By Guy Lawrence
“Your paradigm is so intrinsic to your mental process that you are hardly aware of its existence, until you try to communicate with someone with a different paradigm”. – Donella Meadows
Are you conscious about your health?
This post is not for the coke swilling, choccie bar munching monster with no real concern about their health. It’s for the person who is genuinely trying to make better daily choices to improve themselves. If there’s one thing that really frustrates me, it is seeing people who are investing time into their health and getting completely confused on what the right choices are.
THIS IS SIMPLY MY OPINION. Admittedly I am somewhat passionate about the topic, having worked as a Personal Trainer for 6 years and now running a company that deals directly with this topic, but still it is simply my opinion. I say this because I encourage anyone and everyone to check out the facts for themselves. As far as I’m concerned, there is vail that covers the whole food industry and it’s up to the individual to lift it up and take a look behind.
When I first heard the term ‘paleo diet’ I thought here we go again. Another marketing ploy created with financially driven motives in mind. I understand why it’s so easy to dismiss anything new we hear in the media. It’s much easier as human beings to stick to what we know and tell ourselves that what we eat is right, I mean… as human beings we are always right… right? But what if we are getting it wrong? What then?
I’ve always been curious, I continually poke around and ask questions regarding the health & fitness industry, it’s in my DNA. As part of a company dedicated to nutrition you get to interact with many other experts in the industry too. Naturopaths, nutritionists, some extremely fit athletes and CrossFit owners/clients. Then we get those at the other end of the scale with weight issues and more serious health concerns.
After years of this poking around to see what really fits, the trail kept leading me back to the way I’ve been eating for years (and I feel pretty good!). What I didn’t realise it is that it’s termed the paleo diet. I have learned that there are different versions of the paleo diet, but in a nutshell that is how I do things and why we have embraced the paleo diet at 180 Nutrition.
Sadly, most of the industry is driven by money with profit and the bottom dollar in mind. There are no real concerns for health, if there were then why are we getting fatter as a nation each year? Why is there so much confusion? If the stats continue to grow annually, 100% of us will be obese by 2030! Can this be right?
Do you have these foods on a daily basis?
Seriously think about the next question for a moment.
If you know your daily food intake needs improving and you woke up in the morning completely inspired, what’s the first thing you would eliminate from your diet? What would you start buying and eating more of?
People tell me they eat a healthy diet all the time, but when you start to break it down, the foods they eat are anything but!
Take a look at the list below. Does your daily diet consist of the these foods?
- Soy milk
- Low fat yoghurt
- Breakfast cereal
- Gluten free muffins, cakes etc.
- 99% fat-free products
- Corn fed or processed meat
- Homogenised milk
- Organic packaged products
These foods make an appearance in many people’s overall daily diet. Take a closer look and you will find that they are not very nutritious at all. All I see is a lot of sugar, carb’s that are mainly processed (this will have the same effect on the body as sugar), processed fats (my belief is that these are very damaging) and some preservatives and flavourings etc thrown in for good measure. Oh and organic… a buzz word that is heavily marketed but doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. You can have an organic cardboard box, but that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy option if you eat it.
So where are all the nutrients?
My belief is that these food types are contributing to our health problems. From lack of nutrients to over production of blood sugar regulating hormones. Throw in a hectic working week with stress levels through the roof, add a sedentary lifestyle and you are asking for trouble.
But the good news is with a little planning and creativity, you can control what you eat. Like I always say, don’t count calories, make what goes in your mouth count!
If there’s only one thing you take away from this post, just remember this and own it: “Carbohydrates controls blood sugar; blood sugar controls fat storage.”
I wrote a post here and if you want to read more on marketing and carbohydrate, but I think it’s safe to say that most companies will do and say what they can to sell a food product. And the one thing I see that cops it in the chin every time is the macronutrient – FAT.
I hear a lot of confusion around this topic, especially when it comes to weight loss. And even more so – FAT. Not your love handles kind of fat but the fat that we eat.
If you could make simple dietary and physical changes to your daily life that would greatly improve your overall health over time would you do it? You’d certainly like to thinks so. But I often hear resistance to change when it comes to the food we eat, and especially when it comes to fat. So consider the next quote then watch the video below.
