Almost everybody I know has a friend or knows somebody who went vegan or vegetarian, but then allegedly suffered some sort of health problem or deficiency. They went back to eating meat or animal products and now feel, “much better.”
These stories, along with famous or semi-famous ex-vegans that come out of the closet, are enough to scare most of those new to vegetarianism or veganism away entirely.
But I don’t think that’s the whole picture. Let’s take a little closer look and see what’s more likely going on:
Why Vegans Crash and Burn
My own personal diet has varied throughout my life, but regardless of whether or not I’ve been 100% vegan or vegetarian, I’ve always felt best eating mostly plants. That’s what I currently do and feel the best with that, at least for now.
What I want to emphasize is that just being vegan is really not a health choice specifically, but more an ethical choice.
The vegan diet, in itself, can be healthy or unhealthy. It is not by definition a healthy diet, something that far too many vegans and vegetarians falsely believe. There are plenty of vegans, from college campuses to suburban houses, where most of what they eat is junk! Vegan junk food, but junk food nonetheless.
Here are 3 of the most common mistakes that vegans, vegetarians, and raw vegans make:
1) Too Much Fat, Especially Omega 6
Vegans cut out saturated fats largely (with the exception of coconut and palm fruit, which is arguably in a different category), but often replace it with vegetable oils and other fat sources, which means that their diet is not only high in fat and refined oils, but also very high in omega 6 fats.
For example, many plant foods contain a lot of omega 6 but very little omega 3, which is needed to balance the two together.
Take a look at the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in some common plant foods, the first number being omega 6:
English Walnuts 4:1
Pumpkin Seeds 117:1
Sunflower Seeds 300:1
Pine Nuts 300:1
Flax Seeds 1:3.1
Chia seeds 1:3
As you can tell, many plant foods are too rich in omega 6 and not rich enough in omega 3 to be a healthy balance.
There’s nothing wrong with eating sunflower seeds and eating avocados given you are eating other foods to balance your ratios. But far too many vegans and vegetarians get the bulk of their calories from these foods, which can in time spell trouble for your omega 6/3 ratio balance.
Many ex-vegans have blamed the vegan diet for being too low in omega 3. But research has shown that the real problem is that we get too much added omega 6 fat! As a result, our body can’t efficiently utilize the omega 3 fats we do eat.
We’re told to eat healthy fats, like the foods above, which is good in a sense. But in a diet where there’s already too much fat in general and/or too much omega 6, it can make things worse.
Omega 6 polyunsaturated fats promote inflammation in the body. When you eat too much of it, it competes with your absorption of omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory.
The ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is between 1:1 and 4:1.
Fruits and vegetables, as well as other low-fat plant foods, have a natural ratio of 1:1-4:1
If most of your calories come from these foods, then adding a bit of higher fat plant foods with lots of omega-6 will not overthrow your balance. However, if a significant proportion of your calories come from high-fat foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, and oils, then it’s likely that you’ll eventually spell trouble.
2) Too Much Fat, Not Enough Plants
Vegans eliminate unhealthy animal proteins, but often replace it with foods that are very high in fat, even higher or the equivalent of some animal foods. While there still is a difference between a ground beef burger and a TVP patty topped with vegan cheese, they aren’t as big as some vegans like to believe.
Raw foodists do the same with an overreliance on nuts, seeds and avocados, and don’t necessarily realize the implications of consistently overeating on fat and not eating enough unprocessed, fresh whole plant foods.
Too much fat in the diet not only promotes heart disease and cancer, but it also affects every aspect of your health negatively. It’s also much easier to gain weight overeat on fatty foods rather than eating low-fat, carbohydrate-rich foods.
Too much fat does the following and more to your body:
– Negatively affects insulin sensitivity and promotes diabetes and high-blood sugar
– Negatively affects energy levels and athletic performance due to lower oxygen uptake
– Promotes inflammation and omega-3 deficiencies
– Negatively affects digestion and nutrient absorption
– Promotes heart disease and high cholesterol, as even vegetable fats can cause heart trouble the same as animal fats, if eaten in excess.
For raw vegans, common sources of fats include olive oil, coconut oil, flax oil, avocado, nuts and seeds — all of which are often used in large quantities in every recipe.
For cooked vegans, fat sources that pile up include: all oils, fried foods like fries, chips, donuts, crackers, “Earth Balance” products, coconut milk, vegan cheeses, “sour creams”, and fake meat products like Tofurkey and TVP meats.
