I was intrigued when I saw Kim’s Facebook post, “31 Reasons Why I’m Vibrant at 60,” and knew I had to reach out to her for an interview. I’ve known Kim a long time, but haven’t talked to her for quite a while, so it was a good excuse to reconnect. Kim had the same joy, excitement, and, yes, vibrancy, that I remember she had we when we met over 20 years ago.
Make a commitment to healthy
Kim is a culinary registered dietitian nutritionist in Indianapolis and for 30 years has been a self-employed entrepreneur and has always found time to stay fit and active, even when life got in the way. You might be thinking that it is easy for culinary nutritionist to be healthy, but while that career gives her knowledge, it still takes a commitment to choose to be healthy. Kim’s mantra is “be responsible for your fitness, nobody else can do it for you.” Kim takes a “no excuses” attitude, even when she must adjust to a change in her schedule. “I plan my workouts, but if I can’t fit in my usual exercise, I don’t agonize or stress over it; I just find a few minutes in the day to move and plan to exercise longer the next day….or, the day after that.” It all boils down to the same thing she tells her grandkids, “choices and consequences!” If we don’t make the choice to be active, we pay the consequences sooner or later.
Take a “psycho walk”
Kim likes a variety of exercise, but her favorite activity is power walking. “I walk faster than everyone I know, so while I’m not quite a race walker, I enjoy my power walks.” The consistency, discipline, and effort to power walk makes her feel better, both physically and mentally. When time is tight, and she can’t fit her usual walk into her schedule, Kim says she sneaks in 10- or 15-minute “psycho walk.” The psycho is short for psychological and the brain boost and stress relieving benefits it brings are powerful.
She also takes a boxing class twice a week, (real boxing, as in pull-on-the-gloves-and-get-in-the- ring, Muhammad Ali- kind-of-boxing) “I was intimidated by the idea of group exercise classes, but boxing has changed that for me.” Besides the physical challenges of boxing, it keeps her mentally sharp. “Boxing works my brain as much as my muscles; the combinations are called out by the instructor and if I’m not completely focused I can’t do the workout.” Kim has warmed to group classes so much that she signed up for a Bollywood Dance class this spring…. there is photo I want to see!
Be positive about food choices
When it comes to food, Kim doesn’t struggle with food like many women do. “I am dismayed at the agony and angst that I see surrounding women and food.” She encourages a positive attitude toward food, be adventurous and creative with food, and above all, enjoy it. Kim has some great recipes on her website that I encourage you to try. Two of her favorites include Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus and Indian-Spiced Red Lentil Hummus.
Kim advises her clients to take small steps to improve their diet or fitness. “I’m a firm believer that small steps yield big results.” Don’t try to change everything overnight but ask yourself what little thing you can do that you can stick with.” But above all, “have with your eating and activity!
Within the past months, three friends have been surprised, and not in a good way. One slipped on the stairs and shattered her ankle, one got the flu that knocked him out for about 3 weeks, and a third had dizzy spells that resulted in the need for a pacemaker. All were in their mid-60s, were in good health, and had been physically active prior to the injury or illness.
Best Defense Against Illness or Injury
They all said the same thing: they recognized the importance of being in good shape prior to the accident or illness. All agreed that it aided in their recovery. In a recent post, we met Ed who said, “get in shape to stay in shape.” We could expand that and say, “being in shape is the best defense when injury or illness happens.” The friend with the broken ankle had it surgically repaired and could not put weight on the ankle for several weeks. A regular at strength training, she recognized that her strong upper body helped her through recovery. She was able to push herself out of a chair and use crutches with ease and she couldn’t image how difficult it would have been to get around without strong muscles.
“Skeletal Muscle Matters”
At a recent nutrition workshop on nutrition across the lifespan, Dr. Roger Fielding, Director of the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Lab at Tufts University, says, “skeletal muscle matters!” It makes up 45-50% of our total body mass and our muscles move us; if we lose our muscle mass, we lose our mobility and losing mobility is associated with increased mortality. Translation: people with strong muscles live longer (more on this and tips to get and stay strong can be found in Food & Fitness After 50).
