Posted: Aug 5, 2019
**Guest post written by Electra (The Rock-n-Roll Health Chick), an Integrative Health and Nutrition Consultant and Coach, specializing in the health of musicians.
You didn’t really think you’d get rid of me that easily, did you?! Just like your mom, or a gnat, you can try to shoo me away and tune me out, but I’ll keep coming back. Why?! Because I care about you!
How was your week? Did you do last week’s assignment? Did you try the suggestions for better hydration? I hope good things happened in your world and in your body. I am trying to focus on better hydration too. No one likes a hypocrite, and I want to feel great as well. I’ve been having the lemon and salt water in the mornings and more fruits and veggies.
That leads us to the second most important change you can make to think and feel your best.
I have a question. If the store needs a section labeled “health food,” what the hell is up with the rest of the stuff they sell us?! I highly recommend you opt out of the UNhealth food.
Almost as critical as clean water is good clean food! However, if your digestive system is not healthy, no food will be digested or used properly by your body. Almost everyone needs a daily, high-quality probiotic.
If you truly want to be at your best, you’ll probably have to take food with you on the road. We do this when we travel. Not only is it healthier, but with some planning, it’s also cheaper in the long run.
Most of us have probably heard of “organic.” This is food, including meats and dairy, that hasn’t been doused with toxic chemicals while it’s growing or after it is harvested. I know we’re not bugs, but if something kills bugs and other animals, it’s not good for us either! It might not kill you instantly, but things like irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, cancer and other chemical-exposure-related illnesses rob you of quality and quantity of life. This is NOT rocket science! You’ll hear reports that these poisons are “ok.” All I can say is, as usual, follow the money… Can you say BILLIONS?! Between agricultural chemicals that make us sick and pharmaceuticals that mask the problems, they get us coming and going and create lifelong customers. I’m here to help change that.
Meat, veggies and limited amounts of fruit are best. They should be as clean as possible. Almost all of us need to eat more fresh veggies! Fruit is important too, in moderation. Choose organic meats from animals raised on their natural diet, not cheap fillers that speed up their growth rate and fatten them up.
A lot of people think organics are too expensive. If it’s a matter of priorities, I ask what is more important than your health and life? If the funds just aren’t there, ‘cause we all know “exposure” doesn’t pay the bills, there are tricks you can do that help. To stretch your budget, buy in bulk and get frozen veggies. To feel full longer, eat protein-dense foods and eat smaller meals, but more often.
Don’t believe the hype about fats! I’ve been saying this for a couple of years now. Just the other day NPR reported the same message. The lie about fats making us fat was manufactured by big agriculture and the sugar industry, so they could sell more grains and dump more sugars in their “low-fat” and “non-fat” products. The decrease in healthy fat consumption and increase in manufactured and junk foods mirror the increase in obesity, diabetes and other diseases. We need healthy fats for our brains, hearts, joints (no, not that kind) and overall health. These would be things like clean meats, most nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut and olive oils, ghee and moderate amounts of butter. Stay away from all margarine, or any similar grossness, that is processed from a liquid into a solid. Avocado mayonnaise is said to be ok. Avoid highly-processed, common cooking oils like canola, corn, peanut and anything with trans fats.
Our bodies need protein to function, as well as to regenerate all of our parts. Protein is not just for building muscle. We will develop disease and can die without enough. Protein is brain food, gives you energy and nutrients and keeps you full longer. Dr. Mark Hyman shares the following, in his website article Protein and Your Health: What you need to know, “To easily calculate your own RDA (recommended daily allowance) for protein, just multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36. For someone who is 150 pounds, that would be 54 grams of protein. The catch is that the RDA is the minimum amount of protein needed to avoid getting sick, not the amount needed for optimal health.” Use this amount as a starting point, but do more study and see where your body feels it’s best.
If you are avoiding animal products, I get it. There are very valid environmental, ethical and health-related reasons not to buy into the big factory food model. Vegans are very committed to and touchy about this dietary choice. They will argue that it’s actually healthier. Just be aware that humans need certain nutrients that only come from animal sources. You’ll have to supplement more and won’t have optimal nutrition with this diet. It especially matters later in life. If that is your choice, avoid ALL non-fermented soy, even if it’s organic! Soy is one of the largest GMO/glyphosate-sprayed crops. It is also a phytoestrogen, which means it mimics the estrogen hormone in our bodies. This can be dangerous for both sexes.
