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Get Healthy: Say Goodbye To These 10 Unhealthy Foods In 2016

Get Healthy: Say Goodbye To These 10 Unhealthy Foods In 2016

Food food food. We love our food. As a culture, we also highly value health. With millions of adults across the world resolving this new year to be healthier, we could all use a look at the biggest food mistakes we make.

Many of these foods can be enjoyed on occasion. While they are known for being unhealthy, reading this list may bring on some cravings. I have provided some healthy alternatives for when we crave these delicious-but-unhealthy foods.

Here are 10 unhealthy foods to give up in the new year:

1. Doughnuts

doughnuts

    First thing in the morning, it is hard to pass up a sugary sweet doughnut when you are ordering your coffee. What most people don’t know about doughnuts is that doughnuts are worse than most unhealthy snacks out there. One doughnut is about 300 calories.  Livestrong.com writes:

    “If you add a doughnut a day to your regular diet and don’t exercise the calories off or cut down on calories elsewhere, you will gain about one extra pound every 10 days.”

    Doughnuts have the potential to do some real damage to your body. It would be in everyone’s best interest to practice moderation when choosing doughnuts.

    Alternatives for your sweet tooth:

    One way to satisfy that sweet craving in the morning is to prepare a delicious bowl of Greek yogurt with some fruit and granola. Your sweet tooth will be satisfied and your body will thank you.

    2. Bagels

    SONY DSC

      Bagels are a conventient and delicious breakfast option, however reaching for a bagel first thing in the morning is a guaranteed way to pack on the pounds. Bagels are empty carbs that will quickly settle on your hips and thighs. Bagels lack the fiber that your body needs to turn it into something useful. Instead, the empty carbohydrates turn to sugar and fat.

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      Alternatives for bagels:

      A healthy breakfast alternative to bagels are English muffins. They are high in fiber and contain considerably less sugar than bagels.

      3. Fast Food Burgers

      burger1

        Fast food burgers are delicious, but commonly believed to be untrustworthy. Your gut instinct was right. According to Men’s Fitness, real meat makes up 2-14% of fast food burgers. Then what are we actually eating? Well, they fill the rest of the burger with fillers such as water, cartilage, and bone. It is also no surprise that these burgers are high in fat content.

        Alternatives for fast food burgers:

        Eat burgers from quality restaurants, places that are trustworthy and commited to making real food.

        4. French Fries

        fries

          They are potatoes, so they are healthy, right? French fries are an American staple that are not even slightly comparable to potatoes in terms of nutrition. Jonathon Bonnet, MD writes that removing the skin of the potato to make french fries is actually shedding the most nutritious part of the potato. Fries clearly lack any nutritional value, but what’s worse is their high fat and calorie content. According to Time magazine,

          “A medium order of fries has 365 calories along with 17 grams of fat, a full 26% of your daily value. Sodium clocks in at 246 mg, or 10% of the upper limit you should eat in a day.”

          It is easy to see why experts recommend staying far away from fast food. A consistent diet with this high fat content will quickly lead to weight gain and possibly obesity, not to mention the myriad of health problems associated with it.

          Alternatives for Fry lovers:

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          There is no replacing this scrumptious treat, but some healthy alternatives are carrot fries or zuccini chips.

          5. Chips

          chips

            Chips are a cheap, savory snack for so many occasions. The downside of this treat is that when chips are part of your daily diet, they have negative health impacts. While eating chips, it is easy to take in more sodium than is healthy, putting people at risk for high blood pressure. Chips are often high in fat, which puts people at risk for high cholesterol. These are all risks associated with frequent potato chip eaters, so there is no need to worry when consumed in moderation. However, chips should not be in your pantry when trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

            Alternatives for savory lovers:

            Baked chips are healthier than regular potato chips. Healthier than that are unsalted pretzels and air-popped popcorn, according to HealthyEating.com.

