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Back to nutritional basics

  • Published
  • By Col. Aldo Domenichini
  • 6th Aeromedical Squadron commander
I was watching a commercial on TV the other day, advertising the virtues of one of those ubiquitous energy drinks.

The gist of the commercial was, that the little bottle contained all the micronutrients (in the form of a couple vitamins) and caffeine one needed to fuel your body for several hours.

For two bucks you basically get the same amount of caffeine as in two cups of coffee.

Of course some of our Airmen surmise that if one bottle is good, then five is better. You start taking the equivalent of 10 cups of coffee and combine that with an inadequate diet, exercise and the Florida heat and you have a recipe for disaster.

Depending on the individual, this could result in dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, heart palpitations and even death (from a combination of any of the above three).

Not only are we being bombarded by these silly energy drinks, but we're also being tempted by endless snack cakes, soft drinks, sports bars, potato chips and breakfast cereals. And, just because it says diet, doesn't mean that it has reduced calories or better nutrition. Take those diet salad dressings. They substitute sugar for fats and get away with calling it fat free. However, once the sugar is in your body, it gets converted to fat, anyway. You can't win.

One of the four resiliency pillars is physical health. A key part of physical health is a healthy diet. A healthy diet includes six servings of fruits and vegetables, five servings of carbohydrates, five servings of protein, four servings of fat and one serving of sweets.

The fruits and vegetables should be fresh. If cooked, they should be steamed and not drowned in butter or animal fat. Choose good carbohydrates, not, no carbs. These include whole grains (oatmeal cereal), whole wheat bread, whole rye bread, brown rice, or wheat berries. Good proteins include lean meats such as chicken, turkey or pork, beans, fish, low fat milk and cottage cheese. Healthy fats include nuts like peanuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios, avocados, canola oil, and olive oil.

The medical establishment and U.S. Food and Drug Administration sometimes overcomplicate this information with colorful food pyramids. Weight-loss centers make it worse by introducing crazy numbering systems, severely limiting certain nutrients and vilifying good foods.

Your local Health and Wellness Center has all kinds of great resources to address your dietary needs on a personal and/or group level. Whatever, you do, it's time to get rid of that candy bar, and get back to basics.