After working directly with a few of BudgetDoc’s osteopaths, I’ve become seriously motivated to start eating better. In the past I avoided fad dieting, calorie counting, cholesterol monitoring and sugar measuring with great intensity.
But a perfect storm of discomfort physical (belly: 1, top-button of jeans: 0), emotional (best friend died of a heart attack at 45) and mental (my lack of focus had become appalling) was enough to push me over the edge.
I started slow … canned foods were kidnapped from my cupboard at an alarming rate. Cheap sandwich bread was replaced with Dave’s Killer Bread. And push-ups weaseled their way onto my scheduling tool thrice weekly.
And its been working. But now that the low-hanging fruit has been harvested, it’s time to grab a ladder and start tackling the harder stuff: like eating food that better for my heart. Which brings me back to my original question: Bacon or Blueberries?
Harvard breaks it down by category.
“Avoid the following:
- Processed Meats (bacon, hot dogs, sausages, lunch meat, etc…)
- Highly refined and processed grains and carbohydrates (Wonder Bread anyone?)
- Soft drinks and other sugary drinks (basically every drink other than bottled water for sale in 7-11)
Eating Well magazine takes a different approach, with their “avoid these foods” list:
- Trans Fat – packaged snacks (potato chips)
- Saturated Fat – butter, sour cream
- Added sugars
So my longtime culinary affair with bacon is in danger of being exposed …. it’s processed and packed with salt, all sorts of glorious fat, and a bit of sugar if I’m feeling Maple-y. The basic tenet of overcoming any addiction is to focus more on replacement then removal.
So what are the heart healthy foods?
Health magazine and WebMD’s lists are very similar, and jam-packed with fruits, vegetables, and some super foods such as flax seeds or coffee. After digging into several more lists, blueberries kept popping up. So I picked up some Quaker Old Fashioned Oats and some dried bulk blueberries, and dove head-first into my much-improved breakfast routine.
Now I crave oatmeal and blueberries fortnightly – but I daydream about bacon, that heart assassin daily. I’ve already added / increased my intake of the so-called superfoods (which I’m convinced is just a covert way for the grocery store to triple their price). Here’s a mash-up of the super hero foods, in no particular order
- Tofu - uhhh, yeah, that ain’t gonna happen
- Soy Milk – have you tasted that stuff?
- Blueberries - nearly 10 bucks a pound. Yup.
- Carrots – I can handle that
- Spinach – last time I bought a huge bundle of this stuff, it reduced down to something like that looked like a used wad of chew … tasty, but … yeah.
- Broccoli – awesome … with its super un-healthy nemesis – ranch dressing
- Peppers - my stomach lining would likely tell the heart to piss off
- Sweet Potato - baby food … except when in a pie form laden with heart murdering brown sugar
- Asparagus - I love the stuff, but hate the price
- Oatmeal - my old standby … poor student’s food at best, especially with a hunk of butter (evil) and brown sugar (super-villian)
- Brown Rice - no sure if the $1.49 a pound Basmati rice counts as ‘whole grain’ but brown rice always tastes like undercooked cheap fast food rice.
- Red Wine - sorry, but I’m a vodka guy.
- Coffee - really?!?! these same experts have been crying about the over-caffeination of Americans for a decade-plus now. Lesser of the evils perhaps?
So in the superfood / supervillian death match, who will reign victorious: bacon or blueberries? I call it a draw.
I’ll give oatmeal and blueberries Mondays and Wednesdays, bacon and eggs Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Fridays a coffee and flaxseed muffin (I *think* those exist).
And Saturday and Sundays? Whatever cures my hangover from drinking a week’s worth of wine in one night.
That’s okay right?
Heh, heh, anyways, you should consult your doc before taking any advice from a superfluous man with poor self control and a public addiction to beer, bacon and butter.