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Counting Calories and Health Tips

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Message Suzana Megles

I think we have all been inundated with so many tantalizing ideas on how to lose weight. After seeing a program re Hoodia on 60 Minutes a few years ago, I thought I've got to try it. Well, I did and for me there was no discernible difference in weight. However, I just ordered a month's supply which is really not enough time for testing any product. A 3-month trial would have been better. But, I'm beginning to realize at long last-- that for me at least I should try to be more concerned about how many calories I take in each day.

I don't expect to count calories or keep a food journal, but I am going to make a concerted effort in being aware of the amount of calories I consume. So- about how many calories should be allowed a day? I seem to recall the figures of 2,000 calories for women and about 3,000 for men. I decided to check the internet to see if I was correct. There they wanted more information about me before deciding how many calories per day were right for me. The figures I was using were considered ball park numbers, and I realize that it just makes sense to take into account height for one thing and I suppose bone structure for another. A tiny, small-boned woman probably needs less calories then a tall, big-boned one who probably needs more.

I remember ordering Dr. Howard Shapiro's book on calorie intake about 10 years ago. The book was chock full of yummy pictures of different foods with comparisons of calories per choice. His wonderful food pictures showed that you could eat so much more of one food rather than that of another -simply because of the calorie count. I wish that I had examples, but I'm sure you've seen something like this on TV. I do remember though that a scone was very high in calories and it was probably equal to three muffins. I might be wrong about the muffins but not about the high-caloried scone.

Re these calorie comparisons, I believe he was the pioneer. I was so impressed with his book that I sent mine to family along with more ordered copies in the hopes it would make an impression on them. Well, maybe it did for the time it took to read the book and then put it on a shelf to collect dust. They just weren't ready to make serious commitments to lifestyle changes re calories.

I received my Nutrition Action magazine in the mail this week. Even though I think it's a good little magazine, I might not renew. I guess after years of reading it and Prevention, and subscribing to Alternative Health Newsletters, I have reached the saturation point. I pretty well know what it takes to lose weight and how to be healthy, and I've decided that as long as I can manuever around to do my daily tasks, I'm doing okay. And people looking at me seem to think that my vegan lifestyle certainly is not hurting me. Thirty years ago when I first became vegetarian, family thought I was going to damage my health. That didn't scare me. I was making an ethical statement for the farm animals who suffer. Turns out- I was benefiting my health as well, and it was their meat-based diet which was probably hurting them.

I can't remember off hand all the tips I've gotten from my subscriptions, but it fascinated me to learn that we all fall into either an Acidic or Alkalinic body condition type. Sadly, the more acidic we are, the more prone we are to unhealthy conditions, and I believe that most of us fall into the acidic range. After using the strips sent me to test where I was on the alkaline-acidic scale, I wanted to know how to become more alkalinic. As you might guess - some foods are acidic and some are alkalinic. A list of these foods was provided for the subscriber. However, anybody interested in a comparable list can find one on the internet.

Another tip --I also like to often take some baking soda in a glass of water because not only is baking soda alkalinic, but it even cures a queasy stomach. I bet your grandparents might remember taking baking soda, vinegar, and water to cure a queasy stomach. We kids marveled at the fizz produced by this tonic being prepared by our Slovak parents who gave it to us to settle our stomachs. It is probably one of the first all natural cures and predecessor of Alka Seltzer.

My parents also promoted eating garlic as a medicinal food and they were right about this too. Dipping garlic into honey at Christmas time to remind us that life is not all sweet, we girls made faces as we gulped down the traditional piece of garlic and honey. Today I enjoy eating it raw on a piece of rye bread slathered with some margarine. Of course, it is a favorite when sauteeing my veggies in stir fries, and it is one of the "medicines" I grab when I have a cold. I also like to take Echinachea when I feel a cold coming on. This senior citizen does not get a flu shot and I am able to battle the bugs which come my way without it.

I told my sister Anna one time that if I only get one good tip from a $40 per year health subscription - it is worth the money. That alkaline/acidic information and the baking soda treatment I considered worth the money of that subscription. I also ordered a weighted vest from the Susan Lark organization which I hope will strengthen my bones. And for green tea drinkers, Prevention magazine wrote that you can squeeze the juice of an orange, lemon, or lime into your green tea to release even more of the healthy components it contains. I like using the juice of half an orange
because of its sweetness.

Well, the reason I really started to write was that I wanted to share with you what this month's NA magazine featured. If you live in New York, you probably already know about the beneficial change in your restaurant menus. Wise legislators in New York and perhaps other cities are trying to address the obesity problem by having the restaurants provide calorie content of all the foods and drinks on their menu.

Okay- here's an example of what we can learn when the calories are spelled out for us. What would you order from Starbucks: A grande Doubleshot Expresso on Ice or a grande Caffe Vanilla Frappucino? Per the Starbucks in Manhattan-- the first has 90 calories and the second 430! Just for expediency, let's use the ballpark figures of 2,000 calories a day for women and 3,000 for men. Wow. It's no wonder we're fat. 430 calories for a coffee drink!

How about Wraps for $3.25? Which has less calories - the Spinach Feta Wrap or the Bacon Avocado Wrap? If you said the Spinach Feta Wrap, you're right. It has 240 calories versus 380 for the Bacon Avocado Wrap. So if your breakfast order was the Bacon Wrap and the Frappucino - you will have expended 810 calories for your breakfast. Of course, if you chose the lesser caloried food and drink, your calorie count would be 330. But let's say we chose the higher.

Let's not panic just yet. The women will still have left 1190 calories and the men 2190 calories for the next two meals. However...... if for lunch you order the Krispy Chicken Tenders sandwich, fries, and soft drink at Nathan's in New City -- women will have gone over their allotted calories even by ordering the smaller meal at 1412 calories. The men too will have exceeded their calorie count by ordering the larger meal at 2237calories.

Now you can panic, because it would seem to me that after using your daily calorie allotment on breakfast and lunch, the rest of the calories you expend for the rest of the day will only add to your girt and weight.

I believe now that the nominal subscription fee of Nutrition Action was worth it for this information. What about you?

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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