Aging = Loss of Muscle, unless we do something about it
One thing that is certain about aging is that it is accompanied by a progressive loss of muscle mass unless we do something about it. No supplement or superfood will preserve your muscle mass; the only way to do it is through strength building activities. We start to lose muscle around age 40 and continue to lose about 2 to 4% each year. The decline is even more rapid during illness and injury. So, preserving muscle mass with regular, progressive strength training and eating enough protein, can be like putting money in the bank for a rainy day. When you have the unavoidable acute illness (such as the flu), a chronic illness (like a pacemaker), or an injury (a broken ankle), you’ve got reserves to see you through the down time when brief bouts of muscle disuse can accelerate muscle loss.
My friends were in good shape, but not everyone is
It is clear that physical activity that preserves muscle mass is critical to maintaining good function as we age, but older adults may spend up to 85% of their waking hours being sedentary! The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot to get strong muscles. Muscles are “plastic,” meaning they can quickly adapt to the stimulus of weight training to regain mass, strength, and function. Just two bouts each week of progressive, resistance exercise training can really turn back time when it comes to muscle strength. It doesn’t take an expensive gym membership or fancy machines. Start with simple exercises like squats or lunges or stair climbing; add exercise bands or tubing for upper body strength. Or, hire a certified personal trainer to show you the proper form and how to build up strength to challenge your muscles. Whatever you choose, just do it! You will be stronger, fitter, and better able to withstand the inevitable injury or illness that comes as we age.
Which will you choose?
Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “To be seventy years old is like climbing the Alps. You reach a snow-covered summit and see behind you the deep valley stretching miles and miles away, and before you other summits higher and whiter, which you may have the strength to climb, or may not. Then you sit down and meditate and wonder which it will be.”
I hope you choose to stay strong to keep climbing!
March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Go Further with Food.” I am taking the prerogative of expanding National Nutrition Month to International Nutrition Month and going farther with food by introducing Catherine Saxelby from Australia. She graciously answered my questions and was the first international nutritionist to support Food & Fitness After 50. Check out her website at Foodwatch for “easy weight loss and no-nonsense nutrition.”
Catherine is a “60-something” accredited nutritionist from Sydney, Australia. Like many of us in our 60s, she has faced some health challenges but has met the challenge by changing her fitness routine, not abandoning it. After having major disc surgery on her back three years, she is “thrilled she can still walk and exercise! The surgery forced me to down-scale how much weight I can lift and what I can tackle in terms of exercise; I gave up running, but have found strength classes geared for the 50+ population that keeps me strong.”
What 3 things do you do eat well, move well, and be well?
Like many of us, I find that it isn’t as easy to lose weight and stay fit as when I was younger – one needs to “work” at it which is not so much fun, but so important!
- I have cut back on my portion sizes. I now serve myself smaller portions. I leave food on my plate if I’m full (apologies to the food waste world), don’t go back for seconds, and share dishes when eating out. That way, I have one or two bites to get a taste of something really delicious but don’t eat the whole thing.
- I listen my stomach and stop eating when I sense I am almost full. This sounds easier to do than it is! I have to pay close attention and find this works best when I’m dining alone. So one of my tips is to do this as an exercise when you eat on your own and pay attention to those often subtle feelings of fullness.
- I like to do something that makes me “huff and puff” twice a week. Here in Sydney with our high humidity, it’s easy to perspire a lot. So working out in air-conditioning can make for a pleasant exercise experience.
- I try to fit in 5 or 10 minutes of meditation each day. I’ve found it clears my mind and enables better sleep without thoughts and ideas churning around and keeping me awake.
What are the biggest challenges to eating well, moving well, and being well as you have gotten to be in your 60s?
Staying motivated to exercise as one gets older, particularly when you don’t attend a class where you’ll meet your friends or have a personal trainer standing over you is a challenge. And, finding the time. Everyone over 50 says the same thing – they are busier now than they ever were than when they worked full time. How did they find time to work? Still we all need to fit in personal time to keep our bodies healthy.
What words of advice to do you have others as they age?
