Eating Healthy At Work
Lynn D. Ahbonbon
The life of corporate executives or entrepreneurs is fast-paced and stressful. As a result, they end up eating fast and convenient foods. Today, we eat highly processed foods, loaded with trans fats, salt and sugar. Unfortunately, many people eat the wrong food, thinking it is good for them, because, they are bombarded with advertising and misleading food labels claiming they are good for health. Staying fit does not require a huge commitment, such as working out every day at the gym or eating only lettuce and apples, but you need to be more aware of the food that you eat. Our bodies are made to digest natural food. Ingredients that are artificial, chemical, or engineered will stay in the body as toxins, which increase body inflammation and fat or turn into cancer cells.
Not all fats are equal. Our body needs good fats (vegetable and fish oils, nuts and seeds) to stay healthy. Good fats help absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). They supply energy and are essential for growth, healthy skin and metabolism. Although there are many guidelines on how to stay healthy, I am giving you the information on how to avoid trans fat, a very bad fat that causes obesity, chronic illnesses, and serious health problems in America. Trans fats are also labeled as “hydrogenated oil” or “partially hydrogenated oil.” Hydrogenation is the chemical process that changes liquid oils into solid fats. They are also known as vegetable shortening and hard margarine. Trans fats are used to extend the shelf-life of processed foods and can withstand repeated heating without breaking down, making them ideal for frying food.
In 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that consuming more than one gram of trans fats is harmful to health and started requiring manufacturers to include trans fats in food labels. However, if it is less than 0.5 grams per serving, it will be listed as 0 percent trans fats. In reality, most people would eat more than one serving, or many types of prepackaged food that have trans fats, and consequently, they would consume a lot more daily. Unfortunately, restaurants are still not required to disclose their use of trans fats.
These are the places where trans fats can be found. They are hidden in the following food list and may be camouflaged as 0 percent trans fats. Please read the fine print and the list of ingredients carefully.
- Coffee Break Room: Trans fats are found in non-dairy creamer, coffee mate, and packaged hot chocolate drink. Store some milk in your company’s refrigerator and consume coffee with milk instead.
- Vending Machine: Snack foods are loaded with trans fats (potato, corn, and tortilla chips; Candy, packaged or microwave popcorn, and even “healthy whole-grain or natural” snacks). Stock your desk with high quality alternatives such as unsalted nuts, pure dark chocolate, or homemade healthy cookies baked with nuts, raisins, coconut oil and grains.
- Company Tradition - Donuts or Muffins Every Friday: Unless they are homemade with real oil and butter, store-bought goods are more likely to have trans-fats.
- Fast Food Place: Hamburger and hot dog buns, French fries, fried chicken/chicken nuggets, and hard taco shells are made with trans fats. If you crave for fried food, eat the one fried in real oil.
- Restaurant or Company Cafeteria: Since many restaurants still use partially hydrogenated oils in their fryers and desserts, avoid ordering fried food and desserts will help reduce trans fats consumption. If you have a sweet tooth, make your own cake or find a local bakery that still bakes with natural ingredients such as, egg, sugar, butter and flour.
If executives and entrepreneurs can stay away from hidden trans fats, it would be a huge step toward healthy living. Please keep in mind that our body can turn natural fats such as vegetable oil or butter into energy and burns it, but it will store trans fat. Even small amounts of trans fats in the diet can have harmful health effects. Do you know that according to the Harvard School of Public Health, eliminating trans fats from the U.S. food supply could prevent up to 1 in 5 heart attacks and related deaths?
About the Author
Lynn D. Ahbonbon has traveled the world and lived in France, Germany, South Korea, Vietnam and the U.S. Her passion has been cooking and inventing new healthy recipes since she was 10. She graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) with a B.S. and M.B.A., and held several positions at a large automotive corporation before becoming president of an economic development corporation, providing education in entrepreneurship and healthy living to small businesses for 15 years. After being faced with three young relatives who had cancer, Ahbonbon now has a clear mission: To help people live a healthy life and achieve their financial dream by publishing entrepreneurship, healthy living, and food guides. Today, she is author and publisher of Ahbonbon, LLC. Please visit www.ahbonbon.com for further information.