DinerWear likes to play on this adage with An Ounce of Protection is Worth a Pound of Laundry, because it is such a logical approach to life.
PREVENTION is defined as: the action of stopping something from happening or arising.
We put on sunscreen so you won’t get burned. We wipe up spills so we won’t slip and fall. We wash our hands so we won’t catch a cold. (We wear an adult bib—Cravaat® dining scarf— to protect our clothes from food stains.) So why don’t we always eat healthy as prevention against the longer term consequences of a poor diet, like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
First, you have to believe there’s a connection. I’m a big believer in cause and effect. You probably are too if you think about it. For example, when you get a headache, you probably take an aspirin because you know it will make it go away. Did you know that some headaches are due to dehydration? That’s why I start with water when I have a headache.
People with Type II diabetes can often reverse their condition by changing their diet. The same applies to heart disease and cancer. I learned this years ago, but it was the film Forks Over Knives that drove it home for me. Watch it and get inspired. Don’t wait until you’re sick to change the way you live. Change your eating habits as a preventative measure.
Second, you need to believe you CAN change your habits. Basically, you just have to DECIDE you are going to do it. If you watch any of the dieting shows, many people are inspired to change because they are doing it for their children, their family. Keep in mind that changing the foods you keep in the house will help your family too, help keep them healthy as well. If you are a caregiver, wouldn’t it benefit you AND the person you care for if you prepare healthy meals?
Thirdly, you’ll need to invest a little time and effort. Time is usually the excuse for eating poorly. No time to cook. No time to prepare the healthy foods. But what happened to, if you have your health, you have everything?
There’s no doubt that preparing whole foods, i.e., fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats will take more time than picking something up from a fast food joint, but the extra time is worth it when it comes to prevention against illness. And think of it this way. Is it really that much more time? How long does it take buy the meal. You have to park, get in line, order, wait for the preparation, pay, etc. That’s all time that you could be in the kitchen measuring the rice in the rice cooker, salt and peppering the chicken, and washing vegetables. I have decided that every meal needs to have vegetables. If I don’t have time to cook them, I simply prepare a plate of raw vegetables. If you need inspiration to cook, watch the new series Cooked.
In the meantime, here are a few tips for making cooking at home a little easier:
- Do as much preparation at one time, like peeling several days supply of carrots, or making a big container of lettuce/salad and pulling out serving sizes throughout the week.
- Put paper towels in with greens and other vegetables to help absorb the moisture and prolong the life of the food. Putting those items in baggies (with the paper towel), and squeezing out as much air as possible extends leaf lettuce for weeks.
- Make a big batch of a healthy soup and freeze containers for when you need something healthy but quick.
- Keep a bowl of washed fruit/vegetables on the counter. (I keep a bowl of washed cherry tomatoes out for when I just have to have something to munch.)
- Do some prep for tomorrow’s meal while you’re tending to today’s meal.
- Make extra so you have leftovers to work with.
And if you still need convincing, check out http://www.takepart.com/foodinc/film. You’ll start to see food differently and hopefully you’ll be inspired to change.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Eat your preventative medicine and stay healthy.