By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
January 10, 2016
There has never been a day that goes by that makes me wonder what could have been. You see, I was relatively healthy up until college, when I decided to start indulging in frozen pizzas and deli meat and wonder why my jeans were not fitting too well anymore. It all went down hill when I stopped playing basketball on a regular basis and started working, eating my paycheck almost every week and wondering what illicit junk food I could eat the next day. I started ballooning in weight sometime in 2001 or so, when I fully got used to the idea of making food for myself (i.e. buying it everywhere) It took a few more years before my bad eating habits became a full blown problem, where I seemingly only lived to eat, at least that seems to be what my friends kinda described it as. Anyway, I just accepted the way things were supposed to be at the time, believing I could flip the switch and lose the weight quickly. Well, I went through nearly eight years of denial, and watched my overweight self balloon up to something I never expected or believed could be true. My bad eating habits nearly killed me, and my better eating habits of today are helping me lose weight (albeit, a bit slower now) and stay healthy.
So here is a question, one that you should seriously ponder. If you had the choice to be healthy and eat a restricted diet, one that took away all the junk that would stimulate your olfactory senses, would you take it? Would it really be all that bad compared to the alternative? Now I have gone over this situation many times before, wondering if my plant based eating regimen was really something I should continue with. I like being plant based and being vegan (the ethical side of the coin), but sometimes it does make me feel a little left out of the equation. While I have taken some empowerment steps to aid in my continued journey, I often wonder if the genetic gun to my head is really the only thing that is keeping me on the path? I say that due to the troubled health of my mother’s side of the family, which is filled with heart problems and diabetes. I know deep down, that even though I might have my father’s healthier genes, why not put the fear aside and do something preventative? That very word seems to be a curse word through much of our society. No one wants reinforce the bridge until it collapses. No one wants to build up the river banks until they overflow. No one wants to wear a seatbelt unless they actually get pulled over by the police. Many of us pretty much understand why the medical industry doesn’t seem too interested in the preventative side of the health spectrum….it would hurt their bottom line.
Then again, all through out my life, I have heard people say something like “Just Do it!” We’ve had other silly mottos like “YOLO” or “Carpe Diem” when people try to justify their bad decisions by insinuating we only have one life, therefore it is mandatory we do whatever we wish. For me, it wasn’t really a justification of sorts. It was just cowardice, for it was just much easier to get lost in myself and let things go rather than show restraint. Never once was I thinking “You only live once” when I gorged on 30 bucks of pizza and accessories. That’s not some secret formula for life…that’s more like a recipe for disaster. It seems rather mundane for me to get back on the subject, but the U.S. Dietary Guidelines finally made an appearance in this New Year as we talk about health and resolutions, and it seems like none of the original content that was initially reported months ago have been included in the report. The biggest thing in regards to the report was the limit on sugar for a standard 2,000 calorie diet. 50 grams was the recommended intake, and while several companies that provide high sugar products like PepsiCo balked (a couple of 12-ounce cans can blow up your daily intake!), the report seemed to hold steady with this guideline. Of course, much of the other things that were leaked out or insinuated by the report were pretty much wrong, for the new report didn’t really discourage red meat consumption, egg consumption, fat consumption or any high calorie consumption period. In fact, the report is pretty disappointing overall, for it pretty much took one stance and then did nothing else, leading the ultimate summation of “Eat what is right for you.” http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/07/health/2015-dietary-guidelines/
So yes, I am pretty saddened by the results of the new guidelines, for it seems even the health of America can be relegated to such a lowly status. Here we are in the middle of an obesity crisis, a fatty liver deluge and a rise in heart disease, but there continues to be a rather short sighted disdain for health. Now the report did say to eat more fruits, vegetable and grains, but it seems to get lost in much of the writing. If anything, this report basically says keep doing what you are doing, but do so in “moderation.” Now I just laugh when I hear that term, for there is nothing moderate about having a bad diet. Baddies are mostly the result of convenience and addiction. But that is the gist of our national problem…no one will ever take a stand on anything. Now this won’t really affect me, for I do eat a solid all around diet that allows me to eat more abundantly and healthy, but shouldn’t we as a society start demanding more? I mean, for crying out loud, Subway is trying to say it wants to use organic products for its stores. It doesn’t matter where the beef comes from for the Double Philly Cheesesteak sandwich…that is still a massive gut bomb of bad fats and high calories. And people are applauding them for this?
