After many years as a Personal Trainer and many training courses in Nutrition, Sports Nutrition and Weight Management – I decided that the information being given to me was pretty poor. It was well intentioned, trying to make life easier for clients to follow a healthy eating plan and was indeed a hell of a lot healthier than what most of us are eating anyway. However, the information and “knowledge” being taught was and is fundamentally floored in that it focuses primarily on Calories and Macro-Nutrients (Carbs, Proteins and Fats).
When we stop and take a second to appreciate that obesity is a normal reaction to an abnormal environment, it does beg the question … Are we not better off trying to correct the environment rather than the obesity?
I happen to believe, yes, we should try to correct the environment rather than the obesity. Tackling the obesity will only last for so long. How many times do we see somebody shed some fat only to pile it back on? Many times I’m sure. Where as when we manage to change deeper issues behind the obesity (the environment) people go on to achieve long term health and wellbeing.
What the hell is “environment” supposed to mean?
In terms of health/food/nutrition/obesity is concerned, the environment I refer to has two main points.
– The environment foods are produced in.
– The day to day environment people live in.
If a so called ‘food’ happens to be produced in a factory it is obvious it comes from an abnormal environment. If you pick a carrot out of the ground in the middle of a field untouched by human activity, you can be sure it is food from a natural environment.
If a person sits down and drives to work for an hour in the dark, then sits in an office with no windows for 8 hours per day, then sits and drives a car home in the dark, then sits on a sofa watching an electrical box for another 4 hours, before going to bed … we can be sure this is an unnatural environment.
If a person wakes up, then spends the day roaming the earth in daylight foraging for nuts, seeds, berries and vegetables, stalking live prey, catching fish, swimming to cross a river, climbing trees to gather eggs, and carrying heavy materials for building shelter, before returning home to feed and rest – we can safely assume this is a natural environment.
It’s pretty damn obvious that most of us are currently living in a vastly unnatural environment eating virtually all our food from unnatural sources. The consequences are much further reaching than obesity alone. They impact on energy, mental health, immune systems, cancer, skin, hair, fertility and even the genetics we pass on to our children. A pretty scary prospect, especially as even the foods we consider natural, are highly likely to actually be produced via unnatural pathways. Pesticides and various toxins used to artificially ‘help’ the growth and shelf life of our fruit and veg as well as polluted soil, polluted seas, polluted rivers, battery farming, depressed and abused cattle flooded with chemicals and hormones, fish farming etc. All of a sudden ‘natural’ doesn’t look so natural.
So do we reject modern life, conveniences and society and go live in a cave?
No, although personally thats a very appealing concept, even more so on a beach somewhere warm. But realistically after a week or two it’s likely to wear pretty thin living in relative poverty when compared to my current lifestyle.
We can’t honestly expect to throw away our lives and go all George of the Jungle. What we can do is get outside as much as possible, move as much as possible and take responsibility for our food choices and not let modern day regularity prevent us from flourishing through Movement, Daylight and Nutrition.
OK, how do we do that?
You already know the answer to two of these issues.
– Get outside at least once a day for a minimum of 30 mins. Especially if it’s raining. The closer to trees hills, woodland, ocean, plants, mountains and rivers the better.
– Move more … well by being outside, I am assuming you are walking, running, cycling, rowing, swimming, riding, climbing, scrambling and all that fun stuff? Let’s hope so. If not, get yourself an active hobby or join an exercise class, just go for a long walk every day, wear a heavy backpack if you need to.
Most modern day nutrition courses or plans try to work around your everyday life and that is understandable as people have responsibility to families. Raising a family or even just taking care of yourself in modern life is a highway to unnatural living.
I will either have you on board or lose you to an easier option on the strength of my next bold statement.
This nutrition plan will not work around you, you have to work around it.
If you are not prepared to change your environment (lifestyle), you will not get long term success. Your health must become a genuine priority.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to follow my first two points above … if you do find it difficult to schedule those into your everyday life then you MIGHT need to have a meaning of life chat with yourself. This is about mental wellbeing as well as the physical.
The tough part comes with nutrition. So, I will keep it so unbelievably simple, that if you have paid for this document, then you will most likely feel a little ripped off at the complete lack of guidance.
The nutrition plan:
(1) Buy your foods from ethical and organic sources. Or grow/catch it yourself.
(2) If it was around 10,000 years ago, you can eat it.
(3) Eat when you are hungry (cavemen didn’t have clocks).
Pretty much every quest ion you may or may not have about this nutrition plan can be answered easily by going back to the main 3 rules. If you think you have a question that is not answered by these one of these rules, please forward it to me, Im interested.
Meats and Fish
Dodgy but OK, kind of frowned upon?
Seeded wholegrain brown Breads
Packets of stuff
White Rice and Bread
Cheap, low quality, mass produced meats and fish.
Gen.Modified Fruit and Veg
Natural caught Salmon/Mackerel
Free range meats
Vast variety of organic fruit and veg.
The next step
This is a very basic introduction to the Paleo diet. It disgusts me a little to call it a diet, as diet carries with it a whole world of tragedy that I cannot bring myself to rant about in this particular article.
If you can nail theses basics steps (outlined throughout) and really embrace the reasoning behind it, then you may want to consider progressing onto metabolic typing and intermittent fasting. Thats a very individual choice.
I understand that undertaking something like this is a huge task. I expect everybody to fall short and have times when life beats you and you eat a fish farmed tuna wrap with mayo and chocolate milkshake. Do not panic or beat yourself up … shit happens. I made an earlier reference to Macro-nutrients being a focus for most diets these days. I would like to now take this final opportunity, as some kind of closing point, to make you aware that the focus of natural eating (Paleo) is MICRO-nutrients.
Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are the real key to your health and wellbeing and often get overlooked in favor of carbs, protein and fat. It leads to a pattern where we look at food packets for Carbs, Protein, Fats and Kcal (if we look at all) and then happy with what we see, we eat the food believing we have made a good choice.
We failed to spot the food we just ate is in fact almost plastic and holds no real nutritional value. So over time we become nutritionally starved. Our body recognises the need for more nutrition and again we feel hungry and eat more of the nutritionally void manufactured crap, and again and again and again … this is why we over-eat. BECAUSE OUR FOODS ARE NOT NUTRITIOUS, THEY ARE PLASTIC.
The Most Complete Cookbook And Nutrition Guide For Bodybuilding & Fitness
What Paleo will do for you, is give you the organic, natural, nutrient rich foods you need to function. This in turn will slowly start to relieve you of cravings for more (as you are no longer starved of nutrition). Essentially, eating good whole foods, will take over your need to eat crap.
It makes sense that you are encouraged then not to ban yourself from eating certain bad foods altogether. Thats a lot of pressure and unrealistic. Just do the best you can. Instead I say to you, eat as much nutrient rich organic foods as possible and let the crap slowly phase out.