Kitchen Color affects Weight, Nutrition, Health & Mood
Your kitchen is the center of your nutritional hub. It’s where you make your decisions on how (and how often) to fuel your own body, and the bodies of others you may be responsible for feeding. For some of you, it’s also the place where meals are served and consumer: at a bar or island, for example, or a casual kitchen table.
You’ve already taken control of what goes in your refrigerator; now summer’s your chance to take control of the mood your kitchen sets. Believe it or not, the color of your kitchen walls can have an impact on your diet. Perhaps it’s time to evaluate how you want your kitchen to make you feel, and seize the day.
Yellow is happy, but to overweight people, it can also be a tad dangerous when applied to kitchen walls. Better to let a good workout stimulate the appetite than the mere presence of a color.
Unless, of course, you are underweight. (Yes, we know you’re out there, even though those “other” people get all the reality shows). Need to beef up? Head for the yellow section of the paint store and slather it on. Think butter, egg yolks, lemons . . . mmm, I’m getting hungry already. But yellow helps the memory, so it could be useful if mom’s not available for a recipe consult.
Orange stimulates learning. If you’re a new cook, or aspiring chef or nutritionist, opt for orange. As for red, it is a complex color, perhaps the most of all. Red engages us and brings out our emotions. Remember the saying “seeing red?” Here’s the amazing thing about this color: to calm people, it is exciting, in a good way, a little thrilling. But for folks who are more anxious in nature, red is disturbing.
The last thing you want is to be disturbed 8-12 times a day, so be honest with yourself about your nature, and that of others with whom you may live.
Red walls trigger the release of adrenaline (which can be good for cooking, I suppose). And like yellow, it also stimulates the appetite, while simultaneously stimulating the sense of smell. If your idea of a romantic evening is enjoying a glass of red wine, cutting up some veggies, and canoodling, while sautéing a clove or two of garlic . . . then you know what to do. Red walls can also increase your blood pressure and breathing rate, but then again, you’ll never know if it’s the walls or the canoodling.
Blue is opposite of yellow, on the color wheel, and in terms of appetite. It decreases blood pressure, the breathing rate, and the desire to eat, as do indigo and violet. So if you’re determined to drop 20, 30, even 40 pounds . . . coat your walls in hues of blueberries, grapes or plums. This will also remind you to eat antioxidants, which is a good thing. You win on two counts! Pink is also proven as a winning weight-control color, at none other than prestigious Johns Hopkins Medical University in Baltimore.
Violet is known for its ability to create balance. So as you’re planning your menus or dishing out portions of lean protein, fresh veggies and multigrain bread, look to your walls for inspiration. (Violet is also good for migraine sufferers)
This brings us to green, the color of all things fresh and good for our bodies. Green is relaxing, and also creates a sense of balance. It relaxes the body, and helps those who suffer from nervousness, anxiety or depression. Green may also aid in raising blood histamine levels, reducing sensitivity to food allergies. Antigens may also be stimulated by green, for overall better immune system healing. They don’t tell us this in the paint section at Home Depot, do they?
Placing your sunlit fresh herbs near a green wall brings the outdoors in. Which might also make you think about starting a garden, going for a walk or run, or cycling around the neighborhood. This is a win-win.
Brown enhances a feeling of security, reduces fatigues and is relaxing. Black is a power color. If you have six-packs and you know it, raise your hand. Gray is the most neutral of all colors for the kitchen: not much happening there. Brighter hues inspire creativity and energy, while darker colors are peaceful and lower stress. Beige and off white are “learning” colors, if you need to justify it to a partner with a bright personality.
Make good choices, on your walls, as well as your plate. What color should your kitchen be?
with Elaine Sirt-Hastings, RD, LD/N
My childhood has been filled with memories of some of the most wonderful family gatherings that included a huge extended family of aunts, uncles, 1st, 2nd & even 3rd cousins; if you were not blood related by the time you left one of our gatherings you became an adopted family member. Coming from a traditional European family (consisting of Turkish, Hungarian, Armenian and Polish decent), you would find some of the most exotic homemade dishes such as Pierogies covered in sour cream, Chicken Paprikash laden with sour cream and served over dumplings, Cream of Mushroom soup poured over the most fluffy, buttered filled mashed potatoes and Rice Pilaf sautéed in butter. Of course the aroma would fill the air of all the delicious deserts such as rolled coffee cakes filled with nuts, poppy seeds and sugar.
