Fighting Obesity With a Healthy Balanced Diet

It has become common knowledge that obesity is a problem in North America. The newspapers, magazines, television commercials and internet banners all acknowledge the issue. It is not uncommon to see advertisements encouraging membership in diet programs where you can lose those extra pounds in a short time. Marketers have even responded by providing 90-100 calorie pre-packaged snacks ranging from almonds to cookies. Others are telling us to walk it off, and some are encouraging the latest fad diet. It seems that everywhere we look there is someone, somewhere trying to fix our personal weight problem.

Is obesity an issue?

Yes, in more ways than we can imagine. It is not simply a matter of having extra weight. Being overweight or obese triggers many health related situations.

Obese Canadians are 4 times more likely to have diabetes, 3.3 times more likely to have high blood pressure and 56% more likely to have heart disease than those that have healthy weights (1). Throughout North America there are reports relating obesity to heart disease, and diabetes. There are other symptoms that are often ignored by the media but are also troubling. I personally know a lady who experienced severe pain in her feet. The extra 60 pounds she had gained caused a problem with her arches, her feet became “flat” and normal daily activities became a burden. These types of poor health symptoms affect everyone in our communities. Government run health programs become more expensive to operate, families struggle with the emotional side of disease, un-wellness and even death.

Surely you have heard that the rate of overweight and obesity are on the rise. Currently 30.6% of Americans (US), 24.2% of Mexicans and 14.3% of Canadians are obese (2). Compare these rates to those of Japan and South Korea where obesity is only at 3.2% of the population (2). That should trigger two things in your mind. First of all, something that we are doing in North America is causing great negative effects on our optimal health. Second, if there are other nations in the world with lower rates of obesity, then obesity can be controlled in North America as well.

Is there any pattern to obesity in North America?

The acknowledgment of obesity, income levels, sense of failure and lack of physical activities are patterns associated with obesity. Sharon Brady, editor of The World is a Kitchen, believes that the first problem to obesity is that a large portion of individuals are simply not facing the fact that they are overweight whether it is through ignorance, denial or indifference (3). Obesity is also disproportionally found in lower income groups (4). This may be a consequence of buying low nutrient, highly processed foods because of the low dollar values. Another possible problem with weight gain and obesity is the sense of failure that comes with cheating or falling off fad diets. A lack of physical activity or even decreased activities levels associated with changes in lifestyle can also be problematic patterns.

How can we fix the problem of obesity?

Dealing with the way we think about food and our body weight is critical. Information on the mind-body connection is readily available. Understanding and addressing mental and emotional stress is of paramount importance when you want to lose weight (5).

Increasing physical activity is recommended and the Government of Canada has published guides for different age groups (6). Activity can come in many forms, even taking a family holiday can be a way to get moving again.

However, even with a good food mindset and increased physical activity, it will be hard to obtain and maintain a healthy weight without a clear understanding of healthy balanced meals and healthy eating. Regardless of your food choice preferences, vegan, vegetarian, raw or a more traditional meat diet, it is important to make sure you are eating properly. And believe it or not, that is a simple thing to do.

The things we need to consider are:

1. Water

2. Healthy Snacks

3. Protein

4. Dairy and Alternatives

5. Complex Carbohydrates

6. Healthy Fats

7. Fruits and Vegetables

Well, now after saying it is simple, I give you a list of seven things to remember. Trust me, before you know it, the list will become engrained in your thought pattern and you will be on your way to eating healthy balanced meals and optimal health which will result in a natural maintainable weight. Let me guide you through the list.

Water

There has been a lot of concern about plastic water bottles littering our disposal sites and being found floating in the ocean. I agree that it is a problem but the good thing is that it means people are becoming aware of the importance of water and they are drinking more of it.

60 to 70% of our body is water. It is important for normal body functions, like digesting the food we eat. We get water from the fluids we drink as well as the food we eat.

It is recommended that we drink 8 cups of water a day. Even more is required if you live in a dry or hot climate or are physically active. That seems like a lot of water, and it is if you try to drink it all at once. Try drinking a cup first thing in the morning before you even get into the shower. Have a glass or two before every meal and another midway in between meals and a glass in the evening too. Before you know it, you have reached 8 cups of water.

Many people have lost the ability to tell the difference between hunger and thirst. Unfortunately food often wins out and water is left aside. Next time you feel hungry have a glass of water first. Wait for a few minutes to see if the hunger goes away before you eat. If you feel thirsty, you body is already dehydrated. You may need to add more cups of water for your personal lifestyle.

Snacks

For many of us, the word snack triggers the thought of a high calorie, low nutrient food. A good way to think of a snack is like a mini-meal that gets us through to the next meal. It is the opportunity to pick a healthy food that you enjoy but may not part of your meal on that day. One of my all time favorites are apples. If I did not have an apple for breakfast and know I will not have one for lunch, having one for my morning snack, along with my cup of water makes a great healthy snack.

