Monday, February 4, 2013

Good, better, best?

What should you be eating to get fit?

So often people ask "Is this healthy?" or "Should I eat this or this?"

I say you don't have to have the best to be healthy, lose weight, and get fit.

Running is one of the best calorie burners around, minute for minute. It's cheap, it can be done anywhere, and it scorches calories like nobody's business.

But if you can't run, or hate running, what good does it do you? So, when you have a choice between nothing, running, and something, you go for something. A walk you will do just as well. Because what matters isn't how many calories you burn in an hour, but how many calories you eat over the course of a week, and you adjust that number anyway. Your 1 lb per week will come off the same if you burn more and eat more, or burn less and eat less.

Whole grain bread is better than whole wheat bread. But if you hate the taste of whole grain bread, and won't eat it, what good does it do you? I would rather eat sawdust than your average loaf of "whole grain" bread. I can't stand the texture. Is Nature's Own Honey Wheat the absolute best thing for my body? No, it's not. There are tons of brands that are healthier, lower calorie, have more fiber, more whole grains, or whatever.

But I like the taste, it's far better than enriched white bread, and my husband and kids will eat it without complaint.

If I bring in a loaf of whole grain, it molds.

Black beans are all the rage these days, and are in all kinds of "healthy" dishes, used as replacements in all sorts of "fake out" meals that trick you into thinking you're getting something your'e not. That's all well and good, but I happen to HATE black beans! So, which is better... a black bean burger that turns my stomach, or a lean ground beef patty that has my mouth watering?

Is organic better for your body and environment? Absolutely. No one needs pesticides, and research has shown the antibiotics in commercially produced meat aren't good for any of us. But when organically grown meat is $1 or more per pound more than regular, it may not be a good choice for you. I could buy all organic, but my food bill would double, which would make my available budget less, and at the end of the month, we'd be eating ramen noodles and mac and cheese, instead of lean meats and fresh veggies.

Best isn't always better, and good is sometimes just fine. So don't be bound by what is "best", "healthiest", or aim for what's absolutely perfect.

Work with your budget, your tastes, your needs, and don't beat yourself up for not being a perfect vegan health nut who only shops at specialty locally grown farmer's markets and whole food stores.

Start where you are. Don't insist on perfection. Work with what you have, what you like.

After all, that organically grown handmade tofu and wheatgrass veggie burger made only from fresh, whole ingredients is useless if it tastes like cardboard and your family won't eat it.

Photo courtesy of Newbirth35

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