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Your Health & Wellness, Issue #003 -- Your home-cooked meals are healthier than restaurant food
July 20, 2007

(Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle)

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Week of July 22, 2007

Table of Contents

* Invest In Your Health *

* Home-Cooked Meals Beat Restaurant Food *

Invest In Your Health

It never ceases to amaze me how many people will make financial investments but never comsider their health as an investment. Looking towards the time when they retire from the work force, they invest in their companies' 401K program, their savings account and maybe in a couple of stocks or CDs. This is all well and good. We all should have a little nest egg set aside.

But what about your health? Have you neglected to make that one of your life's priorities? While carefully putting money away for your 'golden' years, you exercise (pun intended) no control over what and how much you eat, and lead a completely sedentary existence. Are you that typical American on a typically American diet? Do you eat refined, nutritionless food? How sad (standard American diet!) You are not alone though.

As with setting up a savings and investment plan, the earlier you start, the greater your reward. But unlike financial investments, you will realize health benefits almost immediately too. And you will head off chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and more. Exercise and good nutrition will greatly reduce the risks in developing these crippling ailments.

A consistent exercise program will also keep you out of nursing homes and hospital wards. One of the dangers our seniors face is hip fractures. Weight bearing exercise and a quality nutritional program will prevent that from happening. You will be able to care for yourself in the golden years.

As you start heading towards your senior years, your body naturally starts to break down. You begin losing muscle, your immune system gets weaker, and aches and pains begin making their presence known. You start to get arthritis in the joints, Alzheimer's starts to settle in, and maybe cancer begins to make inroads. The years of inhaling, bathing in, drinking, and eating toxic chemicals in the food, water, and air, and neglecting to exercise, all conspire to make your retirement years a nightmare.

Contrary to what mainstream society says, you don't have to accept crippling ailments just because you are entering the twilight of your life on earth. Making an investment in your health right now will tremendously lower your risk of developing the diseases of aging. You are playing Russian roulette without an investment in health. As a matter of fact, I can almost guarantee that the odds are even worse than if you actually played Russian roulette. You may be financially healthy in your retirement years, but more than likely your savings will take a large hit from monthly prescription medication(s) costs and other healthcare issues.

Prescription drugs are one of the single largest financial burden for senior citizens. And sadly, many American seniors are on multiple prescription medications. Essentially the pharmaceutical companies have prescription drug users over a barrel. Not only do they have to take multiple medications, but are overcharged for these drugs in the process.

And I am not even delving into the issue of cheaper, alternative drugs--or drugs purchased cheaper in Canada. What I am saying is that by making a health investment as early as possible, you can avoid taking any medication at all.

You know the old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is so true. An investment in your health right now is that ounce of prevention.

I am 55 years old and am not presently on nor have ever been on any type of medication. I am talking about having to take medication due to poor lifestyle choices that could have been avoided if an investment in health had been made. As far as prioritization is concerned, a health investment is more important than a financial investment. Did you know that 73 percent of Americans ages 55 through 74 are on at least one prescription drug?

Money cannot buy health. By health I don't mean life propped up by prescription drugs. Health comes from a body dependent on and fed whole and natural foods and given daily exercise.

An investment in health will pay huge dividends. You will be mentally sharp and physically strong. Instead of your retirement funds lining the pockets of pharmaceutical company executives and the American healthcare system, you can invest in life's little pleasures and indulgences.

You don't have to be young to start a health investment. It's never too late--and better late than never! I am currently working out with a partner who began lifting weights in his 60s. He is now in his late 60s. Not only that, the gym where I work out has an 80 year old senior and an 84 year old senior still actively pumping iron. That's an inspiration for me.

Home-Cooked Meals Beat Restaurant Food

We as a society have come a long way since I grew up in the late 50s and early 60s. Unfortunately it hasn't always been for the better. American families are eating away from home much more than they are eating at home. And when they do eat at home, it is mainly prepackaged meals or take-out. I must admit in the mid-70s I was eating a lot of TV dinners.

There was no microwave oven to instant heat or cook our food back in the 50s and 60s. My mother had to use the oven to cook food the long, time-consuming way. She also baked cakes for our birthdays using natural basic ingredients such as sugar and eggs instead of using store bought cake mixes. But the upside is that we ate good, healthy, and wholesome home-cooked meals rather than buying take-out (thank God they didn't exist back then.)

Families in those days almost always ate nutritious meals at home. Not so today. Home prepared meals will always be healthier than commercially prepared meals. This is true even today. A consumer cannot go to the local supermarket and buy trans fats or high fructose corn syrup or monosodium glutamate.

Yet these harmful chemicals can be found in almost every commercially produced food product imaginable. They're used as preservatives, and additives to give food taste and to get you the consumer addicted to it. They also have side effects which negatively affect your health. These artificial chemicals are partly responsible for the sharp, steady rise in obesity, diabetes, cancers, and other chronic diseases.

Because we ate at home, we got a lot more essential vitamins and minerals from the whole foods. We took time to eat real food--food from nature.

Fast forward to the present. We have many labor-saving devices and technological inventions to make our lives easier. True--our lives are easier but we have no time to enjoy life. Because time is a luxury nowadays, many aspects of our lives suffer. One important aspect of our lives, our health, has taken a tremendous beating due to lack of time.

We don't have time to prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals and we don't have the time to exercise. Due to our time-starved environment, we look to science to provide us with instant nutrition and quick fixes in pills, powders, and liquids.

Food companies to the rescue! They now provide us with instant rice, instant oatmeal, and instant cake mixes. And every home has a microwave oven to instant cook them. We can no longer afford to spend time in the kitchen to prepare our food. As far as our modern day eating habits are concerned, everything is either instant or fast (as in fast food.)

That being said, should we attempt to make up our nutrient deficiencies by getting them in a pill or supplement form? Or to put it another way, can pills ever make up for the nutrient shortfall?

Let's first examine the word 'supplement.' As a noun, supplement means 'a quantity added (e.g. to make up for a deficiency).' Supplements were not designed to be a food nor to take the place of food. Their purpose is to make up for a lack or deficiency in the diet.

In other words, when our whole food diet cannot supply the needed vitamins and minerals, or cannot supply then in adequate quantities, supplementation is needed. They however should not be used simply because we don't take time to prepare a nutritious meal.

Our nutritional requirements should come from whole food sources as much as possible. The body was created to process natural food. It is important that you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in order to get all of the phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed to keep the body in peak health.

The nutrients in whole foods are naturally balanced to prevent toxicity. They are also in the proper ratios. The human body understands their molecular structure. However there are circumstances in which supplementation is needed. There are times when whole foods are not able to provide the RDI (recommended daily intake) of a specific nutrient. Or the food would have to be eaten in so large a quantity to get the RDI that it just isn't possible.

Although I eat whole foods I do find it necessary to supplement. One of the supplements I take is CLA (conjugated linoleic acid.) Before man factory-farmed his meat, CLA was plentiful in meat and fish. Today it is not. This is a very beneficial fatty acid (See CLA.) I also take a quality multivitamin/mineral tablet.

The biggest hindrance to family meal preparation is time. Everyone feels the crunch. However there are ways to make family meals at home work. It will take organization but the effort will be well worth it.

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