Snacking is critical for children. They get a large portion of their daily calories from snacking and it is important that they get healthy snacks.

Protein, Dairy and Alternatives

Protein comes in many forms and this is often where diet styles differ. No matter what you food style preference is having protein in your meals is important.

Proteins can be found in beans, eggs, meats, fish, milk, cheese, nuts and seeds, soy products including tofu. In North America, having large amounts of protein has become standard. I have seen some restaurants where the smallest steak available is 14 oz and where ordering fish means an entire fish. Having such large amounts of protein is not necessary for your body. Protein is important but it does not have to dominate the meal.

There is much debate over the presence of milk in our diets. Some individuals prefer soy milk and almond milk. The goal with drinking these products is to obtain calcium. Calcium is available through tablet form and naturally occurs in fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are our comfort foods. When we consume them, serotonin is produced and leaves us with that “warm fuzzy feeling.” These foods are best for our bodies when they are closest to their natural state. You will recognize them as breads, crackers, pasta, rice and beans. To obtain the maximum health from your foods, decide on products that are made of whole grains rather than white enriched flours. If you like rice, add brown rice to your diet. It takes longer to cook but you will not be hungry half an hour after you finish your meal.

Healthy Fats

The first thing many people do when they attempt to reduce their weight is to remove all the fat from their diet. Eating a lot of fat is not healthy but the body does need small amounts of healthy fats to function normally. Healthy fats occur naturally in the healthy foods that we eat. Avocados, salmon and other fish, nuts and olive oil all contain fats that are healthy for our body.

Fruits and Vegetables

The number of fruits and vegetables that are available is absolutely amazing. They should make up the majority or your diet and when you can eat them raw, I encourage you to do so. When you make your meal, add lots of color by using a variety of fruits and vegetables. The more variety, the better chance of getting everything your body needs.

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that aid indigestion. They help keep our bodies healthy, protect us from disease, strengthen our bones and make our skin beautiful. Consider them for your snack.

What is Next?

Well, now you have an idea of the important aspects of creating a healthy balanced meal. Pick a food from each category and several from the fruits and vegetables. These will be the ingredients for your meal.

An example of a traditional style meal could be fish for your protein (but not an entire fish), some brown rice, and a large salad made of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, blueberries and sesame seeds. For a healthy snack after dinner, try a fruit salad made with three of your favorite fruits.

That is how simple making a healthy balanced meal can be when you have a little information.

What Difference will this make?

Eating healthy balanced meals will allow you to lose weight naturally. At first you will still have cravings for the heavily processed products that you ate in the past. Eventually you will replace those without even thinking about it. You weight will reduce naturally and you will be able to maintain a healthy weight.

There is no cheating with eating healthy balanced meals because you are making the decisions for you diet. If you have potato chips tonight just acknowledge how it makes your body feel. Next time try a nice fresh piece of pineapple with all its amazing health and healing benefits. Acknowledge how it feels. Learn to listen to your body.

Failure does not exist in a healthy balanced diet. Every time you eat a healthy balanced meal, you are moving ahead to a better healthier you.

Most importantly, you will be setting an example for your child, friends and everyone else that you come into contact with. Help make North America a healthy North America. Japan and South Korea are doing it, so can we, one meal at a time.

Health Information Technology – The Safer Future in Healthcare

From the past 20 years, information technology has brought many major transformations in almost all fields of the world and healthcare is simply not an exception. While the revolutions of science are ruling on all parts of our lives, it has also brought a positive change in medical and healthcare by introducing health information technology.

Health information technology has absolutely changed the notion of addressing the healthcare issues. With the help of the transformation of information technology in health section, you will get benefit in your overall healthcare circle including relationships of your doctors, your hospital records, your pharmacy and other important medical information. Like all other information technology systems, the health IT system also needs proper configuration, network security consulting, solution & specialist to make the workflow risk-free.

Benefits of Health IT

The smart and efficient exchange of healthcare information through information technology is advantageous and beneficial in many ways. Following are some of the benefits that healthcare IT can offer:

Better information means quality healthcare

Better and effective exchange of information means safer and quality healthcare. With the help of electronic health records and information exchange, practitioners will be able to review the complete picture of patient’s medical history which eventually improves health care quality. With detailed health records, the risks of improper medications can be avoided and chances of medical errors will be reduced.

Assurance of efficient and accurate treatment

Once the health information technology has the complete medical record of the patient, it will assure that the treatment will be provided faster and efficiently. It will be easier for practitioner to decide tests based on the prior provided information. The clearer picture will help the consultant to give more accurate prescriptions and reduced unnecessary medical tests.

Ease up the administration

While compiling and managing the paperwork is certainly a tough call, healthcare IT makes the things easier. With the help of electronic medical records and management system, the administrative tasks have become hassle-free and efficient, which has subsequently lower down the administrative costs. However, to ensure the authenticity of information, administrative bodies have to be particular about network security consulting, solution & specialist.

