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Soucheray: Consider what's going in your summer body

Now that it appears summer is here, it's time to pull out our clothes that are more form fitting and revealing. Are you ready for this? Did you stay in shape over this incredibly long winter so that you can put on last year's wardrobe, or do you need to succumb to a trip to the mall?

Taking time each day to notice what we're eating, how much we're moving and taking in good exercise and how much stress we allow to permeate our lives is the concern of Dr. Mark Hyman, a family physician interested in Functional Medicine. When asked what the most compelling thing we can do each day to help ourselves be healthier, he holds up a fork. Not a pair of gym shoes or the latest work-out video. But a fork, for he says that we need a revolution in our relationship with food.

The first known guide to healthy eating was seen in 1894 when Dr. Wilbur Olin Atwater published Principles of Nutrition and Nutritive Value of Food, in which he proposed a greater variety, adequate proportions, as well as moderation in our eating habits. He recommended that we measure calories, as we eat less fat, sugar and starch. He would likely be shocked to find how far we have come from the suggestions he made nearly 120 years ago.

I remember when our daughter was in fourth grade and her class was discussing healthy eating in a section of her science class. One evening at supper, she exclaimed, "Hey, we have the four food groups!" She was looking at our table and saw chicken, fruits and vegetables, bread and milk. I answered by saying, "I know. I planned that." She was just stunned that I would have any knowledge of this phenomenon that her teacher had stated was important for healthy living.

If you decide to go to one of Dr. Hyman's many websites, you will learn that getting our food fully prepared out of the home has grown to epidemic proportions. Our children are the second generation who do not know how to cook or bake, and many eat the majority of their foods that have been prepared by a restaurant or come in a prepackaged form and only require heating. This is creating a culture, Dr. Hyman contends, that has become increasingly dependent on food that tastes good but may not be good for our bodies.

So as you pull out your summer clothes, be as concerned about what is going in your body as what is going on it. Take time this week to evaluate your family's eating habits and be determined to be sure they're healthy.

Soucheray is a Woodbury resident and a licensed family therapist