Now yes, I am being something of a curmudgeon, and that is what I do on this blog sometimes (okay, I do that a lot of times). I have a frustration in my heart, knowing full well what is going on in the hearts and minds of a great many people. I used to be distant and unwilling as well, but think about the benefits your life will experience when you start eating better! There was another interesting article that came out this week in lieu of the new dietary guidelines set about by the government. One of the worst health conditions that could fall on anyone is Alzheimers. Imagine losing everything, merely because your mind is slipping away and there is nothing you can do about it. I think there would be nothing more scary than to forget all the things that would happen in your life. To lose the memory of your first true love, your favorite dogs or even your family would be pretty upsetting to the people around you. And let’s not even start with the cost of taking care of that situation. This week, The MIND Diet was introduced to the world as the best new weapon in preventing Alzheimers. Now as the New Year is in full swing, it has been named one of the the best diets by US News and World Report after some studies on its benefits were released earlier this year in science journals. http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/mind-diet?src=usn_fb While I have mentioned before that a plant based diet is ideally the best diet to tackle this disease with, this is a more mainstream alternative who don’t wish to take the leap I have taken.
Now the biggest cause of Alzheimers is the build-up of metallic “plaque” in the neural pathways of the brain. As this plaque gets “tangled” up in the neurons, a person begins to lose bits and pieces of their memory, maybe even losing whole decades in the process. Now this plaque is typically comprised of heavy metals, and many people insist that a person not only get reverse osmosis systems for the water (as a safety precaution), but also remove all non-stainless steel cooking materials from their kitchen. Some of the biggest issues that occur are the introduction of free radicals in the brain environment, such as cast iron or aluminum, which more quickly find their way to the brain due to the fact the body does not use these types of metals to stay healthy. This is where the MIND Diet comes in. With a splish splash of the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet (a lot fat, near vegetarian diet methodology), this possible preventative measure was created just for the idea of preventing Alzheimers. Of course, the diet calls for very little meat, sugar and dairy while concentrating on fruits and vegetables. Throw in a glass of wine every now and then and voila! You may decrease your risk of developing Alzheimers by as much as 53% if you stick to the diet.
Now you might not think 53% is all that huge, but then again, don’t you want keep your memories? Now personally, this comes in as no big surprise, for this is just another reiteration of what most people in the world already know….if you eat a better diet, you will have better health. It doesn’t really take much science to prove this. If you stuff chicken fried bacon down your throat everyday, you’re probably going to turn into a person that looks like they stuff chicken friend bacon in the mouth every day (as in…obese). If you only work out hard so you can eat a horrible diet, you are most likely not going to help yourself in the long run. These are all just simple things that should be common sense in our society. Even when I was pretty gigantic, I would know that eating some fiber from time to time might help me pass all the massive amounts of meat and dairy my body was having a hard time digesting. I should have known something was wrong with me when I became constipated, and had to start drinking prune juice just to pass the crap that had backed up in my system (and trust me, who knows how long that stuff will sit on the shelf….when I bought my prune juice, the bottle was dusty as heck!). I didn’t even get the hint when I had to start forking over money for Prilosec! So I understand what you might be going through. Eating better food is freaking hard, especially when all the bad food tastes pretty good (just remember it is engineered to be to do that to you!).
I’ll admit, I am not big on prescribing to diets myself, but over the next few weeks and maybe even months (provided I have the willpower) I intend to give some of these “extreme” diets a test. I say extreme because they areas odd and unusual to me, much like the old 30 Bananas a Day Diet that I tried last year. I will partake in another 10-Day Potato Challenge starting next week, and who knows, maybe I can try to push it even further. Like I have stated before, I don’t like recommending diets under any circumstance, but hey, it’s time to actually try and test some of these things. It couldn’t hurt. I mean, I really need to start losing some body fat merely for the sake of my mental state, as well as looking good for a future wedding I will be attending (at least I hope…still haven’t gotten my invitation yet). But the bottom line is this…it will always be much healthier than what I used to do!
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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