Need advice on how to temporarily suspend h... - Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating
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Need advice on how to temporarily suspend healthy eating

I have changed my diet drastically in the last few months - from eating mostly processed foods with a lot of salt, sugar and fat to now mostly plants with some lean meat and eggs for protein.

I'll be on vacation for 2 weeks at the end of the year. I'm going to be going off the diet and eating a lot of junk - bacon, sausage, pancakes, ice cream, pie, turkey dinners with all the trimmings, ham and cheese etc. I do it every year and i'm not prepared to give up those two weeks of rich food yet.

Here's my question. I'm trying to figure out some sort of a middle ground. I've come up with a few ideas, and i'm wondering which one would be the "least unhealthy" for the 2 weeks:

1. Alternate days - eating junk every other day and healthy on the alternate days.

2. Eating some junk and some healthy food every day.

What do you think would do the least damage?

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Only three items in your list of foods seem to be unhealthy - pancakes, ice cream and pie. Replace them with generous amount of green vege and chia seed puddings and eat them everyday. Be careful, you might lose 4 -5 lbs at the end of two weeks. Happy holidays!

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Yeah, but no. Don't get me wrong, i'm committed to eating healthy the rest of the year but i'm not giving up those foods on vacation. that's why it's called a vacation :)

So you don't think bacon and sausage are bad? I guess in small amounts they aren't' but man, they're practically made of grease!

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FrankW

1. I understand why you do not want to give up anything during the festive season.

2. Bacon and Sausage can be part of a healthy diet as long as they are not accompanied by grains/starchy carbs like bread rolls,baked beans and potatoes. Of course, too much of anything can be bad.

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That's interesting. Thanks.

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Processed meats like bacon and sausage are classified as a carcinogen, or cancer causing. Eating them with grains or starchy carbs has nothing to do with it. I supposed eating bacon and sausage in limitation for only 2 weeks out of the year would reduce the risk, as opposed to going hog-wild and eating them regularly.

WHO - The World Health Organization - says: "Twenty-two experts from 10 countries reviewed more than 800 studies to reach their conclusions. They found that eating 50 grams of processed meat every day increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. That’s the equivalent of about 4 strips of bacon or 1 hot dog. For red meat, there was evidence of increased risk of colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer."

cancer.org/latest-news/worl...

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>> Processed meats like bacon and sausage are classified as a carcinogen

No, they're really not. The statistical association is real, but nobody has established causality. No mechanism has been identified. The most likely explanation for the observation is that people who eat a lot of processed meats also eat a lot of other processed foods, some of which may be the proximate cause of the increased risk. In any case, several studies have found no increase in risk, and others find a risk increase which doesn't reach the threshold for statistical significance. None of the studies draw any distinction between a proper sausage made with minimal additives and supermarket ones made with soy filler, breadcrumbs, and chemicals. The actual effect, if there is one, is tiny.

Even if there were evidence of direct causation (which there isn't) an 18% increased risk of colorectal cancer would not make bacon a carcinogen. The worldwide lifetime risk of CRC is about 1 in 22. An 18% increase means your risk becomes 1 in 19. An actual carcinogen would put that risk ratio in single digits.

FrankW : you've already made up your mind that you're going to pig out, and I don't see anything wrong with that. You only get one life, and even if (hypothetically speaking) two weeks worth of pancakes shaves ten minutes off your life (which I doubt that it does), perhaps that's a price worth paying. I get personally quite irritated by people who tiptoe through life as if a piano is going to drop on their head at any moment, religiously avoiding whatever toxin-of-the-week was pronounced in the popular press.

Having said that, Praveen55 is quite correct, and it's the stodge in your diet you should be worrying about, not the fat (long term, at any rate). I'm not going to try to convince you of that here, but I would encourage you to read up on the subject. There is an awful lot of outright nonsense written about fat; I did a rant about the BDA's disgraceful paper on the subject a few days ago.

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Really? So what you're saying is that WHO, the 22 experts and and the participating 10 countries are all wrong?

Here are the "known mechanisms" or "established causality" that have been identified. Some of these apply to barbecued meats, which are also considered to be carcinogenic when over grilled and charred.

"Why Does Processed Meat Increase Cancer Risk?

It’s not yet clear exactly why processed meats increase risk for colorectal cancer. Researchers are currently exploring a few possible mechanisms, including:

Nitrates/Nitrites: These are added to processed meats to preserve color and prevent spoilage. In lab studies, these compounds form cancer-causing compounds, carcinogens.

