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Cornish Pasty, anyone? Calories and exercise


Looking through social media posts, I am so tempted by the beautiful pictures of the delicious cakes, bread, pastries, and meals. Last weekend, as we were all staying home, complying with social distancing guidelines, I gave into temptation and for the first time, made “Cornish pasty”. Even worse, I posted a short video of how we made it, on FB and IG. I must admit, it was super delicious and worth all the time and effort my kids, my husband and I put into preparing 8 pieces.  Then the guilt set in. Do you know how much butter I used in getting the pastry dough ready? The calories, the cholesterol, Aughhh!!! I had disturbing visions of all the calories going straight to my belly and hips. I felt guilty even before we made such a high fat and high-calorie meal. While reading the recipe, I announced that we must put in an extra 3 miles of brisk walk before we eat. That didn’t happen, but we managed to walk 2 miles that night. How much did I need to walk to burn off the calories I consumed?

When it comes to counting calories, most of us think that we have burned more calories than what we have.


How many calories do we burn doing typical activities?


https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/physical_activity/index.html


Now here is another interesting chart on how much a typical person’s calorie requirements are base on gender and age. Notice that as we get older we should consume less calories. I am over 50 and in need of even fewer calories. I have been moderately active for as long as I remember. But am I active enough to offset my calorie intake? A traditional large pasty contains 800 calories. I burned 140 calories during my brisk 2-mile walk that night. That is a surplus of 660 calories. So if I ate pretty healthy the rest of the day, I may have come out ok. But how often do we eat calorie-dense, unhealthy foods, drink liquid candy (juices, etc.), indulge in desserts and snacks and how much do we exercise? It is a simple equation if we bother to plug in the numbers.


https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2020-01/DGA2005


As you can see from the description below, Cornish pasty was usually consumed by mine workers and not by someone who has a sedentary lifestyle. In other words, they worked hard to earn that many calories! My physical activity, as a pharmacist, is nowhere close to a miner. Therefore, I should not eat the same foods, or else, I will gain a lot of weight. Here is an important lesson: it is easier to ignore the calorie content of the foods we eat at a restaurant than making meals from scratch. When we are forced to measure all the ingredients we use in preparing a meal, we are more likely to eat healthier. We tend to pay more attention to calorie content and may think twice about using certain ingredients.

A quote from one of my wise college professors: Lard and butter look the same in your arteries as they do in a tub. And you definitely don’t want your arteries to look like that. Here is to eating healthy and staying healthy.

https://www.history.com/news/miners-delight-the-history-of-the-cornish-pasty: Few meals have roots as deep as the Cornish pasty, a hand-held meat-and-vegetable pie developed as a lunch for workers in the ancient English tin mining region of Cornwall. With its characteristic semicircular shape and an insulating crust that does double-duty as a handle, the humble pasty—which, perhaps unfortunately, rhymes with “nasty” rather than “tasty”—today receives special designation, along with Champagne and Parma ham, as a protected regional food by the European Union.