I’ve been thinking that it’s about time I put together a finite list of principles for optimal health. A ‘start here’ kinda thing that summarises my beliefs around health and the basic teachings of this blog.
Whether or not you’re new to Body Incredible you’ll probably have noticed that my posts are all interconnected in terms of style, basic values and beliefs, but there’s not necessarily a definite flow from one post to the next. I plan my writing a month out, and definitely include the occasional series such as this one on vegetarianism, but quite often chop and change from nutrition, to mindset and beliefs, to exercise, to funny stuff I’ve found on the internet, to updates on what’s working for myself and my clients … you get the idea. The long and short of of all that is that if you have the time to peruse the archives you’ll definitely get the gist of what Body Incredible is all about, and hopefully get to know me a little as well. But to make it just a little bit easier for you to get started, here are the foundation principles of this blog.
Otherwise known as what I believe to be good and true 🙂
Body Incredible Foundation Principles
1. Eat Protein. Do It Frequently. Mainly From Animal Sources.
I’m a huge believer in protein at every meal, and I believe it should come from an animal source 9 times out of 10. Pretty much every rule I have about nutrition comes back to eating food that is as close as possible to what nature intended, and in my opinion a caveman-type diet sums this up. I believe that the saturated fats which occur naturally in animal protein are crucial to your health and metabolism, and that regular protein intake is the foundation of a healthy body. It’s particularly important to eat protein in the morning, as it sparks detoxification. Another benefit of animal protein (always organic, grass-fed), is that it contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which is an important Omega-3 essential fatty acid. More on Omega 3 further down this list.
2. Cholesterol Is Good For You
The truth is that if you don’t eat cholesterol your body will go ahead and produce it anyway, using carbohydrate as a tool to do this. Cholesterol plays an important role in cell health, and actually protects your heart, as well as giving stiffness to the walls of your cells. This stops them from going ‘floppy’, which is one reason for lumpy or cellulite-infested skin. I recently read that dietary cholesterol intake has almost zero impact on blood serum cholesterol readings – increased ‘bad’ cholesterol is almost entirely a product of continually elevated insulin levels.
3. Saturated Fat Is Healthy And Necessary For Fat Loss
Do as Mother Nature would have you do, and that means eat fat. Plenty of it. When you eat pure natural fat (always from an organic source or else it will contain toxins), you give your body true satisfaction. Quality fats do NOT get stored in your fat cells but are used by your liver and muscle cells to provide lasting energy, and actually assist your body to burn stored fat. Click here to learn about eating fat to lose fat.
4. Avoid Sugar At All Costs
The diet and medical industry has conveniently overlooked a very important thing these past 50 years or so, and that is this – sugar is what is making us fatter, not fat. In fact, there’s a very clear correlation between decreasing fat and protein intake over the past 50 years, and increasing incidences of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Funnily enough, over the same time the amount of products being manufactured and even promoted as healthy that are ‘low-fat’ (read: high sugar and chemicals), has gone through the roof. If I see a label that shouts ‘low-fat’ I get moving in the opposite direction. Fast. Sugar causes the release of the hormone insulin, a prime role of which is to tell your body to create and store fat. Learn more about insulin here.
5. Move Frequently, And Do It As Nature Intended
I love the way Charles Poliquin summarises his take on exercise. “We were designed to throw a rock at the rabbit, not run after it”. Me, I believe we are built to be strong, lean and fit creatures. Anything other than this may certainly be partly gene-related, but for the most part we all know it’s lifestyle. My take on ideal movement? Lift heavy stuff. Do it often. Use everyday movements like squatting, lunging, pressing, pulling, bending, twisting. Sprint or walk rather than run or jog. Aim for at least 30 minutes movement each day, even if it’s incidental.
6. Less Is More.
Do you ever find you’re continually adding more to your to-do list? That you can barely enjoy the satisfaction of completing a task before 3 more come to celebrate at its funeral? It’s incredibly easy to become caught up in the never-ending question to achieve. To learn new things, explore new things, be ahead of the pack, be noticed. All admirable, but when it starts to take over your life, when your so busy doing all the things you ‘should’ be doing that you never stop to realize that your life is, in fact, happening and you’re only beating up on yourself for not having finished that list, then it’s time to stop. To re-evaluate what it is that truly matters to you. What’s really important? And how can you cut through the confusion of emails and admin and silly little tasks and just focus on the stuff that actually makes a difference. The stuff that (you want) to define you. Do you want to be known or remember yourself as the person who got stuff done and was always impressively busy or had all the latest toys? Or do you want to know that you truly discovered what it is that matters to you and that you were able to live your life in such a way that you enjoyed that thing and shared it with others?
