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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2003

Make the right choices, forget pills, says Brody

BY VANESSA WINANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Jane Brody, third from left, a New York Times columnist and author of several books on health, meets with Anne Thorik, left, and others during a reception. Jane Brody, third from left, a New York Times columnist and author of several books on health, meets with Anne Thorik, left, and others during a reception.
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The key to a healthy, long life lies not in the vitamin pills you pop, but in the more basic choices you make, according to nutrition guru Jane Brody.

“It s time to make changes in your eating and exercise habits, your smoking habits, your stress management habits,” she said in a speech last night at the Stranahan Theater.

“Because the real secret to a longer, healthier, happier life is not fancy drugs and medical technology and surgery; the real secret lies in how you live your life.

“That means, what and how much you eat, how you move your body, how you manage stress, whether you abuse alcohol or drugs or smoke cigarettes, and even whether you use seat belts.”

Ms. Brody, longtime health columnist for the New York Times and author of several books on food and nutrition, spoke before an attentive crowd of 350-400. The talk was the final in this year s “Authors! Authors!” series, co-sponsored by The Blade and the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.

Healthful choices don t necessarily mean tiny quantities of boring food, she said.

“A healthy life is not a life of deprivation and self-denial,” she said. “Heart-healthy foods, health-promoting foods can be truly delicious. ... Eating can, and eating should, remain a basic human pleasure without undermining your health.”

But eating well isn t always easy in this country. “America is a nutritional wasteland,” she said, with stores selling “tens of thousands of things I would never put in my body.”

And while Americans consume a lower percentage of fat than we did a decade ago, the overall amount of fat folks eat has actually risen. People eat more high-calorie protein than they need - between two and four times too much, while fish consumption remains too low. As for fruits and vegetables, we miss the mark there too.

Meanwhile, we get too many calories from nonnutritious sources. She gave a quick list of calories and fat in a few popular items (a single Cinnabon has 670 calories and 34 grams of fat, prompting her to call it “a heart attack in a bun.”)

Audience members fidgeted and even chuckled as they reflected on their own junk food-filled pasts.

The talk closed with a Q&A session. Topics ranged from genetically engineered foods (she s for them) and farm-raised salmon (she eats it) to the mystique of “all-natural” products (“Arsenic is 100 percent natural - and it s deadly”).



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