When it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle, it’s crucial to control what we eat, says Susan Levy, founder and president of Well-Fed Me. She’s an expert in the essential ingredients in food and what people should be looking for in every meal. And she has been an active member of Go Red for Women since its start, educating and bringing awareness to women of the realities of heart disease and the actions we can take to prevent it.
“When the Go Red movement started, few women knew about their risks for heart disease and the difference in a woman’s warning signs,” says Levy. “Now over 50 percent of women know about their risks. While that is commendable, it also means there is still a lot more work to do.”
She notes that food portion sizes have increased over the years with the accessibility of cheaper ingredients. Unfortunately, she says, we are “trained to eat 92 percent of what’s on our plates, so the bigger the plate, the more we eat.” But even in a world of large portions, she emphasizes, we still have the ability to choose what we put on our plates.
“If you concentrate on getting just one ingredient, it would be fiber,” advises Levy. “The more fiber you eat, the more
plant-based diet you are eating since fiber is found mostly in plants. Fiber keeps us full longer and acts as a sponge to absorb toxins as well as a scrub brush for our digestive tract.”
For some, taking a more hands-on approach to food is daunting, but Levy makes it easier by reminding people of the importance of wholesome ingredients, beginning with fiber. “Eighty percent of all chronic diseases and conditions can be prevented by the food we choose to eat,” she says. Other elements of a healthier lifestyle include moving more, sleeping better, choosing water as the beverage of choice, dealing with stress, and having a supportive and loving community.
“What we do matters every day,” Levy emphasizes. “And the one place we have the most control is in our own kitchens. If we fill it with good choices, then we’ll eat better. If we fill it with junk, then we have only ourselves to blame. It really is up to us.”
JORDAN MARIE MARTINEZ
For additional information: goredforwomen.org