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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, February 22, 2010

You Are What You Eat: So Be Something Healthy

For those of you who didn’t read my blog last week, it was concerned around our First Lady’s cause to stop Childhood Obesity.

As a college student I know I’m not the best candidate to dole out health advice, I am not a personal trainer or a doctor, I eat In N Out all the time, I do drink alcohol, and have a mean sweet tooth.

As a result of my upcoming 22nd birthday in two months, and graduating a few weeks after that, not only is my future career, but my future health habits as well, have come into question. I have made the conscious decision to start changing my lifestyle now, so that when I am strapped for time with a job/ career and eventually a husband and children, I am somewhat equipped or prepared to maintain a healthy lifestyle despite my limited time to work out, cook healthy meals, etc.

The easiest way for people to maintain a healthy living, despite not having ample time to devote to diligent daily exercise, is to start at least by eating healthy. I bought a Women’s Health Magazine and in an interesting article called “The Rainbow Connection”, this piece brought to light the fact that there are many natural and healthy foods Americans don’t eat which don’t require any preparation at all. This article also points out that one of the most important things most people are missing in their diet is COLOR. You may wonder what I am talking about, what I am talking about is: produce, fruits, vegetables, those colorful objects that grow in the ground, ya know?

According to a recent study Americans tend to eat the same produce over and over again, limiting their palate to the point that oftentimes we miss out on essential and “unique phytochemicals, or plant chemicals, that vary from color to color. These various compounds all do different things to protect your health” (Women’s Health Magazine).

As a result of our bland produce palates we are missing out on certain health benefits. What I found interesting about this article in particular, is it not only detailed what vitamins and minerals each color produces, but which fruit or vegetable fits into each category, and what time of year they are in season. I found this a particularly useful and a wonderfully detailed catalogue, especially for those who are aware they are short on time as well as lacking in certain elementary nutrition.

Here are 5 colors, of the various colors mentioned, of different types of produce and the benefits they have for us.

Orange: Oranges and Peaches can help boost immunity as they contain both ‘beta-carotene’ and Vitamin C.

Red: Watermelons, Strawberries, and Tomatoes produce a noted lycopene or cancer fighter, anti-oxident defense, and can help aging and heart disease, which is the number one killer of women in America.

Yellow: Pears and Pineapples also contain vitamin C and can help block against skin damage and heal cuts or wounds.

Blue and Purple: Grapes, Cabbage and Blueberries contain agents called anthocyanins, which help prevent signs of aging and oxidative damage, as well as having anti-oxidents that help fight cancer.

And Last but not least Green: Avocados, Kiwis, Green Beans, and Lettuce contain cancer fighters such as isothiocyanates, as well as two types of anti-oxidents that can help prevent the leading cause of blindness.

What I found valuable about this article’s content is that it inadvertently addresses a large issue that contributes to Childhood Obesity, which is: parents lack of time or ability to make healthy meals for their kids. This article offers natural, simple, quick, and cheap alternatives to candy or pre-packaged junk food as snacks for today’s youth.

A healthy lifestyle applies to people all ages and races, it is as useful and relevant to the parent of three, as it is to a college student. One of the central facilitators for childhood obesity besides, lack of time to create a healthy diet and lifestyle, is lack of dietary and nutritional EDUCATION. I decided to do a little research and went to the On the homepage there is a tab called Healthy Living, which directs you to the site’s nutrition center. The nutrition center offers several options such as: tips to maintain healthy diet goals, heart smart shopping, healthy cooking, healthy eating for kids, and healthy eating for parents.

This site not only offers detailed information and tips on each of the five food groups but also has a application on their nutrition center which allows you to create a grocery list of only American Heart Association certified food, produce included. When I went to their vegetables and fruits section under the nutrition center it re-iterated the point that: produce that is colorful are better for you.

Fruits and vegetables that are deeply colored throughout – such as spinach, carrots, peaches and berries – tend to be higher in vitamins and minerals than others, such as potatoes and corn.” (American Heart Association).

I agree that what is healthy may not be the most appealing all the time, as a college student I am more than tempted with In N Out, Alcohol, and 2 am Yum Yum Donut runs with my roommates.

I came to the conclusion that as humans are naturally omnivores and our decline in favor towards eating produce is conditioned in large by the media, that it is up to our generation to personally condition ourselves in the opposite way, so I decided to take a piece of my own advice and went to Trader Joe’s and bought about 25$ worth of produce which with my college student’s budget I anticipated should last me a few week.

With this 25$ I was able to buy a pack of strawberries, a pack of 6 plums, 3 lemons, 3 onions, romaine lettuce, a vine of 6 tomatoes, a pack of 6 persian cucumbers, a bag of 20 or so of Clementine tangerines. It’s been a week and I still have over half of my produce left, despite snacking on plums and tangerines in the morning and salads at night, daily since my purchase.

I’ll end my blog with a quote from the American Heart Association whicb I feel relays the ultimate message of my piece. “Early nutrition lessons can help develop heart-healthy habits that last a lifetime.” (American Heart Association).

By Christina Lo Duca


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