Food is Much More Than Just Fuel
Food is emotional, familial, ethnic, social, cultural and religious and, by the way, it is also fuel for our bodies. Eating is one of the most intimate and profound acts we perform. It is true communion; we are actually taking in energy sources from nature and the food literally becomes part of our very cells.
Therefore, it is not surprising that we have imbued food situations with complex levels of meaning. The emotional associations with food begin before we know words. We pick up on the emotional energy of the feeding experience. Parents pass down their attitudes about food to their children, whether consciously or unconsciously.
The issue, then, is how many of these subconscious attitudes and beliefs are driving our food choices and are the consequences of these food choices causing problems? If your health is good, including an appropriate body weight and body composition, healthy cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar, then your food intake is probably in balance.
However, if you have been trying to improve your nutrition choices and you keep “failing” due to deep, unconscious feelings about food, then you may want to examine some of your food choices and eating “triggers.”
In our culture, one of the most common examples of a situation triggering eating behavior is going to the movies and eating popcorn. The association is strengthened by the wonderful aroma of popcorn, and the fact that it is a high glycemic, high fat food which tends to encourage overeating. But, unless you go to the movies (and eat tons of movie popcorn) several times a week, it is probably not the main cause of dietary imbalance.
There are lots of other social situations that tend to trigger desire to eat certain foods: kick-back nights and pizza, carnivals and cotton candy, street fairs and kettle corn. But, the real issue is usually the more personally associations because these may happen daily and many times throughout the day. If your daily food choices are driven by emotional triggers, it could cause serious nutritional problems.
The most common emotional triggers for consuming certain foods are stress, anxiety, nervousness, happiness, depression, anger, fear and boredom. We may have a specific food “fix” or it may be a taste, such as sweet, salty, crunchy, fatty or any combination of these.
One of the best defenses against emotional eating is eating well. If you are well nourished and not overly hungry or feeling deprived, you will be less susceptible to temptation. A good dietitian can help you set up a personalized, healthy eating plan. Depending on the severity of the eating issues, other ways to deal with emotional eating may be nutrition counseling, psychological counseling or group support such as Overeaters Anonymous.
Whether one chooses outside support or attempts to change their habits with self awareness, it is essential that the approach be positive and loving. At the deepest level, we associate food with love. Therefore, we can’t force ourselves to change using rigid ideas and harsh discipline. We must fill the emotional void with positive feelings.
Old, destructive eating habits can be replaced with an understanding that eating well is a sacred act of self care and love. We can make new associations by viewing our new eating habits as daily affirmations of health and wellness.
Core Strengthening Exercise
Torso Twists: Hold your hands together at chest level. Keep your knees and hips squared forward; gently twist to the left, tightening the abs as you twist. Return back to center and repeat to the right side. (8-12 repetitions)Add a comment
These legumes are loaded with amino acids (the building blocks of protein), iron, B-vitamins, fiber and minerals. They’re also relatively low in calories and contain a trace amount of fat.Add a comment
Exercise to Re-Energize Your Day
Ab Curls: Sit with your back about 4 inches away from your chair. Cross your arms over your chest and sit up straight. Tighten your abdominal muscles and press the middle of your spine in to the back of the chair. Your shoulders should curl towards your hip bones. Hold for 2-3 seconds, and then return to sitting up straight. (8-12 repetitions)Add a comment
Cooling Cucumber Eye Compress
Cucumber is helpful for soothing irritated, red, swollen eyes. To prepare, dice a cucumber and place the chunks in a food processor with a tablespoon of mineral water. Turn on the processor just long enough to mash the cucumber into a water paste. Spoon the mixture into cheesecloth or gauze squares, wrapping each square into individual eye-pads. Stack the eye-pads in a sealed plastic container and refrigerate to have on hand for a soothing, relaxing eye treat.Add a comment
Tips for Cooking Bison
By Dale Van Sky, Executive Chef
Bison and grain fed beef have a lower fat content so lowering the temperature by 25 degrees will slow the cooking process. This allows the internal temperature to reach the desired doneness without over cooking the exterior.
Cooking times will vary in accordance to the cut on meat; I recommend a meat thermometer to check doneness.
Never press any meat, burger, steak or chicken; this will squeeze out the juices producing a dryer product. When cooking roasts you should let them rest because while they are cooking the juices are forced towards the middle of the meat. Letting it rest allows those juices to rejuvenate through the meat.
An Interview about Antioxidants with Dr. Brad Crump, Health Services Manager
Q: With all the fad diets that come and go, why is a diet that is rich in antioxidants worth holding on to?
A: Antioxidants are those nutrients that can slow down oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress can be looked at as “rusting” in the body. Where there is oxygen, there will be reactions that produce free radicals. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that have the capacity to cause cell and tissue damage. Antioxidants are nutrients that can make free radicals more stable and decrease their ability to cause harmful reactions in the body.
Due to the environment in which we live and even through the normal process of detoxification where free radical s are produced, it becomes essential to provide the body a constant source of antioxidant rich foods.
Q: Can you suggest some super fruits that are worth adding to your diet due to their antioxidant benefits?
A: According to the best research, those fruits that are most beneficial for their antioxidant benefits are:
- Red Grapes
You can never go wrong with berries. They are nutrient dense, have a low glycemic index and of course, are a rich source of disease fighting antioxidants.
Q: Does Red Mountain Resort & Spa has an antioxidant diet or detox diet?
A: Red Mountain has a monthly detoxification week where a specific menu is provided for those participating in the program. The meals plans consist of antioxidant rich foods and detoxification smoothies as well as other anti-inflammatory foods.
The meal plans specifically remove the most common allergenic/inflammatory foods including dairy, wheat, gluten, corn, refined flours and sugars, alcohol and caffeine. It also includes a wide variety of antioxidant dense foods such as berries and vegetables like spinach, broccoli, red peppers, onions and eggplant.
Q: How do you recommend making an antioxidant rich diet part of ones' life?
A: All meals and snack should consist of a healthy amount of antioxidant rich foods. The key is to identify those that are most pleasing to you and incorporate them into diet. Most people enjoy having a smoothie for breakfast. This can consist of a wide variety of antioxidant rich fruits. Adding blueberries to oatmeal or other hot cereal is an option. At Red Mountain, we utilize special extracts that can be added to water to make them more flavorful and increase intake of these health promoting nutrients.
Q: Can you drink your antioxidants?
A: Preparing an antioxidant rich drink is a convenient and effective way of adding antioxidants to your diet. As mentioned, Red Mountain utilizes detox smoothies and extracts added to water. We always encourage eating whole foods to increase fiber consumption.
A daily smoothie is a great way to get your antioxidants. Here is a sample of a healthy smoothie:
½ cup of apple juice
1/8 cup blueberries
1/8 cup raspberries
1/8 cup blackberries
1/8 cup strawberries
2 tbs ground flax seed
1 scoop of rice protein powder
2-3 ice cubes
A nutritional power pack, Sunflower seeds are a great source of healthy fat, protein and fiber and are loaded with vital nutrients like vitamin E, zinc, selenium, folate and iron.Add a comment
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