Thursday, August 12, 2010

Incidental exercise - Creating new habits

I have been thinking about the differences in our physical activity in the past and now. Our parents/grandparents would have been unlikely to have been members of gyms so where did they get their exercise from?
I have heard it mentioned by some that it is because we do less 'manual labor' around the home but ask any mum how often they are sitting on their behinds drinking wine whilst manicuring their nails and you will probably be met with laughter!
I know that in my family and my husband's family our parents were part of sporting clubs at least until their thirties, so this *may* have something to it. But unlikely to explain everyone back then.
Walking is the only exercise I can see that was very normal in past generations. Not everyone had a car (or two!) so were reliant on public transport and walking.

In my house I have made a conscious effort to consider if walking somewhere or catching the bus is a possibility and have found with the food/lifestyle choices I have made, allows me to make quick trips to the supermarket for washing powder or toilet paper. These times I usually walk.
If there is a little bit more to get (but not urgent) I will spread the trips out over 2-3 days.
For some reason I find having a 'purpose' for walking makes it seem less like exercise and *more* like an 'eco-choice' not to use the car. Which makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.
I am somewhat pleased also that I am teaching my daughter that even though we have a car, it isn't the only choice of transport.
Similarly, I make an incidental exercise choice when I go to the shopping centre. You won't find me circling for 10 mins trying to find the closest parking space....I simply pull in to the first available and walk the extra 90 seconds from my car. All the while saving the time it would take to find that 'close' park.
If you actually critically think about how much longer it would take for you to walk the extra 300 metres, you feel a little bit of a twit for circling.

And now to public transport. Here is where I had a little bit of a problem.
For worries! Catch it to uni everyday. Fantastic! Someone else drives and I read. Perfect arrangement.
Child in a pram...not so good. Sorry.
I struggled with my nephew in the city sooooo much I nearly cried! I was struggling with the nappy bag that kept sliding off my shoulder as I tried to pick up the pram (with no help from the friggen driver!) AND have my nephew on the other hip - urgh!
I guess for me, baby + pram + bus = hassle and all depends on the day and the driver.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reading lables

Over the last few years I have been checking the labels on the food I buy. I realise now I had no 'method' to deciding what was good or bad food.
Now that we have decided to head down the wholefoods path the distinction is a lot clearer about what is real food and what has been fiddled with too much.
Here is a little test for you. Most people have soy sauce in their cupboard, go grab yours. Read the ingredients...quite a few right? Now, I have done this little test myself and have since found an organic soy sauce - 1. water 2. organic soybeans (22%) 3. organic wheat 4. salt
Got any more than that on your label? How many?
While I don't subscribe to thinking that organic = magical health benefits, the restrictions placed on organic foods means there are no unnecessary ingredients or preservatives which results in a more natural, whole food.
But you don't have to just grab organic versions of everything (unless you want to make an easy choice without looking too much) start reading labels and comparing the ingredients of your families foods. Less ingredients is generally better as less has been done to it. Look at labels critically, ask yourself the question, could I make this myself from ingredients in a normal pantry? If the answer is no, I tend to put it back either because it is not 'real food' i.e. fruit roll-ups or there isn't a great option in the selection i.e. pasta.
Start reading the labels and decide for yourself if consuming all those extra ingredients is necessary when another brand can do it with less? Every time you purchase one of these products you send a message to your supermarket that this is the type of food you want them to stock - keep voting this way and more choice WILL come your way.
I have noticed Coles is coming out with their own line of organic Coles brand foods - I don't think they did this without their customers constantly purchasing the organic foods already available and hence they roll out their own to compete.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Remember this from school?

I know that when I was in school we learnt about the healthy food pyramid, so I decided to have a little look at it now - with the journey in mind....
Notice the 'eat most' section? Atkins would have a heart attack! Look at all those 'naughty' carbs!!
Well thinking back to an earlier blog I did about the demonising of many 'real' foods and can probably add carbs to that as well.
I question though whether this is because of the 'Atkins' movement or because manufacturers have added too much sugar, preservatives etc that this has now become a bad food. In the real world I remember we always used to have a slice of bread with dinner (to mop up the gravy, duh!) and potatos were on the menu too. Carbs help fill you up and the lack of them now days probably makes us snack a lot more - generally on sugar for that quick, replacement 'carb hit'.
While I emplore you to buy wholegrain and wholemeal rather than white (that does defeat the purpose) and don't be fooled into buying white carbs trying to masquerade as brown (eg. added fibre, omega 3 etc) it all adds to the processing of the foods away from their natural state.
Perhaps buy from an actual bakery? Consider making your own pasta? Add some pearl barley or beans to your soups of casseroles to increase the good carbs AND make it a more filling meal.
Heaven knows, if we start adding in some good carbs perhaps we will all start eating less of the bad ones. Remember if you start demonising certain foods, you give another a free pass...but at what cost?