Good Food — Bad Food
Just as it is impossible and not even desirable to totally eliminate sugar, fat and salt from your diet it is equally impossible to unequivocally create a solid list of all good foods and all bad foods, but good choices can and must be made. Here is an example of a typical dinner for me back in the days when I was just a tad under 300 pounds.
One vanilla milk shake 560 calories 26 grams fat 272 mg salt
Half a roasted chicken 1890 calories 30 grams fat 3720 mg salt
Mashed potatoes with gravy 230 calories 5 grams fat 780 mg salt
Peas 134 calories 1 gram fat 383 mg salt
TOTALS 2814 calories 62 grams fat 5155 mg salt
That was just one meal and just the staggering amount of salt was well over any reasonable estimate of a daily maximum. But guess what, I eat peas so I told myself I had a healthy meal. That is known as self-deception and it can be deadly. ndeed in my case it came damn close. So I made a few lifestyle changes and here is my typical evening meal these days.
One cup of mixed vegetables 120 calories 1 gram fat 64 mg salt
Four ounces white chicken meat 141 calories 3 grams fat 99 mg salt
One slice flaxseed bread 50 calories 1 gram fat 60 mg salt
One half cantaloupe 95 calories 1 gram fat 44 mg salt
TOTALS 406 calories 6 grams fat 267 mg salt
I am not going to offer up a whole bunch of specific meal ideas. There are plenty of books available on that topic. But in broad terms pretty much anything that grows from the ground is good with some rather obvious exceptions such as hemlock and opium poppies
Lettuce, kale, tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, apples, onions, pears and carrots are just some of the good foods. Even fish in general and salmon in particular along with skinless white meat make it into my list of good foods because I am not a vegan.
Bad foods to avoid include pretty much anything that is processed, such as sausages of all kinds and anything that comes in a can. With truly rare exceptions donuts, cookies, cakes, pies and ice cream have made it to my do not eat list.
So now you should start to focus on creating a menu that is right for you. For weight loss the single most important number is calories, but that is by no means the only important number. Fat content and salt content are also very important.
Virtually all foods sold in super markets today have a nutritional content label on them. Obviously fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fresh meats and fish do not have such a label but those nutritional values are easily found online HERE. You may also install either the S Health or the My Fitness Pal app on your smart phone. Both provide extensive nutritional information about pretty much everything even slightly edible. The one big take away from all of this is always know exactly what you are eating. Get the specific information and diligently work at reducing both fat and salt along with the calories.
At first you might find these changes to be a bit challenging. But stick with it and what you will cheerfully discover is that over time you will increasingly begin to enjoy the good foods much more and the bad foods much less. One personal example out of many is fried chicken. I used to love fried chicken. Now the mere smell turns me off. But I will admit I still sometimes struggle a wee bit with French fries when I end up with my granddaughter at McDonalds. But these days it is four or five pieces and no longer one super-sized bag of fries. So at the end of the day it really comes down to getting the facts and exercising self-control. It can be tough but it can be done and the positive results make it all worthwhile.
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Copyright © 2016 Ron Irwin
Photos by Ron Irwin unless otherwise noted
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.