Everywhere you go there's talk about healthy living these days. We as Americans have been on a kick for years about our health. There's a commercial that portrays this very well - it's for a synthetic butter showing a black-and-white family from 1950-something sitting down to dinner with huge sticks of real butter on everything, where today's family uses this "healthy butter" substitute instead.
My best friend and I went to lunch the other day and were discussing this. We both talk about this topic a lot since I used to be a dancer and have always known quite a bit about keeping healthy, and she had bariatric surgery almost two years ago and was forced into her healthy habits by this procedure, but has adapted quite well. I asked her what she thought healthy living was and how it could differentiate from what society tells us is "healthy".
She said that (and I agree with a lot of what she said) as long as you feel good, that's what would be healthy for you. It's all about portion sizes: for American's, bigger = better. Meal sizes have tripled in the last decades and so have our waistlines to fit the bill (no pun intended). If we could learn how to manage our portion sizes and know what fills us up and what is excessive, we would be much better off.
My beef (again, no pun intended) is with all these "health food" companies shoving soy products and cardboard, tasteless crap down my throat everyday and telling me it's "good for me". I don't mind tofu in a few things, like how it's used at my favorite Japanese restaurant in sushi and soup, but I'm not about to go on a strictly soy diet because a commercial tells me it's "healthy".... or all this "low-fat" "low-carb" stuff, where you read the labels and they're stuffed full of salt and sugar to compensate taste for what they took out of it. All this "diet" stuff tastes awful and, in my opinion, all the synthetic elements cannot be very good for you... no wonder the deceased aren't decomposing!!
My opinion is that healthy living is what you feel good about doing. If you like exercise, great! Do it as often as you want to make yourself feel great. I love bike riding in the summer after work - helps get my mind off of the gripes of the day and relaxes me. Some people don't have time nor motivation to exercise, but feel fine. I say that's alright, do what you like and as long as you're not complaining to me about how crappy you feel, I'm ok with that.
I think that the more "pure" foods you have in your diet, the better. Fresh fruits and vegetables, real dairy products (perhaps lower in fat, like skim milk instead of full fat) and products with minimal processing are the best for you. I say if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it!
I know I'm not the most innocent person here - I enjoy "junk" foods and ate plenty of fast food when I was younger, but now that I'm focusing on what my body is telling me it likes, the less "bad" stuff I intake. I tend to stay away from fast food which is better for my health (and wallet) and eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables daily as I can.
My friend and I also talked about supplements. You see commercials all the time about health supplements that help you to "live healthier". If you were eating properly in the first place, you wouldn't need something to "supplement" your diet, would you?!
I think that the bottom line is: use common sense. If a food choice has things in it that you don't even know what they are or where they come from, would you really want to eat it? Would you want your family eating that? Do what feels good for yourself, and that's your idea of "healthy living" instead of what society tells you what to do... stick it to the man, eat an apple!