Speaking English Will Kill You!

With gobs of terrible information on the internet about “the perfect diet” I wanted today’s post to be about what a good diet looks like. Because there truly is no magic bullet, perfect diet, or one true way to eat.

Why speaking English will kill you according to research.
 The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
 The French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
 The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
 The Italians drink excessive amounts of ride win and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
 The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
 Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.
With gobs of terrible information on the internet about “the perfect diet” I wanted today’s post to be about what a good diet looks like. Because there truly is no magic bullet, perfect diet, or one true way to eat. There are, however, dozens of people who will tell you otherwise, and they are probably trying to sell you something. I think this point is exemplified by this quote“When we have millions of years of evolutionary history to guide our dietary decisions, the latest nutritional trends don’t really matter much.”
Personally I take issue with the extremists. Low carb, low fat, Keto, Paleo, and even intermittent fasting all come at a cost. Whether it be ill effects on your body, or going insane every time you see a piece of bread. So I will attempt to quickly take a look at a few trends, as well as what you should really do to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
High Fat/Paleo
So I think that the biggest trends lately have been towards area of high fat diets. From the absolutely ridiculousness of Bullet Proof Coffee to off base Paleo diet. The problem is that each of these examples are not backed by quality science. Bulletproof coffee does nothing more than add extra calories to your diet, but if you like the taste of adding butter to your cup of Joe (eww) then don’t let me stop you. I personally like Paleo because it encourages lots of fruits and vegetables. But any diet that says “you can’t have any of this or that” just sets you up for failure. Finally, high fat diets are not heart healthy. Fats are not the enemy by any means. But when we fail to moderate our fat intakes, our blood lipids (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, Apob, etc) can get out of control.
Killer Carbs
Similar to high fat diets, low carb diets are trendy. However, carbs are not the problem! In fact we generally need carbs toperform exercise and for optimal brain function. Time and time again the research has shown that it is total calorie intake, not the macro-nutrient composition, of a diet that matters. So why do people see success using low carb diets? Well it’s because they cut out hundreds of calories from their diet. But at what cost? How long can you go without eating a sandwich? What’s worse is that as soon as you go off of a low carb diet you will likely gain back a lot, if not more, weight. I’ll finish up by saying that CARBS DO NOT CAUSE ANY KINDS OF DISEASE!!! However, using a Keto diet may cause extreme fatigue, dizziness, headaches, changes in bowel regularity and consistency, shakiness, muscle cramping, disruptions in sleep, a temporary dip in thyroid hormones, and even an increase in kidney stone formation. Yikes!
What To Do
I don’t adhere to any specific diet and I don’t recommend any specific diet. Everyone’s life can be hectic, and a demanding diet regime can often just put too much on our plate to handle (pun intended). Instead, because I am a true believer in the KISS (keep it super simple) method, I like to use some simple guidelines when it comes to food.
1. Make small adjustments to include more plants
Fruits and vegies are packet with nutrients. By adding more of these into your diet you will feel fuller for longer. All you need to do is put an emphasis on minimally processed plant foods.
2. Embrace the bean
Although they are condemned by followers of Paleo, beans are freaking awesome. Why’s the magical fruit great? They’re cheap, they contain protein, minerals, and antioxidants, they may reduce our risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, and they’re freaking delicious!
3. Don’t try to eat “perfectly.” Just do your best
You should feel guilty for doing bad things. Feeling guilty for something you ate should not be a thing. Don’t sweat the little stuff and you will sleep easy at night.
4. Eat for a reason
So what’s the driving factor behind your nutrition habits? Do you want to set an example for your kids? Support local farmers? Improve animal welfare? Eat foods with a lower environmental impact? Worry less about your health? Try answering these questions if you need help figuring it out.
“I’m the kind of person who ___________________.”
“And it’s important to me that __________________.”
“So I’d feel good about accomplishing ___________.”
5. Move away from all-or-nothing thinking
“I need to eat 6 vegan meals a day or else!” First of all, eating more frequently won’t boost your metabolism. Secondly, this will only make you feel bad if you have a piece of meat or miss a meal! Instead find what works for you, in your real and messy life, and give yourself credit for the good stuff you’re already doing.
I’ll wrap things up by saying health and happiness should not be mutually exclusive. They should intertwine. If you feel that one is getting in the way of the other, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate things. Of course I am always here to help you figure it it out 🙂

Lifting For… Losses

Lifting for gains (muscle/strength) can also equal losses.

