Cookies are relatively easy to make, but it takes time and you have to clean up afterwards. So, in theory, it really won't happen all that often. In theory...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  10. #10
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    My friend also used a phrase a few years ago that stuck with me - Recreational Eating. All that snacking, opening and closing the refrigerator door a thousand times a day to see if this time maybe there is something more delicious (and having a taste of whatever you find). I try to avoid recreational eating if I can, but it can be damn hard. The ready availability of food at any time of day and night certainly has changed our relationship with food dramatically.

    Also, I read somewhere about healthy eating (maybe that Dr. Weil guy) that you can go ahead and eat junk food, so long as you make it all yourself from scratch. Which really cuts down on frivolous eating. Cookies are relatively easy to make, but it takes time and you have to clean up afterwards. So, in theory, it really won't happen all that often. In theory...
    In Olden Days entire frontier communities had to get by through entire winters on only a single box of Twinkies. Grandma used to have to treadle away for hours at the hand-powered soya paste extruder (kept in the back of the cabin). Junk food was a true luxury item back then.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    In Olden Days entire frontier communities had to get by through entire winters on only a single box of Twinkies. Grandma used to have to treadle away for hours at the hand-powered soya paste extruder (kept in the back of the cabin). Junk food was a true luxury item back then.
    But those were the days when Twinkies weighed 50 pounds each. There's been considerable downsizing of the product since then. And how did that treadle work with hand power? She might have been more productive using her "hands" on that hand-powered extruder.
    ďDeath comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.Ē

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    It was interesting living in the remote village in Sri Lanka that my group evaluated for post tsunami recovery and planning purposes. There was very little junk type food to be had so we just didn't eat it. We knew the people we bought all of our vegetables for, the guy that raised the chickens that we bought eggs from, a short hike over the sand dune in the morning to pick fish straight out of the nets that had just been pulled in, fresh crab from the guy down the road, buffalo milk curd (yogurt) that had been made in the morning and left to set up for eating later in the evening or next morning, we ate other kinds of meat pretty sparingly as it was difficult to get. Basically we would by peanut butter, crackers dal, rice, sugar, milk powder, and water at the small grocery store in the nearest "big" town. Everything else we bought from people we knew. The only junky thing we could get was soda and they came in little glass bottles that you couldn't take away from the store unless you bought the bottle too and occasionally you would find a snack size bag of chips.

    That's hard to do here. Since I have to be a label nazi due to being diabetic I don't eat much processed food since they are high in carbs, sugar, and fat. I eat lots of vegetables and meat. Cost and convenience are driving factors for me and I try to buy the least processed and pesticide free food that I can. Unfortunately with food system regulation that runs at the behest at Big Ag, there's not much that happens on a large scale.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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