OakLeaf Medical Network Healthy Viewpoints, Winter 2003
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Mary Landwehr, MD

The Modern Food Mystery

Mary Landwehr, MD
Family Practice
Sunrise Family Care Clinic
Chippewa Falls

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." This is a quote from Michael Pollan's book, "In Defense of Food", and one of my favorite books when it comes to thinking about food and what role food and eating play in our lives today.

Why write an article about eating food? Should be pretty simple, right? We are hungry, we go eat. Yes, it is that simple and yet that complicated. Something has changed over the last 50 years that is making us get heavier, more unhealthy and our bodies are giving out. Diabetes, a disease where our bodies can’t handle the sugar load we eat and drink every day, is on the rise. Arthritis, low back pain, eating disorders; all these diseases tie into how, what and why we eat. We can all eat healthy—when we try to remember to eat healthy foods (like vegetables) in a healthy way—mindful and enjoying every bite.

Helpful websites include:

Here Are A Few Tips & Reminders To Help You
  • Remember what hunger feels like (a hollow feeling in the stomach)?
  • Only eat when you are hungry.
  • Consider you could be thirsty instead of hungry. We need 8 glasses of water daily in order
     to feel healthy and fit. So if you think you are hungry, drink something first.
  • Be honest about how you feel. Consider you could be feeling tired, anxious, excited instead
     of being hungry. If you are not hungry—don’t eat.
  • Eating makes us feel good because foods (sugars especially) release endorphins—hormones
     that make us feel happy Exercise (any kind of exercise) releases those same hormones.
     Try walking outside instead of plunking down in front of the TV with your snacks.
  • You are not hungry just because a TV commercial tells you so.
  • Enjoy your food. Avoid eating while watching TV, sitting in a meeting or while traveling
     in the car. Save discussions for after dinner.
  • Chew your food 10 times—this helps you realize when you have had enough, rather than
     your body trying to tell you after the fact “listen you ate too fast—too much”.
  • Place servings on your plate—studies show that we do not know when to stop eating. People
     who were given a soup bowl that automatically refilled ate 2–3 times more than people who
     got one helping and had to go and refill their bowl on their own (pretty interesting I thought).
  • Keep in mind food servings on packaging are based on 2000 calorie diet. Most of us will gain
     weight on 2000 calories daily and will need 1400–1600 calories daily to sustain our weight.
     So what is listed as a serving on a box may well be 1.5 to 2 servings for you and me.
  • Avoid going shopping when you are hungry and tired.
  • There is nothing wrong with fats and carbs—just keep in mind they are calorie dense. This
     means they pack a lot of calories into a tiny space so you may feel you have not eaten much,
     but your body and its calorie counter know you have.
  • To loose one pound takes burning about 3500 calories.
  • Just to give a reference, the average candy bar and soda is 250 calories—to burn that off you
     need to walk for about one hour to burn off those calories.
  • The average American gains about 5 pounds per year.
  • Processed and packaged foods typically will be calorie dense and of lower nutritional value.
     Fresh foods such as vegetables and fruits are low in calories and nutrition dense.
  • On average fruits will have twice as many calories as vegetables.
  • If you can, buy food and not food products. Buy food your great grandmother would have
     recognized as food (Yup you are right, she would have no clue what Lunchables™ are!).
  • Look at the ingredients label on food products. If there are more than 5 ingredients – there
     is most likely sugar or high fructose corn syrup that your body does not need.
  • A study from the Mayo Clinic showed that there is no harm, but no benefit either, in taking
     a daily multivitamin. The study did show a benefit in eating a broad variety of vegetables
     daily—cooked or raw.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids (like flaxseed oil and fish oil) are also found in leafy greens—yeah
     for spinach and lettuce!
  • Omega 6 fatty acids found in grain may promote inflammation in the body. Consider eating
     less grain and grain derived products (foods based on high fructose corn syrup like pop,
     many fruit juices and snacks). Meat that’s been corn fed is higher in omega 6 fatty acid—
     in contrast grass fed meat will contain more omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Smile at least once daily and remember the 80/20 rule. Nobody is perfect—it’s making little
     changes each day that turn into lasting change.

Dr. Landwehr – Sunrise Family Care Clinic
For information or to schedule an appointment:
715.726.3096 | www.sunrisefamilycareclinic.com
Dr. Landwehr sees patients in Chippewa Falls.