Today I wanted to talk about getting shredded to lose weight. Because I know everyone is concerned about how they are going to burn off all that BBQ they will be eating this weekend! So that’s why I wanted to talk about why lifting for gains (muscle/strength) can also equal losses.
But first, a clarification. Weight loss is not the main topic of today’s post. Why? Because weight loss can be achieved through amputation, osteoporosis, stomach flu (though intestinal parasites will do in a pinch), coma, chemotherapy, shaving all your hair off, lobotomy… you get the point. Weight is not a great indicator for health or fitness, so what we are really talking about is fat loss. Because we all know muscle weighs more than fat, we know that weight may go up while your pant size goes down. This is why all of my clients take more pride in their bio-electric impedance (fat mass) numbers rather than the numbers on the scale. They know that their body composition (lean mass compared to fat mass) is what’s really important.
Old-School
The old-school way of thinking was that low intensity cardio burns fat, therefore you lose fat. But we now know that this just isn’t true. Without getting into science nerdy stuff too much, burning fat only means your using fat as fuel source. And unless you’re an ultra marathon runner,this doesn’t really matter. Although cardio is beneficial in many ways, it won’t do a great deal to help you lose fat. Oh and fasted cardio? Well… listen to this podcast that reflects my thoughts on this ridiculous practice.
Why Weight Lifting is Better
Picking up and putting down heavy things does more than you know. It places large amounts of stress on not only your muscles and tendons, but your bones and nervous system as well. Everything has to adapt to stress. As a result of this adaptation, your muscles will store more myoglobin (sugars), bones will become more dense, and your body will know to send more blood to these areas to help with the repair/replenishment of nutrients. Although your weight may go up a bit from these adaptations, it in turn means your metabolism grows as your muscles do! So class. What do we burn when we are at rest and our metabolism is high? Fat! This scenario is how we lose fat. Research continues to show that placing greater amounts of metabolic stress (like weight training) will result in greater fat loss and muscle gains.
Where To Start
Now for some of you, I know that the thought of weight lifting is daunting. Images of bench pressing meat heads may even be dancing around in your mind. But getting started on a weight lifting program doesn’t mean you need to learn how to grunt like an animal while squatting. What is important, however, is that you get started and stay consistent. Here are some key thoughts on how to do this:
Make the Process Fun – Experiment around the gym. Find what you like to do, then do it. It’s that simple.
Set Mini Goals – Long term goals progress slowly. To avoid going crazy, set short term goals as well. It can be as simple as doing a real push up by the end of the month.
Have An Accountabilibuddy – Nothing gets you in the gym as easily as a buddy. It’s much harder to say “no” when there is someone to push you along the way.
Don’t Get Carried Away – The “more is better” approach is rarely a good thing. Layer things on slowly and you will stay sane and injury free.
Feeling stressed out? Who isn’t these days?! Check out this link for tips on how to train when stressed.
Final Thoughts
I’m not saying cardio is bad by any means. In fact, it should be a part of your training program. But if your trying to look strong and/or lose weight, it should not be the main strategy. It’s also important to remember that everyone will react differently to resistance exercise. There is no magic bullet to all of this. Make sure you are placing the big rocks first and results will come. A high protein diet and consistent metabolic stress from resistance training will get you the results. Just be patient and keep the faith and you will see your body composition change! Still need help getting started?

Our Intellectual Hubris

How challenging our assumptions can change our mindset, save us money, and make us healthy!

