Category Archives: Nutrition

The great quest to eat less

For millions of years, Homo Sapiens stove to eat more. Food was scarce and most of the population had to spend most of their time just to get the bare minimum.

This dynamic has changed dramatically over the past century since fossil fuels gave us fertilizers that quadrupled crop yields and machines that can do the work of a hundred men. Indeed, many modern Homo Sapiens now strive (rather unsuccessfully) to eat less.

Today, those who were lucky enough to be born in affluent parts of the world consume about 50% more calories than the recommended daily allowance (which is about 2200). The results are all around us in the form of obesity and degenerative disease.

Our long evolutionary history in a world of scarcity has made it very difficult to cope with the abundance of food in our modern world.  For example, eating has an emotionally pleasant effect through the release of endorphins, creating a strong drive to find food. But this response is totally outdated in our modern world.

We are also exposed to many addictive food substances that were simply not available for the vast majority of human history. Refined sugar is a good example of a substance that puts our primitive caveman food cravings into overdrive.

Modernizing these primitive physiological responses of our brains and bodies certainly presents a challenge. But it can be done. The first step is simply to realize that these primitive responses have become counterproductive in our modern world.

So, keep this simple insight in mind and try to recall it before your next emotional eating excursion. Don’t be surprised if you start laughing in that moment as the ridiculousness of this situation truly dawns on you 🙂

Once this level of understanding is reached, there are several things that can be done to accelerate our mental modernization. The next couple of posts will further explore this topic.

PS: Why should you take lifestyle advice from a random guy on the internet? Good question. Take a look at the effects that these guidelines had on my life and decide for yourself.

Nutrition: Complete summary

OK, we are now nearing the end of the One in a Billion health plan and will just spend a few more posts to tie things together before we move on to the next category. The following summary briefly describes the nutritional part of the health plan that was presented over the past two months or so, linking to most of the detailed posts along the way. In order to get a broad overview, you can also check out the health contents page.

Firstly, we have to face some hard-hitting facts about where we stand today and acknowledge that the world is getting fatter and sicker at a truly alarming rate despite the totally unethical amounts of resources we consume trying to contain these self-imposed damages. This is a fairly predictable result considering the incredibly unhealthy macro-environment we live in today and the way that our healthcare system has morphed into a collection of corporations thriving on sick people. The One in a Billion project aims to rectify this matter by constructing a healthy nutritional environment within which healthy eating happens completely automatically.

Here it is in a nutshell: First of all, you should bring only healthy, nutrient dense foods into your home (example). You should also make sure that you optimize the way in which you get this food into your home (example). Next, it is essential that you learn to conjure up some quick, healthy and tasty meals using your broad selection of healthy foods so that healthy eating becomes an easy and enjoyable experience. Some examples of breakfast (1), lunch (123, 4) and dinner (1, 2) were also given and the importance of a big lunch and the dangers of a big dinner were discussed. We also looked at ways in which you can maintain, structure and optimize your healthy nutritional environment. Examples of ways to do this were given in the form of a green drink, some strategies for healthy detox, a few healthy snacking recommendations and some examples of good hunger busters.

For some additional motivation, a short account of the lives of some of the healthiest people on Earth was given, together with some key nutritional concepts and motivations.

I sincerely hope that these resources help to keep you on the road to vibrant health. Looking after your body really is the most important thing you can ever do, both for yourself and for your society.

Nutrition: Key reading on healthy eating

I’ve spend many hours reading about good nutrition over the past couple of years and, through all of that reading, four books have really stood out for me. These are the four books I would like to recommend to you today:

Healthy at 100 – John Robbins

This book managed to convinced me (a born and bred carnivore) that a plant-based diet is the way to go – something which really is quite an accomplishment. The book contains lots of highly convincing arguments backed up by real science and really opened my eyes in many ways. It is rather long and contains a lot of detail, but take it slow and gradually work your way through. Your life will become significantly better (and longer) because of it.

