Tuesday, July 3, 2007

It’s never too late to start eating a healthy diet

I watched my 18-year-old daughter making a meal the other day; she chopped vegetables, combined a little of this and a little of that, a bit of flavouring and voila: a healthy, delicious meal, made in about 15 or 20 minutes. She finished it off with apples and peanut butter, or was it yogurt and berries this time?

She eats wonderfully well and makes delicious concoctions that I never would have ventured to make at that age. She’ll grill up a tasty chicken breast, make a tuna salad, or stuff a pita with sautéed vegetables. I was brought up with canned vegetables and boiled potatoes. Eating couscous or souvlaki? Never.

I’m glad to say that my tastes have evolved and I am as adventurous as my daughter, but it took her, and my oldest son, to teach me. Although, as a mom, I’d gone beyond the canned vegetables and boiled potatoes of my youth, I still was not as adventurous as I could have been. Of course, it could have had something to do with having three fussy toddlers who didn’t want different foods touching each other, let alone taste funny.

To tell you the truth, I’m thrilled to see my older two experimenting with healthier foods. My youngest is starting to taste new things and I’m confident that it will happen that he, too, will begin enjoying the variety of food we have here. The abundance of different flavours from different cultures gives us such an opportunity to eat in a healthy way, but not be limited to the same foods over and over.

Last week, there was a study published, in the American Journal of Medicine, of 16,000 Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 years who had been tracked since the 1985. Their diets were monitored and the researchers found that no matter what age the subjects were, if they modified their diets to more healthy diets, in addition to three other lifestyle modifications, their risk of heart disease and death sharply declined. The four changes were: eating five or more vegetable or fruit servings per day, exercising for at least 2.5 hours per week, keeping a healthy weight, and not smoking.

People who only adopted three of the habits saw a small decrease in death rates, but no difference in heart disease.

Today, there was another news story on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. There’s no reason why we can’t incorporate some of that into our North American diet, considering that most of the foods are readily available to us. Maybe we should seriously think about what we are putting in our mouths. I know I eat foods that aren’t the healthiest. Although I like my vegetables (grilled peppers, zucchini, asparagus: yum!), I’m not a huge fruit person. I’m going to have to take some time and learn some more from my children. They sure seem to know a lot more about healthy eating than I.

News for today:
Mediterranean diet beats low-fat regime for heart health: researchers
Late-starters can benefit from healthy habits: study
West Nile arrives three weeks early in Manitoba

1 comment:

Dawn said...
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