The Slow Food Trend

Studio 5 Health and Fitness Contributor, Melanie Douglass, R.D., breaks down a new trend in food, weight loss and family health.

The slow food trend is about one simple thing: slowing down! I know that makes you think: “no way, not possible” and the thought of such a thing (ironically) makes your heart rate increase at the request to “find time” to take it slow. Yes, today’s world is fast-paced and super-sonic, but when our rate of overweight and obesity just hit 75% of the adult population (and obesity in children has tripled since 1980), it’s time to consider a different type of change – one that’s not about what we eat, but how we eat.

I learned about the slow-style of eating from a recent trip to Italy. You’d think Italians – with their love of all those naughty breads and pastas – would have an obesity problem too, right? Wrong. Italy has an obesity rate of just 9.8%. Ours? 35.7%. Italians eat slow, and they usually eat sitting down, enjoying a nice meal that they made fresh. If you want to know more about what other countries really eat, check out these great links:

1) Calories consumed by country (America wins)

2) Carbs consumed by country (America and Italy strangely are the same, but not highest in the world, by FAR)

3) Protein consumed by country (America wins again)

Interesting right?

Anyway, I know this “slow” business is going to be very hard for most people, so I’m issuing a “break-in” challenge. Try this slow-food thing for:

· One meal a day (dinner works best)
· 3 – 4 nights per week

Think about it: slowing down your food experiences and setting simple boundaries can help you find a positive, satisfying relationship with food; one that lets your brain get the signals it needs to slowdown your appetite and one that teaches you to enjoy quality food – bite by bite – instead of high quantities of food crammed down your throat, as fast as possible.

Here are two boundaries that make a world of difference in your health and body weight:

1. Only eat sitting down, at a table, bar, or area designed for food intake.
2. No eating in the car, at a desk, while walking, or multi-tasking.

Here are five steps that will help families develop healthful relationships with food:

1. Plan meals together
2. Shop together (not on an empty stomach)
3. Cook/prepare the meals together
4. Do homework while dinner cooks
5. Eat together – at a table completely set for a special/nice dinner
6. Take turns cleaning up J (yep, family time can be over, I know it’s already asking a lot to spend the time preparing and eating)

I’m confident this ONE simple change will have a positive ripple effect throughout your entire life. It will help you learn to eat less, eat higher quality foods (prepared at home), teach your kids about healthy food and cooking, and how to properly pace food intake and allow digestive enzymes to talk to your brain. Yep, this one change can do all that for your life. And not just yours… your kids lives too.

Questions? Email me anytime!

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