‘All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.’ – Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher
Watch this video
Yes it’s a bit tongue in cheek, but I think it’s a message that’s worth investigating don’t you? A great book that goes into the history of Ancel Keys is Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage)by Gary Taubes. It’s a book I highly recommend.
So what do you consider to be healthy now? I’ve outlined below what I usually eat in a typical day and what I see as a typical daily diet for many people:
- Slice of multigrain toast & Jam
- Cod liver oil capsules & Krill oil capsules on rising (Giving me a range of essential fatty acids)
- 3 egg omelette with veggies, mushrooms, parmasen & spices
- 3-4 dessert spoons of 180 Protein SuperFood, 2 organic eggs, some coconut milk, ice, a few berries and a little water. Blend. (Sometimes I use 1/2 avocado or frozen spinach. Whatever’s in the fridge)
- Salad & meat sandwich (bread like focaccia)
- Large Chicken salad with olive oil
Typical afternoon snack
- 99% fat free muffin
My afternoon snack
- Half avocado with chopped cherry tomatoes and ricotta. Sea salt & pepper.
- Pesto chicken pasta
- Grass fed steak (palm of my hand size) cooked rare in coconut oil and cajun with veggies.
Are you eating the typical daily diet that is perceived to be healthy? If you are, why? Is it going to effect your health long term? Can you see a difference in the meals?
From my years of experience, I feel that natural fat is not the culprit. I personally don’t mind how much natural fat I eat (this includes cholesterol from organic eggs and grass fed meat) and I make sure I get a broad range of fatty acids (omega 3’s especially – big fan of krill oil). I have moderate protein and most of my carbs come in the form of vegetables and a little fruit. I’ve cut all sugar.I stop eating when I’m full and I don’t eat until I’m hungry. I exercise most days and always look for a good nights sleep. Pretty simple really.
I find most people struggle getting their head around eating fat (NOTE: I’m talking about natural occurring fat and fat from naturally grass fed animals. Not corn fed!! Or fats that have been homogenised or hydrogenated. I do my up most to avoid any kind of processed fat) and understandably so. We are taught a low fat diet is healthy. If you eat any other way then you must belong to some cult!
But what I encourage you to do is investigate and be open. Back in 2007 I heard about a small organisation that where helping people with chronic diseases and cancer. They were supportive through natural remedies including diligent nutrition (think dedication of an Olympic athlete), weight training and creating a supporting community for each other.
I knew no one with cancer personally, I didn’t have cancer either but I was hearing stories of remarkable results. And I was hearing high fat diet with low carb. All this was going against the very things I’ve been taught (& I work in the health & fitness industry). But I was curious, in fact so curious I rang them up and a week later I was flying up there. It would have been very easy to dismiss but I needed to know more.
I met over 20 people who had different forms of cancer on that weekend. This wasn’t about miracle cures or false claims, but simply giving the best possible chance for the body to heal itself through nutrition and environment. Many people had been in ketogenesis (when the body has no free carbohydrates available, fat must be broken down into acetyl-CoA in order to get energy, not to be confused with Ketoacidosis) for over 12 months and were doing really well.
So what were these guys eating? A natural high fat diet, moderate protein along with lots of veggies and minimal carbs. What was even more interesting was that most of these people (because of their illness) where being monitored by their local doctor. It’s common to find many problematic health issues occurring at the same time along with chronic diseases like cancer. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, gut problems, depression etc. So they would report back to get check ups for many of these. If they stuck diligently to their new lifestyle of eating and weight training (100% commitment like Olympic athlete, remember!), then a lot of these symptoms where starting to improve.
Was this enough for me to start to digging further and question what we are taught to eat? For me, absolutely! Is it the right way to eat? It is for me that’s for sure. I treat it all like an adventure and continue to learn as I always look to try and fit the pieces together.
What’s right for you? Only you can truly answer that. But I certainly encourage everyone to be curious, open and to try new things.
So the question is; are you eating a healthy diet?
Do you really question what you eat?
Are you in good health? If not, why?
If you could do one thing right now that would be a positive step to improving your health, what would it be?
I’ll leave you with a video interview of my friend Kelli taken last year. I met her at the small organisation I spoke about. She goes into great depth to what she eats daily. This video is very inspiring!