Healthy plant-based eating should be centered on plants. Potatoes and other root vegetables, whole grains, beans, and any kind of vegetable are the foods that build the foundation of a healthy diet. While there’s nothing wrong with a tofu burger from time to time, the bulk of your calories should be coming from healthy whole plant foods, not boxed vegan cookies and cola.
Raw vegans would be wise to get the bulk of their calories from fruit, and eat plenty of it to meet their body’s needs. Greens should be consumed for minerals (but not as the foundation of a meal, or you’ll end up hungry and/or overdoing the cashews later), and fatty foods should be used as condiments, not as the main ingredient in a meal.
3) Vegans Do Need to be Mindful of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 deficiencies are common topic of discussion amongst vegans and meat-eaters alike, and everybody has a different opinion on it. Still, many people experience issues from a lack of B12, regardless of why. Numerous symptoms can be attributed to a B12 deficiency, including fatigue and failure to thrive.
The standard recommendation is to take a B12 supplement containing 25 to 100 mcg every day, or one containing at least 1000 mcg three times a week. If you’ve had a past of B12 issues or have been eating vegan for years and never taken a supplement, you might start with some B12 injections, as low B12 levels can actually prevent absorption from dietary or supplemental B12. Taking an oral supplement later can sometimes be too late, so always get tested and see where you are at if you’re concerned.
Vegans Who Don’t Make These Mistakes
Some vegans and raw foodists say that they don’t make these mistakes, but yet still don’t feel right and think they should eat some animal products again. In many cases, cleaning up your diet, eating whole foods, and getting enough calories without too much fat is enough to make a difference. In other cases, more complex factors may be at play, and this needs to be dealt with on an individual basis.
How Can You Be a Healthier Vegan?
Vegans and raw vegans can make a few simple changes to immediately improve their diet and their health:
1) Get out of the habit of putting oil on everything. I know that expensive olive oil is good, but you don’t need to pour it everywhere! Salad dressings can easily be made with smaller amounts of nuts/seeds blended or mixed with other fruits, vegetables, and seasonings.
2) Whenever you make a recipe, tailor the recipe to suit your needs. Many a time the recipe that calls for a cup of grapeseed oil for cooking and another half cup of toasted sesame seed oil to drizzle on top tastes just as good with a fraction of, or none, of the added oil.
3) Avoid using nuts, seeds or avocados as a main ingredient in any recipe. Instead use these foods as flavoring agents to your meals, instead of making a meal out of them.
4) Vegans be aware that vegan meat/dairy replacement products are often rich in unhealthy fats and proteins, such as earth balance butter, any type of vegan cheese, and fake meat products.
5) Raw vegans: learn to make fruits and vegetables the foundation of your diet, instead of an over-reliance on nuts, seeds, and avocados.
6) Minimize the use of all processed plant foods, including ALL oils, sugar, sweeteners, white flours, and anything that’s been significantly processed.
So remember, “vegan” or “vegetarian” does not automatically mean “healthy”, as there are plenty of meat-eaters out there who eat more plants than many vegans do. Let us know your experiences in the comments below!
There’s no denying that eating a diet based mostly on plants (fruits, vegetables, root vegetables, and other whole plant foods) is great not only for your personal health, but for the health of the planet as a whole.
More and more people are making a shift to a plant-based diet in recent years. There are more vegetarian and vegan options at restaurants and grocery stores every day it seems, and people no longer look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them you don’t care for the chicken OR the fish, thank you very much.
The times are changing, however, there are still some myths spread around the plant-based circuit that just don’t add up in reality. Check out Dr. Michael Greger in this video today as he discusses the top 3 vegan nutrition myths.
• The truth about why just eating vegan doesn’t make you invincible or automatically eating a healthy diet.
• Why other factors in health are just as important for your wellbeing as the food that you eat.
• Whether or not you should eat your vegetables raw or cook them.
• The facts on vitamin B12 and whether or not it really is a concern for vegetarians and vegans.
I learned a long time ago that “vegetarian” and “vegan” doesn’t automatically equal “healthy”. There are plenty of cola-drinking and cigarette-smoking vegans and vegetarians living on boxed cookies and stray bits of fried tofu.
So whenever you are looking at a particular dish or diet and are trying to determine if it’s something that will add or subtract from your health, ask more than just whether or not it’s vegan!
One of the questions that I get all the time is, “Hey Fred, why do you never talk about the benefits of eating local foods? And how come you eat so much imported fruit?”
At least a few times per week I receive questions in regards to local food and imported produce.
