Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Take The Thanksgiving Challenge

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Remember when we sat down at the table as a family for dinner? When we bought local food?  When we knew the shop keepers?  When food was prepared by a person and didn’t come out of a box?  

Maybe not all of us remember these times from not so long ago.  Somehow we have gotten away from our relationship with our food.  We have almost become alienated with our food and food sources. Often times we don’t know where our food came from or who (or what) made it.  

This is a radical change from just a generation ago. Food today often is many times removed from its source. Ingredient lists on packaged processed food have become a challenge to read and have unrecognizable ingredients listed.  Not only do we not recognize the ingredients, often times neither does our body.  Food now is fast to prepare and fast to consume. Here are some startling statistics from Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.

The typical American now consumes three hamburgers and four orders of French fries every week.
30% of adults eat out lunch on the weekdays.
The average business lunch is only 36 minutes long.
Nearly 10% of all food purchased in restaurants is consumed in the car.

At the same time, over 60% of Americans are overweight or obese, it is estimated one out of three babies born will develop type II diabetes in their  lifetime, 10% of the Medicare budget is spent on stent procedures, and 75% of healthcare spending is for chronic diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seven out of 10 deaths are attributed to preventable chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.  Our lifestyle, including what we eat and how much we exercise, play a substantial role in our wellbeing.  

Here’s the challenge – Whether you cook Thanksgiving dinner yourself or family and guests bring dishes to pass, ask it be made from scratch.  Nothing from a box.  Bake sweet potatoes, make mashed potatoes, cook fresh vegetables, create a salad. Not only will it taste better, it will no doubt have less sodium, fat, and calories and will be free from artificial flavor enhancers and food dyes. By refraining from eating fast food and food from a box on a regular basis, we can experience an overall improvement in our health.

Jody Perrecone is a corporate manager for the Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP). CHIP is an international wellness program focusing on lifestyle interventions to create a healthier workforce and reduce overall healthcare costs. Jody works with hospitals, corporations, and communities to offer CHIP programs throughout the U.S.

Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

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Clinical Pharmacist

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