The majority of people that walk into my office for health consultations are incredibly confused. And I don’t blame them. For years we have been told certain “facts” about nutrition and that if we just followed them we would all be ok. If that were true, we wouldn’t be in the health crisis that we are today. In short, we have been misled and mis-fed.
I could make this list incredibly long, but I’ll stick to a few of the key myths that you can go ahead and stop believing:
1. Fat Makes You Fat
This is one of my all-time faves. I think because I was raised in the 80’s and 90’s when the “Fat-Free” Everything craze really took off. We took fat out of everything and we all got fatter. NOTE: When you take fat out of something it is not “something” anymore; it’s a chemical substitute of its original form. Then, in order to get you to eat it, sugar is normally added. And if anything is making us fat fast, it’s sugar.
Quality fat will actually help burn bad fat. Also, fat will help keep you full longer so it helps curtail cravings. Choose quality fat from avocados, nuts, seeds, organic eggs, wild caught fish and properly raised meat.
2. Milk Does the Body Good
This is one people have a hard time wrapping their head around because the “Milk does a body good” campaign was pretty brilliant. The fact is that most people in the world (about 80%) lack the proper enzymes to break dairy down. If you are one of those 80% and you continue to eat and drink milk products than a whole slew of health issues can arise. I have seen some amazing health conditions turn around, even personally, from putting down the blocks of cheese and switching to non-dairy milks.
What about calcium you say? Chalk has calcium but I don’t see that as an excuse to eat it. Stick to green vegetables, almonds, cabbages and sesame seeds for better absorbable calcium. If you do want to keep dairy in your life, stick to goat and sheep’s milk cheeses, grass-fed butter and organic plain yogurt. Best thing to do is eliminate all dairy for a month and then add it back in on an empty stomach, you’ll know if your body wants it or not.
3. All Carbohydrates are Bad
There are only 3 macronutrients that make up food; protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Any diet that demonizes one or more macronutrient is probably unsustainable in the long run. Trust me, sweet potatoes are not causing the obesity epidemic in America. Quality carbohydrates help replenish brain power, calm us down and help us refuel for later on. When we start eating more refined carbohydrates and sugary carbohydrates is when we get into the most trouble. Stick to whole, unprocessed carbs like quinoa, brown rice and millet, and you will do yourself a world of difference.
4. Diet Soda is Better for You Than Regular
There has never been a single study done that diet soda is better for you than regular soda. If you find one, send it to me and I will eat my shoe. The fact is they will both harm your health, relatively quickly too. Even though diet sodas promote zero calories or zero sugar, the artificial sweeteners still trigger the same response in your pancreas to secrete insulin, raise blood sugar and eventually store it as body fat. In fact, 1 diet soda a day for 1 year will lead to 10lbs of weight gain. Put ‘em both down, drink water.
5. There is One Perfect Diet
Most people believe that there is one diet that everyone should eat and they just haven’t found it yet. Or even worse, they have found it and judge everyone else that doesn’t eat the same way. Most of us try different diets and when they don’t work, we rarely blame the diet, we often blame ourselves. We say, “It worked for them, but not for me, something must be wrong with me” and then enter the floodgates of guilt and shame. Truth is, there are 7 billion diets in the world, one for each person. What works for me, may not work for you. We should be gearing diets towards individuals, not individuals towards diets.
But I will tell you, of all the diets I’ve studied, all the research I’ve done and all the personal experiments I have ever undergone, never has guilt been one of the ingredients to any of the foods or food choices. Find what works for you, what makes you feel strong, sustained and happy and stop apologizing and blaming yourself.
6. The Mind and Body are Separate
This can be a whole book and there are many written on the subject, but in short, “What we think, we become.” – Buddha. Every thought and emotion you have, or better yet, choose, will become a pattern in your physiology. Those grooves and patterns from your thoughts and emotions carry with them chemical reactions to every part of your body telling it how to operate. Consider your emotions like a gas pedal or brake. Certain emotions will speed up health and healing such as happiness, forgiveness, love, connection and peace. As well, certain thoughts and emotions will slow down health and healing such as fear, anger, doubt, jealousy and guilt. Nothing in your body is separate or on its own, everything is connecting in some way, even your thoughts and emotions.
I could go on and on about what we have been taught and sold that is actually harming us more than it is helping but I think at this point you get the gist. Get tuned into your body, find what works for you, and stop changing yourself because your experience is different from something you read in a study or saw on a commercial. Surround yourself with health conscious people or find a coach that will help you prioritize your health and happiness.