The Fallacy of Abundance

Too many of us believe that tucking into a large plate equals abundance. Many believe that feeling stuffed at the end of a meal means that our hunger has been satiated–because in America, a heaping plate makes for a good meal. Go to any Las Vegas buffet, grab a tray on the all-you-can eat line, and you’ll see a scramble for sub-par food: greasy chicken wings, stale bread, hardening rice, slop-like sauces,and muddy looking desserts. There’s no end to a meal at a Las Vegas buffet, just as there’s no end to any meal in America. And that’s the problem. Big plates and snacking have replaced sitting down to table, picking up a fork, knife, and spoon, and connecting with a friend over a tasty meal and conversation.

Back in the 1970s, lunch hour really meant taking an hour for lunch. Today you’re lucky if you get fifteen minutes. And if you do occasionally take a longer lunch, it’s rare to find a friend who can join you at table. So what do most Americans do for lunch? They grab something to go, or buy a microwavable item, and scarf down at the desk. An hour later, hungry for something other than food–say a conversation or a nap–the worker bee turns to sugar-loaded junk food. After all, the office kitchen is overflowing with a never-ending series of birthday cakes, chocolate chip cookies, and other celebration foods that no longer feel very celebratory. Boredom, loneliness, and fatigue join up for a temporary party in the office kitchen. It’s a sad state of affairs. So what should the post-millennial worker do to stave off obesity?

Take a hike. At lunch, take your 15 minutes for a walk. Take another 15 minutes to eat a salad–away from the desk–with a friend or colleague. Talk about something other than work. Laugh a little. And don’t head for the office kitchen when sugary snacks sweat on the counter. Say no to eating between meals. If you have the urge to get up from your desk, visit a friend. Don’t eat until you’re back home. And if you’re sitting in a restaurant that serves heaping plates the size of platters, save your wallet and share. And finally, remember: abundance isn’t always about how much you pack into your stomach.

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Eat For Health

Begin at the beginning. Wake up. Every action and everything you eat should lead you to vitality. There’s no secret to what makes you feel good. Your body tells you. You might gormandize on something that tastes exceptional–like leg of lamb or lobster–but an hour later it might leave you feeling drab and worn out. If this happens, don’t eat that food quite so often. Be aware of how you feel after you eat. If you find that certain foods or spices leave you feeling heavy, moody, or–in some cases physically uncomfortable–avoid that food or spice. If, however, you eat something that invigorates you, put that food on the table more often. 

You might also find that certain foods mix well together, while others don’t. For instance, corn might be great alone. So might beets. But if you eat the two together you might get an upset stomach. Be aware of how you feel after you eat. Watch your moods. Your body speaks to you. When you eat right, your body treats itself right. Health, on all levels, is all about awareness. Listen, feel, watch and, most importantly, live right!

Shopping To Vegetate

Forget your TV, laptop, and iPad with their commercials for greasy fried chicken or visually trumped up but palatably mediocre burgers–because piles of freshness await your cart: peppers, collard greens, romaine lettuce, carrots, cilantro. The list goes on, and if you’re lucky enough to live near a market that gets its produce from fields close to its doors, then you have no excuse. It’s time to vegetate away from your TV, computer, or hand-held device.

You’ll want to pick produce that’s priced to sell. Why? Because good prices show that the produce is in season. If you’re shopping in a market whose prices for produce don’t fluctuate according to supply, well then, you might want to do some research. Find out when crops are in season in your area. Buy accordingly. The food will be fresh and won’t leave a large carbon foot print. 

At home, explore recipes you’ve never tried. Go stir fry crazy, roast and grill and sear. Or, simply slice and serve. If you’re into french fries, pull out a pan, slice up Idahos, sweet potatoes, and yukon golds. Drizzle with olive oil, shake on some salt and pepper or other herbs/spices you enjoy, and bake until crisp outside and soft inside. Roast green, yellow, orange and red peppers by following a similar approach. Carrots and other root vegetables are similarly delicious when roasted. Between the oven and the stovetop there’s a world of delight for the person hankering to vegetate. Enjoy food like this on a regular basis and you’ll thrive!

Bring Down The Scale! Walk!

Time to get out for some exercise. You’ve sat at the desk most of the morning. Lunchtime is just around the corner. You don’t need a gym. All you need is the great outdoors!

Outside it might be raging sunshine, or it might be raining. No matter the weather, bring your sunglasses or your umbrella. It’s time for some fresh air. Put on your walking shoes–and if you don’t have walking shoes, put on your walking feet. 

If you have the choice, take the stairs and bring a friend. Find a ten or twenty minute circuit, and as you walk, enjoy the sounds of life around you. Find something interesting in your environment– Whether you’re in a parking lot or on a busy street, there’s plenty to observe. Keep a steady pace. Walk with a straight back. Take deep breaths. Remember how it felt to be a child, walking towards something you wanted to see or do. Make every walk into an adventure. What will you see next? Are flowers blooming or have the leaves just fallen? If there’s snow on the ground, watch for ice and enjoy remembering how you felt as a child, playing in snow. 

There’s nothing like a walk. Walk your way to fitness. Take office meetings and lunchtime outside. At the end of your walk, stretch your legs by leaning, face forward, against a wall and flexing your calf muscles. Don’t forget to take another deep breath of fresh air! Do this every day and it will wake you up and bring down the scale. Walk!