April 2004

Springtime brings such excitement, full of new beginnings. Recently, our five grandchildren spent a few days with us during spring break. A fun project the first day was for the older ones to build and paint a birdhouse.   The very next day we were amazed at the warfare going on in our backyard with birds claiming and defending their new beginnings. I pray to have the same energy this spring, as I continue personal temple remodeling through First Place.

I read about some healthy warfare going on in the field of nutrition lately over the USDA Food Pyramid. A new beginning for this pyramid is already underway by a panel of experts, aiming to educate the public in more detail about the importance of food choices inside each panel. Two main topics are whole grain foods and fats. I have had many questions about how this will affect the First Place exchanges.   Years ago, the First Place Live-It went a step further to educate members about the importance of choosing mono and poly-unsaturated fats. We added information to our program about the importance of eating high fiber foods; however, I think it would be a great idea to emphasize the importance of choosing whole grain products. A new beginning with whole grain products will not only benefit your health, but also your weekly weight loss.

A few of our First Place leaders have sent me a great website, the Harvard School of Public Health, which has some great health related articles. They have developed the Healthy Eating Pyramid that takes into consideration and puts into perspective the wealth of research conducted during the last ten years relating to healthy eating.   You can find this site at www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource. They have some great printer friendly files that are very interesting.

The choices we make from the Bread/Starch Food Group are very important. Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, because they provide fuel for the body. Many foods rich in whole grain carbohydrates are good sources of essential vitamins and minerals. Food companies make it more difficult than it should be to spot a whole grain food. Aware that the consumers are interested in whole-grain products, companies often make foods sound like they are whole grain and healthy when they are not. You must read labels carefully. You want to see on the label whole grain wheat, oats, rye, or other whole grain cereal. For example, the words “made with wheat” probably do not indicate a whole grain product.

There is a world of information available to us through the Internet. Some of the sites I have visited with good advice concerning fiber are: www.mywebmd.com. You will find a search window on the home page, just type in fiber. The University of Minnesota Extension Service publications titled, “Fiber in the Diet,” is available on the Internet at www.extension.umn.edu/living.

Successful new beginnings often come in small steps. Scott Wilson has some great suggestions in his article for adding fiber to your plan. I also got an email recently from Mark Gutierrez, a very successful First Place leader in California. (You can read his testimony on the First Place web site.) Mark mentioned two of his favorite sources of fiber are in the Kashi cereal. Some of his favorites are “Go Lean Crunch” and “Good Friends Cinna-Raisin Crunch,” “Heart to Heart,” and the original “Good Friends.”   He often mixes these choices with yogurt. Two servings of this will give you 16 grams of fiber, and that is about half of what is recommended for each day. I plan to see if these are available in my area.   Send me your favorite high fiber foods and I will share them next month.

Please try to make this spring a time of new beginnings as each of you evaluate your eating plan, focusing on fiber.

May God Bless Each of You in a Very Special Way!

Kay Smith
First Place Associate Director

Kay is the associate national director of First Place and has been on the First Place staff since 1987.

Kay is a popular speaker at retreats, seminars, Conferences, FOCUS Weeks and Workshops across the country. Kay is the First Place food exchange expert and writes a monthly article in the First Place E-Newsletter on nutrition. She also was a contributing writer to the Today Is the First Day devotional book. Her delightful personality and love for people endears her to everyone she meets, and they quickly become her new best friend.

Kay and her husband, Joe, live in Roscoe, TX. They have two children and five grandchildren. Two of the young grandchildren are making a name for themselves on the golf circuit. Two of the young grandchildren are making a name for themselves on the golf circuit, and the three oldest grandsons are all involved in numerous sporting events, which Kay and Joe attend as often as possible.