An elephant walks into a store and asks, “Hey, ya got any trunks?”
Tell me, what do you think he’s asking for? It depends. If I say the word “trunk” it’ll mean something different to a furniture store owner, a Forest Ranger, an animal trainer, a luggage or used car salesman. Some words simply need clarification.
In the same way, when I’m speaking to a patient and advise them that they can eat a “serving” of pasta, it means something different as well. To someone 350 lbs. a normal serving is a like a twirl of a fork, but to one who is anorexic, it’s huge.
But don’t be mislead. Read the label! Processed foods are especially deceptive. A piece of cake or 6 oz bag of chips might claim “only 100 calories per serving!” but the back label indicates a serving’s only an ounce. Eat the whole thing and you’re consuming 600+ calories!
Let me explain what a basic serving means to you in “dog years” so you’ll relate to it:
- Fiber Rich Grains = 1 slice of bread, 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal, 1/2 cup cooked cereal, 1 tortilla, 1/2 bagel or 32 strands of pasta.
- Dairy: One cup of low-fat milk/yogurt/ice cream. (skim/1% only) 1-1/2 oz low-fat cheese, 1/2 cup cottage cheese.
- Vegetables: 1 cup of raw vegetables or 1/2 cup cooked.
- Fruit: 1 medium fruit, 1/2 cup sliced, cooked or canned fruit, or 3/4 cup juice.
- 3 oz lean meat; (about the size of the palm of your hand or deck of cards) consume anything loin, round or white meat, poultry, fish, 1 egg.
- Fat = a teaspoon. (Fats are found in most foods except fruits/vegetables.) Use primarily monounsaturated olive or canola oil. Then real butter, sesame oil, peanut butter won’t be a travesty occasionally.
Remember there are only three basic food groups, fats, proteins and carbohydrates (and then combinations). How many calories you should consume depends on how active you are, and who really wants to count calories for a lifetime? Just increase exercise.
How should you eat? Simplify:
- Every human should only eat about 6 ounces of meat daily no matter what calorie plan they’re on.
- Eat as many water based colorful vegetables as you wish, With approximately 25 calories per cup cucumbers, radishes or lettuce are basically free foods so eating these fill you up. Eat 5x’s more water based vegetables than meat.
- 2-3 fruits make great snacks and a small banana or berries are perfect on whole grain cereals. Approximately 60 calories per small/medium fruit.
- You’ll want 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy.
Understanding the above is simple. Now here’s where the confusion begins:
- Starchy vegetables are considered a grain. These include potatoes, corn, pinto/kidney beans, peas, winter squash, yams. A whole grain is one you can see. They’re higher in fiber but also calories. One fist size equals one cup.
- Actual Grains are even trickier. Look for whole or long grain products for fiber and nutrients. Read the label. 1 bread slice can range from 60-120 calories per slice. Consume fiber!! If you want to go gluten-free, fine but look for fiber to keep your system running well. Very few people actually have celiac disease, but many consumers are joining that “gluten-free” bandwagon?
- Oils? Use primarily olive or canola oils. Fatty salad dressings are the downfall here. Use sparely. Try making your own vinaigrettes.
Now see why did I become a counselor? Because eating well is right there in black and white. Simple, concise. But not many eat well. It’s why some prefer to trash their bodies that makes nutritional counseling interesting to me! I enjoy seeing the light come on when someone realizes, “So that’s why I self-destruct!”
1 Corinthians 6:20 “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body”
God gave so much to us! If you want to honor Him, start with a personal desire. He’ll be with you every step of the way if you only ask.