Reprinted from Lifeline 2011, Volume XXX, No 1
Healthy Living for Today and Beyond
Getting healthy and staying healthy in today’s fast paced world is possible. Adding the challenge of living gluten-free to the mix calls for advanced planning. People are most likely to stick to healthy lifestyle changes when it’s their idea rather than someone else’s. That’s not surprising is it? This article will provide ideas to boost health through lifestyle choices. Everyone has the power to make choices to optimize their personal health.
Eating Well for Weight Management and Health
Research has shown that people who journal their food intake are more likely to lose weight. Journaling food intake and the quantity of the food eaten is a great way to help identify if one is eating balanced meals and/or if one is eating too much. Keeping a record of daily activity can also help stay on track. A great free website to track food and activity is www.fitday.com. For people on the go, a free application is available for download on most mobile devices. A journal, is another useful tool, the DietMinder – Personal Food and Fitness Journal can be purchased from www.amazon.com. A notebook also works well.
What exactly is a balanced meal? Ideally all five food groups are included at each meal. Grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat comprise the five food groups and one must also keep in mind the importance of including healthy oils to optimize heart health. A realistic goal is to aim for 3 food groups at breakfast and 4 out of 5 food groups at lunch and dinner. Instead of an entire gluten-free muffin for breakfast, eat half of the muffin or choose a slice of gluten-free multigrain bread and pair it with a protein source. Good protein selections include sunflower seed/nut butter or a hard boiled egg. Once one is comfortable with two food groups, add a third food group such as blueberries or any personal favorite fruit. Eating a variety of food groups at each meal helps meet nutritional needs and aids in weight control.
Plan for Variety and Portion Control
Generally when one starts including more food groups at a meal, they often eat less of the main entrée, which is often the highest caloric portion of the meal.
Try the following at meal times:
fill half of a plate with fruits and vegetables (stomach filling fiber)
fill one quarter of the plate with meat
fill one quarter of the plate with a gluten-free whole grain (quinoa, brown rice, or a slice of gluten-free multigrain bread)
add an 8 oz glass of milk - if tolerated, or choose a fortified non-dairy beverage such as unsweetened almond, soy or rice milk
Planning for variety takes time. Once people get into the routine, the results for weight control (slimmer waist-line) and the long term health benefits are more than worth it!
Do You Know Your Waist Circumference?
One way to assess health is to measure one’s waist line. Knowing one’s waist circumference is as important as tracking his or her blood pressure and cholesterol profile. Carrying excess abdominal weight can lead to what is commonly referred to as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of increased blood pressure, elevated blood sugars or abnormal cholesterol levels. These conditions can increase risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. To measure waist size (circumference), place a tape measure around the bare abdomen just above the hip bone. Be sure that the tape is snug, but does not compress the skin and is parallel to the floor. Relax, exhale, and measure the waist.
A man whose waist circumference is more than 40 inches is at risk
A non-pregnant woman whose waist circumference is more than 35 inches is at risk
Note: The information is intended for adult men and non-pregnant women only. To assess the weight of children or teenagers, see the Child and Teen BMI Calculator at Centers for Disease Control web-site: http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/ dnpabmi/.
Smart Lifestyle Choices to Optimize Your Health
One should start with just two or three new lifestyle choices that they believe are possible to do for a lifetime. Small changes that he or she can stick to over a lifetime make the greatest impact.
Start eating breakfast if normally skipped • Increase number of food groups at breakfast to 2 or 3
Include protein at each meal to aid in weight control • Get moving: plan activity as part of one’s lifestyle
Try one new fruit or vegetable each week
Plan meals that include variety (aim for 4 out of 5 food groups)
Carry portable gluten-free foods to be prepared for any situation
Journal food and/or exercise plan
Evaluate one’s eating regimen and make small changes that he or she can stick to
Meet with a registered dietitian familiar with gluten-free diets to review one’s eating regimen for nutritional adequacy
Try one of these healthy recipes from the Recipe Box:
Quick Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf
Pear, Walnut and Feta Cheese Salad
Quick and Fabulous Chick Pea Soup
Healthy eating and an active lifestyle can keep one on-the-go and enjoying life for years to come.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
References and Suggested Tools:
Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/index.html
USDA My Pyramid Steps to a Healthier You http://www.mypyramid.gov/ Used with permission:
The Portion Plate http://www.theportionplate.com/ USHHS – National Institute for Health (metabolic syndrome) http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/ms/ms_whatis.html