Wellness Jackie’s Way: Happiness is food

When summer arrives, we look forward to the pace of everyday life slowing down and other good things such as taking a vacation! At the end of July, I was fortunate to be able to travel overseas for a family vacation in London. As you probably know, in order to travel to Europe you must endure a six-hour flight “across the pond” and an eight-hour flight on the return trip. For me, I was looking forward to “forced sitting.”

My life usually operates at a fast pace and the long plane rides allowed me to take the time to read, relax and watch movies. As I scrolled through the choices I found myself in the documentary section and discovered a perfect selection – a movie about food! The title was, “Overfed and Undernourished.” This documentary was about a teenage boy named Liam, in Australia, who decided to commit to losing weight.

Did you know that one in four kids in Australia is overweight or obese? Where will this country be in 20 years? It is a frightening statistic. Although the movie went through the usual order of things required to lose weight such as increased exercise, improved diet — mostly plant based, increased consumption of water, etc., what really hit home for me was the psychological component. They spent a lot of time talking about this topic. That is the mind-body relationship between feeling healthy and true happiness.

To take it a step further, when you are practicing healthy habits and living what’s considered a healthy lifestyle, you feel like you are doing good things for your body and future. This is positive and feeds into a sense of happiness.

Of course, we all want to feel and be happy. But, have you ever reflected on your personal level of happiness and how it relates to what you eat? And consequently, how it relates to your state of health? The point not to be missed is that our health directly impacts our happiness so much that it can’t be ignored. Time and time again I see clients that make the same statement, “I wish I took better care of myself 20 years ago.”

Ask yourself, are you doing what you really want to do with your life? Is impaired health preventing you or getting in the way of enjoying various activities? Do you feel positive about your future?

These are questions that identify if we need to make changes to our lifestyle. Frequent answers of “no” can be traced back to unhealthy food choices and eating habits. Getting involved with your food is step one with embracing nutrition and practicing healthier habits. A few of my mantras are to cook as many meals as possible, to garden even if it means one potted tomato plant and to shop in grocery stores frequently.

However, there are so many addictive components such as sugar, salt and fat, running rampant in our society and accepted as standard. It’s no wonder that more than half of Americans are overweight or obese and experiencing health problems as a result. National Institutes of Health estimates that three-quarters of the American population will likely be overweight or obese by 2020. Ben Franklin said, “One should eat to live, not live to eat.” Well said, Ben.

Well, the good news is that it’s not too late. Reconsider what you are putting on your plate and look at it as a means to fuel or nourish not only your physical body but also your sense of true happiness. Start by going to the grocery store and buying local and fresh and making your refrigerator bright and colorful. The inspiration will hit you in the face when it’s mealtime and you need to fix something to eat. If you need motivation to not grab the ice cream or other sweets, think of immediate gratification as an action that can cost us our health over time.

In the documentary of Liam, after he lost weight he became more social at school. His grades and overall academics improved. He joined the school soccer team and began exercising while interacting with others, something that was lacking before he lost weight. His sense of self-esteem was improved and many more benefits were achieved all through practicing new healthy habits for a period of 90 days. His newly adopted lifestyle gave him his body back, gave him his life back. And he can feel positive about his future. It’s safe to say that he felt happier.

Food is so much more than a means to fill our stomachs. It fills our soul with happiness. Therefore we need to commit to practice daily optimal nutrition as a means of living a long-term healthy lifestyle. Begin like Liam, and go for 90 days to set the stage for your new body, your new long-term, happy, life plan.


Here’s a recipe that I made after getting it from this September’s Cooking Light magazine:

3 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
10 oz. medium shrimp, peeled
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sliced green onions
16 oz. fresh cauliflower, chopped
½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
¼ tsp. salt

Heat 1-1/2 tsp. sesame oil in large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook for three minutes. Remove shrimp from pan.

Return pan to med high. Add 1-½ tsp. oil and eggs. Cook for 2 minutes stirring once. Fold cooked eggs in half and remove from pan. Cool cut into half-inch pieces.

Heat the remaining two tbsp. oil in pan over med high heat. Add ¾ C green onions and cauliflower; cook for five minutes without stirring or until browned. Stir in shrimp, eggs, pepper, and salt. Top with remaining ¼ C green onions.

Serving size 1 cup: Cals: 269; Fat 17g ( unsaturated. 12g/ saturated 4g); Protein 20g; Carb 9g; Fiber 3g; Sugars 3g; Sodium 358mg

* Tate4foodandfitness.com Tate4foodandfitness@verizon.net

** The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of Chadds Ford Live. We welcome opposing viewpoints. Readers may comment in the comments section or they may submit a Letter to the Editor to editor@chaddsfordlive.com

About Jackie Tate

Jackie Tate has been working in the health and fitness industry for 25 years. She has a master’s of science degree in health education and a bachelor’s of science degree in nutrition, both from Penn State. Early in her career she was recruited by Johnson & Johnson to work in their diabetes division during which time she earned her diabetes educator certification. In 2009, she developed a health and wellness consulting business. Tate’s Wellness Company enables her to work with individuals to create personalized dietary plans using a one-on-one consultation approach. She conducts personal training sessions and leads fitness classes at Way Martial Arts in West Chester, Darlington Arts in Garnet Valley, and the Concord Country Club in Concord Township. Jackie is a certified fitness trainer, Silver Sneakers and zumba Instructor. Additionally, she teaches nutrition to students attending the Academy of International Ballet in Glen Mills. Lamb McErlane, PC is one of Jackie’s corporate clients where she delivers nutritious Lunch N Learn sessions for employees as part of their on-going commitment to wellness. Jackie has a passion for inspiring people to lead healthier lifestyles through optimal nutrition and fitness. Tate4foodandfitness.com Tate4foodandfitness@verizon.net

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