So what does “being healthy” really mean?
Is being healthy NOT being sick?
I mean cause really just because you aren’t sick doesn’t mean you are healthy.
So then what is HEALTHY?
Is it having all of your vital stats fall within that “healthy” range set out by the medical community?
I mean is that really healthy if the person eats crap all day yet has supposedly falls within the healthy ranges for cholesterol and blood pressure and such!?!
Ehhhhh…doesn’t sound healthy to me.
They might look healthy on paper, but frankly I don’t think that is any guarantee that they won’t be plagued by illness or die at an early age.
Eating crap is eating crap. And frankly, I think it will come back to bite most people.
So then…what is “being healthy?”
Honestly, I don’t have an answer for you. And neither does anyone else.
That is why people are so confused about what diet or exercise program to follow – there are studies used to say that almost a bazillion different things are healthy!
So how do I judge when I’m being healthy?
Well I took a look at all of the evidence and picked a side.
I choose to pick the side of eating whole natural foods – real foods. I choose this diet because it seems most logical to me.
People have called it a “fad diet,” but as someone said in “The Perfect Human Diet” documentary that I watched last night, “It then is a 2 million year old fad.”
We evolved the way we did because we ate meat. Our systems are adapted to eat whole natural foods.
So processed foods? Foods that we only started eating with industrialization?
Those are not whole natural foods. Those are NOT foods we were meant to eat.
Those to me aren’t healthy.
And there are people who will site studies saying I’m wrong and that my diet is a fad.
You are going to call my diet a fad when there haven’t been any early vegetarian human fossils found? You are going to tell me that I should eat grains when humans didn’t eat grains until recently!?!
I have the whole of human evolution behind my beliefs…How many years are behind yours!?!
And yea…now some of you will say…”Well we didn’t have science then”….or “We didn’t know any better”….or “We lived way shorter lives back then.”
Yea we didn’t have science…we ate what didn’t kill us. Just like all animals seem to eat what is right.
I mean if a study came out today saying we should feed lions grains are you really going to believe it?
And yea…we did live shorter lives. We didn’t have medicine back then to keep people alive. We also now don’t have to contend with a lot of the dangers that they did!
And don’t get me wrong, I think science helps us learn a lot and even better ourselves.
But please don’t use it to tell me that grains are healthy and natural animal products aren’t.
We use grains to fatten animals…Maybe…Just maybe then grains really are at the heart of the problem.
Anyway, one last little factoid before I get back on topic, which was mentioned in The Perfect Human Diet….
Look at cattle feed nutritional info….the feed used to FATTEN cattle. It recommends low-fat, moderate protein and high carb.
Think about who else recommends a diet set up this way….
OH! The food pyramid! That is where I’ve seen this diet before! And guess who came up with the food pyramid orginially?
So yea…I chose my side.
And once I picked that side, I tested it and realize just how much freaking better I felt day in and day out while eating, living and working out that way. So because I felt better than I’d ever felt before, I decided that I was being healthy.
Feeling energized and strong day in and day out to me is feeling healthy.
Not having to down 50 cups of coffee to make it through the day to me seems healthy.
Not feeling bloated. Or sluggish. Or winded at the slightest exertion….
That to me is healthy.
Being able to constantly achieve greater and greater fitness goals because I’m fueling proper, sleeping enough and not overtraining.
That to me is healthy.
That to me is healthy.
I honestly sort of believe that we can FEEL when our body is in order especially when we’ve cut out all the crap.
Trust me, anyone who has gone to a clean whole foods diet can now recognize how crappy they actually felt when they ate all of the processed junk.
So I challenge you to ask yourself, “Are you really healthy?”
Do you actually feel good day in and day out?
Oh who cares!
Every other day you see a new news article about the Top 10 Healthiest Fish/Cereals/Fruits/Vegetables…But seriously…WHO CARES!?!
Yesterday I made a comment to Ryan about how someone was eating swordfish instead of salmon and that salmon was much better.
He said, “Yay but still…it could be way worse.”
“It could be way worse.”…SO TRUE!
Why are all of these news articles so focused on telling us what the healthiest of already goods food are? Why not focus on making people more aware of how bad vegetable oils and processed foods are!?!
It is almost like what I was saying about supplementation the other day. We worry about micromanaging our diets when our macronutrient intake is awful – we focus on what is the best of an already healthy food instead of at least getting people to eat the worst of a healthy food!
