A Quick Fix is No Fix at All

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How many times have you heard the saying, "We Are What We Eat?" Experts know it’s true and so should we. Our bodies continue to regenerate themselves for as long as we live. Food does more than fill our stomachs. It gives us the fuel to perform simple and complex bodily functions. Food affects our moods as well as our overall fitness and health. Why then do so many Blacks pay more attention to the kind of fuel we use to run our cars than we do to the kind of food that fuels our bodies?

African–American culture and lifestyle have a lot to do with it. We live fast lives, so we survive on fast foods. Both are big mistakes from the standpoint of health. If you desire a saner, healthier life, you have to work hard to make it happen and the odds are piled against us. To make matters worse, when we do commit to change, the range of choices available to "help" us achieve our goal is astounding. Low fat, fat free, Low carb, no carb, net carbs, high protein, South Beach, Atkins, Hollywood, and other diet programs , not to mention a dizzying array of pills, shakes, protein drinks, energy bars and other "quick fix" options to leave us confused and frustrated.

Quick Fix vs. Fit–for–Life

The problem with the ’quick fix’ approach is twofold: first, the objectives are misplaced. Second, these programs are nearly impossible to sustain over a long period. Quick fixes usually address a short–term need to drop unwanted pounds when our ultimate goal should be to achieve and maintain a fit body that glows with maximum good health. The quick fix offers diet plans that are unworkable for the way most of us live, while the more sensible, fit–for–life approach incorporates foods we need, foods we like (and maybe a few we dislike) to achieve balance, ideal weight and harmony throughout the years.

Where to Start?

Start at the beginning. The first foods most of us are given as babies are pure and natural – fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals and breads, milk and small amounts of meat. What was good for us then remains good for us now. Our palates may be more sophisticated and it’s good to spice foods up with herbs and flavorings that enhance taste. But our overall objective should be a daily blend of wholesome, nourishing foods that are low in fat (without eliminating all fats) and low in carbohydrates (without eliminating all carbohydrates.) Emphasize heavy consumption of leafy green vegetables and fresh fruits. Limit meat, especially red meat, to several servings a month rather than several a week. Skinless poultry and lots of fish are the best choices. Any kind of processed food is bad news. These include, but by no means are limited to, virtually all fast foods, prepared meals that come in a box; cheese "food" and any pre–packaged items with lots of salt and ingredients listed on the label you can’t pronounce. Energy bars and protein shakes are no substitute for fresh salads, greens and a medley of fruits.

There is no quick road to permanent weight loss and good nutrition. So don’t sabotage your ideal of long–term good health with quick fix solutions. We ARE what we eat. Eat wisely and live long.

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