Nowadays, most of the food we consume is purchased in grocery stores or farmer’s markets, organized in convenient rows, and advertised with appropriate signage. Other than having enough money to pay for groceries, there aren’t any real barriers to getting sufficient food in our bellies. No hunting or gathering is necessary, unless you count gathering your groceries in a shopping bag. Obviously, obtaining food was much more of a challenge for our ancestors. They had to track, kill, identify, and use their intellect to feed themselves.
Many health conscious folks are fully aware of how important sunlight is for happiness, disease prevention, and overall wellness. The significance of just being out in nature is lost on some people though. Despite this lack of recognition, there is plenty of research showing that spending time in nature can decrease feelings of depression and aggression, and increase self-esteem, generosity ability to focus, and overall health. Of course, spending time outside is also an excellent opportunity to unplug and have fun!
Losing weight and having a low body fat percentage seem to be universally associated with health. That is what is portrayed in the media, where the phrases "lose fat" and "get healthy" are often used in the same breath. However, as I have pointed out before, being lean and being healthy are not one and the same.
Today, I would like to go one step further and say that trying to lose weight is often unhealthy. I came to this conclusion after reading a few books on the subject, including Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon and 12 Paleo Myths by Matt Stone. What follows is an excerpt from the introduction to a book I am writing tentatively named The Unintentional Weight Loss Solution: Be Healthy to Lose Weight Don't Lose Weight to Be Healthy. As its name suggests, the book focuses on healthy lifestyle habits rather than dieting for long-term change in body composition.
A lot of friends and family thought I was crazy for putting butter and coconut oil in my coffee. Thanks to Mark Sisson's blog post about putting eggs in coffee, people now think I am even weirder because I now drop two yolks in my morning cup of Joe. After giving them a sip however, most admit they like the taste. Primal Bulletproof Coffee does taste great, but it also gives a great, sustainable boost to the start of my day. A few years ago I never would have thought I would be putting coconut oil, butter, and egg yolks in my coffee...but I guess strange things abound in the health world. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Growing up I was a very picky eater. A very, very, picky eater. My diet consisted of plain pasta, mac n cheese, cheese pizza, and occasionally some chicken breast. Cringe. One of the foods I did eat growing up that wasn't nutritionally poor was tuna fish. I am not a huge fan of conventional mayo, and have been too lazy to learn how to make my own thus far, so tuna has not been of my most consumed foods as of late. Today however, I had a breakthrough that I am very excited about.
Dr. Mike Evans is a family Physician who practices out of Toronto, and talks about his favorite preventative medicine at www.myfavouritemedicine.com. Evans says that he is often asked what the single best thing is that people can do to improve their health. He decided to answer the question in video format, and his video was so informative and engaging that it went viral! Evans says that walking for thirty minutes a day is the best thing people can do to keep themselves healthy. I think his answer really underscores the importance and impressive benefits of low intensity movement.
I enjoy chocolate, and love all of the health benefits that chocolate possesses. Unfortunately I've run into a catch twenty two when it comes to chocolate: the stuff I like isn't healthy and the stuff that is healthy I'm not thrilled with. Dark chocolate I buy in stores just doesn't do it for me like the Hershey's bars of my childhood. But of course Hershey's bars are not going to do my health any good. So, I decided why not try and make my own chocolate?
One of my favorite books that I’ve read this year has undoubtedly been Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon. Her main message in the book is that body fat and those who have a lot of it have been unfairly demonized by society. The book is not perfect, and when she talks about nutrition I definitely have a few bones to pick, but taken as a whole I think Health at Every Size is spot on and could help a lot of folks with their health. Besides talking about the unfortunate stigma around body fat, Bacon gives a number of interesting and useful tidbits regarding eating habits and how they relate to nutrient absorption, satiety, and overeating. Here are seven of my favorites:
Many people in our modern, advanced civilization are sick. There is a lot of preventable ill, both mental and physical. This is in spite of all of the money and brains put towards preventing and curing disease. Even with all of our intelligent doctors, expensive pills, and nutrition research, our people are not nearly as healthy as many groups of people who live in societies that are less wealthy and educated.
The following statistics illustrate the well-being of Americans, but other modern societies follow similar patterns. The large amount of room for improvement in our world’s well-being gives me inspiration to study health in hopes of changing these numbers for the better.
This is a picture of Jim Fixx. Fixx is largely credited with the popularity of running and fitness in the United States due to his bestselling book Complete Book of Running. He was an incredibly fit man, able to run eighty miles per week and complete marathons. Fixx also had an excellent body composition, appearing lean and muscularly defined. Unfortunately, Fixx was not in good health and died while running at age 52, suffering from a heart attack. An autopsy revealed that three of his coronary arteries were more than 70% obstructed, and one of his arteries was 99% blocked.