Guy: This could also have easily been my top twenty, but for the purpose of readability I’ve kept it to nine. Everything I’ve listed here, I had bought into growing up and thought I was living a normal ‘healthy’ lifestyle.
In my early twenties though, all the signs were starting to appear that my health wasn’t great; Massive energy swings each day, weight gain, fatigue, sinus issues, blood sugar problems to name a few. I was fed up and decided to do something about it.
I’ve adjusted my diet over the last eight years and being close to forty years old, I have never felt better! Whether you agree with the points I’ve listed or not is fine, but if you are not totally happy with your health, energy or weight then maybe it’s worth taking a look at. From my experience it worked for me and I’ve seen it time and time again with others; what you put in your mouth on a daily basis has a massive effect on your long term health.
1. Follow the Healthy Food Pyramid
Does anyone actually listen to this? If you listen to the pyramid then half your daily diet would be wheat, grains, rice, pasta, cereals (gluten) etc. Yet these foods will respond in your body just like sugar does and send your insulin sky high. This has serious long term negative effects. If I followed this protocol I would be fat and in danger of becoming a diabetic! And this is just the tip of the iceberg. They say if you turn the food pyramid upside down you would be better off. A little simplistic I know, but I tend to agree.
2. Obesity is From Overeating & Being Lazy
This one frustrates me, especially coming from a background as a fitness trainer. I’ve witnessed so many people struggling with their weight yet they are on a constant diet. It’s as if their life is one big diet but they keep stacking on the kilo’s. We hear of weight issues and obesity rates rising and the message remains the same - eat less and exercise more. I feel this is so simplistic and off the mark. Most people who’s weight or health is suffering are following the shockingly wrong nutritional guidelines I’ve listed here. By doing this, it will lead to low grade inflammation which causes a host of problems over time. Hormonal disfunction kicks in including insulin and leptin, thyroid issues to name a few. Then there are digestive issues with gut bacteria, candida and leaky gut with many studies showing how this hugely affects our body weight. The body is so complex we are forever learning about it, and biggest loser lifestyle with weight loss shakes and restricted calories is not the answer.
3. Eat a Low Fat Diet for Long Lasting Heart Health
Like so many people, I grew up avoiding fat as I had it drummed into me that too much fat will clog your arteries, cause heart disease and have you keeling over forty years young! This one makes me angry, as fat is seriously critical for amazing health, including brain function, energy and processing fat soluble vitamins A,D,E,K. For years now I have made sure I have an abundance of quality fats with every meal (note: not all fats are created equal). By doing this, every aspect of my health has improved. If you want to know more on fats, this is a great place to start Click Here.
4. Use Artificial Sweeteners Like Aspartame & Sucralose
Let’s pull out the sugar and use chemicals instead… who’s bright idea was this? Personally I seriously avoid this stuff! Found in many ‘diet’ soft drinks and even weight loss shakes along with so called ‘health foods’. Yet there’s much evidence now showing that this stuff ruins gut health which of course leads to a host of health issues including weight gain. Go figure! The harsh reality is that it’s super cheap to produce, and with slick marketing there much profit to be had. (You can read more on this here)
5. Use Industrial Vegetable Oils & Trans fats Instead of Saturated Fats
I avoid these at all costs. They go rancid easily and break down into free radicals when heated and many of them are hydrogenated and become unstable. I believe this damages cell function and causes inflammation. They are also high in omega 6, which most people over consume, when we actually need more omega 3’s which can be found in quality saturated fats. Amazingly processed vegetable oils can be found in most packaged high street supermarket foods. It might seem like a tiny amount on the ingredients label, but it quickly adds up! Remember this mantra and you can’t go to far wrong; #JERF… Just Eat Real Food.
6. Saturated Fat Will Cause Heart Disease
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who grew up with a fat phobia, and it took me a while to get my head around the fact that the very thing I was avoiding was the thing that my body seriously needs. This has been a heated and contested area but I believe that saturated fat is critical for health and the brain. Even Time Magazine recently had a knob of butter on the front cover and announced they had got it wrong (yay!). If you are worried about heart health and cholesterol, worry about man made fats along with foods that cause inflammation, which is what I have removed from my diet. I eat saturated fat every day. (Learn more here.)
7. We Need Sugar For Energy
I live a very active lifestyle and keep my sugar intake very low. As far as I’m concerned we are better off without it! Sugar is insidious and is found in almost all foods in commercial supermarkets. It also comes in many forms which can create a lot of confusion. It’s easy to say that this is an empty calorie and can be ‘burned off’, but this doesn’t take fructose into consideration, which is 50% of table sugar and comes with it’s own host of problems. From what I’ve seen, too much of the sweet stuff will definitely take it’s toll on health. I would seriously consider getting this stuff out of your diet. (learn more on fructose here)
8. Start the Day with ‘Healthy’ Breakfast Cereal
I Grew up on this stuff. But the reality is, no amount of mass media marketing will convince me breakfast cereals should be a staple in the human diet these days. Highly processed carbs that feed the appetite but not the body, with many loaded with sugar too! These will also be doing your blood sugar level no favours and you’ll be wondering why you’re hungry in an hour after eating it. If time is of the issue in the morning, make a simple 180 smoothie with 1/2 avocado, 180 Natural Protein Superfood, berries & ice. Giving you all the essentials fats, vitamins, minerals, proteins and fibrous carbs you need in one simple hit! Delicious.
9. Use Margarine Instead of Butter
It was someone’s bright idea to replace butter (which is rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and the minerals magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and selenium, all essential for good health) with margarine. The latter is made from refined vegetable oils (high in Omega 6 which cause inflammation in the body), which are neutralised, bleached, filtered and deodorised and turned into a spreadable forms by a chemical process called hydrogenation as they are not naturally solid at room temperature. It is also fortified with artificial colourings and flavourings. Does this sound right to you? Seriously, this stuff does not go in my body and it saddens me to see others eating this and thinking they are doing the right thing.