Diet dare: Can you can cans?
I was with the majority of people that felt that the 'c' in cans stands for convenience. When I'd need some extra veg on my plate I figured I was doing myself a service by cracking open that can of peas and carrots and spilling a hearty serving on my plate. The funny thing was that even though I was eating vegetables I would find myself feeling lethargic and bloated after my meal. Why is that?
The truth is that a better candidate for the 'c' in cans is the word 'cheap' and as we know...'Cheap things no good. Good things no cheap.'
The quality of the food in canned products is so altered once it gets to you that no matter how many servings of vegetables the can swears to provide or how much easier a meal becomes to prepare by just removing a metal lid...you might be paying for that saved time with your health.
Canned foods usually contain a high amount of sodium and preservatives which are seriously detrimental to your health. The food is usually extremely processed taking it further and further away from it's natural state. Just when you thought you were doing yourself a service by eating some extra vegetables from a can!
A lot of us tend to gravitate towards the canned foods aisle to take major steps out of our food preparation. Canned beans get thrown straight into our blenders for hummus to avoid having to soak and cook the bans ourselves. Pre-made spagetti sauces filled with sugar and sodium gets doused all over our virtuous whole wheat pasta. Canned fruit soaked in sugary syrup takes the place of fresh fruit on rushed mornings. Then of course there is the ultimate canned monster, soda. If you really think about it, you can't 'eat clean' when your food comes out of a can.
So this brings me to a new challenge for you: I dare you to can the cans!
That is, I dare you to cut canned products out of your diet.
For people worried about heart health, a great way to reduce your sodium intake is to abandon your canned goods. Contrary to popular belief, salt in it's natural state, i.e sea salt, is not bad for your health as it contains minerals. It's the mystery sodium and processed salts that can be found in canned goods that are bad for us.
For those ladies looking to sport a flat tummy...did you know that sodium encourages your body to hold on to water making you appear bloated and not to mention feeling uncomfortable! Who needs that?
This new diet dare will also encourage you to start making things from scratch, using fresh ingredients now that you don't have the ready made versions at your disposal. Doing so is going to give your meals a considerable nutritional boost! This also springs off of my last challenge encouraging you to buy local! The fresher the food, the more nourishment in each bite!
Switch your store bought tomato sauces for some fresh tomatoes, basil, onion and garlic and simmer that down for a delicious, healthy pasta sauce that won't leave you bloated and full of icky preservatives. I'm also taking up this challenge with you and started making my coconut milk from scratch with local coconuts (thanks to Michelle!)
Since this also includes anything canned in liquid form you will be cutting out sodas as well. I can guarantee you that anyone looking to lose weight and increase their overall health will see considerable results once they cut out canned sodas from their diet. There is nothing good about soda I'm afraid. The sugar, the chemicals, artificial colours and flavourings... drinking soda is a sure way to give yourself a head start in the wrong direction. If you're a devoted soda drinker, try getting creative in the kitchen mixing seltzers, freshly squeezed fruit juices and teas to make natural and healthy beverages that you and your family can enjoy.
As I have said before in the past, don't let convenience take priority over your health. A few extra minutes spent in the kitchen preparing your own sauces, chopping up fresh veg, and making your tuna salad from freshly cooked fish may take some time out of your day...but may be adding some days on to your life further down the line. I can also promise you that you will notice the difference in taste! There is nothing like freshly prepared food. Nothing from a can can compare to a meal prepared with love from fresh, home grown ingredients. So give your can opener a vacation and can those cans!
P.S....don't forget to recycle! ;)
Annalisa D'Ornella is a musician, writer and avid fitness buff who is documenting her efforts to stay healthy and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. You can enjoy more of her writings on the blogsite: To Be Fit as a Flea.