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Smart Options

Be More Productive And Feel Good, Too

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Smart Option: ‘Just Say No’ To Processed Foods!

Get Healthier Just By Simplifying Your Food Choices

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Have you heard all the negative media coverage about ‘processed foods’? They say that ‘processed foods are bad for us’ now. I arrived at the same conclusion as the experts a few years ago myself. For decades we celebrated the convenience of the newest ‘prepared foods and meals’. Like many people today, one of my favorite ‘smart options’ is to stop slowly poisoning myself with man-made toxins!

Just think about it? Aside from air pollutant toxins, where else is so much dis-ease from toxins coming from? We buy almost anything in the frozen food section, we purchase canned and jarred goods of every description, and boxed meals for every purpose. The days of the ‘frozen TV dinner’ were replaced decades ago with modern food processing, technology, and packaging.

With these advancements and convenience came preservatives and additives and food dyes. Not to mention the much cheaper, man-made fats! I put ‘two and two’ together and took a strong interest in whole and organic foods and you may have, too. Foods like an apple, a banana, whole grains, and fresh vegetable choices in the colors of the rainbow are the best. The organic foods marketed today introduce an even higher standard of quality than simply opting to eat whole foods. They are the purest food options on the planet.

A good friend of mine, a friend with a ‘naturally maintained’ slim figure, recommended I begin first by rediscovering whole foods, as I adapted to a new way of thinking about food options. And so I did. It was like going back in history, too, enjoying the foods I was raised eating… The re-promotion of whole foods has given way to another healthy trend, only recently recognized in mainstream circles, Slow Food.

If you are on the cutting-edge of good health and cuisine, or if you live in California, you already know about Slow Food. Below is an excerpt from an email I received from a enticing blogger named, Leo Babauta, with a blog site you can visit at – ZenHabits.com.

The post below was entitled, ‘The Anti Fast-Food Diet’ and it was published on 10/26/09.

I hope you also enjoy Leo’s suggestions for creating a Slow Food lifestyle like I did.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve written about the Slow Food movement, but I really believe it’s the answer to many of our problems: health and obesity, the hectic and stressful pace of modern life, and the lack of happiness in a complex and often burdensome world.

This is the Anti-Fast Food Diet — a way to not only lose weight and get healthier, but to change your life to one of simplicity, moderation, and joy. Abandon fast food, and all the values it brings: mass consumption, mass production, the exploitation of workers, the destruction of the environment, the destruction of small local businesses, the corporatization of our culture.

Instead, embrace Slow Food. Here’s how:

  • Stop rushing to eat. Set aside more time for eating, for shopping and preparation, for enjoying life. Stop rushing to fast food places because it’s convenient — because it’s not so convenient to be hospitalized. Instead, make time, and take things a bit slower.
  • Prepare your own meals. I know, who has the time? You do. Make the time, and cook simple meals without a lot of ingredients or preparation time. It takes 10 minutes to whip together a healthy and tasty lunch or dinner. And it can be a lot of fun (get the family or your partner involved). Preparing your own meals is healthier, frugal, and you know you’re eating good food.
  • Eat real food, not processed. Buy fresh ingredients such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, beans, and the like. Use ingredients you can recognize, not things filled with chemicals. Don’t use prepared food if you can avoid it — microwaveable or boxed foods are not the best. Avoid processed food at all costs.
  • Eat slowly and mindfully. Too many people stuff food down their gullets these days. It’s not healthy, and you’ve just consumed food without enjoying it. Instead, take the time to chew your food, to taste it, to be present as you eat.
  • Enjoy the food. Fully savor each bite. Appreciate the miracle of the food you’re eating, and be grateful you have that bite at all.
  • Take time to breathe, and smile. Before you begin to eat, smile, and take a deep breath, reminding yourself to be present and enjoy the food. Between bites, instead of rushing to the next bite, breath, relax, enjoy. Savor the moment.
  • When eating, just eat. When drinking tea, just drink tea. Be fully present. Don’t read a book or surf the net or drive or work or anything else but eat and drink.
  • Enjoy good conversation. OK, the exception to the above rule: eating with friends and family. Fast food has destroyed the good meal and conversation, because we’re rushing as we eat and don’t have time for a good talk. Bring it back.
  • When you do eat at a restaurant, make it a good one. Avoid the fast food places, but also the chain restaurants (Chilis, TGI Fridays, Lone Star, Olive Garden, etc). Go to locally owned restaurants where they use real ingredients and really make good food.

These may be more expensive, but you’re not supporting a corporation and your food will be better, and even if it means eating out less that’s OK — quality is more important than quantity.

~ Leo Babauta, www.ZenHabits.com

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Read More: Smart Options

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