Find ways to stay active that can fit into your life and that you enjoy doing. It doesn’t matter if it’s just living in a two-story house and climbing the stairs each and every day. Or being part of a sporting team such as rowing, swimming, touch football, tennis or going to the gym. For some, simply walking everywhere allows you to stay active.
Having a regular activity commitment such as social tennis or training each week also ensures you’ll get your exercise in.
And, maintain flexibility through an activity such as yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi.
Thanks to Catherine for her time in answering my questions!
Food & Fitness After 50 is available on Amazon.
Last week, I interviewed Mr. Clarence Bass, an 80-year old fitness enthusiast who epitomizes a lifelong commitment to exercise and healthy eating. Please stop and take a moment to visit his website and bookmark it to go back to and read his thoughtful articles (he has posted an article a month since 1980, so there is a lot of good stuff to read!)
What makes Mr. Bass so remarkable is that he was photographing his fitness long before selfies and Instagram and I encourage you to look at his pictorial documenting his training from age 15 to age 80.
Mr. Bass was born in 1937 in New Mexico and picked up a Strength & Health Magazine when he was a young teen and got hooked on the idea of physical training.
He was the only boy in his high school home economics class, learning to prepare healthy meals at a time when the term “healthy meals” was an oxymoron. In high school he was a wrestler and won the state championship in the pentathlon. He turned his sights on Olympic weight lifting and in his 40s started to shift his concentration to body building. He competed, and won, many bodybuilding competitions, including Past-40 Mr. America and Mr. USA.
He didn’t spend his entire life in the gym (as you might image looking at his pictures). He practiced law, wrote a monthly column for Muscle & Fitness Magazine for 16 years, wrote 10 books, and raised a family. But, training also had, and continues to have, a high priority and he rarely misses a workout. These days, at age 80, he does an intense strength workout each week, a high-intensity-interval workout (also called HIIT), in addition to walking with this wife in the hills around Albuquerque.
While Mr. Bass has been in top physical shape his entire life (The Cooper Clinic, a world renown center for aerobic fitness, has been testing him for years and places him in the top fitness category for his age every time he is tested), but I asked him what he says to motivate those of us who want to get fit or improve our fitness in our 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond.
“At age 50, it becomes more and more important to get fit. Without strength training and aerobic exercise, we lose muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness,” he says. But, it is never too late to make gains and improve upon what we have. “When people ask me how long it will take to get in shape, I say that is the wrong question! People defeat themselves when they think like that.” Fitness and healthy eating are lifelong pursuits. “The key is finding something that you like to do and then do it; you’ve got to enjoy your workout if it is to be sustainable. People tend to make exercise too complicated!” He also encourages “finding a goal that is important to you” to motivate you to work to reach your goal. But, once you reach your goal, keep pushing. “I don’t like to hear people say, “train to maintain,’ what motivates me is to make progress. That keeps it interesting.”
When it comes to nutrition, he also keeps it simple. “There is such variety in healthy foods and I enjoy many foods, but I stick to eating whole foods, and less refined, highly processed foods as possible. I tell people that if you can’t tell what plant or animal a food came from, it is probably too processed.” Some easy steps to a healthier diet include his advice to:
• “Learn the difference between refined and unrefined foods.”
• “Steer clear of family style servings; plate your meal and put the extra food away to avoid eating more than you need. If you are hungry, you can eat more, but give yourself time to evaluate your hunger before eating second helpings.”
• “Keep tempting foods out of sight or out of the house. I like ice cream, but I don’t keep it in the house. If I want ice cream, I go out and get a milkshake, but I don’t keep it at home.”
• “Include good fats in your diet. Omega-3s are good fats, and the fats in whole milk are proving to be healthful, too. And, drinking whole milk keeps me feeling full.”
• “Be more mindful about your eating; have fewer distractions when eating (TV, cell phone, tablet) so you can concentrate on the food and how much you are eating.”
As we age, it is almost inevitable that we will have some health issues. Mr. Bass has had two hip replacements, but he says, “don’t give in to deterioration.” After surgery or a health issue, get back to physical activity as soon it is medically safe to do so and ask yourself, “how can you help yourself?”