50 secretes of the world’s longest living people – Sally Beare

There are two primary selling points about this book: a short, but still detailed account of some traditional communities where people often live to 100 without ever visiting a doctor and brief and highly readable descriptions of the 50 health secrets. The first selling point is great for motivating you to learn more and the second selling point makes this learning process very easy. Everyone will be able to quite easily implement quite a few of the 50 secrets in their own lives.

Ultrametabolism – Mark Hyman

Another great piece of nutrition research which will really open your eyes to the toxic junk that we label as food nowadays and motivate you to make some crucial changes. If you are looking to lose weight, this book also debunks a number of dangerous weight-loss myths and points out the right way to go about things. On the downside, the practical recommendations in this book will be hard to carry out for most people and the other books mentioned here are better in this regard.

The world’s healthiest foods – George Mateljan

This is essentially a cookbook blended with a nutrition thesis. The research in this book is quite impressive and discloses the entire process of selecting, storing, preparing and cooking a large number of already healthy foods in the healthiest way possible. Foods are ranked according to nutrient density and a full nutritional profile of each food is given. The recipes in the book are also simple, quick and tasty, making it ideal for anyone living a busy modern lifestyle.

So, there you go. Pick up these books for a miserly $50, read a few pages every night before going to sleep and watch your eating habits (and your health) improve as your understanding grows.

Three key motivations for vibrant health

Every health program comes standard with a little motivational section. So, in keeping with the tradition, please find below a short outline of three key reasons why you should make your health your top priority.

1. Healthy at 100

The magical 100 mark is a good goal to strive towards, but just reaching 100 is not enough – you should aim to be healthy and fully independent at 100. One of the primary ills of aging is the childlike dependence that many seniors are reduced to by degenerative disease. Remember that we in the developed world bring almost all of our diseases upon ourselves through our terribly unhealthy consumption habits and sedentary lifestyles. The choice between becoming a wise, independent, healthy and respected elder  or a senile, childishly dependent, permanently suffering and pitied old soul is therefore largely in your hands. 

2. Be an asset to society

The success of a society is simply the difference between the contributions of those citizens who are assets and those citizens who are liabilities. This might seem a bit blunt, but the reason why western nations are becoming insolvent is simply because the people who are assets (paying taxes) cannot keep up with the people who are liabilities (drawing various forms of welfare). Medicare and Medicaid is a large part of this welfare expense and the US government currently pays a full 36% of all its tax revenues directly back into this ever growing black hole. In total, close to one in every five American dollars are spent on healthcare. It is therefore very simple: look after your health to minimize your withdrawals and maximize your productive contributions to society. Your health is the difference between being an asset and being a liability.

3. Healthy self esteem

Looking good is universally accepted as the primary motivation for maintaining a healthy weight. This highly egotistical and superficial source of motivation drives millions of crash diets, turns over billions of dollars and, surprise-surprise, has failed dismally in halting the rising tide of fatness sweeping across the globe. Sure, being in vibrant health will get you looking awesome, but this really is just a little bonus on the side. Your primary self-esteem boost should come from having a fully functioning and able body/mind and being a massive asset to your community. These are real and authentic motivations for weight-loss and are guaranteed to work much better than the egotistical source promoted by Photoshopped supermodels in fashion magazines.

So, strive for vibrant health and watch your value to society increase with time like a good red wine and your self esteem grow like the overweight trendline of the western world. Health is the foundation on which you build your life. Make sure it is solid.

Nutrition example: Hunger busters

Irrational food cravings are an accepted part of our modern civilization. It is a sad fact that the richest billion world citizens rarely eat because they are hungry even while the poorest billion citizens are permanently hungry. It is an even sadder fact that this irrational eating then drives the richest billion to obesity and degenerative disease, leading to further gross social injustices. We certainly have to do all in our power to mend our ways…

Percentage of population living on less than $1 a day.

Comfort eating is a very effective way of getting some instant pleasure when the burdens of the world become just a little bit too much. I would venture to say that almost every rich world citizen does this from time to time. However, breaking this habit can bring tremendous benefits both to you and your society. And this is where hunger busters come in.

