Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Eating Healthy - Back to Basics!

Isn't it funny how society in general believes that by eating healthy we must have to eat uninteresting and tasteless food. How wrong it is to believe this. However, I do think this fact is changing but not quickly enough. If we could just rewind a little to way back before fast food eateries and remember what it was like for most people we would see that back then people did eat healthy and enjoyed what they ate. Often you would grow your own vegetables and fruit. People made their own jellies, sauces and chutneys. No preservatives and no additives.

But as times changed and homes were built on smaller blocks cutting out veggie patches, people working longer hours, more convenience shopping close at hand and of course fast food eateries popping up everywhere we have become lazy! It is easier to stop for some food rather than make something at home. Who wants to spend their time tending a vegetable garden when they can just go to the local store and buy what they want? Having both parents working instead of having mum at home cooking nutritious meals and snacks our kids are stopping off and buying fast food. This same food that they have been seeing advertised so often on that dreaded television set that they sit in front of for hours.

With all the obesity, heart disease, diabetes and stokes that are quickly becoming a fact of life I think it is time for people to really sit up and take note that often all they have to do is exercise regularly and start eating healthy! To do this they need to think about what they are eating now compared to what they should be eating. First they need to cut down on sugary drinks such as cola. They need to drink more water and eat fresh fruit and vegetables along with lean red meat, skinless chicken, fish, lean pork and stop deep frying!

You must remember to eat breakfast lunch and dinner with fruit, yogurt, vegetables or seeds for snacks. Eat smaller portions and make sure you have plenty of fiber in your diet as well. This really is not hard to do. And when you do start eating healthy you will notice that not only will you start to look and feel better but also your food will look more interesting to eat compared to burgers and fries. These have no color or texture that is appealing. You just have to look at a plate of vegetables and you are awed by the wow factor of color.

Of course, by all means do have a treat once in awhile and if that includes a hamburger, fries, a soda or some chocolate then so be it but do it only in moderation. I know that I am a big fan of potato chips but I do have them in moderation whilst I eat healthily the rest of the time. Once you are in a routine of eating the right things and exercising regularly then you can afford to have these treats occasionally.

Susan Dean is the webmaster of http://www.vitalhealthsecrets.com/healthy/ Visit her site for healthy tips and advice.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Heart Healthy Cooking Tips

Taking care of the old ticker requires exercise and a decent diet. There's simply no substitute for either. We'll leave the aerobic concerns to more informed minds and stick to the stuff that goes in the gut, namely the heart healthy foods everyone needs to stay fit, and the heart healthy cooking techniques that keep them that way. There's no substitute for either of those either.

Low saturated fat, low cholesterol dishes are what we're after here, and hold the butter and other added fats. The unhappy fact is that certain ingredients and preparation methods can add unwanted saturated fat and cholesterol to your food.

One can bake without fear, broil to the heart's content and microwave all day (just don't stand too close). Poaching is cool and steaming is even better. Seafood, chicken and vegetables are all good candidates for grilling. Lightly stir-frying or sautéing foods in cooking spray, small mounts of vegetable oil or reduced sodium broth are other healthy options. When roasting even skinless meats it's wise to place meats on a rack so fat can drip away.

There are lots of ways to cut out unwanted saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet that don't take the fun and flavor out of meal time. Butter is not your friend, what with its 8 grams of saturated fat and 11 grams of fat per tablespoon. Salsa is your good buddy though, with 0 grams of saturated fat and 0 cholesterol found in 1/4 of a cup. Creamy salad dressings are notoriously loaded with the bad stuff, while a reduced fat Italian sports only 2 grams of fat and tastes just as good.

There are many fine and tasty herbs, spices and condiments that can add zest to some of the more bland heart health dishes. Herbs include oregano, basil, cilantro, thyme, parsley, sage, rosemary. Cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and paprika are all acceptable spices. Along with the reduced fat or nonfat salad dressing and salsa there are old standbys like mustard, catsup, horseradish, reduced fat or nonfat mayonnaise, reduced fat or nonfat sour cream, reduced fat or nonfat yogurt and reduced sodium soy sauce. That's to say nothing of Parmesan cheese, fruit preserves and simple red pepper flakes, none of which will harm you heart.

And there you have it. With a little planning, a bit of knowledge and a smidge of extra effort anyone, can eat right for their heart without giving up a healthy enjoyment of food.

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