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Obsessive Society – Health, Weight Loss, Diets….

We are obsessed with healthy eating, dieting, weight loss. But do we actually eat/live healthy? Looking at the rising obesity and diseases (such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes) rates worldwide, we definitely do not eat/live healthy! Majority of us do talk a “good game” (or procrastinate to the next more “convenient day” or always find an excuse not to do it, pulled through!) but when it actually comes to eating/living/being healthy/doing it, fail! Why? What is holding some of us back or off? Why many of us struggle with loosing weight, keeping the weight off (!), being healthy, active and ultimately happy?

Lately I get to hear very often when people look at my food and say: ‘oh that looks very healthy?’ ‘You are eating very healthy!’ ‘Oh that looks delicious’. ‘Oh that is so colourful and appetising!’ ‘Oh I wish I would have time to do my own lunches, make home-cooked meals’…..

Well for me it is natural and essential, as we all call it “healthy” eating. That is what makes me, ME. A Human Being! And to be totally honest with you, I am starting to hate this phrase “healthy eating”!

And why do I eat such “shockingly” healthy foods? Because I don’t eat and want crap which is full of sugar (artificial or not. I won’t go into the detailed science with you here), bad fats, preservatives, artificial colours/flavours and other ingredients which I cannot even pronounce. Just think, if you cannot pronounce a certain ingredient how on earth does your body deal with it? Stores as fat, messes with your neurotransmitters, hormones and and and….

I came across something very interesting the other day. “If you are reading ingredient lists on products, then you don’t eat clean/lean/natural and (ok I say it here), healthy”. It is bloody true! Absolutely, if you are in the supermarket and read label after label then you are avoiding the real food! The food which is good for you, your body, mind, and and and! And you are in the wrong aisle! (Ok enough of rant).

On some occasions I get asked: ‘Don’t you treat yourself? Have some of the yummy cakes in the kitchen’. I just wonder – why? And that is what I really don’t get! Why do I want to “treat” my body and mind with high sugar, bad fats, crap food, empty calories?! A treat for me is a nice bowl of fresh berries (you can even have a spoon of full fat crème or Greek yogurt if you like), big fresh steak of tuna or piece of nice dark chocolate (at least 70%)! That is what a treat is – and should be! Treat, that actually gives your body good nutrients, cleansing your body from free radicals, oxidation stress, nourish your mind, gives you positive energy (emphasis on POSITIVE). Not crap, highly processed food! Please….

And then people say: ‘oh that is so difficult to resist those cakes, chocolate, biscuits, sweets in the kitchen’. Really? I don’t have a problem with that. Why? Just read the ingredients list and research each ingredient (good old google will help you with that). Find out more information and then think about it (digest the information you just read). Do you really want to have it in your body? Probably not (I hope so though otherwise I really don’t understand the world anymore).

The emphasis here is on natural, real, fresh food! We are designed to move, we are designed to eat whole food, real food.

And just an end note: I am proud to say that I haven’t been to McDonald’s (or similar establishments) in 15 Years! And I am not going to change it! I am shocked to see a queue in the Drive Through every time I pass a McDonald’s. Shocked! Seeing all the families with their kids stuffing their face with who knows what is in the “foods”!

Happy & natural eating!

Irina

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Posted by on 23 May, 2013 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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Can anything be done to fight the obesity epidemic?!

What can be done to fight against a dramatic rise in weight gain, which we’re seeing Worldwide?!

Latest news about the obesity epidemic in the UK caught my attention. Then I asked myself – will taxing fizzy drinks, high fat/sugar/processed food really solve the problem? Quite possible. But aren’t we attacking the problem from a wrong angle? Taxing those kind of foods could be one option. But why not doing something more positive? Better? Something more encouraging and motivating? For example making the fresh products affordable? Accessible? Why not promote local grown products on local news? Subsidise our farmers? Make sure people are aware of their local farmers. Make local farmers more visible by organising farmers markets, help with advertising on local news? And “force” local big supermarkets to have more local produce in their stores? Yes, I really mean it, force them! Because what they care about is their profit and where do they make more profit than on high fat, high sugar, processed food! All those foods which are very, very cheap to produce, very cheap to buy and sell with 500% (or even more) profit made from the end consumer! And we wonder why horsemeat has been found in very cheap products! Think again but this time look at the bigger picture…..

Another point – Advertise more whole-some foods, give people ideas for recipes, what nutritional values they contain, why they are important to the human body aka us. I know big companies pay much more from for advertising slots but isn’t it wrong? (It looks very wrong to me!)

And just out of the blue I was thinking, people get told that they need to change their lifestyles, eat more healthy, exercise more. But wouldn’t it be much better to guide them, give them a practical guidance how to change lifestyle, how to adapt, give them realistic timescale, how hard it will be, and what will be happening inside their body during the whole process. It is good to give them tools but many just don’t know how to put those into practice or visualise it.

