system, vitamin deficiency diseases, anemia, and skin damage. Alcohol also destroys families. When one or more members of a family are alcoholics, the incidence of divorce, accidents, suicide, loss of employment, and disease within that family is much greater than in families that don’t have an alcoholic member. Alcoholism can also lead to impotency, making sexual relations impossible. Keep in mind that alcohol in moderation (as specified by the numbers I’ve provided) can raise the level of HDL, or “good cholesterol,” in your body. Alcohol can also be a pleasant part of a meal and a key element in certain social scenes. Clearly, alcohol isn’t going to go away, but you must control its use.
Keeping foods safe to eat To protect yourself from the chemicals that are sprayed on foods as they’re grown and the chemicals present in the soil that fruits and vegetables are grown in, wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them. (Obviously, this doesn’t eliminate chemicals inside the food.) Proper refrigeration of foods that can spoil is essential. You must keep raw meat, fish, and poultry in the refrigerator before cooking them thoroughly. Keep your hands clean when you handle these foods. And make sure that you clean cutting boards and knives well after you use them for cutting raw meats. The use of a mild bleach solution to cleanse cutting boards is also recommended. After you cook food, if you want to save it for a later time, keep it in the refrigerator. Leaving it at room temperature allows bacteria to grow that may be present when you eat the food again, even if you reheat it. For more information on food safety, visit www.foodsafety.gov. Clicking on the “Consumer Advice” link is a great place to start for information on food handling, product-specific advice, and information targeted to various groups of people.
Making good food choices You can easily choose to eat foods that contribute to better health and weight control over those that lead to illness and obesity. You just need to know how to substitute one for the other. In Table 20-1, I show you the wiser choices that you can make every day. By making these choices, you notice a little loss of taste but a definite improvement in your health and your ability to lose weight. Table 20-1 Choosing Healthier Foods