A month ago, after watching the documentary "Supersize me," I gave up fast food. I didn't eat it often but when I was out on the run, it was convenient to stop at Sonic or McD or Burger King. Convenience. That's what its all about these days isn't it? Its more convenient to order out or grab something on the way home from a fast food joint then it is to spend an hour in the kitchen preparing a healthy pre-planned home meal. Fun. It's more fun to go out for lunch with the work buddies then it is to bring a pre-planned healthy lunch. Feel good feelings. It makes us feel better, at first, to eat something that gives us those feel good feelings to only say to ourselves afterwards "why did I just eat that?" Well, no more of that in our household! Cory and I have given up fast food. We will occasionally eat out at a restaurant still, but will make healthier choices. In fact, we have set up a budget for groceries/eating out. Once its gone, its gone for the month. This is going to force us to cook at home and only eat out once a week (we Baptist like to go out for lunch after church!)
It's time for another sacrifice. Fried foods. Last night, I ate combination fried rice. It was so good while eating it. It wasn't so good when I was later having tummy problems. That was when I realized I must give up fried foods. It is not something we eat often, but for us, this means no more doughnuts, no more chinese buffets, no more chicken fried steak! Oh sadness! Cory said he is in on this with me. So starting today, no more fried foods for us.
Do you really know how bad fried foods are for you? Fried foods can dramatically increase your cholesterol, increasing your risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the artery walls) and heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, 75% of our cholesterol is made by our own bodies and 25% comes from our diet. 25% doesn't seem like alot, but in reality, it is. Our bodies need cholesterol to function properly but to much is harmful. There are two different types of cholesterol. Good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol. LDL circulates in the blood and can build up in the artery walls, causing a narrowing of the artery. This is called atherosclerosis. If a piece of that plaque breaks off, it can cause a stroke or can block the narrowed artery leading to a heart attack. The good cholesterol, HDL, can help prevent stroke and heart attack, because it extracts cholesterol from the artery walls and disposes of it in the liver. Unfortunately for our taste buds, fried foods have a significant amount of saturated fats which causes our cholesterol to skyrocket. So what can we eat that will get our cholesterol levels in check?
1) High fiber foods- Foods high in fiber, such as oatmeals, kidney beans, apples and pears, can actually help reduce the absorption of bad cholesterol into the bloodstream.
2) Fish- Fish, (at least twice a week!) contains omega 3 fatty acids which can actually help reduce blood pressure.
3) unsalted nuts- a handful of unsalted nuts can actually help keep your vessels healthy, but don't over do it, because nuts are often high in calories.
4) veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and poultry, fat free or 1% dairy products
If you want more information on cholesterol, click HERE to check out the American Heart Assocations website.
To get that healthy body, we must make sacrifices. Are you ready to make a sacrifice to better your health?