A lot of people feel that we should not eat any imported foods at all, and instead only eat what can be found in the area where you personally live. One of the big red flags that are brought up by these “locavores” is imported produce.
Obviously, bananas and mangoes don’t grow too far outside of the tropics, so doesn’t that mean that only those living in tropical climates should eat these foods, or include them with any significance in the diet?
First of all, the idea of eating only local food is not new. Many Macrobiotic Diet promoters promoted it decades ago, some of who strictly forbade eating imported and exotic food unless it was brown rice, which they considered the ideal food.
The locavore movement has grown quite a bit since, and has spawned all sorts of trends and inspired many people to be more conscious about where their food comes from.
A few years ago, there was even a man who tried to live for an extended period of time on foods that grew in a 100-mile radius from where he lived in the Northwest. He called his diet the “100-Mile Diet.”
The biggest reason people give for eating only local foods is the environment and all of the fuel used in the transportation of bringing exotic foods to your local grocery store, and eventually your home.
However, some recent studies show that this concept is quite flawed. Many people imagine that fossil fuel use in the food business mainly comes from transportation, but in reality it’s only 4 to 15% of the total energy used to produce the food.
Most of the fossil fuels and energy are actually burned during the production and storage of food, not its transportation!
Transportation in ships and trucks can be extremely efficient, to the point that people might actually burn more fuel by driving to buy their groceries than the total fuel that was burned in bringing the produce to the store in the first place.
There was even a study a few years ago that showed that it was more ecological to eat imported apples from New Zealand during the spring, when North American apples are not in season, rather than buying local apples that have been stored in giant refrigerated warehouses, stored from last year’s crop.
Where do you think all of those apples you see any time of the year in supermarkets in northern climates come from? They keep them in giant storage facilities to prevent them from spoiling, even if they’re local.
Far more important than where your food is coming from is the type of food you’re eating in the first place. Imported mangos are much more ecological (and healthful) than local grass fed beef.
Buying local food in season does make sense and is a great way to support your local communities and enjoy fresher foods (not including last year’s apples). But having a variety of foods, including certain imported foods, may even make more sense for your health and wellbeing.
Another reason that people give for only eating local food is the support that it provides for local farmers.
An interesting fact is that fruits and vegetables are one of the few products that less-affluent countries across the world can export. If everybody in the West stopped buying imported bananas and mangoes, it may not actually be the most beneficial thing for the world as a whole.
All of these countries would simply switch from growing bananas, mangos, and papaya to growing unhealthy products that are next in demand, like coffee, palm oil or beef.
Eventually, everybody would quit buying all of these fresh fruits and vegetables, the price and availability for these items would rise, and there would be cheaper and more readily available cheeseburgers, cups of coffee, and cooking grease. Is that really what the world needs?
I’d rather support poor countries growing fruit!
So, I’ll continue to support the farmers in my local area whenever I can (mostly in the summertime) as well as supporting farmers across the world for the rest of the year.
I buy a lot of fruit both in-season and locally, but I also buy imported tropical fruits that may not be available where I live in Canada. Many of these fruits are not organic, and I personally think that it’s not such a big deal and continue to eat them.
In the grand scheme of things, you may be better off eating a wider variety of foods and nutrients instead of limiting yourself to eating only the purest and “perfect” foods you can always find.
One thing to keep in mind as well is that it’s not likely you’ll find produce that is totally “clean”, unless you grew it yourself. And even so, there’s still pesticide and radioactive fallout residues in our air, water, and soils from decades ago. Even organic produce can have pesticides on it (and generally does), just “organic” insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
Fruits and vegetables, whether they are organic or not, are low on the food chain and are healthier than anything else you could eat, organic or not. In other words, a commercially grown banana is far better for you than organic cheddar cheese.
In the kind of world where we live today, it really doesn’t make sense to try piously to eliminate certain foods from your diet just because they are not locally grown.
It still does make sense to and is great to grow as much of your own food as possible, and to support your local farmers whenever you can, too.
But someone living in a cold climate like Norway will have to rely on more imported foods to eat a healthy diet than say someone living in southern/central California, where the local produce and farmer’s markets are abundant year-round. This also happens to be where most locavores reside and spread the local-gospel through non-local means, like the Internet and printed books…
People can eat a wide variety of diets, but people also tend to be healthiest when following certain parameters of healthful eating. This includes eating plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, and procuring those wherever you are in the world and being the healthiest being you can be is more powerful than spending all day trying to convince yourself that you’re really content with the boiled local cabbage and dried up potatoes you’ve been trying to live on the last 3 months in Ohio in February.
