Updated: Sep 15, 2019
I’ll be honest. I have been triggered in every hostel that I cooked in over the past three months by people making critical comments about me eating healthy or even cooking for myself. Last nights’ comment was especially triggering and I am fighting a fever so I am a little hot-headed. So, today I am going to rant a little bit about nutrition.
Eating Healthy Food Is A Privilege, Not Ambitious
If you live in Usa, Canada, or Norway then you are blessed to have access to healthy food. Sure you are also surrounded by mountains of fake-food, but for the most of us we are a fifteen minute drive away from being able to select an almost perfect meal at any time. Unfortunately the common consensus is that eating healthy is a chore, hard-work, punishment, only for the obsessed, pleasure starving behaviour, etc. I think this is complete bullshit, sorry. If you can afford to eat healthy, you are investing in your overall well-being, your mental-health, your appearance, and your longevity. Eating healthy food feels great, and the results are undeniable.
No matter what your world view is, you cannot deny the fact that the only way in which you can experience the physical world is through your physical body. It is the conduit to all experience. Why would you not want to have that body, which allows you to experience the world, be functioning as optimally as possible. You truly get out of your body what you put in. If you have the means to, why not fill up with premium. You have the opportunity to chose what you eat and the crazy thing is that with our bodies the fuel we chose can change the vessel. The effect of eating healthy food is such that it is like if you filled up with premium enough times that your Ford Fiesta eventually turns into a Ferrari.
Some person in my hostel last night called me “ambitious” because I was cooking a meal. If cooking a meal is ambitious, I have no hope for our future. I was dumb-founded. Let’s get serious….choosing to eat healthy is not ambitious, it is a privilege, choosing not to eat healthy is laziness.
Stop Pretending Eating Shitty Food Is Living Life To The Fullest
I hear some version of this one all the time. “Well, like, I don’t want to stop eating x, because I like want to enjoy my life.” Seriously, if Skittles is what gives you a reason to live and is a distinctive source of enjoyment in your life, you need to find some new hobbies, or get laid or smoke a joint or something. Out of all the opportunities for pleasure and amazing experiences out there in the world, choosing to get your pleasure through processed food, or candy marketed to five year olds, is just so blah. I am not saying totally abstain, but seriously, shitty food doesn’t make your life better. Furthermore, if you seriously change your viewpoint and only treat yourself on occasion, when you do have some sweets, or cake, etc. it tastes really good, because you actually appreciate it.
With the whole shaming of fat-shaming, eating unhealthy is now almost a legally defendable right. As a society we need to get over this. Obesity is unhealthy, and the causes are largely preventable. Our mindset that eating like shit is some sort of “right” in our society and that the reverse is some sort of punishment or only for vain fitness obsessed freaks is so backwards. This mindset is extremely harmful and costly. Obesity related costs in Canada run to the tune of an estimated 4.5-7 Billion dollars per year in Canada. Chew on
Just Because Something Is Edible Does Not Mean Its Food
This one is very straight-forward, but the food industry and our governments have really failed us here. The amount of food in the grocery store that is processed, full of preservatives, colouring, and chemicals is disgusting. If you want to “follow a meal-plan” to get healthy and lose some weight…. start buying food that has one ingredient. A great example is Broccoli. Broccoli contains Broccoli. That is food. McDonald’s is not food. Chocolate Bars are not food. Sure you can eat that shit, but humans did not evolve eating foods that were designed to play on the reward centres of your brain and make a few people immense profit. The entity that is Broccoli does not have a chain-store in every neighbourhood in North America. If someone can make loads of money off of what you are choosing to eat, its probably not designed for your health. It is designed for profit. The average grocery store in America in 2014 stocked over 40,000 items. 99% of those are not needed. You can eat like a boss with less than 20 total ingredients/items on your entire grocery list in a week. 3 varieties of fruits, 6 varieties of veggies, 3 varieties of meat, 2 kinds of nuts, 2 kinds of oils, 2 kinds of grains/tubers, 4 kinds of herbs/spices. What are the other 40,000+ items for other than making some company money and making you less healthy?
Eating Health Takes A Lot of Work
Bull. My “ambitious” meal the other night was extremely healthy, but certainly not time consuming, complex, or ambitious. I had 200g of lean beef, an entire head of broccoli, and a handful of Macadamia Nuts. It took me all of 7 minutes to prepare and it was enjoyable to eat.
