Thursday, 18 April 2013

Nutrition Action Healthletter

A few years ago back when I was still in law school, the Matriarch gave me a subscription to the Nutrition Action Healthletter as a gift. 

For those of you who are not familiar with the magazine, it is published monthly by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest ("CSPI").  CSPI presents itself as the voice of the public on nutrition, food safety, health and other issues. CSPI has long sought to educate the public, advocate government policies that are consistent with scientific evidence on health and environmental issues, and counter industry’s powerful influence on public opinion and public policies.

Each month the magazine contains interesting articles about nutrition, the benefits of exercise, and food safety.  They also regularly have a recipe page, with healthy and delicious recipes that fit perfectly into a calorie-reduced or sodium-reduced diet.  My favourite part of the magazine, however, is the "Food Porn" on the back cover.  

Presented as a counterpoint to a healthy food choice, the Food Porn either consists of something I have previously consumed (ahem), or something that, in my unguarded moments, I look at and think to myself "wow, that looks delicious".  A quick review of Food Porn from recent issues includes food such as President's Choice Dine-In Tonight Beef Meat Lasagne, Boston Pizza's Chocolate Explosion, Quiznos' Chicken Carbonara Sub, Swiss Chalet's Rotisserie Chicken Quesadilla, and East Side Mario's Stuffed Mushroom Caps. Inevitably these mouthwatering food selections are high in calories, high in saturated fats, and, depending on whether they are sweet or savoury, high in sugar or sodium to boot. 

When the Matriarch first got me the subscription to this magazine, I never exercised and I was eating All The Bad Things (and lots of 'em).  I found CSPI's constant harping about saturated fat to be tedious and more than a bit preachy, and the Food Porn section seemed designed to take all the pleasure out of my most indulgent guilty pleasures.  I never read the magazines, and let the subscription lapse. 

Fast forward a few years to this month.  I now live in a world with daily exercise, and I actually pay attention to things like saturated fat and sodium now.  I still would love to sit down at a meal made up entirely of Food Porn (my emotional eating is never too far under the surface, after all), but now my brain understands why that would set me back.  Frankly now, I would begrudge the calories.  I have a strictly "look but don't touch" approach to the Food Porn now. 

Recently, the Matriarch mentioned an article in the magazine, and when I expressed an interest, she brought me all her back issues on hand.  The Nerd and I now have a stack of Nutrition Action Healthletters going back to 2008, full of information and recipes to be explored.  The first weekend we had the magazines the Nerd came to bed and said "this will sound strange, but I really want to try some of these salads from the magazine".  And do you know what?  They were delicious

So now we're diving into the big stack of magazines and catching up on years of missed articles.  I wasn't ready to internalize any of the information in the magazines when I first got my subscription, but I am now, and I am enjoying the magazines more than I expected.  They are a light read - - none of them are more than 20 pages or so, but they're packed with useful information. 

Thankfully, the Matriarch has been able to add the "I told you so" with respect to the Nutrition Action Healthletter to her repertoire, to accompany her "I told you so" with respect to the elliptical machine.  It gives her such pleasure. 

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