Just to set the record straight, I’m not a proponent of the Paleo Diet. I’m not a proponent of the Vegetarian Diet. And I’m not a proponent of the Cleansing Diet. I do not follow, adhere to, or read about the latest and greatest diets out there that are proven to make me a stronger, leaner, sexier, and more sought after person. Well, not anymore.
I believe that scientists are working hard at coming up with a solution for the overwhelming health epidemics that bombard us daily: obesity both in adults AND children, diabetes, osteoporosis, infertility, adrenal fatigue, hypo/hyperthyroidism, depression, cancer, and all the other conditions out there that plague us from day to day. I believe that the scientists truly believe that if they squint their eyes tight enough and keep looking through their microscopes and continue to swab the petri dishes long enough….that they will have the cure for all of these diseases listed above. But until then….pop this pill and pay no attention to the side effects. We will have another pill for that as well. Before you know it, you are nothing more than the experiment they are working on in the lab. Kind of sad when you think about it. Especially when the experiment isn’t really necessary to begin with.
Now I’m all about cutting edge science and really making a difference in the world to create health. But we’re going in the wrong direction and taking the path of least resistance. We are not being responsible for ourselves and then throw our hands up in the air in shock when we find out that we have diabetes or cancer or whatever. Literally shocked. “How the heck did THAT happen? ” Well, look around you. Look at what’s in your refrigerator. Look at your history of food choices, lack of exercise, stress, personal associations in life, not getting enough rest….the list goes on.
We are human beings. We are not automobiles in the sense that when the 3 year lease is up we get to trade our bodies in. And all the external cosmetic work simply will not cut it. It might make you look nice on the outside…but you are still aging rapidly on the inside. Yet, the ironic thing is that people generally care more about what they put in their car than what they put in their bodies. They get more upset about a ding in their door than they do about a chronic health condition. It simply doesn’t make any sense to me.
If you look around you, 68.8% of the adult population and 31.8% of children in the United States are overweight and/or struggling with some sort of health condition that could be mitigated, if not eliminated, simply by making simple lifestyle choices. And I’m speaking about the general population. I wholeheartedly agree that there are those individuals out there who try and try and still have health issues. But for the majority of us, the answer lies within our power.
Nutrition is an extremely confusing topic these days. Every day you will hear about a new product, diet, superfood, or workout that is absolutely the be-all-end-all to ALL your problems. If you would only just eliminate carbs, you wouldn’t be overweight. If you would do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) vs slow and steady kind of workouts you will burn more fat. Make sure to take your supplements. Never get less than 9 hours of sleep. Balance your meals. Measure your starch and proteins. Go no fat. Go high fat. Eat paleo. Eat primal. Eat high carb. Carbs??? What’s a carb??? Don’t touch those carbs. Make sure to eat carbs right after your workout. Don’t eat carbs after 4 pm (that’s my personal favorite) Workout first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to maximize your fat burning potential. Don’t eat before bed. Make sure you have a snack before bed. Eat 6-8 mini meals a day no larger than what can fit in the palm of your hand (huh???) Don’t eat gluten. Stay away from dairy. Soy….forget about it (which I actually happen to agree with, BTW)
I don’t know about you, but personally the list is exhausting. And this isn’t even a fraction of what you hear out there….but they are the most common. And they are tossed out there to the general public as if a one sized fits all approach is going to work for everyone. So everyone jumps on board…..and the whole ship sinks.
Diet and nutrition is very specific to an individual. One man’s food is another man’s poison. There certainly are people out there who simply cannot have gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, grains, meat, night shade vegetables, citrus, cruciferous vegetables, or even something as simple as cucumber slices on a nice green salad. Depending on your background, how you were raised, the lifestyle you live, your health history growing up, the amount of stress, sleep, and exercise you receive on a daily basis will all determine how you should be eating. And this can change from season to season, week to week, and even meal to meal depending on where you are.
There are so many books out there touting to be the cure for whatever it is that you are struggling with. And for the most part, it’s obesity in our country. But the one thing that all of these books, blogs, and magazines fail to acknowledge is the current health condition of a specific individual. Yes, a diabetic should not be eating a lot of carbohydrates. But that doesn’t mean that all diabetics can never have carbohydrates. Given the timing an the combinations of foods, diabetics can eat carbohydrates just so long as it is in balance for what they specifically require. Same thing goes for those who are wanting to lose weight. The biggest thing these days is to cut carbs. If you cut carbs you will reduce your insulin and therefore lose fat. And it’s true. That will happen. But it’s not a lifestyle that is sustainable in the long run. Not for very many of us. There are side effects to these extreme diets.
The point is that without having a specific plan that is designed for a specific individual, you are setting yourself up for failure. Most of us know what we should be eating. You hear it all the time. And this is the one diet tip that I will say makes sense….”Stop eating so much crap!!!!!! Stop with all the prepackaged junk food. Stop with all the snack food with hydrogenated oils. Start eating real whole food. Shop the produce section at your grocery store. Hit up the meat department….not the deli. You can have carbs….just make sure it’s in the form of a fruit, a vegetable, a sweet potato, or if you eat grains, make sure they are real whole grain products. Not the floury molasses colored Sara Lee Bread that has a shelf life of 6 months. You want a burger? You want it fast? Get yourself a George Foreman grill…you’ll have your burger in 3 minutes flat.
This is not about following a vegetarian diet. It’s not about going low carb. It’s not paleo. It’s not about allergies. It’s about REAL WHOLE FOOD!! If you can’t get that …. then no diet in the world is going to work for you. No supplement, workout, or so-called “plan” is going to give you what you want. Real health begins with real food….regardless of the label you slap on it. You can have anything you want. But make 90% of your food at home with real ingredients. THEN……when you decide what plan you want to follow, you will take that knowledge with you and THEN the plan will work.
In fact, you may see that that was really the only plan you ever needed in the first place.
Eat, Live, & Be Well.