Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Column 5

Food For Thought
Hello There,
Habits, it is in the eating habits we have created for ourselves! Our taste buds get from small kid onwards manipulated.
How then, did I get rid of some 15 kilos? Changing my eating habits; more leafy vegetables and fresh vegetables, olive oil, rape seed oil, avocados and tomatoes are standing on my daily food intake list. Once a week I will have pasta or pizza and once or twice a week meat. For the rest, fish, preferably fatty fish like salmon, salmon trout (not farmed but Alaskan wild), tuna, mackerel and herring. The herring here in Lithuania is by the way superior to anything I have eaten in Belgium. No more butter, very few milk products and sour cream or yoghurt. Only French gastronomical cheeses, yes the ones that smell and taste very strong. And last but not least little alcohol (very fast sugars actually). No white grain products only whole grain, almost never potatoes, rice or pasta. Sounds boring, doesn’t it? Then I will not add that I only eat one chocolate a day and almost never sweets, cakes or ice creams…Next time we will talk about physical exercises by the way.
This time we will look a bit more at saturated fats, the bad fats for your body.
We eat meat almost every day, well most of us. Fish is eaten only from time to time. This is a clear thing as there are more pigs in Belgium and Holland together then human beings living there. Staggering? No it is a result of the industrialization and the domestication of cattle and domestication of animals. In fact it is easier to raise cattle then to go and fish. Obviously all these animals and the side products they produce (milk, butter, cream) need to be consumed. This is where the food industry comes into play. They need to sell their meat products. They use therefore advertising and marketing tools that basically manipulate us to eat more and more meat or meat products.
Animal fats as we have seen in the previous letter are saturated fats and stay saturated in the body. They are most of the time solid and stay also solid in the body. Our cell membranes consist partly out of fats. If there are only or too much hard saturated fats in the blood then these fats will be used for the building up of the cell membranes. The result of this is sturdy impermeable cell membranes. These membranes do not allow for swift absorption of necessary materials to the cells or out of the cells. They get basically blocked. Trivial is that the cholesterol influx and outflow is done through these membranes. Now this does not happen anymore when the cell membranes have too much saturated fat in them. So don’t eat too much meat and animal products like milk and cream or butter.
Yes I know, they are nice and available everywhere. Similar to the cholesterol, sugar will not easily be transported in the cells neither, leaving too much of it in the blood. We have seen that this ultimately results in fat deposits (the insulin story). Remember this: our bodies through this process are capable of creating their own fat! We saw that earlier on and I stress on this!! Eating a lot of sugar or carbohydrate rich products and saturated fats is creating a virtual one way street towards cellulites and fat deposits. Stay away from too much fast sugars!
This being said; back to the meat and the saturated fats. These saturated fats are very easily oxidized. Oxidized fats clog in the arteries and are magnets for more fats and cholesterol to join them. These clogged up areas are the ticking time bombs for a stroke or heart attack. Once they get released again in the bloodstream or clog it up entirely the risk for a stroke or heart attack becomes imminent.
In all this what is important is to reduce the intake of saturated fats. Eat more lean or fat free milk products and try to reduce the eating of meat for only once or twice a week.
Vitamin E as mentioned in the previous letter will block the oxidizing process and is therefore a life saving addition to our daily food intake. Green vegetables and leafy vegetables in general hold a lot of Vitamin E. It should therefore be part of anybodies daily diet, like it is in mine. A little side salad with every meal can do wonders. Have a little salad for lunch instead of a hot dog! And use extra virgin olive oil, also a rich source of vitamin E. Use lemon juice or balsamic vinegar as a dressing.
But, and here is the big BUT. We don’t like salads! We prefer, because it is so easy to get; a hamburger a hot dog or a pizza, right? What is then this hamburger? Meat and saturated fats and fast carbohydrates from the bun they put it in. A pizza? Similar even more fast carbohydrates from the crusty dough. But it is nice and tasty; a lot better then a boring salad, right? WRONG it is these kinds of foods that make us fat and slow.
Have a look in the supermarket on how much prepared meat products are lying available? Some of them can even be eaten instantly. And how much fresh ready made salads there are? A ratio of 9 against ten would be in order here, no? Similar with all the milk products against the amount of fish…
So look at animal fats as if they would stay solid in your body and clog up your system, ultimately leading to blocked arteries. Some of it however is needed for the building up of the cells that need a stronger structure. Meat also contains important other materials our bodies need like protein and Lcarnitin. These will be discussed later on.


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