After my conversation with Mr. Bass, I asked myself, “how can I help myself?” I take aerobic classes 3 days a week, a “boot camp ”class 2 days a week, and yoga twice a week, but am I just “training to maintain?” So, to push myself, I signed up for personal training at my local YMCA, starting today! So, thanks to Mr. Bass for pushing me and to David, my personal trainer. I’ll let you know my progress (but probably not by posing in a bathing suit, like Mr. Bass….sometimes you have to draw a line!)
Photo used with permission of Clarence Bass (http://www.cbass.com/index.html).
Chris Rosenbloom and Bob Murray are authors of Food & Fitness After 50, encouraging you to eat well, move well, and be well. The book is available at Amazon.
This guest post was written by Dr. Bob Murray.
Four years ago, Ed had his third back surgery to relieve pain in his low back caused by spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine.) His prescreening physical showed an abnormality in his EKG and his doctors suggested follow-up testing. Both an exercise stress test and a nuclear stress test done at rest confirmed the possibility that Ed’s coronary arteries might be blocked and an angiogram was scheduled. The angiogram verified the doctors’ suspicion: 70-95% blockage of his four main coronary arteries.
Ed’s doctors wanted to keep a close eye on him in case emergency surgery was needed so he remained in the hospital over the weekend until a surgical slot opened up. Open-heart surgery and a quadruple bypass was required to restore normal blood flow to Ed’s heart. After a few days of recovery in the hospital, he returned home to begin the cardiac rehabilitation process so familiar to millions of men and women who have undergone the same procedure.
Ed’s heart surgery was unfortunate but far from unusual for a man in his late 50s. One unusual part about Ed’s experience was that he couldn’t recall having any of the common symptoms related to coronary artery disease such as chest or arm pain, shortness of breath, unusual sweating, or fatigue. Although Ed has a desk job, he keeps himself fit by lifting weights for 45 minutes four mornings before work and then walking 3 to 4 miles after work at a fast clip while carrying a 10-lb shot-put to stress his upper body, a routine he has kept up for decades. In addition, he spends weekends on construction projects at home and around the neighborhood.
The other unusual part of Ed’s story is that he is very lean and muscular, certainly not a poster boy for heart disease. When he graduated from high school, Ed weighed 165 pounds and has maintained that exact weight for the past 40-plus years. Never one to eat much, Ed now follows a stringent low-fat diet of less than 2,000 calories each day consisting of a Clif Bar, string cheese, whole-grain bread, yogurt, fruit, skinless chicken breast or other lean meat, potatoes, and another vegetable. He only goes out to lunch if business requires it; otherwise, Ed eats only what he brings to work, along with drinking diluted coffee all day long for hydration. He may treat himself to a few cookies on some evenings and a couple beers over the weekend. Ed has conditioned himself to what many would consider to be a spartan diet but he rarely gets hungry, has above-average muscle mass and strength, and has maintained a steady body weight for many decades. There’s no disputing that this approach has worked for Ed.
Ed’s long-term goals include being able to continue his exercise and construction projects for as long as possible. He knows he needs to stay physically active to keep his heart and back healthy and recognizes that walking and biking are critical in that regard, but has learned that those activities have to be supplemented with regular strength training. Ed might also consider increasing the protein content of his diet. As we age, our muscles become more resistant to the protein we consume, so we need more protein—along with strength training—to maintain our muscle mass and strength. A good rule of thumb for gauging our daily protein needs is to multiply our body weight in pounds by 0.50 to identify our minimal protein intake and then multiply our body weight by 0.75 to calculate the upper range of daily protein consumption. For example, a 150-lb person should consume between 75 (150 x 0.50) and 112 (150 x 0.75) grams of protein each day.
Ed’s advice to those who want to ramp up their daily physical activity is to first get in shape to get in shape. When we’re unfit, it hurts to exercise, so it’s a good idea to gradually build up to making exercise a part of each day, rather than just try to jump right into an exercise routine that will inevitably cause fatigue and soreness. Spend a few weeks slowly increasing the duration and intensity of exercise—walking more/faster each day is a good way to start—before trying other fitness routines. In other words, take Ed’s advice and get in shape to get in shape.
