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Are you healthy?

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.

Really!?!

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!?!

HA!

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.

feed

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?

POLITICIANS!

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.

Feeling GOOD.

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?

Paleo is a joke

I LOVE talking about diet and exercise.

I LOVE when people find out I’m a trainer and then ask me a ton of questions.

I LOVE when people ask me about my diet or exercise program.

I HATE when people tell me they’ve started doing Paleo and then tell me about the latest Paleo baked good they made.

Are you a sucker for Paleo products? HELLO! People are making money off of you…they don’t care about your health!!!

To me Paleo and baked good (aka sweets) can’t legitimately be used in the same sentence unless you are saying you’ve switched to Paleo and only eat baked goods on cheat days now.

Paleo baked goods…those three words combined like that make me want to scream.

Paleo has become a joke.

The whole point of Paleo or Primal is to eat WHOLE, NATURAL FOODS. To eat meat, fruits and vegetables and cut out all of the processed crap and sugar.

The whole point of Paleo is to make you healthier and reduce the inflammation in your body.

The whole point of Paleo is NOT to make a less bad for you version of traditional baked goods.

If you are TRULY doing Paleo you aren’t eating freaking Paleo muffins or Paleo pie or pizza.

You aren’t baking with almond flour or using a ton of honey or maple syrup to sweeten things. You aren’t buying “gluten-free” processed products.

Why AREN’T those things truly Paleo!?!

Because they totally miss the point!

It’s true…nothing is ACTUALLY paleolithic, but the point of the diet is to cut out all of the crap and eat naturally raised products!

For example, the reason the Paleo/Primal diet tells you to cut out grains is because of the inflammation grains cause which is what causes cholesterol to build up in the arteries and cause heart problems.

Grains also contain phytic acid, which hinders your body from absorbing many vitamins and minerals.

Guess what also contains phytic acid?

ALMONDS!

So when you eat your normal serving of 1/4 cup of almonds you are fine…BUT a pizza made from almond flour!?!

That is a ton more than the 1/4 of a cup you should be eating.

And that means a TON OF PHYTIC ACID!!

You cut out grains because someone doing the Paleo diet told you to, BUT you didn’t understand WHY you were supposed to cut out grains. So you end up making your freaking Paleo almond crust pizza and get the exact crap that the Paleo diet is supposed to help you eliminate from your diet.

AH!

So because most people don’t really UNDERSTAND the point of the Paleo diet…because people don’t really understand why the diet has them cut out certain foods…because people just do it because their friend lost weight doing it…People end up destroying the diet and eating crap that is disguised as being “Paleo.”

Basically, don’t tell me you are doing Paleo or Primal if you are going to tell me about the latest cookie, pie, pizza, muffin or WHATEVER that you just made.

Don’t tell me you won’t eat cheese or rice because it isn’t Paleo and then freaking go eat gummy worms because they are gluten-free.

Don’t tell me you don’t eat beans (which you probably don’t even realize you don’t eat because they contain phytic acid) and then go eat farm-raised salmon or coconut milk with a ton of extra additives.

Come on!

Understand why the heck you are doing something! Farm-raised salmon is just about the WORST thing you could possibly eat!!!! It is like Paleo 101 that you eat NATURALLY RAISED animal products!

And if you are going to buy something like coconut milk, READ THE FREAKING LABEL.

Ok…deep breath…I’m done.

Now all of you recent Paleo bandwagoners…go ahead and tell me why I’m wrong…I dare you.

What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
– Juliet (Romeo and Juliet)

When people hear the name “Paleo Diet” or “Primal Diet,” they scoff and say, “Oh that is that crazy Caveman diet right?”

BUT if I tell people, “Oh I eat only whole, natural foods and avoid gluten, processed foods and vegetable oils” they nod their head in agreement.

UHM HELLO!?! Basically what I’m doing is eating the exact Primal diet that they scoffed at!! The only difference is…..

I DIDN’T CALL IT PRIMAL!

