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I have spent the last 2 hours reading your newsletter and wonderful recipes. I have already printed a whole bunch I want to try. I love them because they are using ingredients one has on hand. I love that and just wanted you to know how much we appreciate all your hard work in putting together this newsletter. Thank you very much.


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       Volume I - June 19, 2009

SMART Ideas!
How to Really Stop Eating Fast Food

by Alice Osborne & Patty Liston

When reading stuff on one of our favorite websites, Health and Beyond, we found this information from non-steroid body-builder, Tom Venuto. We think you’ll find this perspective and his recipes as helpful and inspiring as we did:

“How could you eat that junk? It’s so bad for you!” (nag, nag). “Don’t you know those fries will give you a heart attack?” (nag, nag). “You have to stop eating all that fast food, it’s going to make you fat!” (nag nag). “You have to eat more healthy food like fruits and vegetables - they’re good for you!” (nag, nag). Your friends nag you, your family nags you, your doctor nags you, the health newsletters, websites and magazines - they all nag you, and of course, your personal trainer nags the heck out of you, to stop eating all those BAD FAST FOODS. But does all that nagging you and bad-mouthing the fast food industry really help anyone stop?

It doesn’t look that way. The fast food industry is thriving, even in the bad economy. The Chicago Tribune recently said that McDonalds is “recession proof.”

As one of only two companies to turn a major profit over the last year (the other being Wal Mart), McDonald’s is laughing its way to the bank. In fact, McDonalds plans to open 1,000 new stores this year.

Yep. It looks like your friends and family’s nagging you to stop eating fast food, and all the messages of the health and fitness industry to get people eating more “health food” are not working!

So what does work?

The results of a new survey from the behavior and psychology section of the journal, OBESITY (Feb 2009) provide some answers: Researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health surveyed 530 adults about their attitudes towards fast foods. They found that people already know fast food is unhealthy. (No kidding!)

The primary reasons they eat it anyway are because of the perceived convenience and a dislike for cooking! (We’d add another: lots of folks think fast food is always cheaper than healthy food). So, said the authors of this research paper, nagging people to eat more healthy food and warning them that “fast food is going to make us fat and kill us” is not the best approach.

What’s the right approach?

Focus on teaching people how to make healthy eating fast, convenient and easy, because those are the reasons people are choosing fast food in the first place.

So what’s holding us back from implementing or taking this advice? Well, we think most people can’t get over the ideas that they “just cant cook” or that cooking is “too time consuming” or that healthy food “tastes like dirt” (as if McDonalds is gourmet food!)

That said, we’re not going to nag you, scold you or try to scare you out of eating fast food. We’re not going to lecture you about health food (not today, anyway). Nor are we going to bad-mouth the fast food restaurants. We’re going to lead the new charge by showing you just how easy and convenient it is to eat healthy/nutritious food and make it delicious.

Here are a few meal ideas (for starters) to prove the point:

3 Minute Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

natural oatmeal (like Quaker old fashioned rolled oats)
natural (unsweetened) applesauce

For protein, serve with scrambled eggs or egg whites on side

  Download this recipe.

10 Minute Lazy Person's Chinese Stir Fry

Brown rice (I like basmati)
frozen oriental vegetables
chicken breast, grilled (try Foreman grill)
Light/lo-sodium soy sauce

This takes 30 minutes, however, if you get a rice cooker and make a giant batch, you can have your rice on standby for instant eats and this takes less than 10 minutes.

  Download this recipe.

2 Minute Black Beans and Spicy Salsa

black beans (15 oz can)
Medium or hot salsa
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic or chopped garlic to taste
salt and pepper to taste

This one takes you all of 2 minutes to make. No cooking required! And it’s good!

  Download this recipe.

Best part: this is all inexpensive food! Oats, rice, beans… doesn’t get much cheaper than that - buy your healthy staples in bulk and the cost per serving is probably less than Mickey D’s! (yes, even the “Value” meals)

(If YOU have a smart idea, won't you share it? Life is so much easier and we accomplish so much more when we pool our resources. And after all, we're all in this together. So email or with YOUR Smart Ideas!)

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