For more information on heart healthy diets and exercise to get in shape to get you in shape, check out Dr. Murray and Dr. Rosenbloom’s book, Food & Fitness After 50, available at Amazon.
Tomorrow we think of affairs of the heart: flowers, cupid, and chocolate all come to mind. But, this year, treat your special someone to something really good for their heart and brain…seafood and fish. OK, not the most romantic or sexy of foods, but fish and seafood provide needed fats for healthy hearts and brains.
Fish and seafood contain high quality protein (here is an older post on protein for those over 50.)
But today we are focusing healthy fats. For that, fish can’t be beat. A quick look at the alphabet soup of healthy fats:
Omega-3s: These are the chemical class of healthy fats; if you want to impress your friends tell them the name omega-3s comes how the fat molecule is structured; the omega end of the chemical fat chain and the first double bond, 3 carbons in…hence, “omega-3s.”
EPA and DHA are 2 types of omega-3s that help to keep our blood vessels healthy (a healthy blood vessel dilates and contracts to control blood pressure and move blood throughout the body; a stiff blood vessel is not a healthy one), helps to lower a blood fat called triglycerides, and helps brains cells communicating (fat makes up a large part of our brain). DHA is especially important in brain health. Dr. Tom Brenna, of the Dell Pediatric Research Institute at the University of Texas at Austin puts it this way, “as calcium is to the bones, DHA is to the brain.”
ALA is another type of healthy omega-3 found in plant foods like walnuts, chia seeds, and flax. While we need this type of fat, too, only a small amount of it is converted to EPA and DHA, so it isn’t a substitute for fish, seafood, or fish oil supplements.
Health organizations recommend that we eat fish or seafood twice a week (4-ounce portions) to get the needed 250-500 milligrams of EPA and DHA. Not all fish is created equal when it comes to the healthy fats: fatty fish like salmon, trout, anchovies, mackerel, and sardines have the highest levels, with milder fish like cod, haddock, mahi mahi, and tilapia containing lower levels. However, don’t let that discourage your from eating tilapia or mahi mahi, but consider adding some sea bass or tuna in the mix to boost EPA and DHA intake. For great information on everything you want to know about fish…from omega-3 containing fish and seafood to choosing and preparing fish, check out the Seafood Nutrition Partnership.
A couple of other things to consider:
• Frozen or canned fish is not inferior; it is kind to your wallet and is a good way to eat fish if you can’t find fresh seafood in your local market. I use frozen fish to grill and blacken for tasty fish tacos and frozen shrimp for Pad Thai or a stir-fry.
• Grill it, broil it, bake it, steam it, or poach it to keep the omega-3s from losing their potency. The high heat of frying can break down the omega-3s, so save that cooking method for the occasional fish fry.
• If you just don’t like fish or have a family member who won’t touch it, consider fish oil supplements. Look at the nutrition facts panel to make sure you are getting EPA and DHA in the 250-500 milligram range. On this label you see value of a 1000 milligrams, but not all of that fish oil is EPA and DHA; you’ve got to look at the actual amount of EPA and DHA in the supplement.
• For vegetarians, consider an algae-based omega-3 supplement.
And, happy Valentine’s Day! More tips on food and fitness after 50 can be found in our book, available on Amazon.
I put the “s” on the end of fiber for a reason. While you have probably heard for the need to increase fiber intake, Dr. Julie Miller Jones, a professor and researcher from St. Paul, Minnesota, says, “We should talk about fibers, like we talk about vitamins, because they do different things for our health.” I heard Dr. Miller Jones at a recent conference discussing carbohydrate myths. (The session was sponsored by the Grain Foods Foundation, but I was not asked, nor was I compensated to write this post).
One of the myths she addressed is that fruit and vegetables provide all the fiber anyone needs. Look at these three breakfast choices and guess which contains the most fiber: keep in mind that women over age 50 should aim for 25 grams of fiber a day, and men 38 grams.
