Monday, February 15, 2010

Celebration: A Nutritional Paradox

“Hey, it’s Uncle Miltie’s birthday. Let’s party with a super-sized, double-cheese, pepperoni and sausage Pizza; one with gooey cheese in the crust. Oh, yeah, and on the way to KFC, (where the one thing missing is ‘U’), stop by the grocery and score a gooey, psychedelically painted sheet cake with tons of icing and a bottle of Chardonnay?” Why not plunge a corkscrew into the ole’ boys heart.
We’re a creative, kind and fun-loving species. We’re also gullible and adore taking chances like bungee jumping, driving without seat belts, smoking, texting and drive, cheating on taxes, sending money to Jim and Tammy or reclining buck-naked in one of those gen-u-ine, imitation sun-tan chambers. When we get stressed, depressed or feel the need to celebrate, we find comfort and oral entertainment from food and beverage; our best buddies.
As long as I can recall, birthdays, holidays and life’s romantic mile markers green-light human’s penchant for over-indulging in America’s beloved party foods; traditional no-so-healthy social-gathering-icons which suck health out of the temple leaving one spread eagle to chronic disease. Without thinking we devour disease-incubating dead foods that weaken immune response plus the temples glorious ability to repair, sustain, reproduce and protect. Science explains this irresistible lust is hard-wired into our DNA via a lifetime of watching TV, repetitive reinforcement through advertising, peer pressure and catastrophic federal dietary guidelines.
A gander at the miles of grocery aisles plus the American food and hospitality industry, indicates we’re encouraged to forgo our future family health equity for a moment of instant gratification. “Oh, one day of eating these yummy foods won’t kill me.” Aha! What you must know is it’s accumulative. The ‘funkified’ compounds lurking in these seductive food-like substances accumulate over time, making your inner ecology toxic, bloated, anemic, flatulent and brain dead. These succulent industrial toxins are stored in your fatty tissue. Cholesterol, over time, builds up in your hardening arteries. Balancing with 7-9 portions of fresh fibrous sun dappled produce daily goes a long way in defusing damage, but it’s best not to poke the beast. The reality is our humanness weakens resolve.
Next time add a variety of taste, texture, excitement and color by encouraging everyone to experiment with new foods and combinations; an old fashioned pitch-in. For goodness sakes return to the joyous act of cooking. Assemble an aesthetically composed veggie platter from scratch. Try a zesty bean dip rather than the predictable sour cream and onion. Prepare a pizza pie from scratch with whole wheat flour. It’s a delightful activity for the entire family. You’ll never buy store-bought again and the camaraderie is bonding. Bake a tasty batch of nachos with homemade salsa, lean ground turkey breast of soy crumbles, low-fat cheddar or Jack and creamy guacamole. Pop ‘real’ popcorn in olive oil with the kids. Make a cake from scratch where you control the ingredients, not an insincere ‘scientist’ playing chef. When baking a cake, substitute lard or shortening with Smart Balance, for example. You could add fibrous wheat germ and no one would know. Place bowls of nuts around the house. Bake white meat chicken strips dredged in taco spice or teriyaki rather than breaded and deep fried in grease. Get creative.
We live in a nerve-racking, teetering world. Everyone wants, needs and deserves to feel good, but you needn’t capitulate. Grasp the reality of your intentions. Is your intention to celebrate life’s meaningful moments by consuming bogus foods that shorten it? All it takes is a plan. Your wallet will dig it as family medical bills decline and everyone starts feeling each morning like they could conquer the world.
Nutrition when done correctly should be center plate. You can do it.

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