Archive for March, 2013

THIS Should be a Top Priority

I pulled up to the doctor’s office this morning with Sophia, our youngest daughter.

She had a basic "Well Check" visit. 

We were the second car in the parking lot…

…and when I got out, I saw a dad and his daughter in the front of the car next to us eating their breakfast.

They had a bag of McDonald’s and a Starbucks.  I assume it wasn’t coffee, as she looked to be around 6 or so …

… maybe hot chocolate?

There were actually a lot of things about that that I wouldn’t recommend.

But let’s look at the positive.

I’m glad she was eating SOMETHING before school (she had a uniform on, so that was likely their next stop).

Certainly not the best choices, with the high fat, fiber free breakfast and sugar bomb hot chocolate, but maybe this was their once a month "treat" they enjoy together.

Not my place to assume.  I DID like they were eating together.  Would I have preferred it around the kitchen table? Sure … but that’s neither here, nor there and I don’t know a thing about their situation.

Anyhow, it made me think about a recent report I saw from Welch’s called the "State of the American Family: Mealtime a Top Priority."

We make it a priority in our house.  Now, granted, our kids are younger so it’s less of a challenge than for those who have kids in 45 different activities, but that doesn’t make it any less of a priority.  Our goal with starting this now, is so that it is a habit and is "the norm" even as all our lives get busier.  And if you don’t have kids but do have a spouse or significant other, this is important for you, too. 

Fortunately and, I’ll be honest, surprisingly, this report that surveyed nearly 900 people, found that family dinners are alive and kicking with most families reporting they eat dinner together most nights of the week.  More specifically, 75% say they eat together four or more nights and 34% eat together every night.

The question is WHY is this so important?

Does it really make a difference?

One recent study showed that even just sitting down for a few more minutes each night could help stabilize body weight.  That’s crazy.  JUST a few more minutes each night. 

phones will kill youOutside of body weight it also helps improve communication, models manners, decreases drug and alcohol use, improve grades … and, again, helps manage body weight.

But enough of the benefits, HOW can you make this happen with your busy life?

Though it may be a goal to hit all meals, 7 days of the week, let’s be realistic.

 

 

 

 

These 3 Tips will help you Make Family Meal Time a Top Priority.

  • Plan 4 days each week to eat together as a start and have everyone chip in to make it happen.
  • Find a recipe everyone likes — if cooking isn’t your thing, pick up a book.  Here’s one a trusted friend wrote who has a little one herself, so knows what it’s like to feed a family.
  • Plan ahead.  Know what you’re going to make before 5 PM when everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  We do this by making a menu for the week each Sunday and planning for some cooking days and some leftover days within the week.

And while this isn’t a tip, per se, to make things easier … PLEASE turn off electronics during this time.  "Family" dinner time isn’t a time to be distracted by TV, phones, texting or anything else.  That defeats the purpose of what we’re after.

Fuel your greatness and let us know how you do on the family meal time!

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Food IS Medicine

I was recently on a trip to NJ.

A guy named Sanjiv in my group told me he was recently diagnosed with diabetes.

At the break, he pulled me aside and said "do you think I NEED to go on medication or can I cure this without?"

I said, "Sanjiv, medication won’t cure anything.  It is like a Band Aid on the underlying problem.  Food IS medicine.  Exercise IS medicine.  And combined, they can cure your diabetes."

Now, and this isn’t putting "blame" on him because he was completely unaware of how to eat to better control his blood sugar.  Sadly, he said his physician simply told him to "eat less and start exercising." 

chris mohr says food is medicineBrilliant advice.

During our conversation he was eating a bagel with jelly, had a plate with banana slices and some dried granola and was washing it all down with orange juice.

Loads of carbs, which are exactly what he doesn’t need.  Very little fiber (which would help), zero protein (this would help too), and no healthy fats (so would this).  He just wasn’t aware.  Yet. 

And, sure, there’s some controversy over whether diabetes can be "cured" or just "controlled" — but we’re of the mindset that type II diabetes can be cured

Again, Food is Medicine!

Outside of the diabetes, let’s look at this a little more closely.

It’s interesting that the majority of people suffer from diet dependent disease.  Does that then mean it’s possible to prevent disease through diet?

We think so.

For example, one recent study showed 100% of people don’t get the recommended amount of omega-3 fats. Yet another showed omega 3 insufficiency (less than optimal intake) is the 2nd leading cause of dietary related mortality!

A simple problem that eating more fish — or, better — replacing less healthy protein options with fish, could "cure."

Other studies, too many to count, show that including more veggies and fruit in the diet can lessen the risk of cancer, heart disease and others.

Replacing low fiber, processed carbs with their high fiber counterpart could also lower the risk of disease.

Standing vs. sitting can prevent disease.  A recent study showed too much sitting leads to heart disease, cancer and depression.  Sitting. Something we all do way too much of day in and day out.  Simply replacing that habit with more movement – get up once per hour and move for 5- 10 minutes – in addition to structured exercise can cure (or prevent) disease.

Diabetes is one great example – one of the scariest diseases, but at the same time one of the easiest to control.

So, yes, there you have it.  Food IS Medicine.  Exercise IS Medicine.  They are the two most powerful "drugs" in the world.  Changing habits on both fronts will also cure the modern day health care crisis.

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Four Simple Tips to Make You Better

Today I have four tips that I will help you get better.  For you that might mean healthier.  Maybe shed some pounds.  Or at least maintain the pounds you’ve already shed.  Regardless of your goals, there are a few simple nutrition tips and strategies that will benefit all of us.

And none of them have to do with eating x or not eating y.

First, learn to cook.  There is no single more important factor that will permanently change your health, your body and set you up for permanent results.  I admit cooking isn’t the easiest thing.  But learning some basics around the kitchen is a must.  Maybe try a local cooking class or pick up a simple cookbook or magazine and challenge yourself to try 1 new recipe per week.  If you’re relying solely on take out or eating out, though, staying on track will be an uphill battle.

Second, eat what you love!

Eat what you love.  I often hear people talk about eating “diet” foods like rice cakes, low fat this and low carb that.  But if you don’t enjoy any of those foods, don’t eat them.  You should enjoy what you eat.  The challenge is eating the right portions of those foods you love. This might mean splitting a dinner with someone or enjoying an appetizer and a salad. 

Third, be in charge when eating out.  This may seem strange after I just told you to learn how to cook, but let’s face it, you will eat out on occasion.  We all will.  But be in charge and be smart about your choices.  I say be in charge meaning you’re the paying customer; ask for what you want (within reason).  Ask to swap the fries for a baked potato.  Ask for a side of veggies instead of the rice.  Ask for them to not put the bread on your table.  You get the idea. 

Piggybacking on #3, fourth, spend money on better restaurants when you do eat out.  What do I mean by this?  Rather than eating out at less expensive, not real high quality restaurants, or spending $10-$20 getting take out several times per week, save that and make eating out a more special occasion.  You’ll spend more at that single time, but when saving by not eating out so regularly, it will be worth it in the end.  You’ll A) get better food and B) not be eating out at less healthful restaurants the rest of the time.

There you have it – 4 super simple, yet very effective tips when permanently changing your health and body.

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