We fret. We’re fretters.
We worry and obsess about which diets to try, what kind of exercise to do, and which weapon is most powerful in the all-consuming War on Free Radicals.
Hey, it’s all important. But here’s a big secret about getting and staying healthy: the little things do count. That’s because health is cumulative. Make a few really simple switches, stick with them until they’re habits, and you’re well on your way. Eventually, the habits add up, and you’ll get into Total Health Overhaul Territory. But the belief that THOT happens overnight, with a single “I’m really, no, really gonna do it this time!” vow, is a myth. Stop pressuring yourself! It’s not that tough!
Start small – really small. As in, the two feet of refrigerator real estate we all have reserved for condiments. Also known as those “foods” that last longer than some relationships.
Ten condiments you really don’t want in your fridge – and what to replace them with:
10. Oh sodium, how I love thee.
You don’t want: soy sauce
At least it won’t kill you: light soy sauce
You do want: Bragg’s aminos
Aminos don’t make the world a better place, but they’re really good for you.
9. Mrs. Butterworth(less)
You don’t want: artificial maple syrup
At least it won’t kill you: whole-wheat pancakes with fresh fruit and honey
You do want: a sparing amount of real maple syrup + fresh fruit + nuts
Get the flavor of pancakes and syrup without giving your pancreas hives. (Sorry, Mrs. Butterworth.)
8. Yea, though I walk through the aisle of dressing…
You don’t want: Hidden Valley anything
At least it won’t kill you: raspberry vinaigrette
You do want: balsamic vinegar and olive oil
Try walnut and avocado oils for variety. It’s best to mix up your own vinegar/oil combos, because many vinaigrettes are high in sugar and come drenched in additives.
7. That thing about sugar and spice being nice? Yeah, they were wrong.
You don’t want: BBQ sauce
At least it won’t kill you: steak sauce (still loaded with weird things, but only a few calories and no sugar)
You do want: to whip up your own marinades using vinegars, oils, and fresh herbs
Spices: paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt, pepper. Add those spices to equal parts tomato paste, dijon mustard, and olive oil. Give it a dash of apple cider vinegar. So easy, it doesn’t feel right (but it is).
6. Avoid pale things
You don’t want: mayonnaise
At least it won’t kill you: Omega-3 mayonnaise (still often uses canola and palm oil, but better)
You do want: European yogurt (admittedly pale, but that can’t be helped, can it?)
This plain, high-fat, sugar-free yogurt also goes by “Greek” or “Mediterranean” yogurt. It’s got that mayo tang, it’s dense and smooth, and it’s healthy.
5. No seriously, avoid pale things
You don’t want: cream cheese (contrary to popular belief, this is not protein)
At least it won’t kill you: cottage cheese
You do want: organic cottage cheese
I recommend the full-fat version (yeah, I know, I’m crazy). Full-fat means less processing, less sugar, and more satisfaction – so you’ll eat less of it.
4. Toast-tearing conspiracy?
You don’t want: peanut butter (full of oil, sugar and, oh yeah, bugs)
At least it won’t kill you: organic peanut butter
You do want: fresh, unsalted nuts, or a healthier nut butter like almond butter
Peanuts often contain aflatoxins. Clickativity: what Dr. Weil has to say about those. Isn’t it irritating trying to spread cold peanut butter on toast? Is it just me? This is why I don’t eat bread (O.K., not really).
3. With a name like Smuckers, it doesn’t have to be anything
You don’t want: jelly, jam, and any other high-sugar “fruit” spread
At least it won’t kill you: fruit preserves with no added sugar
You do want: fresh fruit
I like to chop up a few different fruits, toss ‘em in the blender for a few seconds, and promptly devour the entire thing (the fruit, not the blender). This “jam” tastes great on whole wheat products, but I prefer it on chicken breast and fresh fish.
2. No cause for alarm
You don’t want: chemical-laden, trendy spicy sauces that cost $4 for a tiny bottle
At least it won’t kill you: hoisin sauce
You do want: Tabasco or any other chili sauce
Never underestimate the power of heat for your health. Just make sure you’re ingesting real spices, not factory flavorings.
1. Dyed and gone to…
You don’t want: any of the plethora of colorful condiments aimed at kids (do we need purple anything?)
At least it won’t kill you: ketchup (it’s got a little sugar, and who knows where those tomatoes came from, but you’ll get a generous serving of antioxidants)
You do want: salsa!
A lot of people forget that salsa is a vegetable. Make your own or buy the fresh stuff for a sodium-free version of this veggie topping that goes on just about everything except cereal.
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The Fuming Fuji is outraged at the marketing of toxic food, especially when it is aimed at the small fry. This week, the Fuming Fuji has decided to have a problem with cupcakes.
But, Fuming Fuji, you say, isn’t a miniature dessert now and then better than eating fast food all the time?
The Fuming Fuji says no!
