Dripping In Chocolate Pt.I

Sucked in!

Here you are thinking I’ve written an article on my love of chocolate and the sexually deviant things you can do with it, when in fact it is an article on nutrition. That is not to say that chocolate is not good for you in moderation, though a jar of chocolate body paint can cause all sorts of …outcomes, the least being weight gain.

Diet and exercise, diet and exercise! Don’t people like me love to bang on about it! Hardly a day goes by where at some stage you are not going to run into those three words. They are becoming a modern day dictum, and with the increase in morbid obesity (well, obesity in general really!) in modern society, expect to hear a lot more. It’s all well and good to roll your eyes, let your belt out another hole or two and start buying your clothes from the Big Men’s department in “Target”, but sooner or later you are going to have to pay the devil. If you are slim, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you will stay that way forever. Gravity will eventually have its wicked way, and it’s not going to be pretty!

A lot of the blame for our current move towards junk and fast food fixes is media and advertising driven. They keep telling us how time-poor we are, how busy our lives have become, and how we need to make things easier for ourselves. Fast food chains upsize deals and give you more and more junk for your buck (look for the healthy alternatives if you find yourself in one of these establishments.Everyone has them now). Cooking programs tell us that to be good in the kitchen we need a degree in Frnch cooking, every kitchen appliance that has ever been made, three hours to prepare a simple dinner, and a cuisine vocabulary that would befuddle the best of us. I’m a qualified chef and I wouldn’t (or couldn’t) be bothered with a lot of the kitchen antics that we are subjected to on television. Quite simply, the pure joy of food and cooking is being taken away from us.

And we can’t overlook the obvious…our food culture is tied into tradition, and our families. One is left feeling that the advent of “meat and three veg” as a basis for our meals arrived with the convicts, and hasn’t changed a lot since. Fortunately as a counter-balance our love affair with Asian food ever increases, and it is perhaps here we will find our way to a healthier diet.

For those contemplating a healthier lifestyle, especially losing weight, are unfortunately going to find that it is useless to exercise without changing your dietary habits, and vice versa. There is NO easy fix, so the desire to move forward and improve your lifestyle must first and foremost be a positive drive and desire on your part. Diets are, at their best, a short term solution to weight loss and at their worst are capable of actually damaging your health. They are alsounsustainable in the long term. The whole key to healthy eating is very simple…common sense, and not depriving yourself of the things you enjoy but eating them in smaller quantities at longer intervals. You may not believe me now, but eventually you will lose the desire to eat a lot of these things at all. Good, healthy eating is about variety, what you cook, what you put in it, how you cook it and how much you serve. Recent advise suggests that we are better off eating 5-6 small meals a day instead f the three large meals we currently eat. And don ‘t forget; breakfast IS the most important meal of the day!

HIV people face a number of problems as far as nutrition goes, and like the condition itself varies from person to person. We are beginning to understand that long term dosing with our medications can potentially have serious health implications. You dan’t take the number of pills we are prescribed over a long period of time (for many of us it is going to be a period of 40+ years) and not expect some problems, especially coronary, renal, mental, and the possibility of cancers. It worries me, so I’m sure it worries you! I have made a lot of drastic changes to my life, albeit at this late stage when I’m approaching 60. It is no longer good enough to shovel in the meds, put on heaps if weight, eat unhealthy food, sit around doing nothing and expect everything to tick along nicely forever. You simply can’t live from blood test to blood test, and expect things to get better if you don’t take the actions to help improve the situation.

So as an ageing HIV demographic, what are the things we need to concern ourselves with, and keep an eye on? Well, the sme old culprits that we have all been trying to pretend aren’t the problem. High cholesterol (the bad type); too much fat, sugar and salt in our diet; too much processed food especially in the form of quick-fix meals, canned and bottled pantry items; way too much fast food of the unhealthy kind; and a tendency to see cooking, especially just for yourself, as a chore. Few people stop to think that it takes about 15-30 minutes to heat a ready-made meal. You can make a healthy salad with grilled or pached chicken and oil-free dressing, or a stir fry in the same time…and be a lot healthier for it. I know from personal experience in the past that a daily intake of cigarettes, alcohol and shit food is not going to give me the nutrition to lead an active, fulfilling life…yet still we do it – or at least USED to do it. So I’m her to give you some strategies for change, simple effective ways to shed the kilo’s, and get those blood test results scoring an A+…and it ain’t gonna hurt a bit. Well, maybe a little bit!

Tim Alderman
Copyright 2014

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