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Navigating the Food Highway

Navigating The Food Highway
Or How To Enjoy Eating Well

Food temptation is everywhere! Tantalizing samples in the grocery store, candy and chips at the checkout stand, chocolate covered strawberries in the downtown specialty store window, and who can resist the aroma wafting from Cinnabon at the mall?

The food industry employs brilliant scientists who work on just how to make food attractive, stimulating, and irresistible. When foods are developed for packaged sales at the grocery store or to be sold from a big box drive through window, the recipe includes just the right combination of fat, sugar, and salt to enhance the appeal and addictive qualities of that product. This is done intentionally by the food manufacturing industry, without regard for our health or well-being—their focus is on the company profits.

We have become captive to this line of thinking by the food manufactures to a large extent because we have been propagandized to believe that we are too busy to cook real food for ourselves. This mere fact gives the food industry a foot-in-the-door; once we taste their “convenient” wares a time or two, we literally want more—because the combination of fat, sugar, and salt arouses our brain—specifically the area of our brain that houses emotions, and like it or not, our emotional state has a tremendous impact of what, when, and how much we eat.

The Nutrition Action Newsletter, published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, offers much valuable, practical, and science based nutrition information. Much of the content provided is intended to help us, as consumers, wade through advertising claims and to interpret ingredient lists and food labels. In this month’s issue, an excellent article by David A. Kessler, MD, JD, and former commissioner to the FDA, held my attention. The article “Why We Overeat” is just a taste of what he writes about in his new book “The End of Overeating”, and offers fascinating insight into the brain chemistry of eating and overeating, as well as the intention of the food manufacturers to corral us into overeating. The article also provides a few practical tips to avoid overeating, called Food Rehab. Check out The Nutrition Action Newsletter for more valuable information at www.cspinet.org.

Planning ahead is a survival tip I have long-promoted to clients.  So many factors contribute to both the quality and quantity of foods we choose, only some of which are within our control. Identifying these opportunities that we can in fact “control” (without become too controlling!), will allow for meal enjoyment without becoming over-fed.

•    Eat 5 small meals per day. Small is the operative word here. When we eat often, in small amounts, wonderful responses occur in the body and mind:    
o    The brain stays well-fed, which promotes reasonable food choices throughout the day.
o    Blood glucose levels as well as the responsive and interactive release of insulin remains balanced.
o    Fat burning mechanisms maintain active throughout the day, leading to efficiency in fat metabolism.
o    Feeling “ravenous” is less likely to occur with steady food intake throughout the day, again supporting healthier food choices as well as balanced metabolism.
o    Our emotions are more balanced as well, as spikes in glucose highs and lows are much less likely in a well-fed, not under-fed or over-fed state.

•    Drink plenty of water
o    4 – 6 glasses of water per day keeps the body flowing (in more ways than one!), and a strategically timed glass of water will diminish your appetite temporarily to allow you to safely navigate appetizers or the bread basket!

•    Prep food for the week
o    In the May HeartMatters e-newsletter, I wrote in detail about how to prepare food ahead of time, in the evening or during the weekend, so that throughout the week you have pre-cut fruit, veggies, small meals, and healthy snacks available to enjoy. Please refer to that issue for more information.

•    Be patient with yourself regarding eating well
o    It’s not all or nothing. For those of you that have become habituated to eating real food, in small amount, often throughout the day, congratulations. For those of you who are new to this eating style, it is important to set small step, realistic daily goals that lead to forward movement on the food highway.

Eat, drink, and be merry!

Robin Mallery

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"The Holiday Survival Cooking and Eating Class exceeded my expectations. It was so enjoyable to learn new ideas for healthy snacks and meals, taste the delicious treats we created and leave with an inspired hope that this will be my healthiest holiday season yet! I am impressed with the knowledge and care that Robin (and Wendy from In the Kitchen) both possess and I look forward to taking more classes in the future. Thanks again!"  --Rose M.   “What a wonderful, yummy class! Not only did we participate in creating several easy-to-make, delicious, nourishing dishes for the holidays and every day, we also learned strategies for surviving and enjoying the upcoming holiday season. Both Robin & Wendy were delightful and imparted their cooking and eating knowledge with love, humor, and enthusiasm. I highly recommend their classes to anyone who is interested in developing a better way to look at food, using thoughtfulness with mindfulness to learn some very valuable strategies for eating any time of the year!” --CAM   “I found the class delightful with great ideas for the holidays. In the Kitchen is a warm and welcoming place and you and Wendy were great teaching collaborators. Good new recipes. I appreciate your healthy eating information. I recommend this class to anyone wanting to enjoy the holidays without stressing over food. Actually, the information isn’t just for the holidays. I want to stay healthy all year and eat well.” --Pat B.   "I’ve participated in several classes at In the Kitchen, enjoyed them all immensely, but it is always a special treat when Wendy teaches a class. The recipes offered in The Holiday Survival class were easy to make and so delicious. And what a plus to have Robin co-teach the The Holiday Survival class with Wendy. Thank you, Robin, for all your great information on healthy eating, which was delivered so professionally, dovetailing beautifully into Wendy’s presentation. Hope you two team up again for more classes of scrumptious, healthy recipes. What a fun evening!!" --Carol B. _______________ I love this positive feedback! How gratifying it is to touch the lives of others in a meaningful way…and to be able to do so around a topic that is so dear to me, is just the icing on the cake (right—pun intended!). Wendy Van Wagner and I will continue to offer seasonal cooking classes in addition to the occasional specialty class…stay tuned!
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