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!