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Instead of fat shaming, how can we encourage healthy eating habits?

 
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In the interest of both more off topic, and more on topic: I spent WAY too much time with people in hospitals, and I noticed if I hit the cafeteria in the hospital, the choices for healthy food were VERY scanty. Something that would help our caregivers, professional and not, is to have their easy to access food include healthy choices.

I went in a cafeteria, at an off meal time, told the person I'm vegetarian, need nutrient dense food, am exhausted from being in the ICU for many hours. I will eat ANY and ALL vegetables you have, the more the better, a LOT of them. I was handed a small salad of iceberg lettuce, a few carrot shreds and 2 cucumber slices. Seriously? This CAN'T be helping the staff who I saw running in and grabbing something quick. All the sandwich breads were white, iceberg the only green leafy thing around, the few other bits of veggies I saw few and far between. Lots of cookies and doughnuts, only fruit I saw was apples and bananas by the breakfast food. This is close to food desert, and these are the people who need good nutrients the most, as they burn incredible amounts of energy. There has to be a better way.
 
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Nor is there any consensus on what is a "healthy" diet.



The only sort of consensus I have found is that virtually all agree that it is difficult to eat too many vegetables and that many (most?) people would benefit from eating more of them.  I have not seen anyone say "don't eat vegetables, they aren't good for you."  People disagree on what vegetables are best to eat, and some people can't digest or are sensitive to specific vegetables, but over all, it looks like one can hardly fail by eating more vegetables in general.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:...I noticed if I hit the cafeteria in the hospital, the choices for healthy food were VERY scanty....



This is something I've had a hard time understanding since I've become more aware of food quality, nutrient density, food choices and availability. I would think that a hospital of all places, where people are trying to get well from illness or recover from surgery, would have healthy, high quality food. It's food that our body uses to make new cells, everyday. It seems counterintuitive to me to serve processed foods to people that are trying to recover and need nutritious food to aide in recovery. The last time I was in a hospital, the alternatives to the low quality cafeteria food was a food court, within the walls of the hospital, serving more junk from fast food establishments, that's really no different in nutrition from the cafeteria offerings. I'll hazard a guess that some of those people seeking care in a hospital are there from illness brought on from decades of eating the very food they're serving in the hospital. It's sad really, and I don't fault the people seeking care. It seems to me like there's a lack of awareness in this country, and a lot of consumers aren't connecting the dots of healthy eating habits and health.
 
pollinator
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Tyler - for the most part, I agree with you. But trying keto for a while, that was not the case. I could easily go over my carb allotment eating things like zucchini, broccoli or cauliflower.
 
pollinator
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I was first able to increase the amount of fruit and veg in my diet by making smoothies. One of my favourites involved a 5 oz. bag of baby spinach and baby kale, some frozen wild blueberries and almond milk. I would blend it until smooth and drink it. It was an acquired taste, and nearly black, usually, but that's what it took.

I approach that these days, without smoothies, any time I make soups. They usually involve about four large onions, four large garlic cloves, my seven quart dutch oven, and then perhaps a couple pounds of tomatoes, butternut squash, sweet potato, spinach, whatever, and in combination based on what I'm making. This also happens when I'm doing a saag paneer or butter nut squash/sweet potato/lentil dahl.

But I think the deal with plant-based food, and the reason why we were opportunistic omnivores way back, is because of the added processing that plant-based foods take. Most vegetable sources are tough for modern teeth and jaw structure. So if you render the veg drinkable, you'll be able to consume and digest more than otherwise.

Though going this route, I would be careful to puree rather than straining out the fibre and less liquid plant bits, as that's where all the barriers to digestion lay, and if you get rid of those, it's essentially doing what makes refined wheat for white bread bad for you, making the food convert to energy faster in the body, causing sugar spikes.

-CK
 
Tyler Ludens
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Stacy, I'd say that's pretty unusual case, and seems to fall into the "what vegetables to eat" category.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Ha!  I'm wrong!  Take that, me!  https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/yes-it-possible-eat-too-many-vegetables
 
Stacy Witscher
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Tyler - The thing is those are approved keto vegetables. I didn't even mention the non-keto ones like onions, carrots, etc.