7. Everybody Needs Supplements
In a perfect world we wouldn’t need supplements, but this ain’t no perfect world. Of course by no means is it okay to be lazy with your diet and think you can make it up with a magic pill. Nor should you place any hope in wonder pills such as fat strippers. Getting lean, looking and feeling your best, at the end of the day it comes down to getting the right nutrients in your body. A large part of that should be the right mix of quality organic foods. But everybody does need to back this up with some sort of supplementation. This is in part due to food quality – even the strictest organic diet does not allow for the same soil or food nutrition of 50 or 100 years ago. This is just an unfortunate fact of the world we live in. The other thing to consider is the effects of varied types of stress on your health – environmental stress, temperature stress, training stress, work or relationship stress. You get the picture. Stress depletes nutrition, which means you need to top it back up daily. Certain nutrients such as zinc, for example, have been found to be deficient in over 98% of people tested, including some extremely healthy eaters. Omega-3 is another supplement that everybody needs to take. Considering we need around 35-40 grams of the stuff daily, and that even the richest steak or salmon steak has less than 5 grams, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re not getting the full hit. To find out more about your unique supplement needs and how the right supplements can balance your hormones, increase your metabolism, and improve your overall wellbeing, consider a BioSignature consultation. Personally I use and recommend only Poliquin Performance supplements because I find them to be of the most superior quality in terms of both ingredient selection and quality/purity control.
8. Eat Fat To Lose Fat
I touched on this earlier, but it’s so darn important (and fundamental to the way I run this blog) that I just had to bring it up again. The good news is that it seems the low-fat craze has finally had its heyday. I’m guessing you already know about the importance of good fats in your diet, yes? But do you really know which fats are good, or okay, or definitely a no-no? The truth is that if you want to be in great shape, feel, look and function your best, you absolutely need to eat fat every day. In fact, at every meal. You’ve no chance of ever reaching your weight loss or indeed any physical goals if you don’t include enough fat in your diet, and – what’s worse – you run the risk of serious cell degeneration (leading to numerable possible diseases), hormonal imbalance, and brain dysfunction. Smart fats include omega 3, coconut oil, ghee, raw organic full-fat dairy, avocado, raw organic nuts and seeds, and even the saturated fat found in organic animal proteins. That’s right! Saturated fat is a good thing, so long as it’s from a clean (organic) source. Without saturated fat in your diet, your body will struggle to maintain a healthy metabolism, will be unable to maintain normal hormone activity, will be limited in energy and performance ability, and your mental focus and clarity will suffer.
9. You Get What You Expect
Like it or not, your life is a product of the choices you’ve made. You’re earning the money you expect to earn, you’re in the relationship you expect to have, and your body is in the shape you expect it to be. If you think that’s a load of hoo-ha, then think about this.
“When you sow a thought, you reap an action. When you sow an action, you reap a habit. Sow a habit, and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you’ll reap your destiny” – Stephen Covey
It’s very logical, isn’t it? So be honest with yourself – where are your thoughts taking you? What do you believe about your future success? Do you have faith in your ability to create the body you want, to find the work you want, to live the life you want? It’s all up to you – those who think it can’t be done are continually being passed by those who are doing it. Don’t be one of them.
10. Avoid Sleep Debt
Sleep is severely underestimated as one of the most important aspects of overall good health. This is one of my favourite topics simply because insomnia is something I battled off and on for years. Prior to that I truly didn’t realise just how much a lack of sleep affects us, and since then I’ve researched the topic heavily. Some experts believe that obesity, heart disease and diabetes can be almost entirely attributed to poor quality sleep and disrupted sleep patterns, and I agree. We are made to sleep when it’s dark and be naturally alert and active when it’s light. The more you can strive to do this – even if just by adding 15 minutes sleep – the better. Read more on sleep here.
That’s it for today. Next week I’ll hit you with the other 10 foundation principles, but in the meantime drop me a comment and let me know what you think – am I on track so far?