Sunday, February 17, 2013

Power to choose

We live in a busy world and we are always on the rush.  Because of this we  frequently skip breakfast in the morning but then reward ourselves by super sizing the combo meal at lunch time. Several times a week we consume meals with enormous amounts of sugar, sodium, and trans fats. In addition our jobs require that we sit behind a desk all day long with little or no exercise at all.  But unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. What is happening with our families?  Do you know what is inside your children lunch boxes or what kind of food is offered at the school cafeteria? Over time, these are some of the main causes of obesity and diseases such as diabetes, heart problems or even stroke. Did you know that diabetes is the number one disease here in El Paso affecting more than 85,000 people? (El Paso Diabetic Association, 2011). In a city of 830K people that is roughly almost 10% of the population.

Is there anything we can do to help revert this situation?  Absolutely.  We can start by bringing awareness. If you are reading this blog chances are that you are interested in being part of the solution, and for that we want to say thank you.

To more specific actions, let’s start with small goals which in time will let you accomplish bigger goals.  Last time we spoke about consciously changing our eating habits, so let’s apply what we’ve learned so far.  If you want to eat healthier and feel better about yourself please remember that you have the power to choose what you put into your body. You can decide what is good for you and what is not. So in a very simplistic way you can start by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Choose to eat your chicken grilled instead of deep-fried or ask for steamed veggies instead of the loaded baked potato.  Avoid diet soda, because artificial sweeteners cause more damage than good to your body (you are better off drinking iced tea with a couple spoons of real sugar than drinking any dietetic beverage).  Every time you make a decision at a conscious level you can be proud of yourself because that means that you are in total control of your actions. And this is valid even if for whatever reason you choose to eat junk food, because you are completely aware of the consequences of the choice you made... And that is OK, because perhaps you are already thinking in walking an extra mile to compensate for the poor choice.

If you can do something as simple as that, you already won your first victory. Now  pass the message to your loved ones. Let’s start changing El Paso.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Your body will thank you sooner than you think...

Okay, the first month of the year is officially gone.  Remember that a few weeks ago you made a series of promises to yourself?  Promises such as eating less junk food or exercising more to be able to lose some weight.  All of them very well intended and plausible intentions but... Where are you today in regards with your promises?  

We want to help you with your quest! Last time we talked about a couple of things we could do to start off the year in a good way and hopefully at this point you are already looking at things in a different way.  You know that it is healthier for you to choose meals with few ingredients (the fewer the better). We understand that there are occasions where eating fast food is unavoidable but if given a choice it is better to avoid fast food if possible because it usually contains a long list of components, most of which are highly processed and artificially created. 

Eating whole foods is a much better choice because this way you will put your body to work breaking down the components of the food you eat.  If you make a small change in your diet and you start consuming whole foods regularly, it will make a big difference to your body because it will help you change your metabolism: Did you know that eating whole foods forces your body to burn calories when it breaks down the food? And you get the benefits of the fiber, controlling cholesterol and improving your digestive system. But when you consume refined products the body does not have to work as much because most of the sugars are already processed and go directly to the blood stream; so instead of burning calories the response of the organism is to transform the excess sugar into fat. Let’s remember that 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat.

So, if we understand what we do, we are empowered to consciously change our eating habits, and because of that, we have a better chance of succeed in our intentions.  It is a good choice to choose to eat vegetables usually in a form of a salad, but we can make it a better choice - healthier and smarter- if we choose to eat a green leaf salad. Spinach or kale contains loads of iron and calcium which are good for you.  An iceberg lettuce salad is not a very good choice because  lettuce has a very low nutritional value (mostly composed of water).  Make it even better by seasoning it simply with oil and vinegar instead of a heavier blue cheese or ranch dressing.  Your body will thank you sooner than you think.