One word can define how people view a diet, workout program even a way of living!

Once mainstream media deemed the Primal/Paleo diet the “Caveman diet” people began to scoff at it even if they will nod in agreement when you list off all of the principles of the diet.

The same thing is true if you say you eat a “low-carb” diet.

People instantly say, “Oh like Atkins?” or “So you don’t eat fruits and veggies?”

BUT if you say you avoid “unhealthy carbs,” again people nod in agreement. (Of course my definition of unhealthy carbs is most often different from theirs, but still…)

There are just so many things that annoy me with the above situation.

For one, if people did any research, they would know that Atkins has now changed and DOES allow carbs as well as a plan to help you add them back in to an appropriate level after the initial weight loss.

For two, why does low-carb instantly mean to people that you cut out fruits and vegetables!?!

Trust me you can eat low-carb but still eat tons of fruits and vegetables! Honestly, I eat more fruits and vegetables since going “low-carb” than I ever did when I ate lots of carbs and low-fat!

In one cup of broccoli, there is only 6g of carbs versus one cup of brown rice in which there are 45g of carbs!

So I could eat 7 cups of broccoli throughout the day and still eat fewer carbs than if I had ONE cup of brown rice!

And personally I think having just two cups of broccoli is better nutritionally than one cup of brown rice (AND fewer carbs!)

And diet isn’t the only place that I see “names” being misconstrued.

Honestly, I believe that the same thing has happened as Crossfit has become more and more popular.

It is so funny the different reactions I get from other trainers when I say “intense circuits” versus “Crossfit-style workouts.”

To me, Crossfit means pushing your limits. Trying new things. Constantly varying up the workout. Lifting heavy things and sprinting often.

It means intense circuits that are never the same and constantly challenge your fitness level.

But that isn’t what it means to most trainers.

To most trainers, Crossfit means injury and Olympic lifts with bad form.

But what in this DEFINITION of what Crossfit TRULY is supposed to be says that?

CrossFit describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement,”with the stated goal of improving fitness (and therefore general physical preparedness), which it defines as “work capacity across broad time and modal domains.”Workouts are typically short—20 minutes or less—and intense, demanding all-out physical exertion. They combine movements such as sprinting, rowing, jumping rope, climbing rope, weightlifting, and carrying odd objects; they use barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, kettlebells, medicine balls, and many bodyweight exercises.These elements are mixed in numerous combinations to form prescribed “Workouts of the Day” or “WODs”. Hour-long classes at affiliated gyms, or “boxes,” typically include a warm-up, a skill development segment, the high-intensity WOD, and a period of individual or group stretching. Performance on each WOD is often scored and/or ranked to encourage competition and to track individual progress. Some affiliates offer additional classes, such as Olympic weightlifting, which are not centered around a WOD.

Uhm I swear I’ve heard the exact trainers that condemn Crossfit utter this exact same phrase to describe their strength and conditioning program “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement,”with the stated goal of improving fitness (and therefore general physical preparedness).”

Am I wrong?

Nope!

But because a few people practice something in a way that some consider “wrong,” a whole movement gets  condemned.

There are always going to be people who do things that you don’t agree with….in any movement or facet of life.

But that doesn’t mean you can just ignore and belittle something without learning more!

How many things have you not tried because of one word associated with them? How many times have you not done the research to find out the principles behind the diet/lifestyle/workout?

Also, can we ever really accept that one word represents an entire movement? Let’s face it…Primal SHOULDN’T mean the exact same thing to ever person. Neither should “low-carb” or “Crossfit”……

The good, the bad and the simply stupid

I’m not sure where this really goes, but I found it on Facebook and thought it was awesome.

The Good

  • Ryan saw this video and I thought it fit well with my post from yesterday. Most of the functional training we SHOULD be doing isn’t NEW…it’s actually some of the oldest forms of training!
  • AWESOME! While I’m still working on holding a one-handed handstand, I’m also going to start working on this! A kip-up!
  • The Crossfit games were this past weekend. Can I just say, “AWESOME!” To me there is no better test of true fitness than having to do activities and exercises that you haven’t necessarily prepared for! Annie Thorisdottir, you are amazing!
  • Awesome! 86 years old!

