What will I learn?
- Why people look for quick-fixes
- When you should consider supplementation
- What is your best diet
- How to become an informed consumer
Why do we look for quick fixes?
Most people look for quick fixes to their diets and health, such as meal replacement drinks, tablets containing superfood nutrients, muscle-growing powders and many more to help them achieve their goals in the fastest and most effortless way possible.
Though, why wouldn't You?
There are so many powders, juices, tablets and capsules in stores and online constantly in your face promising to be the next quick fix to solve all your dietary problems; Want to lose weight? Take this pill instead of eating. Want to build muscle? Drink this powder, and you'll look like the person on the label. Want to get all the vitamins you need for your day? Drink this juice daily. Want to improve your brain's performance, be smarter and get ahead of your competition? Take this pill three times a day. Never mind all the sugar, salt, and who knows what else comes with them.
Large multinational food and pharmaceutical companies spend an astronomical amount of time and money trying to convince you to buy their products. Whether you agree or not, the fact is their advertising strategies are very effective in swaying your food choices by focusing on the following:
- Health or nutrient claims (Eg "Powerful fat loss agent")
- Bright, eye-catching colours and photography
- Catchy songs and slogans
- Paid celebrity endorsement
- High levels of sugar, salt and oil make foods hyper-palatable
An interesting read...
All you have to do is google search "Fat burner"; the results speak for themselves. Food and Pharma companies are almost free to advertise whatever they like on their labels, so take caution and read the ingredient list of any product you buy.
Regarding supplementation, the key is to use them correctly by becoming an informed consumer...
When should I consider supplementation?
Now, I'm not against supplementation. It is both necessary and beneficial when combined with a diverse whole-food diet, not to replace it. Supplementation is also beneficial if you are trying to reach specific health/performance goals or are supplementing a deficiency based on your specific situation as prescribed by your friendly medical professional.
For example, I use plant protein powder as I am trying to build strength and overall muscle mass (specific goal), supplementing helps me achieve my protein goals for the day. Also, it makes my smoothies and breakfasts taste amazing!
A great resource for educating yourself on supplementation is "examine.com". They offer paid and free subscriptions, but you should be able to get the essential information you need from the free info. The link is below:
If you are currently supplementing or are considering it, be strategic and seek advice from a coach or medical professional with experience in the field. Supplementation should not be used as a quick-fix solution to a much deeper issue... Poor habits and lack of self-control.
Like any area of your life, there is no shortcut to success; this is the same for your health. We need to remind ourselves to focus on long-term sustainable goals constantly. The best program is one that gets done; this goes for both diet and exercise. Take the time to research and experiment with different eating patterns, foods and exercise programs that suit your lifestyle and will help you get to where you want to be. Educate yourself on the different nutrient profiles of different foods and try to get all the required nutrients over 2, 3, 4, 5, or whatever number of meals suits you a day.
What's my best diet?
Your best diet is a diverse diet. One that includes a combination of whole foods and does not contain any ultra-processed refined foods, which are often high in sugar, salt and fats. You might be wondering why there's such a big emphasis on whole-food and not refined foods. It's because during the refining process in wheat flour, for example, the outer husk of the wheat grain is removed. The problem is that the outer husk contains many essential nutrients such as vitamins, protein and fibre.
Eating refined foods such as white rice once in a while is not a big deal, but if you do it every day, imagine the cumulative loss of nutrients and vitamins you'd be exposing yourself to over time.
You might think we can bottle up the nutrients from whole, unrefined fruits and vegetables and take them in capsule or powder form. Sorry my friend, but there is bad news for you. Take antioxidants from berries; for example, these compounds in tablet form are no match for how they perform in your body when consumed in their natural form.
What's my solution?
Become an informed consumer
This goes for what you put in your mouth and the content you consume. Please educate yourself on the nutrient profiles of different foods and learn how to cook them. This is a great way to learn more about food and your body. It is also a great way to acquire cool new skills you can show off to your friends and family.
Always read the ingredient lists of the products you buy, and don't trust what is written on the label. Advertisements of food products and services are in many places, both online and offline. Limit your content consumption and be careful about what you watch, read and listen to.
Find what works for you.
We all lead different lives. Finding what works for you is the key to achieving your healthy lifestyle goals. Also, improvement in one area of your life often requires improvement and alignment in others. You can't solve one part of the puzzle and expect to succeed! I wrote this thread on Twitter on lifestyle change; it may be of interest to you:
Play the long game
Expand your time horizons. You will inevitably have a few bad days here and there; the best way to get over these and continue pursuing your goals is to give yourself more time. Be patient and, more importantly, be kind to yourself.
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