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Dawn's Column - Step Away From The Chips

POSTED January 10, 2012 11:23 p.m.

After some discussion and observation, it seems to me that most people make New Year’s resolutions that are related to better health. They usually go something like this: join the gym, lose weight, stop smoking, cut back on the beer, and so on.
While I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions in years – I really can’t remember at all the last time I made one – my husband and I have had some serious discussions about eating better. These discussions have been going on and evolving over the past few years and have become more specific in recent months.
My husband has this love of barbecue potato chips that has frequently caused him to throw an otherwise good diet to the wind. A little over a year ago, after his doctor threatened him with a cholesterol-lowering medication prescription, I put my man on a diet that, among other things, did not include barbecue chips.
You should have heard the bargaining and complaining. It eventually subsided.
After a drop of 20 pounds that the doctor didn’t think possible and an avoidance of the prescription, my guy is able to enjoy barbecue chips again. The difference now is that he no longer kills a bag all by himself. He’s also gotten pretty good about only bringing the chips home from the grocery store on special occasions or when we’re entertaining.
I’ve found that it doesn’t seem to matter if we’re serving sparkling wine and canapés, my husband wants to put out a bowl of barbecue chips. I just roll with it because it’s a small indulgence and it makes him happy. Apparently it makes our guests happy, too, because the chips always disappear.
I’m not an expert, but earlier this year I had started making some “green” smoothies in our Vitamix in another effort to improve our diets. For some people, the color may be off-putting but believe it or not, the right recipes taste really good. My barbecue-chip-loving-husband even liked them.
They do take some time to prepare but you end up taking in more greens and other healthy vegetables and fruits with a smoothie than you probably would with your regular meals. Especially if you’re meat eaters like us.
The green smoothies made a real difference in how I felt. I had more energy and didn’t feel the need to snack. I did have a brief skin breakout, but have read that’s all part of the body’s cleansing process when you start to make such changes to your diet.
Healthy green smoothies might be a good way to recover from your holiday indulgences, which may have included consuming a different kind of green smoothie like the kind made with green liqueur. Those are also very tasty but really not so healthy.
Incorporating the healthy green smoothies on a regular basis may offer some ongoing benefit for my husband and I. It’s one way to alter our Standard American Diet (SAD), which is not known for being all that good for us anyway. If you do an Internet search on the SAD or the Western diet, studies show it’s associated with obesity, some cancers, heart disease, and other health issues when compared to a more “prudent” diet. You don’t have to necessarily look up the studies though, it’s easy enough to look around and see these health issues abound.
Just a tip if you’re wanting to try the green smoothies, I recommend one of the special high-powered blenders, as regular blenders don’t perform this task of making greens “smooth” nearly as well. The high-powered blenders also do well with those other, aforementioned, kinds of green smoothies that are better suited to parties.
My husband and I bought my parents an electric juicer for Christmas and are trying to help them incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into their diets in a more concentrated way. I’ve never owned an electric juicer before, but when I was growing up my parents would sometimes make fresh orange juice or lemonade using one of those hand juicers. It was good stuff. We add some of the pulp back into the juice to retain the health benefits of the fiber. The downside of electric juicers is the cleaning, but I’ve found that fresh juice tastes way better than anything I’ve tasted off the shelf. Plus, when you do it yourself, you can be more creative and control what’s in it.
After recently trying a vegetable and fruit juice concoction done in the electric juicer, I told my husband that we might want to look into getting one for ourselves. He’s on board with it. Since cleaning the juicer is quite a job, we’ve decided to make larger batches at one time and freeze some of it in portions. This way there’s fresh-frozen juice available and the juice-extracting contraption doesn’t have to be cleaned so often either.
My guy still asks for barbecue chips whenever we go to the grocery store in hopes that I’ll have a weak moment and cave. I never do. But at least now I know we’re both more focused on doing what we can to keep ourselves, and our family members, healthy and that barbecue chips won’t be the only thing on the menu.

Dawn M. Henley is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at dhenley@oakdaleleader.com or by calling 847-3021.

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