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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Graduate to good health

  • Whatever you choose: further education, a job, a career, or marriage, the state of your health can make or break you.
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  • Graduation has happened for many students from pre-school to college.  Congratulations to all you graduates, as you move on to new learning experiences.  Hopefully, you have acquired a love of learning because, whether you are age 5 or 25, if you enjoy learning, life will be interesting and fun. 
    High school and college graduates will be making life changing decisions.  One of the most important ones that you will ever make is whether you will follow a lifestyle that creates health. 
    Whatever you choose: further education, a job, a career, or marriage, the state of your health can make or break you.  No one can make this choice for you.  It is yours and yours alone.
    It may take several years of trying different jobs or studies before you find the work you love; that job that makes you look forward to each day.  You can be sure you will find it if you persist.  You don’t have to wait to develop good health habits that will serve you well through the exciting journey ahead.  You can start today.
    Your body is made up of trillions of cells that are dying off and being replaced all the time by new cells.  The food you eat is the building materials for the new cells.  Just as you can’t build a sturdy house with rotten lumber, you can’t build a health body for a lifetime with sugary, fatty, salty processed foods and soft drinks.  Nature made fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, beans, and good protein to nourish new cells. 
    Everything you put into your body either builds health or tears it down. 
    You are all bright and you know that alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes accelerate the damage.  Make the choice to avoid this destructive cycle.
    After years of education, you may know more about what to feed a computer than what to feed yourself.  I once met and extremely intelligent college senior who had never eaten a vegetable, except French fries.  She had no idea that her junk food diet was related to her leg cramps, fatigue, frequent infections, and headaches that she was already experiencing.
    You can begin your road to good health by drinking water instead of soft drinks; instead of candy, cookies, and chips, make your snacks apples, oranges, bananas, baby carrots, or any other fresh fruits or vegetables.  Fresh means like you pick them from a garden or tree—not in a can or package.
     Whatever you eat, ask yourself how far it is from the way nature provided it.  Our main downfall is the boxed, packaged, over processed foods and those from fast food restaurants. 
    They are loaded with sugar, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup and other harmful sugars and chemicals.  Start reading the small print on labels and you will be shocked at what you may be ingesting that bears no resemblance to real food.  Educate yourself about what you are putting into your body.
    Page 2 of 2 - As you start to eat better food, you will find that you have more energy for exercise.  Find something you enjoy or start by taking walks, long or short, depending on your ability. 
    Developing good health habits will put you ahead of the game in finding a  job.  It will require self-discipline and many times you will need to go against the grain.  The huge industries that have grown up around treating disease are a clear indication that most Americans have taken the road of least resistance which leads to sickness and disease. 
    If you refuse to follow that path and choose health instead, you can be out above the crowd.  Everything you attempt will be easier and more enjoyable when you experience a vitality and enthusiasm for life that comes with good health.           
    Healthy foods taste much better than the salty, sugary, fatty stuff of processed junk food.  Once you develop a taste for real food, you will wonder how you ever could stand to eat the other stuff. 
    A good way to begin your journey to good health is by having a good blender and quickly preparing a nutritious shake to start your day.  You can often pick up a blender at a garage sale, or consignment store for a few dollars.  I suggest a whey shake because whey is one of the easiest to digest proteins; it is tasty, and widely available.  Be sure when you buy whey powder that it is whey powder and not a lot of sweeteners and fillers.  You can only make sure by reading the small print ingredient listing.
     
    Healthy Whey Shake
    Put into blender:  (vary amounts to suit your taste)
    Liquid—you may use carrot juice if you have a juicer for juicing vegetables, other pure fruit juice, milk, and/or plain yogurt, or even water.  If you like chocolate, you can add cocoa powder to a milk and frozen banana shake.
    Other ingredients that may be added include:
    Ground flax seeds (providing those important omega 3 fatty acids that nourish every cell)
    Vanilla
    Blend and add:
    Fresh fruit (very good when frozen)—strawberries, peaches, blueberries, or a mixture of whatever you like
    Frozen very ripe bananas (I always use these as they add sweetness and nutrients for stamina)
    You can make this a thick or thin shake, or with enough frozen fruit it will be like soft serve ice cream.
     
    (Janice Norris lives in Heber Springs, has a B.S. in home economics from Murray State University, taught home economics, owned and operated health food stores in Illinois and Heber Springs, has taught numerous health and nutrition classes, and wrote a weekly newspaper column in Illinois for 15 years. She can be reached at janicenorris34@yahoo.com)

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