BLOG 238 FOOD WASTED
Food thrown out, gone bad, or not eaten, has become a wasted resource in America. Some studies have put food waste at 30-40% which is almost 1/3 of our national food supply. Of course, the perishable food items, specifically fruit and vegetables, are the most commonly thrown out. It can be tempting to point the finger at restaurants or grocery stores, but the reality is that food waste is a household phenomenon. Food distribution can also be considered part of the problem.
Shockingly, Americans are throwing away nearly 6 billion pounds of food every month. The main reasons for this include:
1. Cosmetic reasons: Foods such as fruits and vegetables have blemishes on them or lose their appeal becoming discolored over time.
2. Over-purchasing and over-stocking: Buying in bulk is the new fad and stores cater to saving money when this is done. The consumer feels they are getting the best value for their dollar, even if they don’t eat all they have purchased.
3. Sell-dates and expiration dates: There can cause confusion about how long a food can be stored for, and most people are overly cautious and better safe than sorry when it comes to this factor.
The problem is that hunger and food insecurity are a problem in America. Nearly 40% of food supply is being lost. There are nearly 50 million people who live in households that do not have adequate food supply. Our food supply costs nearly $165 billion and 25% of our fresh water supply is used for this production. That means that water supply is also wasted.
We might have been raised and told to finish everything on our plates. Yet today’s food culture displays the bigger the better, making portion distortion a leading cause of the obesity epidemic. It is important to learn how to shop, cook, and store food properly, even if it takes added time or extra dishes to clean. Get behind the movement of legislation that supports lowering food waste helps our society as well. Donating extra food is always highly recommended. Someone who is looking for their next meal at a shelter, on the street, or at the food bank, are in need. These facilities are primarily volunteer based, and every little effort will help. Check the shelves at home before grocery shopping to see what you truly need first. Buying in bulk is resourceful, but this may be more applicable to processed foods with a longer life that allow for more time to eat them. Food is our fuel and the body needs nutrients to function. Don’t waste such an important resource we are lucky to have.
BLOG 237 DINNER PROBLEM
The trouble with dinner time…. well this can be complicated and it is a common problem. Do you have a habit of overeating at dinner?? There are a number of reasons why dinner can derail a diet and end a positive eating day with a plethora of bad choices in one meal.
1. Skipping meal prep: Most people tend to meal prep for the meals that are not at home for. They pack their snacks and lunch with the intention to come home and then make the healthy dinner they are planning to have. However, when work ends and errands start or appointments or driving the kids around, the window for dinner time preparation becomes smaller and smaller. Suddenly it’s easier to just grab fast food, order a pizza, or just have bowl of cereal or grilled cheese. Sound familiar??
2. Emotional eating: Food can be comforting. After a long stressful day, mind you of positive eating, you finally just break at the end of the day. Baked chicken or pasta and garlic bread?? One just sounds so much more appealing than the other after dealing with people all day, endless meetings, and all the stress that somehow accumulated. Sound familiar??
3. Time: After work doesn’t mean that the day is over. Say work ends at 5pm. You hit the gym, pick up your prescription, and then have to stop at the store, and now it’s 8:30pm. Time to cook?? Well by the time you do it’s 10pm and you are too hungry to wait. So fast food or warming something else up rather than what was originally planned is the easier solution. Sound familiar??
4. Cooking for the family: Cooking separately for yourself takes time and effort because not everyone likes your fish, rice, and vegetables. The kids want macaroni and cheese and your spouse says why do they need to eat like you are. Now you are cooking three different items instead off all in one. The effort and time make you frustrated so you cave into having what everyone else will be having. Sound familiar??
5. You didn’t eat all day: You got caught up at work and had to skip lunch. By the time you got done, you missed your snack too. You feel ravenous and could eat a cow. Dinner sounds amazing and you go into overdrive eating more than you normally would. Instead of eating throughout the day, you overate all at once at dinner. Sound familiar??
I like to think of these dinner mishaps as the number one reason why we have to plan ahead. We have to line up what we are going to do and take the time in advance. Some people just know that the afternoon is when life hits so they workout in the morning. Some people just know they have to take care of everyone else after work. Some people just know they are too tired after work. In our vulnerable, hectic, and most stressful times of the day, that is when our preparation kicks in the save us. Don’t wait on dinner time to suddenly make the right choice, because often time willpower has been all used by that time of day. On that note, what are you having for dinner tonight??
