By adjusting some of our actions and choices we can start the new year already on track to a more healthful lifestyle and ideal body weight instead of looking at an extra 20 pounds packed on in just a little over a month of holiday partying. Pig out until your miserable, indulge in some of your favorite…
Gleefully Chew Your Way out of Hundreds of Calories (via SBWire)
It's easy to give in to temptation and put on extra pounds thinking New Year's Resolutions will miraculously take them away. Smart Health Talk wants to encourage everyone to forget that and start with new lifestyle changing goals now. Instead of facing the task of taking off pounds after the New Year…
Stop Easter Candy Blindness: Review Labels Before Tossing (via SBWire)
"Easter Candy Blindness" happens when parents ignore labels and the reality of what they are really buying their child for Easter. After Easter is a good time to review labels so that we are reminded as parents what these products that are going into the bodies of our children really do contain and…
On Thanksgiving Day Americans gather together to eat a symbolic meal of traditional foods with family and friends. Reconnecting with family and those most important in our lives to share food together must have a significant meaning to most all of us or we wouldn't enjoy it so much.
With our ability to connect in so many ways though social media, now more than ever people have resources available at their fingertips to help them figure out how to get through the process of making a Thanksgiving dinner. When you get family and friends sharing advice and experiences on how to cook the meal on your social network, it then adds even more meaning to the holiday. Food seems to be the universal language that transcends all barriers.
Elaine McFadden, Smart Health Talk Radio Show Host would like to get people excited about cooking again. “The new concept of food at home is not just putting one person in charge, but making it a family responsibility where creativity and trying new healthy foods is encouraged and adds to the fun that all members get to share together. Meals have more value when those eating them feel they have contributed in bringing the food to the table for all to eat. It doesn't have to be that they cooked it, they could have helped choose which recipe version would be made, helped shop for the ingredients, or set the table for dinner. It all counts as contributing to the meal."
With all of the fast food options today, making dinner in a kitchen from scratch is becoming a forgotten skill. People that have been raised on fried foods, meat at every meal, and refined carbohydrates, may not be sure how to cook any other way and are overwhelmed with the idea of having to change what they have learned and believe about cooking.
Thanksgiving is great in that it can inspire people that may not have ever considered themselves cooks, to get in the kitchen and give it a try. Making a Thanksgiving meal can help some rediscover just how rewarding it can be to prepare a home cooked meal for those we love. Getting any adult or child in the kitchen for the first time can help them discover they have found something they are passionate about, cooking!
Sitting around a table for a meal with family, and working to make that a nutrititious meal has the potential to improve the health of our families, teach our children healthy cooking skills and habits, and bring a sense of sharing that only food can deliver.
Because Thanksgiving comes with no prerequisite of decorations and gifts, just down home cooking and family time, it can become a starting point for more higher quality home cooked meals served per week. Maybe even build a garden together.
Most important you take it one step at a time. When you focus on developing one skill at a time such as replacing one meat meal with a non meat meal one time per week or replacing lard or butter with olive oil in cooking, you then get that one skill down so it becomes everyday in your life. Next thing you know you have not only been successful but in the process given yourself a head start for the next healthy cooking goal!
Choose goals that easily fit because they involve things you already love. A good example is replacing a burger or shredded beef burrito with a brown rice, bean, and cheese burrito on a whole wheat tortilla because you already love to eat beans. You might want to choose to make non meat night "eat out night" and treat yourself to a meal made by top vegetarian chefs and get wow'd when you find out just how great it can taste. You might even get ideas for your own recipes to try at home, and since meat is more expensive you can save money too.
If we could fit in more family mealtimes everyday in place of fast food meals, perhaps we could rediscover our cooking skills and appreciation of food.
Once these types of skills are learned at home, children become more willing to try new foods, and as they grow up begin to recognize and appreciate the advanced culinary skills of chef prepared meals. Turning meal preparation into a family affair makes it easier to incorporate new healthier foods because everyone feels they OK'd it so when it is served they can follow the "three bite rule" and give the new food a chance. Sometimes it can take more than one try, and even up to 10 tries before people like a new food so don't get discouraged that a new healthy food is not a hit for everyone. Keep trying and be a role model yourself. Parents have the most influence over what their kids eat than anyone else in their life.
Getting family members involved in recipe choice, shopping, ingredient choice, meal preparation, and table display helps them learn more about all aspects of meal production, and gives parents more opportunities to pass on skills such as food handling and safety, kitchen clean up, table setting, and table manners. Something you rarely regret you have taught your child, but can be hard to teach if you are not in a situation to do so.
After eating home cooked meals for awhile, most often the preference will switch from the predictability of fast food flavor, to the surprise taste variations that happen at home or when skilled chefs push the creative ingredient scale to new levels at restaurants around the country.
Teaching healthy cooking and eating skills to our children could have more impact on their lifelong health habits than anything else. Those eating habits could later impact their risk for disease and ultimately save their life if prevented. Eating healthy family meals works to protect health both ways that include parent and child. When parents become healthy eating role models, they also reduce their risk of disease and increase the chances they will be around to watch their children grow up and mature.
