Why our environment is stacking the odds against health
Technology: helping or hurting?
These devices that allow dieters in 2019 to track their carefully measured out food intake and log exact calories burned to ensure that they have exactly the right caloric balance on any given day rob us of our natural instincts and intuition regarding movement and food.
The food industry doesn’t make money if you’re healthy (nor does pharma)
The modern environment - of hyper palatable foods, of engineers in labs whose job it is to design ‘franken-foods’ that make us unable to stop eating, of constant food availability - is not what our genes are wired for.
Is your food really food?
If it's got an ingredients list and/or that list contains anything you can't identify, the answer is likely 'no'
Protein Bar A
Milk Protein, White Chocolate (Sweeteners: Maltitol, Cocoa Butter, Milk Powder, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Flavouring), Humectant (Glycerol), Isomaltooligosaccharides, Collagen Peptides, Water, Almond, Soy Crisps (Soy Protein, Cocoa Powder, Tapioca Starch), Cocoa Powder, Milk Chocolate (Sweetener (Maltitol), Cocoa Butter, Milk Powder, Cocoa Mass, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Flavouring), Flavouring, Salt, Sweetener (Sucralose, Acesulfame K).
Protein Bar B
Protein blend (whey protein concentrate, milk protein) (32,5%), humectant (glycerine), cocoa powder (15%), isomalto-oligosaccharide syrup, almond ﬂour (9.1%), almonds (5.3%), fructo-oligosaccharide syrup, fller (polydextrose), natural ﬂavour, acidity regulator (sodium hydrogen carbonate), acidifer (citric acid), sweetener (steviol glycosides)
The first point to make about this is take a step back: real food generally doesn’t require an ingredients list at all. What’s the ingredients in an avocado? Avocado. Chicken? Chicken. Broccoli? You get the point. Real food doesn’t have preservatives, emulsifiers, ‘flavourings’. It also doesn’t last forever. If your ‘food’ comes with an expiration date that’s a long time away, that’s a pretty good sign in most cases that manufacturers have necessarily processed and altered the food from its natural state so that it can sell for longer.
Sugar’s role in mental and physical health
Is it really just 'harmless' and 'the same as other calories' as the food industry has told us? There's a much darker side than the energy highs and crashes of this addictive substance
A confluence of factors not in your favour
It’s impossible to pin down an exact, singular cause for the global obesity and health epidemic. No doubt is the combination of 24/7 access to food, most of which is engineered to tap into hardwired addictive pathways in the brain via careful combination of sugar, fat and salt a major player, but the rest of 21st century compounds these effects.
You can gain some control back!
You can gain some control back! There are some ways to work around our environment that is setting us up to fail; it just requires more work. Here’s a list of general tips:
Eat FOOD. Not 'food products'.
Eating real, whole foods that don’t have an ingredients list (eliminating processed items and sugar)
Practice fasting, generally 12 hours minimum between dinner and breakfast the next morning. Minimum once a week doing more, 14 to 16 hours, enhances these benefits. Exercising in the fasted state can further improve how you feel, and can down regulate appetite hormones! Also, try to space meals out - aim to go 4-5 hours between meals. This will allow your body to go into periods of using fat for a fuel and avoid constant elevation of insulin, the primary storage hormone. The process of fat gain is a complex hormonal process, but insulin is arguably the ‘first order’ term in the equation .
Be careful when you're food shopping
Go to the supermarket with a very specific list and stick to it. Know what you’re going to buy before you go; that way you are less likely to fall victim to impulse chocolate bar purchases at the checkout. Avoid the inner areas of the supermarket: this is where most of the processed food is. Stick to the outside perimeter; vegetables, fruits, meat, cheese!
Pay attention to emotional states and stress. Stress, from work or relationships, can cause us to overeat and seek out sweet, salty, and fatty foods: likely in combination with one another. Stopping to acknowledge and feel our emotions rather than using food to avoid feeling or as a way to deal with stress is a major difficulty.
Prepare for unexpected situations
If you are travelling somewhere, do some short research beforehand; google the nearest supermarket, some possible healthy options nearby, and pack simple staples such as avocados, sardines (packed in high quality olive oil or water), raw nuts and seeds, coconut flakes.
Build a community
Surround yourself with people who have similar goals and interests: Eating real, healthy food, getting outside, and training. Move your body every day! Training or just some low intensity movement also releases feel good hormones that will decrease your desire and need for a high reward food.
Can we help you?
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