The year is still young, which means those healthy-living resolutions might still be in play—and if so, good for you! In fact, maybe your significant other, roommate, spouse or best friend is also in pursuit of a health goal this year. We’ve written about how to start making a change to your lifestyle and ways to stick to your healthy routine before, but as I reread that post I realized that I did not include finding a health “buddy.” It’s not crucial, but it helps. Going it alone can be a drag.
If you’re determined to drop some weight RIGHT NOW then you might be thinking that a crash diet is your best bet. Although there is no medical definition of a “crash” diet, most folks equate them with rapid weight loss due to extreme caloric restriction. Sometimes rapid weight loss diets are physician supervised and tightly controlled and undertaken for health reasons that require quick weight loss progress. More often though, extreme diets are a go-it-alone process, and that’s when things can go off track and head into dangerous territory; here are a few reasons why…
According to surveys, 41% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, and roughly 21% of those involve eating more healthfully and losing weight, while working out more often is a resolution of about 5% of people. Clearly, improving oneself is a goal—and not inherently a bad thing. In fact, those who set goals are more likely to achieve them—even if it takes multiple attempts. I have no problem with goal setting; it’s a great tool. I do, however, have a problem with the magazine cover line “new year, new you.”
I’m one of those people who throw an annual holiday party, and every year I make a big bowl (okay, more like 2-3 bowls) of punch for my guests. I serve grown-up punch: its festive appearance (complete with fancy ice ring) belies its potency. People look forward to it because punch is one of those things that just screams “party.” Plus, pretty much nobody else I know makes punch.
From special feasts to parties to family togetherness and comfy stay-in-your-jammies-and-watch-the-snow-fall day, there’s lots to enjoy and be thankful for at holiday time. Sometimes we get pretty wrapped up in our own lives and preparations for the holidays, but this is an important time to check in with the older people in our lives. Why? Well, for many elderly people, the holidays don’t seem so fun and festive anymore. Of course, there are a variety of reasons why, many of which have nothing to do nutrition. But with food being such a central part of the holidays, I think it makes sense to give the elderly a little extra attention in the nutrition and eating department. If you don’t have an older person in your family to help care for, there’s a good chance that you do have an elderly neighbor, friend or even acquaintance you see regularly in your community.
There’s no denying the convenience factor of a slow-cooked meal that just takes a few minutes of preparation, cooks all day while you’re busy living your life and then is ready when you need a hot dinner. Whether you are using the slow cooker mode on your Instant Pot or the trusty slow cooker you’ve had for years, it’s important to keep food safety in mind. After all, the food is cooking “low and slow” a long time, and then often waiting for you on the “keep warm” setting for a while—there is potential for bacteria to multiply to dangerous levels if good food safety practices are not employed. As author of a couple of slow cooker cookbooks, and having used a slow cooker since I was in college, I’ve had my share of experience with these machines.
A study published this year examined the diets of adults from three different geographic regions of the U.S. and found that sodium added to food outside the home was the leading source, accounting for about 70% of total sodium intake. And, although the amount varied in some subgroups of the study sample, it was still the leading contributor for all groups. (Only about 10% came from salt added at the table or during cooking at home.) This finding matches well with public health recommendations to reduce sodium intake from take-out, convenience and restaurant foods as a primary strategy to decrease sodium intake in the U.S.
Whether you’re sad that summer is coming to a close or you’re ready to ring in autumn season with your first pumpkin-spice latte, you can’t deny that the end of summer brings with it a sort of diet reality check. I don’t mean weight loss diet; I mean your overall diet. Even if there is no “back to school” hoopla going on at your house, I’d venture to say that that September’s arrival still means a switch away from the breezy, more impromptu meal style of summer and back to the more organized meal style of fall.