Sitnews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Compliments to Your Health #6

The Season of Goodies
by Joann Flora,
Acupressure, Nutrition Counseling, Qigong


November 21, 2002
Thursday - 11:00 pm

The most complicated eating season of the year is upon us: THE HOLIDAYS! For some of us, this is the season of goodies, delectable treats, special ethnic meals, and indulgences of every gastronomic proportion and description. For others, it is a time of poisonous toxins, deadly carbohydrates, artery clogging fats, and enough calories to last a lifetime. And that's before one considers the parties! For many people with health considerations affected by dietary habits, this can be a very high stress time of year.

"Fire In the Sky" by Lance Mertz

"Fire In The Sky"
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Some of the conditions most affected by food include (hyperglycemia)diabetes, coronary artery disease, arthritis, gout, obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), kidney disease, liver disease, eating disorders such as bulimia (bingeing/purging), and on the list goes. The truth is, that most disease processes are in fact affected by what and how we eat. Some health conditions result from nutritional deficiencies (EX: pellagra - a niacin deficiency). Or, they may be worsened through specific food intake (EX: diabetes - highly impacted by consumption of simple carbohydrates). Some foods and common herbs impact how our bodies respond to the medications we take (EX: people using steroids, which cause sodium retention, should be cautious in their use of table salt and prepared foods high in sodium). But this doesn't mean we can't enjoy the holiday season; it means we must be conscientious in how we choose to enjoy it.

If you are concerned about the culinary offerings you will face outside your home, these suggestions can help you enjoy yourself while you minimize your risk:

1) Eat something before you attend dinners or parties. You won't be hungry when you arrive and may make better choices.

2) When you get to your scheduled event, take a small plate of food you tolerate well and carry it around. Don't put it down or finish it. This keeps people from forcing more food your way.

3) Use a salad or dessert plate instead of a dinner plate. Eat it slowly.

4) If you don't believe you have the strength to do what's best for you, ask a companion to support your efforts.

5) Call the restaurant or host ahead of time and request a special, safe dish. Sometimes, this can be as simple as having a sauce omitted from your portion, having the fat removed, or having a half portion plated for you. It does not need to be an imposition or complication.

6) Bring your own food. You can do this very tactfully and not hurt anyone's feelings.

7) If alcohol is your concern, upon arrival at your event, get a tall glass of grapefruit and soda, or soda with a splash or cranberry. Put a lemon or lime on the edge of the glass. Put a paper umbrella or other bar toy in it if they are available. Keep it full. You won't even be asked if you need another 'drink'.

8) When all else fails, don't go. Never jeopardize your health for the sake of being social. Or,

9) Be the host of the party! Prepare healthy dishes you can enjoy and have a nice evening.

Sadly, "holiday cooking" and "healthy food" are not synonymous. Many traditional recipes are loaded with dairy, fat, refined wheat flour, sodium, sugar, simple carbohydrates, and are prepared by frying. But don't despair! Book stores and websights now offer cook books and recipe planning information to support major health concerns. Just today, I took a recipe for Creamy Pumpkin Mousse off the American Diabetes Association websight. Their Book News section features Every Day's A Holiday Diabetic Cookbook. The American Heart Association offers a variety cookbooks including the Around the World Cookbook: Recipes With International Flavor, and Low Fat & Luscious Desserts . The resources are out there, if you choose to use them. In addition to bookstores and the web sights pertinent to your health concerns, talk to a professional about how to get through the holidays. A nutrition counselor or dietician can help you with moral support, meal planning, and party strategies. They are a terrific investment in helping you have enjoyable and beneficial holidays.

Remember, the people who are the most successful in managing their disease, rather than having their disease manage them, are those who are motivated to be proactive in their own health care. We'll talk further about mustering this motivation (for the holidays and beyond) in the next edition.



E-Mail Joann Flora
 E-mail Joann Flora


©Compliments To Your Health
Joann Flora 2002


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