Tag Archives: food

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 But this response is totally outdated in our modern world.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.

Burning it off

The average American consumes about 50% more calories than that which is needed for optimal health. This would not be such a big problem if these calories were burnt off through daily exercise, but, at 600 calories per hour of running, the average American would have to run for 90 minutes a day to maintain a healthy weight. And let’s face it, very few Americans exercise for 90 minutes per week (let alone 90 minutes per day). That’s why 3 out of every 4 Americans will be overweight by 2020…

Fact: America (and the rest of the developed world) can blow as much money as they want on diet and weight-loss fads, but they will keep getting fatter until they correct their energy balance. It really is that simple.

Health: Overcoming the resistances to healthy living

In this penultimate health post, we will spend some time on the resistances that people are likely to experience when starting to build towards optimal health. Most of the resistances are related to the macro-environment we live in today with all of its junk food, factory farming and GMO subsidies, sedentary jobs and sedentary leisure activities. This entire series of personal health posts have been fighting this powerful enemy and this post will be no different. Let’s take a look:

Convenience

Our world has become completely obsessed with convenience. Things like preparing your own healthy food and cycling to work are simply seen as way too much effort. For leisure, it is simply much more convenient to just plop down in front of the TV than to get some friends together for a friendly game of football. Besides, tearing all of your friends away from their own TV’s will be a real mission.

As always, the solution is simply to discipline yourself for a short while to create a micro-environment where these factors are not an issue anymore. Learn some quick, easy and healthy recipes, buy yourself a nice e-bike, join a local social sports team and, if you are really serious about this, throw out your TV. Only a few weekends of building such an environment will grant you a lifetime of automatic and self-sustaining personal health. Just do it.

Practicality

We have managed to make unhealthy living so incredibly practical that it has simply become the default choice. Drive-through fast food joints, soda vending machines at schools, home movie theaters with streamed movies, escalators and elevators in every building with more than two floors… I mean, when it comes to commercializing unhealthy living, we are the champs. On the other hand, organic produce can be hard to find and many destinations within our modern cities can only be reached by car.

This is a real problem for which there unfortunately are no quick fixes, but you can again go a long way by simply designing a healthy micro-environment as advocated throughout the entire series of health posts. The ultimate in micro-environment design (which we will look at later) is selecting your home in a location especially suited for making happy, healthy, wealthy and sustainable living as practical as at all possible. Solutions such as these are lot of effort, but in the long run, they are certainly worth it.

Cost

Most people will find unhealthy eating to be a lot cheaper than healthy eating. Government subsidies, unethical production methods and chemical fertilizers/pesticides all contribute to the low cost of unhealthy foods. This is an unfortunate modern reality we have to deal with.

However, since your health is arguably your most precious possession, going cheap on your food is not exactly the smartest idea. Unfortunately, due to our socialistic healthcare systems, really looking after yourself does not give the kind of direct financial returns that it should, but healthy living will still save you a lot of money through reduced medical expenses (and also increase your earning capacity).

Also keep in mind that a growing demand for organic plant-based whole foods will lead directly to large-scale production which will increase the availability and decrease the price. Yes, those front-runners who pave the way towards healthy living will have to carry some extra weight, but, as more and more people join, the journey will become progressively easier and cheaper. 

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.

Our healthcare addiction

Here is a nice visual representation of the healthcare addiction of the developed world:

Quite predictably, our attempts to buy health have been just as fruitless as our attempts to buy happiness. Take a look at this highly revealing graph for example:

The amount of money that the US wastes on pointless healthcare spending (around 2 trillion dollars yearly) is nearly enough money to buy every single person on Earth an iPad 2 (every single year). Wow…