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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Good Habits that Last A Lifetime

In my research with moms through the years, this phrase typically tops the list.

If you develop good eating habits early or late in life, you don't need to rely on willpower or fight visual temtations to the same extent. Using willpower is always a losing battle. While we are hardwired in a way that to be tempted by indulgences, we are also equiped with the ability to program our own wiring by forming habits. Habits take the ambiguity and guesswork away for those things we know we want to do and are good for us.

Eating traditions around the world and from generations past have given us many ways to do this if we tap into them. There is a good chance that the tradition stemmed from a health benefit. We may even remember the tradition but lost the knowledge of why the tradition came about. When we follow these traditions and make them habits we feel better and stronger. Our everyday environment may tempt us the same but we will feel less of a need to surcome to these temptations.

How do we form good habits later in life? One way is based on fear avoidance. The doctor tells us if we don't change our habits we will have short term consequences. Perhaps we are going to a high school reunion and want to look our best. The universe tells us that we can't have the permission slip to indulge.

Another better way is to make it easy and enjoyable to form good habits creating new rituals. A half hour before you will eat a meal consider eating an orange or other citrus fruit, have a cup of your favorite soup, have 3 whole wheat crackers with a favorite spread of your choice. Science tells us that certain foods will be good to preceed a meal. By eating or drinking a small amount ahead of a full meal, we increase our blood sugar slightly and give our brain time to "curb" some of our hunger. It takes the brain up to 20 minutes to realize that we have filled our stomach so we are less hungry. When we sit down to our meal, we have the opportunity to eat it for nourishment and enjoyment without being ravished and can fully appreciate our food.

Stick to adding one small habit at a time. Make it an easy and enjoyable habit to follow.

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About Me

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First trained as a food chemist and nutritionist, my career began enriching a Twinkie, comparing the nutrition of a Twinkie to an apple and studying the role of sugar in the diet. With an M.B.A. and years in food and pharma understanding consumers and manufacturers led back to where I started - food should taste great and serve to keep us healthy. To do so there needs to be consumer awareness. Consumers need to vote for what they want by buying what they really want. They need to practice balance and responsible choices. That's when change will come. Please engage me with your conversation so that I can help you make better food choices that you enjoy and gain a deeper appreciation of food not only from farm to table but farm to health. My vision is to promote solutions to marketing healthful food and food practices.