Lately, I’ve noticed several foods that could be holding a person back from sustaining a healthy lifestyle.
I won’t say that you should absolutely never enjoy a certain food because I do believe in balance, moderation, and space to be human.
Many people who read this blog are already aware that some foods are less conducive to long term satisfaction with regard to health and body goals. The purpose of this post is to provide you with a little nudge or reminder and to maybe add a glimpse of value to your life.
Without further ado, here are some common foods, reasons why, and possible alternatives for your reading and health pleasures.
Cereal is extremely common in the American household. One market research company found that as many as 89% of consumers eat cereal for breakfast and almost half of those also eat it for a snack.
Here are some random thoughts, in no particular order about relevant fitness related topics.
It’s not even 7PM as I begin writing this and I’m already thinking about getting myself ready to coach people at 4:45 AM tomorrow. But first, 17 random thoughts…
1. You should really make an effort to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Nasal breathing increases the respiratory system’s ability to warm and humidity the inspired air compared to oral breathing and reduces the drying and cooling effects of the increased ventilation during exercise. (Pubmed)
Sometimes we need a reminder to be intentional with our breathing. I’ve experienced in Yoga practice, we are much more intentional with our breathing than a cardio class. Seems almost counter-intuitive that high intensity workout participants aren’t focusing on their breathing.
2. Breathing is one element that separates the novice from the elite.
Many people have muscles and strength and decent work capacity for a short period of time until they run out of breath. The problem is that they only start thinking about breathing when they are already out of breath and then it’s too late. Why? The muscles are starved.
I always start my intentional breathing moments before engaging in high intensity exercise. As I take in the air through my nose, I’m also visualizing myself succeeding in the upcoming task and then I’ll exhale my doubt and GO!
I ran a 4:56 minute mile for the first time in my life and it was due to nose breathing.
3. People always talk about how sex burns calories but I can think of a lot better reasons to do it.
I’ll stick to high intensity interval training and weight lifting for my calorie burn thank you very much!
I prefer Barbell Hip Thrusts anyway, the iron will always be there for me and weightlifting will make me hard like steel.
4. Almost every person I know has low/sub-optimal levels of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is essential for bone density, hormone metabolism, immune system, brain health, breast, prostate and so much more. Do yourself a favor and get some high potency Vitamin D from AmazonA.S.A.P.
5. Cheat days are a trap!
I’m still trying to figure out what the hell is a cheat day?! Is that a day that you decide you’re done caring for yourself? Is that a day where you decide you don’t matter? Are you just going to slap a label on it and go to town?
Look, I’m all for being reasonable and going out and doing things. I eat Mexican food. I love sushi. I went to Las Vegas.
There’s no way I’m going to put a label on my day and call it a “cheat day.” That’s because when I am true to myself, I have nothing to cheat on.
I don’t have a cheat day because I realize that life will go on and all we have is this present moment. I’m not going to be the type of person who is off again and then on again and then off again.
If I go off track, then I forgive myself and choose the path forward. I can’t always see where I’m going. I will, however, stay authentic to my core values and manifest discipline whenever I have the strength to allow it!
6. Cheat meals are meant for bodybuilders and people who want to go on stage and show their bodies, not for regular people.
I notice how trends from the hardcore fitness people then find their way into the mainstream. Regular people DO NOT NEED CHEAT MEALS. The reason is because regular people should not be dieting period. Is that controversial to say?
99% of people in America just need to adopt an attitude of mindful eating and make an effort to plan their meals around nutrient dense foods. Maybe you should take it a step forward and plan your day around nutrient dense foods as well. Again, we’re not dieting because that is restrictive.
I want all of us to be able to live a life of abundance — we should eat colorful, fresh foods that are high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, and other currently undiscovered nutrients that likely benefit human health and well being.
7. Alcohol is the number one reason why you’re not leaner than you are.
This is a generalization and for people with non-alcohol sweet tooth (or potato-chip-aholics) this may not hold true for you.
Everybody knows that alcohol is calorie dense. Alcohol actually has more calories per gram than both carbohydrates and protein. In addition to being calorie dense, most people neglect to understand that even moderate amounts of alcohol are toxic to the internal organs.
Here’s a shortlist of why alcohol prevents you from burning fat:
Stresses out the kidneys and liver so that your organs are no longer in a fat burning mode.
Weakens insulin sensitivity which encourages more food/energy to be stored in the fat cells instead of in the muscle cells (or burned off).
Causes inflammation in the gut, which tends to create a gut environment that favors the bad bacteria instead of the good bacteria. Research indicates that obesity is strongly related to the type, ratio, and volume of bacteria in your stomach.
Also increases overall systemic inflammation by stressing out/weakening the immune system. Research indicates that all disease must occur in a state of inflammation — so many diseases such as cancer are brought upon by lifestyle choices (read: more than 7 drinks a week and more than 1 drink per day are bad).
Hurts your sleep and recovery. You wake up feeling like sh*t and your subsequent workout will be weaker or maybe you’ll be lazy and not do anything at all.
Higher cortisol/stress hormone caused by alcohol consumption may lead you to make poor choices about food the next day.
