Healthy Eating Myth 1: Low-Fat Food Products Are Good for You

A few months ago I published an article about why certain manufactured food products keep you fat, and are not a suitable solution for healthy weight loss.

I focused on the problems associated with the low fat approach to weight loss, which have been revealed by Harvard School of Public Health. Remember, this highly regarded institution branded low fat food products to be more dangerous than consuming moderate amounts of saturated fat? And their call was that it’s time to end the “low-fat myth!”

As Harvard reported the main issue is that when fat is removed from foods as part of the manufacturing process, it has to be replaced. Invariably that something is sugar or other refined carbohydrates. The way in which the body processes high dietary intakes of sugars and carbohydrates eventually leads to body fat – of the type and distribution associated with serious illness including insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular problems.

I also reported that an alarming number of profit-driven food manufacturers continue to produce an ever increasing range of these food products which they still assert to be the “healthy option”. Truly shocking! But their mission to flood the market with unhealthy, even dangerous, sugar-laden products continues, despite the well-publicised recent alarms about the health risks posed by sugar consumption.

The fact that, as I touched on in my previous article, the low-fat diet is a potential pathway to type 2 diabetes, makes it clear that it is the least appropriate weight-loss solution for those already diagnosed with the disease. Yet dieticians and other diabetics specialists working in the NHS in the UK advocate just that – read their diet facts sheets and see for yourself that manufactured low-fat food products are actually recommended! I have come across this in my own clinical practice several times in recent months for patients of both sexes, in newly diagnosed patients, in those who have been struggling to manage their blood sugars sometimes even for several years, and in cases of gestation diabetes. Even more shocking!

It is no wonder that some patients with Type 2 diabetes struggle to get their blood sugar levels to the magical “6” mark when the very products they being advised to take by supposed experts is so way off the mark!

For healthy weight loss – especially for those with diabetes it’s essential to ditch this damaging style of diet and boycott manufactured low-fat food products in preference for plentiful amounts of healthy fats!

By ensuring that a full complement of vital nutrients are consumed through an individualised tailor-made plan, the health problems associated with other diets are avoided.

How to Plan Your Garden Food Production for Self-Sufficiency

When you are new to trying your hand at growing your own food, it can be daunting to know where to begin. How do you plan a garden for food production? Is it possible to become self-sufficient in a short time? It’s understandable to want to grow everything your first year. Experienced gardeners and homesteaders know, from trial and error, that it’s best to get into self-sufficiency one task at a time.

Take these steps to learning how to plan a garden for self-sufficiency and build on them each year. Before you know it, you’ll be providing a year’s worth of food on your own land:

  • Grow High-Value Fruits and Veggies-What do you consider value? Flavor? Freshness? Or savings on expensive varieties from the supermarket? You can save money and enjoy flavors by growing varieties that can’t be found in grocery stores.
  • Get the most out of the seasons-Make use of late winter/early spring by using cold frames, tunnels, cloches and other devices to stretch the season and grow more food. You can get a head start on spring salads by at least a month. Extend your fall crops by using row covers to protect them from frost and deer. Extend both seasons to grow more cold-tolerant greens and root crops for food production.
  • Grow early-bearing fruit and berries-Grow June-bearing strawberries and early raspberries. You can put these up in your freezer before canning veggies take over the kitchen. In the fall, there are late-ripening raspberries and apples that come after the hectic food preserving frenzy of summer.
  • Utilize what grows in your climate-Some crops will be easy to grow in your area while others can be a challenge. Soil type also determines what will grow where you live. If carrots don’t grow well in your area, but beets thrive, then grow a small patch of carrots and all the beets your family can eat. This takes you in the direction of self-sufficiency.
  • Grow your beverages-Mints, sage, raspberry leaf and nettles make delicious and healthy teas. Even rhubarb stalk makes a tea that tastes like lemonade. Learn to make your own sodas, hard cider and wine from berries and fruits.
  • Grow perennials-Perennials come back every year and this save you in time and maintenance. Just weed, fertilize and mulch. Asparagus, rhubarb, sorrel, Jerusalem artichokes, horseradish, bunching onions and bamboo shoots are just some of the possibilities. Find out which ones do well in your area.
  • Choose varieties that grow in your area-Talk with gardeners around you to see what varieties grow well and produce high-yields. It’s frustrating to spend all summer tending to a tomato plant and only harvest a few tomatoes at the end of the season when a different variety would have produced an abundant harvest.
  • Grow Herbs-Culinary herbs like dill, basil, rosemary, sage, parsley and mint add flavors to foods for canning and freezing. They are easy and inexpensive to grow.
  • Don’t overplant one type-Yes, you can grow too much of a good thing! It’s easy to overbuy at the greenhouse on too many tomato plants. Don’t plant 50 when 10-15 plants will supply 2 people with a year’s worth of frozen, canned and dried tomatoes. The only reason to grow more would be to sell at farmers markets.
  • Grow something new-You don’t have to grow it all your first year. As you grow in knowledge and experience, add something new each year and keep learning. If something failed to grow in spring, see if it grows better as a fall crop.

Growing enough food to preserve for a year or more is a fine goal and achievable, but there is a learning curve if you’ve never done it before. Take one step at a time and build on your knowledge each year. Before you know it, you will have a pantry and cellar full of shiny jars of food you grew and preserved yourself!

