Compelled to help her dad who was faced with a serious illness caused by a lifetime of poor eating choices, Deanna Latson - an internationally recognized nutritional educator - passionately spoke of how she made the change to a healthier lifestyle during a presentation Monday, April 7 at The University of Texas-Pan American Student Union Theater.
During her lecture titled "Eat Right, Feel Good, Look Great,'' Latson, who has a master's degree in advanced public speaking and health communications from San Francisco State University, chronicled her transformation from an unhealthy and overweight bulimic to a full-time lecturer on food and how it effects your body and health.
Latson, a resident of San Diego, has spoken to numerous universities and corporations including Stanford, New York University, AT&T and Visa. Latson is the director of the Good Thinking Co. - a provider of success-oriented services, products and experiences. "How do you learn what is in food?" she asked. "Be a label reader and a conscious eater, aware of a food's effect on your body."
Citing numerous research organizations and books, such as "The Food Revolution" by John Robbins (formerly of Baskin-Robbins), Latson said consumers should know what chemicals are in the food they eat and if a warning label is present stay away from that food completely.
Diets, Latson said, are dangerous, don't work, and can turn into eating disorders.
"Identify what eating habit you want to change and make it a value for yourself, such as saying 'I do not drink soda' and remind yourself of that value constantly," Latson said.
After distributing small bags containing proper food choices of fruit, nuts and raisins, Latson identified several actions to take that would lead to a healthier and longer life - cutting down on the consumption of animal products (especially red meat and dairy foods), eating more raw foods (unroasted nuts for example), eliminating processed sugar and caffeine while increasing water intake, taking a quality supplement and educating yourself about proper foods.
Asked about the Mexican food common in the Rio Grande Valley, Latson responded that ethnic food, such as Mexican, can often be a healthy food choice but stick with whole beans, rice (preferably brown), guacamole, and corn, not flour tortillas.
"Eat your heart out of avocados," she said, explaining they were 70 percent water and healthy.
Sam Smith, Director of the Student Union and University Center, and one of the coordinators of Latson's visit said, "We hope that Latson's talk will cause students to stop a minute and think about positive behavior."
Sponsored by the Student Union and Student Health Services, the lecture was one of a series of activities planned for Life is Good Health Week. Copies of handouts providing additional resource information from Latson are available in the Student Union, Room 2.316 AE.
Healthy recipe links, including Mexican, can be found on Latson's web site, www.gotohealth.com