Eating Wisely to Improve and Maintain Good Health

Eating Wisely to Improve
and Maintain Good Health

You are what you eat. A study of nutrition changed Barbara’s life, and what she learned could change yours too—if you follow her lead.

Do you know that your body cells replace themselves every 7 to 10 years, with old cells dying and being replaced by new ones? Some cell replacement happens more quickly in certain parts of the body, but the complete rejuvenation can take about a decade. The scientific proof of this was discovered in the fifties by Swedish molecular biologist, Dr. Jonas Frisen.

And do you know that God made all the delicate and inner parts of your body, knitting them together in your mother's womb? As confirmed in Psalm 139:14–15, your body is wonderfully made, and it is amazingly complex.

We need to think of our body as our temple and give it the nutrition it needs to function as God intended. I urge you to pay closer attention to everything you eat or drink because what you consume is about to become a part of you. Start by reading the nutrition label on every food or drink product you buy. Note the grams of saturated fat, sodium, and sugar in all your favorite foods since too much of any of these three can be an express route to high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

Do you know there are many kinds and forms of sugar used in food products, several of which don’t sound like sugar at all? (Tip: words ending in "ose" are all sugar by another name.) Read “What to Know about Different Types of and Names for Sugar.”

Healthy Cholesterol Guidelines

Recently when my research told me my worsening foot neuropathy—normally associated with diabetes, which I do not have—was a side effect of my cholesterol pill, I again talked to my doctor about it because it is seriously affecting my sleep now. My cholesterol is always a bit over 200, but last week she said I should stop taking this pill since good sleep is much more important to me now than my cholesterol level.

While hoping to see improvement in the neuropathy, I’m doing cholesterol research now to see if there is any more I can eliminate from the heart-healthy diet I’ve been on since 2015 to avoid a different cholesterol pill later. According to this article on Healthline.com, cholesterol guidelines have recently changed, and there are no specific recommended limits for the amount of cholesterol we consume from food. But to stay healthy, we need to eat little or no trans fats and monitor the amount of saturated fats and sugar we intake, which should be no more than 10 percent of our day’s total calories. This article goes into great deal about all of this, citing various studies that show how too much of each can lead to various health problems.

Cooking for Diabetics—
A Healthy Way for Anyone to Eat

My husband was diagnosed with diabetes in 1967 and told he wouldn’t live another five years if he didn’t stop smoking, drinking, and eating the way he’d been doing all his life. That’s when I learned how much our overall health and lifespan is affected by what we eat and drink.

I spent the next year studying nutrition and learning how to cook an entirely different way, which was essential for keeping Harry off insulin (which he never needed). In those days there were few diabetic cookbooks, and they were so bland I couldn’t stand to cook from them. So, using a USDA printed nutrition handbook (now online), I began to “trim down” all my favorite recipes so we could still have delicious and satisfying meals. I had to stop making most of my greatest dessert and pasta-rich Italian recipes, but I still enjoy all my favorite, modified recipes and all the diabetic cakes, cookies, and pies I created for Harry and later for myself, all low in fat, sugar, and calories. Thankfully, there are better and healthier sugar substitutes now than I had in the sixties. (Sucaryl was banned in 1969 due to cancer concerns.)

Cooking for diabetics has changed a lot since then. A wealth of already-calculated recipes online make diabetic cooking much easier today, and the American Diabetes Association has made it even easier by suggesting the use of their “Diabetes Plate Method,” which is actually a great guideline for healthier eating for everyone. Using this method, one can create perfectly portioned meals with a healthy balance of vegetables, protein and carbohydrates—without any counting, calculating, weighing or measuring.

Recommended Dietary Resources

Give yourself a crash course in basic good nutrition by following the links in this Bulletin.

CDC.gov recommends that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day as part of a healthy eating pattern, which will decrease your risk of heart disease, stroke and hypertension.

 The American Heart Association’s daily recommendations for added sugar a day are (1) for men, no more than 9 teaspoons [36 grams/150 calories]; (2) for women, no more than 6 teaspoons [24 grams/96 calories]. Note: one can of soda contains 8 tsp. of sugar.

 The Mayo Clinic explains how carbohydrates fit into a healthy diet, recommending that Americans get 45-65 percent of their calorie intake from carbs. Note: Contrary to what low-carb diets claim, very few studies show that a diet rich in healthy carbohydrates leads to weight gain or obesity.

Something else to watch out for is food additives. These sneaky little devils can wreak havoc with anyone’s health, and they’re in every processed food we buy—and why the healthiest people eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, make their own soups, breads, and desserts, and cook most of their meals from scratch.

Remember: A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can greatly lower your risk for diabetes, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer, automatically leading to longer length of life.

In closing, a “food chuckle” for you. Harry loved cartoons and quotes about food, and one I found on his bulletin board when he died was this one. Let it be your takeaway from this Bulletin:

“You are what you eat,
said a wise old man.

If that's the case,
I'm a garbage can!”
– Victor Buono

Related Article:

Tired of Being Fat? [PDF]. The life-changing weight-loss secrets Barbara learned from eight months’ experience on Weight Watchers may be just the push you need to finally get serious about a diet and stick with it. After that, she went on to create her own weight loss plan and lost 50 pounds.

Previously published as a Brabec Bulletin blog post on February 10, 2022.

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