I spend quite a bit of my time talking about diet and exercise. Eight hours a week, to be precise, and that’s just at work.
One of the courses I teach is our basic wellness/health-related fitness class. I’m a lab instructor, which mostly means I’m a glorified gym rat. But the students are required to do a lot of the learning/studying online, with a lecturer to hit the high points. We spend quite a bit of time talking about nutrition, obesity, diabetes, fitness (a whole semester). Though the majority of these students are kinesiology majors and intend to be p.e. teachers, personal trainers, physical therapists, etc., we often have some students who take the course as a general requirement and are not in good physical shape (not even decent physical shape, sometimes). It’s really amazing how much of a difference learning basic food and fitness knowledge can make.
Well, Reader’s Digest has recently published two books, The Digest Diet, and The Digest Diet Cookbook. The author Liz Vaccariello (editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest) combed through the latest and greatest research to craft The Digest Diet, basing her ideas on research, not fads.
I have actually read through the entire Digest Diet (a near miracle these days) and am rather impressed. While I may not agree with everything she says (based on the knowledge I have previously learned), she does have good information to back it up and I intend to read some of the scientific studies in-depth.
The Digest Diet is basically a 3-week program, broken into 3 sections. The first is 4 days long and designed to get your body ready to lose the pounds. However, before starting the diet, there are a few really good chapters about healthy and unhealthy habits, as well as foods that increase fat in your body and foods that decrease fat in your body. A 2009 study out of Brazil showed a decrease in waist circumference in abdominally obese women who ate coconut oil. Did you know that? I think it’s time I start adding a little of that back in to my diet.
After reading the entire book, I intend to give the Digest Diet a try, though I will wait until my break in May. I don’t think it would work too well for me to restrict my calories while teaching 8 hours of fitness classes a week (the initial phase is very low-calorie). However, I can (and should) make a few adjustments right now (like stop making cheesecake…), as most of us probably should.
Do you drink soda? Liz Vaccariello says it’s a no-no. I highly agree (except for a rare treat – I love a nice Trader Joe’s old fashioned root beer with ice cream). After a nutrition lesson in one of my Pilates classes last semester, one of my students decided she was going to quit drinking soda. She lost 10 pounds by the end of the semester.
I haven’t had a chance to make any of the recipes in the cookbook yet, but they look right up my alley (but not my husband’s). Stir-fried shrimp with yellow grape tomatoes, garlicky chicken stew with artichokes, Vietnamese Pho with chicken & spaghetti squash… they are made with fresh ingredients and lots of flavorful ingredients without a lot of salt. While not all of the recipes are inherently gluten-free, many of them are or can be easily made as such. There is even a chickpea & arugula “pizza” recipe that’s already gluten-free.
These books are full of good advice for living a healthy lifestyle, above and beyond the 21-day “diet.”
What is your favorite healthy living tip? Mine is cut out the soda and make activity a part of your everyday life.