By Karen Trom from the January 2012 Edition
Living Healthy in an Unhealthy World
“Oh, Good. Another place to buy salty snacks, candy, and soda.” That was my reaction when we pulled up to the gates at Club Santiago, and it was said very sarcastically. When we left last January we heard rumors that an OXXO was coming, we also heard that many people were working together to fight it. I am not going to speculate on the politics that led up to the OXXO being built and I have no ill will toward OXXO as a business, I just don’t think we need yet another source for junk food, especially when we have a Kiosko one block away as well as La Vianda across the street and Eureka in Club Santiago. OXXO has over 3,000 locations in Mexico, did they really need to add one more?
In a previous article I wrote about diabetes being the number one cause of death in Mexico and a big part of this is the changes in eating habits. With candy, soda, and chips literally being sold on every street corner, how do we expect people to make good food choices? Let’s hope parents and schools take some action and we also need to take a look at how we are taking care of ourselves.
What is the BEST diet?
By diet I don’t mean low-fat, low sugar, no carbs, blood type or whatever the latest trend happens to be. When I refer to “diet” it means how you eat on a daily basis, not a fad that will come and go. I think the optimal diet is one that accomplishes these three goals:
1- Its gets you to or keeps you at your desired weight, whatever that might be.
2- It promotes health and helps stave off chronic disease 3- It is sustainable for the long term. It’s tough to make
changes so you need to find a style of eating that works for you, that you enjoy and can live with without feeling guilty.
To be specific, the BEST diet would provide plenty of water, 35-40 grams of fiber per day, and include plenty of whole grains, proteins, and poly and monounsaturated fats. It would include 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, a couple servings of fresh fish a week, a few servings of dairy, and would generally be more vegetarian based that our normal fare. Added sugar, sodium, saturated and trans-fats would be limited. To keep this diet doable, treats are not outlawed but eaten in moderation.
If you are already eating like this, good for you! If not, track what you eat for a week and see where you need to make changes. I am pretty good about eating fruit and getting fiber but I make a conscious effort to eat more leafy greens and I have to make myself eat seafood as I have just never been in the habit. Now that I am back in Mexico those Emperador cookies keep jumping into my shopping cart! This is something I would never eat at home but for some reason I feel the need to eat them every day when I’m here. Four cookies have 213 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat- yikes! I need to start rationing those darn things. There are many websites that will give you the nutritional info for pretty much everything, I like caloriecount.about.com. What you don’t know CAN hurt you so it is good to get the facts, it might help you keep your treats in check.
Is Eating Healthier Enough?
While eating healthier is extremely important, you still need to move around. Moving around isn’t going from bed to couch to beach chair and back with a stop at the frig in between. Moving around means 2.5 hours of activity each week that is above and beyond you usual activities. It can be walking at a brisk pace, calisthenics, dancing, jogging, anything that gets your heart rate up. Don’t do 2.5 hours in one day and call done, working out 30 minutes at least four to five days a week is optimum but feel free to break it into smaller segments as your schedule permits. The beach is a perfect place for a workout and I have been testing all sorts of new moves that are quite effective- no special equipment needed. Yes, I am that gal on Playa Miramar who is doing push-ups on the wall and pull ups on the bus stop bench!
I would be happy to help you set up a weekly workout plan that combines both strength and cardio and works with your fitness level and lifestyle, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe we can hit the beach together!
Manzanillo Sun’s eMagazine written by local authors about living in Manzanillo and Mexico, since 2009