Do what it takes to be the best version of you possible, even if that includes eating some mangos shipped in from halfway across the world!
There have been people who have been discussing how much (if any at all!) salt and sodium to include into your diet since there have been discussions about diet occurring. It’s come to be quite a highly controversial topic among those who are looking for the ideal diet.
Check out this video today where Dr. John McDougall discusses salt, some of the myths surrounding it, and whether or not it’s really all that much of a bad thing.
• Why a low-sodium diet just isn’t the only answer to superior health.
• How salt is actually something that humans require to function optimally and have a specific taste receptor for.
• Why not eating enough salt (not just sodium!) can actually translate into compromised health in some people.
• Why the salt in certain unhealthy foods like processed meats and refined packaged foods gets blamed as the unhealthy ingredient.
I’ve had various personal experiences with salt, including going strictly without having any for extended periods of time, eating a lot of it, and eating moderate amounts of it as I desire. Each time it’s given me different results and I’ve taken something different away from it.
Most people agree that they enjoy the taste of salt; the disagreement comes from whether or not it’s healthy for you. I personally think that there more important things to consider first when discussing diet, and that for some people no salt at all may present just as many problems as eating insane quantities of salt all the time. Balance is key.
I encourage you to experiment with salt and come to your own conclusions, as everybody seems to have a slightly different experience with it. Let us know yours in the comments below!
Everything popular is wrong. Or so said Oscar Wilde.
You’ve been told by your friends and the media your whole life what things are “good” for us and what things are “bad” for us. Some people will swear that certain practices are inherently bad for everybody, yet that may not always be the case.
Today I have a list of 5 common health practices that most people think are a sin, yet may actually be good for you.
In no particular order:
1.) Skipping Breakfast
We’ve always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince,, and dinner like a pauper” is an old saying most of us have heard.
The truth is, for most of human history, people of all cultures have typically only eaten two meals a day: lunch and dinner, or sometimes breakfast and lunch, with a light dinner. And they’ve done so and experienced great health for just as long.
The ancient Romans ate an early breakfast, a very light lunch, and a large dinner.
In most other examples you can find in history, people typically only had two large meals per day. Many people feel that this gives the body more time to effectively digest the meals that you eat and ultimately causes less stress on it.
The word “breakfast” in French (déjeuner) also means, “breaking the fast,” but actually means the lunch meal, because that’s when people had their first meal of the day (breaking the fast).
Eventually, as French people got wealthier, they started having something in the morning, and came up with the term “little breakfast” (petit déjeuner) to describe that morning meal.
Having regular meals is important, but skipping breakfast or any other meal occasionally does not have the terrible consequences that most people will swear it will.
2.) White Potatoes
White potatoes have been accused of being one of the worst “junk foods” you can eat. Some people swear by the “don’t eat anything white” philosophy, and avoid white flour, white rice, white sugar, and of course… white potatoes.
It’s common knowledge that white potatoes turn into sugar, create a spike in blood sugar, and sugar makes you fat, right?
Potatoes have been used to sustain nations of people for thousands of years. Not half bad for being such a junk food!
They can’t really be classified along with white flour and white sugar because white potatoes are a whole food filled with all the natural vitamins, minerals, and proteins that came packed in it when it was dug up from the Earth.
There was even a potato producer in Washington who got mad because of all the bad rap that potatoes had been getting. So, he decided to eat nothing but potatoes for 60 days.
His diet consisted of almost 20 potatoes a day, and about 2 Tbs. of oil on top of that for cooking purposes.
In this diet that almost everybody would think is terrible for you, he:
– Lost 22 pounds
– Lowered his blood sugar
– Dropped his cholesterol from 214 to 147
– Dropped his triglycerides from 135 to 75
So the next time you bake up a potato, maybe think, “what is it that people are eating with potatoes that is causing more of the problems?”
3.) Carbs in General
Not only are white potatoes getting bad rap, but carbs in general usually don’t receive any mercy either.
It should be noted that the healthiest and fittest cultures in the world live on very high-carb diets. I noticed it myself when traveling around the world, that the people eating the most fruit and the most rice (like the Thai and Filipinos), where the also the healthiest. Even in those cultures, the people that got fat and experienced health problems were the people that ate westernized foods like cheeseburgers and refined sugar.
People tend to think that eating carbs and fruit raises blood sugar too much and this in turns lead to health problems.
In reality, high carb, low-fat diets are a proven way to actually lower blood sugar to stable levels. I encourage you to check out the work of Dr. Fuhrman, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. McDougall, Dr. Barnard, Dr. Ornish, and many others.