Smoking: Smoked meats contain PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons), substances that are formed at high-heat and considered carcinogenic.

Cooking at high temperatures: Meats cooked at high temperatures can also contain PAHs and heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which can damage DNA.

Heme iron: The heme iron found in red meat may damage the lining of the colon."

aicr.org/enews/2014/08-augu...

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I'm saying they're misusing the word "carcinogen". Cigarettes are carcinogens. Aflatoxins are carcinogens. Sausages are just sausages; we're talking here about an effect so small that many studies fail to observe that it's even there. None of the material you quote definitively establishes cause and effect; it's pure speculation, or at best working hypotheses. When people get their basic terminology wrong, red flags go up.

It’s not yet clear exactly why processed meats increase risk for colorectal cancer

Notice the foregone conclusion in this sentence. It's "not clear" because they don't. They're chasing a statistical artifact that disappears if you control carefully for confounding variables.

>> In lab studies, these compounds form cancer-causing compounds, carcinogens.

You'll consume more nitrates and nitrites from eating conventionally-grown vegetables than you would from a few slices of bacon (nitrite gasses off during curing). So the reasoning here doesn't make much sense. Nitrites are only harmful if they're consumed with pork belly? Hmmm. Not impossible of course, but I'd like to see a bit more rigorous science to support the assertion.

Incidentally, nitrates and nitrites have different modes of action; nitrates aren't even used any more because they're too difficult to calibrate. The bottom line is that it doesn't matter what in vitro studies throw up: if no statistically-significant effect is observed in vivo, then there's nothing to explain in the first place.

Smoked meats contain PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons)

I imagine they do. However, most sausages (in the UK at least) aren't smoked. Same with bacon.

Cooking at high temperatures: Meats cooked at high temperatures can also contain PAHs and heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which can damage DNA.

Again, this might be true, but if it were, you would expect more wide-ranging effects. These are small molecules which would be absorbed through the intestine and passed around the body. An effect confined only to the colon seems a bit implausible, surely?

Heme iron: The heme iron found in red meat may damage the lining of the colon.

Well: does it or doesn't it? This seems incredibly unlikely, since humans have been eating meat for however-many million years. In any case, there is no known association with red meat and cancer of any sort. If the WHO assert that there is, they're cherry-picking:

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

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Thank you for this reply! I'm sick and tired of people spreading misinformation and trying to scare others when it comes to diet!

I see so many people posting on this forum who have misread or misunderstood the information in studies and then they go on to spread fear about "cancer causing foods"

It needs to stop.

Your reply is spot on and I'm so pleased you took the time to write it!

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Yeah, I get a little tired of it all. There may well be some (modest) risks associated with some of the things we routinely eat, and I'm not a fan of heavily-processed foods, but if you believe everything you read in the newspapers, it looks like it's only safe to eat raw beans and drink water.

My impression is that it takes a very specific combination of dietary mistakes to really make yourself ill, and paradoxically this endless fearmongering ends up pushing people towards precisely that outcome. The modern diet already lacks diversity, and telling people to eliminate this and that and the other on flimsy evidence ends up making a bad situation even worse.

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Good reply! 😊

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Refreshing to read a sensible educated response.

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I eat healthy 90% of the time for IBS reasons but i will have a day here and there where i cheat.

U could do that, just dont eat bad every day coz u will regret it especially if u have lost weight .. i lost about 21/2 stone and its what stops me as i think WHY WOULD I WANT TO HAVE TO START ALL OVER AGAIN?

So just eat in moderation... u may find ur body doesnt actually want it now.. as ur stomach may have shrunk and ur feel majorly bloated. For every cheat day have a healthy day break it down.

As u may feel like u want to go all out and it a vacation and u want to eat what u want to but ive had 3 vacations this year all “ All inclusive” and i still couldnt eat and drink like i used to. I came back 2lb heavier.

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Hi FrankW

Welcome to the Healthy eating forum. Sounds like you've made some positive changes to your eating regime - and I hope you're finding it a positive experience. I feel sure you can achieve a 'middle ground' where you enjoy your vacation and enjoy festive foods - my suggestion would be to focus on enjoying your holiday - and maybe just be mindful of what you're choosing - you can think about your portion sizes and just enjoy the experiences that come your way.

Most of all, have a lovely holiday.

Zest :-)

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Thanks. I'll do that. Overall, i'm finding it positive and finding a lot of healthy foods enjoyable that i never did before. I actually lost 80 lbs the "wrong way" by eating junk but just much less of it. I have 50 more to go and, now that i've changed the foods that i eat, i find that i'm eating all day and still losing. I'm finding it hard to get UP to the minimum number of calories for the day by the time i go to bed. I never thought i'd have that problem!

