Improve Your On-the-Road Eating Habits

Business travel and road trips can prove to include poor eating habits. There are ways, however, to make your meals and trips heart-healthier.

Take Out

One study recently revealed a significantly higher risk of developing atherosclerosis disease amongst business travelers. Atherosclerosis is a slow, steady, clogging of the arteries. The main culprits in this social business diet are large meals mainly consisting of high-fat foods and lots of alcohol.

Being that cardiovascular disease causes over 17 million deaths annually, it behooves us to be aware of what we’re putting in our bodies. Granted, it’s not just poor eating habits that lend to our risk of heart disease. Lack of exercise, sleep and overwhelming amounts of stress also contribute.

Three Courses

The study examined the health effects of three different types of eating plans. One plan was the Mediterranean diet, which consisted of fruits, veggies, fish, legumes, and nuts. Another was the Western diet, which included red and processed meats, dairy products, and refined grains. And the other, the social-business plan, looked a lot like the Western diet but included more unhealthy snacks and excessive amounts of alcohol.

The results were recently published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology. According to fMRI and ultra-sound test results, those who ate the “business” diet revealed a “significantly worse cardiovascular risk profile” than the Mediterranean diet folks.

Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine
Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine

On the Road Again

It can be tough avoiding fast foods when you’re on the road. And sometimes they can seem appealing—until you’re finished with the meal and feel regretful and gross. Here are some tips for making your road trip or business trip healthier overall:

– Drink more water

Drink less sugary beverages and limit alcohol consumption

– Carry around snacks like nuts, low-sugar granola, fruit, and baby carrots

– Avoid red meat; substitute grilled poultry or fish

– Salads are great—keep the dressing healthy and low-fat

– Plan your meal ahead. Figure out when, where, and what, beforehand. With everyone running around, getting “hangry”, you’re bound to make impulsive food decisions.

– If you’re driving, keep a small cooler in the car filled with non-sugary drinks and crunchy raw veggies

– Get good rest. Meetings don’t need to go late into the night. Also, for safety’s sake, you don’t want to be driving when you’re tired. While traveling, “early to bed, early to rise,” is a wise choice.

– Take brisk morning walks. Use hotel swim or gym facilities. Carve out time during the day (even a few minutes) to move your body. Driving and working all day without stretching is awful for your posture (back and neck, too.)

If you’re the kind of person who eats well and lives a healthy lifestyle at home, there’s no reason you can’t continue those behaviors while on the road. Coming home feeling like you need a vacation or a detox isn’t any fun. Safe and restful travels…

More Danger Linked to Eating Red Meat

Although there have already been plenty of reports encouraging the avoidance or decrease of red meat consumption, there’s one more to add to the list.  Men, in particular, who eat a considerable amount of red meat are at higher risk of developing a painful, chronic colon condition.

What We Already Know

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a variety of foods, mostly plant-based. Ideally, one’s plate would be half vegetables and fruits, a quarter whole grains and legumes, and a quarter protein. Unfortunately, many Americans are still plating up unprocessed red meats (burgers and steaks) as their protein of choice.

Choosing lean meats (poultry), fish, and beans as a protein is better overall for heart and colon health. One theory for the disturbance that red meat causes in the body is that it interferes with the gut microbiome. This negatively affects proper digestion. Other evidence points to consumption of red meat fueling low-level inflammation. Chronic inflammation, at any level, is dangerous and has been known to increase risk of cancer.

So, Now What Are They Saying?

A new study out of Boston found that men who ate over 10 servings of red meat per week were over 50% more likely to develop diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is a pouch in the lining of the colon that becomes inflamed of infected. Food and bacteria get trapped in the pocket(s), which creates the perilous condition.

This inflammatory disease of the colon causes extreme pain, constipation, and nausea. Diverticulitis can result in dangerous complications such as blockages and/or tears in the colon wall. If the increase of heart disease or cancer didn’t scare you, perhaps the results of this study may.

Senior researcher Dr. Andrew Chan noted that in this study, there was no link between poultry or fish and the risk of diverticulitis. What this means is that trading out a piece of grilled chicken for a hamburger can greatly decrease a man’s risk of developing diverticulitis. The study was conducted over a 26-year period and included over 46,000 male participants.

How to Proceed

If you love a good steak or burger, you don’t need to remove it completely from your diet (unless your health practitioner has made that recommendation.) Aim to keep your servings to three or less per week. There are many delicious and nutrient-rich replacements for high protein dishes besides red meat.

A plant-based diet will keep you heart-healthiest, but chicken, turkey, and fish are completely acceptable sources of main protein on your breakfast, lunch, or dinner plate. Whichever you choose, remember to combine double its portion with vegetables and fruit. For more articles on healthy eating, check out


The Safe Way to Defrost and Refreeze Meats

There’s a wide range of information (and rumors) on best defrosting and refreezing practices. Here are some solid tips on keeping your food health-safe and still tasting good.

Breaking the Ice

Defrosting uncooked food (especially proteins) can be done a couple of ways.

1) Remove the meat or fish from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator until it thaws. Once it’s thawed, you’ll need to cook it.

If it’s only partially thawed, meaning, if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, you may refreeze it safely. Anytime you are freezing, defrosting, microwaving, or cooking food, its molecular composition alters. In this case, refreezing partially-thawed protein may affect the taste, but it will still be safe to eat.

2) Instead of leaving food in the fridge to defrost, you can place it in a plastic bag and run cold water over it. This method is thought to keep the product’s best flavor.

Water conducts heat faster than air, so this is also a speedier process. The only thing is, once the protein is defrosted, you have to cook it right away.

NEVER Defrost Meat, Poultry, or Seafood on the Counter at Room Temperature. Also, don’t defrost by running the food under warm or hot water.

Ms. Hanes, a registered dietician with the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Inspection Service, offers that warning. Bacteria can set in and grow rapidly on food where there’s warmth. Once the food is thawed, bacteria can start to multiply within minutes if it’s set out. Even in the fridge, once thawed, a protein will not last more than a day or two, tops. If there’s an odd smell or off-color, don’t even bother to cook it. Toss it.

What You Can Refreeze

As covered, you can refreeze raw meats as long as they haven’t completely thawed. If in doubt, cook it.

-You can also freeze any meats after they are cooked. However, frozen, already-cooked food should only be thawed once, when you’re ready to immediately reheat and eat.

-You can freeze vegetables, fruit, bagels, cakes, and other processed foods. You can also refreeze them safely. The only thing is that their texture and flavor changes every time they semi-thaw and then get refrozen. After a while, it might not be too appetizing.

Hold it, Freeze!

If you’ve bought something like shrimp that was frozen but then was partially thawed at the grocer’s, don’t refreeze it. That would be a double freeze, and although safe, it’s not going to taste very good.

Of course buying and using fresh foods will be your most delicious and safe way to eat. But understanding how to handle food safely will keep food poisoning at bay. Next time, don’t get cold feet; refreeze if you have to, as long it wasn’t raw and warm first.

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