Excess fat in the bloodstream lowers insulin sensitivity and this in turn contributes to high blood sugar levels, and eventually diabetes. Carbohydrates that contain fiber (like fruit) have a positive effect on blood sugar.
Too much sunshine can cause DNA damage and age your skin: that much is for sure.
But so many people are so frightened of skin cancer that they avoid the sunshine entirely. That’s not a good idea either.
Getting natural sunlight on your body improves your mood and helps you make essential vitamin D, along with a host of other cofactors that I’m sure we’ve yet to discover, and has a surprisingly beneficial effect on overall health.
There are more and more studies coming out that are showing that while too much sunlight on the skin is damaging, not enough can be equally damaging in other ways.
I believe it’s a matter of balance here, as with all things. Apples are good for you, but forcing down 50 apples in a sitting probably wouldn’t be the best idea either.
When I tell people I like to run, they tell me, “Oh but you know it’s bad for your knees!” And then they remind me that all those marathon runners are not truly healthy.
Running, of course, is not a magical exercise. Running will not improve your strength training, and in itself, it’s not a truly complete fitness program. Running will also not cancel the benefits of a bad diet like far-too-many running enthusiast hope.
Whether or not we are designed to run and do nothing but run like some fitness authors would have you believe, human beings can actually run long distances fairly efficiently. It really sets us apart from the other animals most similar to us, like the great apes.
Some animals, like cheetahs, are built for speed, not endurance. Even your dog can easily outrun you with much less efforts. But don’t ask your dog or your cheetah pet to come join you on your next marathon!
Humans are built for endurance. Our waist is thinner and more flexible than other primates, and we cool off much faster (lack of fur). We can run in the heat, in the rain, and over very long distances without stopping. The experiences of many ultra-marathon runners have certainly proved that.
Of course, there are some risks to running, as with any type of physical activity. Running with bad form, or while eating a a terrible diet filled with hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, and preservatives (which may increase your risk of developing arthritis and creates inflammation) will take its toll on the body in the long-run. Pun intended.
If you enjoy running, there’s no reason to avoid it because some people who don’t tell you that it will “ruin your joints!” if you keep it up.
Thousands of people’s personal experiences debunks the idea that running is inherently bad for you, but at the same time it’s good to do other sorts of physical activities too. As long as it gets you moving and you enjoy doing it, physical activity of any kind is likely to be a big boon to your health.
Which health sins would you say are actually the work of saints? Let me know in the comments below!
Chances are that the majority of people you know (except maybe your health-foodist friends!) don’t believe they have much power over their own health and how they feel. Most people tend to hand over that power to self-proclaimed health experts, doctors, and people on television who claim to have all the answers.
Being a healthy person today is an uphill battle, and everybody who goes against the grain faces these challenges. In most of the world right now it’s far easier (and cheaper) to eat easily-available foods that rob your body instead of nourishing it.
But the truth is that you have far more control over your health and wellbeing than you may realize.
Check out this excellent video today by Dr. John McDougall on how to be a healthy person, and you’ll learn:
- Understand how truly powerful simple dietary changes are for dramatically improving people’s lives.
- Hear a few of the influences that could cause change within the majority of people and lead them to a healthier way of living.
- Why your grandparent’s good health isn’t the only indicator of how healthy you will be anymore, and why certain environmental factors play a role in this.
- How the way people eat effects more than just their own personal health, and how this again comes back and influences humanity.
- How just a few changes to the current systems we have in place could lead to healthier lives for everybody in society today.
One thing I most certainly have learned over the years is that there is more than one way to live a healthy life, and each way will be different for everybody. I’ve also learned that no matter how much of a struggle it may initially be, or continue to be for a while, it’s worth every effort you make in becoming a healthier person and taking control of your wellbeing.
Eating breakfast is almost universally accepted in most people’s minds as “the healthy thing to do”, and everything you ever hear in the mainstream media is always touting the importance of breakfast.
Type the question “is breakfast important” in a search engine, and you’ll be overwhelmed with results like:
– Why breakfast is the most important meal of the day
– Why skipping breakfast is harmful
– Common sayings such as “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”
Yet, many healthy people around the world commonly skip breakfast, and have done so for centuries.
I’ve experimented in various ways over the years with intermittent fasting (IM), which involves not eating during a period of he day, typically 8 up to 19 hours, and only eating during the remaining hours.
I find that when I skip breakfast, I have more energy and better concentration, which goes against all commonly held views.
