Read This, Not That!
My reading progress slowed down a bit last month as I was sidetracked by the shocking book series “Eat This, Not That” . I know, I know. They’ve been around for a while, but my library finally acquired the entire series. And now I too have read all of David Zinczenko’s (pronounced Zin-chenk-oh) ETNT books andthey radically changed my eating habits. I consider myself a savvy grocery shopper and am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to understanding hidden meaning, ingredients, labels and catch phrases like “all natural”, “whole grain”, and “reduced fat”. Rachael Ray had an episode a while back with Zinczenko as a guest. I was so intrigued; I added his series to my library queue when it became available.
The three that I got the most out of: the Restaurant Survival Guide, the Supermarket Guide, and Cook This Not That. Obviously these are reference books which don’t count towards my 52 books read this year. But many of my friends recommended I read them and so I did just that. You’d be surprised at how deceptive the food industry is, including the amount of hair, dust particles and moldy food that is LEGALLY ALLOWED in packaged foods. WHISKEY. TANGO. FOXTROT!!!!!!!!!????????!!!!!!!! I was so keyed up about this that I felt compelled to blog about it. Flip through these books next time you’re at a bookish establishment, you will NOT regret it. I’m tempted to order a few used copies from Paperbackswap just to keep on hand as reference.
On a related note, recently a friend and I re-committed ourselves to one of our favorite free websites, called CalorieCount. I’ve never been one to count calories but the site is so much more than that. It allows you to input what you eat each day, what exercise you do (yes, driving counts!) and does an in-depth analysis based on your body weight, height and age. This analysis feature is new and improved and a major eye opener to to things- 1) I’m consistently consuming way too much sodium and 2) consistently not consuming enough iron. After just one day of inputting what you eat (it’s linked to restaurant nutrition facts so if you go out it calculates the exact nutritional workup of your journal entries), it has a bar chart and pie chart showing you the breakdown of your eating by carbs, fiber, sodium, protein and all the vitamins. For me the idea is less about weight loss and more about being conscious of what I’m eating. In a sedentary office job environment, so much time is spent just sitting in front of a computer working. Sure, you can use CalorieCount to help monitor your goal if you’d like to lose weight by a certain date. For me though, I really enjoy entering in all the things I eat on a daily basis and seeing how I’m doing each day, helping guide my nutrition. It also works as a placebo effect- you’d probably feel guilty about entering in that snickers bar or donut that you just might stay away! You can also connect with friends and help each other stay motivated.
As we get older, I find the focus more on awareness of what I’m taking in and how I feel. I live a very active lifestyle incorporating exercise, considering myself a pretty healthy eater and savvy restaurant patron. Eating heavy fatty foods doesn’t give a person the energy they need to constantly be on the go and sharp, making your blood sugar nosedive. Skipping meals is also the WORST possible habit. Thankfully I get very uncomfortable migraines if I don’t eat, so I rarely skip meals. I also love to cook. The Cook This Not That is so eye-opening. One serving of mac and cheese w/ salsa made at home with low-fat milk is only 450 calories. Compare that to a mac & cheese dish from Cheesecake Factory and you’re down 1,475 calories!! Speaking of Cheesecake Factory, they are one of THE worst restaurant offenders when it comes to calories per serving. Pair that with 2-4 times the average serving size and you’re talking about a dangerous combination for your arteries.
Definitely limiting eating out is key in the calorie crusade. My husband and I have a trend we employ during the warmer months. We live within walking distance from a few “restaurant row” plazas with fantastic dining. Now that the sun stays out a bit longer, if we’re going to eat out, we walk there and back. It’s a great workout, we love getting to spend more time together catching each other up on the day’s happenings, and we feel better by walking off our food afterward. Then, we come home and walk two dogs. It ends up being an awesome way to skip my typical evening exercise video routine when my honey is home early or on his days off. It’s a great trend that we hope to continue as long as the nice weather stays. Another habit that I’ve had for a while- when I know I’ll be dining out with friends or a group, I go check out the restaurant’s nutrition facts online and find a handful of items that are pretty healthful so I’m not swayed by the server trying to “upsell” me on fatty appetizers or “fries with that”. I also request the cook NOT dip my steak into butter, as they do automatically whenever you order a steak at a restaurant so it looks glossy and pretty. Unless you specifically ask, it will be butter soaked. And lastly, when I order a salad with the dressing on the side, I dip my fork in the dressing and then pick up some salad. I’ve noticed consistently I use 1/4 of the dressing I would have if I doused the salad. Little changes in your eating habits have lasting implications.
If nothing else, these books are great to flip through while you’re killing time at a bookstore this summer. I highly recommend them and wish the programming gods would come out with a DROID app for this. 🙂
“DAVID ZINCZENKO, SVP/Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health magazine and Editorial Director of Women’s Health magazine, is the author of New York Times bestsellers The Abs Diet and The Abs Diet for Women. Once an overweight child, Zinczenko has become one of the nation’s leading experts on health and fitness. He is a regular contributor to the Today show and has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, Primetime Live, 20/20, The Rachael Ray Show, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”~Amazon.com