OK. This post is a little bit of a rant. Brace yourself for some truth bombs.
I am a natural born skeptic. Whenever someone tells me a new health or wellnessfact, I go “huh” and then research it on my own because I honestly don’t often trust people who want to tell me how to live my life. I wish more people took the time to research, research, research!
I am just so sick of the gullibility I see when it comes to health and wellness. Some people will just blindly believe everything they hear and its pretty damn dumb. And, to be honest, in some situations it can also be harmful to their health.
I mean…I guess it’s none of my business and people will just do what they want, but my whole goal with this blog was to spread knowledge and help people live their healthiest lives based on facts and research…NOT propaganda.
And that’s what I am seeing out there in the wellness world: a whole lot of propaganda. And propaganda, as history shows, can be dangerous and people fall for it left and right.
And in addition to that- so many tidbits taken from studies used to promote a product or lifestyle are taken completely out of context and warped to fit a certain idea or view….AND used to sell products. My favorite example of this is when Special K came out with the campaign that ran on the idea that “people who ate breakfast tend to weigh less”. OK…I am sure that is true, but it has nothing to do with eating Special K cereal. People who take the time to eat breakfast are probably just healthier in general and make other healthy choices all day long, which will lead them to weigh less than those who don’t make health conscious choices. Correlation is not causation. Special K took that little fact out of context and used it to make people want to buy their cereal thinking it will help them lose weight, even though there’s no correlation to Special K cereal being the reason those breakfast eaters weighed less.
I think it is important to be able to identify these marketing techniques and be aware of them- it will help you make more well informed choices that will benefit you and your body the most. Read the damn fine print.
Not everything I’m about to talk about is bad…but when taken too far, they can be. OR these things may just not be as healthy as you think they are.
30 DAY ELIMINATION DIETS:
I mean….these are everywhere and SO popular right now. Most of them have you cutting out all carbs, gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol and basically anything you may enjoy in life aside from beach vacations.
Some have you just drinking juice for most meals (UGH, I will get into this in a sec). And in theory, the concept works. You will most likely lose weight, lower inflammation and look thinner. But what happens after those 30 days when you go back to eating like a normal human being? You gain that weight and inflammation back UNLESS you totally revamp your way of eating and drinking. A total elimination diet leaves most people feeling deprived and counting down the days until they can go back to normal, or eat their favorite things again. So if you break your 3o day “cleanse” with a donut and pizza binge, what was the whole damn point in the first place? You basically challenged yourself for a month only to fuck it all up once it’s over. You are creating results in a FALSE SETTING. Doing anything in a false setting is sort of pointless in my opinion.
The only way these can work for you long term is if you adopt these healthy eating habits and make them work for you long term. Which, essentially is just healthy eating for your body. So why do the crazy cleanse when you can start today and adopt an “everything in moderation” healthy lifestyle that cuts out processed crap and is high in nutritious foods you actually enjoy? Going ON A DIET implies that eventually you will go off of it…and that’s really not the point of a healthy diet. A healthy diet needs to be something you can do for your lifetime- a balance you enjoy and can live with day in and day out.
Which brings me to…..
I have done juice cleanses. I have even posted about them here and here. BUT the only reason I have ever done them is to lose water weight and drop a few pounds for a role in a very short amount of time. It’s my “last ditch effort” for when I have to be in a bikini on camera for a role. I gain the weight I lose back as soon as I eat whole foods again every single time because that is just what happens with juicing. The weight you lose doesn’t stay off, plain and simple. It is temporary weight loss to look slimmer, more toned, and less puffy and should never be done for more than 5-6 days tops. I mean, I honestly don’t recommend them for anyone unless you are in a crunch time situation like me because they suck. And I never feel very good on them. They are NOT a great way to lose weight. The only time I think they can be helpful is if you do it for a day after the holidays to kind of reset your digestive system or eliminate waste build up (because the first couple days they make you go to the bathroom). Beyond that, I would recommend upping your fiber and cutting out white and processed carbs instead to jump start weight loss and rev your metabolism.
The Keto diet is The Atkins Diet repackaged, re-stamped and re-marketed to the new generation of health seekers. My mom was on Atkins when I was young and she would lose weight, gain it back, lose weight, gain it back…a constant up and down circle because IT IS A HARD EATING ROUTINE TO MAINTAIN.
The high fat, extremely low carb diet is really only meant to be done short term for weight loss- a lot of Victoria’s Secret models follow this program for a month or two before the VS Fashion Show. SOO, once I heard that I jumped on the Keto train for about 8 weeks. Also, to put it in perspective, I had just broken my leg, was couch ridden and had a vacation to Costa Rica coming up in two months. So I wanted to commit to something challenging and look great, while stuck unable to exercise. I tried the keto diet and I looked great! I lost a few pounds and most importantly, I didn’t put on weight while I was stuck being a couch potato. But to be honest, I hated it. For the month and a half that I did it, I never felt great. My stomach was always a little wonky and I broke out (which I never do). My skin in general didn’t react well to such a big change.
