Eat Right While Dining Out

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With the vast number of fast food companies who spend millions of dollars to produce luscious looking food commercials, it’s tempting to indulge in dining out. One may wonder if they can still eat out while living or starting the journey to a health conscious lifestyle? While I completely agree that the healthiest meals can be enjoyed at home, we all can benefit from dining out occasionally. Plus, discovering refreshing new places away from home will add a new spark to your usual routine!
Here are 7 tips for dining out while living a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Reward Yourself!

If you have been strictly sticking to your healthy eating and exercise regimen, following your meal planning to a T, and successfully accomplishing your goals, go out and treat yourself! Make it an occasion and don’t just run to McDonald’s or Taco Bell.
Instead, treat yourself to a sit-down restaurant and invite family and friends along to celebrate with you. Engage in pleasant conversation! You will eat slower and feel fuller faster!

  1. Split Your Meal!

Ask for a to-go box before your food comes to the table so you can split it in half and box it up before you even take a bite. This way, you eat exactly half and have lunch for tomorrow! Or, when dining with a friend, get a larger meal and split it between the two of you!

  1. Substitute It!

As a former server, substitutions for foods can become annoying. Make sure you tell your server that you are trying to eat healthier and thank them for taking extra time to oblige your requests. They want to provide you with what you want, and you want to receive the best, so be courteous! Don’t hesitate to show thanks your servers for their service in the monetary form. Many servers depend on tips.
For Mexican food, substitute beef, pork or chicken for beans, rice or quinoa. Fresh fish is also a healthier substitute in seafood entrées. Get your tacos with light or no cheese, no sour cream and add extra tomatoes or sliced avocados. You may also choose beans and rice for a side or a fresh salad, choose a light vinaigrette on the side. When you ask for dressing on the side you can control the amount you want or you may decide you don’t need it at all. Get a small basket of chips and add salsa or guacamole. Instead of a fried taco, get a hard or soft shell. The best option is to go to an authentic eatery where they make their own, as many Mexican restaurant use lard to make their wraps. If in doubt, Ask!
For breakfast establishments, don’t upgrade to cheesy eggs or cheese on your hash browns. Opt for egg whites instead of yolk if you have eggs. Choose a multigrain pancake or dry wheat toast instead of buttermilk pancakes or buttered white toast. Watch the amount of creamers or sugar you put in your coffee or bring your own creamer/raw sugar from home if you can’t live without it. All natural sugars and vegan creamers are sold in specialty stores. Also see if they offer fresh fruit.
When ordering a burger, try out the house veggie burger if it is available, or choose turkey bacon or turkey/chicken sausage over pork sausage. When a bread basket is suggested, only order one couple if at all or eat a fresh salad instead. Choose a whole wheat pasta with a tomato base, not cream based sauce. Order a vegetarian, chicken or seafood dish instead of beef or pork. Ask for grilled chicken or shrimp instead of fried.

  1. Eat vegetarian!

If you are consuming processed or unprocessed red meat at home, try eating vegetarian when you go out, if you eat meat and are trying to decrease meat consumption.
There are almost always vegetarian options even at America’s most loved fast food joints. Burger King offers a veggie burger, you can order a veggie sub at Subway or Mr. Goodcents, and get all your favorite tex-mex food with beans instead of beef at Taco Bell!

  1. Walk or Bike!

When it is a beautiful evening and you are going out to eat, try walking or biking to a local restaurant! You will work up an appetite by burning calories on the way to eat, and burn them off afterwards. When you know you have to walk after eating, you won’t fill yourself up as much! Just make sure you can carry leftovers home if you have any!

  1. Drink H2O, Not Soda

Order water when you dine out. You can ask for lemon, lime, or other fruit slices to spice up your water and it doesn’t hurt to clean your silverware with a few lemon slices! You can also ask for soda water (carbonated water) and add lemon and lime juice as well. Soda also has tons of added sugar which tricks your stomach into feeling less full. To enjoy your meal better and only eat what you need, refrain from drinking soda with your meal. Not only is this healthier for you, it will also save you some cash!

