Her head was shaking NO, NO, NO, UH-UH and NO WAY! The adult leader and mentor, Gaye, to an Austin based girls’ service sorority was unwilling to give up her whole milk! I acknowledged her head shaking, as I laughed. I get it! I said, "Gaye is not giving up her whole milk." She confirmed that there was "no way, uh-uh," she was not giving up her whole milk.
I volunteered to give a health talk to a group of high school aged girls on healthy eating. I brought items from my pantry to share healthy food choices, teaching awareness about ingredients and what to look for, and sharing how to make small changes that matter over time. For example, which pasta is better, which rice to buy and why, grab and go snacks that are healthy (or at least better than other alternatives), eat your fruits and veggies, and if you are going to have chips; then how much, what kind and why.
One of the girls asked about milk and dairy products. For the record, I believe in moderation and self discipline. I do not believe in excluding food groups, unless there is a health reason to avoid certain foods. Specific to tackling the saturated fat issue, I suggested choosing non-fat milk. This is when Gaye’s head started shaking “N-O”. I said, “Try working your taste toward skim milk (non-fat milk) if you drink milk. If you drink whole milk, try and make the change to 2%. If you drink 2%, try and make the change to 1%...then 1/2%, then to non-fat”. Her head is still shaking N-O!
My second response, was going to work better for Gaye. She made it very clear she was not giving up her whole milk. I suggested that she enjoy her whole milk, and in addition, be aware of her total saturated fat intake to make sure she is not consuming too much.
An 8 oz. cup of whole milk has 8 grams of fat and 5.1 grams of that saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends eating between 25-35 percent of your total daily calories as fats, and limiting the amount of saturated fats you eat to less than 7 percent of your total daily calories. For example, if you consume 2,000 calories a day, then less than 140 calories, or 16 grams, should come from saturated fat. You do not need to consume the maximum of 16 grams of saturated fats. Many of us do not need 2,000 calories a day either. To give the saturated fat content perspective, three cups of whole milk will put you at the saturated fat daily maximum.
I gave her permission to have whole milk as long as her diet does not consist of too much whole milk everyday, or too much of other foods containing saturated fat (animal foods) such as bacon, eggs, steak, hamburgers, cheese. I encourage a healthy diet that consists mostly of plant based foods, including heart healthy oils (olive and canola) and lean proteins. I believe in enjoying your favorites and as the story goes...moderation, moderation, moderation.
What is it, that you are unwilling to “give-up” and instead, enjoy in moderation, and then make healthier choices elsewhere?
One of my favorite foods is bread. I love bread! Do I eat bread EVERYDAY? It depends on the bread and it depends on the day! I am picky about my bread. I want it to be delicious and worth it, like a baguette with a hard crust. Sometimes I have it with dinner, sometimes it is dinner when I make bruschetta. I have Ezekial bread (sprouted grains, flourless bread) when I choose to have eggs for breakfast. I do not go for soft rolls, I easily skip chain pizzas and hold out for my local Austin favorites. I skip flour tortillas, I skip what I consider bad bread. So when I say that my favorite food is bread, I choose the breads that made it my favorite to start with.
So, if your favorite food is cake, then having it everyday will have a negative consequence. However, if you are good at moderation, and moderation meaning having a little bit in small pieces, then maybe a few times a week is OK. If you are more likely to want a more indulgent piece of cake, then you can have that once a week. You see the point? If you will eat the entire cake if it is in your house, then your best bet is to go out for a piece of cake and share it with a friend, so it is not in your house.
If your favorite food is Mexican food, then chips and enchiladas frequently will have a negative consequence. Every now and then is OK. Having a salad with chicken fajita meat on top and some guacamole is a great choice more of the time than enchiladas and chips. Use the salsa as your salad dressing to give it the kick you crave and with no extra fat.
If you have ice cream in your home freezer and you eat it often, then don’t keep it in your freezer. Instead, make that a family trip to the ice cream shop sometimes. It may cost more in money, but it will save you the health consequences; physically and mentally.
You do not have to “give up” what you love. “Giving up” what you love will eventually lead to binge eating or gaining weight back that you have lost because you have taken away the foods that satisfy you. Excluding what you love is hard to sustain. Learning how to fit your favorites into an overall healthy diet is sustainable. Also, learning how to say no sometimes is also key. In our world of food choices today, you cannot have everything all of the time, but you can have your favorites some of the time. Enjoy!
My passion and purpose is helping people reach their full potential and master their wellbeing.
Disclosure: Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before beginning any diet or exercise program and ask whether you are healthy enough to engage in a diet and exercise program. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider concerning your overall health and wellness, including your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. It is your choice to follow the suggestions, opinions and advice given by a Health Inspires wellness coach.