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Firefighter Health: Cooking your way to a healthier tomorrow

Fad diets and “miraculous” pills continue to be a huge market because people still want weight loss to be quick and a small amount of effort. Luckily, the market is getting smaller and people are becoming more aware on the issue thanks to the spread of information, but it has still not been a strong enough force to make the diet pill obsolete. Desiring to lose weight or make a lifestyle change is a fantastic thing, and can have a drastic impact on your life and your career as a firefighter. Although it takes some persistence and work, there really aren't many secrets when it comes to losing weight. Proper diet and exercise have the power to overhaul your entire physical appearance and mental outlook.

Cooking and eating right is tricky with all the convenient food options and poor information that are constantly shoved in the public's face, but by making a few simple changes in the kitchen, pounds can shed off faster than you could imagine. Everyone’s situation may be different, but try out these cooking tips the next time you are fixing up a meal at home or in the firehouse and see how they work for you. Finally, remember, cooking doesn't have to be boring when you are losing weight. Set aside time to prepare food and have some fun with it. Creativity is the key and can help to make eating very well extremely enjoyable.

Cooking with vegetable oil has become the go-to in many people’s home, and is a method that should be done away with. Adding a bit of vegetable oil to the pan isn't going to hugely influence your weight, but the calories do add up quicker than you may think. Although it does a great job coating the pan, the calories found in vegetable oil are not of high quality. They provide nothing essential to the body and can play a role in raising LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff). The body has a difficult time breaking it down, and for this reason alone, it is a wise idea to leave it on the shelf. As an alternative, try cooking with coconut oil or grass-fed butter. Both do an unreal job of enhancing the flavor of whatever food you are frying, and both are packed with high-quality fats. Your body is able to digest and utilize them very quickly, making them both a great source of energy.

Deep-fried food may taste great as a once-and-a-while treat, but constantly turning on the deep fryer to cook your meals is a big no. Again, vegetable oil is the oil of choice for most deep-frying machines and they provide no nutritional value to the body. Besides vegetable oil being used, deep-frying machines coat the food in a ton of oil, providing a large amount of additional calories. This is definitely an item to stay away from if you are looking to improve your health and body fat. On a similar note, many frozen foods undergo a similar process to deep-frying before being frozen with many preservatives, meaning you should throw any frozen-food items in the garbage as soon as you are done reading this article.

Pan-frying food can be very convenient in many situations, but often requires the use of an oil or fat to coat the pan. There are zero-calorie pan sprays available, but for the most part additional calories are being placed on the pan to cook the food. This is fine if you are using coconut oil or grass-fed butter, but the alternatives are not so great. For a change of pace, try cooking with a barbecue or oven. This will give your food a distinct flavor and will make the use of oil obsolete.

How many vegetables are in your fridge right now? Veggies can be a very bland and boring addition to any meal, but this is only the case when you decide to put very little effort forward. The majority of vegetables are packed full of powerful nutrients and are nearly all low calorie. Cook your vegetables on the barbecue or pan and load them with tasty spices. Add salt, butter, or whatever you feel like at the moment, and enjoy in large quantities. Putting thought into your veggie dishes can really help add a new dynamic to your meals.

As for dessert, sometimes it can’t be avoided, and make sure you are prepared when the craving comes. Creating a fruit dish is a great dessert option and will generally be quite low in calories. There are other low calorie options, such as sugar-free ice creams, but the nutritional quality is fairly low. Stick with high nutrient foods and your body will thank you.

In conclusion, realize that in order to become more healthy, your eating habits will need to change. This doesn't require a complete overhaul all at once, but by incorporating the ideas described above you will be on your way down the road of healthy in no time. And for that, your family, community and co-workers will thank you. 




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