Many health practitioners that I’ve met over the years have habitually skipped breakfast, and see it as a healthier option.
Eating a large breakfast is also not a common tradition in many cultures. The French, for example, typically only have coffee and maybe a croissant for breakfast.
About a hundred years ago, a doctor by the name of Edward Dewey wrote an entire book called the “No Breakfast Plan and the Fasting Cure.” This book is now public domain and you can find it easily on the Internet.
Dewey was a big influence to the Natural Hygiene movement of this century. In his book, he describes a simple method that he discovered, and gives dozens of testimonies of people who managed to recover from all sorts of ailment following it.
The method was simple: don’t eat breakfast! Instead, fast in the morning, and eat two meals a day.
Using this method alone, and not changing anything else in the diet, Dewey obtained spectacular results.
How did Dr. Dewey get those results with his patients if we are told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?
The reason we are told this is that some studies have shown that people who have breakfast tend to be thinner than people who skip it entirely or only have coffee.
It’s true that some people, especially guys, tend to skip breakfast, eat like a bird for lunch, and then overeat all night on junk food at home. They end up not feeling so great the following morning, and due to their lack of appetite, skip breakfast and the cycle starts all over again.
The idea is not so much that skipping breakfast is good or bad for you. The idea is that many people find relief by letting their body enough time to process the foods that they are eating.
You’ve probably heard of the “daylight diet,” where people, instead of skipping breakfast, skip dinner or avoid eating outside of the times of daylight, changing throughout the seasons. Many even set themselves a cut off time to stop eating, like after 3 p.m.
There’s also the Fast-5 Diet, where you only eat in a five hour window during the day, for example, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.. This schedule can be changed around in any fashion, such as 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There is also the Warrior Diet, in which people don’t eat anything during the day, except perhaps small amounts of fruits and vegetables, and then eat a large meal at night. This diet is supposed to reproduce the pattern of eating that our ancestors supposedly followed.
Then there is simply the no-breakfast plan, where you skip breakfast entirely and only eat lunch and dinner, typically a 1 p.m. lunch and a 6 or 7 p.m. dinner, but not restricted to such.
All of these diets are forms of intermittent fasting, where the body has enough time to fast and bring its blood sugar low enough before you start eating again.
This pattern, because of lower dips in insulin levels, promotes fat burning. If done correctly, the overall caloric intake will be adequate – not too much, not to little. Just right. The difference is that the body will start using its own excess fat sources for calories, instead of always just burning the foods you eat.
People who follow any form of intermittent fasting often report a greater sense of energy and well being, as well as better digestion and elimination.
Even modern science is beginning to support intermittent fasting, or some variation of it. More and more books are being written on the topic every year, and medical professionals across the globe are starting to reconsider their previous stance on the most important meal of the day.
I’ve personally found that whenever I skip a meal or two, I have tons of energy and mental clarity to do whatever I need to do. I can easily spend the entire day running errands, even exercising and not thinking about food until at least 3 or 4 p.m. By then I’m actually hungry and really appreciate the food I eat!
Intermittent fasting doesn’t have to be a lifestyle. For some people, the best pattern is to occasionally skip breakfast (or dinner), or even follow a quick 24-hour fast once in a while. You don’t have to do it everyday, although many people do with great success.
Here are some tips and things to keep in mind:
– Typically, athletes and people needing to gain weight should not skip breakfast or dinner. Instead, they should eat at least three meals a day to get the calories they need.
– Some health conditions are not compatible with intermittent fasting. Talk to your doctor before adjusting your program at all.
– Whether you skip breakfast or dinner is up to you.
– You can incorporate intermittent fasting with any diet, however some diets tend to lend better to it. When you are eating denser, more satiating foods, you tend to be able to comfortably go longer without eating more food.
– Typically, the older you are and the more body fat you have, the more you can benefit from intermittent fasting. Younger, active people should still be mindful to eat enough to meet their needs.
– Intermittent fasting is not an excuse for overeating. The pattern should not be “overeat and purge.” Instead, you give your body more time to digest and fast, and then eat normal meals.
What have been your experiences with intermittent fasting or skipping breakfast? Let me know in the comments below!
Many people find that the most difficult part of making diet changes and following a healthy lifestyle is actually putting it all into practice and embracing it.
What do I actually eat? How do I make it?
Many times things may make sense in our minds or in theory, but when it comes to living it on a daily basis, things can get a little more difficult.
Today I have a video for you where Dr. Joel Fuhrman explains how to maneuver the initial potential obstacles that people face during changes in diet and lifestyle.
