Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Avoid the Salt Assault

We vastly underestimate the health risk of a high salt diet. It is estimated that
150,000 lives could be saved every year if Americans cut their salt intake to the
recommended amount.

To put that into perspective: In just two years, as many Americans die from a high salt diet as died in combat during all of World War II.

Here are five facts you should know about salt:
1. Excessive salt raises blood pressure, wrecking havoc with one’s
cardiovascular system and kidneys.
2. After one high salt meal one’s arteries are inflexible for hours
3. Only 6% of our salt comes from the saltshaker; the vast majority comes from
processed foods and restaurant meals
4. Salt is listed as “sodium” on food labels. If the sodium number (in milligrams) is bigger than the number of calories per serving, it is a high salt food.
5. The average American eats over 3600mg of sodium per day which is double
the recommended amount

At first it might seem hard to cut back on salt, but in just six weeks of eating a
normal amount of salt, your taste buds become more sensitive. Foods that were
bland in the past become flavorful and foods that you once craved taste too salty!

Adding fruits and vegetables to your day are a great way to start. They are very
low salt - just one of the reasons they are the best foods on the planet!

So if you’d like to enjoy your food more—and perhaps tack a few more years onto your life - cut down on your salt intake.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Don't waste your willpower

We all know about willpower. It’s that grit inside that gets us to do what we should when it’s not easy. But often our willpower is not up to the task. As Mae West quips, “I generally avoid temptation, unless I can’t resist it.”

No one denies that willpower is key when choosing a healthier lifestyle. But why can’t we just choose a plan of action and then do it? How do we strengthen our gumption? The answer - use willpower wisely.

Most of us tend to overestimate the strength of our willpower. We sit in front of the TV with a bag of potato chips and expect that with a new diet plan, we will stop at 50 calories. Yeah, right.

Science calls this misplaced hutzpah “restraint bias”. Although we might think
we can do it, when staring down our main attraction (chocolate, cookies, heroin -whatever) with willpower alone, nine times out of ten, we will fail. This waste of willpower over time creates a habit of failure.

Instead, use your willpower to prevent major confrontations with temptation in the first place:

- Use a grocery list and only buy what’s on it
- Don’t go to the grocery hungry
- Just say “no” to stopping for a beer after work and schedule a walk with a friend instead
- Take your lunch to work and put an apple on your desk
- Never have a cigarette in the house or in the car

Look for creative ways to use your gumption to avoid that duel on Main Street in the first place.

Using willpower wisely strengthens it so that when you do have to face temptation directly, you’ll be able to walk away with a smile as you create a habit of success.