            6. Bacon

            bacon

              I’m sorry. Someone had to say it. The world has a love affair with bacon, but it is possibly THE worst food we can eat. High in sodium and cholesterol, bacon will slowly destroy you. Let’s let the facts paint the picture. According to WebMD:

              “You probably won’t be surprised to learn that 68% of bacon’s calories come from fat, almost half of which is saturated. Each ounce of bacon contributes 30 milligrams of cholesterol”

              We all know bacon is bad for us. Maybe we didn’t know it is THIS bad. In moderation though, it is soooo worth it.

              Alternatives for bacon lovers:

              Turkey Bacon! It will never be quite as perfect and satisfying as real bacon, but Turkey bacon cooked the right way can satisfy some of those bacon cravings.

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              7. Any Deep Fried Foods

              deep fried

                I probably don’t need to do much convincing with this one. Everyone knows eating delicious fried food is about the worst choice you can make. Fried foods instantly add to calorie and fat intake. Food absorbs fat from oil while it is frying. Making fried foods a consistent part of your diet greatly increases the risk for obesity.

                Alternatives for fried food:

                Opt to bake, grill, or steam your food. Skip everything fried.

                8. Soda

                Soda

                  Drinking soda is one of those habits we form when we are eating out or seeing a movie. Having soda with a meal is an American tradition and in the moment it feels very harmless. In reality, soda is liquid sugar. There is no justifying it. Soda is not part of a healthy meal.

                  Studies have found that drinking soda consistently can cause serious healthy concerns. According to Harvard’s Public Health website, adults who drink one sugary beverage a day have a significantly greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes and are more at risk of having a heart attack than their non soda-drinking peers.

                  Alternatives for soda:

                  In order to keep up a healthy lifestyle, opt for soda water (sugarless) or ice tea next time you are out at a restaurant. These are simple choices that can make a big difference.

                  9. Microwave Popcorn

                  Popcorn

                    Dr. Oz has spoken out about the harmful effects of microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn has been found to contain health concerning chemicals in the bag. That delicious buttery taste comes from chemicals called diacetyl and PFOA . Diacetyl is what makes the popcorn taste buttery and oh so delicious, while PFOA is the chemical that lines the bag. What Dr. Oz has reported is that these chemicals can cause serious health problems such as cancer and thyroid issues.

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                    Alternatives for Microwave popcorn:

                    Buy some kernals at the store and pop your own popcorn on the stove. It take just a few minutes longer than microwave popcorn, but it is healthier and still tastes delicious.

                    10. Processed Meats

                    meats

                      The meat platter is a convenient and yummy way to bless a work party or family gathering. Processed meats are a common part of our culture. They are found everywhere we turn at the grocery store. The bad news is that processed meats are one of the unhealthier foods you can eat.

                      According to Authority Nutrition, eating processed meat has been linked to a greater risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Why? One of the reasons is that chemical compounds are added to processed meats. One example is sodium nitrate, added for flavor and preservation. However, nitrate in processed meat can turn into N-nitroso compound, a cancer-causing compound, when exposed to high temperatures. It is scary to realize that this fact is not widely known. It is important to know what we are putting in our bodies.

                      Alternatives for processed meats:

                      There are many choices for alternatives, but one suggestion for packed lunches is to roast a turkey at home and cut it into sandwhich-friendly slices.

                      We all have those cravings and every once in a while, it is okay to go for it. But, if we want to live a healther life in 2016, these foods should be the first to go. Commit to choosing healthier alternatives for your favorite junk foods.

                      Image sources: doughnuts, bagels, burger, fries, chips, bacon, onion rings, soda, popcorn, meat

                      Featured photo credit: 김목화 via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                      At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                      Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                      One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                      When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                      So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                      Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                      This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                      Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                      When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                      Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                      One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                      Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                      An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                      When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                      Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                      Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                      We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                      By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                      Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                      While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                      I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                      You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                      Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                      When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                      Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                      Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                      Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                      One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                      Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                      Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                      This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                      While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                      Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                      Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                      This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                      For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                      Con #4: Unique Distractions

                      Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                      For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                      To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                      We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                      More About Working From Home

                      Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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