How To Pick Healthy Food That You Love
Healthy food is essential for a happy life with good health.
What’s our definition of healthy food? Simply food that fits this profile:
- We love to eat it!
- It’s part of a plan to maintain healthy weight.
- It provides variety and balance in our diet.
- It reduces our risk of acquiring serious diseases.
This is the Healthy Food Cornerstone or Hub How To Page. It’s a step-by-step guide for how to choose healthy food, with links to related articles on ArtChester.net posts about Healthy Food.
Here are the steps we’ll take to discuss healthy food:
- A sensible way to think about weight in our eating plans.
- Healthy food choices to prevent disease.
- How foods are changing, and how they change us.
- As a bonus: some of my favorite recipes!
First, we have to get one concern out of the way:
I. But I Don’t Like Healthy Food!
What if you know what you like, and you know that what you like is not healthy food ?
Even if you don’t like “healthy food” there are ways you can eat food that’s healthier:
- “Like” is not a yes-no emotion. Each of us likes some foods more than others. And among the foods that we find OK, some are healthier than others. Therefore, we have the power to tilt the balance of what we eat toward healthier food.
- We know that how things taste depend on many outside factors: our feelings, our surroundings, our mental associations. (I discussed this in an earlier blog, How To Enjoy Wine). So, give the food a chance! When you eat, try to get into a good mood, in good surroundings, with enough time to eat in a relaxed manner.
- Choose a variety of food for your meal, and mentally sort it by “healthier” and “not so healthy.” Then start with the healthier choices, eating slowly so that your stomach has time to feel full. If you can let your meal last more than twenty minutes, by the time you get to the less healthy foods, you won’t feel as hungry. You may find that you can eat less of them, or even pass them up now and then, since you have already slaked your hunger.
II. Healthy Food and Body Weight
Here’s a sensible way to think about body weight in our eating plans: Healthy food choices don’t mean anything if we eat too much, or too little, for good health. But if we obsess about our weight we are neglecting all the other dimensions of being well.
Here are the ingredients for a sensible weight plan:
Adopt Realistic Weight Goals
When I visit a doctor, the staff often hands me a written summary of my visit. The last time I saw one it included a calculation of my Body Mass Index (BMI). That’s a single number that classifies you as Normal (practically never), Overweight, Obese or whatever.
It should be obvious that a number based on nothing but weight and height cannot apply to everyone. Muscle is heavier than fat, so if you exercise a lot your BMI will go up – but that doesn’t mean you are necessarily overweight! Similarly, if you are older and hence more likely to acquire medical problems, a higher BMI actually improves your chance of survival. There’s more info on that in this blog post:
While it’s OK to consider BMI as one ingredient, it’s not the only factor you should use in setting a personal weight target. You should also consider your physical fitness, age, chronic medical problems and general health. And if you plan a program of significantly changing your weight, you should certainly consult with your doctor first.
Beware of Advertising
Also, it’s important to think “buyer beware” when you read about supplements, foods or diet plans that are advertised as a “magic bullet” to conquer weight. Here are a couple of articles that will activate your hype sensor and put you on guard against misleading ads:
Strategies for Weight Control
If your target weight is less than you presently enjoy, it’s helpful to have some weight loss tools at your disposal. The following articles offer help in several different ways:
- Tips on day-to-day tactics that help control weight:
– Weight Loss Help – from Berkeley!
- Advice on how to enjoy a social gathering without eating more than you intended:
– Holiday Diet: Slim While You Stuff
- How eating more slowly controls your weight while still satisfying your appetite:
– Slow Food, Nimble Body, Long Life
- The role of home architecture in weight control:
– Your Kitchen Design is Making You Fat
- The surprising fact that “junk food” appears to be less of a health hazard for women than for men:
– Junk Food for Women, Not Men
III. Humans Evolved Eating Healthy Food
Humankind evolved eating whatever they could find or catch, so long as it didn’t eat them first. Humans who happened to like the taste of poisonous foods died off and we did not inherit their genes. Instead, we have the genetic makeup of survivors, who liked the taste of foods that helped them be healthy.
But along the way humanity developed commercial agriculture, aquaculture and ranching. They made changes in how they raised edibles. They added chemicals to fend off pests, to make plants and animals grow faster, and to preserve perishables longer. Those chemicals are recent additions to our diets. It will take many thousands of years before survival-of-the-fittest weeds out people who are eating harmful foods without realizing it.
However, we know that modern diets increase the risk of diseases. Heart disease, diabetes and cancer have become major health problems. To some extent, it’s because people live longer. However, research also shows that these diseases are aggravated by what we eat. The bottom line is: today, we can’t be certain that everything that tastes good is also good for us.
Healthy Food That Prevents Disease
There are several ways that food can encourage disease. For each way, here’s an article that guides you toward healthy food:
- Perfectly good foods, consumed to excess, bring disease. Examples are diabetes, plaque deposits in blood vessels and Alzheimer’s disease. A good approach is to adopt one of the total diet strategies that has shown good health results. For example, this article discusses three such diets: Mediterranean, DASH and MIND:
– Alzheimer Prevention: Risk Down by 35 to 82%
- Some foods are harmful. They contain substances that, in sufficient quantities, cause cancer or problems with hormone balance. The two most serious actors, pesticides and cooking byproducts, are discussed in these articles about food cancer:
– Organic food: Coffee, Booze & Other Health Food
– Safe barbecuing: Barbecue Sí, Cancer No (¡ !) – Safe Grilling
- Certain foods become harmful during the process of digestion and become carcinogenic. Meats are especially likely to pose a risk. These articles explain the problem and advise how to avoid it:
– Bacon Cancer: Hazards at the Meat Counter
– Meat Cancer Prevention: Defeat Evil Spirits!
- Some foods are statistically associated with reduced disease and greater life expectancy. Although we have trouble explaining how they may make us healthy, many folks believe that these are healthy foods and belong in our diet. The following articles discuss three prime examples: nuts, coffee and alcohol:
– Crazy for Nuts, or Just Crazy?
– Coffee, Booze & Other Health Food
IV. History of Food and Eeew
These articles are offered for your general interest in how food is evolving and its social dimensions.
Foods Are Changing and I Don’t Like It Because Eeew
These articles describe how foods are changing, not necessarily in appetizing ways(!):
Food and the Evolution of Creativity
This article describes a fascinating study of food in China. It suggests that the kind of food available guided the level of innovation as society developed:
History of a Retailer
The following article gives my personal history of a food retailer that I especially like:
V. A Bonus For You: Healthy Food Recipes!
Nola and I have many many recipes that we love. The following are the recipes that have thus far made it into my blogs:
– Blueberry Pizza, in: Alzheimer Prevention: Risk Down by 35 to 82%
– Eight recipes here: Mighty Avocado
I hope this Healthy Food cornerstone page has helped you see how to pick healthy foods and make them part of your life. If you’d like to know as soon as posts like these are published, please join my mailing list here:
– fast food by Gerald_G on openclipart.org
– weight loss by oksmith on openclipart.org
– slow food adapted from snail – coloured by Frankes and fast food hamburger by Gerald_G, both on openclipart.org
– bacon with halo adapted from bacon by Made20rder555 on Wikipedia and halo by themidnyteryder83 on openclipart.org
– coffee / martini adapted from coffee cup by GR8DAN and martini by gnokii, both on openclipart.org
– Trader Joe’s coffee beans photographed by Art Chester
– blueberries by netalloy on openclipart.org
– avocado by pipo on openclipart.org