July 22, 2024

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Oklahoma Doctor Discusses Healthy Eating Habits In The New Year

Oklahoma Doctor Discusses Healthy Eating Habits In The New Year

We’re getting ready to celebrate the New Year, and for a lot of folks, that means New Year resolutions.

Many people share a goal of exercising more, eating healthier or losing weight.

Doctor Kent Farish with Crossover Health Services started a program about a year ago called Fresh R-X for diabetics and is expanding it to any person who wants help with their health.

“We picked out what we called a curated food basket that provided them with what they needed, and we also set up a video series that was going to help them learn what to do with this food. That includes a lot of personal interaction, as well,” said Dr. Kent Farish, Family Physician. “It’s more than just a food bank. We’re actually measuring people’s progress and reporting that to our funders and to our participants as well.”

Doctor Kent Farish’s method goes deeper than just what you’re putting on your plate.

“If you don’t get the healthy nutrition that your body needs, you’re gonna keep eating it until you do, so start with the healthy things and then see what else your body is craving,” said Dr. Farish. “There are some receptors in your brain. They’re called dopamine receptors that get stimulated and cause a euphoric effect as much as some of the drugs people take, so to some extent that highly palatable food is a drug.”

He calls the time between dinner and bed the danger zone and said to have healthier dessert options on standby.

“Yogurt and some maple syrup or some honey. Yeah, there’s some sugar there but it’s not nearly as fatty as that ice cream would be,” said said Dr. Farish.

Dr. Farish said to limit your choices and be careful when relying on food to meet needs other than hunger.

“We can be full of one thing and our eyes see something else and all of the sudden our hunger came back. Where’d that come from? It wasn’t from what we actually needed. It’s from a craving we just developed just because it was different,” said Dr. Farish.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said obesity rates are increasing.

Oklahoma ranks fifth highest in the nation for adult obesity and about 1/3rd of children in our state are considered overweight. This can lead to other health issues.

“The impacts of obesity are serious and costly in Oklahoma. Obesity is associated with poor mental health outcomes, reduced quality of life, and increased risk for developing chronic conditions like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease strokes, sleep apnea and breathing problems. Some cancers and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety,” said Lauran Larson, OSDH Lead Wellness Coordinator. “It extends also to our statewide healthcare costs, our business productivity and even the nation’s defense readiness.”

Lauran Larson said obesity is more common among certain populations including people in a lower socio-economic class.

“This is largely due to environmental factors like lack of access to nutritious and affordable foods, lack of access to safe places to walk and run and role and these factors exist where we live, learn, work and play,” said Larson.

She said stakeholders across the state are aware of these issues and are working together to address them.

Dr. Farish said there are some injectable, appetite suppressants that you can take in the short term to avoid surgery if you have a true medical obesity problem.

He said children learn eating habits early on.

“If they learn to enjoy a sweet bell pepper or a strawberry or a blueberry, ‘boo-bally’ as my granddaughter calls it, they can learn to enjoy their ice cream to be yogurt with a little maple syrup or honey mixed in with it then they don’t miss the sugar,” said Dr. Farish.

Dr. Farish said the first step to a healthier lifestyle starts with balance.

“‘What am I supposed to eat?’ Just think of a colorful pallet. Think about all the colors that an artist would want in his pallet to create a beautiful picture, well that’s what we’re creating in our own lifestyle and our own personhood when we choose different foods,” said Dr. Farish.

If you’re thinking of making a change in 2023 by trying a new diet, Dr. Farish said do your research and be mindful of what plan you choose as some diets can do more harm than good.

“We’re starting to see some evidence that a keto diet does degenerate the body. You can lose weight pretty quickly and usually not for the long term, but it probably is going to be associated in women for instance with osteoporosis and some bone loss cause you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet,” said Dr. Farish.

Dr. Farish said exercise is also important; he said it burns calories at a fairly limited rate but the more muscle we build up the more calories we burn.

He said the word for 2023 should be “game-ify,” which means to take things that feel like an obligation and make it a game. Dr. Farish said there are several apps that do that.