In it you’ll learn:
• How your tastes for certain foods can dramatically change when switching diets.
• Why some people experience a “detox period” when changing their lifestyle and may feel slightly worse before they feel better.
• How you can balance getting the best from your diet by utilizing fresh, raw foods as well as consciously prepared cooked foods.
• Some of the healthiest ways of cooking food that balances preserving nutrients while making them easier to absorb.
• Why dishes like soup are such a healthy and easy way to get a wide variety of nutrients and flavors into your diet.
Knowing how to eat and live a healthy lifestyle and actually being able to put it into practice are two very different things. In today’s world, it is an uphill struggle to say no to the temptations of cheap, albeit tasty and readily available food.
But in my opinion, it’s worth every effort. The riches you get in return for investing into being a healthy person and taking the time to seek out and eat good quality food will be far, far greater than settling on any cheap commodity item that some people insist is okay to eat!
Being a healthy person need not be difficult. Just take the queues from people who’ve been through it before and you’ll be that much happier and healthier for it.
It’s a bit of a shocking realization when you notice that health gurus, who write diet books and give advice on how to live long, tend to live shorter lives than the average person.
They seem to be beaten only by rock stars (who have an average life expectancy of 42 years old for American rock stars, and 35 for Europeans!)
Here are just a handful of examples of people who made a living teaching others how to extend their lives yet died younger than the average person:
Michel Montignac: A very famous Frenchman who promoted a healthy diet based on the concept of the glycemic index, died at 66 of cancer. He was the inspiration behind the “South Beach Diet.”
Dr. Atkins: Probably the most famous diet guru in the world (who weighed 258 lbs at 6 feet tall), died after spending 9 days in a coma at the age of 72 from a slip on the ice. The medical examiner noted that in his health files that he had previously had suffered a heart attack, congestive heart failure, and hypertension. There was never any autopsy performed on Dr. Atkins, so it can’t be confirmed whether or not his other health ailments prevented him from recovering.
Paavo Airola: Author of “How to Get Well”. Led the juice fasting and natural health movement in the 70s and 80s, yet died of a stroke at the age of 64.
Roy Waldorf: Said that he was a longevity expert and wrote the book “The 120-Year Diet”, died in 2004 at the age of 79. That’s still a fairly long life, but nowhere near the projected marker.
Dr. Nathan Pritikin: One of the most prolific authors on the low fat diet, he took his own life as his body was overtaken by leukemia at age 69.
Ross Horne: A student of Dr. Pritikin, claimed that he would have lived longer if he had embraced the fruitarian diet that Ross promoted, but he himself died of cancer, albeit well into his 80’s at the time.
T.C. Fry: Leader of the Natural Hygiene and fruitarian movement, died of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 70.
Robert E. Kwalski: Author of the famous book “The 8-Week Cholesterol Cure,” died at the age of 65 of a pulmonary aneurysm.
George Oshawa: Literally invented the macrobiotic diet (which actually translates to “the way of long life”) passed of lung cancer at the age of 73.
Adele Davis: Pioneered the concept of healthy eating and was known for her somewhat “radical” recommendations, died at the age of 70 from cancer.
Of course it wouldn’t be fair to say that all health and diet gurus died young, because they didn’t. Some of them lived to be at least a little longer than the average folk:
Paul Bragg: died at 81. Although it was widely claimed by his family that he died from a surfing accident, apparently cause of death was a heart attack, a fact which has since been removed from his Wikipedia page.
Norman Walker: known for his prolific works promoting raw foods and vegetable juices, died at 99 (and not at 118 years old as was previously claimed).
Jack Lalanne: More a fitness than a diet guru, died at the age of 96 from pneumonia.
What Does It All Mean?
The fact that a good majority of health gurus don’t live significantly longer than the average person, and in many cases actually live shorter lives, doesn’t in itself mean anything revolutionary.
People are fallible. Health gurus can be mistaken. More importantly… health gurus are human just like you and me!
Some health gurus promoted a low fat diet; others just as passionately promoted a high fat diet.
Some health gurus practiced what they preached most of the time; some did part of the time, And some, like always is the case, didn’t practice their teachings at all.
In some cases these inconsistencies didn’t prevent them from living a long life, like Paul Bragg who used to enjoy an occasional burger in his favorite Honolulu restaurant.
Others, like T.C. Fry, struggled to apply their strict teachings in their own lives 100% of the time, yet still lived far longer than what their doctors had predicted (T.C. was predicted to die in his forties, before he changed his lifestyle).
