I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a health revolution. Let’s begin with some tips to help you achieve better health now and in the future.
1. It’s not about losing weight, but gaining health. Stop dieting, and start lifestyling
Losing weight is a poor motivator because it’s superficial and assumes that there are no other reasons why one would “diet.”
It sets you up to GIVE UP.
You should be eating healthy and making lifestyle changes to GAIN health not lose weight (don’t worry, it’s usually an added much appreciated byproduct).
You want to put things into your body that bring wellness, reduce disease risk, and make you feel vibrant. When you change your line of thinking towards wellness your motivations change. It’s easier to be motivated by the whole picture than simply a part of it. Dieting misses the mark entirely. You can “diet” and lose weight drinking slimfast shakes and taking pills all day but are you GAINING health? No where close.
2. You need to change the way you think about food
It’s not about calories, it just isn’t. Yes, if you overeat you will likely gain weight but your body doesn’t treat calories the same. How that calorie is burned and used by your body matters. Whether that calorie is from an avocado or a Twix matters. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients in that calorie matter.
Food is nourishment
Food is fuel
What you put into your body determines how you feel, it affects your immune system, and has a significant effect on your risk of chronic disease. Stop thinking “I need x amount of calories a day” and start thinking about upgrading the fuel that powers YOU.
Food should come from the earth and not a laboratory
You should eat FOOD, not food-like product.
3. You need to understand your place in the world as a human
We live in modern times but we are still animals, we are the same animals (give or take a little) from 10s of thousands of years ago. When you think in evolutionary terms and what makes sense from that perspective, everything comes together. Does it make sense that I get my nutrition to fuel my body from a Twinkie made in a lab 2 years ago? Of course not.
We live in modern times and are constantly bombarded by a world we were not designed to live in. Our genes don’t adapt that fast and if we want good health we need to treat our bodies and our environment in a way they understand. Our biology expects nourishment.
I was incapable of creating “the bigger picture” in health and wellness until I understood this. I needed to think logically about our place on earth as human beings, how we’ve evolved and what makes sense from an ancestral perspective. Often times what is making us sick is simply a mismatch between our genetics and our modern world.
4. Get rid of your preconceived notions of what is healthy and what is not
There are so many misconceptions about health that it’s hard to filter through it all. Let’s discuss just a few of them:
Fat is necessary for optimal health.
Forget what the American Heart Association says or any other mainstream nonsense you hear.
Fat is back
Leading back to the evolutionary perspective… We evolved into advanced human beings because of fat (largely from animal products – sorry vegans). Historically and in most traditional societies, they eat nose to tail, meaning they eat the whole animal not just the lean muscle meat. Just think of a comic book of neanderthals being told that the fat wasn’t good for them and they should just go back to “gathering.” I mean it’d be a joke, right? How can something that has literally made us who we are suddenly be bad for us?
It’s the confounding variables. Is fat from an animal shoved into a small space, put on a diet of soy and corn and injected with antibiotics and hormones bad for us? ABSOLUTELY.
It’s all about the quality!
Corn, peanut, soy, canola oils and other vegetable oils require advanced chemical processes to make, are very high in inflammatory omega 6, typically produced with high levels of pesticides, usually genetically modified and contribute to a whole host of health problems.
“Nothing like petroleum produced, overheated, oxidized, and chemically deodorized salad dressing for dinner…. yum.” – Wellness Mama
It’s not heart healthy. It’s not real food. Your brain needs fat. Real, good quality, ethically sourced FAT.
Next culprit? The much lauded whole wheat. Let’s take a look at the label of a common brand of whole wheat bread:
Whole Wheat flour is the first ingredient, ok, not so bad. Next item? Water doesn’t count but it does make it seem like sugar is further down the list huh? Here’s where it gets fun. WTF is this stuff? Yes, just because it’s a chemical doesn’t mean it’s dangerous. But this stuff ISN’T food.
It’s food like product
It sure doesn’t deserve the top spot as one of the healthiest foods out there?
On top of that, wheat just isn’t what it used to be. In the United States, it’s nothing more than highly processed food, heavily sprayed with pesticides. Mmm glyphosate!
These preconceived notions, and many more, are hindering our health. Let’s get back to real food.
5. Health is more than food
Reducing overall toxin exposures, exercising smarter (not necessarily more), enjoying relationships, having purpose, sleeping well, reducing stress, getting proper sunshine, and spending time in nature all pave the way towards optimal health.
We also need to focus on “health care” and disease prevention that seeks to fix the root cause of ailments instead of relying on “sick care” that puts a bandaid on our problems.
Take back your health. It’s in your hands now, so let’s get started.