From the category archives:

Health

Easy substutitions healthified creamy chicken enchiladas. Recipe below.

By Miranda Tucker
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, certain foods are being consumed in excessive amounts making us more prone to chronic disease.

Instead of dining on nutrient dense foods, children, adolescents, adults, and older adults are eating too much sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains. Some Americans have found ways to eat right and exercise, but a vast majority does not. Fast food and convenient options have dominated meal choices for Americans, but may not provide the healthiest options.

Ingredient substitution will help the home cook prepare healthier foods. Take a recipe and swap some of the ingredients.

Use fresh produce whenever possible, advises Missy Schrader, R.D. and Kansas State University instructor in the Department of Hospitality Management and Dietetics. Canned vegetables can be loaded with sodium; canned fruits often have added sugar. Many have preservatives, too.

Beware when substituting when baking, she warns. Ingredients such as all-purpose flour, sugar, and eggs play a major role in the formation and texture of baked goods.

“Baking recipes are a lot harder to substitute for due to structure and function, while hot savory recipes are easier for ingredient substitution,” says Schrader.

Schrader is also not a fan substituting “fat-free” ingredients in most recipes. Fat plays a major role for emulsification and tenderness, and will not provide the same function if the product is “fat-free.”

These are some substitution tips provided by Schrader, The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, 3rd edition:

Sodium

  • Substitute low-sodium versions when a recipe calls for condensed soups.
  • Use spices and herbs to compensate for flavor lost with the removal of sodium. Garlic, onions, balsamic vinegar, and citrus juice are just a few example listed in American Dietetic Association (ADA) Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. For example, the enchilada recipe below used coriander or cumin, green onions, garlic, and fresh cilantro.
  • According to ADA, you can cut back on salt in most traditional recipes by almost 50 percent, if not eliminate it, except for recipes with yeast.
  • Read labels. If foods have ingredients with salt or sodium already, you likely don’t need more in a recipe.

Fats

  • When using basic fat components such as mayonnaise, salad dressings, and cheese, use “reduced fat” or “light” versions. Look at label because some of these add sugar to make up for the loss of flavor in fats.
  • Unsweetened applesauce, pumpkin, sweet potato, canola oil, and olive oil may provide as good fat-substitutions in certain recipes. “Canola oil is the best bang for your buck,” says Schrader.
  • The ADA recommends using an equal amount of applesauce, mashed bananas, dried plums, other pureed fruit, mashed garbanzos, or cottage cheese for at least half the oil, margarine, or butter in baked breads, cake, muffin, and brownie recipes.
  • Use two egg whites in place of one whole egg in breads, pancakes, casseroles, French toast, cookies, cheesecake, pudding, and other recipes that call for whole eggs.

Sugars

  • Artificial sweeteners can decrease sugar content in cheesecakes, pies, puddings and custards. The consumer needs to check the label on sweetener packages before usage to see sugar equivalents. For example, sucralose can be measured cup for cup like sugar, but does not add volume and bulk like sugar does for baking.
  • In cakes, cookies, breads, and other baked goods, sugar can often be reduced by a fourth to a third without noticing a difference, according to the ADA.
  • Sweeten recipes with extracts such as vanilla or peppermint, and spices such as cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, coriander, ginger, mace, and nutmeg, which give off a sweet perception.
  • Use any intense (artificial) sweetener in recipes that don’t require heat, such as cold beverages, salads, chilled soups, frozen desserts, or fruit sauces.

Refined grains

  • Substitute whole-grain pasta-lasagna noodles, macaroni, spaghetti, and other whole-grain pastas- in all kinds of dishes.
  • Use brown or wild rice in place of white rice, or use a combination.
  • Whole-wheat flour can be substituted in dough and batter for half of the refined white flour. According to ADA, do not go 100 per cent though, or the texture will be too dense. There is also the option of whole-grain white flour.
  • For sandwiches and wraps substitute whole-grain breads, whole-grain English muffins, and whole-grain tortillas, and whole-grain pita pockets.

Here are two recipes that provide examples of some of the substitution tips above.

