Healthy living and diet is rarely used in the same sentence within a typical western diet conversation. That is because we are a nation that eats a tremendous amount of fat, sugary foods! There is an ever widening gap regarding food consumption between what is healthy and what most of the United States population actually consume.
Attitudes about healthy living are shifting slightly but not fast enough despite all that is known about exercising and eating healthy. This continues to baffle me with so much scientific information compiled over decades on the benefits well balanced diet and nutrition and a consistent exercise program.
Does it surprise you to know that the typical American Diet contributes to 40 to 50% of all cancers? The other factors are a lack of physical activity and the ridiculous increase in obesity since the 70s, an era before the surge in added fats and sugars by the food industry. Can America recapture this decade against all odds especially against the large food companies marketing budgets? With the dramatic rise in chronic disease, I dont think we have a choice.
Healthy living and diet that promotes wellness must become a priority. For the most part, chronic disease is preventable! In addition to cancer, other diet related chronic disease states are heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and Alzeimers. Chronic disease can be attributed to 7 out of every 10 deaths in the United States. I often hear that it is too expensive to eat healthy. This is not true! The rising costs of health insurance and the overall costs to treat Chronic Disease far outweigh any cost of healthy living.
It is so important that we begin to educate our children on healthy living and diet. The rising number of obesity among our youth is sobering. Our youth are also lacking physical activity that was once the norm. Running and playing outdoors has been replaced with computer and video games. I had my own wake-up call when I decided to start training my 13 year old and realized the poor physical condition he was actually in. When his 43 year old mother can out perform him on every level, thats alarming!
So how do we transform what we eat into a healthy living and diet form of the traditional American Diet? The keys to healthy living begin by replacing the unhealthy fats and processed sugary foods with healthy fats and natural sugars from whole foods such as fruit. There are many dangers associated with a high sugar diet. When you become aware of how much sugar you actually consume, I think you will be shocked.
The majority of your intake might just come from sodas alone. When you add white breads, processed foods, juices, sweets, etc., the number can be staggering and fall very short of the definition of healthy living and diet. In the 1800s the average person consumed 26 teaspoons of sugar a year. Today, the average child consumes 34 teaspoons a day! We have not even talked about the daily consumption of unhealthy fats.
Lets start one day at a time by eating healthy food and exercising and this happens one recipe at a time. I have chosen 3 popular All-American dishes and modified them to fit into our healthy living and diet plan.
- 1 ¼ lbs of lean ground turkey breast (You can also use 97/3% lean ground beef or bison)
- ½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup red peppers, roasted and chopped
- ½ tsp salt (salt substitute would fit better into our healthy living and diet)
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
Form 8 patties out of turkey. Evenly sprinkle 4 of the patties with the red peppers and cheese. Top each of the 4 sprinkled patties with the remaining patties and then seal each by pinching the two patties closed. Salt and pepper the top of each. Place on preheated grill and cook. For a great side dish that fits into our healthy living and diet, try slicing fresh baking potatoes, toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake until desired crispiness. Warning: watch the amount of ketchup you use. Ketchup is loaded with sugar!
The New Loaf (meatloaf)
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 2 eggs
- ½ c onion, chopped
- ¼ c yellow bell pepper, chopped
- ¼ c red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ c salsa
- ½ c dry bread crumbs, whole wheat
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Form a loaf in pan or casserole dish. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Instead of loaded mashed potatoes try serving with roasted red potatoes and asparagus.
(Ribs are definitely not your leaner choice of meat in our healthy living and diet but it is an American favorite and just like everything, there are ways to make a healthier version)
- 1 rack of baby back ribs
- Salt or salt substitute preferable to taste
- 10 garlic cloves
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 tbsp liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- ¾ c reduced sugar or sugar free ketchup
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
In this recipe the healthy living and diet plan is in the rub. Trim all of the visible fat from rack. Lightly season with salt or substitute and pepper and place on large sheet of aluminum foil. Place this on baking sheet. In another bowl, mix all the remaining ingredients and pour over ribs. Turn rack over to coat other side. Close and seal foil over rack. Place on grill for 1 ½ hours or bake in oven at 425 degrees for ½ hour, lower heat to 275 degrees and cook for an hour or until meat is tender. Try serving with fresh grilled corn and roasted vegetables instead of sugar-loaded baked beans.