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Eating Right Is Healthy, Fun, and Afforable!

Updated on November 21, 2010

Eating right doesn't have to rob you of your hard earned paycheck. Neither does it have to take up much of your freedom-loving time. In fact, if you are smart about what you eat, you can enjoy some of the most delectable tasting foods that bring a high yield to your health and longevity without costing as much as most foods that are loaded with empty calories and excess fats and cost a whole lot more. And what's more, it doesn't take a whole lot of time to prepare the foods that contribute a lot to your health: Foods that make you energetic and feeling good about life!

There are certain food items that you would want to be sure that you are consuming on a daily basis. Proteins are one. You want to include proteins in your diet because they are the building blocks. By that I mean they repair and replace worn out cells. Our bodies are composed of billions and trillions of cells. Cells are dying all the time and new cells are replacing those worn out cells that die. You need quality proteins to replace those cells so that they could perform better than the ones before and look a whole lot better than the cells that were there before.

It is important to consume the daily recommended amount of protein each day. Proteins enables the cells to perform a wide variety of activities such as growth, repair, maintenance and reproduction. Systems of our bodies such as our skin, muscles, tendons, organs, glands, hair, etc., all require proteins for their growth, repair and maintenance.

Proteins consist of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids. Our bodies are capable of synthesizing 10 of these amino acids. Our bodies do not store excess amino acids for later use; the amino acids must be in the food every day.

The 10 amino acids that we can produce are: Alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, prokine, serine and tyrosine.

The other 10 amino acids are called essential amino acids. So named because our bodies do not produce them. They are: Arginine (required for the young but not for adults) histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. It is very important that we get these from the food we eat, otherwise serious health problems causing degradation of the body proteins. Muscle and other protein structures may be dismantled to obtain the one amino acid that is needed.

Unlike fats, and starches, our bodies do not store excess amino acids for later use; the amino acids must be in the food every day. An adequate diet must contain the essential amino acids. They are supplied by meat and dairy products. And fish. They can also be supplied by a combination of cereal grains (wheat, corn, rice, etc.) and legumes (beans, peanuts, etc.)

Red beans and rice are examples of such combinations. When I was growing up in New Orleans, my mother prepared red beans and rice twice a week. Sometimes she cooked great northerner (white beans) and rice, other times we had butter beans and rice, or delicious black eyed peas with rice. Black eyed peas are also a traditional meal we eaten on New Year's Day. Generally, my mother prepared the beans with ham hocks or pork. Other ethnic food combinations are Mexican corn and beans, Japanese rice and soybeans.

Now that I am grown and on my own, I cook beans and rice whenever I get the urge. And they still create a delicious urge. Now days I include a lot of salmon in my diet. While growing up in New Orleans I eaten a lot of seafood, mostly cat fish and rainbow trout. I now enjoy the taste of salmon. I usually bake it or sometimes I sear it in a skillet on the stove-top. Either way it takes no longer than 20 minutes to prepare. With the fish, I will make a very quick and simple salad. Quick and simple to prepare but it is delicious and nutritious. My salad is made with organic greens and herbs. I like mixing with it organic wild arugula. They come in packages, various sizes. I tend to buy the medium size packages, that way they won't stay around very long. I do the same thing when I purchase olive oil. I get either the small or medium size bottle of extra virgin. Oils can turn rancid so quick. So I buy the small or medium size assuring that the oil remains fresh with each and every serving. Along with mixing a little olive oil over my salad, I also slice a small avocado, and I sprinkle a little crumbled blue cheese and a few mixed nuts and dried cranberries. Toss it all together. Voila! A great and simple prepared salad. That will constitute dinner or lunch for me. Other times I make a quick salsa. I like mixing chopped cucumber (again I go for the organic) and I chop some tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, and  I mixed a little olive oil, squeeze in some lemon juice and just a little salt for taste.

I enjoy fresh produce. And now that the Fall season has arrived, there are many seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from. I still can find my blueberries and strawberries in the markets. I like mixing them together with one or two other fruits in a blender. I might add some plain yogurt and sometimes some soy protein. It is a great pick-me-up snack that can also constitute a meal, depending on all that you mix with it.

The Recommended Daily Amount Of Protein

Chemically speaking, amino acids are organic compounds which contain both an amino group and a carboxy group. But you don't have to know the chemistry of it all. It would be great if you did. The important thing, however, is that you understand what foods have the most protein and the most in quality. Soy milk is a good source of quality protein. Chicken, fish, and eggs are other excellent sources.

The national and international organisations which advise on nutrient requirements suggest standards which are calculated to meet or exceed the requirements of practically everyone in the population. They take into account individual variation and so the levels have a wide inbuilt safety margin. The recommendations below are based on the complete digestibility of milk or egg protein. Since protein from plant sources may be slightly less digestible, the UK's Department of Health recommends that vegetarians and vegans multiply the figures by a factor of 1.1. The UK Reference Nutrient Intakes (RNI )for protein are as follows:

0-12 months  
1-3 years
4-10 years 
11-14 yrs (boys) 
11-14 yrs (girls)
15-18 yrs (boys)
15-18 (girls)
Men 19-50yrs
Men 50+ yrs
Women 19-50 yrs
Women 50 + yrs

Choose to stay healthy and eat healthy. It is the wise thing to do. You're on the run, and you have a lot to get done in a day. Don't sacrifice your health. Opt to eat healthy. And do so each and every day.

Lots of pumpkin pie after Halloween! When I was growing up it was lots of Sweet Potato pie. I'll see you in November and share with you some of my favorite childhood dishes Mom prepared for Thanksgiving.

Have a happy, safe, and enjoyable Halloween.


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    • rosescottw profile image

      Rose Scott 8 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      I have said the same thing fastfreta. You know we hear so much about why we should not eat this or drink that. Like milk is not good for you... But I stop and say: The foods I have eaten as a child, have brought me into my adulthood very well. So whenever I have the opportunity, I learn of ways to improve my health and diet. Some I keep. Some I throw away. Some help me to modify my current diet. The most important thing is to keep on learning how to improve. Thank you for your comment.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Yum, yum, your description of your childhood foods made me nostalgic. I had a somewhat similar upbringing. I, too, eat a little differently that my upbringing. However, I know that my upbringing made me the woman I am today. Very good hub.