Monday, August 1, 2011

Food is Energy

During our childhood years, most of our parents probably had difficulty in getting us to eat. They had to trick us into believing that baby food was delicious - some of us are parents now and have even taking a bite from the jar to prove it to our little ones. And let me tell you, it's hard to keep a straight face after taking a spoon of baby spinach.

As we grew up and progressed to table food, our thoughts were preoccupied with running and playing outdoors, or in our bedrooms. To me, my toys were much more appealing than a plate of Dad's delicious brown meatloaf and cornbread, although I did like the chocolate cake which was almost always served this meal.

As we grow, an abundance of fat became a part of our daily diets and when combined with a lot of salt, the result was quite addictive. Fat and salt - imagine that. However, when these elements were combined with sugar, we were thrust to a whole new level - a giddy, happy eating-time level.

Keeping these thoughts in mind, most of us were groomed to embrace food because of the taste. Just compare these two situations. Both Margo and Todd are standing in front of a well-stocked buffet with a stoneware dinner plate in their hands. Let's listen in....

Margo: "Ohh, so much tasty looking food! That mac n cheese looks dreadfully delicious. Oh - and I think I'll have a slice of that honey baked ham. Oooooh - and pumpkin pie. Yes indeedy - I'll take a slice of that tasty goody."

Todd: "Hum. Which items should I refuel my body's energy needs with? Beans - they'll give my body a real boost (in more ways than one). Hum. And I'll also take a slice of the honey baked ham - another super-recharger. And yeah, a cup of blueberries, a true super food for super energy. And they'll help combat the ageing process as I refuel."

My point is that most of us think of food as tasty go-getters unlike Todd who sees food as energy. And although he sounds a bit fuzzy, he is right on target. Food is energy - energy is food. Although we've been programmed all our lives to think of eating time as a pleasurable experience where one enjoys the taste of food, meal time is like taking pit stops along the trail of life. Our bodies require refueling every few hours - just like a car that travels for many miles and begins to run low on gas. And just like a car, if our fuel runs too low, we begin to sputter and jerk and hiss.

So the next time that you sit down for a meal, as you load your plate think of food as energy. Think about all the foods before you and what they can do for your body. Here are some more pointers:

Plant foods represent life so choose these foods in abundance. Plant foods represent a garden of life - as well as a circle of life that keeps producing good things.

Dairy foods represent gifts from nature. Ironically, most dairy foods receive scrutiny from the health community due to health concerns. Butter, milk, eggs, cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, buttermilk, cream cheese, ice cream - all identified as contributors to clogged arteries and heart disease by the health community. A good suggestion is to go for the skimmed or low fat versions.

Grains represent a high level of energy. They are also very filling and will stick with an individual for hours after ingestion. Opting for whole grains offers a bounty of health rewards.

Fats represent body fat and although necessary for our survival, they should be restricted. Fats are generally combined with sugar, honey, syrup or molasses in addition to salt. Fat and sugars are extreme in calories; sodium encourages water to be retained within the body - so both food agents should be respected and considered when choosing dietary fats. If you plan to enjoy a pat of margarine or butter at each meal, then you may want to rethink having that slice of apple pie or that pack of cupcakes or that bowl of full-blown ice cream on the same day.

Water replenishes our bodies and keeps them operating and moving smoothly. Water impacts so many aspects of our body - from the way our skin looks, to the speed of our digestive system

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