Tuesday, January 12, 2010
wwyem pt 3: normal eating? what's that?
At the company where I work, we have an Occupation Health nurse on staff named Rita. Rita spent the past 8 years before this last one (when she finally arrived at our office!) working as the campus nurse at Trinity Western University. In fact, if you went to Trinity, you likely know her! If you do know her, you know what a ray of sunshine she is, and how delightfully easy it is to pass an hour in the chair by her desk. Rita lets me invade her office whenever I have the urge to talk about food & nutrition, or health in general…which just happens to be a lot of the time. It was actually a conversation with her that inspired the thought about doing a blog series on the very things we were talking about (so these blogs are a compilation of what I know personally, obviously, but they are also written as influenced by an actual health practitioner. …that was my buffer. I’m done now).
Food and money are a lot alike in this: what we do with it has to do, mainly, with perception. How we spend (or save) our money is based on what we think money is for. The same goes for eating: how we eat is based on our perception of WHY we eat (as discussed in the last entry), but it is also based on our perception of the answer to the question, “what is healthy eating?” Stop and think about that for a moment, and come up with an answer. What are your eating habits like? Do you consider them to be healthy? What do you consider “healthy” eating?
Part of our answer to that final question will be influenced in large part by what we consider to be normal eating. Stop and think again (I know, so much work!) about the answer to that question: what is normal eating?
The information that follows is taken from a presentation given by Shalene Wray, B.Sc.,RD.
As shown on the slide above, normal and healthy eating is based on those 6 basic principles. Here’s a brief rundown of what she’s getting at:
‘Balance’ - means you are getting the right amount of carbs, proteins, fats and fluids into your system.
‘Variety’ is more specific: what types of food are we eating? Our bodies need 52 essential nutrients every day in order to run properly. Eating a variety of foods (from all the food groups) gets us closer to reaching that goal.
‘Moderation’ – “eat in moderation” – We’ve all heard this, but what does it mean? All foods contain nutrients of some kind, and as Shalene says (on a later slide): “Rigidity and rules are not a part of normal eating.” But eating in moderation doesn’t have to mean rules or rigidity: it allows us to keep that variety we need, and enjoy our food, all without going overboard.
‘Regular Meals’ - Going without breakfast, lunch, or dinner is incredibly unhealthy on many levels. Why? As mentioned, our bodies need the energy that comes from food in order to function properly. But when you hear that the ‘body’ needs the energy you get from food, keep in mind that it doesn’t just mean the parts of your body that you see: your brain also needs that food to stay cognitive and alert; your blood needs that food to stay at a healthy and regulated blood sugar level; your organs and your bones also need food for different reasons. Literally, your entire body is depending on you to eat (and to eat well).
‘Adequate Energy’ – Shalene says it best (again, in a later slide): “Approximately 60% of daily calories our bodies need go to just keeping us alive!” If you’re not eating well, you’re starving something in your body. The easiest way to notice if you’re lacking somewhere is to take a look at your energy levels (sans caffeine).
‘Enjoyment and Satisfaction’ – This one is often skipped in a lot of diets that I have heard about. It is completely, totally, utterly and entirely normal (and healthy!) to enjoy what you’re eating. If you don’t like it, why are you putting it in your mouth? If you feel guilty when you eat, consider where this comes from. Healthy eating includes a healthy appetite and a healthy level of enjoyment.
In this slide presentation, there is also a group of information that’s been contributed by Shelagh Bouttell, RD. (RD stands for Registered Dietician, btw). I liked these slides so much I’m putting them all on here. Oh by the way, these are a photocopy of a printout of the slideshow...which is why they're crooked :) This explains in more detail what was discussed in pt2 of this series.
Well class, that was a lot of information for the day. As per usual in your comments, be gentle!*
*Comment rules (yup): please do your best to remember that for many people this is a personal discussion, even when it’s not a personal discussion.