©2011 Shanna Ohmes

Choosing the Right Target Market for Your Specialty Food Product

Almost before you do anything else in creating your business and selling your food products, you need to identify WHO your target market, or your audience, is. Ask ten business people the question “who is your target market?” and eight of them will say something to the effect of “everyone can use my product or service.” That answer makes me want to scream because it indicates that either they really don’t know what they’re offering OR they’re (pick one) too lazy, greedy or fearful to create a useful client profile.

Everyone is NOT your target market and you need to choose who IS before you start making a lot of your other business building decisions. This is one of the benefits of running your own company. YOU get to decide with WHOM you want to work and sell to. Pricing, what your packaging will look like, the design of your logo, web site and marketing materials all depend on who your buyer(s) are.

Think, for example, how Mercedes markets its cars vs. how Chevy markets its trucks. Very different target audiences. Your product is no different. Is this an item that you see on your average grocery store shelf or is it a better fit for high-end gourmet specialty markets? Is your product gluten-free, sugar-free, or otherwise a good fit for a group of “special needs” consumers? Nothing is wrong or better about any of the answers you come up with; it’s a matter of creating a niche for yourself.

When I started my company, I decided to focus on serving the needs of business clients. Sure, I had a great-tasting cookie, but again, it wasn’t my intention to become “the next Mrs. Fields.” My goal was to work directly with business people who wanted to show appreciation for their clients or members. My definition of business clients was primarily those in the corporate world, although I also included associations and not-for-profit organizations. I was creating a gifting product, more than a common food item.

With that information, I could choose packaging that fit the needs and would be attractive to that audience. I could create a web site that would speak to them in a language they could relate to. I could write copy for and design marketing materials that made them comfortable with my company and confident that I would serve their needs.

Think what would have happened if I’d made all those decisions BEFORE I knew to whom I was talking! Let’s say your favorite colors are pink and purple, so you decide to create packaging in those colors. You use a funky typeface for the logo and wording. You design a cute cartoon character as your “mascot.” And you write a brochure highlighting the taste and nutritional benefits of your product. Then you send those brochures out to construction companies to encourage them to buy your product for holiday gifts to their clients. Um, putting all those elements together is not likely to work.

But, if your target audience is moms of toddlers and you’re promoting your product as great for birthday parties, then you have a much better match and are more likely to succeed.

Even your pricing will be affected by the target audience, and we’ll talk about that in more detail in another article. But suffice it to say that if you want to sell your food product to a grocery store, such as Publix, Kroger or Safeway, your pricing model is going to be different than if you are selling directly to the end user.

Do you see why and how deciding on the target market has to be first?

Now, I hear you, sitting there saying, but EVERYONE loves my hot sauce, granola, green onion chips. I can’t narrow it down to one target market. Yes, you can and you must, if you want to succeed. You don’t necessarily have to make it as narrow as saying women with blond hair, between the ages of 25-35 who go to spin class three times a week and drive BMWs.

So, think about how you see your product being used. If your product is a steak sauce, then obviously meat-eaters is a good start in the narrowing process. That vegetarians might possibly use it on potatoes is fine, but you are not going to focus on them. Keep going. Do you see men who consider themselves “grill-masters” buying this product? Where would they purchase it – at Wal-Mart or from a Williams-Sonoma catalog?

Confession time! Had I known better, I would have narrowed down my targeting even further and chosen one or two specific industries on which to focus. Doing this would have allowed me to even more specifically customize my marketing efforts for them, which in turn would build the business faster. As it turned out down the road, some of those industries kind of identified themselves when I started seeing more and more clients coming from them. And even then, I didn’t start niche marketing to them right away. Geez, I was a slow-learner. Learn from my mistakes, and narrow down your target market!

Weight Loss Program Includes Eating Nourishing Food Products

A person in search of a new diet plan should consider a program which includes eating nutritionally sound meals and snacks. Consuming nutritionally sound snacks and meals can assist a dieter with losing weight. Desiring a snack to consume throughout the day happens to be natural. Filling that desire using unhealthy foods results in unwanted fat. Usually, that routine is hard to break.

Snacks which contain lots of fiber as well as few food calories will be the healthiest. Cholesterol reducing fiber makes an individual feel less hungry for longer time periods. This scenario helps folks to eat less during their day. Fresh fruits will be those kinds of snacks. Slice some fruit in a dish. Then, store it cold within a refrigerator. The sugar could help with a dieter’s sweet hunger. The fiber and water helps to fill a tummy. The minerals, vitamins and antioxidants help a person’s immune system remain strong to deal with health conditions as well as certain cancers.

Additional beneficial lots of cholesterol lowering fiber as well as low calorie food products are vegetables. Usually, vegetables do not have sugar content a fruit possesses. This situation of not as much sugar content will be more desirable on behalf of a dieter. A lot of all sugar kind can cause body weight gain. The water and fiber helps to fill a belly. The antioxidants, minerals and vitamins help the immunity stay strong in order to fight diseases and cancers.

Potato chips will not assist in losing body weight. Those products can bring about illnesses as well as certain cancers. A smart diet plan may want to eliminate junk foods which result in gaining weight, medical problems and cancers. Additional food ingredients that cause weight gain, medical problems and cancers consist of corn sugar and partially hydrogenated oil. These ingredients give unhealthy food items flavor. However, the end result is obesity. Dieters ought to realize no food items are worth forgoing her or his good health.

Those lifestyle improvements over to nourishing snacks will make a huge difference permanently. Fat will gradually disappear. Do not forget, those extra pounds did not appear in one night. That weight was little by little gained. Make sure to take a picture because after those additional pounds are gone the picture will become an incredible inspiration tool. A lot of folks desire a fast dieting system to remove the fat. Healthy long term loss of weight will be a gradual process.