“No Filter” & The Benefit of Food Diaries

Dear all,

This morning I was listening to my favorite radio station in the car on the way home after dropping the kids off at school. Like most of the radio stations, “SeaFM” is organizing or participating  in events on The Gold Coast pretty much every week. Today, the radio hosts talked about the upcoming big event “Galey, Ross & Charli’s No Filter” meaning that women should embrace their shape, “support the jiggle” and join them for a free fitness event on the coast.

While the “SeaFM” websites supports more the image of a fitness event, quite a few women called or emailed the radio station thanking them for supporting women with low self esteem because of their weight issues in a very emotional way. Some of these women avoided gyms because of fear of getting looked at or made fun of and partly blamed the lack of exercise on not loosing weight. It made me really sad listening to these ladies. How come they had obviously heard so little about the impact of food on our bodies- or haven’t had enough support to change their lifestyle (it doesn’t help if the cafeteria at work offers mostly crap foods or if your family is not willing to switch their diet or if you partner is overweight as well and doesn’t see the need to change…).

How come so many people still adhere to the myth that working out makes you loose a lot of weight??? Yes, moderate exercise is essential for body and soul and will make you loose some weight, but it doesn’t mean that you will be able to lower your BMI drastically by solely working out. Exercising alone doesn’t transform you magically into a healthy individual. The only thing that will let the pounds drop healthily is THE RIGHT FOOD. Yes, it is really that simple. Cut out the processed or refined foods, stick to whole grain plant- based diet and become healthy- because it is ultimately not about the weight, it is about the impact that excess weight and unhealthy food have on your body.

images (1)If you are not sure how big the percentage of unhealthy foods in start writing up what you eat throughout the day for let’s say a week- basically start a A FOOD DIARY. Even if you think you are eating a somewhat healthy diet, keeping a food dairy for a week is a great way to reflect on your food intake (find here the free download pdf file of my food diary template: FOOD_DIARY). See how much animal foods are included in your diet (milk, cheese, meat, eggs,..)- it just adds up and is usually more than you’d expect. How many servings of different fruits, legumes and vegetables do you have? How many times do you add nuts and seeds? What about whole grains? It’s really interesting to analyze our food habits once in a while.

If you need help analyzing the food diary, CONTACT ME using the form at the bottom of the post. I’d be more than happy to provide you with some helpful feedback.

AND REMEMBER: it’s not about the foods you SHOULDN’T eat, but about the foods you can ADD to your diet. And by doing that you can slowly wean yourselve off all the unhealthy food.

Now picture this scenario: an evening out at a restaurant with a bunch of interesting and fun people. Because you are sitting outside, one of the people in your group lights a cigarette after the meal is over. Do you think this person would get remarks/ comments/ questions from other people at the table about his smoking habits? I would say most likely YES. There is a wide array of topics that one could cover- the person’s own health, health of the people surrounding him and inhaling the smoke, high risk of developing diseases, negative financial effects of smoking such as increased health care costs etc… I am pretty sure someone is going to touch on one of these topics and it is widely accepted to confront the smoking individual and to talk about these issues. People don’t politely ignore smokers anymore.

Now assume that one of the people in the group is extremely overweight. One could talk… well,  about pretty much the same topics as with the smoker- the individual’s  high risk of developing a whole variety of chronic diseases, negative financial effects on the community such as increased health care costs, availability of support, knowledge about foods, implications on our environment etc.

These days, obesity has a larger impact on our society than smoking has… but it is still not socially acceptable to address the above mentioned issues. Everybody seems to be very concerned about not hurting anyones feelings and tries hard to avoid weight related topics. But what if we would break the taboo and start talking about these issues? I think knowledge and open dialogue initiate change.

The whole issue of ignoring and overlooking ( often times because we are insecure about how to address the specific topic) reminds me of an article I read a long time ago about a disabled person in a wheelchair. He complained that people tried to NOT look at him directly and ignored him. Instead, he would have LOVED people to approach him directly and ask him personally, not talk behind his back. He KNEW that people KNEW that he was disabled (obviously!), but pretended not to see it. Isn’t this whole situation kind of weird? I remember my mom telling me As a kid to not look or stare at someone who was clearly different from most people. That set the stage for my later insecure behaviour. Maybe a simple open explanation would have been a better approach. That will give the other person the freedom to engage in the conversation… or not.

I think if we had a much more open discussion and would listen what overweight people have to tell us, about their feelings and questions, it would be easier to guide them into a healthy direction. Let’s provide them with information about the connection between our bodies, our food and our environment snd encourage them to make a healthy  choice for everyone, because ultimately, we’re all in this together….

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images (3)Hey, we were able to eliminate smoking in most public spaces (depending on which country you find yourself living in). We, each of us, can help to eliminate crappy foods from most public spaces (primarily schools and hospitals!!) and replace them with healthy, organic foods. All we need to do is demand these healthy foods and stop eating the bad foods.

Can we do it? We sure can! The change has already started and it is a grass-root movement, in which every single person counts!

Finally, I can’t leave you without sharing at least one recipe in this post, can I? This is a dip that my daughter Vivian, 6, made a few days ago, for the plant-based children’s website my kids are about to set up ( with mostly cooking videos from kids for kids, it’s such an inspiring project!). Here’s the dip:

super tasty basil lemon cashew spread

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With just a few minutes and a couple of pantry staples, you can create a new homemade sandwich spread that will transform any sandwich into a culinary highlight. Not to mention the health benefits of nutritional yeast.

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Read more about the health benefits on the recipe page http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=4067

Cheers,

Ursula

 

 

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