Wow, I could keep going. Just educate yourselves please. I know alcohol is the most common and socially acceptable drug out there. I know it makes socializing more fun. I also know that there are more ways to socialize, communicate, and grow community that don’t need to involve alcohol.
8. I still drink sometimes.
I’m not sober, but I can go a month without drinking and it’s not a big deal. I am mindful and realize that everything has risks. That being said, I limit myself to about 2-6 drinks maximum per week.
If you take somebody out for drinks, I feel like two drinks is the sweet spot anyway.
9. I still know how to party.
Okay I guess that’s not something to be proud of necessarily. I’m just saying that I can add a lot of value to the party and am a good person to know.
10. Please don’t ask me to go drink with you.
I’ll never drink just to drink. That’s why I ask that you don’t ask me to go drink with you.
Here are the circumstances that I’ll drink usually:
On vacation (preferably exotic / beach location)
With my brothers, because they are family and always will be.
If a very attractive woman asked me, but they never ask me. They wait till I ask them.
Birthday party, or career celebration party, weddings, or other special type of event (especially if it’s on a rooftop).
Did I miss anything? If you saw me drink or if you drank with me, post in the comments below.
On a really warm Sunday Funday, a couple cold beers and kickball!
11. I wish I was an owner/investor in Halo Top Ice Cream.
All I know is that Halo Top is taking my friends money like crazy. I wish I had stake in that company because I’d be rich.
For the record, I don’t like to eat ice cream more than a few times per year (I could count on my two hands).
Ice cream reminds me of my teens during a time in which I hated my body and also ate a lot of ice cream. I ate candy and so much ice cream and I just hated the way I felt about myself.
I don’t judge you for eating it, but I still think ice cream should be reserved for special occasions only.
Even Halo Top still has added sugar. I’d rather get my sugar naturally from pomegranate seeds and cherries and blueberries. WAY more antioxidants than Halo Top and no sugar alcohols.
12. I just started my YouTube channel, won’t you subscribe?
This one is pretty obvious. I have worked one on one with hundreds of people now with their nutrition so I’ve learned A LOT about what people actually eat. I also peak into people’s shopping choices when I’m in the mood.
Vegetables simply aren’t glamorous or exciting (but they are beautiful). There are lots of benefits for vegetables though:
Leafy green veggies promote healthy hormones.
Vegetables contain life-promoting and anti-aging antioxidants
Many veggies create a gut environment conducive to healthy bacteria, which is very important for digestion, immune system, and of course fat loss.
Vegetables can literally turn the “ON” switch for the fat burning hormone known as adiponectin.
I could go on. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re just trying to be healthy and feel better or if you want to see your abs for the first time in your life, You. Need. Vegetables!
14. You probably eat a poor ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
I am big on fatty acids. It is known that consuming too many bad fats will wreck your immune system and clog up your cells. Of course partially hydrogenated oils aka trans fats have gotten lots of press for being bad and that’s true. Try not to eat those.
However, there are “Essential” fats known as Omega-6 fatty acids that are only known as “Essential” because you have to get them from diet. The problem is that Omega-6 fatty acids are extremely prevalent in our diet and now we have run into the situation of having too much of a good thing.
The harm of having too much Omega-6 fatty acids in your diet is that it increases levels of inflammation in the body. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m big on inflammation because disease only exists in a state of inflammation. Aside from trying to prevent cancer, inflammation also matters because high levels of inflammation cause stress on the body and make it VERY challenging to burn fat and get a lean body.
15. Unless you eat Wild Alaskan salmon twice per week, you need more Omega-3’s in your life NOW.
16. You probably need more flexibility in your upper back, and more stability in your lower back.
Flexibility in your upper back: Thoracic spine extensions, Yoga mountain pose into a back bend, having better posture during the day.
Stability in your lower back: Lower back exercises like bosu back extensions, core exercises like bird dog, dead bug, TRX pike/knee tuck, Turkish Get Up, and Glute exercises like bridges, thrusts, squats, deadlifts.
17. I’m not convinced that marijuana is the best sleep aid.
Even though marijuana can promote some deep sleep, it does disrupt the REM cycle and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I know a lot of people in Seattle use marijuana for sleep purposes. I would like to nudge you in the direction of other things.
First, maybe you can try quiet time, meditation, or yoga. Maybe stretch lightly in the evening, turn off all artificial light except some soft red light and listen to relaxing music.
Second, maybe you have a nutrient deficiency that you don’t know about. Poor sleep could be linked to a number of nutrient deficiencies. Magnesium and other trace minerals are involved in so many processes in the body, yet even “healthy” diets fall very short of the recommended daily allowance. Especially if you exercise often, drink alcohol occasionally, and have a low calorie diet, it’s EASY to become DEFICIENT in some nutrients.
These are just some things to consider! Educate yourselves and never stop learning. I go to bed around 8PM on four nights per week so I know a thing or two about getting to sleep. 1-3 milligrams of Melatonin does it for me and I make sure to get 200-400mg of magnesium every day.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned!
I feel that we’re really heading somewhere powerful and even though this blog has been around for some time, we’re about to take off! Leave a comment below!