Canada to a large extent has become an "instant gratification" society, much to the detriment of our eating habits. Fast food such as greasy hamburgers and fries are the norm. So is frozen packaged foods that we pop into a microwave for a quick and easy meal.
The downside to this is that many of us no longer eat healthy. The repercussions are enormous: our immune systems are weakened, leaving us susceptible to colds and the flu. The chances of contracting some health ailment are also vastly increased, as is a premature death.
This article offers you some basic, healthy eating tips.
Avoid Fast Food
Try cutting down on eating out at fast food chains. Typically the nutrition from these types of meals is minimal at best. Oftentimes the amount of calories from this type of food is sky high.
In addition, for most fast food chains the emphasis is on profit, not healthy eating. Combine this fact with loopholes in government regulations and you get surprising (and unappealing) results. Case in point is the use of pink slime
in meat products used by fast food restaurants. The resulting public outcry did result in some chains no longer using pink slime in their meats. The point, however, is that these chains were willing to feed this disgusting slop to their customers in order to maximize their profits.
Will eating out at your favourite fast food place on an occasional basis significantly impact your health? The answer is probably not. However, if your diet primarily consists of fast food then you really are taking your chances!
As a great alternative consider cooking large amounts of food during the weekend, and freezing it for meals later in the week.
Eat Locally Grown Vegetables and Fruit
How many of us were told by our parents to eat our vegetables, they’re good for us? Well, turns out this was great advice.
What many people are not aware of is that much of the vegetables and fruits from large chain grocery stores contain all sorts of chemical additives that prolong shelf life and make them look more appealing (e.g. food colouring dyes. See Is Red (Food Dye) 40 Food Coloring Dangerous to Your Health?
for more information).
Part of the problem is that a large amount of the produce comes from great distances away, and you only have access to them long after they are harvested.
To get around this consider getting your fruits and vegetables fresh from a local farmers market. Ask the help if they are organic, and when they were picked. Besides being healthier for you, fresh also tastes better! At the very least, read the labels to see where the produce comes from.
Also, raw vegetables are best for our health. If you cannot stand raw then try steaming your vegetables, as opposed to boiling them which leaches out some of the vitamins and minerals.
Avoid Microwaving Food
While microwaving our food is appealing due to the speed at which it is heated, there are numerous studies that indicate microwaves kill the live enzymes in food. Unfortunately, our bodies need these live enzymes to receive the full, positive health benefits from food. (See Microwave Ovens: Convenience vs. Health and Nutrition
for more information).
Know Your Meat
In the U.S. much of the meat is grown by huge corporations, which force feed their livestock growth hormones and antibiotics to maximize their profits. While this is not as prevalent in Canada, it does occur.
The meat industry will argue that this is perfectly safe for consumption (see Hormones and Antibiotics in Food Production)
. This is highly debatable, and many argue that there are numerous adverse health affects (see Hormones in U.S. Beef Linked to Cancer Risk
). I encourage readers to do their own research!
If you are concerned about growth hormones and antibiotics in your meat consider getting to know a local butcher. Talk to him or her, and find out how their meat is grown (is it grain fed, etc.). You can also buy large amounts of meat (e.g. ½ a cow) from a butcher, and then toss it into a freezer for later consumption.
In conclusion, the old adage "we are what we eat" does have much truth to it!