It is possible to keep preventive approaches to eating for the maintenance of good health in the back of one’s mind…even during the holiday season. Family food traditions can be maintained with modifications to treasured recipes, keeping the precious flavors while reducing the risks associated with too much fat, and too many calories.
The American Heart Association recently issued new guidelines for healthy eating, just in time to help us make positive changes that will leave us with no regrets when this season is just a memory.
I. Emphasize vegetables, fruits, legumes [beans], nuts, whole grains, and lean protein including tofu, seitan, tempeh, etc.
II. Reduce saturated fats [solid at room temperature], replacing them with unsaturated fats [liquid fats like olive oil, canola oil, or tub butter substitutes]. Include more fiber-rich starches from whole grains, legumes, and vegetables.
III. Reduce sodium intake to between 1,500-2,300 mg. per day. Minimize or eliminate processed meats like bacon, sausages, hot dogs, salami, bologna, and corned beef.
IV. Limit refined carbohydrates found in white breads, white rice, refined cereals, sodas, energy drinks, and fruit juices.
V. If you drink alcoholic beverages, and you are a woman, your daily limit would be one alcoholic drink. If you are a man, your daily limit would be two alcoholic drinks
For most of us heart disease [the biggest killer in this country] is a food borne illness, caused by our food choices. This is an encouraging fact, because it also means with a few substitutions, we could prevent a condition that robs so many of quality of life, and takes too many lives too soon.
This holiday season may we all celebrate in good health, and resolve to incorporate new approaches to food preparation and eating that reduce unnecessary risks to our well being.
Dateline: Town of Colonie, Albany County, New York’s Capital Region