Saturday, October 13, 2012

Why we are sick all the time

Health and Diet
As Americans, we have lost the connection between our bodies and our health.  We eat what we were told to eat growing up, we see the tempting foods on the commercials, we believe the ads, etc!  When it comes to eating, we are the only species on the planet that is confused!  Then to top it all off, we feed our pets the same type of food that we eat and wonder why they have the same diseases we have!
I firmly believe that many of the diseases we have today can be tied back to our food.  We eat foods that are so unhealthy, processed and full of chemicals and then years later we wonder why we have cancer or other chronic diseases.  Our healthcare system is great at fixing our injuries, making us prettier, and providing drugs to make us live longer.  However the health profession does not really help us be healthy!  I am not slamming the industry as a whole, but Dr.’s are taught to treat disease, and they spend very little time helping us prevent it.
Over the last 50 years chronic illness in the west has exploded – ever stop to wonder why?  Sure we live longer (that trend may change soon with the rampant obesity) but do we live better lives?  Just look around you, look at the kids today; our nation is full of fat people!  It is not due to a gene, it is not because we are wealthier, it is because of what we put into our bodies!
If you look at the traditional Eastern cultures, they do not have the same chronic illness we have, their cancer rates are very low, and they are skinnier!  Why?  Because they eat the way they have eaten for centuries!  Only when these cultures take on a more western lifestyle do these diseases start to show up and become common.
I hear people all the time say – I cannot run a mile, I can’t be skinny, I cannot do…well the fact is you can, BUT you must go back to nature.  It won’t happen overnight but it can happen.
The government is also to blame, our food charts keep changing, we subsidize crappy food, and we allow marketers to tell us anything can be healthy.  Well I do not see how our risk of disease will be decreasing anytime soon.
Chronic illness can be traced back to lifestyle in most cases, whether we choose to believe it or not.  Take smoking for example, most cases of lung cancer is tied back to smoking right?  Well can’t we assume that most intestinal cancer could be tied back to food, or breast cancer or prostrate cancer?  If we feed our bodies in an unhealthy manner then it cannot take care of itself and it will eventually start to break down.
There are countless studies to back up my points but I will limit this post to my own summary.  Our bodies are powerful and amazing machines that adapt well to our environment; we just have to give it a chance to adapt to a healthy environment.
Our society is all about the quick fix, the magic pill or the almighty cure – well in the long run the only way to live a healthy productive life and stay away from the Doctors office is to make the changes now and live a long healthy life the natural way!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Mind

The Mind
Part of any journey includes your outlook on that journey.  For me, changing my lifestyle has also forced me change my attitude and beliefs about my lifestyle choices.  As an overweight ex-marathon runner (pre lifestyle change), I would eat almost anything, drink as much as I wanted and just lived in the moment not thinking of the long term damage I was doing to myself.  So one day I realized I was making very unhealthy choices, I was always lethargic and tired.  I am supposed to be the outgoing salesman but all I wanted to do after lunch was take a nap!
As a part of my journey, I had to change how I looked at food.  We eat to live, not live to eat!  I will say it again – we eat to live, to sustain our bodies and to be healthy.  We have to look at food in a different way if we want to change.  I am not proposing you eat a diet of rice cakes and water, but there are plenty of choices to choose from.  We must believe every day that the choices we make will impact how we look, live and feel.
Once you start to change the choices you make it becomes a lot easier.  I did not make all of my changes overnight, it was a gradual process.  I started with fruit in the morning, then went to eliminating most fried foods, then left the meat off the plate, and so on.  Water is key; you should drink 90% or more of water!
We are conditioned to believe the commercials and listen to our current cravings.  The challenge is to change the cravings by changing your daily choices.  I do not miss french fries, I do not miss hamburgers, and I do not miss a lot of sweets every day.  My belief system tells me I do not have to give up these foods entirely; I just choose not to eat them today!
Our bodies will adapt to the food we eat, once you quit sodas for example, after a week or so you loose the craving for them.  If you go back and have one it mostly likely will not taste the same or as good as it used to.
The other challenge we have is we are inundated with mixed messages – drink milk, don’t drink milk – eat meat for protein, don’t eat meat cause we cannot digest it and so on.  My suggestion is to research and consider the best options for you!  Remember advertisers spend millions of dollars trying to convince us their foods are best.  In the end – think of it this way – was that food given to use by nature?  Is that food minimally processed, is it natural?  Also consider how you feel after you eat, if you eat a big steak dinner with all the fixings’ are you ready to go out and run – or just stay on the coach and take a nap.  But if you eat a lite meal of veggies how do you feel?
We must train ourselves to listen to our bodies, eat what nature gave us and quit being so confused and frustrated.
At the end of the day, just make gradual positive changes.  I did not lose 60 lbs in a month, or even 6 months, it took a year!  It was gradual, it was fuel by healthy food, running, workouts the gym and lots of water!
Good luck and I hope to see you on the trail somewhere!