I mean really…If someone doesn’t eat fruit or vegetables, isn’t it way better that they eat bananas and iceberg lettuce than no fruits and vegetables at all? I know we could argue that berries and spinach are way better for you, but isn’t eating fruits and vegetables the most important part.
At least they are eating something non-processed with nutrients!
As Ryan said, “It could be way worse!”
So next time you want to tell your friend that iceberg lettuce isn’t as good as spinach, think about how many WORSE choices they could have made!
So I’ve now been witness to my first pyramid scheme.
I’ve been applying to jobs in Cali and I applied to a “Wellness Coach” position.
It sounded legitimate so I submitted my resume.
A day later I get an email about attending an informational meeting about the position. I emailed the woman right back saying that I couldn’t attend then because I wasn’t yet in Cali, but could I possibly attend one at a future date.
She then told me that I could watch the streaming video of the session.
I started watching the video and about two slides in realized what I had gotten myself into. About four slides in I saw visual evidence that what I had applied to was indeed a pyramid scheme.
What got me thinking wasn’t so much the fact that I accidentally applied to a pyramid scheme, but that people actually roped people into SELLING junk like this.
When the woman who set me up with the video called after it was finished, she asked me if I had the three qualities to be successful.
I told her I did have those qualities. I then promptly told her thank you for the opportunity, but no thank you. I told her that my nutritional views are VERY different from what she is promoting.
Pyramid scheme or not, there was no way I could sell a product that I didn’t BELIEVE in!
For me health and fitness isn’t merely a job. It isn’t merely a way to make money.
It is a passion.
I want to EDUCATE. I want to EMPOWER. I want to help people GROW.
I don’t want to trick them into buying some junk just so I can make a few bucks!
Schemes like that are what dilute the health and fitness market and serve to confuse people about what is healthy.
Don’t fall for them. Don’t help promote them.
Don’t fall for the gimmicks.
Eat whole natural foods. Lift heavy weights. Sprint often.
Have you encountered gimmicks like that in your line of work? Would you sacrifice your beliefs to make money?
I’m willing to accept that other people may have different beliefs than I do, especially when it comes to diet and fitness. There is just so much information out there leading you to believe so many different things.
The thing I can’t accept is people who are close-minded.
Choosing the “right” diet is all one big gamble. No one truly KNOWS what is right. We can all just make educated guesses based on the research that is out there and self-experimentation.
And what we believe to be “right” should change over time as we LEARN more. As we EXPERIMENT more.
If you ever believe that you know exactly what is the best/healthiest diet and are unwilling to make adjustments, that is the day that you’ve officially become WRONG.
You are an IDIOT if you think you have all the answers and don’t need to continue LEARNING about diet and exercise…or well anything in life for that matter.
I keep capitalizing LEARNING here because it is key!!! Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from school – it just becomes an independent study.
So don’t think that just because something is what you “used to do” or “have always done” means it is correct.
I mean over the last few years eggs have gone from being good to eat to bad for your cholesterol back to being good for you to eat with no effect on cholesterol.
It seriously is one big crap shoot. You can find evidence for just about everything in the field of nutrition. (And exercise is only a bit better.)
So since it is all one big gamble and all we can do is continue learning and experimenting, what do we do?
Well this girl has become good at admitting she has more to learn and has no shame admitting when she’s wrong.
I did the low-fat thing. I grew up believing it was RIGHT. I believed it was right for 20 some years of life.
And then after I stopped listening to the media. After I stopped listening to “society” – I did my own research and found out I’d been wrong all those years.
Why was I eating processed crap to try to eat mainly “low-fat?” How did I believe that some processed butter thing like Smart Balance HeartRight Light Buttery Spread was better for me than regular butter, which is barely processed? I mean look at all that crap in Smart Balance butter spread! Heck it even admits it’s not butter in the title! It’s butter spread!
AND this supposed “heart healthy” butter spread has vegetable oils up the wazzu in it! And what research has been popping up everywhere?!? Research that shows vegetable oils may be causing some of our heart related problems and diseases!
When I started realizing that I was wrong, was it hard for me to admit it to myself and change?
Yes, at first I fought it. It isn’t easy admitting you are wrong. That is why most people instantly jump on you when you start talking about eating saturated fat or low carb or anything contrary to the low-fat mantra.
BUT, I gave the diet a shot anyway. Heck, I even thought at one point “I’ll do a self experiment and prove that this Primal/Paleo/Whole, natural food diet with high protein and low carbs ISN’T right.”
Of course, I was wrong again.