So, it really does work…but may come with some major downsides. You will lose weight. There is no doubt. BUT is it healthy to do long term? Most studies say probably not…and the others say it is too soon to tell. The super high fat diet has lead to high cholesterol in many people and can lead to kidney problems.
Our bodies need carbs, believe it or not. What matters most is the quality of carbs and the net carbs we are consuming. To lower your net carbs, eat foods that are super high in fiber, because fiber grams subtracts carbs from your net carb intake. I believe a low carb, healthy fats diet can be really great for some people….as long as it is well balanced. It may take some experimentation to find what really works for your own body.
Gluten free foods aren’t healthier than foods with gluten. I mean, some of them are, but its not a rule. Gluten free does not equal lower calorie, healthier or better. Do you even know what gluten is? Because SO many people don’t...this video is one of my favorite things ever, you have to watch it.
If you have Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity/intolerance, then definitely go gluten free! If you don’t….you don’t really need to worry much about it. I think this desperate need for people to be gluten free goes hand in hand with the whole “carbs are bad” thing. Which is not true. Like I said above, your body needs carbs. Healthy, whole grain, nutritious carbs.
Most gluten free foods actually have less fiber, more fat, and more sugar in them to make them palatable for people. So is it healthier to eat a gluten free donut? Not really. It probably cost you fewer calories and grams of sugar to eat a regular donut that a gluten free one in most cases.
AND, so many products are labeled gluten free now a days that never had gluten in them to begin with! Like rice and popcorn. Rice and popcorn have no gluten. A company labeling their rice or popcorn as “gluten free” is just a marketing ploy to get you to think its healthier. I’ve even seen fruit products and coconut water labeled gluten free… I mean DUH!!! And the crazy thing is that people fall for it all the damn time. I see people at parties scarfing down a donut and exclaiming “it’s gluten free” like they should be getting a pat on the back for making such an angelically healthy choice. So wrong!!
The reason a gluten free diet is “healthy” is because it results in people cutting out processed bread products, fried foods and high sugar desserts. Basically, you would be eliminating the garbage and eating healthier- which essentially has nothing to do with the actual gluten and a lot to do with the quality of your food choices. It can be a path to a healthier lifestyle by eating better foods. Personally, I am very particular with the type of carbs I eat. I love quinoa, high fiber bread products and high fiber crackers. I ALWAYS check the fiber content and I do eat bread (I LOVE bread) but I make sure to keep everything balanced.
Paleo is a great way of eating, but just like the whole gluten thing above, a “paleo” label doesn’t mean that something is always healthier for you. It can often mean that a product has double or triple the calories because of the ingredients needed to make a chocolate muffin paleo.
I would always suggest looking at a nutrition label first and foremost. Make sure the sugar grams are low and the calorie to protein to carb ration is good and balanced. A paleo diet cuts out a lot of foods, when done correctly, and can help a lot of people get on a good healthy eating track. But make sure you know what you should be eating and how to properly nourish yourself! Because when you have to cut out food groups, you need to find balance in your diet elsewhere.
VEGAN PROPAGANDA FILMS
“What the Health” is the first one that comes to mind. All of their “facts” in this film were bogus and debunked by actual scientists. None of the science behind the films claims make any sense and they are the prime example of “correlation is not causation”. I can go on for days about all the crazy claims in this movie, but you can read all about it here instead.
This type of propaganda is literally just that- its a scare tactic that makes people fear for their health and life. Sure, I do believe that eating more greens and less processed meats is so good for everyone and something we should all focus on, but I do not think that eating an egg will give you cancer. If you eat a ton of processed meats and fast food, you definitely need to change your ways and start eating lean, organic, free range meats and eggs instead- this will dramatically improve your health, energy levels and skin condition.
Also, before I get hate, I am not against veganism at all! I think it is an amazing thing for those who feel passionately about it! I am such an animal lover and totally commend those who go vegan for ethical and environmental reasons, you are a stronger person than I am! But if you are going to go vegan, do it for the right reasons, not because of some documentary that cherry picked “facts” and laid them out in ways that only served themselves and didn’t even make logical sense. The most important thing you can do for yourself is be informed and make well informed decisions instead of just jumping on the bandwagon and believing anything anyone tells you.
What I would recommend to everyone is cut back on sugar. Sugar is the thing that will make you fat, break out your skin and make your energy levels go all out of whack. Of course you can’t cut out all sugar, but cutting out ADDED sugar will make such a huge difference to anyones diet.
“Quick fixes” won’t yield you long term results. For long term results, make long term lifestyle choices!
I stay away from added sugar, I DO eat carbs, I eat tons of fiber and I try to make my meals filled with colorful greens and veggies. The more color you can get on your plate, the better! I enjoy my damn life while eating as healthfully and mindfully as possible. I also have the occasional donut and don’t feel guilty about it.