A hunger buster is something that is healthy, filling, at least reasonably tasty and very convenient to eat. And the idea of a hunger buster is that you simply load up on these healthy foods whenever you feel an irrational food craving and then just sit back as the craving fades away. This concept has really helped me a lot and I definitely recommend that you try it.

My personal arsenal of hunger busters include water, fresh fruits, some full corn rye cakes that go very well with tea, instant oats and, most importantly, my favorite green drink. I make sure that these things are always instantly available within my healthy nutritional environment so that I can immediately bust any irrational food cravings that might suddenly attack.

You don’t have to succumb to every irrational food craving that comes your way. Build up a strong arsenal of hunger busters and you’ll be fighting off these evils in no time.

Nutrition example: Healthy snacking

Snacking between meals is quite important to keep your blood chemistry constant and keep your body functioning optimally. However, this strategy could backfire quite spectacularly when you snack on the wrong stuff.

Sugary or fatty snacks like chocolates or chips can play havoc with your blood chemistry, causing you to lose energy, have trouble focusing and develop many irrational food cravings. Nope, snacks need to be made up of the natural whole foods that our bodies were designed to run on.

The primary healthy snacks the nature has provided us with are fruit, nuts and seeds. These guys contain enough energy to keep you going throughout the day, but release this energy in a much more controlled manner than the processed junk-snacks that we eat nowadays. They are also packed with a wide range of nutrients to build and repair your body.

Fruit is a pretty well-known topic, but I would like to spend just one more paragraph on nuts and seeds. The assortment of nutrients in nuts and seeds is really quite impressive and really should form part of everyone’s diet. Also, as your diet shifts from animal to plant products, nuts and seeds also become an important source of protein. Seeds often contain all the essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) that our body needs, while nuts and grains need to be combined to get all the entire range of essential amino acids. Most of us eat a lot of grains, but we need the nuts to complete the amino acid combination.

Personally, I eat a small helping of mixed nuts, seeds and dried fruit every day. These are readily available in supermarkets and health stores today and you are free to mix and match as you please. I also keep my fruit basket diligently stocked at home and eat some fruit whenever I feel like it. My employer also has this great policy of providing a basket of fresh fruit at work twice a week.

So, ditch the candy bars and start snacking on some natural whole foods. It is much healthier, much better for overall productivity and just as tasty.

Nutrition example: Simple detox

When talking about “detox”, most people would think of some or other miracle diet product they saw on TV. In truth, however, detox is something that our bodies do automatically each and every day. If this process is interrupted for any reason, we die within a day or two. This is actually what happens when someone dies of dehydration. When the body does not have water with which to transport toxins out of the body, all of those toxins heap up and we are poisoned from the inside out. 

The process of living produces a rather surprising amount of wastes and effectively getting rid of these toxins is one of the most important aspects of health. If these wastes are allowed to gradually build up over time, they can very easily result in serious organ damage and degenerative disease. 

From the previous paragraph, it is fairly obvious that the most important detox agent is water. Personally, I drink a glass or two every morning right after I get up (to replace all the water used in the detox process occurring in the night) and always keep a bottle of water nearby so that I can hydrate throughout the day.

Water really is the most essential thing that we ever ingest, especially in our modern culture with all of its toxic foods. But still, you should not go overboard. People have died from water overdoses and you should not drink more than around 4 liters of water per day.

Another very effective detox agent is herbal tea. Aside from the obvious benefits of the water with which the tea is made, herbal tea is also also a great source of antioxidants. These guys protect the body from dangerous free radicals – unstable molecules that are generated in the process of getting the energy out of food.

Antioxidants in herbal tea neutralize these dangerous free radicals so that they can be ejected from the body without doing any damage to your cells. I drink one cup of a very tasty herbal tea called “Rooibos” every morning and every evening to make sure that my body stays as toxin-free as possible.

So, trade your coffee for herbal tea and buy a water bottle to decorate your office desk. Your body will love you for it.