Not yet a subscriber? Why not subscribe now - it's Free and it's Easy. Click here if already a subscriber.

Become a Christian Life in London subscriber and stay up to date with the latest Christian news, contests, events and information in London.
Name*   
Email*   
  
* Required Fields
This is a FREE subscription,
and you can unsubscribe at anytime.
Word Verification



SUBSCRIBE AND WIN
Become a Christian Life in London subscriber and help spread the word, you will be entered in our monthly draws for great prizes, AND the more friends** you recommend, you will receive one additional entry per each one of those subscriptions.

Name*   
Email*   
Suggest Friends   








* Required Fields
This is a FREE subscription,
and you can unsubscribe at anytime.
** Friends
Your friends will not be subscribed automatically,
they will receive an email asking if they would like to subscribe.

Living Healthy Part III: Food and Us--Who's consuming who?
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
Challenging Your Perspective Rather Than Your Pocketbook
Good Samaritan: Assyrian Canadian Christian - Mansour Zindo (GOOD SAMARITAN)
Tim Tebow, From Football to Filmmaker, Presents: 'Run the Race' - An Inspirational Sports Drama
SEND International
BookMark (BOOK REVIEW)
To Me, it's a Penny (HUMOUR)
The United Church of Canada Hosts Its 43rd General Council
REEL REVIEW - Operation Finale (MOVIE REVIEW)
Jordan Feliz and Matthew West sing out to the Lord (VIDEO)

By Haydn Jensen


Ok, so I'm writing this third article of our health series...on food...while sitting in a Tim Horton's with a donut and a coffee. Not exactly a model citizen. Then again, perhaps I am--or at least an extremely typical citizen. For many reasons, almost all of us face challenges with eating properly. We might try using weak excuses about there too much conflicting "expert" advice, so we don't really know what's good for us. OK, but let's be honest with ourselves for five seconds: do we really want to eat properly or do we just want to live at the mercy of our cravings? Assuming you’re beyond good intentions, let's take a look at how we can move forward. I doubt this will be the definitive article on the subject, but hopefully you will take away at least one or two helpful points.

Calories: The Basics

Calories are units of energy that fuel our bodies. If you consume more calories than you burn you will store the extra energy as fat, no matter if that energy comes from protein, carbohydrates or fat. Or, if your body burns more than you consume, weight loss occurs. If they are equal, weight is maintained. You can find out how many calories you need each day based on your age and activity level here. Statistics Canada says that, on an average day, 50 percent of women and 70 percent of men in Canada consume more calories than we need. As a result, six in ten Canadians are either overweight or obese. Even more alarming, the proportion of Canadians considered to be obese has doubled since the 1978/1979 Canada Health Survey (from 13% to 26%). Last year, Health Canada announced proposed changes to nutrition facts labels on food to increase the prominence of calorie counts and also to draw greater attention to serving size information. Let’s hope this helps us all take stock of how much food energy we take in.

Tara Robbins from Just Sweat Fitness Studio recommends becoming an educated reader when shopping. To help us with nutrition labels we see today, she says,
Start with the basics and look for the sodium and sugars. You want both of these ingredients to be low and never want your ingredient list to start with one of these items. They are in everything. Aim to keep your sugars to below 12g per serving and your sodium to below 200 milligrams. You also want to be aware of the serving size. If the serving size is 6 crackers and you eat 12 you want to do the calculation accordingly.

Organic vs. Normal Food

Too bad you probably understand the difference. We are seeing more and more organic food options in our supermarkets and this is often marketed like an exotic or specialty food option. The irony, of course, is that normal food is actually the organic stuff. Over time, we have gotten used to buying and eating food not labelled organic, thinking of this as normal. Partly, the issue is about chemicals used in the food production. Partly, there is concern about the engineering of the food itself. Cheryl Pattyn of Positive Image Fitness says organic produce is best, but not everything needs to be organic. She refers us to
On the genetically engineered/ modified (GM) foods front, this is a tricky battle. Organizations like the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (

It's only fair to point out that Canadian farmers are actively trying to reassure the public that the food they produce is actually safe and healthy. The organization Food & Farm Care describes itself as "a coalition of farmers and associated businesses working together with a commitment to provide credible information and strengthen sustainable food and farming for the future." In their Real Dirt on Farming publication and
website they provide answers to growing public concern over hormones in farm animals, GMOs, pesticide and antibiotic use in food production in Canada. They also describe the challenges and requirements for organic farmers to successfully produce and then label food as "certified organic". This said, the organization goes on to say, "There is no evidence that organically produced food is healthier or safer than food that isn't certified organic." Perhaps you agree, or perhaps not. Given that both sides claim science supports them, we as consumers are left to decide who we want to trust, and perhaps who we can afford to trust.

A Healthy Plate of Food

One last area we'll examine is about getting the right balance together. Cheryl Pattyn again has some helpful things to share. Here she explains how to put a good meal together, making an important distinction between refined carbohydrates (like white bread and white rice) and complex carbs (like whole grain bread and brown rice):

I am not a big fan of the Canada Food Guide. It simply promotes too many refined carbohydrates and not enough veggies and protein. What I tell my clients is to take their plate and divide it into quarters. One quarter is your complex carbs, One quarter is protein, and the other half of your plate is veggies. It keeps it simple and places the focus on veggies.

On the subject of fats, it’s tricky because the promotion of a "low fat diet" has conditioned us to see fat as bad. And yet, we also hear about healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Cheryl expains, "Our bodies need fat to produce hormones, to keep our skin, hair and nails healthy and it keeps us feeling fuller longer. The key is the type of fat." Good fats are found in foods like avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, raw nut butters, raw nuts etc. and studies have seen an increase in heart health with these types of fats.

There is plenty to discuss with nutritionists and personal trainers on how our body metabolizes food. Our aim here was to start the conversation and remind us all that the food we consume can end up consuming us if we're not careful. Let's all try our best to make good choices!

For more information you can talk to: