Sunday, July 22, 2012

Are you a pescetarian, lacto- ovo vegetarian, flexitarian, anti-avitarian, carnivore or omnivore?

What do you eat?
What should you eat?
Why do you eat what you eat?

Do you eat animals, plants,
products from animals (eggs, dairy and honey)
or all of it?

For my family its been a roller coaster ride to try to determine what to eat. The question that we have asked ourselves has been: What is the best food that will nourish our bodies and have our children grow up strong and healthy. We have been omnivores (eating both animals and plants), pescetarians (fish and plant eaters), vegetarians, vegans, rawist, then back to pescetarians, and now flexitarians (mainly plants but sometimes animals). Throughout our journey I have determined that the items you decide to nourish your body and your families body defines you socially, physically, mentally and at times economically.

Socially, some people see it as an insult that you have tried to modify your diet. Their mentality usually reflects the attitude of "well I have always eaten (fill in the blank) and it hasn't hurt me", or they may not understand what the changes are. When I first started changing my diet, way back when I was in college, my family had a hard time adapting. It was not that they were not supportive its just they did not understand. My mom would make things with pork and try to hide it from me. She would claim that it was not in there when I knew it was. I would always think to myself "what does it matter what I choose to put into my body, it doesn't affect you!" But socially it can be perceived as an insult and coming from a German-Italian family growing up in the land of beef (Texas), not eating animals can definitely be perceived as a bad social move, no matter what the health benefits are.

Physically speaking, a body can change radically with a new way of eating. Anytime something is excluded from a diet this usually results in weight loss, for a period of time. After the initial weight loss, if this is your ultimate goal, you usually see a plateau or a steady weight maintenance, unless your diet is changed again and exercise is incorporated.   Odds are you can pick a vegan out of a crowd just by their appearance which is usually thin. Then there is another side of the spectrum, have you ever seen an unhealthy vegetarian? You know the one that does not eat animals (maybe for animal rights reasons) but gorges on processed carbohydrates and all the extras usually resulting in an overweight or obese person.

Mentally, making any lifestyle change can be stressful. As a parent, if you are bringing your children on board with your changes it can be worrisome when making sure they have all that they need. As a nutrition expert (a Registered Dietitian) the main foods I recommend to include for kids include: protein, fatty acids, calcium, fiber and vitamins.

Economically fast food chains have the system down to a science. For a $1 you can buy a hamburger, add another dollar for fries and to super size it, you guessed it only $1. So for $3 a person can have a calorically rich nutritionally poor meal and feel completely satisfied. To shop at farmers markets and regularly shop a healthier food store may not be as convenient or can be a financial compromise.

The health and wellness industry is a billion dollar industry. On every corner you will see a health coach, vitamin seller, detox flusher, the latest and greatest diet plan naming a new cause for all that ails a person.The bottom line is that it comes down to what is the healthiest food for our bodies and what is the most balanced plan we can find.  If you don't have the right guidance, being from a Registered and licensed dietitian, odds are you may not be successful.

So I want to know what you would prepare for this grill?

Post your answers below. We are in the process of piloting a TV show (more details to come later)...and maybe we will feature you in an upcoming episode!

Want to talk to a nutrition expert (ie. Registered Dietitian). Email: . Healthy eating!

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