Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Healthy Eating for the Season

Balancing a healthy diet with your everyday living is difficult enough but add to the mix a writing career and the holiday season and it becomes easy to forget how important food is in our lives. Long ago, humans hunted and gathered to find their food. Healthy or not, they ate what nature provided or starved. Nowadays, humans have a plethora of food choices available to them and instead of eating due to necessity, often we eat for pleasure. During the holidays, the pleasure factor escalates and at times we overindulge. As writers, we work in a sedentary environment which adds another difficulty in keeping a healthy diet.

And while I could go on with this topic for several pages, I’ll limit myself to items that may help you, as a writer and a holiday reveler.

Water is essential for human survival but oddly it is often taken for granted. Not only does water replace fluids lost through urination and perspiration but it also transports vitamins to and waste away from every cell in the body. Drinking plenty of water reduces the risk of kidney stones, can cut the risk of heart disease, restores energy and prevents constipation. Water can also benefit those trying to lose weight. It’s recommended you drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. A healthy way to start the day is to drink two glasses of water to flush out all the toxins that have accumulated overnight while you were sleeping.

During the rush to get the kids off to school, preparing for holiday shopping, or getting ready to work on that next page of your manuscript it’s easy to either skip breakfast or simply grab something quick to eat. Breakfast, as they say, is the most important meal of the day. To keep your energy up to last you through those busy morning hours, it’s best to eat some kind of fruit for breakfast. Apples, filled with antioxidants that can lower the risk of some cancers, can improve lung function and lower your risk of asthma, and are an excellent source of fiber to prevent constipation. Other recommended fruits are bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, peaches, oranges, pears, grapefruit, apricots, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew.

And here’s everyone’s favorite health food: Chocolate! Yes, chocolate has health benefits. Remember, chocolate is a plant-based food and contains nutrients as found in other plants. Now, don’t get too excited, not all types of chocolate are good for you. The darker the chocolate the better, in this case, since milk has a tendency to neutralize many of the benefits found in chocolate. Moderate amounts of dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, can benefit your heart and cardiovascular system and can help lower cholesterol. Chocolate is also full of antioxidants which eat up free radicals that cause disease. It also stimulates endorphin production which gives you a feeling of pleasure and contains serotonin which acts as an anti-depressant. Also, having a small amount of chocolate may prevent a chocolate binge so when you have a craving consider this before you deny yourself the benefits of those wonderful dark chocolate nutrients.

I hope you find this information useful and I wish everyone a healthy and happy holiday season!

9 comments:

  1. Great information, Tricia! As a breastfeeding mother, water is essential. So, I don't even let myself drink something else until I've had at least six glasses of water. My doctor also recommended eating fruit with my cereal for breakfast. As far as chocolate goes, well is there anything else to really say? :)

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  2. Thanks, Emma! I've become fascinated with nutrition since I had my kids. And cereal really does taste better with fruit added, doesn't it?

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  3. I'm all for anything that lets me eat more chocolate. However, what I really need to do is drink more water and exercise.

    I don't get thirsty. While my husband goes through gobs of sweet tea, I have to force myself to drink two or three glasses of something.

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  4. Cereal is definitely better with fruit!

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  5. Hi Beth! The part of the brain called the thalamus moniters blood levels of sodium. When sodium levels rise the brain sends signals telling us to drink more water. A lot of times we mistake thirst for hunger and we eat instead. Thought that was a bit of interesting trivia for you! :-)

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  6. Cereal is better with fruit and chocolate. Cascadian Farms dark chocolate granola with bananas, strawberries or blueberries rocks. Add in some hazelnut milk and it's like dessert fro breakfast. Funny thing, I've noticed more and more kids gnoshing on dark chocolate. I wouldn't touch it when I was a kid... now there is always a bar or two laying near my keyboard, LOL

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  7. Sadly, I am allergic to chocolate...not chocolate per se, but the phenol in chocolate, and the darker the chocolate, the higher the phenol concentration. (Nasty rash!)I'm also allergic to cashews for the same reason. The natural oils in cashews contain phenol. And can you guess what may favorite holiday treat used to be? Yep...chocolate covered cashews. Sigh...
    So now, I have to substitute white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. :)

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  8. Great post. I'm a great advocate of healthy eating - AND chocolate!! Thank you for the informative post!

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  9. A wonderful post, Tricia. I am a water drinker and a darker chocolate lover! I do fruit mostly when in the mood but love salads with fruit in them. I also tend to like fruit on my cereal.

    Dayana~

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