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Category Archives: Eating Healthy

Food And The South

It is well known that the South has become a hot spot when it comes to the obesity crisis in America. Tennessee, the state I live in, is the buckle of the diabetes belt with over 30% of adults obese. If you also count in adults who are overweight it comes to over 60%. With that being said it is not hard to figure out why these numbers are so high. People eat like crap.

From my own experience it is very difficult to find a wide array of healthy food products in just one store. We have Bi-Lo Publix, Food Lion, Walmart, Whole Foods and an Earth Fare. Often I’ll be searching for ingredients for recipes and I will have to hit three different stores just to find what I need. Many of the grocery stores, if not all, in the lower income areas carry a very poor selection of fresh fruits and veggies and seem to center around their in-store deli foods, such as fried chicken and chicken salad.

Way back in the bad old days people ate fried foods down here because they were  cheaper to make than fancier dishes. Instead of progressing away from that the South is still stuck in a rut. Even if people can afford better food they will still pick a chicken biscuit over a bowl of healthy cereal. I’ve had several different people tell me that they will eat the foods that they love until the day that ‘God’ decides that it’s their time to go. So, not only do you have generational eating habits that are bad you have  religious dogma thrown into the mix for good measure.

You are surrounded by bad food down here. Yes, all of America is crowded with fast food shops, but down here there are also a huge amount of buffet restaurants. I used to live on the West Coast and I never saw as many Asian buffet type places out there as I see here. Seriously, you can’t go down a main street without finding one. They all reheat the same unhealthy Sysco shipped frozen food and the people swarm into them like locusts. Also, there are a lot of  ‘down home’ type places that serve almost nothing but fried foods.

To be quite honest I think the only way things are going to change down here is if people get better access to good food and realize that it doesn’t cost a ton of money to eat healthy. The prevailing attitude around here is that only the rich yuppies go to Whole Foods and Earth Fare. Okay a lot of them do! However, my boyfriend and I don’t earn that much money and have begun to buy food that is better for us.

Choosing Your Food Battles

For the last few months I have been eating more and more healthy. Six months ago I decided that I wanted to lose 24 pounds and get back into shape. The entire female side of my family is either overweight or obese and for years I dodged the bullet by being naturally skinny. However, once I got into my late 30’s my metabolism slowed down and I found myself gaining weight because I was eating pretty badly. In the beginning I will admit that I tried some diet type foods, such as fat free cheese,etc…, however as time wore on I came to realize that I could regular food. As long as it was healthy and I controlled my portion size I would still lose weight. The only problem was trying to decide what to eat.

We all know that there are a lot of terrible food items out there. We all also know that many supposedly healthy foods have questionable ingredients in them. It becomes overwhelming for the average person to try to figure out which of these ingredients they should try to avoid. There is no way that anybody is going to avoid every single questionable ingredient unless they own their own farm and are making all of their own food. If you are somehow avoiding every single ingredient I applaud you! I think some people give up eating healthy food because they figure that it is too hard trying to keep up with the ‘If you eat this it will hurt you.’ list.

I have figured out a way through all of this; pick your own personal food battles. Yes, it is always great to be able to buy organic food that doesn’t have GMO’s, but realistically that can be a very difficult task. I try to buy organic foods whenever possible but sometimes the food that I need isn’t available as an organic option. Picking your food battles allows you to take baby steps toward your healthy eating goal. Maybe you’ll just stick to that same level forever, and that’s fine because you are doing your best to try to eat healthy. Maybe your first food battle will lead to yet another one and another one until you are eating as healthy as you possibly can.

Here is the list of the foods and ingredients that I refuse to eat:

beef

turkey

HFCS or any type of corn syrup

artificial sweeteners

TBHQ*

BHT and BHA*

bleached flour of any kind

artificial dyes (I’m just beginning my battle with this one)

Those are my battles. My future battle plan includes getting a bread maker so that I can avoid all of the things that are put into bread these days, and in a few months I will be baking my own muffins and bakery goods if I want to eat something of that nature. I want to start controlling what goes into my body more instead of depending on others to do that for me.

I hope that this post inspires you to choose your own food battles. No matter what battle you chose to fight in the end you are trying to eat more healthy and that is what counts. By the way, I lost all the weight and am now probably in the best shape of my life.

* Link to info about TBHQ

* Link to info about BHT and BHA