Well, it's the time of year — second only to New Year's resolution time — that our attention focuses on eating healthy and losing excess weight. Studies show that successful weight management and overall good health depends on myriad factors, among them watching your diet and getting exercise.
I am not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV), but I can give you an idea of resources available at the library for achieving one of these goals.
As you know, we've seen countless fad diets through the years promising to be the perfect one to get you to a healthy weight. And they run the gamut from ingesting tapeworms, not chewing your food and eating only grapefruit. Obviously, these are not long-term solutions.
So there are a bunch of new books out there extolling the virtues of healthier eating (but as with any medical issue, see a doctor for guidance):
The first one up is the very popular Paleo diet. Concentrating on the ideas of eating only fresh fruits, vegetables and free-range meat, it gets its name from the diet of the cavemen. In "Practical Paleo" by Diane Sanfilippo, we first get a very nice explanation on the science of health and eating. The colorful illustrations and charts make this more interesting than I guessed it would be.
The rest of the book deals with the definition of paleo eating and the benefits for a variety of health concerns, as well as a 30-day meal plan and loads of recipes. We have received a lot of demand for this one at the library so come get your copy today and let us know how it worked.
In "The Dash Diet Weight Loss Solution" by nutritionist Marla Heller, we learn that switching to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and nonfat dairy will give you a healthier weight, faster metabolism and improved strength.
DASH in the title stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, so cardiovascular wellness is addressed too. The book begins with the reader's goals and guidelines for determining a healthy weight and body mass index.
Sample foods are suggested for a variety of intents, including preventing or addressing diabetes and heart disease. Helpful hints are given on visiting the grocery and recipes and meal plans are included. This one might work for you; it was named by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 1 overall diet in their 2013 ranking.
"The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook" by Dr. Mark Hyman has specific goals. This is the companion to the No. 1 New York Times bestseller "The Blood Sugar Solution" by the same author. He believes that the key to good health is monitoring insulin levels to accomplish the goals of lowering body fat and boosting energy without sacrificing flavor in your meals.
The connection between obesity and diabetes is irrefutable. Hyman explains this in easy-to-understand text and suggests keeping a journal and recording body measurements.
The first step is to detox your kitchen. He suggests discarding any foods that have more than five ingredients or that have high fructose corn syrup on their labels and anything that says "hydrogenated" or "MSG" on their list of ingredients.
Next, he gives us options for refilling our pantries. Those include nuts, beans, peas, low-mercury seafood and organic eggs, poultry and meat. The fruits and vegetables should preferably be locally grown and pesticide free. The rest of the book is chock-full of tips and recipes, and finishes with a list of further resources and a great index.
Come check out a few of these selections. And whatever plan you choose to follow, toast with a glass of water, a healthier life — and a nice swimsuit!
Kelly Strom is the collection manager at the Champaign Public Library. She orders books, magazines, newspapers, audiobooks and CDs.