BUT because I gave it a shot, I found something that is, what I believe to be, RIGHT. I look better than I ever did on low-fat and, most importantly, I FEEL BETTER.
Because of my self experimentation, I do believe that eating whole natural foods is the right way. To me it also just logically makes sense. Of course, I’m still constantly doing research to make adjustments to my diet. You must always continue learning!
Of course, now that I’ve found a diet that I believe in, not because someone told me it works, but because I’ve EXPERIENCED it’s results, I’m a big supporter and encourage others to experiment. (AKA share my opinion with anyone and everyone that I can!)
Plus, I love a good debate. I’m just a tab bit argumentative and I will take on anyone, which I think amuses/annoys Ryan sometimes since he avoids the whole nutrition debate with most people.
He tells me “It’s not worth it.” And yea…sometimes it isn’t, but when someone just straight out shoots you down, it gets my blood boiling!
And I imagine that sometimes I look like a little Terrier yapping at a big dog when I debate people.
But what the hey…sometimes it isn’t worth it because the person is too close-minded to even truly entertain a good debate. BUT at the least I hope I encouraged them at some point to do a bit more research into what they believe to be right!
If you are going to be a staunch supporter of something in the nutrition field, you’ve got to do your research. You’ve also got to realize that you are gambling…with your life.
So to sum up my point:
- It’s really all one big gamble.
- Don’t be ashamed to admit you are wrong! In fact be proud that you are willing to learn and change and GROW!
- Never stop learning.
- Self-experimentation is really key since there are studies proving just about anything and everything when it comes to nutrition.
P.S. A phrase I hate hearing from trainers or nutritionists is “I wouldn’t recommend that” when they’ve never tried it! How can you recommend or not recommend something that you’ve never tried!?! This phrase was uttered in response to a discussion we had about Intermittent Fasting, which by the way..DOES FREAKING WORK! Sheesh..just look at all the freaking testimonials on Lean Gains‘ site!
I’m a health and fitness addict, but I’ve surrounded myself with people who support my lifestyle.
It is very hard to commit to a healthy lifestyle when you go it alone – when everyone around you in someway tempts you to “cheat.”
I sympathize with clients who are trying to lose weight but their husbands refuse to diet or exercise with them. Their husbands won’t force them to eat badly, but watching someone else eat something you WANT while you stick to your diet, isn’t easy. Going to the gym while your significant other sits on the couch or sleeps in isn’t easy.
And the worst part about all of this is…You can’t just brainwash your significant other into committing to a new and healthy lifestyle….Can you?
Ok you can’t brainwash them, but here are some ways to try to convince (or trick) them into supporting you.
First off, it usually isn’t hard to convince men to eat steak and bacon, which is more than acceptable on the Man Bicep diet. Actually it is usually harder to convince women to eat fatty cuts of meat.
Our society definitely associates manliness with meat – especially red meat. So serve your man some meat and I guarantee he will be more than happy to be eating healthy with you. He will be so happy in fact that he may not even realize that he is eating well! It seems you would have way more trouble convincing your spouse to eat vegan than you would to eat red meat…at least it seems that way based on the fact that vegans feel the need to put out videos about “manliness.”
Don’t make exercise all about going to the gym. Find active hobbies that you both enjoy! This will make working out less of a chore for you and a way that you two can still spend time together! You can simple go for a walk or a hike together. Or you can try something like kayaking or rock climbing. It can honestly be anything. Being active together is a great time to bond and get your spouse to realize how much FUN being active can be!
Get results. As hard as it may be to go it alone, the end results are worth it. If you can go it alone long enough to start seeing results, trust me…he will see results too. And there is no better encouragement for him to support your lifestyle than seeing you look great, have more energy and feel healthier. He may realize he needs to change his lifestyle just to keep up with you!
Ok and let’s face it…the best way to convince them that they should support you boils down to….SEX.
- Eating crap like simple sugars and grains lowers your testosterone levels. That means you are less interested in sex than say when you are eating tons of meat and bacon, which actually raises your testosterone levels!
- Working out makes you look better and FEEL BETTER about how you look. If you like the way you look, don’t you think you will want to show off? Plus, who wouldn’t be turned on by their significant other looking sexy and lean!?!
- Eating well and working out usually combines to make us not only look better, feel healthier but also be more confident. I don’t know about you, but when I feel like I look good, I’m much more apt to show a little skin. I want to strut my stuff!
So don’t let your significant other sabotage your diet and exercise plan!
