In my health initiative and as a part of my own personal health and wellness, I advocate not eating sugar and processed foods. I have written extensively already about the ill effects these foods have on our health so will not rehash all of that in this article. Most people understand the ill effects of eating crap food as being a well founded issue, yet will continue to eat it anyhow, all the while bitching about not being able to lose weight. Bitching because their cholesterol is too high, blood pressure is too high. They know there is a direct link between their dietary habits and their chronic fatigue and on and on…
Yet they will emphatically insist they are not going to deny themselves their treats.
Gonna eat me some cake when I feel like it.
Just got to have that convenience food when in a time crunch, etc…
Never mind that if you preplan your meals, you can prepare a wholesome and hearty meal in about the same amount of time it takes to pop a frozen prepackaged lasagna in the oven and let it cook. In fact, you can fix an equally good meal in a matter of a few minutes while that lasagna is going to take close to an hour to bake. But heaven forbid we deny ourselves these luxuries of convenience and treats of sweet goodness. Lets just take all the work out of food preparation, kick off our shoes after throwing a Stoufers meal in the oven and enjoy a half dozen or so Oreo’s while dinner is cooking. Only to sing the sad song on your Weight Watchers weigh in day because the scale number did not move like you wanted it to. C’mon, did you really think you can eat crap and lose weight? If so, pay me a visit, I might have a land deal to work out with you. I may have a good beach front property down in southwest Kansas for a very nice price.
OK, now that I have your attention, lets be serious about what is an actual denial for yourself. Friends, if you can maintain discipline in eating an occasional slice of cake, or just really enjoy a prepackaged meal on a rare occasion, then by all means enjoy it so long as you always practice moderation and do not sabotage yourself with foods that are only gong to serve to cause cravings for more foods that are loaded with sugar, fat, and sodium. When you eat these foods, you should ask yourself what you are actually denying yourself in vitamins and minerals which only serve to give you better energy and a sense of well being. Does a slice of cake, pie, Swiss roll or chocolate chip cookie provide anything nutritious? Are you aware that even if you eat all the time that you can still suffer from malnutrition by not getting enough of vitamins and minerals in your diet? Believe it or not, but you can be obese and also be as malnourished as an individual who might be wasting away. Face it, the reality is that the chronic fatigue you might feel, the achy joints, and other ailments can and likely are a direct result of your dietary habits along with a lack of exercise.
Let’s face it, there are two paths you can go by. One can provide you with all you need to live well, while the other can lead you down a trail of poor health. Diabetes, heart failure, cancer, and other ailments which come as a result of inflammation in the body and a lack of proper nutrients.
If you have a weight problem, remember this, unlike carbohydrates, proteins and fats, vitamins and minerals do not supply energy or calories. Instead, they regulate the release of energy and other aspects of your metabolism. In other words, if you are suffering a shortage of vitamins and minerals, you are also likely to have problems with a sluggish metabolism which will contribute to your difficulties with shedding body fat. Your body depends on you having a well rounded diet. And while some vitamin and mineral supplements can help to a degree, you are really much better getting them from whole food sources.
Vitamins are potent compounds that perform many tasks in the body to promote growth and reproduction and maintain health and life. Vitamins are essential in helping the body make use of the calories consumed via foods. Vitamins fall into two categories, water soluble and fat soluble. There are 13 vitamins, each with their own role to play in your health. You should try to eat as well rounded a diet as possible to ensure you get your recommended daily allowance of each. Next time you pick up a package of junk food, look over the nutritional data and see if you are going to enjoy something which will contribute to your health and well being, or is it just going to be empty calories with no nutritional value what so ever. Then choose wisely.
A Guide To Vitamins
Out of the 13 vitamins, 9 are water soluble. Eight B vitamins and vitamin C. These are found in the watery components of food such as orange juice. These vitamins are distributed to water filled compartments of the body, including the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord. The body will excrete the excess vitamins if their levels get too high in your blood. You will know this is happening when your urine becomes a bright neon yellow. As a result, their levels rarely rise to toxic levels for most people, although some can occasionally develop some toxicity.
Meat, pork, liver, fish, poultry; whole-grain and enriched breads, cereals, and grain products; nuts, legumes.
Helps enzymes release energy from carbohydrate; supports normal appetite and nervous system function.
Deficiency symptoms: Beriberi: edema, heart irregularity, mental confusion, muscle weakness, apathy, impaired growth.
Toxicity: None reported
Milk, leafy green vegetables, yogurt, cottage cheese, liver, meat; whole-grain or enriched breads, cereals, and grain products.
Helps enzymes release energy from carbohydrate, fat, and protein; promotes healthy skin and normal vision.
Deficiency Symptoms: Eye problems, skin disorders around nose and mouth, magenta tongue, hypersensitivity to light.
Toxicity: None reported
Meat, eggs, poultry, fish, milk; whole-grain and enriched breads, cereals, and grain products; nuts.
Helps enzymes release energy from energy nutrients; promotes health of skin, nerves, and digestive system.
Deficiency Symptoms: Pellagra: flaky skin rash on parts exposed to sun, loss of appetite, dizziness, weakness, irritability, fatigue.
Toxicity Symptoms: Flushing, nausea, headaches, cramps, ulcer irritation, heartburn, abnormal liver function, rapid heartbeat with doses above 500 mg per day
Meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, legumes, fruits, soy products, whole-grain products, green leafy vegetables.
Protein and fat metabolism; formation of antibodies and red blood cells; helps convert tryptophan to niacin.
