At this point in my life, and after more than 25 years in the field of healthcare and chronic disease management with a focus on lifestyle management, I feel that I have learned a lot about living a healthier life. That doesn’t mean I always make the healthiest choices — but I do know how!
Recently, I’ve begun to question my own knowledge of living and being healthy though. And I realized that my confusion comes from — the experts!
Starting here – my doctor tells me to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. He says they will help me be healthier and feel better. He says to eat fruit or fruit juice between meals to help me through those times. He says to stay away from red meats as much as possible and stick with chicken, fish and protein from other sources and eat fruit between meals.
Weight Watchers tells everyone to eat whatever they want to eat and focus on the US food pyramid as a guide for proportions from each food category. Just manage portion size and eat sensibly. Weight Watchers includes sweets, red meat, fruits, fruit juice, fats and oils, and other elements to your diet. They emphasize the value of fresh fruits several times a day — but they do say to avoid fruit juice and focus on fresh fruits instead.
The US Food Pyramid and nutritional experts say to increase vegetables and fruit intake, choose lower sodium foods, and don’t add salt to foods. The experts say to eat fresh fruit or 100% fruit juice as part of the fruit group. The Food Pyramid suggests at least 2 cups of fruit every day, which can include fruit juice.
Today, I talked with a friend who has engaged a professional fitness trainer to help her manage her weight and she said that she was told to limit fruits to no more than 1 per day. That’s 1 serving per day. And it’s not a bad idea to avoid fruits altogether because of the high sugar content she says. Even a small apple has lots of sugar.
My 86-year-old mother-in-law has been in excellent health her entire life. Until the past two years when dementia has started to take a toll on her, she has been unusually physically fit and still is. She still works in her garden, walks outside most every day, and has a lot of strength for a woman of her age. She has never taken any type of medication for anything — even to this day!
When asked how she’s stayed so healthy for so long, she says, “I just work hard, eat a lot of fruit, fresh vegetables, juice, and fried chicken and fried fish. I love fried food. I’ve always enjoyed red meat and eat it several times a week along with sausage and bacon for breakfast – I love breakfast foods. I raised three boys so I always cooked a pot roast on Sunday with gravy and biscuits. I love sweets but I limit myself to only two each day and I usually only drink sweet tea or one soft drink each day. And I started walking 4-5 days a week when I retired 25 years ago to get some exercise, although I can’t walk as far as I used to and can’t get out as much in cold weather.”
So armed with all of this conflicting information above from the experts, I have to decide the healthiest way to eat. No wonder people are so confused.
Hmmmmm.…..now that I’ve heard what all of these people have to say, maybe I need to listen a little bit closer to my mother-in-law and what she has to say. I never thought of listening to her about anything before.