Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Wellness Wheel: Eat. (adapted)

In early January we released our Wellness Wheel and in mid-January, I devoted a few days of the blog to a more in-depth look at our Wellness Wheel to explore each section of the wheel and how it relates to our Move.Eat.Be. program.

On Monday, the USDA announced the newest Dietary Guidelines and I've devoted some time to reading the (ugh) 112-page document. Today, I explored the recommendations about eating more seafood. And, I very much enjoyed the article in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal by Bill Tomson and Ilan Brat and the quote included they therein from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association which said, "A recommendation to add fish to your diet doesn't mean you should cut back on leaf beef." It made me snicker. I'm pretty sure if I took the time to dig back in the historical records to find when eating more chicken became all the rage somebody from some beef association likely said something very similar. If they had their way, we'd be eating beef for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Getting to the point... we're editing our Wellness Wheel. I realized two things: One - We had a category for "lean meat" which really was meant to include seafood. Two - I don't want to add to the confusion created by words like lean, light, low-fat, etc. So what was previously named our "lean meat" category will now be called "seafood and meat."

The renaming, of course, raises the question about what kinds of meat, and how much, you should include in your diet. We believe it is best to discover what works best for you by awakening your body and paying attention to how you feel. Some people will feel better eating no seafood or meat. Some people are better off sticking to mostly seafood or chicken. Some people thrive on red meat. And others, still, feel their best with all types of "seafood and meat" in their diet. Taking some time to discover what works best for you is the secret to sustainable, life-long wellness.

Until you discover your own personal approach plan to Eat. seafood and meat, here are some guidelines:

  • Organic, sustainably-raised and natural is always best
  • Consume smaller portions of all seafoods and meats (a serving is about the size of your computer mouse)
  • Choose minimally processed versions (as whole and as close as you can get to nature). Generally speaking, this means:
    • Little to no ground beef, sausages, hot dogs (unless you know and trust the producer)
    • No fish sticks or chicken nuggets (unless you make them yourself from whole fish or chicken)
    • No "meat" in cans or any kind of "pressed-meat patties"
    • No cultured, or in vitro, meat
Why? All too often, we are told to reduce our calorie intake by switching to "lean meat" or "low-fat dairy" and other such terms. This advice is included throughout the USDA's new dietary guidelines. Unfortunately, when a food manufacturer takes a natural fruit, vegetable, grain, dairy or meat and processes it to force it into a product that can be called "lean" or "low" the resulting food-like product  does far more harm to our health. We are much better off eating appropriate portions of the original, non-processed food even if it is the "full fat" version. Hence the new Eat. category of "seafood and meat." Choose well. Eat. (real). 

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