When I meet people I don’t know and tell them I am a Holistic Health and Fitness Coach, they often say straight away: “oh cool! You know I have been doing this or doing that for a while now…” And then they expect a sort of positive comment from me, as if I was going to judge them and like them more just because they were doing something “healthy”.
And I can’t count how many people tell me they are on a “healthy diet”, and when I ask them more about it, I realize they are sabotaging their health completely…
But this is all understandable. There is so much misinformation regarding health in the mainstream media, that people often get confused and don’t actually know how to best live a healthy lifestyle.
And as Mark Twain said: “It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled”.
I felt like sharing with you what the most common mistakes regarding having a healthy lifestyle are.
I am not going to go too deep into each one of them, but you will have links to related articles if you are looking for deeper explanations.
1. Going on a low-fat or low calories diet
How many of you are still choosing the low-fat Cesar salad when their body is actually craving some real meat or fatty food? How many of you are counting how many vegetables they are having because they want to keep their carbs intake to the lowest? How many of you, when choosing between two products in the supermarket, always opt for the lowest calories one?
Your body changes ALL THE TIME. Your needs are going to change ALL THE TIME. Depending on your overall stress levels, your level of activity, your state of mind, your overall health, your gut health, your immune system… One day you will need more proteins than another. One day you will need more fats. Another day you will be ok with just healthy carbs intake. And above all, the amount of calories you will be eating will never determine whether you are being healthy or not.
If your focus is losing weight, start with being healthy first and the weight loss will be a healthy side effect of it.
Choose quality first, and common sense. And get back in touch with your body. Your body will always tell you what is best for you at what moment.
2. Going Vegan or Vegetarian
Here I just want to make a point: I totally respect and understand people who choose to go that road. To me there are some certain benefits to those diets, especially in the first couple of months. But my point is this: as human beings, your needs will probably change and you have to be open to that. If one day you feel you need to eat meat, do it. Humans evolved thanks to hunting, fishing and gathering. Again, it is all about the quality of the food you are choosing. Conventional meat is unfortunately unhealthy, sick, full of antibiotics and other chemicals, and therefore not as nourishing and beneficial as it is meant to be. But if you choose grass-fed or pasture-raised animals, who have been able to live freely in nature all their life, you can’t go wrong. Those meats are healthy, full of nutrients, and omega 3 fatty acids, that are essential for your health. Some people will need it more than others, because we are all completely unique. The important thing here is to be open and listen to the real signs of your body, without letting your controlled mind trick you.
3. Denying pesticides, herbicides, chemicals in food and home environment
So many people think of going to the gym, and taking care of how much food they are consuming, either because they are afraid of any future heart disease or because they want to lose weight.
But so many forget to take into consideration the one thing that can impact their whole system, like their gut, digestive system, hormonal system, their brain, their immune system…. And I am talking about the toxic world they are living in. Eating organic is not just a trend. It is much more than that. It is about helping our soils become more fertile and resistant again, it is about polluting less, it is about growing foods that are much more nutrient-dense without harmful chemicals that put our health at risk. It is about respecting the environment, respecting the Earth and respecting OUR OWN BODY. Why do you think they have to protect themselves from head to toe when they spray the vegetables fields with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides etc? Exactly. Because it is highly toxic and very dangerous. And yet, they spray our land and then we are supposed to eat it. Research and evidence has already shown how detrimental this type of agriculture has been for us. And no, this is not helping against world’s famine and hunger. To all of you who want to understand why organic is so important, and why organic is the only way we can keep on growing food for EVERYONE, I would advise you to watch Paul Chek’s talk called: “Nutrition – The Dirt Facts”. Find it HERE.
Now, toxins are not only in our food supply unfortunately. Those nasties are everywhere around us: in the tap water (depending on where you live, I would advise you to have your home water filtered), the plastic bottles and plastic food containers, the synthetic clothes tainted with chemical dyes, your house cleaning detergents, your cosmetics products… (anything that touches your skin), the air you breathe….
So yes, CLEAN YOUR ENVIRONMENT. You might be surprised by how powerful this can be, whether you are looking to feel better, have more energy or to lose weight.
Special mention for babies/newborns: they are even more fragile to those chemical laden environments. Their skin is very porous and their immune system is still building up. In their clothes, nappies, their sheets, their toys, their baby bottles…. CHOOSE WISELY. I spent time searching for only Organic, Naturally colored clothes, towels, and bed linens… Only untreated wood for the baby furniture. Anything that will touch my future baby will be as natural and organic as possible. I chose reusable washable organic cotton diapers (the usual ones are highly toxic…), and no plastic at home around the baby. By doing so, I am creating a healthier environment for myself as well, and for the planet. So yes, be conscious of it and start making better choices, step by step. It is actually easy and definitely worth it.
4. Electro-Magnetic Fields around you
Too many people disregard this important subject, and its impact on their mental and physical health. How much time are you spending holding your smartphone? Or being in front of your computer? Of your laptop? Then back home watching TV until late at night? Your hairdryer and different chargers only add even more electro-magnetic field to this already polluted environment… DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THEIR EFFECTS. Research shows that it is very bad for all our cells to be constantly facing those magnetic waves.
Switch off your WiFi at home as often as possible (especially at night), switch off your phone as much as possible, especially when you are walking / cycling / driving / in the bus…. which means, especially when you are moving. Switch off your screens at least 1-2 hours before sleeping. Your body needs some rest and needs to disconnect in order to get into a good repairing sleep mode. If you have to stay late in front of those electric blue-light screens, wear a pair of orange “blue-light blocking” glasses. I have one of them and I can definitely feel the difference when I go to sleep after spending a couple of hours working at my computer and wearing them…. And have Himalayan Salt Lamps in your living room and in your bed room. This will help you clean the air and the magnetic energy in your home.