The claim: For the love of all that is human, Fuji, a cupcake? A cupcake is a heartwarming treat in a sensible portion size. If you’re going to eat a dessert, this is the way to go!
The catch: A sensible portion compared to what? The Cheesecake Factory and its evil one-pound slice of cake? This does not make a cupcake smart. Yes, the Fuji grants that your cupcake is better than many things. A cake in a cup is, for example, much better than lard in a cup. But the Fuji must inform you that a little bit of bad compared to a lot of bad does not make the little bit of bad good. You are stunned.
The comeback: Huh? Look, no one is perfect, not even you, Fuji. Like I said, a cupcake is better than eating fast food all the time.
The conclusion: The Fuji cannot help you until you seek help for your disturbing obsession with this dessert in a cup. It is not even a real cup! But it is real sugar. I fume!
The catchphrase: Tiny tots need fruit, not fructose!
Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji. Also, we have no issue with cups.
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
Here’s your daily dose of clickativity from the world of health, Apples!
We’re all over Food Processing‘s report on Ye Ole Pizza Puff. Evidently, pizza puffers are desperate to find ways to reposition (translation: manipulate). So much so, they’re not relying on the old marketing standbys: lower fat, lower calories, reduced sodium. Trans fat? Nope. Not even.
Marketing always works better when there’s a story to buy into. Preferably older and…mythier.
Food marketers are no exception: pizza puffs are being repositioned as fulfilling the ancient Greco-Roman tradition of breaking bread. The Romans shared small treats to aid in digestion, stimulate the appetite, and share the much-desired warm fuzzies. Appetizers, basically. This is an age-old tradition that anyone can appreciate. What’s not to love about a small bite to ease digestion and get everyone in a cheerful mood?
The difference is that the Romans ate real food. They may have had vomitoriums, but they sure didn’t have deep fryers.
You’ll love the shameless discussion of how to convey a particular story to trigger a desired emotional response in consumers (ca-ching!). We particularly love this line:
“While these products are viewed as healthier than shelf-stable snack foods, their fat and sodium levels can be high. These ingredients are part of what makes the food taste good and increases their satiety. So the real challenge is how to create a ‘healthy halo.’ ”
Can our food processing foes rise to the occasion? Or will this challenge prove too difficult even for them?
Give Your Colon the Blues
Blueberries, that is. They’re excellent for your colon, and let’s face it, so much tastier than toast. Blueberries have practically illegal levels of fiber and antioxidants, and you can eat an entire one-pound bag for fewer calories than a bran muffin.
Check out our delicious blueberry breakfast recipe.
Reducing Stress: Not Just for Girls
WebMD has just published a nice piece advising women over 50 to reduce their stress. It’s a terrific little list, so there’s no reason everyone shouldn’t be trying these tips out. Get to it! Go on, shoo!
Yoga: it’s not just for hamsters anymore. Thanks to Seattle Roll on Flickr!
Web It Out:
Achieving great health is a lifelong journey. For me, great health means many things: having energy, being strong and fit, fostering healthy relationships, keeping my brain sharp, and eating nutritious, enjoyable food that helps me prevent major health problems. That’s my recipe, and given the fast-paced nature of life (and Mondays in particular) I think a little dose of humor rounds it out. Having a laugh is one of the best things you can do for your health.
A few gems for your Monday Moment:
“Researchers have discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two but can’t remember what they are.” – Matt Lauer
“Food is an important part of a balanced diet.” – Fran Lebowitz
“I work so hard to stay in shape. Whenever I read anything, it says, ‘Consult your doctor before doing any exercise.’ It always says that. Does anybody do that? I kind of think my doctor has people coming in with serious problems. I don’t think I should be calling him and saying, ‘Hi, this is Rita, I’m thinking of bending at the waist.’ ” – Rita Rudner
“A contemporary comforted me with the observation that it’s nice, as one approaches 50, to discover what one wants to be when one grows up.” – George V. Higgins
“He was a great patriot, a humanitarian, a loyal friend; provided, of course, he really is dead.” – Voltaire
“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.” – Albert Schweitzer
And I couldn’t resist…
“Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.” – Redd Foxx
This week’s challenge is all about appreciation. With all that is going on in the world and at home, it’s easy to become worried and anxious from time to time. That’s not healthy, but it is part of life!
This week, focus on appreciating what you do have. Even when life is difficult, there are things to be thankful for. Count what blessings you do have, and trust that more are just around the corner.
Something to think about: spending a few moments counting blessings is much easier than the exhausting “personal development” trend that is so popular of late. Improving yourself is a vital part of good health and a satisfying life, but the irony is that this prescription can become yet another stress-inducing measure on your personal fix-it list.
Instead, just take a few minutes at a given time every day this week to reflect on what you appreciate. It’s simple, but it works.
Different Flickr Photo
appreciation, personal development
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