12-ounces of Bolthouse Farms Strawberry-Banana Smoothie
Multigrain bagel thin with peanut butter and a small apple with the skin
½ cup Fiber One Cereal, ½ cup Cheerios, ¾ cup milk, and ¼ cup of blueberries
Breakfast #1 has only 2.1 grams of fiber, #2 contains 8.6 grams of fiber, and #3 has 19.5 grams of fiber. The biggest contributor to fiber in the third breakfast is the high-fiber breakfast cereal, not the berries (and, is my usual morning breakfast).
The stats of fiber intake are sad! The average intake in the U.S. is 17 grams with only 5% meeting adequate intake for fiber. But, let’s get back to that fibers comment made by Dr. Miller Jones.
Fiber is defined as the fibrous material or roughage in foods that can’t be broken down in the stomach or intestines, so it passes through the body. Fiber can aid in regular bowel movements, can bind with cholesterol to speed its removal, and help keep blood sugar in check. Fiber comes in basically two types:
Insoluble fiber is the kind found in cereals and other grains and acts like a broom to sweep clean the gastro-intestinal tract.
Soluble fiber is found in fruits and vegetables and helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol.
Most foods have a bit of both and we need both, but if you want to tackle the fiber shortage, choose grains. It takes a lot of fruits and veggies to get to the recommended intake of fibers. To illustrate, remember that Fiber One cereal? A half cup has 14 grams of fiber. Compare to 4.4 grams in a medium apple with the skin or 3.8 grams in a half cup of blackberries or a half cup of stewed prunes.
Here is a link to a list of high fiber foods.
Label claims can lead you think a food is higher in fiber than it is. If a food product claims to be a “good source” of fiber, that means it has 2.5 grams of fiber per serving. An “excellent” source means a serving has at least 5 grams.
So, don’t ignore the contribution that grains make to your fiber intake; I’ll be the first to admit that high fiber cereals like Fiber One or All-Bran aren’t the tastiest, but mixed with another cereal, used as a topping on yogurt, or crushed like crackers in soup can give you big benefits. People who eat more fiber have less chronic diseases, like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, and have lower body weights (for the complete run down on fiber, check out this position paper on the health benefits of fibers.)
Dr. Chris Rosenbloom, along with co-author Dr. Bob Murray, are the authors of Food & Fitness After 50, a guide to helping you eat well, move well, and be well at 50, 60, 70, and beyond. The paperback on Kindle edition are available at Amazon.
I hope that got your attention! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to save money on food. While there are many strategies to save money, such as buying in season, checking the weekly specials, and using discount shopping cards, did you ever consider wasted food as throwing away money?
At a recent conference, one of the sponsors was General Mills, discussing sustainability. A featured speaker was Lindsay Boswell, the CEO of FairShare in the UK, whose mission is to fight the twin challenges of hunger and food waste. (As part of their sustainability platform, General Mills is major supporter of organizations, like FairShare.)
I learned some startling facts about food waste:
• 40% of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted.
• The average American throws away 50% more food today than we did about 50 years ago.
• Today, the average American throws away 300 pounds of food each year.
• While there is food waste along the whole food chain, consumers lead the way on food waste; throwing away 15-25% of all food purchased.
• For more details on of food waste, here’s a good article.
That got me thinking, what could I do to reduce food waste and save money at the same time. So, I started my spring cleaning a little early by taking inventory of everything in my pantry and kitchen shelves to uncover what was hiding in the cabinets. As I did, I made a list on my tablet of everything I had on hand.
Next, I tackled the freezer; that place where many leftovers go to die. After my inventory, I realized that I had enough food in my house for meals for the next month! The only thing I will need to pick up at the grocery store is milk, yogurt, and some fresh veggies and fruit.
Some of the meals on my menu will include:
• Quinoa and chicken skillet (thanks to my niece, Sena, who gave me a jar of black quinoa).
• Grilled quail and roasted red potatoes with frozen green beans (thanks to my brother-in-law, Steve, who brought quail from a hunting trip in South Georgia).
• Spaghetti and turkey meatballs (left over meatballs from New Year’s Eve appetizer).
• Honey-ginger pork with carrots and apples (I remember when that pork loin was on sale, but forgot it was in the freezer!)
