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You are What You (Plan to) Eat
T
here is an old saying, “You are what you eat.” We should
your meal plan. Food
change that saying to “You are what you plan to eat.”
shop on a full stom-
Unfortunately there is a lack of support in this country
ach to avoid buying
for our basic need which is to eat pure, unprocessed nutri-
unhealthy foods. Stick
tional foods. Packaged and processed foods have become the
to the perimeter of the
standard way of eating in this country. Eating fresh fruits, veg-
supermarket for most
etables, and unprocessed grains have become a foreign way of
of your food purchases.
life for most people. Why do we eat packaged and processed
Schedule a food preparation
foods on a regular basis? For many people it is the conve-
time each week to organize your meals. Cook and store any
nience factor. Unfortunately packaged and processed foods
foods that can be prepared ahead of time.
are taking a toll on our health as a nation.
Planning out what you are going to eat for the coming
64 million Americans now have metabolic syndrome which
week will increase your chances of eating healthfully. Pack-
is a cluster of symptoms that could lead to heart disease or dia-
aged foods and take-out food can be expensive so preparing
betes. These diseases collectively are costing our country $700
your foods saves you money. If you are looking to lose weight
billion per year. The National Cholesterol Education Program
or improve your health in anyway you must plan your meals to
states in their guidelines (May 2001) that lifestyle changes
succeed. By dedicating one to two hours of food preparation
(diet and exercise) are recommended for prevention of heart
you will save hours in the kitchen during the week. You will
disease. If we don’t make a change in our lifestyle habits the
also be amazed at how much food you can create with one
health of our nation will continue to decline. What is the an-
simple recipe.
swer to this healthcare dilemma? We can begin by planning
out what we are going to eat each day. Making proper food Sheri McNally has over 20 years of experience educating people
choices is the foundation for a life without disease.
in the health field. She is a Certified FirstLine Therapy Lifestyle
So, let’s answer some of the what, when, why and how
Educator/Nutritionist working with Gene Gresh, R.Ph., FIACP
questions of healthy eating.
at Pioneer Health Compounding Pharmacy. She can be reached
at Pioneer Health Compounding Pharmacy 520 Hartford
Tpke, Vernon. (860)979-0089 www.pioneerhealthcenter.com
• What should I plan to eat? When compared to the USDA
Food Guide Pyramid (recommended by the American Heart
Association), the Modified Mediterranean Food Pyramid
showed 10-25% decrease in colorectal, breast, and prostate
cancers. The Modified Mediterranean food plan consists of
plant-based (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes) meals
with small amounts of concentrated protein (meat, chicken,
fish, eggs, vegetarian protein). Eat low Glycemic foods and
limit grains to maintain healthy blood sugar which in turn will
regulate metabolism. Manage portion size because portion
control is just as important as what you eat. Everyone’s bio-
chemistry is different so pay attention to what you eat on a
daily basis to know which foods are right for you.
• When should I plan to eat? You should eat every three and
a half to four hours including three meals and two to three
snacks per day. Skipping meals will create highs and lows in
your blood sugar which will trigger cravings.
• Why should I plan what to eat? If you make meal planning a
priority, you will naturally eat healthier. Planning your meals is
absolutely necessary to insure the success of healthy eating.
• How do I plan a meal? Schedule time to plan out your week-
ly menu. Plan every meal and snack for each day. You will find
this process gets easier with time. We tend to eat similar foods
at each meal so just vary the food within a food group. Create
a grocery list that can be duplicated and mimics the layout
of the supermarket. Use simple recipes that you enjoy and
introduce one or two new recipes each week to add variety to
October 2009
45
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