Prepare for Thanksgiving now with these nifty eating tips

Thanksgiving is a few days away and we should begin preparing for America’s biggest food fest.

We will eat too much. Eat too fast. And we will eat things that are not good for us. My advice is to enjoy that day along with the following days of leftovers. Let’s enjoy the ham and turkey, the stuffing and sweet potato pie and macaroni and cheese.

And if you want to have a drink or two, go for it.

However, let’s begin preparing for that day today. This blog is motivated by a note I received from a man who was thankful that I shared some tips on lowering sodium intake which helps lower blood pressure. He has high blood pressure and is struggling to lower it.

High blood pressure took me down with a stroke four years ago. However, on the journey to recovery I learned a lot from doctors and during my own trial and errors. Let me share some of them with you.

Also let’s begin preparing for our Thanksgiving feast by being a little healthier until our big day arrives.

Let me warn you. I am not a doctor or professional. I don’t do this for a living. These are some things that worked for me. I hope they work for you.

GROCEREY SHOPPING TIP

Salt or sodium is both a blessing and curse. It makes our food taste better and last longer. The problem is sodium is saturated in much of our food and it is making us unhealthy and in some cases fatter because the food is so good that we tend to over eat.

When grocery shopping fill your basket with most foods that are on the perimeter of the market. That is usually fresh fruits and vegetables, lean beef and ground turkey, milk and cheese.

I’m not saying everything on the perimeter is a healthy choice, but it is usually lower in sodium, which leads to high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.

We get in trouble in the aisles where the canned good items are. Those cans are usually filled with sodium. That’s why the food can last for years in a can. My rule of thumb is if it is above 400 milligrams of sodium I don’t buy it.

Read the labels closely. Don’t fall for the fake when they advertise lower sodium. For instance a regular can of peas can have 600 milligrams of sodium. The lower sodium peas 520 grams. It is lower, but that is still too high.

I like to make chili during cooler weather, but did not like that my navy beans were 450 milligrams of sodium and my chili requires two cans. One day I spotted cans of navy beans with 10 milligrams of sodium. JACKPOT!!

Sold. And guess what. My chili tasted the same.

The other trick doctors told me about is to rinse can goods in water. Much of the sodium is in the juices that are stored with the peas, corn or beans. The rinse lowers the sodium.

RESTAURANTS

Limit eating out to no more than twice a week. Do you know why the food at your favorite restaurant tastes so good? You guessed it. Sodium.

Its the seasoning that makes us want to come back for more. That includes grilled fish and grilled chicken. But you can request little or no seasoning for certain items.

Menus tell us how many calories are in each entrée and sandwich because we all want to lose weight or watch our figures. What they don’t tell you is how much sodium is in each item. Restaurants do have that information. I requested a more detailed nutrition guide and the items I liked had anywhere from 1,100 to 2,000 grams of sodium.

DRINK LOTS OF WATER

My doctor once told me that water is a very underrated medicine. It helps flush sodium and other bad ingredients out of our system. And if we fill up on water we may not want that extra plate of pasta.

I gave up soda for water. I’ll be honest. A good meal tastes better with a glass of Coke or Pepsi than it does with water. However, soda is not good for you. Even diet soda.

A year after getting out of the hospital I asked doc if I could drink beer again. She said yes, but don’t over do it. Two a week would not hurt me. I then asked if I could have pop. Her eyes narrowed and said no.

Maybe I could have two or three a month. She told me that beer is better for you than pop. It is not a health food but at least it has hops and grains in it. Soda is all sugar and has no healthy components to it.

TYPE 2 DIABETES

There are two myths about Type 2 diabetes. One, you can never get rid of it. Two, you can never eat bread or sweets.

You can get rid of the disease. The key is diet and exercise.

A doctor who treated me said 45 minutes to an hour of moderate exercise was like getting a shot of insulin which lowers blood sugar.

I spoke to a group of doctors who treated extreme case of diabetes. Their treatment was amputation. And they wanted to lower amputation cases. Word spread that I had lowered my A1C from 10.2 to 5.3. They wanted to know how I did it.

Type 2 diabetes is measured by A1C blood sugar levels. If you are a 6.0 or above you are considered diabetic. 5.7 to 5.9 you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

The doctors told me that when they diagnose patients with Type 2 diabetes that half never return for follow up treatment. They come to the conclusion that this is how they are going to die.

What inspired me to return?

It was a goofy cartoon I received in a diabetes nutrition class at Providence Hospital in Novi. It featured a bald man driving through the countryside shopping for fruit and vegetables.

The caption read: “You are in the driver’s seat.”

In other words you determine if you are going to be a non diabetic or diabetic. You are in the driver’s seat to good health or bad health.

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Published by terryfoster8

I am a 58 year old retired sports journalist, husband and father of two living outside of Detroit in search of his next big adventure in life.

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