Healthified Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
From Betty Crocker

Original recipe contained 490 calories, 5.7 grams saturated fat, 16 grams total fat, and 1050 milligrams sodium.

Substitutes were reduced-sodium chicken broth, fresh produce, spices, and reduced-fat sour cream and cheese.

Substitutions resulted in 47 per cent less calories, 61 per cent less saturated fat, 50 per cent less fat, and about 33 per cent less sodium than the original recipe. Reduced-fat ingredients helped cut the fat, while green chiles boost the Tex-Mex flavor.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander or cumin
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend (4 oz)
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 corn or flour tortillas (6 or 7 inch)
1 medium tomato, chopped (3/4 cup)
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
Salsa, if desire

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender. In medium bowl, stir broth, flour, coriander and pepper with wire whisk until blended. Slowly add to hot mixture in skillet, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 5 to 6 minutes, until mixture boils and thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream until well blended.

In another medium bowl, mix chicken, corn, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the chiles, cilantro and 1/2 cup of the sauce. Place 2 tortillas at a time on microwavable plate; cover with paper towel. Microwave on High 10 to 15 seconds or until softened. Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each warm tortilla. Roll up tortillas; arrange, seam sides down, in baking dish. Top enchiladas with remaining sauce. Cover with foil.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Just before serving, top with tomato and green onions. Serve with salsa.

Makes 8 enchiladas

Healthified Pumpkin Bread
From Betty Crocker

Original recipe contained 655 calories, 10 grams of fat, and only 2 grams of fiber.

Substitutions were whole-wheat flour, fat-free skim milk, fat-free egg product, and nutmeg and allspice.

Substitution resulted in, 29 per cent fewer calories, 50 per cent less fat, 50 per cent more fiber than the original recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup fat-free (skim) milk
3/4 cup fat-free egg product
1/2 cup canola oil

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottoms only of two 9×5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves until well blended.

In medium bowl, mix pumpkin, milk, egg product and oil until well blended. Stir into flour mixture until well blended. Spoon batter evenly into pans.

Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Makes 2 9×5 inch loaves.

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By Stephany Moore

As Americans continue to scarf down high-calorie foods and veg out on oversized couches in front of big screen TVs, we must ask the question: “Who or what is responsible for this obesogenic nation?”

Instead of pointing fingers, however, shouldn’t the better question be how will we rectify the current situation?

That is the question posed by Roni Schwartz, Registered Dietitian and director of the coordinated program in dietetics at Kansas State University.

“We’ve played the blame game.  Now it’s time for us to work together and develop partnerships with the food industry to find a solution that will benefit the communities,” she said.

Over the past few decades Americans have increased calorie consumption, meanwhile starving themselves of good old-fashioned physical activity.  According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the CDC in 2008, obesity prevalence has tripled since 1970.  The survey reveals that nearly 34 percent of adults and 17 percent of children are obese.   With the release of the revised dietary guidelines, one can only hope that these trends cease to increase.

Guiding the way we use health care

Schwartz discusses her perspective on the release of the revised dietary guidelines and the impact she hopes they will have on the way our society uses health care.

The USDA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services jointly publishes a set of revised dietary guidelines every five years.   A group of scientific experts review and analyze the most current evidence-based data related to health for use in the guidelines.

For Schwartz, the 2010 guidelines are a breath of fresh air.

“The messaging is practical and simple. It’s easy for consumers to visualize ‘make half of your plate fruits and vegetables’ rather than the ‘five a day’ campaign.”

Schwartz believes people are most successful in changing behaviors when they visualize the behavior.  This year’s guidelines are effective at providing tools to assist individuals and communities with behavior change.   Communities can use the tools to design and implement nutrition and physical activity programs that go beyond education. Schwartz is thrilled that health care professionals have realized that education is not enough to evoke change.

“People must be given practical tools if we want to see behavior changes.  If families don’t cook meals at home, how will their kids learn to cook?  There must be skill building involved,” she said.

Manage weight, manage health

The guidelines offer simple, clear tips to help manage weight, such as eating fresh foods instead of processed foods to reduce sodium intake, or ordering smaller portions and taking half of the meal home when eating out to monitor food intake.

