Junk. Junk. Junk.
November 30, 2010

There is a reason why they call it junk food, because it’s junk! Learn to accept the fact that junk should be eaten only on rare occasions, if at all. Until we come to that conclusion, we will always struggle with being overweight. The effects of junk food are far too powerful, and we will only last so long on a diet until we give into our cravings. If we want to feel and look great, we cannot eat junk! At the very least start there!

“Froot Loops” photo provided by Wallpaper4me

“M&M’s” photo provided by Flickr user: Vívian Pires

“Jelly Beans” photo provided by Flickr user: zenboy

“Gum Drops” photo provided by Flickr user: Ontheway2it

*Photos modified by Stew-Art-Prints


Is your culture killing you?
October 26, 2010

Defining culture: “The customs, arts, social institutions and achievements of a particular nation, people or other social group.” Also defined as “The attitudes and behaviors characteristic of a particular social group.”

As the years pass, the more I adopt healthy habits and the less I blend in with the norm. No more late night runs for a Crispy Chicken at Mickey D’s, no ice cap and apple fritter or chocolate glazed donut at Tim Horton’s, no PC’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream or Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia on a hot summer day, no fourth or fifth serving at an “all you can eat” buffet, no Pepsi, no chocolate covered almonds or Miss Vickie’s Jalapeno flavor chips on Survivor nights, and only on very rare occasions would you find me eating one of Quebec’s finest creations; steamy hotdogs and poutine.

I am moving further away from the widespread attitude of “bigger is better”. Quantity is no longer my main concern; instead fresh good quality ingredients are what please my palate these days. Instead of coffee and a donut I would much rather go for an espresso and croissant, instead of a sundae or banana split, I would opt for a gelato.

Traveling Europe has allowed me to see first hand a variety of cultures along with their eating habits. We have been fortunate enough to visit Italy, France and England. While traveling, more often than not I find myself scanning the crowds and asking myself “Where have all the fat people gone? Oh… THERE’S ONE! Hmmm nope, fanny pack and camera… another tourist.” You can also spot them at a restaurant; they are the ones complaining that their chair and portion size are too small, and the pasta does not taste like it does back home. Or you might hear them above other chatter “What? Four Euros for this little bottle of coke? I can get sixty-four ounces of coke for less than that back home.” Well, big guy… the joke is on you!

I refrain from making generalizations, so I will not go as far as saying “Everyone from North America is fat”, but these obesity stats speak for themselves.

If you think those obesity numbers are disturbing, the following chart includes overweight adults as well.

Is your culture killing you? Some nations have produced a consuming culture where its inhabitants consume at all cost, even to the point of ill-health. These “bigger is better”, “super size it”, “all you can eat”, “free refills” mentalities have changed the way we look at food. Maybe there is something we can learn from countries like Italy and France not to mention China or Japan.

Instead of simply eating to fill the hole, why not eat to please the soul. Not everyone has the luxury of traveling, but most have the means and access to healthy fresh produce. Why not bring Europe into your kitchen and reap the benefits?

Many of us are eating just to satisfy our addictions. Instead can we make an effort to eat to nourish ourselves, looking to food to strengthen and revitalize our body? Come on people! Cut the junk! You owe it to yourself, you know you deserve better. You have procrastinated long enough, now is the time! Do not let your culture kill you.

“Fast Food Nation” photo provided by deviantART user: LollipopPaintbrush

“Paris Cafe” photo provided by Flickr user: netra.n

“Obesity” chart provided by NationMaster

“Overweight” charts provided by World Health Organization

To be or not to be… obese? That is the question!
September 2, 2010

I strongly believe being overweight is a choice. It does not happen over night. When you reach for junk food, you are in effect subconsciously saying to yourself: “The short-term gratification that junk food brings me is more important than my health.”

