News from the American College of Sports Medicine:
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), awaited amid much speculation for its impact on the act’s ongoing implementation, changes nothing about one fundamental truth, according to medical experts and scientists. Leaders of the American College of Sports Medicine point to physical activity and exercise as a powerful prescription for what’s ailing the U.S. citizenry, health system and economy. There is widespread and bipartisan support in Congress for effective steps in preventing disease rather than trying to pay for treating people after they get sick, including major promotion of physical activity and healthy lifestyles.
“Americans’ lack of exercise will cause seven million early deaths in this decade, according the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services,” said Janet Walberg Rankin, Ph.D., ACSM president and an associate dean at Virginia Tech. “With chronic diseases—including heart disease, stroke and diabetes—responsible for seven out of 10 deaths, and with physical activity and exercise shown to help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic conditions, healthy lifestyles must be a part of the health care equation.”
“It’s good medicine, it’s sound science, and it’s an economic necessity,” said Robert Sallis, M.D., FACSM, a physician with Kaiser Permanente and past president of ACSM who chairs the Exercise is Medicine global health initiative. “Chronic diseases account for 75 percent of the nation’s health care spending. Increased physical activity can play a powerful role in treating these problems and, even better, in preventing them from occurring in the first place. If the benefits of exercise could be captured in pill form, it would be the most widely prescribed drug in the world.”
Walberg Rankin and Sallis recommend that, given the ability of physical activity and exercise to help people of any age or health status gain and maintain better health, these considerations should be central to any discussion on health policy. “Governments worldwide, from the community level to national legislatures, are wising up to what businesses are already finding out,” said Sallis. “Keeping people healthy has a profound impact on the bottom line. Lack of physical activity has an estimated cost of $223 billion to $381 billion per year, which is now going to treat preventable diseases.” Exercise can cost next to nothing, with enjoyable activities such as walking available to almost anyone.
“Beyond the avoidable cost in health care dollars, we need to look at the loss of worker productivity and the impact of non-communicable diseases on families and on individual quality of life,” said Walberg Rankin. “Research shows that physically active people have fewer hospital stays and physician visits. Our nation—and every community, workplace and organization—must act on the growing evidence base supporting Exercise is Medicine and collectively shift focus from overspending to treat preventable diseases to keeping people healthy. That’s a proven prescription for individual health and America’s bottom line.”
Any effort toward your better health is beneficial. check out this article from the NY Times.
All those extra calories from Thanksgiving to New years can add up. Here are some ways to trim a few off and still enjoy all the goodies that make this time of year so special.
All purpose white flour has about 50 more calories per cup than the whole wheat variety. Cut those calories in half by substituting half the all purpose with whole wheat. If you don’t like the taste of whole wheat try “white whole wheat” flour. This variety is becoming more common. It can easily be found in Trader Joe’s and is offered by some of the smaller mills like Bob’s Red Mill. Here’s the difference between the two:
Regular whole wheat flour is milled from hard red spring wheat which results in a flavorful, tan colored, high-fiber flour. It creates heavy, denser, nuttier flavored baked goods.
White whole wheat flour is milled from white whole wheat, which makes it lighter in color and less bitter in flavor. Yet it’s got the same nutritional value of regular whole wheat flour. It creates lighter, sweeter baked goods.
I bet you are wondering if you can replace all the all-purpose with whole wheat, the answer is no. The difference in gluten content affects taste and texture. You’ll get gummy cakes and muffins. ick. Go with replacing half at the most.
This is best for pancakes, muffins, quick breads and cookies.
Try replacing half of the oil with applesauce. This is best for quick breads and muffins. I do this often with great results.
Simply try cutting sugar in half. I do it all the time and have never missed it. As a matter of fact I think it tastes better. This is especially true of breads and muffins that you have replaced half the oil with applesauce. Because of the sweetness of the applesauce you almost have to reduce the sugar.
Another thing you can try are vegan recipes. Look over some vegan blogs and websites and see what you can learn. Often animal products are replaced by much healthier alternative and with great results.
