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Cheat Your Way Healthy

What if cheating made you healthier?

Can You Make Yourself Healthier by Breaking The Rules?

Working on being healthy seems like so much work! There are so many things we have to do and so many things we have to not do! It seems like drudgery! But, are all these rules really true? Below I will take on many of these commonly believed health rules. You might find cheating the rules is the best way to be healthier.

Aerobic Exercise Is The Healthiest Exercise

Not really. Aerobic exercise is actually pretty ineffective at increasing VO2 max, anaerobic threshold, heart rate recovery times, or even increasing metabolic rate. So, am I telling you to skip the exercise? Hardly. Exercising regularly and effectively is the single most proven way to be healthy and age well.

But, treadmills and stairclimbers and elliptical machines and exercise bikes aren’t very effective. What does work is interval training – working out very hard and cycling the intensity of effort for short sessions (4-20 minutes). This is proven to significantly improve VO2 max, anaerobic threshold, heart rate recovery times, heart rate variability (measures the efficiency of your autonomic nervous system), and metabolic rate (as much as 10 times more effective for fat loss than regular aerobic exercise).

And, the best equipment for doing this is the simplest – calisthenics, wind sprints, jump rope, or rapid, high rep free weight training (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags). Rowing machines are the one exception to machines not being useful.

This type of exercise is incredibly effective. I have the basic tools, such as kettlebells and sandbags in my garage, and can complete a workout that has completely worked me over in 10-12 minutes (if you want to experience the most gruelling workout of your life, try the four minute Tabata workout!) at home with no travel time and no waiting for the equipment to free up! I haven’t been to a typical gym in 15 years; they’re just in the way of a good workout.

Hold the Coffee

Coffee is actually good for you!! Like anything else in your diet, the keys here are quality and moderation. Enjoy a couple of cups in the morning; try not to drink after “noonish” so that your sleep isn’t thrown off.

Coffee is very high in antioxidant polyphenols and the stimulation to cortisol in the morning is good for you, as long as your cortisol isn’t chronically high. The problem that most people have with their cortisol levels is of circadian rhythm, the pattern of cortisol through the day is off, to low in the morning and too high in the evening. A little coffee in the morning can help, along with some other strategies, retrain the pattern.

Make sure the coffee you drink is worth drinking. Use freshly roasted, organic coffee beans (fair trade and shade grown, too!) and grind small batches at a time so the oils in the coffee you drink isn’t rancid. I go to a store that fresh roasts and I smell each batch to make sure the oils aren’t rancid (an acrid bite to the smell is your tip off). Espresso or French press is the best means of preparation.

Careful of the Tea

Again, here quality counts! Tea has antioxidant polyphenols and compounds that relax the nervous system and help you handle stress better. Keep in mind that tea has as much and sometimes more caffeine than coffee, so drink it earlier in the day. I love my Earl Gray!

Eggs Will Clog Your Pipes

The much maligned egg is one of the single best quality foods in your diet. It is the best source of dietary protein, bar none! The greatest concentration of nutrients is in the yolk! Don’t throw the yolk away!

Eggs should be a regular part of your diet; an incredibly effective source of minerals and vitamins, especially the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, F, and K. Why is vitamin D deficiency an almost universal problem in this country, because people have been misled into thinking that fat is bad for them. Get your eggs organic and range-fed. Properly feed chickens lay eggs that are high in omega 3 fatty acids.

Definitely Not Butter

Butter is one of the most nutrient rich foods you can eat. It is chock full of vitamins and minerals, especially A, D, E, F, and K. Organic butter from grass fed cows is very high in omega 3 fatty acids. Keep in mind, you want cholesterol in your diet its good for you, You have to have cholesterol to keep your nervous and immune systems working properly and to make hormones! It’s the overuse of grains (especially corn) and sugars in this country that makes people fat and causes all the heart disease and diabetes!

Fat Will Make You Fat

Grains and sugars make you fat. Take both out of your diet; eat all the meat, dairy, beans, nuts and seeds, and vegetables you want and see what happens. The more people get tricked into believing they need to eat a low fat diet, the fatter and sicker they get!

Milk Is Only For Calves

Milk is a wonderful food, if it is from a quality source. That is from grass fed cows and organic. Raw is even better, if you can find it. Quality, variety, and moderation. These are the principles of the Mediterranean diet; the most proven health promoting diet in the world.

Meat: Bad For You and Bad For the Environment

Fresh, grass fed meat is incredibly high in omega 3 fatty acids and a host of other nutrients difficult to come by elsewhere. Buy organic meat that is from grass fed animals. When animals are raised in this way, they actually promote the health of the grasslands they’re raised on and have a positive impact on the environment!

We are omnivores by physiology. We are designed to eat animal protein and we don’t thrive unless we do. We don’t need a lot, however, and meat should be a complement to the rest of your diet.

A note on vegan diets. Veganism is a great therapeutic diet under certain conditions. It is not a valid long-term health promoting or maintenance diet!! Some of the sickest people I have seen have been on a vegan diet long-term. Vegetarianism can be a long-term healthy diet as you don’t have to have meat in the diet, but you do have to have animal protein.

Alcohol Is Bad For You

Nope. The fact is teetotalers as a group (people who completely abstain from alcohol) don’t live as long as people who drink moderately as a group.

Interestingly, the alcohol itself has benefits in decreasing inflammation and heart disease. Wine has further benefits from the polyphenol content (resveratrol and related compounds) and trace minerals. Red wine is the healthiest with your strongest and heaviest sediment (earthiest) reds being the most beneficial.

Beer, too, is good for you with ales rather than lagers being the healthiest. The fermentation frees up some of the essential trace minerals and B vitamins and makes them more available than from the raw grains they’re made from. Some beers have live yeasts, especially the Belgian ales, and are beneficial to the healthy balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract!

Summary

So, break the “rules” and enjoy good health. And, keep in mind that health isn’t about dogma and sacrifice; it’s not a puritanical and life-denying pursuit. Health is about enjoying the bounties of life and the world around you, moderately and reasonably, in order to be healthier and more robust and to savor the richness and beauty of the journey.

2 replies
  1. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    So far away and yet still so valuable. I throughly enjoy your posts. N well I always pass them on. So nice to be with authentic beings. Peace joy n love. Namaste. Me n the beasts.

    Reply
    • Mark Force
      Mark Force says:

      It is so nice to be with authentic beings….thanks for the company! Thanks for passing these ideas along. Let’s start a wave.

      Reply

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