As I’ve grown older (and hopefully wiser), so has my interest in health and wellness. My whole life I was called “skinny” or “too skinny” by those around me, so I ate whatever I wanted without caring about whether or not it was good for me. As lucky as this might sound on the surface, it can be a double-edged sword when it comes to your internal and external health, especially during the years when you are growing and developing the most. After battling skin and hormonal issues during my 20s, I eventually realized that I needed to start caring more about identifying ways to optimize my health from the inside out.
There’s a lot of information floating around the web about how to exercise, what to eat, how to sleep, and the list goes on. With a seemingly never ending amount of recommendations coming from different angles, how can we possibly know what to believe and where to devote our time and energy? Over the past 10 years, I have tried countless diets and food protocols in search of the *one thing* that would make me feel my best. I read articles and blogs, watched tons of videos, and even purchased a fitness plan from a social media fitness influencer that I never ended up using. Let’s just say, the process was anything but simple or easy, and after many years of research I finally feel as though I have a better understanding of things.
Making Sense of It All
What I’ve come to realize is that there is a lot of conflicting information out there and it can be a real hassle to figure out what is right and what is worth your time. The truth is, you can find almost anything to support a recommended way of achieving “optimal health” if you want to, so it’s important to think outside of the box to cross-check if what we’re being told/sold is really, in fact, good advice.
These days, if you want to learn cutting edge health information you will have to rely on your own ability to research, read, and analyze health and wellness studies. This is by no means a recommendation to go and try potentially harmful health fads, rather it’s meant to illuminate the reality of the medical field and the lack of importance placed on prevention, nutrition, and lifestyle factors. Unfortunately, the days of solely relying on your doctor for all of your health needs might not be enough to stay healthy anymore. This is because most physicians lack modern, unbiased nutrition education and still follow outdated guidelines that were established based on poor research and recommendations made 50+ years ago. Here’s an overview of the biggest health and nutrition mishaps.
- low fat diet
- heart healthy grains
- processed foods
- seed/vegetable oils
- saturated fats
- red meat
I know what you’re thinking. A few of these are hard to believe in our modern society, but it used to be the case that some doctors promoted smoking as healthy before there was indisputable evidence showing that cigarettes cause cancer. This is a great reminder to question things that don’t add up, do your own research, and make informed decisions regarding your own health. Some of the most influential and highly contested recommendations came from the following sources and figures: the Ancel Keys 7 Countries Study, McGovern Report, 1977 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and Ellen G. White and John Harvey Kellog who were Seventh Day Adventists. This religion has a long history of promoting vegetarianism based on unscientific recommendations, and their ties to food, media, education, and government industries run deep and have influenced much of our current dietary guidelines. Unfortunately, this information is not known by the general public, but it’s imperative that you know about it if you truly wish to be in control of the decisions you make regarding your own health.
Putting Things Into Perspective
All of this is meant to illustrate the need for being a critical thinker and questioning nutrition dogma. If someone says that they have everything figured out, that’s when you need to start questioning their credibility. The best we can hope for is to learn as much as we can based on currently available research and information. My goal is to inspire you to think outside of the box and challenge your existing beliefs by getting curious and getting out of your comfort zone. Go against the grain, literally, and consider the fact that grains might be worth eliminating from your diet for a period of time in order to see if you notice any health improvements. Think about what you put into your body in more ways than simply how much pleasure it gives you. Consider the nutritional benefits and detriments of certain foods on your health and longevity before it’s too late.
Next week, I’ll be discussing more about the Indulgent Mindset, which podcasts you should check out, who to follow on Instagram for cutting-edge health advice, getting in the right mindset to tackle change, and why drinking spring water is superior to tap, distilled, and filtered. Until then, let me know what health and wellness topics you’d like to learn more about in the comments!