Truth is knowledge
It is, isn’t it. Truth is knowledge. But what is the truth? How do we find out the truth? With so many lies out there. Why is it you cannot go to a book store (people still do that, right?) and walk away with a book that gives you all the truths about eating healthy. I guess you can, but not easily. So many books who’s primary focus is sales. Praying on people’s weaknesses and lack of knowledge to sell books on losing weight, looking better and feeling better. Ok, mainly looking better, whatever that is.
Most of it is bullshit. Books endorsed by celebrities, former celebrities, etc. I don’t know, maybe you get what you pay for? If you are looking to lose weight as objective number 1, and being healthy plays a back seat to that, than that’s what you’ll get. But the two are not mutually exclusive. You can lose weight and be healthy too. But you have to do your work. You have to do your research and dig deep. Get your information from sources that don’t benefit monetarily and aren’t looking to becoming the next diet super star.
It wasn’t until I trained to become a personal trainer that a lot of this started to make sense. I didn’t get all the knowledge I needed to better understand nutrition from the course but it was a launching pad for me to dig deeper. I learned that our bodies need carbohydrates to fuel everything we do. I learned that carbs are broken down into glycogen and glucose to fuel our body. And if we don’t have those carbs our body will metabolize muscle tissue into energy. But there are a lot of misconceptions about eating a high carb diet. The biggest reason people won’t eat carbs (I think) is because they believe you will get fat. One reason people think this is because of bad data. Some people who are overweight due to a high carb diet is because they are eating simple, refined carbs. White sugar, flour, bleached and refined. Foods that break down into glucose almost immediately.
But simple and complex carbs get grouped together and discounted together. Lately, we are hearing about high protein diets and paleo diets. Eat what are ancestors ate. Not are ancestors from a hundred years ago, but from thousands of years ago. To me, right off the bat that seems like a bad idea. I don’t remember hearing about those ancestors living a long life.
I’m going to keep this post simple, sort of. I’m going to make some basic points and let you run with it and so some researching yourselves.
Let’s look at high protein diets such as the Atkins diet. Typically these diets have carbs down to 15 – 20%. That means the rest, fat and protein comprise the remaining 80 – 85%. Not a lot of carbs to fuel your body. But let’s look at some of the effects of this diet reported by people on this diet:
- 68% reported constipation
- 63% reported bad breath
- 51% reported headaches
- 10% noticed hair loss
A different study in Australia reported heat arrhythmia, osteoporosis, kidney damage, increased cancer risk, impairment of physical activity (no fuel from lack of carbs) and so on.
Holy crap! Why would people follow this diet? Probably because you will lose weight and probably they are unaware of these impacts.
Dr. Atkins also states that many of his patients require nutrient supplements, commenting that many of his patients take up to 30 pills a day?! Yikes! Why is this? Because when you remove complex carbs in the form of whole plant based foods from your diet you remove nutrients, fiber, and yes, protein.
Let’s look at a place that I like to call my second home, Okinawa. The island of the longest living people in the word. Why? One reason is they are probably the happiest people in the world. Really. Very laid back, happy, relaxed, enjoying life. This results in lower stress levels and stress can be very detrimental to our health.
But Okinawan’s, or Uchinaanchu in their native language, also eat a diet that is around 70% carbs. 70%! If you told someone here that you were on a diet of 70% carbs they would be astonished! But it works! I’ve been there, many times and they are healthy. I’ve trained in Karate with Okinawan’s that are in their seventies and they can move! They have the lowest rates of disease such as cancer, Alzheimer, cardiac. And they all look healthy, vibrant. My first trip to this beautiful Island I unfortunately ended up at a funeral. I met hundreds of people in their 80’s, and 90’s and all of them moving around with energy and very mobile. How do you want your quality of life when you are older?
Let’s look at somewhere else in Asia. China. One of the most comprehensive studies carried out on nutrition was the China study. One of the conclusions from this study was that areas in China that were higher in poverty had lower rates of disease such as cancer and heart disease. Why? Because they ate mainly whole plant based foods. They could not afford meat and dairy. Many people will view this as controversial because whenever someone mentions following a whole plant based food diet you are immediately categorized as being radical. I’ve often heard things such as you won’t get enough protein, my grandparents ate meat and drank milk and they were fine. You’ll be deficient in nutrients. You hear all these things. But that’s ok. I was there myself too not long ago. But after reading research that isn’t funded by farming lobbying groups such as the dairy industry, the beef industry and stuck to research carried out by doctors of science without an agenda, it made sense to me.
Finally, I want to make this point. I’m willing to be called radical and controversial if at the end of the day I have helped someone.
Read the research. Read why it is that when people consume diets high in animal protein their risk for disease increases, substantially. Read why it is that people who eat whole foods plant based diets have lower incidences of disease such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease. Read scientific evidence clearly stating we do not need to eat animals or animal products to get the nutrients we need. Read how a woman suffering from endometriosis and waiting for surgery to remove her uterus switched to a plant based diet and now has 2 kids.
You don’t have to be a lover of all animals to follow a plant based diet (that would be great if you were though). Do it for yourself. Do it for the ones who love you. More and more people are switching to a plant based diet to reduce disease and some people after being diagnosed with cancer and heart disease. President Clinton did it after being told by his doctor that he was back on his way to having surgery following a previous surgery to put a stint in. He switched to a plant based diet, lost a bunch of weight and his heart looked better.
And don’t worry. There is so much food to enjoy when following a plant based diet. Not just salads.
Yours in health,