Today I wanted to tackle a tough subject. Challenging our thoughts and beliefs, specifically when it comes to health and wellness trends. This is a tough subject because it requires us to admit we are wrong, and sometimes our ego’s just can’t handle it. However, it’s an essential requirement for us to grow as people. So lets take a look at how challenging our assumptions can change our mindset, save us money, and make us healthy!
Know That You Don’t Know
Science is constantly evolving and informing us of new and exciting things. Because what we think we know today will inevitably be challenged tomorrow by some new research. The key to keeping up is to not get dug in on any “one true method” of doing things. This can be tough because our mind hates uncertainty, and randomness and needs to make connections even when there are none because it has a need for order and control. So when you get all of your information from one source, there comes an asymmetry of input (what you believe versus what you choose not to) that creates ‘gaps’ in your knowledge. Your brain automatically fills these gaps based on your prior learning andBOOM you get suckered into a cult. So lets take a moment to “snap out of it.”
Step 1 Take Responsibility – When you start taking responsibility for your own goals (learning, health, fitness, etc.) you also give yourself the power to make changes. We consume the outputs of scientific inquiry like we consume everything else: through a filter of emotion, bias and personal connection. So as long as it’s somebody else’s fault, (i.e. “Dr. Oz said so, so it must be true”) you’re going to keep making excuses to justify why you’re doing, or not doing, things.
Step 2 Call Yourself Out – You need to call yourself out and make sure that what you’re saying/doing isn’t just some nonsensical story you’ve crafted to avoid the hard things in life. There is no magic bullet. Fat burning pills won’t make you skinny. What you learn today probably won’t be true even a year from now. This means you need to recognize your biases, as seen in the picture below, to be able to make a move in the right direction.
Step 3 Be Authentically You – Not being afraid to be you, the real you. Not some manufactured ‘me-too’ edition of somebody else, so you can fit into some arbitrary clique you’ve been told you should be a part of. Don’t assume that doing what everyone else is doing is going to make you look, feel, or be like them. Doing what the bull (e.g. a body builder) does, won’t change the fact that you’re a llama (e.g. a runner).
Inline image 2
When to Build, When to Burn
We determine the importance of information quickly and subconsciously, rather than through a conscious process of deliberative and slow reasoning. So it’s inevitable. You’re going to realize that because a snap decision was made years ago, a person, book, method, or way of doing things is no longer the golden nugget you once thought it was. For instance, we used to KNOW that eggs, fat spreads, potatoes, dairy, and raw nuts were bad for you. However, we now realize that all foods fit into a healthy diet, and perhaps more importantly, enthusiastic consumption of one particular “superfood” can be worse than consuming a so called “food villain!” What I’m getting at is that we all need to take a look at what bridges need to be burned and to start building new ones to the right places as more information comes to light.
The question now becomes “how do I separate the wheat from the chafe?” This is a toughy because you have people out there like David Wolfe, the Food Babe, and Dr. Mercola who spew nonsense but appear to be legit. The keys to their success are that they look “good,” they communicate well and are charismatic, they’re marketing machines, they seem knowledgeable, and they seem experienced. But being scientific and fact driven are not high on their priority lists. Here is how to recognize their pseudoscience garbage:
Translate their message into ordinary language, thereby assuring that what the claim asserts is a logical concept, rather than just a collection of jargon.
In doing this, you will know whether you have been taught an idea or you have only taught a definition.
Practical Application
The goal of this post is to get you to challenge your current belief system, and know how to look for good information. Because knowing what science is will truly benefit us all. What we know today is a reflection of what we have learned and experienced in the past. The problem here is that our memories suck! We all have a distorted and constructed memory of a distorted and constructed perception, both of which are subservient to whatever narrative our brain is operating under. Our malleable memories, combined with confirmation bias, are a key factor in the Dunning-Kruger effect, the inability to perceive one’s own incompetence in a given area.
So here are key takeaways to attaining competence.
 – Challenge what you know, because not even the practice of washing your hands isn’t immune from scrutiny. So if you’re going to read junk like The Grain Brain that’s completely fine. Just be sure to challenge that view by reading The Gluten Lie.
 – Don’t just read the words, understand the meaning behind them. This means that just because something is labeled as “organic” don’t automatically assume that it’s better, or even good, for you. Translate the message (in this case “organic is better”) into ordinary language to fully appreciate the value.
 – Ditch the dogma. I hate the term “clean eating.” It’s an over-hyped theory, an absolutely meaningless term, and can actually be detrimental. It’s a term used in many dogmatic diets and is used by many knuckle head guru’s.
 – Be reasonable, don’t retaliate. People squabble over the silliest of things. So instead of digging into your position, be reasonable and take a firm look at the opposing argument. Yes, reasons can be given as to why insulin will cause obesity, but research shows there’s far more to it than that, and that it’s simply not true. Sure slow and steady weight loss has been shown to be very effective for keeping off weight, but rapid weight loss can also work under the right circumstances. Don’t agree? Find out why these statements might be right before you go saying they are wrong.
 – Don’t just go along with the herd. Our actions are largely influenced by those around us. So do your best to break away from the herd to take a closer look at what’s going on. Because starving yourself won’t help you get skinny, weight loss “hacks” aren’t always helpful, and thatexpensive grass fed beef everyone is raving about isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

Being Brutal Is Better

Even if you’re not looking to lose weight, the idea behind this post translates to not only health and fitness, but to life goals in general.

This week I wanted to talk about a few tenets of weight losing weight and keeping it off. Even if you’re not looking to lose weight, the idea behind this post translates to not only health and fitness, but to life goals in general. The majority of this post comes from a fantastic article by James Fell who writes great stuff at bodyforwife.com and other news outlets.
The Struggle
People struggle to lose weight for many reasons. To counter that, the weight loss industry seems to have as many methods to lose weight as there are calories on the McDonalds menu. But when it comes down to it, burning more calories than you consume = you, weighing less. But as James puts it “Saying “eat less, move more” to an overweight person is like saying “spend less, earn more” to someone living in crushing poverty.” It’s just not easy for someone to completely change their habits. And with many diet programs being unsustainable, many people turn to dietary tracking. Personally, I don’t track my foods or exercise. That’s because it’s tedious, not super accurate (for calories in or out), and I simply don’t have time to do it on a day to day basis. And generally, the majority of people underestimate their food intake by as much as 50%.
The Reality
I, by no means, am saying not to track your calories. Tracking calories works. But to do it right you need to be brutally honest with it. This means you need to take everything that you consume into account. Not only that, but you need to make sure you are putting in the right quantities. Leaving off a handful of nuts because you think it’s a “healthy snack” or simply eyeballing a scoop of mashed potatoes, means you’re not tracking. It means you’re plugging in information to feel good about yourself and say “hey I only ate 1,200 calories today! Yay for me!” If you’re not tracking your food correctly then you might as well not do it at all.
The Solution
Being brutally honest with yourself is key. And honestly, almost everyone is bad at food and exercise tracking. And until you get really good at the skill of calorie counting, the result generally is nothing more than self-deception. Instead, I suggest creating and practicing healthy habits while you develop your tracking skills. Doing things like cooking for yourselfwalking whenever you get a chancediscovering new NEAT exercisesknowing when to ask for helpactually getting organized and planning (heaven forbid), and building a support network are all great foundations for success.
Being brutally honest with yourself means not holding back when looking at your life choices. I know for me, this message will improve the way I reflect and improve as a person. For more info on why we suck at calorie counting and why being brutally honest is the best way to go, check out the main article here.