Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Think Fat, Think Healthy, Think Cost

Upscale people are fixated with food simply because they are now able to eat so much of it without getting fat, and the reason they don't get fat is that they maintain a profligate level of calorie expenditure. The very same people whose evenings begin with melted goats cheese...get up at dawn to run, break for a mid-morning aerobics class, and watch the evening news while racing on a stationary bicycle.

Swallow hard: Your grocery bill is getting more expensive. Healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables are costly! Processed foods can seem less pricey. To keep our grocery bills in budget, do we need to make sacrifices in healthy eating?
A research has just put out a report to encourage healthy food purchases. They say that healthy food is not necessarily more expensive but to agree, you need to measure your food in terms of its nutritional value, not in terms of calories.

For the same price, you can get more processed foods salted and sweetened foods or high-fat foods than healthy foods. But that's only if you measure the food by calorie counts. But almost all Americans get enough calories. In fact, most of us get too many.

Food should be valued based on the nutrition it provides. To be fully nourished, you need to eat a balanced diet that includes portions from each food group, fruits and vegetables, proteins, grains, and dairy. Outside of the food groups are "empty calories." They come from "food waste"non-nutritious parts of food. Fats and sugars are considered non-nutritious.

Accordingly the Research reports, when you measure foods by how much of a "food group" portion they provide (price per average portion), you get more food for your money by buying fresh fruits and vegetables, meats or whole-grain foods, compared with processed foods or packaged snack foods. When you measure foods according to how much food they contain after you subtract any "food waste: (what is left is called the edible weight), you also come out ahead by spending on healthy foods.

Here are some ideas to improve your grocery shopping value:

Buy no soda. Added sugar increases your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The Nurses' Health Study found that women who drank one or more sodas or sweetened drinks daily were almost twice as likely to develop diabetes, compared with women who seldom drank soda. The women who drank sodas regularly also were about 10 pounds heavier on average. Drinking water is much cheaper than buying soda.

Put a limit on juices. Juices pack a lot of sugar and they carry little fiber. They give you calories but they don't fill you up. Juices should be limited, even for kids.

Always buy dairy. Milk products contain calcium and vitamin D, which are important for bone health. Keep low-fat or non-fat dairy options on hand. Having basic dairy ingredients and eggs in your refrigerator at all times may enable you to pull together a fairly healthy and low-cost meal at home instead of eating out.

It is probably not important to buy the more expensive hormone-free (r-BGH and r-BST free) milk. If they are present in milk, these hormones deteriorate in our digestive tracts when they are exposed to stomach acid and digestive enzymes. All milk on the grocery shelf as long as it is pasteurised is probably safe to buy.

Stay loyal to whole fruits and veggies. Fresh produce is best, but canned or frozen fruits or vegetables have almost equal nutritional value to fresh foods. Remember that you can freeze vegetables if you don't eat them right away.

Save on meats. You don't need much meat for a meal. Groceries package meats in large portions, but packaging doesn't have to determine your serving size. For example, I slice pork-chops into half-thickness slices, because they stretch farther.

Remember canned fish and clams, which can be lower-cost seafood items. Canned tuna is made from "throw-away" fish that are too small to be cut into steaks. Because it is from younger fish, canned tuna has less mercury contamination per serving than a tuna steak has.

Bring in the legumes. If you don't regularly cook or eat beans, lentils, garbanzos, hummus, dal or other legume foods, find a recipe or two to try. Legumes are a great source of protein, and they are not expensive.

Should you buy organic foods? Buying "organic" foods can steeply increase the price you pay. Don't buy organic foods if you need to cut down on the quantity of fruits and vegetables that you buy in order to afford them. Washing, peeling, freezing and cooking fruits and vegetables eliminates a portion of the pesticides. Animals that are raised for meat have higher pesticide residue in fat, so removing fat and skin from meat also reduces your pesticide exposure.

If you choose to spend extra on organic foods, buy the organic versions of the fruits and vegetables in the "dirty dozen." Experts from the Environmental Working Group say at least half of our pesticide exposure from food comes from these items.They are:
Sweet bell peppers
Grapes (imported)

Food labels (also called nutrition facts labels) are required by the Food and Drug Administrations and are now seen on every food that has been processed before purchase. Currently, these labels show the calorie count as well as how much of a days recommended daily allowance is provided. These labels might be more useful if they told us how much of a "food group portion" was contained in a usual serving. They should also tell how much "food waste" is contained in each serving and how many empty calories.

It is the mark of a mean, vulgar and ignoble spirit to dwell on the thought of food before meal times or worse to dwell on it afterwards, to discuss it and wallow in the remembered pleasures of every mouthful. Those whose minds dwell before dinner on the spit, and after on the dishes, are fit only to be scullions.
To eat is human, to digest divine and he who eats greedily alone chokes alone.