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Congratulations on your progress, and it's great that you're enjoying your food and feeing healthier. Really good!

Zest :-)

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I agree Zest

From my experience, in the four years that I changed many of my food choices, lost the excesss weight and maintained , I still enjoy a sherry, mince pie, or roast potato with my festive fayre , but usually one or two is quite enough.

I deprive myself of absolutely nothing during Christmas week, but I honestly find I don't want such things in any quantity anymore. I'm more likely to crave a satsuma than a chocolate orange!!😊

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I love a satsuma. :-)

Zest :-)

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My plan is to eat some nice home cooked meals, say some special breakfasts, a roast dinner or two, a couple of nice puddings, a glass or two of wine, a nice gin with slimline tonic, etc but not to run amok on processed snacks and sweets, so no eating two whole tubs of pringles per day, no dipping into bucket loads of sweets and choccies, no family tins of biscuits all to myself, in fact I intend to stay off that processed junk completely. Also, I don't intend to eat all of the above snacks at my workplace every single day the whole way through December and into the New Year as I might have done in the past, along with my festive colleagues :)

I plan to keep the feast days limited to a few this year then get back to normal healthy eating. I will probably have a fast day as well :)

So, my answer to your original question - enjoy your holiday, eat the real food - the cheese, the ham, the turkey, the cooked breakfast, maybe even the good quality ice cream, but steer away from all the processed junk. Then, when the holiday is over quickly get back to your normal healthy diet :)

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That's basically my plan but right after the holiday is my only two week vacation of the year and i want to indulge. I'm wondering how two weeks of indulging will set me back. I hear you about the processed foods though. I'm thinking i'll eat a lot of dark greens throughout the day to try to balance it out somewhat.

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Just not fussing. If you like dark green vegetables and can easily get them on holiday, great. If not, it's honestly no biggie.

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Just watch the processed and sugary foods. That is where weight will go on at a alarming rate!

Just eat till ur not hungry and stop dont over eat.. but eat what u want.

We tend to over eat just b aware when ur eating coz ur hungry and when ur just eating coz ur on vacation or it xmas then ur just eating fir sake of it and weight will just go on as our bodies only need a certain amount of food and fats to live so the fat goes elsewhere if u over eat.

My arse usually 😂😂😂

As my trainer tell me “ it so hard to lose them pounds , it

So easy to gain them” !! Thats what puts me off

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That's the way ! 👍

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I very much agree sunny!

U can have a good xmas i have the same xmas dinner as everyone else just portion control, i try not to over eat. Eat till ur not hungry and stop!

Loadsa veg and lean meat, a few roasties.

A gluten dairy free afters . Prob home made apple crumble and plant based custard.

Even chocolate( tend to stick to dark chocolate).

A few gin and slimline tonics...

Just no processed food or high in sugar food.

I been dieting so long my stomach couldnt cope with it anymore.

I lost 40 pounds and i dont want to put it back on simple as that.

Plus i have ibs and ive found all these things help

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yum! sounds great - love an apple crumble as a treat :)

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Whenever I am forced to go off-piste I work hard to get something into my diet daily that counteracts some of what I might face. So, for me I ensure my breakfast porridge will have blueberries. The blueberries have a fabulous ability to seriously temper sugar absorption that lasts for days. So if you are worried about that sugar rush caused by rich deserts then adding blueberries is a must. The porridge made up of 200g of oats means I am not indulging on snacks, leaving my body to concentrate on the main meals. Also all that fibre really cleans out the bowels thus thoroughly washing away any impurities and over-indulgences from the previous night.

Next I need to get my omega-3's on board and so that means a bag of dark leafy greens. If I suspect that I might be eating chips then this is a perfect counter-balance.

Finally keep drinking that water, again to help flush your system. With my diet normally I don't need to drink much water, even before/during/after my hot yoga because I am getting so much purified water from my fruit and veg. But if my oils increase with say deep fried sweet potato chips then I need to top up the water.

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some interesting tips, thanks :)

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Thanks. I'll get some blueberries too. I definitely drink a lot of water. That's one thing i never had a problem with. I always have a bottle of water nearby to drink from.