Irina

 
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Posted by on 19 February, 2013 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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Food Consumers Behaviour

It was unintentional but it caught my attention and I couldn’t stop analysing……

One of my colleagues in the office brought some home-made flapjacks and chocolate brownies (made of gluten-free flour) and also a pre-packed cake (from a big chain supermarket). To my surprise (and perhaps a little bit of a shock) the pre-packed cake went “down” very well. BUT the home-made goodies somehow were the second choice! So then I asked myself – why? Why do we (consumers) behave in such way? What is it that makes us choose a highly processed product, high in fat and sugar (and who knows what else) in first place? Before a healthier alternative? The choice should be clear (or at least it is to me) and it is directly in front of us but still we rather grab artificial food than honestly home-made? So is that how we behave in the big supermarkets? Do we actually appreciate home-made cooking anymore, fresh produce? Are we becoming more and more mindless what we are putting in ourselves? And do we actually care (to be more precise)? Are our taste-buds so corrupt that we cannot even make the right choice when we have been given a choice? And then maybe the big profitable companies are not to blame for our obesity epidemic after all? OK maybe a little bit, but WE, we buy their products (we are making their profits bigger, our bodies bigger, and our wallets smaller). What triggers such behaviour and choice in us? Addiction to junk food? Most likely. What stimulates our brain that we chose unhealthy food? Has our “healthy” brain been manipulated by the chemicals in the high-fat/sugar products? And somehow it seems to me that the phrase “healthy food” puts the people off rather than promoting/encouraging to buy/consume it? Maybe we should re-think on how best to call “healthy food”? What about “real-food”? “honest-food”? “Food of life”? Or maybe “happy-food”? Nevertheless healthy lifestyle is proven to be not only beneficial for weight/body but also for general wellbeing, mind, mood, happiness and quality and quantity of life! (and so much more). But still……

There are so many questions but so little answers. I know we are all individuals and make our own choices but don’t we all have the same goal? Aren’t we all aiming to a better way of life? Happier way of life?

Once for sure we have been tricked by the junk food industry to those/their products and we responded to it so well that we are now here – Obesity and Chronic Diseases are on the rise! Child obesity is exploding! And this in developed countries. With high-technology, super powers, excellent education and health systems! Our future is becoming fat, unmotivated, unhealthy, unfit! So how can we stop this “spell”? How can we “embrace” the younger generation (our future) to make the right choices – the right food? We have the tools, the choices, the freedom, better perspectives. Perhaps too much choice?! Are we becoming more and more lost in the developed world with so many paths to take?

For sure to make the change, it will require time, dedication, regulations, education, willpower, the right mindset. But first we do need to stop for a moment and re-think our own behaviour. Ask ourselves questions, why, how and what. Become more aware of our bodies and mind. Don’t blame the junk food, food industry, supermarkets, government! We, we are to blame. As we are making the choices. Choices that might be wrong but we can learn from them and next time do it right. Don’t procrastinate (it almost seems to me that we are trying to procrastinate our own life away). Act now! It is never too late! Don’t give up on yourself, on your life, on your future!

But maybe it is me who is a bit odd (or too careful) and watches what goes into me…..

Irina

 
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Posted by on 20 December, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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Food Advertising

On a sunny Saturday I was stuck in Saturday’s lunch time traffic on my way to The Mall (shopping mall), listening to the radio….
When I heard an advert about sausages. The play-actor in the advert (in this case a stressed and how it sounded to me, young mum) was promoting the sausages as a way to keep her children quiet so that she can have a moment of peace. That is when it became clear to me that the food advertising nowadays is mainly based on fast, convenient and unfortunately unhealthy food. We rarely see or hear healthy, nutritious food in TV/Radio etc. adverts (and if there are any those are usually fake “healthy” foods). Shouldn’t those kind of marking sources be used as an education channels?

Back to this sausage advert – at no point during the 20 second advert the mum was referring to the nutritional values of the product (in this case we all know that the sausages are not really a healthy option, unless they come from a good source like direct from farmers) or taste, texture etc. All she was happy about, is that her children were quiet…. For a moment.
Is that the only important factor for the majority of the population? Do we (as a society as a whole) actually care what goes into our children – our future? And…. Are we blindly trusting the food manufactures? Food Marketing? Food Advertising regulators? Or is it all just about savings? Big profit for the food industry? What is a “healthy” dose of junk food marketing? If any…..

I never thought or paid much attention to the marketing of junk food and sugary beverages (or any food adverts). I researched the food advertising regulations in the UK and found this recent study. Very interesting! So even though there are regulations in place, how and why do junk foods/beverages (including so-called “diet” drinks) get predominantly advertised? And why are there not tougher measures being introduced? Are governments in developed countries scared of the food industry? Scared to loose the big income which than they have to spend (or overspend) on high NHS costs (public health insurance)?

In my opinion the food adverts broadcast should include healthy foods, explaining their nutritional values, what vitamins, minerals are present in that food, why are those vitamins/mineral good and what they do.
Since doing my Sports Nutrition course I learned how important a well balanced nutritious diet is. What role vitamins and minerals play in our bodies and how important those are for human health, and what happens if our bodies don’t get enough of those vitamins/minerals. It is only the basics I’ve learned so far but even they help me to make the right choices while shopping, reading the labels for hidden “stuff”  and creating healthy, balanced and nutritious meals/snacks.

I do understand that not everyone has time, money or particular interest in nutrition to do such a course. That is why it is so important to use the food advertising as an education source to reach to the general population (as it seems that we spend a lot of our free time in front of the television anyway). And then there is the money factor, especially in the times of recession and a double dip recession. BUT shouldn’t we invest more in our health and our children (our future) rather than into the big fat and already rich fast-food manufacturers? Shouldn’t we better support our local farmers and growers who can you tell exactly what is in their products. Clearly that is the way for healthier and happier lives….

Irina

 
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Posted by on 22 November, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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