We seem to love to make dieting and exercising something super complicated.
But it’s not. And you’ll get the best results if you simply keep it simple!
If you follow the three most basic Man Bicep principles, I guarantee you will be lean, healthy and fit!
- Lift weights.
- Eat whole, natural foods when you’re hungry.
- Don’t waste your time!
Let’s just first clear the air…YOU WILL NOT GET BULKY IF YOU LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS!
That being said you will reap these benefits if you can move past that fear:
- Build strength.
- Gain lean muscle mass.
- Lose more fat.
- Maintain a lean physique.
- Increase your bone density and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
- Reduce your risk of injury.
- Improve your mood.
Eat Whole, Natural Foods:
Keep it simple! You don’t need to complicate your diet by counting calories or watching your micro-nutrient intake. You don’t need to take a bazillion supplements or eat any special bars. You don’t need to freak out about eating 5-6 small meals a day.
Your metabolism won’t shut off if you skip a meal and the more ingredients something has, no matter if it is low-fat or supposed to “zap fat in 1 week!”, the worse it is for you…period.
Don’t get fooled by stupid diet gimmicks that tell you that you can eat candy and lose weight. It doesn’t work.
Don’t make dieting something complicated! Just eat whole, natural foods like fresh fruit and vegetables and naturally raised, organic animal products. Eat when you are hungry…Heck you can even skip meals if you want and fast. Fasting even has proven health benefits!
If you need some help getting started with a clean eating program, check out these healthy lifestyle tips!
Don’t Waste Your Time:
What do I mean by this? Don’t waste your time half-assing a diet or fitness program. Don’t spend 1 hour in the gym when you could accomplish more in 20 minutes. Don’t work with a trainer to try to lose weight if you aren’t going to eat well outside of the gym.
Don’t waste your time or anyone else’s. Try circuit training. Starting eating a diet of whole, natural foods so that your hard work in the gym pays off.
If you want to live a healthy lifestyle….then DO IT!
Don’t whine. Don’t complain. Don’t half-ass it.
Don’t waste your time! DO IT!
Seriously, why is everyone so determined to blame red meat for all our health problems? I swear I saw at least 3 stupid sensational news pieces about it today.
Why does everyone look to cut out red meat before processed foods and gluten?
It is interesting to note that most studies don’t take into account how many carbs or vegetable oils people consume along with the supposedly dangerous fatty red meat.
It is also interesting to note that most of the doctors that support these studies have vegetarian leanings…like Dr. Ornish…He has the “Ornish diet,” which, with its vegetarian leanings is supported by this study.
Everyone (myself included) will jump on board studies that benefit them! But come on people…take a look at the study. They didn’t look at gluten, processed foods OR vegetable oils. So who says it is the red meat that we’ve been eating since our hunter-gatherer days?
On to the next article I found…
The article starts out by blaming our bad omega-6 to omega-3 ratio on red meat.
Ok…but red meat isn’t the thing highest in omega-6s so why is it being blamed by this article for “diet induced obesity?!!”
Actually the protein highest in omega-6s with the worst ratio is, CHICKEN! And guess what else provides you with way more omega-6s than red meat?
So why is red meat being singled out?
Both of these studies also don’t consider the difference between grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef.
Can I just point out that there is a HUGE difference between the two!!!
Just to name two differences…Grass-fed beef has more omega-3s and is LEANER than grain-fed beef. Also, grass-fed beef has CLA, which has been proven to prevent cancer! Check out more health benefits of grass-fed beef here!
Now just some extra PROOF that we shouldn’t eat less meat and more carbs!!!!
Here is a study “A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet to treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia – A randomized, controlled trial” that compared the effects of a low-fat diet to that of a low-carb diet. The conclusions drawn from this diet were:
Conclusions: Compared with a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet program had better participant retention and greater weight loss. During active weight loss, serum triglyceride levels decreased more and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level increased more with the low-carbohydrate diet than with the low-fat diet. (They also state that HDL went up and that with continued weight loss the LDL lowered down.)
I also just want to link out to a guy who has proof coming out of his ears that red meat isn’t the problem – Gary Taubes. Below is a quote from an interview
You have to consider that when I wrote the article I already knew the results of five clinical trials—short term, admittedly—that compared Atkins-like low-carb diets to low-fat, low-calorie diets of the kind recommended by the American Heart Association. Since my article came out, those five studies have been published and they all showed that cholesterol profiles—specifically triglycerides—improved on low-carb diets compared to the AHA diets. So I knew that your uncle’s bacon double cheeseburger for breakfast wouldn’t kill him as long as he remembered to skip the bun.
