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Moderation or Abstinence?

 

Moderation or abstinence is always a valid question when it comes to foods that are not particularly healthy, such as fast foods. It has been suggested that fast foods should not even be referred to as food – at least not in the nutritional sense.

You may tell yourself that fast foods every once in a while can’t possibly hurt you. But, you are wrong. The fact is they have no nutritional value, they are filled with empty calories and additives – and they are addictive. Would you indulge in heroine occasionally if someone told you that once in a while wouldn’t hurt you . . . of course not! Use the same good judgment when it comes to fast foods.

Because they are addictive, it is almost impossible to eat fast foods in moderation; In other words, the only thing that works is abstinence. If you think you can control the addiction (as most addicts believe about their drug of choice), you will continue to eat large amounts of junk food and suffer the dire consequences for the rest of your “much-shorter-than-necessary” life.

On the opposite end of the spectrum – raw fruits and vegetables can be eaten in abundance – no limits. It is basically impossible to eat too many, except for the popular high-fat fruits we discussed in the previous post: avocadoes, bananas, olives, and coconut, which should be eaten in moderation. But, even eating the high-fat fruits in large amounts is far healthier than stuffing yourself with donuts and potato chips on a regular basis.

It is difficult to over eat high-water content foods because they fill you up so fast. This includes some fruits and vegetables. For example, watermelon and strawberries are about 92 percent water. Other fruits with high water content are grapefruit, cantaloupe, peaches and bananas. High-water content vegetables include lettuce and cucumbers. As a result these foods have a built-in moderation factor.

Moderation is important when eating heavier, higher-calorie foods such as rice, beans, grains and nuts – especially if you are struggling with being overweight.

If you can commit to a healthier diet and start doing a little research, you will find there are many, many combinations of healthy foods that are not only nutritious, but also delicious. When you start feeding your body well and eliminate empty-calorie snacks from your diet, there is a very good chance that you will not miss the bad foods. I know it may take a little time, but the health dividends are well worth it.

Nature offers abundance, not deprivation. So, focus on natural foods as much as possible. Trying changing up your diet – for example, rather than eating a slice of caramel apple pie, slice your favorite apple very thinly and eat it with a yummy dip made from dates, cinnamon and a little ice water – pureed in a high-speed blender. It is a sweet and delicious treat that will quell your cravings and help you forget about the empty-calorie, sugar-fat-salt laden treats you were addicted to.

I know I have used some extreme comparisons and donuts or fast foods are not the equivalent to heroine (but I hope I made my point). You may decide that your health is just fine and you see no problem with having an occasional donut or McDonald’s Big Mac. All I ask is that you recognize that neither of those can be called real food and offer absolutely NO nutritional value whatsoever, and do more harm to your body than good.  Also – define your terms. Indulging in your “drug of choice” occasionally should mean: partaking very small amounts – once or twice a year – possible on your birthday or anniversary – even that carries the risk of your falling back into old habits, as with any addiction.

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