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Assorted Thoughts to Chew On

Let’s face it, we all have to eat.  And, research repeatedly indicates the items we put in our mouths affect the wellness of our bodies.  Now, some people might say they know individuals who can consume whatever they like with no ill consequence (or so it seems).  Nevertheless, most of us need to be mindful of our eating habits.

Well, how can we get off on the right food foot as another year begins?  Here are various thoughts.

Read labels.  Some of us recognize products we like in the supermarket and throw the items in the cart without ever checking to find out what is inside.  However, this type of behavior is not a good idea.  Why?  Some foods are laden with sodium, preservatives, chemicals, and other ingredients that have the potential to compromise well-being.  Because of this, try to get in the habit of reading what you’re eating.  But there’s a long list of names you can’t even pronounce?  That should be a good indicator the item is best left on the shelf.  Sure, there may be one or two products many of us love so much we don’t care what the heck is inside.  Still, for the bulk of a person’s diet, ingredients matter.  A rule of thumb when reading food labels?  The fewer the ingredients, the more nutritious the product: although there are exceptions to nearly every rule.

Buy organic and local.   USDA organic products must meet certain requirements.  For example, they are typically free from pesticides, irradiation, antibiotics, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), etc.  Foods containing 100% organic ingredients and 95-99% organic ingredients may display the USDA Organic label (assuming the food maker has gone through the proper channels).  Even so, some local farmers do not go down the organic certification route because they want to keep their prices lower (the organic process can be costly).  Some of these same farmers do not spray their crops with pesticides or lace animal feed with antibiotics.  Therefore, in addition to organic food fare, local farms and farmers’ markets tend to be great shopping destinations.  Still, be sure to inquire about the respective location’s farming practices to ensure you are getting the safest food for your money.

Implement portion control.  Animal and human studies have suggested that larger meals contribute to excess weight and/or health problems.  Perhaps you enjoy a juicy steak, and unless your doctor says otherwise, that is generally fine.  However, experts recommend no more than 4 ounces of protein in one sitting, but some people don’t thick twice about gulping down a 12-ounce prime rib!  And, meat is not the only overindulgence culprit; actually, there are many.  For example, a lot of people enjoy mashed potatoes.  Yet, one serving is all that is needed to satisfy the appetite, but various individuals go back for seconds and thirds.  Ideas to help with portion control?  Use smaller plates and eat your meals slowly.  For additional information concerning the possible harms of overdoing it in the food department, go to http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/12344/1/Negative-Effects-of-Over-Eating.html

Freeze leftovers.  Okay, so you have made a tasty organic meal but ended up with more food than you can eat.  And, you realize you should not keep leftovers in the fridge for longer than two to three days because bacteria can multiply and make you sick.  Hmm, what now?  Divide the food in suitable portions, place in airtight containers, and freeze.  A fair number of people tend to keep cooked meals in the refrigerator for too long and then end up tossing them for fear they’ve spoiled, but this is a regrettable waste (not to mention the healthy food you make is apt to be much better for you than the processed, frozen meals available in grocery stores).  Actually, when wholesome leftovers are frozen properly, they taste extremely fresh when thawed.  For freezing tips, go to http://www.favoritefreezerfoods.com/freezer-containers.html

Yes, when it comes to food, a few beneficial changes can add up to impressive health gains.  So, chew wisely!

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