Christmas Fasting versus Feasting

By Sophia L

Candy cane cookies

“(The possibility of getting) diabetes doesn’t take a break for Halloween,” states a teacher who is concerned for student health, and neither does it for Christmas. Every holiday season is embellished with ornamental foods of all varieties. October’s Halloween sugar rush, November’s (American)Thanksgiving turkey dinner, and now here comes December. From candy canes to eggnog drinks, Christmas has got it all! We know how much calories these foods hold, yet it’s the irresistible temptation we have, the craving. So how do we effectively manage what we are eating when there is all that extravagant food placed in front of us? Maybe it’s time to bring out that big ol’ scale, a nightmare to womankind and mankind alike, an old time adversity. Or perhaps we could just use some self-control in our eating habits.

The nightmare scale

The nightmare scale

We let our guards down during the holiday season and think; “it’s Christmas, binge now, diet later, right?” Dieting is not necessarily good for our bodies but neither is binge eating; they both have their negatives. Indeed, it is not a myth that most dieters end up heavier than they started. In addition, research has shown the repeated rapid weight gain and loss associated with dieting can greatly increase the risk of death from heart diseases, including heart attacks, and the risk of premature death in general. Researchers found that this type of “yo-yo behaviour” is linked to a host of health problems such as strokes and diabetes. Dieting has also been known to weaken the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to infection. (Sourced from the Daily Mail), Dr. Mann commented: “We decided to dig up and analyze every study that followed people on diets for two to five years. We concluded most of them would have been better off not going on the diet at all, (as) their weight would have been pretty much the same, and their bodies would not suffer the wear and tear from losing weight and gaining it all back.”

Children these days have plenty of time to tweet their lives on Twitter, or post the newest thing on Facebook, and yet, they never have enough time to eat a proper meal. Fast food life is the line they live on. Although, fast food restaurants are popular choices for quick grabs at food, what they are really serving us is loads of greased and fried garbage. Built off of high amounts of cholesterol and salt, fast food is a major contributor to cardiovascular health problems. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there is a direct link between sodium intake and negative effects on blood pressure. In 2013, it was recorded that 20.7% of teens (from the ages twelve to seventeen) in Canada are obese.

What was originally normal and all-natural food turned into organic pricy food. Nowadays, we are inserting junk directly into our bodies. From processed food to canned veggies, this has become our normal diet. We now need labels on food items to tell us what we are eating. Even then, we don’t know half the chemicals and ingredients added to or food. For example, looking at your fast food branded burger, you might think that there are only 7 or so ingredients (lettuce, tomato, beef, bread, cheese…etc.) Actually, there are only seven components, but believe it or not, there are at least 67 ingredients. Have you wondered how the meat patty alone is made? Although, McDonalds has now claimed that they stopped using this method, Jamie Oliver, a celebrity chef, demonstrated how meat scraps and sinew were spun in a centrifuge and “washed” with ammonium hydroxide. The chemical ammonium hydroxide is used in fertilizers and cleaning products. This disgustingly made patty is known by the name of “Pink Slime”. There goes your appetite.

Follow the Pyramid

Follow the Pyramid

Being aware of what we are consuming, allows us to think about how much we are consuming as well. Looking at the food pyramid, we can easily judge the how much of what we should be eating. Obviously, fats and sugar should be at the top of the pyramid, meaning we eat the least of those. One or two delicious Christmas treats should be enough for one day. Next on the list is poultry, which are all the meats and alternatives. One glass of milk, two fists of turkey, and some cheese would be sufficient. Fruits and vegetables provide all those vitamins and is a healthy choice to make. Three to five servings of veggies and two to four for fruits, your choice! The grains group should not be hard. From your morning cereal to pasta dinner, 6 -11 servings is the right amount. Following a food pyramid should get you through the Christmas season, and there will be no need for the weight scale, or even a mirror. Self-control will also bring you through, but be sure to reward yourself with desserts and treats once in a while!

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