Sunday, December 2, 2012

Learning To Slow Down And Enjoy Your Low Carb Diet

The diet in America tends to include a lot of refined flours, sugars, and bad carbs. Unlike other parts of the world where life is a bit slower paced, we in the United States want everything fast, and we want it now, and we're used to getting it now. We want the convenience of fast food, instant food, frozen food, prepackaged food, and microwaved food. And we get it.

We are so busy with our lives that the majority of us don’t put our healthy eating first. This is also the reason our country is growing quickly into an obese nation. An uncomfortably large percentage of our population eat the wrong types of food and lead sedentary lifestyles. Then, there are others who are really trying to eat healthy, but are confused about how to eat right. These folks may not have all the information, but are trying to make wise choices.

Many of us have been hopping from one fad diet to another. Guilty. At one point, it seemed those little frozen 'diet meals' were the best way to lose weight and get healthy. Then I learned to read nutrition labels and I realized there was no fiber, high amounts of sodium, and unhealthy additives. Those easy weight loss plans quickly lost their appeal. What are we to believe and what do we really need in our diets to eat healthy and lose weight? Let's compare what works and what hasn't worked:

Food and Fitness in Europe

If you visit northern Europe, you'll see people are walking the trails alongside all of the roads. Many people do not own cars; they walk, ride bikes, or take public transportation. There are ferry boats, buses, and company vans that pick up crowds of people to bring to work. Getting from Point A to Point B is somewhat of a task, which takes some energy, aka burning calories.

Shopping at the corner store, you'll find freshly baked whole grain breads wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine. There are fresh whole chickens and meats available only at the butcher counter. There are fresh fruits and vegetables almost on every corner. Barely any processed and refined foods are to be found. Oh, and don’t even think about soda pop! The only 'pop' or 'cola' available is in the occasional convenience store that caters to the American tourist, where you may find a bottle at three or four times the cost as in the United States.

You will not only notice people eat cleaner and healthier, with more raw organic foods that are farm-grown or raised, but our European neighbors also stay active in general day-to-day activities. In fact, in much of the world, people do not lead sedentary lifestyles like many of us in the United States. Of course this is a generalization, but statistics still prove this to be the sad truth.

Food and Fitness in America

The way we want things here, convenient and fast, has caused food manufacturers to add plenty of refining, processing, preservatives, and food additives into our food to get the job done. We speed up the production of food so we have a lot more food to fill the grocery store shelves. In order to do this, we fatten up animals with hormones to grow faster, faster, faster. We treat produce with chemicals so they get bigger, bigger, bigger.

Couple this super-charged food production with the fact that most Americans hop in their car to drive even a few blocks to the grocery store, and you can see why we have a serious health an obesity problem. Fast food filled with bad carbs purchased while sitting in a car driving through a pick-up window is a formula for disaster when it comes to your diet and health. Again, it boils down to wanting it fast, wanting it all, and wanting it now. But, there's more.

Another factor for 'fast, all, and now' is CHEAP! We can't ignore the fact that you can buy a frozen pizza at your local grocery store for $1.50 when to make that same pizza with fresh, nutritious, high fiber foods could cost around $4 to $5. We also can't ignore the fact that stretching a meal to feed a family is easier and cheaper to do with macaroni and white bread than with protein and produce.

The thing is, what do you want - to eat a lot of empty calories or to eat healthy? We can read labels, prepare ahead of time, and budget properly to get more of the high nutrition, high fiber foods into our diets and avoid or limit the bad carbs from our diets. Becoming aware is the first step. Bad carbs aren't only about putting on pounds. A diet of bad carbs is creating a nation of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a host of other health problems.

I think that's reason enough to take a lesson from those who live a slower lifestyle, choose more natural foods, and spend more time on their feet than their bottom. When you stock your pantry with nutritious, high fiber, low carb foods, you are taking a step in the right direction.

I know you want it all, you want it fast, and you want it cheap... but when it comes to your health, that mantra just doesn't work. You've taken the first step by just becoming informed. Now take the second step. Congratulations on choosing a healthier lifestyle!

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