Q: Straight up, Mr. Norris: What do you and your family eat? When it comes to the consumptive battles, are you really as good as they say?
A: I must admit that I make a pretty mean peanut butter and banana sandwich.
But to be honest with you, my wife, Gena, is the one who keeps our family on a healthy diet. She is an avid reader on health and nutrition.
We eat lots of whole foods, mostly organic. I realize that it is costlier to buy foods of this kind, but when you consider the cost of long-term disease and health care, it is a much smaller investment in the long run, and you will feel better for it. Prevention is the key and should be your mindset.
Charles Attwood, M.D., reported: "Less than 70 years ago, more than 40 percent of the protein in the American diet came from grains, bread, and cereal. Currently, only 17 percent come from these sources, along with another 15 percent from legumes, fruits, and vegetables, while two-thirds is from animal products. This trend, also noted in other industrialized Western countries, has been accompanied by a steady increase in heart-disease and cancer deaths."
That is why for breakfast, we try to eat a balanced diet of protein and whole grains. It is important to start the day off with something very healthy and not to skip that meal. Breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, feeds your brain, balances out your blood sugar and will supply you with sustained energy. It is typical for us to eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches on sprouted grain bread for breakfast. This provides lots of energy, and our twins love it, too.
I might add that our children, Dakota and Danilee, have been taught from the time they could understand words that what you put in your mouth should have purpose for your health. It's not that they aren't like other kids; they also want ice cream. It is like anything else they learn by watching what their parents do. Like my kids, I like a good bowl of Blue Bell ice cream!
We keep fresh fruit and vegetables readily available to snack on. Lunch is usually tuna, in moderation because of mercury levels, or avocado sandwiches. We try to have dinner at 5 or 5:30 p.m., no later than 6. By doing this, we have been able to maintain our weight and feel better the next morning by not waking up sluggish. We try not to eat too many complex carbohydrates at night. A small red baked potato or about a half-cup of brown rice would be about max. We try to eat a lot of rich green vegetables, e.g., steamed or fresh romaine salads with lots of color, along with 6-ounce pieces of baked skinless chicken breast or salmon (free-range).
Gena cooks with virgin olive oil. All oils should be cold- and expeller-pressed. (Just check the label before you buy one.) We don't use much sugar in our home. If we do, it is sugar in the raw. We use stevia for a sugar substitute; it is natural and a great replacement for sugar. I recommend that you check with your doctor before you try it. And don't forget the water. I try to carry a bottle with me all the time. Drink lots.
Again, eating with a purpose is key. I will say it again. I do my best to eat healthily and in moderation. I have to confess that when Gena and I see a movie, I can't watch it without a bag of popcorn (non-buttered, of course). And every now and then, I do splurge, but I know the importance of keeping my tank (body) fueled with the right kind of gas.
Gena has a philosophy that she uses on herself. She will say, "If I eat that, how is it going to make me feel afterward?" Again, it is a mindset. And the more you stick with it the better you will start feeling.
Radha Chitale, from the ABC News Medical Unit, reported a few years back that certain foods have direct impacts on your emotional state: "The most effective way to stabilize mood is to eat a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and limit sugar, fat, and alcohol. Coupled with exercise, this regime will keep levels of endorphins, the brain's feel-good chemicals, steady."
You've heard the saying "you are what you eat." Well, you feel what you eat, too. Think about it -- or, should I say, feel it!
"C-Force," Chuck Norris' weekly health and fitness column, appears at creators.com.