So much information, so little time, where does one begin and who do you trust?? These are the questions that I get often as a Yoga Teacher, Coach and Chef at Mountain Trek Health and Fitness Retreat. With the huge increase in nutritional science and research, coupled with the alarming array of obesity and health related problems it is no wonder that we as a nation are concerned and looking to all sorts of information from experts. Lets make it as simple as possible and deal with some of the obvious issues and then wind our way into a more in depth look at nutrition and wellness.
From all counts it is evident that the average North American diet is what’s killing us and causing weight problems. It is not news to anyone that fast food, and diets highly concentrated in refined carbohydrates, cooked meats, saturated fats and sugar are the cause of many problems. This is not to say you have to give up your meat, you just need to adjust things perhaps. One of the big concerns of course with a diet just mentioned, is that of cholesterol. Generally diets of that nature produce very high levels of cholesterol, which is of course a major health concern. But did you know that, according to the American Heart Association, certain foods actually lower cholesterol (rather than just not raise it)? Studies indicate that garlic, onions, leeks, tea – both green and black, soy products (tofu) and red wine are considered to be the top cholesterol burners.
For heart healthy meals that are rich without the added fat try roasting garlic and using the rich cholesterol burning paste as a spread on low-fat crackers, as a substitute for fat in baked potatoes, or to “cream” up a soup. Simply roast, by peeling and then placing as many cloves as you wish into a roaster or a heavy loaf pan, sprinkle with a very little bit of extra-virgin olive oil. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until the cloves are soft.
Studies have also shown that refined sugar may even be more harmful than fat, as a risk factor for heart disease. It not only decreases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), but it also increases the production of harmful triglycerides and raises the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Studies have also found that sugar weakens the immune system, and a high sugar intake is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. Both sugar and refined carbohydrates, such as those found in white breads, baked goods and pastas made from white flours, can over stimulate insulin production when eaten in excess, leading to obesity and diabetes, both of which can shorten life expectancy and the joy of living .
Summer is the optimum time to shape up your diet and reduce or eliminate processed foods. Think of your body as a high-powered Ferrari, and that you would only put in the best feul into it, no different for your amazing body. Allow your fuel to be optimum and you will get great performance, whether you run marathons or a household
Remember real change is made one choice at a time, take it slowly, be good to yourself and enjoy your life!!