Posts Tagged 'lent'

Fast to last

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With the season of Lent being over, we finally get to indulge on what we gave up on after an excruciating 40-day period. Going without our guilty pleasures for a long period of time sounds crazy, right? Should we be even complaining if Jesus fasted without any food for 40 days? Realistically, going to the extent of 40 days without food is nearly impossible, but there are factors that contribute to how long a person can survive such as how hydrated they are prior to fasting, whether you have access to water, your current location, and fat accumulation. I wanted to go beyond a life or death situation and dig deeper into whether “fasting” is a quick dieting option and weigh out the benefits and risk it can bring to your health.

The method of fasting has been around for thousands of years, but its practice has always been under controversial debate. The thought of it sounds so appealing, and simple – say no to food for quick weight loss results, right? It’s not that easy. Many confuse that the practice results in losing weight, but instead you are opting for quick fluid loss, which is easy to get rid, but just as easy to get back. It has the ability to lower your metabolic rate, that has fattening results after the process of fasting. Muslims who practice Ramadan are highly recommended to consume plenty of water before fasting periods, due to the high risk of dehydration because their bodies are not gaining fluid from foods. Fasting can disrupt sleep, which results to overall stress that eventually leads to a constant cycle.

Now despite all these risks, there are surprisingly benefits to the practice of fasting. For this diet to result in the least amount of risk, the subject must already be in a healthy state prior to fasting. The liver, kidney, and spleen, are meant to remove toxins, which if the body isn’t being introduced to any, makes it a lot easier on these organs. It is believed that fasting once a month has the potential to reduce heart disease and diabetes. In a rodent study published in July 2016 in the journal Cancer Cell, the team found that a fasting diet with the chemotherapy, allowed for the immune system to immediately recognize and attack the cancer cells, in addition to

slowing the rate of cell division. Researchers have linked calorie restriction to healthy brain function but has not found corresponding studies in humans. All these factors are potential studies that could possibly make the thought of fasting more appealing to the general public.

Everything is best in moderation. Studies show that possibly dedicating a day within every month could progressively showcase benefits overtime. Fasting as a daily diet, on the other hand, doesn’t seem practical at all. Food is what unities us all together, whether it be a family during dinner, or a country with all its delicacies they have to offer. I personally see food as a time to take a break for myself in order to fuel up for the long day ahead, or a treat as a sense of motivation if I am trying to get work done. Either way, a diet should cater to our lives. It shouldn’t be seen as a hassle, but more like a lifestyle choice.

 

The Pros and Cons of a Pescatarian Diet

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In the spirit of Lent, it is tradition that Catholics are expected to refrain from meat on Fridays. The tradition eludes back to the significance of fasting in correspondence to Jesus’ sacrifice when he died on the cross. Technically, “warm-blooded” animals were considered to be off limits, because they were considered to be an animal that was “sacrificed its life for us,” explains Michael Foley, an associate professor at Baylor University and author of Why Do Catholics Eat Fish On Friday? The importance of consuming fish for sacred holidays also plays a role as to why it is implemented in tradition, even during pre-Christian times. In regard to being forced to avoid meat every Friday throughout Lent leading up to Easter, I was curious as to the benefits and disadvantages of maintaining a pescatarian diet outside of purely religious restrictions.

It is widely known that consuming seafood provides numerous health benefits when implemented into any diet. Fish, in specific, is low in fat, yet high in protein, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids only do wonders for boosting the brain and helping encourage its development. It play a significant role, since our bodies are unable to produce these fats naturally and can’t live without them. It decreases our chances of dying from heart attack, by reducing inflammation, regulating the heartbeat, lowering blood pressure, relaxing the artery walls, and ensuring blood is less likely to clot. Heart problems are ranked as the most common way to die in the United States, with statistics showing that it is kills one in four people among men and women. Taking precautionary measures, is the best way to avoid falling into this common statistic and ensuring a longer, healthier life.

As for the disadvantages of a pescatarian diet, it is no surprise that is it will be more difficult finding ways to gain nutrients that meat is known to heavily provide. Pescatarians need to be more cautious in making sure they have enough protein, iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin B12 implemented within their diet. Making sure that pescatarains are consuming the correct amount tends to be a more difficult task due to how expensive they can be in the market. It makes sense since the world’s supply is so limited. According to Dr. David Jenkins, University of Toronto professor who is a Canada research chair in nutrition and metabolism, “If we continue to consume fish at our current rate “we’ll run out by 2050”. Farmed fish don’t always have the same benefits, due to having a bigger chance of catching disease, in comparison to wild fish who feed off of algae, as oppose to being fed fish meal. Mercury contamination is a bigger concern among larger fish, that is why it is advised to eat fish that lower in the food chain, such as sardines or anchovies, which rely on algae as a main source for their diet.

As you can see, not all diets are perfect. There will always be benefits and disadvantages, no matter how healthy the options may seem. It is a matter of choosing a diet that fits YOUR lifestyle. Most importantly, a diet that is easy to maintain that you know you are capable of keeping up with and having the constant motivation to stick with it.

 

Happy Lenten Season to All,

Diana Banzon

The difference between dieting and disorder

Since this past week marked the beginning of the Lenten season, many of us have either been thinking about or hearing a lot about people around us giving up certain pleasures of life as an act of self-discipline. For many people, their observation comes in the form of cutting out certain foods, avoiding staples ranging from brownies to bread. While hearing about people’s new 40-day diets, though, I cannot help but be a bit concerned that these individuals are still taking care of their bodies effectively.

For me, it all started from stress-induced stomach ulcers in high school. I was put on a strict diet and had to avoid eating all the good stuff that you and I love these days, like excessive sugar, coffee, greasy foods, dairy and, wait for it… CHOCOLATE (jaw drop**). Let me tell you, the first few weeks, it was tough and rice never tasted so bland in my life, but after I saw the effects it had on my body, I began to not mind so much. With my stomach to blame, eating nearly nothing became an easy habit to get into and a terrifying one to break. By avoiding so many foods that I felt were “not good for me,” I began to seriously lack nutrients that I needed to live regularly.

Now, the remainder of this story I will supply another day, but for now I just want it to serve as evidence that I understand first hand what it can be like to suddenly obsess over avoiding the consumption of foods that can generally be seen as bad for you. The point is, giving up specific foods for Lent or dieting is admirable, but being safe and healthy while doing so is where the real value lies.

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, nearly 10 million Americans have an eating disorder. Education, though, can be an excellent method of prevention. By understanding how your body works and the importance of even sugars and fats, you are less likely to diet in a way that hurts your body and more likely to effectively maintain healthier food habits. It isn’t about eating less; it is about eating smarter.

Everyone’s body needs a certain amount of energy in order to function correctly daily. So if you’ve decided to give up carbs or meat for Lent or if your new diet consists of drinking only juice, think about how your body will take in the nutrients it needs to work how it needs to. Finding alternative healthy calorie options to replace those that you have cut out is important. Even if you are trying to lose weight, your body still needs the energy, the nutrients and the vitamins only found in food.

Ok, so fear not. This story has a happy ending. I’m doing great, and if you were to be looking for me, you would probably find me at a buffet at this moment. Many people struggle with eating disorders still, though. If you are unsure about healthy diet methods, or even if you are really damaging your body through your Easter-season fasting, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor. The Marquette Employee Counseling Center has many resources for those suffering from eating disorders, as well. Also, if you or any loved ones show signs of an eating disorder, don’t be afraid to contact the National Eating Disorder helpline.

By raising awareness of healthy dieting habits, we can diminish the prevalence of these debilitating eating disorders.


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