Schwartz  had one concern regarding the revised guidelines.  It was not about the quality of the content, but our nation’s ability to implement them in programs and interventions.  “Who will fund the changes?” she asked.

The country does not place an emphasis on preventive care, she said.  It is difficult to measure the effectiveness of preventive care if the outcome, that may or may not occur, cannot be measured.  More importantly, Schwartz said it is nearly impossible to convince people to take potential future health concerns seriously.  Many people are comfortable with the saying, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”  And when it is broken, that is what doctors are for.

Although the 2010 dietary guidelines made a gigantic leap in understanding how to simplify messages to the public, there is still a mountain of barriers to overcome before the couch potatoes of America will take action and personal responsibility to control their health.

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By Melissa Short

Cancer is the ultimate betrayal. The body creates lethal tumors from its own cells and, left unchecked, the tumors will eventually kill the body they depend on to grow. It begins with the mutation of a single gene that causes cells to replicate uncontrollably and often ends in radiation treatment, surgery, and sometimes death.

Dr. Brian Lindshield, assistant professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, said that the key to preventing cancer-causing cell damage is antioxidants – naturally occurring compounds in fruits and vegetables. He researches how food can help the body protect itself from the mutations that lead to cancer.

Lindshield explained that every atom in the body needs a certain number of electrons to be stable, and will steal electrons from healthy cells, such as DNA, to maintain stability.  Antioxidants prevent the occurrence of these unpaired electrons, and so reduce DNA damage.

The term “antioxidant” may have had little meaning to consumers 20 years ago, but as cancer rates have shot up, so has interest in cancer prevention. Antioxidant supplements, juices, and extracts have flooded the health food market in response to consumer interest. There certainly is no lack of products that claim to prevent cancer, but which actually provide benefits?

One super food? Not yet

“Everyone is looking for that one super food, but as of now the research hasn’t shown that there is one food above the rest,” said Lindshield.

There is one form of antioxidants that is more beneficial, though.

“Studies are showing that consuming antioxidants in whole foods has a more positive effect. I hope to see research moving away from the reductionist perspective, just looking at a specific compound in a food, because so far it hasn’t produced any benefits.”

Lindshield, who became interested in cancer research after watching family members battle the disease, has spent most of his career looking at the effects of lycopene. This compound that gives tomatoes their characteristic hue has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

“We have learned from animal trials that just lycopene as a compound doesn’t work, you need the whole tomato,” Lindshield said. He said researchers are beginning to see that the benefits of a fruit or vegetable depend on the sum of their antioxidants and nutrients and not in one isolated compound.

While there is no perfect super food, some foods that are on the market have proven more beneficial than others. “Pomegranate does have some positive research behind it, but I haven’t seen much research to support the acai berry, and what there is, is not very advanced,” Lindshield said.

He also said that resveratrol, found in red wine, may not protect the heart as much as researchers originally claimed.

Some antioxidant-rich foods that Lindshield does recommend are those rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is found in peppers, leafy greens, and carrots along with several other vegetables. Citrus fruits are good sources of Vitamin C.

Eat real food, not supplements

Lindshield emphasized that antioxidants should be consumed in whole foods and not as supplements, which not only provide fewer cancer-fighting benefits but increase the risk of vitamin toxicity. “It’s a U-shaped curve. With too little of a nutrient there are negative effects, but when you get out of normal range and have too much there are problems as well.”

He named a study that was planned to prove that beta-carotene taken as a supplement reduces the risk of lung cancer in male smokers. The study had to be stopped because the supplement proved to dramatically increase the incidence of cancer in the men participating.

Another controversial food linked to cancer is soy. There has been extensive research about the link between soy and breast cancer, split nearly evenly between showing that it increases the risk of cancer and showing that it prevents it. “I would say that just eating foods containing soy is fine, but as it becomes more processed there are more and more problems,” Lindshield said.

For all the controversy surrounding foods and cancer, Lindshield said one thing is certain. “Antioxidants can only help before you have cancer, and pre-cancerous cells often start developing in your twenties and thirties. Young people cannot wait until they are older to start caring, the mutations are already happening.”

