Skating Uphill - September 16

Whitney Steed: Glamorous Free Spirit

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Let’s talk about substitutes. Not substitute teachers or substitute mah-jong players, but substitute foods. What I mean is interchanging one food, food type, or food brand for another for specific reasons. Often it is a health reason or a calorie issue. Sometimes it is related to allergies or not liking a particular ingredient. For the purpose of this article, I am going to talk about substituting or selecting one food item or personal care item over another mainly for better health. After all, better physical and emotional health is what we are all about, isn’t it?

First let’s tackle the latest demon on the food scene—sugar. Sure, people have been saying for a while that sugar is not good for you. Books like Atkins, The Whole30, and Why People Get Fat, have taken the “BAD” sugar bashing to a much higher level and they have also exposed secret or hidden sugars. There are at least 20 different names for added sugar as an ingredient. They cover the alphabet from Agave and Aspartame to Xylitol. No matter what, the daily recommended sugar amount for women should NEVER exceed 100 calories. Look on labels for what percentage the ADR is from sugar and figure it out from there. It just takes a second.

Just another word on artificial sweetners: I confess I use two a day, and I use Sweet’N Low. Honestly it’s a matter of personal preference; one is as bad as the other. Are sugar substitutes better than sugar and is this a good substitution? I think yes, but again, all things in moderation.

What about packaged dinners? Are they all created equally?  They are not. In fact, there are huge differences and you should be aware of that as you think of subbing by calories or price. Before you sub one chicken Florentine for another based on price, be sure to check out sodium content, which is a huge factor for tons of health issues. As a rule of thumb and not to single out one over the other, in general Weight Watchers is usually the highest in sodium. One should not ingest over 2,000 grams of sodium per day, so if one of frozen “dinner” has 770 grams, you had better be careful. By the way, Hormel is next in line for sodium, so watch that too. Not all packaged meals are high in sodium, and many products you might not think of as high in sodium actually are quite high. Read the label before you substitute one product over another!

Another “healthy lifestyle” thing to do is join a gym, right? Again, be careful as you sub one for another. Many gyms have not only a joining fee, but added fees for anything else you may want to do, such as classes, personal training advice, and so on. I know of a gym that charges a towel fee. Also look at equipment, age of equipment, safety features, personnel, hours of operation and cleanliness. A cheap entry fee or no entry fee may be outweighed by the fact that there is hair in the showers and the toilets are not cleaned as often as you would like. Again and I keep saying it, read the label.

My final word is to make careful choices. Do your homework and arm yourself with knowledge. Do it always for YOU because YOU are the best judge of what your choices mean. Love, Judith

If you have questions or comments about “Skating Uphill” please feel free to contact Judith Lawrenson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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