I am excited about beginning a new part of my life. Retirement is sweet, but I can tell you now that I miss the Rome City Schools and the School Nutrition staff that won my heart over while working for 16 years. Before my career with the school system, I was with the University of Georgia Extension Service for 22 years. I talk and teach nutrition. I am teaching part time at Berry College in the Kinesiology Department. Yes, it is Nutrition and Wellness. My hope is that you will be entertained every two weeks as you read this column related to nutrition and wellness.
There will be times that people will disagree with my findings. My friend, Dr. Larry Atwell, made this statement regarding education, but it relates to nutrition as well: “Nutritional facts can be compared to nailing Jell-O to a tree”. Nutritional facts like Jell-O can change daily according to new scientific findings and a “nail” cannot hold it. Nutrition slips and slides around, but one must base their nutritional information on reliable resources and long-term studies with good data. The consumer of food must learn to take what they hear and evaluate the facts to find the truth.
One of my favorite sources is Total Nutrition: the Only Guide You Will Ever Need published by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. These authors suggest that there are three key words that can guide your plan. Let me explain. These three key words are: moderation, variety, and balance.
Moderation: One should eat in small amounts and the meal should last at least 20 minutes. The meal time should be relaxing and give the stomach time to digest the food. This will help the person not to overeat. This length of time gives the brain time to send messages to the stomach to say, “I am full, stop eating.” With our busy schedules, we have even taught our children to eat on the run. When a body does “speed eating,” the digestion and absorption process is put into “over-drive.”
Variety: We have always heard that variety is the spice of life. Using the Food Guide Pyramid information as our model, a person should include bread/grain, vegetables, fruits, meat/protein, dairy and yes, some fat (or Lipids) in their diet plan. Eat foods that are “real.” Try to limit eating processed foods and fast foods.
Balance: One way to plan for a balanced, healthy meal plan is to divide your dinner plate into one four equal portions. In the first section, select a healthy protein. Protein does not have to be large. A person only needs two to four ounces for their body to build muscles and repair tissue. Protein can be legumes, nuts, and even an egg. The second portion of the plate could be a “small” portion of starchy vegetables like corn or potatoes. In the other two sections, load them with dark green, orange and yellow vegetables.
More is to come in the future. Stay tuned.