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By Amanda Rall

Expecting mothers have a great deal on their minds. What color to paint the nursery. How to budget for diapers. Breastfeeding verses formula. But one of the most influential decisions mothers make for their child is made even before she is pregnant.

When Sandra B. Procter, a specialist in maternal and child nutrition, was asked how she would address Kansas’s health problems, she targets children, particularly through expecting mothers.

Procter gave a general synopsis of the lingering health problems facing Kansas- obesity and its co-morbidities. However, she has a fresh spin on how to combat the issue. She wants to target the unborn. Children born to mothers who had poor nutrition during pregnancy have low birth weight. The child of low birth weight will then go through something Procter refers to as “make-up weight gain.” It is a phenomenon that a child will rapidly gain weight and pre-disposes them to obesity.

Some genetic patterns can be altered by bettering nutrition during and before pregnancy, she says.  “We [nutrition experts] now know a lot about nutrition affecting not just the baby but the genetic patterning that can be changed through nutrition. A woman’s diet before pregnancy can even affect her grandchildren.”

The specialist notes the advancement of prenatal nutrition as one of the best recent public health campaigns. Maternal supplementation of folic acid during and before pregnancy has been shown to eradicate spinal cord developmental defects. But she believes that this is just the beginning of numerous benefits we will see if improved pre-pregnancy nutrition continues.

Procter suggests concern particularly for Kansas in its high number of single mothers below the poverty line. She believes that targeting poor mothers with government subsidies for fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthful foods will improve the health status of the following generations of Kansans.

“Healthy foods, because they are more expensive, are less assessable to low income families,” Procter exclaims. She wants to change that.

Procter is an assistant professor at Kansas State University in the human nutrition department. She has earned a B.S. in dietetics, M.S. in institution management and a Ph.D. in human nutrition as well as being certified as a Registered Dietitian. Procter specializes in maternal and child nutrition and wrote her dissertation over breastfeeding duration and association with overweight children in Kansas’s WIC population, a nutritional supplementation program for low-income women, infants, and children.

Although Procter focuses on one area to better Kansas’s health issues, she is aware of the multiple factors that are intensifying the problem. “The issues will not be controlled by solving one problem; all the issues play a role,” Procter says.

However she does believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Kansas. She is impressed that Kansas has implemented the smoking ban and believes that former Governor Kathleen Sebelius’s work in the elevation of a Kansas task force on hunger are strides in Kansas’s bid for better health.

Procter stresses that the problems will not be easy to solve but with government and community involvement a resolution could be become clearer.

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By Elizabeth Gittemeier

Photo courtesy of Stanford University

“An eating disorder is like a relationship with an abusive boyfriend.  It will lure you back with promises of better things,” said a young woman who has battled eating disorders for 7 years.

“An eating disorder always has a promise that it can cure so many things: my anxiety will go away; I will forget stress; relationships are better; I don’t even need relationships.  But every time I turn back to it, it drops me on my face.”

The young women described in this story are only three an estimated 20 percent of college students struggling with eating disorders, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).  Their names have been changed, at their request, to protect them from social stigma that can come from public knowledge of their struggles.

Eating disorders are common in America today, yet they are so well hidden that most people have no idea many of them exist or how to deal with them.  Many of these disorders are manifested in girls, but they affect all people of all ages, according to the NEDA.   At some point, almost every person in this country will be either directly or indirectly affected by an eating disorder.

There are three types of eating disorders: bulimia, anorexia, and overeating.  Bulimia and anorexia are commonly used to lose weight, and they are becoming an increasing problem in young girls in America.  According to the NEDA, they are seen in an estimated 10 million females and 1 million males.  Data released by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) shows that it is important for people to understand what is going on in the minds of these young women so that they can receive help.

Kate, a tall girl with her blonde hair pulled back in a pony tail, slipped out of a meeting at the Kansas State student union early to tell her story. She grew up with two older brothers and has been playing competitive sports since she was 4.  She felt constant pressure to perform well in athletic events, but everyone believed her spunky personality could handle the stress.