  1. Just Say No to Dessert

Instead of ordering a sugary dessert, try some fresh fruit. Even better, wait until you get home and indulge in some yogurt or even frozen yogurt with fresh fruit, nuts, dried fruit, or any other healthy toppings!

How Red Meat Effects Our World

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In 2000, A study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that people were consuming at least 195 pounds of meat per year, a number that has increased since the past 50 years. So it is safe to say that America loves meat. It makes one wonder if eating so much meat is beneficial to us.

With many increases in vegan and vegetarian options, low-carb products, “healthy” processed foods and rising organic sales, it seems like everyone is trying to live a more healthier lifestyle. However, with fads like ” The paleo diet,” there is always room for improvement.

Not only is red meat being consumed more frequently, but the portion sizes have increased dramatically as well. With numbers like these its not difficult to see why there is a steady increase in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and mortality. The question is “Should we be looking at red meat (or meat consumption in general) as the cause for these problems?”
In 1980, Harvard’s School of Public Health conducted a study of men and women and the effects of red meat consumption.120,000 men and women participated, and the study was conducted over the participant’s lifetimes. During the study, 5,900 died from cardiovascular disease and 9,500 died from cancer.

The individuals that consumed more processed and unprocessed red meat had an increase of all-causes of mortality, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

With one additional serving of unprocessed red meat, the risk of total mortality increased by 13%. Astonishingly, an extra serving of processed red meat like hot dogs, bacon, and sausage increased the risk of total mortality by 20%!

Substituting one serving a day of fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy and whole grains for red meat decreased the risk of mortality by 7%-19%. If participants consumed less than half of red meat (approx. 1.5 oz.) a day, then 9.3% of the male participants and 7.6% of the female participant’s deaths’ could have been prevented.

“500,000 participants who ate mostly red meat daily, were 30% more likely to die of any health cause during a 10 year period than those who ate the least red meat,” reported The National Cancer Institute Study of Meals.

Sausage, lunch meats, and other processed meats also increase the risk for mortality. Adults need to consume 10-35% of total daily Kcal from protein.This is equal to eating 50-175 grams of protein a day (based on a 2,000 Kcal diet). A Kcal, or Kilocalorie, is a unit of energy measure used in conjunction with a Calorie. One serving of protein is about 3 oz., or the size of a deck of cards. One example of a diet that limits red meat but emphasizes eating fruit, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats is the Mediterranean diet.

Consumption of red meat increases the risk for heart failure, and increases the risk of death from heart failure for men who regularly consume processed red meats. Nitrates, sodium, phosphates, and other additives may contribute to heart failure risk.

The good news is that meat consumption in the United States has decreased more than 5%. “Consume 1-2 servings a week or less of red meat,” recommends The American heart Association.
While China’s pork consumption has increased 18% from 64 million to 78 million tons. China buys more than 60% of the world’s soybeans to feed its livestock and has also purchased foreign agricultural land turning farm scale production to factory operations. In China, meat manufactures pollute, house disease, and have even been caught dumping pigs in the Shanghai River.

The effects of red meat don’t just stop with your health. The production and distribution of red meat causes severe environmental impact as well. At least 42,000 gallons of water per day are used in the standard American diet to feed and process livestock and to wash and cook meat.

Issues such as waste from concentrated animal farming operations (CAFO’s), the energy consumption, deforestation and disease all find themselves wrapped up inside of your package of ground beef or cheeseburger.

In conclusion, we have discussed the health effects of red meat and the toll of the production of red meat on our environment and health. If it is not clear by now, red meat (or meat consumption in general) is the cause for many problems we share.

Our society has an addiction to red meat, and that obsession is literally killing us.

It’s time to put down the knife and pick up the fork for a better life for ourselves, our children, and our planet.

More Info
United States Department of Agriculture
The Mayo Clinic