I have always eaten plenty of fruits and vegetables. That's the way I was raised. We had a large vegetable garden, lots of fruit trees and berry bushes. Meals were cooked from scratch.

I think food tracking can be very useful. Prior to doing so, I would have thought that I ate a high carb diet compared to others, and to what is recommended, but that wasn't the case. I ate moderate carb, moderate fat, low protein, not at all like the Standard American Diet.

The biggest thing that I'm trying to move away from at this point is industrial food. But being new to my property, I just don't have everything in place yet. So, I do the best that I can, at any given point and time.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Stacy Witscher wrote:
The biggest thing that I'm trying to move away from at this point is industrial food. But being new to my property, I just don't have everything in place yet. So, I do the best that I can, at any given point and time.


That's where I am too, no produce coming in yet, so I'm doing the best I can. I eat a lot of veggies, and I hate to think how they were grown, but it's the best I can currently do. In the end, I'm not doing the best anyone else can do, I'm doing the best *I* can currently do, within all my limits, and that works for me. I look forward to the day I can do better, by my standards :)
 
Pearl Sutton
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Ha!  I'm wrong!  Take that, me!  https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/yes-it-possible-eat-too-many-vegetables


I disagree with that article. They said more than 3 or 4 servings of vegetables a day will cause gastric upset. In my world, 3 or 4 servings of vegetables is breakfast, not a day's intake. My guess is they were starting with the assumption of someone who eats a standard diet suddenly shifting to eating a lot of veggies. Sudden shifts in any direction changes the gut biome, sometimes with unpleasant results. any time I eat "normal" for a day, it's painful, my body is adapted to my usual diet, which is high fiber, high vegetable, high bean, and high alliums, all of which are things some people have problems with. I have problems with processed food, a slice of white bread hits me like others are hit by a big bowl of beans.

So, as is usual in permaculture discussions "it depends" and "small and slow solutions are often more effective than big changes" are both things I think are relevant here :D
 
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Pearl, I', just going to jump in for the hell of it and say that you can eat too many vegetables.


Case in point are those rare twits who died from Vitamin something overdose from drinking too much carrot juice every day.


In my case, I have learned that I hate veggies (for reals), and meat is better for me. Thats likely psychological but also demonstrates a bottom line for humans: we're omnivores and highly adaptable to whats around us.

I consumed milk products by the literal gallon a week in the recent past with no apparent ill effects. I did a 12 day water fast and found out that my body absolutely despised the resumption of dairy and I got that swelling of the feet (and other issues) like I on something awful.

Talked to my old Mum about it, who then proceeded to tell me something heretofore unknown to me: I was allergic to milk as a baby.

Funny how the body resets itself under different conditions and if you listen carefully and with honesty you'll know what to fuel it with.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Lito George wrote:

Funny how the body resets itself under different conditions and if you listen carefully and with honesty you'll know what to fuel it with.


Exactly. That's why I eat like I do
 
pollinator
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Tyler Ludens wrote: Yes.  Some people are "thrifty gainers" like my husband, who gains weight very easily.  Being a thrifty gainer is good if you are a pig destined for slaughter, or a hunter-gatherer, but it isn't good if you are a modern civilized person.  My dad, on the other hand, has the perfect metabolism  - his appetite apparently exactly matches his activity level.  At 89 he is the same weight he was when he entered the Navy way back during the Korean War.



Probably your husband just eats too many calories and your dad doesn’t. Metabolic rates are about the same for everyone from what I’ve read. The people consuming too many calories self-diagnose themselves as having a ‘slow metabolism’ because they don’t realise the calories they’re consuming or what the calorie limit before weight gain is for their height. When people learn this, they can make changes to their eating habits and manage to eat well while staying within a limit.

Healthy food and junk food are pretty irrelevant as far as what weight gain and loss are. I used to eat about 600 calories for a very healthy breakfast (lentils, yoghurt, sweet potato). My daily calorie limit is around 1,800 a day. Once I learnt this by tracking calories I switched my vegetable protein to lean meat (120 calories of chicken beats 360 calories of lentils), and less starchy vegetables (green leafy veg at 60 calories beats 160 calories of sweet potato). That’s a 340 calorie saving at breakfast alone. Lunch and dinner offer even more savings.

