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I HEARD THAT IS HEALTHY?

Stop thinking in terms of whether a food or type of food is healthy or not healthy. This is a very attractive but oversimplified way to think about our diet. It takes little effort and is usually wrong because it's based on opinion, limited details, or financial influence, and makes us stop thinking about what we are eating. We feel better about ourselves when we eat something we feel is healthy. However, when we have a meal, we often ignore things we know we shouldn't eat and only seem to remember the things that we thought were healthy. And that is not even getting into the amount of food we ate. Our perception of how much we consume is also rarely close to reality. So, stop thinking about food in terms of whether it's healthy or not. If you asked 10 people what types of food was healthy you would get drastically different answers from each one. You must put it into context.

No everyday food is healthy or unhealthy in and of itself. Picture two different screwdrivers for a minute; a Phillips head and Flathead screwdriver. Now which one is better? The answer will not depend on opinion. It will depend very clearly on what type of screw you're about to try and tighten or loosen. Now take water for another example. It is all natural, pure, clear, safe, used every day for millions of tasks, and required for life but it can also be deadly. Too much can cause neurologic problems, heart failure, and drowning. In fact, water kills people every day. So, stop thinking about food as healthy or unhealthy. Think about it more like a tool. How is what I am about to eat going to help me accomplish my goals. And if your goal is simply to eat something that tastes good, or that you like and enjoy then that's fine. However, if your goal is to try and lose weight, or better control your diabetes, or your congestive heart failure then you need to think about it more like a tool to get the job done. You really need to think about what your goals are when you eat. Are you actually hungry or is just the time of day that you typically eat? Are you trying to keep your feet from swelling or are you trying to reduce the risk that you will have a heart attack or stroke so that you can live longer and have more time with your grandchildren? Or are you just trying to look good for your wedding day. Think, how can I use this food to help me reach this goal, not how can I avoid certain foods. If you get caught in that trap you will often feel like you're being punished, and you must give up things that you enjoy. This hurts our sense of pride a great deal. It is very much a struggle when we feel we must give up things that we perceive as our right to be able to eat. In fact, on many diets, you can eat just about anything you want. You just may not be able to eat much of it. However, it's not just about the amount. Our hormones control what we do with the food we eat. These hormone levels are altered by our genetics, our mood, time, our age, and most significantly the types of foods we eat. Most people think of thyroid hormone when I start talking about this, but insulin is much more significant. Insulin becomes the dominant hormone in most cases and forces the body to store calories as fat. In fact, it's almost impossible to lose weight if you do not let your insulin level drop below a certain point.

So, we must consider the amount of food, the type of food, the combinations of foods, and our own individual circumstances. A long-term diabetic that is 100 pounds overweight will have much more difficulty losing weight than a 30-year-old with normal blood sugar that is also 100 pounds overweight. This now starts to sound very complicated but, is very simple. I would encourage you to simply start to consider what impact the food will have on your insulin level. This will more than likely be directly related to your health goals. The higher the insulin level the more damaging it typically will be in the long term for your health. So, try to eat smaller amounts of food that would increase your insulin level and you will not have to worry so much about the types of foods that have smaller effects on your insulin level. If done right you can eat plenty of food, feel full, and sill lose weight. It is possible.

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