Let’s be real. Trying to eat a perfect “diet” isn’t realistic. I’d love to meet the person who came up with the first diet. Did you know that the word, “diet,” actually comes from a Latin root meaning way of life or regimen? Diets weren’t always an eating plan designed for losing weight fast.
“However, all too often the overall effects [of diets] are negative. Many healthy eating approaches center around specific ‘diets’ or pieces of scientific research which often fail to take into account the whole nutritional story. In order to sell diet books, for example, gurus must have a new and snazzy hook with which to draw people in – low carb intake, for example, or eating only one thing (like cabbage soup.
Often this revolves around a highly exclusionary gimmick. These are frequently backed up by scientific studies – but fail to make it clear that these studies tend to focus just on one specific part of the picture, and often not in a manner which relates at all well to the whole. It’s a selective method which, while it may inspire short-term weight loss, can do untold long-term damage.”
With America being obsessed with diets, it’s no wonder that we have a population that is so heavily obese. Think about the French Paradox. In France, they frequently consume starchy carbohydrates mixed with wonderfully fatty foods. This is a big “no-no” in the U.S., but it’s okay there. Why? It’s because we’ve psychologically associated certain foods as “good foods” or “bad foods.” This is an extremely unhealthy habit to have. Sugar (aka a carbohydrate) is not inherently bad. Neither are fats, or proteins. However, too much of anything can be a bad thing. But, how much is too much?
On the French Paradox, FCSI notes,
“Compare this to the situation in France and its neighbors, where people happily tuck into plates laden with carbs, sugars, fats, and all manner of foods which the American diet industry has inevitably at some point labelled ‘unhealthy’ – yet with no ill effects. This so-called ‘French Paradox’, and it has fascinated researchers since a study in the 70s found that “CHD [Coronary Heart Disease] mortality in southern Europe was considerably lower than that in northern Europe”, despite the fat and carb-laden diets prevalent in these areas.
It seems, however, that the solution is relatively simple. The French lack the associations which Americans have with food which categorizes vast swathes of the nutritional spectrum as ‘evil tempter’ or ‘guilty indulgence’. As such, they do not go on emotional eating binges or reward themselves with food.
Neither do they attempt to attack their waistlines by cutting certain food types from their diet. Instead, they enjoy and savor their food – loving it as a culinary experience but eating only until they are sated. This has unparalleled effects on their health. According to the OECD, the French not only have exceedingly low rates of CHD, they can also triumphantly claim that “Obesity rates in France are among the lowest” in Europe.”
So really, the French don’t have a “diet,” nor do they go on “diets” to lose weight. They enjoy their food (yes, all different kinds of food), and only eat until they are no longer hungry. It’s also been noted that the French tend to have a higher quality diet because they’re not so focused on everything being lower calorie, lower fat, or lower carbohydrate. When a culture is focused on these items, the foods tend to become filled with “fillers” that lack any nutritional value.
“Another study published by Dr. Ludwig and colleagues in The Lancet in 2004 suggested that a poor-quality diet could result in obesity even when it was low in calories. Rats fed a diet with rapidly digesting (called high “glycemic index”) carbohydrate gained 71 percent more fat than their counterparts, who ate more calories over all, though in the form of slowly digesting carbohydrate (Ludwig and Friedman).”
What does this mean? A whole-foods “diet,” lifestyle, eating regimen, or whatever you want to call it, is the best way to eat. This includes lots of fruits and vegetables, a variety of whole grains, a variety of healthy fats, and lean proteins (which can be found in animal and plant sources). The point here is to neither gorge yourself or heavily restrict yourself. While it might take longer than a fad/crash diet, your body will thank you by helping you feel more alert, give you more energy, clear brain fog, and lose those extra pounds. You need to love your body and take care of it for it to love you and take care of you. It’s a well oiled machine that has years of experience hard wired into it’s making. If you provide it with proper fuel, it won’t let you down.
Taking care of your body also means keeping it physically active. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) each week. This translate to roughly 30 minutes a day. Check out Sitting: The Silent Killer for more information.
Taylor Orr puts it as well as it can be said, “The Eat-Real-Foods-In-Healthy-Portions-and-Exercise-30-Minutes-a-Day-Diet may not have the same ring to it as the Cookie Diet, but it definitely has better — and longer-lasting — results.”
With all that being said, and having talked about finding balance, I found a wonderfully delicious recipe for Peanut Butter Cups! My family usually does not eat any kind of refined sugar, but we decided we’d give ourselves a little break this week and make a delicious treat! We try to keep ourselves as balanced as possible and make sure we’re not depriving ourselves of any kind of food, but also not getting too much of anything. This includes sugar.
While we do not advertise that refined sugar is “good” for you, we do not believe it is inherently bad. This means that we very occasionally (maybe once every few months) will make a treat that involves refined sugar. Otherwise, we focus on making “treats” out of whole foods and not from refined sugar. This time around we decided upon Peanut Butter Cups! Yum!!!
They’re very easy to make. Mix all ingredients except for the chocolate to form a dough-like mixture. Then, melt the chocolate. From here, pour a little chocolate into a muffin liner cup to just cover the bottom. Form a small disc out of the peanut butter dough and place on top of the bottom layer chocolate. Then, pour enough chocolate over the disc to cover it.
Place aside and repeat! It’s as simple as that! Once you have all peanut butter cups made, place in the refrigerator for about one hour, or until the chocolate hardens again.
These tend to melt fairly quickly, so make sure to keep them in the fridge until just before serving. They’re delicious cold. If you don’t like cold peanut butter cups, add a little coconut oil to your chocolate. This should help it from melting too quickly, but will also slightly change the flavor.
The powdered sugar can also be substituted for maple syrup or honey for a refined sugar free version. Make sure to reduce the amount by about half if you do substitute for a liquid.
Let me know how your peanut butter cups turn out! I’d love to hear of any variations that you try!
That’s all for today!
-The Lewis Corner
“America’s unhealthy obsession with healthy eating.” Foodservice Consultants Society International. N.p., 02 May 2014. Web. 09 June 2017.
David S. Ludwig and Mark I Friedman. “Opinion | Always Hungry? Here’s Why.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 May 2014. Web. 09 June 2017.
Orr, Taylor. “Analyzing Americans’ Obsession with Fad Diets.” Pacific Standard. N.p., 12 Oct. 2010. Web. 09 June 2017.