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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Orthorexia: When Healthy becomes Harmful

Orthorexia vs. Normal eating: orthorexia literally means “righteous eating” or an obsession with healthy eating.  Healthy eating or following a healthy eating plan is not the harmful part.  The harm comes when healthy becomes the all-consuming driving force.  Healthy is fine, but obsession isn’t.  There really is too much of a good thing, and that applies to healthy eating patterns. This pattern of obsessive healthy eating is a growing category of disordered eating that is fueled in part by social media.  So beware of what you consume not just from your plate, but from your phone as well. 
Eating behaviors fall on a continuum between apathy (don’t care about nutrition at all and make no effort to eat foods that make them feel healthful, vigorous and nourished) to orthorexic attitudes (everything must be the most nutritious food, and you only eat “good” or “healthy” foods).  Normal eating lies somewhere in between and allows for a healthful diet with “fun” foods as well.  Food rules shouldn’t be rigid or extreme, and people shouldn’t be judged for the way they eat.  
Answering yes to any of these questions indicate a tendency toward orthorexic attitudes and behaviors. 
1.   Do you ever wish you could just eat a food without worrying about its nutritional quality?
2.   Do you find it hard to eat food prepared with love by family or friends?
3.   Do you find yourself avoiding eating situations where you are not in control of the menu?
4.   Do you often label foods as good or bad (and yourself as good or bad depending on what you ate)?
5.   Do you feel in control when you stick your idea of the perfect diet?
6.   Do you find yourself having to follow more and more food rules instead of less?
7.   Do you put yourself on a nutritional pedestal and wonder how someone else can possible eat a certain way?
Maintaining optimal nutrition requires balance, moderation and enjoyment so keeping healthy routines is great, just make sure they aren’t too rigid or restrictive.  

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Better Backyard BBQ

Summer is the peak season for lots of things, one of which is barbecuing. Unfortunately foodborne illness is one of those things that peaks during summer months.  Here are a few creative tips to keep the fun in your cookout while keeping your guests safe as you barbeque your way through summer.  

Think outside the burger box.  Try mixing up some of your main-dish mainstays.  Fresh pork tenderloin makes a great go-to for grilling.  It is an all-natural, lean and flavorful source of protein with some great versatility.  You can grill the entire tenderloin, slice it for grilled Cuban sliders, or you can dice it and kebab it for a speedier cooking time.  And since lean pork cuts like this fresh pork tenderloin are recognized by the American Heart Association as heart healthy food, you can feed your guests knowing that in a 3 oz serving size you’re delivering 22 grams of protein, minerals like potassium and zinc as well as b-vitamins all for only 120 calories. So get creative with your main.  

Pick sides.  This has two meanings.  First of all – don’t hesistate to toss some fresh produce on the grill to round out your menu in a fun, delicious and festive way.  The other meaning is to keep raw and cooked foods on separate sides of your grill.  Cross-contamination becomes a real risk, especially when we leave the comforts of the kitchen.  Keep wipes and water handy and be sure to keep separate surfaces for raw and cooked foods to avoid risk of foodborne illness.

Take a temperature.  Nothing is quite as disturbing as biting into a grilled chicken kebab and seeing pink. . . instead, take a minute to check the internal temperatures of your meat and poultry.  While ground beef should be cooked to 160 and poultry to 165.  Whole cuts of beef and pork are safe at 150.  Remember that most thermometers have the sensor in the tip, so make sure the tip is centered in the food.  

Set a timer.  Hot foods should stay hot and cold foods should stay cold, but that isn’t always easy outside.  A cooler with ice works great in a pinch in place of a fridge.  Insulated bags or coolers can help keep warm foods warm, but for extended periods of time, try wrapping bricks or larger rocks in foil and heating them on the grill after you’re done cooking the food.   Place them on towels in a cooler to provide decent hot storage for warm foods.  But the simplest way is to set a timer on your phone or watch.  You don’t want foods at room temperature for more than 2 hours, so once that 2-hour alarm goes off, make sure all food is safely stowed or disposed of.  

Truly, when it comes to food safety, it is much better to err on the side of caution than to risk the vengeance of foodborne illness later on.