If I were putting together a grab bag of foods for the road, I would include boiled eggs, hummus, peanut or other butters, cut up veggies and fruits (to dip in your hummus and nut butter), beef or other meat jerky, mixed nuts, avocados, beans and rice, coconut and filtered water. Don’t forget your salt and lemon to make your electrolyte water. I would at least supplement my food on the road with these choices. If I had to stop at a fast food- or Waffle House-type place, it would totally freak me out, but I would stick to a meat and some veggies and ditch the carbs and sweets. Just these changes will improve how you think and feel.
One of the simplest and most important changes you can make is to stop eating sugars and simple carbohydrates. This is also one of the most difficult. TRUST ME! I know they taste great. Sugar is as addictive as cocaine and heroin, so I totally get it. I am a sugar junkie. I know the struggle is real. However, this one change in your diet will change your whole body. Your mental and physical health will improve quickly and noticeably. If you can’t quit cold turkey, start slowly. Give up one soft drink, sweet tea or bag of chips each day for a week. Give up more next week, and so on. If you go into withdrawal, add a little fruit for a healthier sugar fix. I sometimes eat a handful of raisins when I’m freaking out.
Ever get unexplained brain fog and crashes in energy? Are you hungry soon after you eat and just don’t feel good in general? Sugar and carbs can be the culprits and are hiding almost everywhere! If it’s sweet, it has some form of sugar. Using sugar substitutes can be just as bad or worse than using sugar! Don’t do it! They will NOT make you lose weight or keep you from gaining weight. They often cause you to gain more and they wreck your health.
Sweets may be delicious, but they are killers. Diabetes and obesity are two of the biggest financial drains on our society. These diseases create huge medical expenses, loss of productivity in the workforce, suffering and death. You don’t have to be overweight to suffer the effects and damage, which wreak havoc on your whole body.
Simple carbs turn to sugar in our bodies. They cause inflammation, which in time leads to almost all disease, including cancer. Simple carbs are things like bread, rice, potatoes, pastas, chips and tortillas. You know, all the yummy and easy stuff. They take a serious toll, and just like sugar, they are addictive.
A lot of processed foods are full of carbs and toxic chemicals that also disrupt your health. You can get the carbs you need from lower-sugar fruits, veggies and occasional whole grains like quinoa, brown rice and steel cut oats.
Below is an easy way to calculate your sugar intake.
Remember, carbs also turn to sugar. Grab a packaged food. I like to use cereal as an example, ‘cause who doesn’t like cereal?! Find the nutritional facts chart. Always note the portion size! The food companies know you may freak out if you know the true numbers, so they make the sizes small. Who eats a quarter cup of cereal?!
We’ll use the following example to calculate the carbohydrate grams.
Repeat this process for sugar grams. We’ll use 16 grams as an example in that same quarter cup of cereal.
Add these two final amounts together. You get 11 teaspoons of sugar in that quarter cup of cereal. Measure out 11 teaspoons of sugar to get a real visual impact. Would you eat or drink that?!
Soft drinks and “sweet tea” can be even worse. The carbonation in soft drinks deteriorates your teeth and bones. They have a ton of sugar and no other nutritional value. One regular 12-oz can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar. Divide by 4 to see the sugar you’re drinking…“Sweet tea” can have just as much or more sugar and is often not even real tea. Some companies have been caught using grass clippings and other junk instead of actual tea leaves. With that much sugar, who would know the difference?
Using a high-quality, organic protein shake in between meals or as an occasional meal replacement can be helpful. If you’re like my older son and me and can’t tolerate Stevia, you’ll have a hard time finding a good choice. It’s very disappointing. Trader Joe’s has a hemp protein powder we use. Adding some banana or low-sugar fruits can be tasty.
Most energy drinks are very harmful to your health! I understand the need for a pick-me-up in this busy, sleep-deprived world. But you’ll pay the price, and it won’t be pretty.
This week’s homework is to focus on your hydration AND to start paying attention to the foods you eat. Use the suggestions I’ve given to start substituting your old habits with better choices. I know it’s not easy, but you’re kickin’ ass and can do it! You’ve made it this far in life and that ain’t easy! I promise you will look, think and feel better when you eat better!
Have a great week and I’ll nag, I mean be back, soon with health tip #3…"
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