As I entered my teenage years, I realized that many of these people that I come to love were passing away at very early age due to health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease brought on by their poor eating habits (many in their 50s); at the same time as I found myself dealing with my own self image to manage my weight. I was driven not to gain weight and became obsessed with being the best athlete that I could be; the problem was that I did not think about nutrition and hindered my chance to be a pro-athlete. Recognizing that poor eating habits jeopardized my ability to live a happy and healthy life was the turning point in my life and it was than that I made my decision to become a Registered Dietitian so that I could help others who struggle with their eating habits.
Today’s society has marketed a belief that there is a miracle pill out there; anybody who tells you you’re going to drop 10 pounds in five days and keep it off is not offering you a health eating plan that should include a variety of food groups. Fad diets will not teach you how to eat in moderation and watch your portion sizes (have you noticed they come and go). Today my family continues their traditional family gatherings, but many of these exotic dishes have been replaced by low and fat free dishes. Our family is much more committed to change those statistics of dying young. You will find our family and friends being very open with each other and sharing their struggles with food, lack of exercise and encouraging each other to keep trying. When you ask me why I choose my career path, all you have to do is look around at the human race and see how we are struggling to remain healthy as we continue to live in a world that is a faster pace than we can keep up with.
Elaine Hastings is a registered dietitian of Associates in Nutrition Therapy in Fort Myers. She has been practicing for over 20 years and has been the past president of the Southwest Florida Dietetic Association. A “nutrition entrepreneur,” she works contractually and is also a writer, motivational speaker, product researcher, counselor, sports-nutrition and eating disorder awareness advocate. You can contact Elaine at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 239-281-7955 or visit her at http://www.AssociatesinNutrition.com.
DietLike.Me with Elaine Sirt-Hastings
We should celebrate, though. Florida is a fertile source for many produce favorites and when our growing season is over, our neighbors to the north are still harvesting delicious fresh vegetables and fruits for us to enjoy.
Here’s the good news. You can reduce your pesticide exposure by up to 80 percent simply by buying the organic version of the 12 worst offenders. This is an easy change which makes a major difference in your family’s health risks. And you’ll be hard-pressed to say it’s an expensive change, when you factor the cost against the reward.
The U.S. government says ingesting low volumes of pesticide is not harmful. But several scientific studies have shown possible links between pesticides and cancer, nervous system problems, weakened immune systems and attention deficit disorder.
The “Dirty Dozen” produce list is compiled of 12 items that contain 47 to 67 pesticides per serving. Here, in no particular order, are the 12 fruits and veggies you should definitely consider buying in the organic version: apples, celery, domestic blueberries, imported grapes, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach/kale/collard greens, strawberries and sweet bell peppers. The report lumps all the dark leafy greens together, making them easier to remember.
You’ll have to go to a little more effort to find organic versions of the risky 12, but you do have options. Mother Earth Natural Foods, Whole Foods, Fresh Market and The Sandy Butler carry many of these items in their organic section. Sweetbay and Publix also offer pesticide-free produce, so take note what’s available in the store where you usually shop, or explore a new source.
Punta Gorda’s own Worden Farm has a subscription service for its organic produce; check out its website to see what’s grown there.
I also like to buy cage-free, organic eggs.
The report’s news isn’t all bad. Have a look at the fruits and veggies that are least likely to be covered in pesticides, but don’t get these lists mixed up.
The cleanest produce outside the organic section are logically deduced, to some degree: many have protective outer coverings that are inedible. They include asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, onions, pineapple, sweet corn, sweet onions, sweet peas, sweet potatoes and watermelon.
You might want to tuck this column into your purse or glove box until its contents are committed to memory. Now what’s for dinner?