The Bad

The Simply Stupid

  • Seriously!?! The Paleo Diet is Uncivilized!?! I love how this woman can claim her information is CORRECT because she is an RD. She is still biased! She is a vegetarian!!!
  • This pictures isn’t stupid. The fact that people actually think this way is the stupid part!
Tomorrow is my last day in Boston. I already miss all of you here! It has been a great 7 years!

The good, the bad and the simply stupid

So I want to start out by saying…I’m not sure if this article/interview about Paleo belongs under the good or the simply stupid.

Am I happy that the Paleo diet is getting more positive mainstream attention? Yes.

But really? Paleoista? Bleh!

The Good

So I mentioned the other day that I had Buffalo Flank Steak from The Meat House. The Meat House gets its supply from Wild Idea Buffalo Co. AMAZING! Grass-fed, free roaming buffalo! It was delicious, tender, juicy and HEALTHY! Plus the animal was raised in a natural way that actually helps keep the Great Plains healthy and thriving!

Here is a great article courtesy of Man Biceper Heather. If you haven’t already, make sure to check it out! This guy is spot on!

This post by Fit and Feminist also made me smile. Have I mentioned before that I hate Barbie weights?

What exercise is she even doing!?!

The Bad

So while I agree that how you “fuel” is very important to your performance (and health for that matter), eating a stupid, processed “chew” isn’t any better than all the crap shown all over the ground. Sorry Gatorade.

The Simply Stupid

Wearing skinny jeans that are too tight can cause health problems. My question is: How can you possibly get those jeans that are “too tight” on? Sometimes I have a hard enough time getting my non-skinny jeans on over my quads and butt!

Ok…those jeans are a bit too tight…

Low Carb Flu

I understand why people have a hard time committing to a Paleo/Primal diet and sticking with it. Especially since it can be lower carb.

You feel crappy at the beginning. It takes your body awhile to re-regulate.

There is even a name for that transition period when you start eating lower carb – the low carb flu.

I’m actually suffering from it as we speak…I went from eating crappy food during the holidays to a SUPER clean diet of only meats and vegetables during the week with nuts, cheese and fruit added in on the weekends.

And right now…all I want is a huge handful of potatoes, dried fruit…ANYTHING WITH LOTS AND LOTS OF CARBS!

BUT I know this feeling will pass if I’m patient and stick with my current program. And once it does, I will feel SOOOOO GOOD! Better than I could feel eating a ton of carbs!

However, many people don’t like that initial discomfort so switch their diet before they’ve really given themselves a chance to adjust. They go back to their old high carb, crappy food diet and never find out just how much BETTER they could feel if they ate a diet like Primal or Paleo.

It’s like what I was saying with committing to your fitness goals – you’ve got to give yourself a chance to get into a routine. You’ve got to give your body a chance to adjust!

And then once you start to get over the low carb flu, you’ve got to stick with it for a while before it even becomes natural and the cravings start to subside.

Trust me the cravings do get better. You start to want bad food less and appreciate the foods you CAN EAT more.

I’ve also found that planning out cheat days for the future (holidays or vacations or any event when you know you will want to cheat) can help make you feel more committed now. It always helps me because I know that at some point I will eat pizza or ice cream again and that I don’t NEED IT today!

Anyway, my point is that if you are going to do self-experimentation with a diet, you’ve got to give it at least 6 weeks before you can even say you’ve really tried it. You’ve got to give yourself a chance to adjust! Please!?!

I think you’ll be surprised at the results if you do really stick with something through the initial discomfort!

Anyone else push through the low carb flu only to realize how much better they feel afterwards?

 

Oh Conventional Wisdom- How I HATE YOU!

