Approaching each area of our lives with balance is one of the keys to unlocking total well-being in mind, body and spirit. Those main areas that I’m referring to would include the following: mental, spiritual, physical, financial, relational, and occupational. Already covering mostly spiritual and psychological topics thus far, tonight’s topic embraces the physical. Beyond a regular exercise regiment, what you input affects your output. Food choices affect more than your waistline, such as your energy levels and moods. Not to mention that body image is strongly tied to your self-concept and level of confidence. How many billions of dollars are sunk annually into the weight loss industry, so that we may chase after that all-too-many-times-elusive perfect body? But where do these images of the perfect body stem from?
Greece is the simple response. Consulting Simon Goldhill’s The Perfect Body – an excerpt from Love, Sex & Tragedy: How the Ancient World Shapes Our Lives, provided some interesting insights into how Ancient Greece still influences us today. The Renaissance and its rediscovery of Greek art has provided for the long-standing tradition of capturing the perfect male body from Greek sculpture. Goldhill continues to make his case, “The slim but well-muscled torso, the elegant symmetry of form, the balanced turn of the head or twist of the athlete’s shape, have produced an image so firmly lodged in the Western imagination that it is hard to look at it freshly or in any historical context. For anyone who goes to the gym, who worries about thinness, or getting in shape, or their muscle tone—or even for anyone who just knows what a good body is—there’s a history stretching back to ancient Greece that will change the way your body looks to youγ”
Just as the citizens of Ancient Greece, we in the modern West are also constantly fed images of the human physique, albeit ranging from positive to degrading formats. While the perfect body gave Greeks a difficult model to meet, we too struggle in achieving that lean appearance. I speak from experience, considering my dress size was at one point about three notches beyond its current status. After stating that fact, the most common question I receive is, “What did you do to lose that weight?” No, I didn’t drink some obscure berry concoction that Oprah mentioned on her show once! Rather it was the simple tried and true daily discipline of applying long-term changes to my lifestyle so as to incorporate an exercise plan that included resistance training, and eating healthy meals/snacks in smaller portions more frequently.
Since food was not only my friend but also my livelihood for a time, working in Catering for 5 years, I consider my taste buds rather well-formed. Even health-conscious folks like myself need what I ironically refer to as “healthy junkfood” in our diet. As such, I’ve decided to share my current “Top 5 Healthy Snacks” for your chewing pleasure. I’ve chosen from 5 different categories to give a well-rounded snacking approach. Also, note that these snacks do NOT subscribe to the enemies: partially hydrogenated oils and/or high fructose corn syrup.
#5: Blue Diamond Bold Wasabi & Soy Sauce Almonds – If you are a fellow sushi aficionado, the audacious wasabi & soy flavors sprinkled on these almonds will ramp up your snacking. With approximately 28 almonds in one serving, low carbs, and a good protein count – you’ve wisely invested the 170 calories and 15 g of fat. Nuts are always cited as one of staples in a diet that encourages weight loss – and almonds are among the best and tastiest nuts to select.
#4: Kozy Shack No Sugar Added Tapioca – I must admit that Mom instilled a love of Tapioca in me from family dinners of long ago. Sweetened by Splenda, this creamy pudding only carries 70 calories, and is a great source of calcium and fiber.
#3: Kashi TLC Chewy Granola Bars, Cherry Dark Chocolate – Made from the signature blend of 7-whole grains & sesame that Kashi has become known for, Kashi has brought granola bars to a new level. The combination of whole, roasted nuts, tart but lightly-sweetened red cherries, and bits of dark chocolate are a handsome blend of sweet, salty, and of course chocolatey. With 4 g of fiber and 5 g of protein in this chewy little bar, it’s a smart and tasty choice.
#2: Riceworks Gourmet Brown Rice Crisps, Sweet Chili – Created from natural whole grain brown rice, this is a must-have snack for those with wheat/gluten allergies. The texture & crunch fulfill the need for traditional “chips” without all the junk. The Sweet Chili flavor doesn’t pack spicy heat, but definitely is addictive. 10 chips will cost you about 140 calories/6 g of fat, and you’ll relish every bit of it!
#1: True North Almond Cranberry Crisps – light and nutty all-natural almond crisps with sweet cranberry tidbits. The almonds provide a healthy protein level, 5 g per serving, and a balanced flavor with the delectable berries. To steal a Mike Myers line from “So I Married An Axe Murderer, these contain an addictive chemical that make you crave them fort-nightly! ”
Aw, heck, I’m feeling generous tonight…I’m even going to give you a bonus snack:
Snikiddy Snacks Chocolate Chip Bites – from the level of chocolate chip bliss achieved in these lovable little cookies, one would fail to guess that they contain whole wheat flour, real butter, and unrefined cane sugar. They are the best organic, all-natural chocolate chip cookies I’ve tried to date. Coming from a girl addicted to chocolate chip cookie dough, that’s quite a claim!
Here’s to happy and healthy snacking, friends. Enjoy and feel free to post your favorite “healthy junkfood” selections as well.