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A 13-year-old, a 20-year-old, a 53-year-old, and a 67-year-old. These are the ages of 4 women. A spectrum of age, yet all had a similar message. They despise their bodies. Because they despise their body, they mistreat their bodies through restriction, bingeing, purging and over-exercising. On days like today, I marvel at how many women are suffering with eating disorders. So, in honor of those I work with, I thought I would share what I am grateful for about my body. I walked a couple miles after work tonight, and was mindful of how just the ability to walk on a lovely spring evening is a gift. I am grateful for the legs that allowed me to walk. My legs are not as thin or young as they used to be, but they have served me well over the years. My eyes saw budding trees and flowers- Spring is my absolute favorite time of the year. The ability to see a landscape waking up, not only makes me happy, but also reminds me that it is possible for something to come back to life after a winter season. So join with me in thinking about and even sharing what you are grateful for about your body. Let’s all become tired of hearing our gender put down our bodies. They are temples, a wonder, and each body is worthy of self-care. #grateful
You may know that High Blood Pressure can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. But did you know that it can also cause other problems like kidney disease and blindness? Hypertension is common, nearly 1 in 3 American Adults have high blood pressure, and it is even more common in the African American population. If you are middle-aged, overweight, have a family history of hypertension or have pre-hypertension (see the chart below), then you are at risk for developing hypertension.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or “Dash Diet” has proven to decrease blood pressure in studies.1 The lifestyle diet emphasizes plants: fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy. These are the main potassium-rich foods that can help to control or reduce your blood pressure. These 4 steps will help you to easily start to incorporate the DASH DIET principles into your lifestyle!
- Seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables are what you are aiming each day. 1 serving is a cup of raw or ½ cup of cooked plants.
- Get 3 servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy products every day.
- For the best BP lowering effect, limit sodium to 1500 mg/day! If that seems to strict, start with 2,300 mg and work your way down. The lower the salt, typically the lower the BP.
- Daily cardiovascular exercise. Moving helps everything, and walking is adequate to help lower or prevent hypertension- shoot for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. (You will probably need more to stimulate weight loss).
Would you describe cooking as fun and enjoyable or daunting? One of my favorite health writers believes that many of our national health woes began when we as a country started cooking less and relying more on processed and take-out food of poor quality. He was on to something. I don’t want to give the impression that I cook every night. Although I did most nights when my kids were growing up, currently I try to cook a couple of times a week- and make enough for leftovers for an additional two days. In Dayton, we have some wonderful options for purchasing high quality prepared foods. I frequent the DLM soup selection faithfully! But there is no substitute for knowing your ingredients and putting together a meal.
Overwhelmed, busy, stressed… So many clients that I talk with describe their current frame of mind with these adjectives. We have all been there, life gets busy and healthy meals can be a first casualty. If you feel that describes you and you can’t remember how to turn on your stove, the answer is to start with a small goal. I recently listened to a chef describe how in culinary training they would learn a skill and then repeat it over and over again. He recommended to an aspiring cook that she learn to make a couple of dishes and practice them until mastered. I like simple dishes without a lot of ingredients because anyone can make them. My experiences with cooking began in my mom’s kitchen. But it was with a group of women friends in Texas that I learned to bake bread, and cook a brisket, and become confident in a kitchen. There was no substitute for cooking alongside more experienced cooks. Today, we have the Food Network to learn from, but I think it can’t replace working a recipe out with a friend, or even a spouse! If becoming a better cook is a goal, let me make a couple of suggestions to increase your cooking skill…
- Try a Delivery Service like Blue Apron. You will have a box delivered with all the ingredients to make a couple of meals. Delivered! Taking the grocery shopping out of the mix will add some time to your week. The bonus is, you will try some new recipes that you may have never stumbled upon otherwise! blueapron.com
- Make a once a month date with a friend or another couple to cook a meal together. It could be a fun alternative to going out to a restaurant. Keep the menu simple, add some wine if desired, and you could be on to something that you want to do regularly. You can learn from each other and together become proficient in a couple of dishes.
- Sign-up for a DLM basic cooking class. (DLM is a Dayton grocer that does it’s best to provide local, fresh and high-quality products, as well as operate a cooking school). Find a link here for classes: http://www.dorothylane.com/products/viewdepartment.pl?id=216
Need a little more inspiration? May I recommend the book, Cooked, by Michael Pollan.
Lindsey Faber, MS, dietetic intern
If you are like most people, you have written down (or at least thought about) one “health-related” resolution for the year. It may look something like this: lose those last 5 or 10 pounds, hit the gym three times per week and cut back on the energy drinks and gigantic lattes. Maybe your goal this year is just to incorporate more whole foods into your diet and focus on wellness. One way to do that would be to eat more fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories, full of fiber and vitamins. All fruits and vegetables provide wonderful nutrients. However, conventional fruits and vegetables are often sprayed with pesticides. It’s safe to say that keeping pesticide consumption to a minimum is a good goal to have.
One way of avoiding pesticides while still eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is to buy organic. Expensive right? While it can definitely be more expensive to buy organic, it’s good to know that you don’t have to buy all organic fruits and vegetables; some are more contaminated than others. The Environmental Working Group came up with the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen”. The Dirty Dozen are the 12 most contaminated fruits and veggies. Likewise, the Clean Fifteen are the least contaminated fruits and veggies. The Dirty Dozen include: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, kale, cherries, potatoes and grapes. These are the fruits and vegetables that you should buy organic if you can.
The Clean Fifteen include: onions, avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, mangoes, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potato and honeydew melon. These are the 15 fruits and vegetables that you don’t necessarily need to buy organic. This is wonderful information to have because it makes eating healthier much more accessible and a lot less daunting. So fill your cart up with lots of fruits and vegetables and keep in mind which to buy organic and which are fine to buy non-organic.