Healthy Eating Habits in a Fast-Paced World

This article originally appeared on Frontdoor News.

Healthy Eating Habits in a Fast-Paced World

Food is a cornerstone to life. Of course we need it for nourishment, but it’s also enjoyable, comforting and a great tool for bringing people together. With food being such a fundamental component of life, it can also be easy to overindulge in it.

If you’re like me – always thinking about your next meal – you might have a tendency to eat and want great food. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but when it becomes troublesome is when we overindulge. There are a few tips and tricks that can be implemented to help you bypass the extra calories without forgoing a satisfying meal.

Many nutritionists suggest, and I happen to agree, that one of the top adversaries to healthy eating is our hectic lives. Eating on the go, and not sitting down to let the body register that food is being consumed can lead to bad food choices and overeating.

So, for instance, if you cave to that afternoon craving, don’t eat it in the car when you’re driving. If you have a favorite restaurant that serves good snack foods and appetizers, go in, sit at the bar, and order your favorite small dish. This option is healthier for you and gives you that much needed 10 or 15 minute break in the average person’s busy day.

In the end though, finding something that works for you is key. For instance, my wife leaves just a small portion of food aside on each plate she has throughout the day. In her mind, she’s leaving 300 to 400 calories out of her diet on a daily basis, thus preventing her from gaining weight. What you do with the leftovers is your business. Alternatively you could ask your dining companion to split a dish with you, try scaling back on a recipe to yield a smaller portion, or ask your server if they offer half portions.

However, not everyone has the willpower of my wife to leave perfectly delicious food on the table. I was once witness to a friend who, near the end of our meal, poured packets of sugar all over the gooey, cheesy, deliciousness on their plate. I was appalled and verbalized my disgust, to which they replied, “Yes, I know. Now I won’t eat it.” Like I said, whatever works!

Another great tip for eating less is to ask for to-go boxes at the beginning of the meal. Once you’ve eaten to taste, put the leftovers immediately in the to-go box and push it to the side of the table. This way you’re not picking at your food, and eating past the point of being full while waiting.
My number one tip: opt for smaller portions spaced out over time. Your body will have time to register the food and you will know when you’re full before it’s too late.

Feel free to share your own tips and tricks with us. We’d love to hear from you. Cheers, and happy eating…within reason!

Arugula, fig, carrot, shallot-cardamom vinaigrette

Engineering the Perfect Produce

This article originally appeared on Frontdoors.

By Chef Joshua Hebert

Where does your food come from? Unless you buy direct from the source – your local farmer or producer – the answer to that may be hard to trace. Part of the reason is because of the growing use of genetic engineering. More than 85 percent of the nation’s corn and soy come from genetically modified seeds.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are defined as any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern technology. Sounds tasty, right?

While genetic engineering is used in a variety of applications – everything from medical research to pharmaceutical drugs and modifying mammals – we most commonly associate it with agriculture. This is because it is so widely used in our produce, packaged foods and even meats.

Why? In most cases it’s to create a desirable trait and controlled outcome. For instance, in crops many have been modified to resists pests, herbicides, and harsh environments and increase shelf life.

History of GMOs
Biotechnology was first applied to agriculture in the early 1980’s by Mansanto, the company also behind the herbicide glyphosate (weed killer), Roundup. They developed the modified seeds to actually be resistant to herbicides so Roundup could be applied without potentially killing off the crop. The company later introduced GM seeds that makes its own crystalline insecticidal protein from Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). How does all this impact our health?

That is the topic at the center of debate and it’s still widely unknown. Some studies have linked GM foods to altered metabolism, inflammation, kidney and liver malfunctions, and fertility problems. Many are also worried that new allergy strains will become more common as genes are transferred between plants.

Most alarming though, is the belief that gluten intolerances may be tied to GM crops. The argument is that our bodies don’t know how to process the super proteins that have been engineered into these seeds that allow them to fight tremendous amounts of poison. Case in point: dent corn. This corn, also known as field corn, is genetically modified and makes up the majority of the nation’s corn crop. It’s inedible and has to be processed before humans can eat it. Yet it’s in nearly everything we eat from packaged foods to meat (most U.S. beef comes from corn-fed cattle).

Many countries, particularly in the EU, have banned certain GM products or require they be labeled, and legislation is currently underway in the U.S. to regulate this. Despite the impending banning or labeling, an increasing amount of genetically enhanced seeds are being planted and there’s even a genetically engineered salmon in the works that grows twice as quickly as its natural counterpart. Currently, GM versions of corn, wheat, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets, and alfalfa are already being produced.

While the powers that be debate over the health implications of GM products, the choice is up to you. If you want to reduce your exposure, there are few things you can do:

  • Buy local, buy organic – the use of GM seeds is not allowed in certified organic products. Of course there’s no guarantee that crops haven’t been cross-fertilized via nearby GM crops. By shopping local and getting to know your farmer, the risk is reduced or eliminated.
  • Read labels – look for “Non-GMO Project Verified” labels. While this hasn’t hit the masses, a number of brands have adopted the practice.
  • Get technical – there is a smart phone app and websites that list products that avoid GM ingredients.

Bottom line, you are what you eat, so know what you are putting in your body.