Palm oil is a common oil used in commercial foods such as cookies, pastries, savory snacks (potato chips, etc) and in personal care products and cleaning products. The problem I’d like to alert you to is the fact that palm oil is imported from places like Malaysia and Indonesia where vast amounts of oxygen producing rainforests are being destroyed in order to establish palm oil plantations. This practice releases enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as well as displacing animals and people who live in the rain forests and depend on them to live. Ultimately, we all depend on the rain forests to live as they filter the air and contribute oxygen to the atmosphere.
I urge you to pay attention to details like this and do your best to make conscious decisions you feel good about in your daily life. We should endevour to not go about our lives making habitual choices without realizing how these choices effect our lives on a greater scale.
We’ve all been sold on the idea of not having enough time to cook. Marketing agencies for big food companies have worked very hard over many decades to do this with the goal of selling lots and lots of poor quality packaged convenience food. They have been very successful and have convinced us, miraculously, that it tastes good and is healthy, or at least not harmful. That’s all we have to do is look at the poor state of the average Americans health to determine how wrong the health claim is. The fact that most of it is unhealthy is a no brainer but the fact that we think it tastes good is a matter of altered palettes. The fact is, the convenience food industry grew out of the war ration industry of the 1940’s. Basically, our taste buds have been trained to like, if not even crave, the salty poor quality fake food that was made to last months and years during world war II when folks may not have access to food at all. All well and good for the war years, but now?
Back to the ad agencies successfully convincing us we have no time. I’m skeptical of that. How can we have no time to cook healthy meals for ourselves and our families yet have on average 4-1/2 hours per day to watch T.V.1? And that is a modest statistic, some claim we watch even more. We’ve been told we have no time and we’ve believed them. We’ve been told cooking is a drag and it’s difficult. We’ve been told healthy is expensive (it’s not when you know how to shop for these types of items). We’ve been told so many destructive lies that undermine our health for the profits of large food companies it’s hard to wade through them all. But I’ll get off my soapbox and get down to what I’m doing here.
What I plan on doing in the “Get out of the Box” series is to share with you some of my favorite recipes that I’ve discovered, through trial and error, do a great job at replacing those processed box products we’ve been sold. Overall, they don’t take all that much more time and in the long run cost a whole lot less too.
The food industry is interesting and, in my opinion, very important to be aware of. Whatever your opinion is, whether you care or not, that’s fine with me. I’m not preaching. BUT, it is important to be aware of what is going on with the food you put into your body. I imagine many of you are familiar with Fast Food Nation and/or Supersize Me least of all you’ve heard of them. It’s a good start. Here is a list of some great resources to learn more. This is in no way all the books I have read or recommend, just a primer.
The Omnivores Dilemma – Michael Pollen
Food Rules – Michael Pollen
In Defense of Food – Michael Pollen
Food Politics – Marian Nestle
What to Eat – Marion Nestle
I’m Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Eat It Anymore – Christina Pirello
Fast Food Nation – Eric Schlosser (also a documentary)
Forks over Knives
We all know cutting calories promotes weight loss. Dieters watch their food intake, count calories and watch the scale for results. But how about that day when its someones birthday at the office and you have a cupcake or you’re out to dinner and you just can’t resist that warm Italian bread with butter. Oh well – right? Diets blown may as well eat what I want and start over tomorrow. Well folks, that’s a terrible idea. In fact the worst thing you can do for your diet! You can take a 200 calorie mistake and make it into a 1600 calorie nightmare putting yourself at a severe disadvantage the next day when you resume you diet. Just because you go over your caloric goal it does not give you license to go crazy!
We all slip up and honestly, a cupcake here and there isn’t so bad. But what we need to do is be forgiving of ourselves and rather than give into failure (for lack of a better word) we can merely look at it as a momentary lapse. Get yourself together and come up with a plan to compensate rather than drowning in a calorie, fat and sugar attack on your poor body. A cupcake, slice of pie or warm bread is easy to compensate for (calorically anyway) but a cupcake, milkshake, big mac and bag of chips is another story altogether. You see, your diet is not actually blown. There is a lot of push/pull involved in changing our habits and patterns. We are going to move forward then slide back a little. It’s all part of the process as long as you see it that way. Keep at it!