BLOG 236 AGE COMPLAINTS
“I’m getting old”, is a common phrase we use to associate aches, pains, and ailments with. Blame it on age. Degeneration, slowing down, and parts not operating like they once used to, all come with age. Most of these issues are normal and are common culprits. Some are preventable through lifestyle, while others just happen in the “golden years”. The senior population is growing and by 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be over the age of 65 years. Women’s average lifespan is over 80 years and men 75 years. Just because people are living longer doesn’t mean these ailments are going away. Keeping one’s bones, belly, and brain in tip-top shape is very important. Here are some common complaints:
1. Osteoporosis: Bones tend to become thinner and weaker with age. The bones can become fragile and easily break. Breaks become more susceptible with falls and sometimes even every day movements. As we age, the body absorbs old bone tissue faster than new bone can be created.
2. Vision loss: Macular degeneration and glaucoma are common. The part of the eye that allows us to see detail, degenerates over time. The risk for macular degeneration increases 30% after age 75. Glaucoma is due to fluid pressure in the eye. This causes loss of peripheral and direct vision.
3. Hearing loss: About 43% of people age 75 and older have some degree of hearing loss. This is usually the loss of high pitch noises. Eventually is can be the loss of any type of noise.
4. Bathroom problems: Constipation can be common with age with about 26% of women and 16% of men having this issue over the age of 65. This can be due to less physical activity, dehydration, and less fiber. Women can also have urinary incontinence. The pelvic muscles have lost their strength. Men can have this problem due to an enlarged prostate.
5. Cognitive impairment: Becoming forgetful or confused is commonplace, but as this progresses concerns may arise. Alzheimer’s can develop and can cause irreversible brain damage.
6. Arthritis: About 1/3 of people over the age of 65 have this. The fluid and cartilage in our joints does wear out. This can cause pain and is common in the hips, knees, wrists, spine, and fingers.
7. Balance issues: About 40% of older Americans have balance issues. This can be from dizziness, medications, or other medical conditions.
8. Heart disease: The heart ages with you and this causes it to work harder. This can lead to heart related problems such as heart attack and stroke. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in persons over age 65. Healthy lifestyle can help reduce this risk.
9. Flu/Pneumonia: The immune system becomes weaker with age. Complications from the flu can result in pneumonia. 71-85% of flu related deaths are from people over age 65.
10. Diabetes: The risk for development increases with age. Blood sugar become too high and this can cause problems for the eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
BLOG 235 NIGHT vs MORNING PEOPLE
In this world, there are morning people and there are night owls. Our body has a natural 24 cycle called circadian rhythm. This is a person’s internal clock that wakes them and puts them to sleep. Some people have a naturally longer cycle and others have a naturally shorter cycle. This cycle isn’t always set in stone and can change throughout life. Young children tend to be early birds, teenagers tend to stay up late, the college years are very late, and then adulthood seems to change people back to the morning time.
A person who is a night owl might not be able to survive a morning without caffeine. This is especially true if there is a day job that makes the early alarm clock go off. Night owls have been said to be more depressed and consume more alcohol. At the same time, night owls have been said to be able to stay more focused throughout the day without getting tired.
Morning people tend to have more regular sleep patterns because they arrange their bedtime to align with the early risings. There’s err on the side of caution of staying up too late. They have been said to feel better overall than night owls.
There are a number of traits that differentiate these two types of people. Just for fun they will be revealed, but that does not mean they’re scientifically backed.
1. “Early birds get the worm” vs “Even owls catch the rodents and insects they want with their amazing senses, even without sunlight”.
2. Early birds are perfectionists vs night owls are go getters: morning people live a more strict regime while night people are more impulsive and spontaneous
3. Early birds wake up with smiles, while night owls wake with frowns: The morning doesn’t mean ready to start the day for everyone.
4. Early birds are proactive vs night owls are smarter: early birds operate on the hours most of the world does between 9-5.
5. Early birds like tea while night owls like alcohol: these are beverages associated with time of day
6. Early birds like breakfast vs night owls like dinner: Time of day and time of eating just work in that favor
7. Early birds are older vs night owls are younger: seniors are known for waking before the rest of the world while young kids stay up much later and enjoy the night life.
The body and time should be friends, but variety is the spice of life. Early birds might drift towards friends who are early birds too and this could be said for night owls too. We all have to sleep, I guess it’s a matter of when.