By Gina Cousineau
I walk through life worrying about other people. Whether it is my husband, a client, or a stranger, I happen to have information that can shift the trajectory of their lives, increasing years of longevity and decreasing disability, but most don’t seem to care.
This is a hard pill for me to swallow, but all I can do is to continue to model healthy behaviors in my own life and dish out my messaging to those who care to listen. I have shared incessantly over the years about “diet approaches” that lead to weight loss for the interim, but elicit disordered eating for a lifetime.
And what I recently had to come to terms with is that this is a choice, as we have the science and evidence and necessary foods, but everyone wants the quick fix, and no one wants to put in the effort to change.
The area that brings me extreme angst and downright anger is based on the reality that the “obesity pandemic,” a global issue, is spreading to our littles, and it has been predicted that recent generations of children will live shorter lives than their parents.
Every adult who cares about a child, no matter their age, states that all they want for them is “health and happiness,” but based on their own behaviors, this is an outright untruth. Until we, the adults, are willing to shift our food choices and eating patterns so that we are an example, instead of having a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality, then we have no hope for this generation.
And while people are up in arms over so many other important concerns, like the environment, perhaps we need to put the onus on prioritizing saving human beings first.
Considering what I have just unpacked for you, let’s consider the one option that would start to change this trajectory of demise for our youth—a healthy eating pattern for the adults feeding them.
I have spoken time and again about moving toward more wholesome food choices, but the desire to move the scale continues to get in the way.
So let me remind you of a wonderful way to enjoy every morsel you put in your mouth, while you help to lessen the risk of obesity and the accompanying lifestyle diseases that are affecting our youth:
- Eat more plants. I am not recommending a plant-exclusive nutrition approach, but should you choose that, I am not opposed to it. I just know from my more-than-30 years of talking about food with people, most prefer a flexible approach, meaning they choose to eat both plant and animal food choices. And I will highlight that most plants are predominantly carbohydrates, so it is important to be mindful of protein and fat sources, as well throughout your day. I encourage your “carb” choices to be as close to nature as possible, coming in the form of vegetables, fruit, whole grains/starches, nuts and seeds.
- While these plant foods can contain fat and protein, I encourage you to round out your plate with lean animal protein sources, eggs, fatty fishes like salmon, nonfat and low-fat dairy foods, along with healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts/seeds.
- Read labels. So often I found clients wanting to focus on ingredients they can’t pronounce, rather than on the amount and type of fat (emphasizing saturated fats), sodium, and added sugar, clearly highlighted for you on the “nutrition facts label.”
Gina Cousineau is a local nutrition expert who specializes in weight loss and helping her clients improve their health. As a trained chef with her BS in Dietetics and MS in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, her goal is to help her clients enjoy every morsel they consume, learning how to move with ease in the kitchen while using their “food as medicine.” Subscribe to her weekly newsletter for complimentary cooking classes, recipes, webinars and more at mamagslifestyle.com, or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and 949.842.9975.