I have a crazy theory that if you eat real food, that literally anything goes together. If you eat healthy for long enough you start to enjoy eating Broccoli just on its own along with all other foods. You appreciate the individual tastes of the food you eat because its real food you were meant to eat.
You will discover that fruit and meat is one of the most divine combinations out there. If you are in a pinch, cook 150g of lean-ground beef or wild-game, chop up a banana, and throw in some almonds. That will take less than 7 minutes to prepare and then you will even have time after to sit down and eat it.
This is going to ruffle some feathers, but I believe recipes are a sham. Leave those for the restaurants and dinner parties. I think the need to follow recipes is a big reason behind why people have trouble transitioning to healthy eating. I have been cooking for myself on average 4x/day for almost a decade and I have yet to use a recipe. Crazy thing is I have survived, in a quite lean-state, and I enjoy eating every single time I sit down to one of my creations.
Simplify things to make your life easier. Eat some protein (meat, eggs, fish), a butt-load of vegetables, if it is post-training some simple carbs (rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes), and some fat (oil, nuts, avocado). Spice up your meal with some natural herbs and spices. Boom, you have a meal.
If I try to make “Paleo Eggs Benedict” on a Tuesday that will probably take me four hours. Furthermore it will not taste anywhere near as good as it would if I just decide to eat healthy Monday to Friday and then go to a restaurant and treat myself on the weekend to some Eggs Benny cooked by a pro.
Social Levelling Will Occur
If you are the first person in your group, office, or family to decide to start eating healthy, don't expect a tonne of support. Realize that you making healthier choices is going to make them uncomfortable because they are going to be forced to evaluate their own. This is when you'll get comments that try to bring you back to how you used to eat. Jim or Stacey will show up at work with cupcakes and guilt you or call you stuck-up if you don't partake. Fight this. To steal a line from a fantastic book called Straight Line Leadership, "Be an example of what is possible, not a warning". Social levelling occurs in all aspects of life, so this is not unique to eating healthy, but I find it extremely strong here. People can be downright rude if you chose to eat healthy and that is acceptable. So ignore the haters, you are eating healthy for you. Do your best to find a friend or group that will support you in your choice to make some changes.
I don’t mean concession stands, sorry. I mean here are some things I realize make it hard, so please don’t feel like you are the only one to blame if you struggle with your nutrition. I truly mean it when I say the western world wants you to be fat. But, I also believe you are in control of what you eat, and are blessed to live in a country where eating healthy is completely possible and reasonable.
1- Lack of knowledge. Not everyone knows how to eat healthy, and even the Canada Food Guide misleads you. Furthermore healthy food rarely advertises, shit food does. The cards are stacked highly against you, I get it.
2- Eating healthy is expensive. I spent more on groceries last summer than my rent and car payment combined. I am single, so this is possible for me, but this is not realistic for most families. It is unfortunate but it is much more cost effective to eat processed food and fast-food. Again, for a lot of families, in our economy, that makes things really tough.
3- Shitty food is addictive. Literally addictive. To top that off, food companies design food to play on the pleasure centres in our brain to make it even more irresistible. On top of that, you are forced to see enhanced versions of it through ads on billboards, tv, your phones, etc. So, its like an alcoholic being constantly surround by liquor ads.
4- I am a bachelor. I understand that filling bellies other than your own adds an entire set of layers that I do not have to worry about. But perhaps, mimicking the bachelor where you can, might allow you to eat a bit healthier or change your viewpoint on things a bit.
I don't meant to be a dick. What I really mean to say here is that you have the power to eat healthy. You can do it. It's worth it. Find a friend or family member to team up with. Make it fun. Let the results and how you feel drive your motivation towards healthier eating choices. The cards are stacked against you, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't fight to be in control of your body, and take care of it.
Have any of you started making healthier choices and found that people in your circle have made rude comments, or tried to bring you back down to the point you wanted to move past? I have faced this a lot over the years and to be honest it was a source of anxiety for a long time. I was actually embarrassed for doing what I felt worked for me because it was different than the norm, and the comments really stung.
If you feel like you are lacking some knowledge in terms of nutrition and don't know where to start, or have a question that's been bugging you, shoot me a message or leave a comment, I'd be happy to answer it or point you in the direction of someone who can.
Grit Human Performance