So I may have hinted at this before…but I LOVE a good diet and fitness debate. hehe

(And I’m apologizing upfront to any of my readers who are vegetarians…but I mean come on the comic is funny!) 🙂

For the first time this week I slept in (till 7 am!!! YAY!), and when I woke up Ryan had a nice article up on the computer for my post today – “The Paleo-Diet: Not the way to a healthy future.”

THANK YOU NPR!

First off, like many people you talk to, the author of this article Barbara King, got stuck on the fact that the Paleo diet is modeled on a hunter-gatherer diet. Most people get turned off of the diet because of this, which is why you hear people scoff at the idea of a “caveman” diet.

In this case Barbara King tries to prove that the Paleo diet DOESN’T in fact mimic the diet of paleolithic people. She even states that a true “paleo” diet may in fact be vegetarian:

Our ancestors began to eat meat in large quantities around 2 million years ago, when the first Homo forms began regular use of stone tool technology. Before that, the diet of australopithecines and their relatives was overwhelmingly plant-based, judging from clues in teeth and bones. I could argue that the more genuine “paleo” diet was vegetarian.

Ok that may be true…but then again we evolved into Homo form and those are probably the species more similar to our own so wouldn’t it make more sense to follow their diet than the one of a species that eventually EVOLVED into a hunter? Makes sense to me, but hey…

Next point…

Again she tries to prove that the Paleo diet isn’t a true paleolithic diet. She states:

First, ancient hunter-gatherer groups adapted to local environments that were regionally and seasonally variable — for instance, coastal or inland, game-saturated or grain-abundant (eating grains was not necessarily incompatible with hunter-gatherer living). Second, genes were not in control. People learned what worked in local context for survival and reproduction, and surely, just as in other primates, cultural traditions began to play a role in who ate what.

In short, there was no single hunter-gatherer foraging strategy, and genes no more “designed” our eating behavior than they designed our language or our ways of relating between the genders.

I think most Paleo and Primal followers agree that Paleolithic people ate what was regional and seasonal. AND many Paleo and Primal followers TRY to follow that. Of course since we do get produce from other places, we do make exceptions especially if it is organic. I also think people following the Paleo and Primal diets do adjust them to fit the region they are from just like our ancient ancestors did. Plus like any “diet,” the creators and main promoters of these diets have to promote a BASIC set of principles to follow.  It is up to the “dieter” to adjust it to fit where they are from.

Just like vegetarians. Just because someone is a vegetarian doesn’t mean their diet is the exact same as another vegetarian yet both are following the same BASIC set of principles outline by the person (people) who started/promoted vegetarianism. Sooo….what’s your point Barbara?

Oh, and also, our genes may not “design” our eating behavior but they do react better when you eat a certain way. I think all of the testimonials you can find in Paleo and Primal books as well as on blogs do prove this point. I mean just check out marksdailyapple.com and read a few of the testimonials there! (I mean shoot, if you are reading this blog and agree send me your testimonial and I’ll post it here as proof! haha)

OK! Next point! And the one that made me laugh out loud!

Barbara states:

But the paleo-movement seems to doom (even if unintentionally) more animals to life and death in factory farms. A greater percentage of grain crops would also be diverted to rich countries’ animals and away from poor countries’ people.

Uhm has she done any actually reading about Paleo/Primal? Doesn’t sound like it! WE AVOID GRAIN FED ANIMALS!!! So uhm…the poor countries can have all the grains they want! haha

Most true followers of Paleo try to eat only grass-fed animals. We are trying to promote a Paleolithic lifestyle, remember Barbara. SOOOO we want animals that were raised in a way that mimics the way Paleolithic animals lived…aka roaming free and eating what they naturally ate (grass for cows, grubs for pigs and such!).

So actually the Paleo diet is trying to get rid of factory farms. We are actually promoting a diet that is more humane to animals (if you look at the “5” rating at Whole Foods those animals actually got to live out a very nice long life!).

So Barbara didn’t convince me. Anyone out there have something better?  haha

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