Deficiency Symptoms: Nervous disorders, skin rash, muscle weakness, anemia, convulsions, kidney stones.
Toxicity Symptoms: Depression, fatigue, irritability, headaches, numbness, damage to nerves, difficulty walking
Green leafy vegetables, liver, legumes, seeds, citrus fruits, melons; enriched breads, cereals, and grain products.
Red blood cell formation; protein metabolism; new cell division.
Deficiency Symptoms: Anemia, heartburn, diarrhea, smooth red tongue, depression, poor growth, neural tube defects, increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
Toxicity Symptoms: Diarrhea, insomnia, irritability, may mask a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Animal products: meat, fish, poultry, shellfish, milk, cheese, eggs; fortified cereals.
Helps maintain nerve cells; red blood cell formation; synthesis of genetic material
Deficiency Symptoms: Anemia, smooth red tongue, fatigue, nerve degeneration progressing to paralysis
Toxicity: None reported
Widespread in foods.
Coenzyme in energy metabolism.
Deficiency Symptoms: Rare; sleep disturbances, nausea, fatigue
Toxicity: None reported
Widespread in foods.
Coenzyme in energy metabolism; fat synthesis.
Deficiency Symptoms: Loss of appetite, nausea, depression, muscle pain.
Toxicity: None reported.
Citrus fruits, cabbage-type vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, dark green vegetables, peppers, lettuce, cantaloupe, strawberries, mangoes, papayas.
Synthesis of collagen (helps heal wounds, maintains bone and teeth, strengthens blood vessel walls); antioxidant; strengthens resistance to infection; helps body absorb iron.
Deficiency Symptoms: Scurvy: anemia, depression, frequent infections, bleeding gums, loosened teeth, pinpoint hemorrhages, muscle degeneration, rough skin, bone fragility, poor wound healing, hysteria.
Toxicity Symptoms: Intakes of more than 1 g per day may cause nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and increased risk for kidney stones.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
In contrast, the four fat-soluble vitamins—A, D, E, and K—are generally found in the fats and oils of foods. Because they are stored in the liver and in body fat, it is possible for megadoses of fat-soluble vitamins to build up to toxic levels in the body and cause undesirable side effects.
Retinol: fortified milk and margarine, cream, cheese, butter, eggs, liver Beta-carotene:Spinach and other dark leafy greens, broccoli, deep orange fruits (apricots, peaches, cantaloupe) and vegetables (squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin).
Vision; growth and repair of body tissues; maintenance of mucous membranes; reproduction; bone and tooth formation; immunity; hormone synthesis; antioxidant (in the form of beta-carotene only)
Deficiency Symptoms: Night blindness, rough skin, susceptibility to infection, impaired bone growth, abnormal tooth and jaw alignment, eye problems leading to blindness, impaired growth.
Toxicity Symptoms: Red blood cell breakage, nosebleeds, abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea, weight loss, blurred vision, irritability, loss of appetite, bone pain, dry skin, rashes, hair loss, cessation of menstruation, liver disease, birth defects
Self-synthesis with sunlight; fortified milk, fortified margarine, eggs, liver, fish.
Calcium and phosphorus metabolism (bone and tooth formation); aids body’s absorption of calcium.
Deficiency Symptoms: Rickets in children; osteomalacia in adults; abnormal growth, joint pain, soft bones.
Toxicity Symptoms: Deposits of calcium in organs such as the kidneys, liver, or heart, mental retardation, abnormal bone growth.
Vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, whole-grain products, liver, egg yolk, salad dressings, mayonnaise, margarine, nuts, seeds.
Protects red blood cells; antioxidant (protects fat-soluble vitamins); stabilization of cell membranes.
Deficiency Symptoms: Muscle wasting, weakness, red blood cell breakage, anemia, hemorrhaging.
Toxicity Symptoms: Doses over 800 IU/day may increase bleeding (blood clotting time).
Bacterial synthesis in digestive tract, liver, green leafy and cabbage-type vegetables, soybeans, milk, vegetable oils.
Synthesis of blood-clotting proteins and a blood protein that regulates blood calcium.
Deficiency Symptoms: Hemorrhaging, decreased calcium in bones.
Toxicity Symptoms: Interference with anticlotting medication; synthetic forms may cause jaundice.
In closing, when ever you feel you may be denying yourself by not eating sugary and or prepackaged foods, ask yourself what you might be denying yourself by skipping over wholesome foods in order to have that treat. Yes, we all know that in moderation an occasional treat is perfectly fine and there are occasions where a prepackaged meal may be a good route to take. but, should we take this route every day? Probably not.
If you keep junk food in the house and allow your children to thrive on it. Take a close look at them and be real about their health and level of body fat. Then decide are you going to deny them constant junk, or are you not going to deny them the proper foods they need in order to grow into healthy adults who have a healthy relationship with food. This is something you really need to think about. What standard are you setting for your children in their dietary habits. And, if their dietary standard going into adulthood is found to be lacking, what kind of dietary habits are they going to set for your grand children? Take a look around you every where you go at the poor children suffering from childhood obesity and think of the health problems they are plagued by at such tender young ages?
Face it, our nation has a growing problem with obesity which is also contributing to the soaring cost of medical care for ailments which can be controlled or entirely mitigated by a healthy diet. We can blame the costs on Big Pharma and Corporate Medicine all day long. And they certainly do have a role in the costs. But, as citizens who by and large lack any type of discipline over our dietary habits, we are also just as responsible for the high medical costs of today.
(1) Cengage Learning Nutritional Wellness