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The flow of trash never stops and will grow as our population grows.
Population hits 7 billion.
Our planet has never had to support an exponential population growth even close to where it is right now. We have reached 7 billion people and that number will continue to grow at an accelerated rate. Resources can become scarce and more expensive to replace as worldwide demand increases.
By learning how to recycle more efficiently we can cut raw material costs and our dependency on other countries for resources. New virgin raw materials will almost always be more expensive than recycled materials in one way or another. With petroleum based plastic, half the burden is getting the oil to the US from the foreign country it was purchased yet for years we have turned around and shipped our recycled resources out to other countries.
According to the EPA, increasing the national recycling rate from the current 30% to 60% could save the equivalent of 315 million barrels of oil per year. Recycling is something every individual can do to help improve the environment.
Recycling PET plastic is a perfect example of how we can continue to use the oil we already have instead of buying new oil. Amazingly we could recycle PET plastic almost forever instead of burying it in a landfill or burning it in an incinerator. For manufacturers, using recycled materials can save money on the cost of goods, while developing products made from recycled materials creates new jobs.
China has known for many years the value of recycled PET plastic, and was more than willing to buy up all US recycled PET. Until recently most rPET was being shipped to China. Using our US produced recycled plastic gives China an advantage over US goods both in cost savings of not using more expensive virgin PET, and additional environmental savings since recycled plastic uses 8 times less carbon. The reason for that is simple. It is a lot easier to make something out of plastic when it is already plastic then when you have to start with oil and turn it into plastic first. Since the US bought the oil to begin with, the US should reap the clean environmental benefits, and job creating products that can be made with them.
Recycling Improves Our Food Supply
Energy production from sources such as coal, trash incineration, and processes used in the manufacturing of chlorine add pollution to soil and water in the form of acid rain and mercury deposits that contaminate the fish we eat and the water we drink.
According to our previous Smart Health Talk guest, Alison Barratt, from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch were they study and monitor aquatic pollution, larger fish such as tuna and swordfish that have lived longer lifespans and grow to larger sizes, contain the highest concentrations of mercury. The longer the fish lives, the greater the time span to accumulate mercury and other toxins in their bodies.
We can reduce our mercury producing energy needs and start to clean up our waterways and oceans that supply our food by recycling PET. For every pound of PET plastic that is recycled, there is an average savings of 12,000 BTU's of energy.
Until we stop dumping toxins into the same places we are pulling our food from, we will continue to poison ourselves and risk the high price that comes with exposure, greater risk for cancer and other diseases. Pregnant women can no longer safely eat certain fish without risking permanent damage to their child.
Why Aren't We Recycling More?
People want to help recycle, but many consumers are confused on what they can and cannot include in the recycling bin. How many are evaluating packaging for recycling when buying new products or even have a clue what they should be looking for in an eco friendly package? How many of us know what the recycling numbers found on packaging really mean, and how do you see them when they blend in and are hard to find?
Are Plant Based Plastics the Answer?
With plant based plastic products entering the market, consumers are confused even further. They wonder if they are helping the environment when they buy plastic made from corn or bamboo over a petroleum based plastic.
The fact is our recycling facilities are not set up for these bio plastic products so they are rejected and sent to the landfill or contaminate the PET recycling process making it harder to separate out the usable material. Using our food for plastic with so many people still going hungry seems like a bad choice. With over 95% of our corn Genetically Modified without the permission or knowledge of the people, this practice further pushes a science that we have no long term studies to demonstrate safety to humans or the environment. We are using people as experiments without them knowing and allowing living genetically modified organisms and their pollen to migrate and infiltrate the genetic material of all our plants and even our own gut bacteria.
Devastating Consequences of Not Controlling Trash
We need everyone working to solve these problems, because they impact the environment in which we all live and the security of our future food supplies.
There are already large collections of garbage in our oceans. Double it, and then double it again and you have the idea of how big the problem will be even 10 or 20 years from now. Fish found in some areas are now testing for as high as 20% plastic content. Fish, birds, and other aquatic life are being found with all kinds of plastics, cigarette lighters, and other trash in their dead bodies. They mistake this floating garbage for food. Doubt any of us want to see our garbage end up in the ocean or killing wildlife.
By recognizing we have a problem, and taking ownership of our own trash, we can start to move to a problem solving phase that can open the way for new solutions.
Recycling Saves Money$
Recycling programs save city budgets money. Landfill space is expensive and creates an environmental hazard that leeches into groundwater and contaminates soil and air. Cities lose money in the long run by not setting up recycling programs that can bring in extra income and save landfill space. Money saved together with recycling income can be used instead to improve city services, parks, and protection.
Manufacturer Leadership in Recycling
Elaine McFadden, MPH, RD, is the host for "Smart Health Talk Radio Show, Thursdays, 4:00-5:00, on KCAA Radio 1050 AM in Southern California. Elaine is a dietitian dedicated to bringing consumers information that can improve their life and save them money.