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Calm mealtimes can mean more flavor with fewer calories

Oct. 18, 2012 @ 11:40 PM

Why don't vampires cruise the fast-food restaurants? Is it because there's too much cholesterol in the customers' hemoglobin? Nope. It's the bright lights, colors and sounds in fast-food temples of cardiac arrest that would send "The Vampire Diaries'" Alaric Saltzman (Matthew Davis) and "Twilight's" Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) running out of the place. And so it should be for mere mortals, too.

The ambiance that defines the decor of beef-to-go dining rooms gets people to eat faster and down more calories than they would in a dimly lit room with soothing music.

We want to help you avoid the same hazards at work and at home. You will look better, weigh less and dodge a host of ailments from poor digestion to heart disease. So we ask you: Are you eating at your desk under florescent lights, stressing out about a deadline? At home, do you eat standing up at the kitchen counter, or munch down chips, soda and who-knows-what while watching TV?

Well, we've got the solution -- and you'll notice how much better your tummy feels!

1. Turn off digital devices (TV, too). Set places with moderate-size dishes at a table with comfortable chairs. Turn off the overhead light. Play some soft music.

2. Prepare a salad (a dash of healthy olive oil and balsamic vinegar), steamed fresh veggies (flavored with chili sauce, mustard, basil or dill?) and broiled fish (salmon or trout).

3. Now settle in for a good conversation with your kids or partner, and calmly enjoy every forkful. Repeat, at least daily.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.

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