Some gurus have even tried to give immortality a go, like Roy Waldorf, and practiced calorie restriction. Yet as a result he only to lived slightly longer than the average male life expectancy.
Some diet gurus pretended to have the solution to weight loss, but were themselves overweight when they passed away. No need to name names or point fingers here!
Who knows? Maybe it’s too much pressure to be a high-profile health guru and knowing that people expect you to be perfect all of the time.
Maybe some health gurus would have changed their minds about a few things they got wrong, but to maintain their image they refused to admit to others and themselves that their program did not work and that they needed to try something else.
Or it could be that many diet gurus start with poor health in the first place and then get motivated to find a solution and write a book about it.
The fact that some diet gurus die young should not lead us to the conclusion that all diet advice is bad. But it should lead one to question the quality of the advice they are getting from anybody who is claiming to have answers.
I find that most diet books on the market are mostly just for maintaining the status quo and trying to encourage people to keep up their bad habits that they’ve become comfortable with.
Bad Health Advice Like:
- Eating a ton of cholesterol is actually good for you, so start the day with organic bacon and eggs
- Eating a lot of meat is man’s natural design (the last guy who tried to live on an all-meat diet is Vihjalmur Stephanson, and he died of a serious cardiovascular disease at 81).
- Eating a lot of fat is good as long as it’s “good” fat, so douse your salad and everything else with buckets of olive oil
- Carbohydrates are “bad” but lots of meat protein is good
- Fruit is “bad,” but factory-made protein drinks are great for carbohydrates
It can be difficult to see through all of the confusion surrounding most health doctrines, but it doesn’t need to be.
Essentially, I think every diet claim falls in one of three categories:
- Some things are good for everybody, and there’s science to support it
- Some things are downright bad for everybody, and there’s science to support it
- Some things are more complicated, and depend on individual situations.
Some Examples Of Good Health Advice:
- Fruits and vegetables are GOOD for everybody, yet most diet books don’t promote a diet based on fruits and vegetables.
- All science out there supports a diet based on fruits and vegetables, yet very few people actually do it.
- A comprised of more plants is GOOD for everybody, and so is taking proven steps to improve your health such as exercising, and eating fresh instead of packaged food.
- The Standard American Diet (SAD) without exception isn’t doing anybody any favors, nutritionally speaking. Any diet book is generally going to be at least a step above that!
- Other things are not black and white. For example, there’s a debate as to whether a completely vegan diet is better than one that contains a small percentage of animal products. I prefer to eat a mostly plant-based diet, but others think they can get certain nutrients by eating some quantities of animal products.
- Some people feel best on an all-raw diet, although there’s no definite science to say that it’s absolutely the best diet for everybody.
- Some people just can’t eat certain foods due to allergies or sensitivities, likely because of past health experiences.
Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to become your own diet guru.
You’re the one who knows what’s right for you, and you know that better than absolutely anybody else.
It doesn’t really matter how much fat person A eats in a day or how bad pancakes are for you person B says, none it is really relevant to you, as you need to base your opinions and conclusions off your own thoughts and experiences. It’s always great to hear other people share their experiences, but at the end of the day: have your own!
Gut bacteria and intestinal health has been a popular topic of discussion in the health scene. Almost everybody has heard of probiotics and how good they are for your health, and food marketers are even putting probiotics in all sorts of things now, from soft drinks to zinc tablets.
But there’s good reason for that: the environment in your gut and the symbiotic relationship that you have with those bacteria and the rest of your body is critical to your health and wellbeing.
All sorts of things can throw off the balance of “good”/”bad” bacteria in your intestinal environment, like overconsumption of alcohol and even improperly released emotional stress.
Check out this video today where the excellent Dr. Michael Klaper discusses the importance of your digestive environment and how it’s even related to such diseases like Leaky Gut Syndrome.
You can find out:
• A few of the many common everyday things that people do that ultimately causes disaster for their gut bacteria, and how you can fix it
• The concept of “you can’t do one thing”: how everything you and I do effects absolutely everything else around us, near and far, and how this is key to understanding good health.
• Why proteins leaking into your bloodstream, AKA an autoimmune disease, can spell disaster for your health and why the health of your intestinal environment is in direct relation with this.
• How you can actually repair a damaged gut environment and see how this one change in one part of your body affects the rest of you too!
Producing a healthy gut environment is something that I feel everyone should take at least small steps towards creating.
So next time you find yourself feeling a little under the weather or experiencing a sour stomach, trust your gut!