As her freshman year of high school started, no one could see the toll that the constant push to be perfect was taking on her.  She was on the volleyball team, the basketball team and the softball team. She was a runner.  From any outsider’s perspective, her life was full, complete, and perfect.

One day at the end of her freshman year, when she was out running by herself, she was attacked and sexually assaulted.  This was her breaking point.  At age 15, she began eating everything in sight and going immediately to the bathroom to throw it all back up.

By the end of her freshman year, she had developed bulimia.

This disorder continued throughout high school, and the worse it got, the more she tried to cover it up.  The moment that she started covering up her eating disorder was when it began to take over and consume her.  She was constantly thinking about where she could get her next big snack and how she would hide the fact that she was just going to throw it up.

After high school, Kate went to Kansas State University hoping for a normal college experience.  She joined a sorority and quickly made friends, but she could not escape her eating disorder.  As she began to get to know the coeds in her house, she discovered that eight others in her pledge class of 40 had similar struggles.

A bond developed among these young women, and they began to learn from each other’s habits how to lose even more weight.  Kate said that this experience taught her to drink diet Coke and coffee and smoke in an effort to keep herself from eating.  Her bulimia turned to anorexia, a disorder in which she continually starved herself.

When her anorexia set in, Kate’s weight was at dangerously low levels.  Throughout the next couple years, she was hospitalized twice and sent to treatment seven times.  The first six treatments and the hospitalizations did nothing for her.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders (ANAD), treatment costs between $30,000 and $100,000 per month. Her parents paid; they also bribed her to go.  She said that she got a new car for attending her therapy sessions. After one particularly good day in treatment, she got a new laptop.

They were throwing money at her illness, but it was not accomplishing anything, she said.  Every time she would gain enough weight to go home, then she would lose it immediately.

Other young women she met in treatment taught her how to hide her problems better.

By the seventh time she went to treatment, she was finally ready.  She had hit rock bottom. She was completely broken.  She lost her job.  Her relationships were falling apart. She was exhausted, and she had nothing left.

“When you develop an eating disorder, your life stops then.  It’s like I was stuck as a 15 year old.  I didn’t know how to be a grown up,” she said.

After her seventh therapy session, she rediscovered her faith in God and found a support group that helps her through the recovery process.  Her faith helped her because she knew that there were second chances and there was something bigger than herself.  She discovered that life did not stop because of her eating disorder.

Kate is still recovering.  She is still in therapy, but she is healing one step at a time.  Sometime she still has the desire to lose weight, but she has people she can call who will help her move past her thoughts.

* * *

As Amanda sat at a table in Radina’s Coffee Shop in Manhattan, her eyes almost bore a hole through the table.  After a few moments, she looked up and began talking.  She had always struggled with body image issues, she said.  She had to be perfect and look perfect.

The summer after her junior year of high school, her family bought a membership to the gym, and she started extensive workouts everyday.  Her parents were not home that summer, so she skipped meals. By the time her senior year started, she was receiving compliments on her weight and her looks.  Not only were these comments affirming her lifestyle, but they were shoving her farther into her eating disorder.  She took a lunch to school every day, but she just picked at her food.

At this point Amanda said she knew she had a problem.  Food and calories were consuming her thoughts and taking over her life. She said the worst part was the way that eating made her feel.

She had to eat sometimes in order for her body to function, but whenever she ate, she would feel huge, like she had gained five pounds.  She would only eat granola bars or bananas, and immediately following that, she would go work out until she felt like she had burned off the calories.

One day, the school counselor called Amanda into her office.  She told her that people had been noticing unhealthy drops in weight and that some actions needed to be taken.  She called Amanda’s parents.  Amanda was sent to a nutrition coach and a counselor.

She hated therapy. Her brain was telling her she couldn’t eat.  But she was being forced to eat, and if she didn’t make the weight improvements each week, she would have to eat more.  She started chugging water before she went into her therapy sessions so that it would appear as if she had met the weight requirements.

Once she finally admitted that there was a problem, the healing process began.  It is a painful process to completely change the way you think, she said, and she had to learn to eat so her body would function.  She cried through most of her therapy sessions, and the things she learned in them eventually led her down the path to healing.