Seriously think about it; does a chronic smoker get lung cancer from his first few cigarettes? Of course not! It is due to years and years of choosing to suck those chemicals down his lungs. We have a choice when faced with the decision of what we are going to eat each and every meal: “Do I want junk food or do I want a healthy body?”

Yeah, I think I am on to something here. The government should require junk food companies to follow suit with tobacco companies, making it mandatory that their foods be labeled with pictures of extremely obese people. Would that help us make the right choice?

“McDonald’s” photo provided by Desktop Nexus user: mosterv

“Girl” photo provided by Microsoft Office Online Clip Art

“Thought Clouds” photo provided by Clker

*Photos modified by Stew-Art-Prints

Fad Diets vs Balanced Diets
August 24, 2010

Plain and simple, almost any diet will yield results! Surprised to hear me say that? Well, it is true. Just ask yourself, “DID MY DIET STOP WORKING OR DID I STOP MY DIET?” Your success hinges more on YOU than what diet you choose.

Having said that however, not all diets are created equal. In fact, at times they are miles apart. Some diets are more difficult to follow than others and differ in their effectiveness. One thing is for sure, fad diets are temporary and not practical for long-term. Some diets are so restrictive, it is only a matter of time before you fall back into your old habits.

What classifies as a fad diet? When does cutting back become too restrictive? Here are two previous blog posts that will help you answer those questions. “Balance” and “The perfect balance!

The ugly truth is that very few programs address the real problems at hand. We all love to get our ears tickled and buy into miracle weight loss scams. None of which address the real issues that got us into this mess: food addictions, lifestyle, sedentary habits, etc.

When you opt for the balanced diet, there is no drastic change to the foods you can or cannot eat, MINUS THE JUNK that is! You can still have most of the foods you are accustomed to, but in a healthier form.

Do yourself a favor; confront your issues head on! Stop searching for the next break through diet, and have the courage to make some major lifestyle changes! Will it be easy? Absolutely not! Will it work? Absolutely! Otherwise, it is only a matter of time before you find yourself staring at a fatter version of yourself in the mirror, with a slower metabolism to boot.

*Photo provided by Microsoft Office Online Clip Art

Conspiracy Theory
March 23, 2010

What has happened to us? The majority of consumers seem to be determined to find foods that are easier and quicker to cook. Your next meal is just a poke, rip, slice, shake, or nuke away from being served in record time. What would we do if ever we lost our scissors or can opener, why actually… we just might shed some unwanted fat! Unfortunately as time goes by, we acquire new gadgets that consume more and more of our time, it is then harder and harder to find the time to cook a proper meal. Yes, I will admit cooking good healthy food, and preparing it well does take more time out of your day, but it’s time well spent I must say.

It’s all just a big conspiracy; it’s not all your fault. Ever wonder why grocery stores dedicate such a large percentage of their floor space to unhealthy foods. Well besides the obvious reason, because people keep buying junk, so they keep selling junk! There is a more sinister force at work here however, the higher you go up the business ladder, the less those individuals care about their consumers’ health and well-being and the more they care about money. More and more money is spent on trying to make foods last longer on shelves and less and less attention is given to how these foods impact our health. Spoiled or overdue food means smaller profit margins; as a result they have done a great job of making food last for months on end.

So yes it would be quicker to grab something out of a box, throw it into the microwave and presto, and it almost even tastes like real food. Please, do yourself a favor and try to imagine that man fully clad in his white smock and goggles, mixing various chemical concoctions in attempt to create something that is somewhat similar to what we now view as food. As a general rule, if you can’t pronounce more than half the words labeled under the ingredients, then you might just want to put it back.

There are other options out there; you do not have to support the system. If we don’t buy it they won’t sell it, and hopefully someday soon we will have a little more healthy options to choose from. Remember, you in effect cast your vote every time one of your items passes the scanner!

“Supermarket” photo provided by Flickr user: lyzadanger

“Chemist” photo provided by Microsoft Office Online Clip Art

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