Giving a mouthful on the virtues of eating healthy and exercise

Shannon Hurst talks about the virtues of healthy living in this week's Our Town.

It’s no secret that there is a growing obesity problem in North America with fast food, poor and unhealthy eating choices, additives and chemicals in our food and a lack of exercise are all big parts of the problem.

So it really isn’t a big surprise that if one was to stand in line at a grocery store and read the magazines or watch commercials on television that there is a huge market in weight loss programs, tips, foods and more. All claim to help lose pounds, tighten up abs and more.

However, for this reporter, it is changing one’s lifestyle that plays the biggest role in getting off those tedious extra pounds or toning up those soft muscles. Diets and exercise programs are great but living a healthy lifestyle is the key to success, according to many experts in the booming field of health and fitness.

Now what constitutes as a healthy lifestyle depends on the individual but less sugar, additives and saturated fats in one’s diet is definitely a good start. Yet through my limited research it seems that time is a big factor in the overall quality of life many of us are looking for. N

Now I’m not just referring to making the time to exercise or get out and enjoy the fresh air and walk, run, ride a bike, ski and more. There seems to be another area that is equally important when it comes to making time and that is where food is concerned. So many of us are in a hurry each day juggling raising children and working that convenient meals are often the choice and that is where we pay the price. Meals in a box come with many sides, such as preservatives and chemicals.

Add to that most of the sprays on our vegetables and fruits and meat that is out there, especially chicken, which is allegedly full of things like steroids and it doesn’t take long to see how hard it is to truly eat healthy.

Of course a hundred years ago people had a different lifestyle that allowed for much more healthy eating and lifestyles. They grew their own food, raised their own meat, spent hours making meals and well, lets just say there weren’t the chemicals, preservatives, additives and all the other things that are playing a major role in our health nowadays.

While we can’t go back to the olden days, maybe we can plan ahead for our meals and take more time to cook. Instead of using a packaged noodle for dinner, maybe make your own pasta and sauce from scratch. Instead of taking out meat from a box, maybe start with fresh meat from the butchers or if you’re lucky enough, your local farmer.

Buy farm fresh eggs, grow what  you can for vegetables and stay away from that easy meal or fast food even one day a week.

Add to that a little exercise and take a little less stress on and those simple things may make a huge difference in the long run.

Shannon Hurst writes the weekly Our Town column.