Is it Healthy for You, A Corporation or the Planet?
In a perfect world, I would give very simple advice about food. The healthiest choices for the widest range of people are simple. You should eat fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and lean meats. Have several small servings throughout the day and prepare them just before you eat them. It's nice, simple and medically sound.
The socially responsible part of me would expand that statement by saying you should limit those choices to foods that are grown and harvested with labor that's paid a reasonable wage and given a good working environment. The meats should be from free-range animals that are allowed to live a full life and aren't pumped full of hormones or drugs.
The environmentalist in me would encourage low or no-till farming, 100% organic that won't harm the environment and food from local farms that doesn't travel hundreds of miles to market. I would avoid genetically modified crops that risk creating "super weeds" and killing beneficial insects. Products covered in layers of needless packaging that clog landfills would be banned.
As a citizen activist, I would only buy those things from stores and companies that gave back to their local communities. I would support farmers markets and when possible buy directly from the grower. I would patronize businesses that took care of their workers as fairly as the owners.
That's the ideal. But we don't live in a perfect world and sometimes we have to make compromises.
I live in Key West, an island at the end of the Florida Keys. There are no local farmers so if I want vegetables; they have to be trucked in from someplace else. But that doesn't stop me from suggesting that my clients eat vegetables. Even though shipping vegetables here isn't environmentally friendly, there are few alternatives. That also means on the side, I actively encourage community, rooftop and backyard gardening.
|Did you know that if only 1 out of 100 people in Key West started growing some of their vegetables, that would mean we would have 250 gardens on the island? Wouldn't it be cool to have a backyard full of food instead of a lawn you have to constantly weed, rake and mow? During World War II they were called Victory Gardens. Let's bring them back!|
I will take the best option available, but keep working for better. To give you an idea of how those choices are made, consider the recipe I post online each week.
When I build the recipe, I try to balance healthier options with convenience. First, it has to provide a reasonable serving size. Then I make sure it's lower in fat, sodium and sugar, but higher in vitamins, protein and fiber. Plus every recipe has to pass the taste test when put before a group.
Then the practical questions are asked. Can it be made quickly? Is it something you could bring to work and eat during a break? Could you make larger batches to save time when you're busy? Are the ingredients readily available to people across the country and around the world?
To make some foods acceptable, we sometimes rely on artificial sweeteners, flavorings or name brand products from large food conglomerates. If you're one of those people who occasionally get a craving for Rice Krispie Treats, you're not going to be satisfied with eating raw cauliflower. So we developed a Rice Krispie Treat that has half the sugar, eleven times the protein and twice the fiber as the original.
Of course, we don't want you to eat it every day. Even once a week is probably too much. But when that craving strikes, you've got an option that won't destroy your diet. It also gives you something to bring to parties or events that everyone can enjoy without realizing it's a healthier option.
The primary focus of our company is fitness, so we will always favor products that help the individual get in better shape. The choices aren't always easy to make. Sometimes, even after extensive debate with the other trainers and my research group, we get it wrong.
When we get it right, spread the good news. When we get it wrong, let us know so we can fix it. We're relying on input from you... and thanks for keeping us on track.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.