I recommend people track every calorie they eat for just one day, and then learn how many calories they should be eating for weight maintenance, because the results could really come as a shock.
 
Lito George
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Naw. We have different metabolic rates.

The three different types of bodies are these (somatotypes): ectomorph, endomorph, mesomorph.

We are normally a mix between the three.

Each has defining characteristics and Ecto's have the highest metabolism, struggling to gain weight and easily maintain lean muscle.

Endo's gain fat easily. Difficult to lose

Meso's are in the middle, easily gain and lose weight.
 
Stacy Witscher
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I also recommended that people track their food at least for a day or week, just for shits and giggles, more information is always good. I think that most people would be surprised, assumptions don't always pan out. When my ex and I did this, he ate almost twice the calories that I did, nevermind that he's a skinny skinny guy. And he can fast, eats most of his food in one meal, about 2500 calories worth. That's not to say that he's healthy, he has broken bones just stepping off the curb. It's almost like people are complicated.

I do agree that one can lose weight eating garbage and gain weight eating healthy food, but that's yet another reason why weight isn't the end all, be all of health measurements.
 
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For some fairly interesting reading,  Google the "Twinkie Diet". A person, I believe he taught nutrition or something related, started a diet where he restricted calories below his normal levels, but ate complete shit - food. He lived on Twinkies and snack cakes. He also lost weight and most shockingly, as he did, his health markers improved, in spite of the type of food he was eating. People can draw any conclusion they like from the articles but I found it interesting.
 
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I had relatives here the past few days and the entire family gathered from Friday to last night. We went from house to house and I noticed yesterday, when the party was at my house, that people were thrilled to get the veggie-heavy stuff I always have (and I always bring to other people's houses). But they are totally confused about how to use veggies and fruit. We eat Asian style at home, always a few veggie or pickle plates, and one plate with a veg and some lesser amount of protein and a side dish of carbs.
The family brought one plate with them, an iceberg lettuce salad, "since you like veggies". I had to say that I don't even give that crap to my rabbits, lettuce is nutritionally useless. I asked if they didn't eat cabbage instead, or darker greens. Blink, blink, deer in the headlights. Try to talk about fiber and they are completely befuddled. The notion of a smoothie is entirely from another planet. And they are all pre-diabetic and sucking down the coke. Sigh.

So concrete things- this whole weekend it was 30C+. Every time we got together, I brought giant containers of iced herb tea. Everyone was raving about how great it was and asked how to make it. I taught everyone that the same tea they drink in the winter, they can make in the summer iced (who'da thunk), and have none of the sugar they'd normally be drinking from soft drinks.
I had several types of veg on the table, and our parties take place on my deck, looking out over my urban garden where some of these goodies come from. Everything in my house I make from scratch, because it's habit, and it's all seasonal. I share recipes with anyone who asks, and a lot were requested. and I try not to be too judgmental.
I only learned how to cook in my 30s and am only now, at 45+ after all sorts of medical adventures, really understanding what my body runs best on. I feel really lucky I have experienced so much change and so much variation in my diet during my life that I'm not afraid to try new things. It is very hard for people to change habits, and it seems easier for people to change their religious beliefs than the way they eat, it's not just sacred, it's primal.
 
Tim Kivi
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I can relate Tereza!

I fecklessly tried so many times to introduce healthy food for (overweight) relative visits. It just doesn’t work. People in this culture feel fruit, berries, vegetables etc. are inadequate, that they have to bring something ‘fun’ like chips and cookies. Yet they also really enjoy good food that I make from scratch, but have zero interest doing it themselves.

I’m not judging or shaming them, but I see the obvious correlation between their poor food choices and overweight appearance. And it’s completely unnecessary. In our culture the older women practically force food in children’s’ mouths even when it’s junk food and the overweight child says ‘no’ a few times. I understand it’s their way of being nice but it’s physically harmful.
 
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