Amanda said the most influential factor in her recovery process was her friends.  Not all of them understood what she was going through, but they supported her anyway.  They couldn’t change her mind or her emotions, but they could love her through the whole process.

Amanda hated when people told her that she was beautiful and that she didn’t need this eating disorder because she could not believe it for herself.  But her friends were willing to treat her the exact same way they had before the disorder took over her life, and that was the essential element in her realization that she could recover from this and be normal again.

* * *

Lauren brushed her hair out of her face as she started to her story.

When she was in sixth grade, she was her current 5 feet 7 inches tall.  She was the first girl in her class to reach 100 pounds and the first to start wearing clothes from the junior section.  Lauren was constantly comparing herself to the girls around her, and this combined with her perfectionist personality caused her self-esteem to plummet.

About this same time, the 12 year old developed a fixation with eating disorders. She began reading books and articles about them.  She was fascinated with these girl’s perfect bodies and ability to precisely control this aspect of their lives.  Eventually this fixation turned into a challenge.

She had heard her parents talk about dieting, so she decided to try it.  Her sixth and seventh grade years were characterized extreme dieting and lying to cover it up.  She no longer had her period, and she began to live for the feeling of her stomach growling.

By the end of seventh grade, people had started making comments like, “You are too skinny; you need to eat!” and “The wind is going to blow you over!” The comments only added fuel to the flame of the disorder that was developing in her life.

She started having extreme mood swings.  She was unhappy with herself, and she thought about food constantly.  The more she denied herself, the more she thought about it.  She no longer got along with her mom, and eventually she had to go to a counselor.

In eighth grade, she started taking laxatives that she found around the house.  Lauren saw this as the perfect solution because it meant that she could eat sometimes and then her mom wouldn’t make her go to school because she thought Lauren was sick.  Eventually her parents caught on, and they made her go to school one day after she had taken laxatives.  That was the last time she ever took them.

After that she went back to diets until she read on her friend’s blog that using a toothbrush is the easiest way to make yourself throw up. So she tried that. Bulimic habits continued off and on throughout high school.  Her parents knew about it, but didn’t do anything.  She saw that as permission to continue, and she became more and more comfortable with her disorder.

When she moved to Kansas State University after high school, Lauren began to overcome the eating disorder she had struggled with for seven years. First,, there were always people around her, which made her habits harder to cover up and more difficult to keep secret.

But then more importantly, she said, her focus began to shift.  She found purpose in her life, and she had something other than herself and other than food to live for.

Through things she had learned in counseling, the process of discovering her purpose, and surrounding herself with healthy relationships, she learned to look at the root of her decisions.  She thought deeper about the reasons she was struggling and her ultimate goals, and through this process she found healing.

Lauren said she has learned that people can totally control their mindsets and make themselves believe whatever they want even if they know it isn’t true.  So now she has learned to shift her focus to other issues in life.

* * *

“Giving up an eating disorder is life giving up a best friend.  It is giving up promises that you have believed in for 10 years.”  Kate used this analogy as she explained that giving up her eating disorder was the hardest thing she has ever done.

Amanda described the difficulties that came from so many people telling her things over and over again that she could not believe for herself.

Lauren said that it is so hard to get refocused and to get the right mindset and a realistic body image back.  She had to completely change her goals in life.

Although it is a difficult process, each of these girls can attest to the fact that recovery is possible and completely worth it.

Diseases defined

Bulimia, also called bulimia nervosa, is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder in which a person may binge and purge. Eating large amounts of food is followed by trying to get rid of the extra calories in an unhealthy way such as forced vomiting or excessive exercise.

Most bulimics are preoccupied with weight and body shape.Treatment involves nutrition and psychotherapy counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Anorexia nervosa causes people to obsess about their weight and the food they eat. The disorder is often not about food but about equating thinness with self-worth. It is an unhealthy way to try to cope with emotional problems.

Treatment involves nutrition and psychological counseling.

For more information

National Eating Disorders Association (www.nationaleatingdisorders.org), National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov/health/), Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com) among the sources of more information.

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