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Avoid Overeating this Holiday Season

By Chef Timothy Moore, BDO.org

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone and the shopping rush has begun, I’m sure the stress and tension of buying gifts for loved ones will be ratcheted up several notches this holiday season.

Stress levels are always high during this time of year. It can be overbearing and even exhausting to some people who don’t have the money to buy gifts and, in some cases, food. But those who can afford to buy food don’t always buy the most nutritious food to eat.

When it comes to your health, you have to take charge. It would behoove food producers to consider the health of consumers. What if food regulators, for example, would put labels on food packages to warn of the dangers of saturated fats and other fat laden foods? They warn us about the dangers of cigarettes and alcohol. They can do the same thing with food.

There is madness in the health care world and it’s getting out of control. People are getting fatter and fatter. Who should we blame? Ourselves. We have become gluttons, eating any and everything that tastes good. If we’re not careful, most of us will become obese. It’s an American tragedy — an epidemic. I’ve written a lot about diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer and a host of other health related issues, but obesity is a problem that should not be taken for granted.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every three adults is obese and one out of every six children is obese. Obesity leads to major health related issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. There is no simple solution. People just have to make better choices

when preparing their meals.

Obesity costs $150 billion a year, which equates to about one out of every dollar that’s spent on healthcare. I believe the problem is with fast food restaurants. There seems to be one on every corner. I’m sure it’s the convenience of getting a meal served in less than 4 minutes that keeps us coming back. The only problem is most fast food is unhealthy.

There is a high incidence of diabetes in the African-American community — about 13 percent. But then one out of 13 Americans is diabetic according to the World Health Organization. The problem is growing exponentially. You should ask yourself: What can I do to achieve a healthy lifestyle and reduce, or reverse, those grim statistics?

Educating people about healthy foods is the first step. Just because you’re grappling with a minuscule budget doesn’t mean you can’t buy good, wholesome, quality food that’s beneficial to your overall health. It wouldn’t even hurt to ask your neighborhood grocer or market proprietor to bring in fresh fruit and vegetables. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables, of course, can control obesity.

I understand economics, but it’s a shame that neighborhood grocery stores and markets would rather put profits before health and nutrition. There is nothing wrong with making money — but at the expense of consumers who are already grappling with obesity? It’s preposterous.

The U.S. Diabetes Prevention Program, a major multicenter clinical research study nearly a decade ago, has shown that with a lifestyle change and modest weight reduction, a person with pre-diabetes can prevent or even delay the onset of diabetes by 58 percent. But those who are prone to diabetes will have to consume more fruit and vegetables and switch from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet in order to

stop the onslaught of full diabetes.

Buying and cooking the right kind of food sometimes depends on which side of the track you live on. But that’s the society we live in. In my opinion, the poorer the neighborhood, the poorer the food choices. Better food is often found, not in the inner city, but in many cases in ritzier neighborhoods.

If you’d stop, observe and think about what you’re buying and putting in your mouth, you’ll be much better for it. You don’t have to be a glutton this holiday season to be happy. And, by all means, don’t stress out and over eat. Be mindful that obesity is on the rise.

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