I also knew that some 30% of Americans—40% over 60, which probably includes your uncle—have Syndrome X/Metabolic Syndrome and, for those people, low-fat diets will do more harm than good. I also knew that long-term studies of low-fat, low-calorie diets showed they were worthless and didn’t lead to long-term weight loss. I also knew that if individuals could lose weight on Atkins or any diet, their cholesterol would drop with the weight, regardless of the diet. Knowing all that, I knew that anyone could try a low-carb diet and it wouldn’t kill them and might actually help them. I had faith that if they somehow gained weight eating all the fat that Atkins recommends, they’d stop the diet. (I’m still mystified by nutritionists and other “experts”, who feel they have to condemn a diet in advance because some individuals might allegedly gain weight. Don’t they think that anyone smart enough to read what they write is also smart enough to stop a diet that doesn’t work for them ?)
Ok now bring on the red meat haters!
There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a person that kills themself day in and day out at the gym, but doesn’t get results.
And the sad part is, I see people like this all the time.
I see women that spend 30 grueling minutes on the treadmill followed by some 2 hour Barbie weight training program whose bodies never change – no muscles gained, no weight lost.
And they are working super hard.
And they keep working hard – Repeating the same grueling workout at least 5 times a week and eating the same foods that they’ve always eaten. And they believe they are being super healthy yet nothing changes.
Sometimes I want to walk up to those people, shake them and say, “How’s that working out for you? Seriously, how is that workout and “healthy” lifestyle really working for you!?!”
I want to shake them because they are wasting their time doing something that obviously isn’t working.
And if they do decide something isn’t working, they usually blame the workout. They may then even hire a trainer who writes up a new and wonderful routine for them.
And they work hard every time they meet with the trainer and even go to the gym on their own.
But they still aren’t seeing results.
And why aren’t they seeing results? Well they will most likely blame the trainer and the workout routine. When in reality, diet (and potentially even overtraining) is what is leading to their lack of results.
When people want to lose weight or fat, they turn to exercise. They can depend so much on exercise in fact that they start training so much that they actually hurt their progress.
But exercise is really only 20% of the weight loss/body composition battle. The other 80% is diet.
So if you aren’t getting results stop doing the same old thing and killing yourself day in at day out at the gym. If you are working hard in the gym, maybe your diet is to blame.
Here is one recipe from the Recipe Box to help you kick-start a new healthy eating program that will help you get the results you deserve for all of your hard work!
The Meat House Country Scramble
1/2lbs of The Meat House Country Sausage
2 oz Wild Boar Salami (courtesy of The Meat House)
3 strips of bacon
1 tsp cumin
Salt, chili powder and pepper to taste
In a pan, heat bacon and onions. When onions are translucent, add in chopped potatoes. When potatoes start to brown a bit, add in the country sausage. Season with cumin, salt and pepper and add in wild boar salami.
Once sausage is cooked and potatoes are golden brown and crispy, divide hash onto plates. Cook eggs in the same pan till over easy. Serve over the hash with a sprinkle of chili powder.
If you are looking to make this low carb, but equally delicious, cut out the potatoes.
P.S. We use salami from The Meat House because it is nitrite free. AND all of their sausages are made in-house and have all-natural ingredients while being gluten-free!! Please don’t substitute in any sausage or salami as it will deduct from the nutritional benefit of the dish!
It’s always weird going on a vacation or going to visit family, where you aren’t totally in control of your eating. It’s especially interesting when your family doesn’t have exactly the same nutritional beliefs as you. (Not to mention it means lots of nutritional debates, which I will discuss in a later post).
For the Man Bicep Mom and my sister, oatmeal, toast, and carbs in general, are a usual part of breakfast.
For me..well I can’t remember the last time I had toast until today. And it is hard for me to just go with the flow after a day of indulgence…especially for something like toast haha.
BUT sometimes being around family means just going with the flow and knowing that you won’t be doing any damage you can’t correct right when you get back from vacation.
I mean I know I can just say no, but sometimes I think it just isn’t worth the effort (partly because it just makes things more complicated and we are all already indecisive and partly because of the debate and questions that will ensue…yes that is right sometimes, and only sometimes, do I avoid debate!)
Is it just me or does anyone else struggle with saying “no” and sticking to their diet when they are staying at their parents’ house? Do you find it easier to just go with the flow?