Ensure the security of information

While the health information technology has reduced the burdens of paperwork, it has also ensured the safety and security of medical records of the patients. With the help of healthcare information system, all the medical records and relevant information can be saved and secured, as unlike the conventional paperwork system, electronic health records are safe and easy to transferred and accessed electronically. Though, paperwork of medical records are unrecoverable in tragic situations, but one has to ensure proper network security consulting, solution & specialist to ensure the security of electronic health records.

Emerging Careers in Health Information Technology

Health Information technology is the secure exchange of electronic health records between health care professionals, insurance providers, patients, and the government.

The problem with medical records being recorded on paper is they have to be stored in filing cabinets at the physicians office, or in a box at the patients home. Then, when providers want to access the medical records they have to be mailed, faxed, or physically brought to the appointment by the patient. Furthermore, handwritten notes and prescriptions can have poor legibility, making them difficult to read. This obsolete system can cause medication errors, duplicate testing, and increased health care cost.

The Main Advantages of using Health IT include:

Decrease paperwork
Access patients medical records instantly
Increase accuracy of Patients Medical Information
More efficient system
Reduce Cost

In addition, the technology can increase the public health by:

Early detection of disease outbreaks and viruses
Able to compare health records from different parts of the US

Health Information Technology Jobs

Jobs in Health IT are in high demand with a predicted growth of 21 percent by the year 2020. Some jobs include

Registered Health Information technician (RHIT)
Health Information Manager (HIM)
Medical Biller
Medical Coder
Consultant

Implementation of HIT

According to a study by RAND Health performed in 2005, the US health care system could save more than $81 billion a year if most healthcare providers were to adopt the technology.

In 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which allocated $19 billion in incentives for eligible healthcare providers who implemented and adopted Health IT before 2015. If hospitals and healthcare providers switched over from paper to electronic health records, they could receive up to $44,000 over four years in Medicare funding and $63,750 over six years in Medicaid funding. After 2015, health care providers will not be able to receive any federal funding.

In order to qualify for the financial incentives of the federal government, healthcare providers must meet strict standards set by the Department of Health and Human Services when implementing Health IT. This promotes interoperability in healthcare and smooth communication between health care providers.

Although the government lends financial incentives to healthcare providers who adopt the technology, the health care providers will pay for the initial cost of the implementing and training staff members how to use the technology. Finally, the reduced cost of paperless medical records is predicted to save money for healthcare providers over the long run.

Free Health Information: Ask the Medical Student and Receive Professional Information

Obtaining health advice that is worthy is hard to come by. As a medical student, I am surrounded by mountains of resources, professionals and experiences from which you can benefit. I cannot diagnose, treat or prescribe but I can give health information which can help you with your situation. All information that you give in the email is purely confidential and will be deleted upon receipt. No information will be published anywhere.

Why do we do provide a free health information service? Simply put — because we care. I will have my doctorate in naturopathic medicine two years from now. I already have 3 years of intense medical training under my belt and that is after a B.Sc in Cell and Molecular Biology. I know that most people are completely bewildered with the health industry and are looking for ways to obtain health without spending a fortune and without the standard mechanistic medical protocol. Complementary and Alternative medicine is flourishing and it is due to results patients receive. Holistic medicine heals and restores health to numerous chronic health conditions that traditional medicine cannot touch.

Our medical philosophy: Remove the cause of illness, treat the underlying issue and support the individual’s mind and body. This is how medicine should be practiced. Treating the symptoms only encourages the illness to penetrate deeper and cause further harm.

Some example health topics:

* Asthma

* Acne and other Skin Complaints

* Diabetes Type I and II

* Cardiovascular health

* Attention Deficit Disorder

* Losing Weight

* Depression

* Irritable Bowel Syndrome

* Diets

* Alternatives to Gall Bladder Removal

* Cell salts – which one?

* What should I eat?

* Digestive problems

* Chlorine issues

* Food allergies and sensitivities

This list is no way complete. Please write with any health question you have. All questions and responses are held strictly confidential to protect your privacy. I will respond with relevant health information, useful books, thoughts, product options and links. All health information given will contain references. If we do not know the answer, we will either refer you to a website or another useful source. I am not a substitute for a qualified physician.

For a sampling of my writing, you may view a number of my articles published here.

Take charge of your health. Education and being informed is the best way.

Benjamin Lynch has a BS degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Washington. Currently, he is obtaining his doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University. Visit Ben’s natural health product store, HealthE Goods where one can use our free health information service [http://www.healthegoods.com/content/health_tips.htm] where one may ask specific health questions. We provide physician-grade non-prescription natural health products. Wholesale spa products are available to all that qualify. Do visit our Healthy Lifestyle and Wellness Blog. We are here to help serve the public with proper health information and effective products.