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Hey,

I definitely think you should enjoy eating what you want on your vacation. If you eat pretty clean on the daily those 2 weeks shouldn't completely mess your progress up. I know for me I eat pretty clean most of the time and when I'm on vacation I eat whatever I want. Usually gain 5-7 pounds but it's very temporary. the week I get back I go back to eating clean and am back to my original weight within the week. I'm usually just really bloated for that week to lol If you do still want watch what you eat I would say do a mix of both, or if you have pancakes that day maybe pass on the pie later. Also I've found if I drink full glass of water before I eat a cheat meal/meals I'll be to full to overeat. Also if you can try and take some walks on your vacation. Then you wont feel as bad for eating what you want. :)

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It really depends upon if you have any health goals and what your health goals are. 2 weeks of eating junk is a long time and it will definitely disrupt your system. Not only will you shock your system by suddenly bombarding it with chemicals, synthetic vitamins, salt, and unhealthy fats, but you will also probably plug up your digestive tract or have the opposite effect. If it's really important to give up healthy eating for 2 weeks and to suddenly consume junk, my vote is for option #2 and eat the junk in moderation, but make sure to consume healthy foods like greens and fiber to keep things moving.

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I say enjoy your vacation. If you are being healthy that consistently otherwise I'm sure you deserve a treat.

A tip might be to look for sausages with high pork content or lean sausages, choose endless bacon, have a light cream/ sauce option with desert.

Maybe just make 1 or 2 little tweaks to each meal so you're still enjoying the flavours. Another key tip will be portion size. Maybe try to have a slightly smaller portion than you would have before and add 1 more healthy option (I.e an extra bit of salad or veg or fruit instead of the extra unhealthy option). I think you can successfully have your happy vacation & still make some little good choices along the way.

Then your still keeping your mind thinking about the good work.youve already done.

But enjoy yourself. No point putting in all this effort to be worried & uptight about your meals when it's your hard earned relaxation time.

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It's not the rich foods that you really enjoy as part of annual feasting that are the issue... it's overeating or eating things that happen to make you feel rubbish in some way. And food doesn't fall into 'junk' or 'healthy' in that binary way so I wouldn't personally go for either of your suggested strategies. What you have listed isn't necessarily 'junk' at all.

I don't know how much control you have over the *quality* of what you eat in this period? That makes a difference - a lot of the time, fairly straightforward foods and meals will be satisfying with small quantities and don't of themselves drive you to eat excessively, unless you have a habit for some reason or are under social pressure. It's often the snacking 'because it is there' that is unhelpful.

Enjoy your food! You may in practice find that you naturally prefer now to eat more moderately of foods that are not for everyday eating.

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I can't really understand why you have to go from a healthy diet to an very unhealthy one because you are on holiday. Being on holiday means feeling good and I suspect that if you change your diet like that you will feel pretty grim except for the periods of time that you are actually eating.

Don't take this wrong but you are using words like junk and damage in relation to food. I think you might be answering your own question.

Dee

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Just read your post and was a bit confused, as just because you are going on holiday, why do you need to fill up on what you call "junk food". You can eat sausages, bacon and eggs, but in a healthy way. Grilling, boiling etc. As for ice-cream, you can have that, just small amounts. I don't know what your dietary needs are, or if you are losing lots of weight etc, but if you are conscious of healthy eating everyday, and you count calories, you can always cut back on a meal, so you can eat your treats. Also, do you need/want to eat those foods everyday? I am looking forward to the holiday season myself, but as I don't really eat cake and biscuits very often, then I know for me it won't be too much of a problem. I can always say no to something. Anyway, have a lovely holiday and enjoy, rather than worry about the food side of it.

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I just came back from vacation and i'm catching up on these posts (i don't use the internet on vacation). I ate some greens and exercised daily (15-25 minutes per day on the exercise bike). but other than that, my diet was mainly junk food as mentioned above. I get the idea of substituting, cooking things in a healthy way and eating smaller amounts but, to me, that kind of defeats the purpose of eating those foods. So, after 2 weeks of eating junk, i weighed myself this morning. I gained 18 pounds! I didn't think that was possible. To put things in perspective, i had lost 19 pounds from 11/1/18-12/24/18 so i'm pretty much where i started on 11/1. Still, i had no idea it was possible to gain 18 pounds in 2 weeks but i pulled it off! :(. I'm going to eat fruit for a couple days and then go from there.

Interestingly, i did find it easier to exercise consistently every day on vacation. Probably due to the extra protein. I wonder how much i would have gained if i hadn't exercised!

BTW, the vacation food tasted GREAT! Even given the weight gain, i'm still glad i did it. I can get back on track and lose it again (and more).

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