• Sweet and sour chicken bowl (this uses pouches of ready rice, which I had several of in that corner cabinet that is hard to reach)
• Peanut butter noodles with spicy orange shrimp (frozen shrimp, of course, and who doesn’t have peanut butter?)
• Pesto over hot noodles (I bought a jar of pesto at gourmet shop in Anderson, SC and never opened it).
• Peri-Peri turkey tenderloin (spice brought back from trip to South Africa last fall).
And, I’m ready for Super Bowl snacks with black bean and corn salsa with toasted pita bread wedges and Bush’s “hummus made easy” roasted red pepper pouch, blended with can of garbanzo beans.
So, you get the idea; it was worth the couple of hours to inventory and get creative with meal planning. One other thing I did was check the dates…this can get confusing, so here is quick primer:
• The “use by date,” “best by,” or “best before” dates are found on pantry staples, like canned foods and condiments and refer to the best quality of the food. If unopened, these foods are still safe to eat.
• The “sell by” date is the day your grocery store must sell the product. But, it is still safe to drink the milk or eat the cheese for several days after the sell by date, if you’ve stored it correctly (that is, did you keep in the fridge?)
I must confess I had to toss a can of mandarin orange slices that was wedged in the back of a shelf with a “use by date” of October 2015, but I blame that on my dumb cabinet design, well, that plus my forgetting to make that chicken-mandarin orange salad I had once upon a time planned.
So, whether your goal is to save money, help the environment, or help reduce hunger (or hopefully, all three), start at home to reduce food waste. I would love to hear your creative ideas or ask a question about food waste here, on my website.
And, for information on reducing food waste and saving money check out let’s talk trash.
Chris Rosenbloom is the author of Food & Fitness After 50, with co-author Bob Murray. For more information on the book see our webpage.
“What are you taking for your diabetes?” was the question Bill was asked when he had a physical exam for his employer’s insurance. He almost fell out of his chair and replied that he didn’t have diabetes, but the blood test showed otherwise. After a momentary “freak out,” his doctor said he could try changing his diet and start exercising but if that didn’t lower his blood sugar level than medication was on the horizon.
Bill, now age 60, had that wake-up call 4 years ago. Today his blood sugar is normal, and diet and exercise did the trick. But, he had a lifetime of poor eating and sedentary behaviors to overcome.
Bill has always struggled with his weight; as a kid his not-so-nice nickname was “Fat Albert.” As an adult, his weight reached a high of 220 pounds and on his 5’10” frame, that equated to a body mass index (BMI) of 30.1, putting him in the obese category. (To learn if your BMI is in a healthy range, plug your height and weight into this online calculator).
After his diagnosis of diabetes, Bill started running 2 miles every day. Exercise is one of the pillars of diabetes management, with diet being the other. But, Bill said he “was afraid to eat so he just stopped.” His wife was concerned he would suffer from of malnutrition, so she called upon a neighbor, a former registered dietitian. (She was profiled in an early blog post; to read about her, click here.)
Bill said that today he is reminded to practice good health by thinking of the quote, attributed to baseball player, Mickey Mantle; “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
His strategies for aging well include exercise. “Running is not only good to manage my blood sugar, it is a great stress reliever and my ‘epiphany’ time. I get my best ideas when my mind is free while running.” He has also come to appreciate the value of rest and a good night’s sleep. “I’m a proponent of the 20-minute power nap!” And, he also stays young at heart by learning from his sons, ages 29 and 26, who keep him abreast the latest trends, cool new music and bands, and exposing him to new influences that he would not otherwise get in his circle of friends.
His advice for others is to get and stay on a path to healthy aging by planning. “Planning when I can fit running into my day and what to eat helps me execute my wellness strategy.” This is great advice, too often we think we lack will power but what we really lack is advance planning as a tool to help us with weight loss or managing chronic diseases. This is summed up nicely in a tweet by registered dietitian, Jill Weisenberger:
Bill reminds us to take a hard look in the mirror and ask, “Am I living a sustainable lifestyle?” Bill’s answer four years ago was “no,” but today it is “yes.” He wants to be around for his wife, kids and future grandchildren. “Just be committed; that and have a supportive spouse like I do!”