5. Training every day
So many people are so proud telling me that they are training every single day, or maybe 5-6 times a week. But depending on your body’s ability to recover, this can be good… or bad! If you don’t give your body enough time to rest, repair and recover, you are sabotaging your results. Muscles and fitness gains happen during recovery. Skip this necessary phase of your training and you increase your chances of being burned out, fatigued, with a depressed immune system, and overly stressed.
Cardio training in particular increases your cortisol (stress hormone) levels a lot. And it is catabolic, which means that it destroys muscles fibers rather than building them up. Therefore, I would advise you to have a well designed workout program, made of strength training (or your sport specificity) and some cardio. But not always the same thing. Active and Passive rests are essential phases that you should be determining with a professional. Whether you want to get better at your sport, become fitter or lose some fat, you can’t overlook that.
Also, movement is not only about hard training. IT IS JUST ABOUT MOVING. Some days, our body needs to just walk, or do some stretches. Tai Chi and Xi Gong are a great way to pump your fluids and activate your body AND GIVE YOU ENERGY IN, rather than taking it out of you. If your stress levels are already high, you should start by doing these types of exercises rather than burning yourself out in a cross-fit class. Many essential functions depend on our hormones. Play with them for a while and you can wreak havoc your whole system. Some people start gaining weight just by exercising as often as usual. They are just too much on the edge and are not listening to their body’s signals. Therefore… again, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY and shut off your brain!
6. Juicing fruits
Yes, we can see smoothies bars a bit everywhere now…. But drinking a smoothie or a juice is not necessarily good for you. It depends whether it has been juiced more than 5 minutes ago or not, it depends on whether it is only fruits in it, it depends on how balanced the juice or smoothie is, it depends if the ingredients are organic or not… It depends on a lot of things. Don’t fall for it. Many shops sell smoothies or juices that have been done in the morning and keep them refrigerated the whole day. Unfortunately, after a couple of minutes, your juice is nothing but some water with sugar in it. READ MY ARTICLE about it and learn how to make the best juice or smoothie for yourself.
7. Choosing Soy milk or Soy alternatives
I have written an article and made a video about it. Non-fermented soy IS NOT GOOD for you, whether it is organic or not. This is just a marketing scam that unfortunately today is fully ingrained in everyone’s brain! Please educate yourself and avoid completely all soy milk, tofu, edamame, and other soy isolates sold now everywhere as "healthy" alternatives. A special attention for baby’s milk formulas and other supplements or snacks. Soy can be very detrimental, and it is time for everyone to realize it.
8. Using antibacterial soap and detergents to keep the environment “clean”
Many people want to keep a clean house and spend their time cleaning the house with very harsh harmful chemical-laden detergents. Those are unfortunately highly toxic for you. Your body has more bacteria than proper human cells. You can’t be healthy (or even survive!) if you kill them all. I am now doing my own laundry soap and it does wonders. I am soon going to use a home-made formula for the rest of the house too. All based only on natural ingredients. Nature always knows it better. And you know, I am a lazy person, but I have realized how actually easy and quick it is to do all those things by myself (SEE HERE my home-made cleaning DIY products). You can start by just choosing Organic non-toxic products. From the hand soaps, to your shampoos, conditioners, deodorants and other house cleaning products…. This is already a first step. There are some brands out there that are making an effort in that direction. So skip the all-too-commercial mainstream brands (the most toxic ones most of the time!!) and look for the alternatives that already exist. This will already make a difference.
9. Having pasteurized dairy on a daily basis for healthy bones
Please read my article about MILK AND DAIRY HERE. Are you eating a yogurt (maybe a low-fat one...??) regularly after your meals because you think it is good for your health, your bones, because it is full of calcium? Well, think again. This is unfortunately another brainwashing misconception that too many people are still believing in. Why do you think we are the only mammals out there still drinking milk their whole life?? First of all, pasteurization might have been necessary at one time in our human evolution, but it is not anymore. It KILLS EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD FOR US in raw milk. Add the homogenization process to it, add some synthetic vitamins to it because all you have now is dead food (or sugar), and you have what we call a "great" bottle of milk today. This is an inflammatory drink ready for you. If you still want to get some benefits from your milk, choose only organic raw milk from a trusted local farmer. And if you are concerned with your calcium intake, don’t worry. Dark leafy greens are much better sources. Think of spinach, broccoli… Also, when wanting to supplement in Calcium, you should always be careful and have vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 with it. But the point here is: don’t be fooled. Those commercial yogurts or milk bottles are nothing but sugar and chemicals. Again, nature knows it better.
10. Neglecting your overall stress levels
Many people are so focused on what they should or shouldn't be doing in order to feel better, that they forget about the most important: their own peace. Stress (and Adrenal Fatigue) is known to be one of the major factor of any chronic disease or pain, whether it is mental, emotional, physical, chemical or spiritual.... Don't underestimate how stress can deteriorate your health and can sabotage all your efforts to be and feel better. Meditation, relaxation, positive affirmations, rest periods are all necessary steps to get back to that inner peace. Connect to your inner self on a daily basis. The more you do it, the more you will feel the benefits.
If this was too much for you, and you are confused and don’t know who to believe in anymore… trust your guts but only make a choice once you are well informed. Making a choice based on an information you heard once by a non-proved source doesn’t make any sense. Take responsibility for yourself and your family. Our society tends to act like children who are disempowered and have to blindly trust what they are told. Let’s be more than that. Let’s face and dig out some true facts, as surprising as they are, and let’s make our lives a much better place to live in.
In Health and Happiness