Sunday, June 21, 2009

Plastic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery is an interesting topic and it is becoming more popular each year. According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery there were 11.7 million cosmetic procedures performed in 2007. I'm sure that number has only grown since then.

I'd like to preface this post by saying I think cosmetic and reconstructive surgery can be a great blessing for many people who have been disfigured by accidents or birth defects. Cosmetic surgery may help some feel more confident by correcting physical abnormalities, however this topic is usually dominated by celebrities and surgery addicts that we see in the media. Most cases we read about or see on T.V. are done out of vanity rather than necessity, but unless we are talking about extreme cases, I'm not going to pass judgement in this post.

Years ago I read the book Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. He was a plastic surgeon and he made some interesting observations from years of practice. He found that some of his patients had increased confidence and better self esteem after surgery but many others did not. He promoted visualization and self affirmation techniques to those who were still lacking confidence after surgery. He concluded that more important than one's appearance is how people really feel about themselves.

As cosmetic procedures become more popular, I guess it's only a matter of time until you see plastic surgery offered at Costco or at the mall. I've heard some people say how happy they are with their surgery but I've heard others express regret. It's obviously a good idea to get all the facts and do your homework before submitting to any surgical procedure, especially an elective one that you may not need.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Whole Foods

I have recently become more aware of the increasing number of ingredients I have been seeing on food labels. Sometimes I am baffled at how many ingredients show up in simple foods. In a week moment I recently bought some instant Alfredo noodles that are made by Nissin which is the same company that makes ramen noodles. It included 3 flavor packs and one was referred to as "liquid seasoning". This peaked my curiosity so I read the ingredients and there were close to 60 and I didn't recognize many of them.

In order to understand some labels it helps to have a PHD in chemistry so you can pronounce some of the ingredients. Many of these are added to improve color, taste, texture, and to help preserve the food. I understand why they are added, but it makes me wonder how healthy these foods really are.

Many foods we eat have been so processed and refined that we miss out on some of the food benefits they offer in their natural state like fiber and antioxidants. White bread made with refined flour has little nutrition value so it is usually fortified to compensate. Whole foods have many benefits, but when you peel the apple or refine the wheat you begin to lose some of the benefits of that food.

I have heard a couple simple rules that I think could be helpful suggestions when trying to make healthy food choices. If a food has more than 15 ingredients then be careful and if it didn't exist 1,000 years ago you may want to avoid it. This would eliminate foods like like Cheetos, Cheese whiz, Gogurt, Captain Crunch, etc.

I am not an extremist. I am not even really into organic food. I try to eat healthy but I occasionally enjoy food that I know has little nutritional value. I think everyone would benefit by eating more whole foods in their natural state as opposed to something that is orange flavored and colored but has none of the benefits of an actual orange. When faced with a choice of highly processed foods or food in it's natural state, go with the whole foods.